Memorial Day Weekend came and went without much fuss. It was the one year anniversary of my heart attack and, because I was afraid that would trigger my anxiety, my therapist suggested I make plans to help keep my mind off of it. We decided to go on a little picnic, head over to the Museum of Life and Science, and then go to a cookout/BBQ at our neighbor’s house. MLS is one of my favorite places to take Sebastian because there’s so much for him to do and see, and every time we go, he’s a little bit older and a little more aware of the things around him. This is what I wore for our outing. I’ve been wanting a pair of scallop shorts for a while now, and J. Crew did not disappoint. These are great!
Around this time time last year, I had just returned to work from my brief maternity leave and was missing Sebastian like crazy. I was only allowed six weeks off following his birth because I had just started a new job and didn’t have enough time built up for FMLA benefits. I was so looking forward to the three-day holiday weekend filled with the baby snuggles that I wasn’t getting during the week while Sebastian was in daycare. We didn’t have anything planned for the Memorial Day Weekend except for a picnic that I had been looking forward to for a while.
How long is it supposed to take to find one’s purpose?
I worry that it will take me a lifetime to figure out who I am and what I want to do with it, and by then, it’ll be too late. I’ve always been envious of folks who seem to have it all figured out. Those who have somehow always possessed a sense of who they wanted to be and what path they had to take to be it. Disciplined, ambitious, eager. You must embody those principles to achieve your goals. This is how I would like to describe myself but my mid-twenties seemed to knock those words right out of my vocabulary. I find that life just keeps throwing curve balls and when that happens, you have to widen your stance, maybe choke up on the bat, and stay focused. This is where I am now, trying to stay focused on what my life is and how to drive it to where I want to be.
So, anywhere, here’s an update on my life lately.
Work work work work work
It’s been four months since I quit my job. I’ve started casually looking for work again since I do have student loans that need to be paid, but if I’m completely honest, I’m not ready to go back. I love staying home with Sebastian and having the freedom to run errands whenever I want to. But I’m taking comfort in the fact that I’m trying to find something more fulfilling, making the transition a little easier.
Sebastian turned one!
Sebastian turned one earlier this month. This little dude definitely keeps me busy and I’m loving every minute of it – although I do wish I were better at time management so I could blog a little more. The year has definitely flown by but we’ve had a lot of fun (and stresses) during it.
My heart is doing well
I’m almost a year out from my heart attack (May 27) and I’m feeling pretty good – better than I thought I would be at this point. While I still have some anxiety every now and then, I’ve learned my triggers and how to manage them, and my responses to them. My anxiety mostly manifests itself physically in the form of the heart attack symptoms I experienced last year (basically a mild form of PTSD) and it’s exacerbated when I don’t sleep well for several days and I try to make up for being tired with drinking too much coffee. So I do my best to get enough sleep and reduce my caffeine intake, and that usually works pretty well.
Spring is finally here.
The beautiful sunshine and warmer breezes have inspired me to take more outfit photos. Getting to wear my cute spring clothes definitely helps, too! See what I mean:
I’m planning to get back to regularly posting outfit photos to don’t forget to follow along. Stick around to find out what else happens in this life of mine.
I realize I missed the entire month of October with blogging. The truth is I had a difficult couple of weeks at the beginning of the month where my anxiety flared up and got the best of me. Sometimes it hits me so hard that I go on autopilot and it’s a small victory to make it through each day without a breakdown. And that focus on survival doesn’t include things like blogging. But I feel I’m finally out of the fog and it’s time to make time for writing. Thanks for sticking with me!
One reason I’m back to the blog, though, is talk about a big change that is coming up.
After a lot of discussion and budgeting and more discussion, I’ve decided to quit my job at the end of the year to focus on my health and my family. I’ve had a lot of medical experiences this year from giving birth to having a heart attack and I never really had a chance to fully recover from either episode. I had a six-week maternity leave, which anyone who has had a baby – as well as new research on postpartum healing – can tell you this is not nearly enough time, and I was only out of work for a week following the heart incident, so it’s really no wonder that my anxiety has been front and center for the past six months. But not only is this time off for taking care of myself, but I’ll have this awesome little guy around to help me get better!
