Substance and Soul

On life, lately

LifeSamantha WetterholmComment

Get ready for some scrolling.

It’s 8:02 on a Saturday morning and I am finally able to sit down. This week has been incredibly busy, exhausting, exhilarating, and calming all at the same time. (Don’t ask my how I can feel all those emotions at once, I am a little cray cray.)

This week I was on the Dental Clinics ER rotation. This meant that instead of seeing my regular patients, I triaged and treated the dental emergencies that popped by the clinic, read: toothache. Usually this included determining the chief complaint of the patient, diagnosing the problem, and either treating or referring the patient. To say this was exhausting might be the understatement of the year. Maybe it was the meteor shower sending out some witchy energy, but the emergency clinic was busy every. single. day. It’s especially difficult because most of the people that come are in some sort of pain so time is of the essence. WHEW, I am pooped! I hope this weekend is particularly relaxing.

So I mentioned on Monday that a couple things have been really tough lately. My stomach has been all out of whack and pumping at school is causing a steadily increasing amount of stress and headache. A little over a year ago, I mentioned that I suffer from a chronic pain condition called irritable bowl syndrome. It is a symptom-based diagnosis with no determinate cause. Because it is not known what causes this syndrome, treatment is limited to the symptoms. SIGH. While I’ve been managing this condition my whole life, flare-ups occur every once in a while that completely stop me in my tracks.

While I have a mild to moderate level of pain most of the time, there are other times where I have severe flare-ups that may last days to weeks and sometimes even months. The past several weeks I have been having one of those dreaded flare-ups. I definitely attribute this flare-up to the higher levels of stress I’ve been experiencing along with some dietary contributions. I don’t usually like to talk about my chronic pain because let’s face it, it’s called chronic for a reason, and it gets pretty depressing talking about it all of the time.

About a week ago, I was having another episode and I just threw my hands up and said, I have to take control of this. I already know what helps control and alleviate the symptoms: eat less crap, eat more of the good stuff, and lower the stress levels. It seems like this is a recipe for treating a myriad of conditions, don'tchathink? HA.

Instead of just wallowing in self-pity, which is pretty easy to do at times, I decided to just do something about it. Paul and I sat down and planned out some dinners and lunches for the week and purchased all the groceries we would need. So instead of eating (let’s face it) CRAP every day, I would be filling my body with nutritious, filling, and minimally processed foods. I’ve never been one to believe in diets or restrictive eating, but the more healthy foods I incorporate, the less room I have for the bad stuff. Simple enough, eh?

Imma just let you drool over there for a minute. Let me know when you’re done.

One of my favorite meals we made was roasted chicken and vegetables. It was so simple. Just a bed of veggies and some drumsticks covered with spices and herbs. Usually, I dive headfirst into buckets of condiments and sauces, but this was incredibly flavorful with the herbs alone. Um, how did I not know about the dill-oregano-thyme-garlic combo before?? *clouds parting, angels singing* GET IN MY BELLY. It was so great. For those of you who know my eating habits, I HATE leftovers. I don’t like eating the same things days in a row, but this dish got all eat up yo. I may or may not have licked my plate clean, but that’s between me and God. 

And ya know whatttt? My stomach is already starting to feel better. While I will always have symptoms, if I can keep the curled-up-in-the-fetal-position pains away then I am one happy camper. This one is going on the weekly menu fo sho. (Yes I know, I got incredibly gangsta all of a sudden.)

She’s all, look at my toy, MY PRECIOUS. Hopefully she doesn’t want to be Gollum for Halloween.

Now for the last piece of the puzzle: lowering stress levels. While we all have daily stressors (hashtag, San Francisco traffic), my stress hormones have been off the charts. I have been feeling the stress in my stomach, my neck and shoulder muscles, and in my erratic sleeping. Stress sweat anyone? Oy vey.

This girl has some talent.

One of my biggest stressors has been finding time to pump and pumping enough ounces while I am at school. It’s not the most relaxing experience rushing to a private area and pumping enough ounces for the next day. To top it off, my sweet angel princess pumpkin is going through a growth spurt (and I also think she’s teething). She is developing at an amazing rate and while I am head-over-heels in love with her, it’s back-breaking trying to make enough milk for the next day. 

I reached breaking point when the daycare worker told me that Emma has seemed upset and cries after each bottle like she is simply not satisfied. No mother likes to hear this. So after much soul-searching, Paul and I decided to start supplementing Emma’s daycare bottles with some formula. While it has been my goal to breastfeed for at least 9 months and possibly even a full year, I had to realize what is best for Emma and my own sanity. Obviously, staring at the bottles while pumping praying that enough milk will come out is not the most relaxing thing in the world and what do ya know, milk production lowers when stress hormones are high. 

So on Wednesday I called the pediatrician for advice and I will tell you, it is one of the best decisions we have ever made. On Wednesday evening, I prepared bottles with 3 oz breast milk and 1 oz formula for daycare the next day. And I will tell you, I was finally able to exhale! Paul commented on how relaxed and calm I seemed. I knew in my gut that this would be a good decision. 

You are the selfie queen, young and sweet, only three months old. (Did you just sing that in your head? Because I did.)

While pumping Thursday morning, I knew that no matter how much I was producing, my daughter was taken care of. She would be satisfied, fed, and happy. Breast feeding will still continue to be a special part of our relationship, but I no longer need to feel like I am inadequate or that I am not providing enough for her. The daycare employee commented on what a transformation it has been for Emma.

She is happy and she is satisfied. Praise the Lord! So whew, what a week indeed.

Okay this one is making my face explode. It’s now 8:54 am. The end.