And I can focus on watching him grow for a while, something I feel like I’ve been missing out on ever since I had to go back to work.
It won’t be all fun and games, however. The plan is to take time to get back on my feet and, when I’m ready, I’ll start fresh with my career, which is the other half of my big decision. I don’t know exactly what I want to do yet but I *DO* know that I want it to involve writing, both for my blog and professionally. I’d love to write for magazines, other blogs, and even for news & academia outlets. I love writing and it has taken me more than a decade to be able to say that I’m a good writer. I am a good writer, I’ve just never given myself permission to believe it so I’ve never pursued writing as a career. Until now. And my next post will talk a little more about how I came to these decisions.
So, tell me: have any of you made any big decisions – whether it was to quit your job to stay home with your children or to start a totally new career with little to no experience – and if so, how did it turn out? I love hearing others’ experiences and I certainly need all of the encouragement I can get. Thanks!
Skip. Like what happens when you hear a loud clap of thunder that makes you jump up out of your chair, but instead I’m just sitting at my desk in my quiet office, staring at the computer screen.
Flutter. Like the butterflies you get in your stomach when you’re nervous, but instead it happens in my chest while I’m sitting quietly on the couch, watching the evening news.
Race. Like when you’re watching your favorite sports team hit the winning shot right at the buzzer, but instead I’m sitting in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam.
These are the peculiar sensations I’ve been feeling in my chest lately. For the average person, they’re no big deal. For the anxious person, they’re pretty common. For someone who is about 3 months post-heart attack like me, they’re cause for concern. My primary care physician thought that these sensations were simply due to stress. She made me go to the cardiologist, who agreed that it was probably just stress because everything else looked fine, but hooked me up to a holter monitor just to be sure.
A holter monitor is a small, portable monitor that measures your heart’s rhythm. I wore this monitor for 48 hours last week. Every time I felt a skip, a flutter, or a racing sensation, I pressed a button on the side to record the sensation in the results and then I described in a little journal exactly what I felt and what I was doing when I felt it. At the end of the two days, someone read the monitor and compared it to the notes in my journal to figure out what was causing my heart to act up like this.
My two biggest fears regarding the results were on opposite ends of the spectrum. On one hand, I was afraid that the results would come back totally normal and would not show anything wrong. You’d think this is the best case scenario, but for me and my anxious mind, it would mean that I’m just crazy and/or hallucinating these sensations when I absolutely KNEW I wasn’t. On the other hand, I was afraid that the results would come back showing something catastrophic, like my heart was giving out and I only had a few more days to live, all the while wondering how I even made it this long.
I got the results back this week and, luckily, they were right where I’d want them to be, comforting every so slightly my chaotic mind. They found that my heart rhythm is normal and that the ‘fluttering’ sensations correlated with occasional premature heart beats. These are benign but can feel strange or abnormal. Ultimately, there is no clinical concern but I should try to control my stress levels, as stress exacerbates the prematurely timed beats.
So, I’m not going to die of heart failure any time soon, which is good news. I do feel the occasional skip and flutter but my mind doesn’t automatically assume the worst. I’m working on addressing the stress in my life, which is extremely difficult given that I’m a new mom with a hectic work schedule. I’m slowly getting to a point where, when I feel my heart make its weird beats, it feels a little more like this:
Skip. Like when I see Nick and Sebastian after a long day and it makes my heart skip a beat.
Flutter. Like when my closed eyelashes lightly brush against Nick’s closed eyelashes during a long kiss.
Race. Like when Sebastian is about to roll over/crawl for the first time and I’m so nervous for him but I know he’s strong and can do it.
Hi, I’m Nikki. This is where I blog about my life and personal style. I’m a wife and mom, public health professional, sushi lover, wine enthusiast, and coffee snob. Welcome to my little corner of the world where I try to lead by example!