Monday, August 13, 2012

Conflicts of Interest

Balcony view from our bedroom at River's Whisper Cabin, Franklin North Carolina
August 8, 2012

As a Human Resources Professional in a former life, the phrase "Conflict of Interest" was one with which I had to be ever vigilant in my awareness of what it did or not not mean.  It seemed that those who regulated whichever industry I happened to be employed by were forever changing the meaning of what constituted a "conflict of interest."  My life these days seems to be one gigantic conflict of interest and it's no wonder I've developed a strange twitch.....just kidding about the twitch!

But one thing that was most definitely NOT a conflict of interest, were the three glorious days we spent with dear friends of more than 35 years at a cabin in Franklin, North Carolina.  As you know, I am researcher and a planner whose favorite thing to do is "plan" our next adventure, but this time, our friends did ALL the planning.   All we had to do was follow the directions emailed to us and show up.  I can't verbalize how nice that was, how badly I needed to just "rest" while someone else handled the details and most important of all, some time to just "be!"  The cabin was huge, people were in and out constantly, new friends were made, laughter flowed constantly and joy was simply all around.  More pictures of our time at the cabin are included throughout this post.

This little guy met us at the door of the cabin!

Back to the conflicts of interest.........................

1) It has been two weeks since my birthday and would you believe, there is still one more celebration to "endure."   And yes, as grateful as I am, it now feels like a test of endurance.   As much as I enjoyed meeting my goal at my birthday and as much as I've appreciated all those wanting to show their love to me by feeding me, I now realize the timing was horrible.  Starting maintenance has been rocky at best.  I'm not going into detail as there's no new material here.  You've all been here.  A point in time came when I got tired of fighting.  Don't worry, very little harm done except to my emotional state of being.   At a very, VERY low point, I actually found myself thinking, "if it's going to be this hard to push back against circumstances, is it really worth it?"  The answer, of course, is yes and rest assured, that thought was fleeting.  I haven't hiked in two weeks, but when you read this, I will be on the way high up in "my" mountains where clarity will return.

Our room was on the top right with it's very own private balcony!
They all know me well and knew I'd be up by 5 a.m.
I think they hoped I'd stay out on my balcony and be quiet - I did and I was!

2) I don't talk much on the blog about the fact that I have lived with Acute Rheumatoid Disease since being diagnosed at age 28, but sometimes I have to because it becomes a focus in my life and when it does, it usually isn't in a good way.  A particular med which has been a miracle drug for over eleven years began causing some serious side effects.  I tried denying that it was the med, but finally had to acknowledge the truth.  Visiting my rheumatologist, I was obviously taken off the med immediately.  Given several alternatives, I chose to allow my body to "rest" for a few days before making a decision about a next step.  That did NOT work!   And I knew because I've been here before, that the one thing that WOULD work in the interim was the dreaded PREDNISONE!   What conflict of interest, you say????   High doses of prednisone while excellent at relieving pain and swelling, comes with the added byproduct of immediate and unavoidable weight gain.  Words of terror to me at any stage of the game, but right now...........................   How could the timing be more horrible?   Good news is, the pain relief is almost immediate!  I'll keep you posted.

View from the main balcony!  Early in the morning, deer roamed the hillside!

3)  Bill starts back toschool on Wednesday.  We've had a marvelous summer filled with new adventure, loads of fun, time to reconnect which is always special and anticipation of another great academic year.   But the day always comes with mixed emotions for me.   He is so excited and so filled with enthusiasm, but there is a normal period of adjustment I have to work through.  My routine changes, the house seems so quiet and the bottom line is, I just miss him.   
The group kayaked from a put-in five miles upriver back to the cabin and had a great time.
Much to my dismay, I did not feel it was wise for me to go.

4)  My extended family is experiencing some change.  My sister is going through some health issues.  Nothing serious (or at least we don't think it is) and very similar to what I went through five years ago at age 52 (if you get my drift!!), but she's having a hard time and telephone conversations over such sensitive topics aren't really satisfying.  It's during these times I wish we weren't three hours apart.  My niece who lives in my town, begins her first year of Vet School in a couple of weeks.  She'll be incredibly busy and not have nearly as much time to spend with Aunt Sharon.   I will miss her - I already do!!
I took a long, long walk while the crew was kayaking and came across this little guy!

5)  And lastly, I'm experiencing somewhat of a conflict of interest regarding Gains and Losses.  I like staying in touch frequently with all of you.  You are such an encouragement to me and I hope that feeling is mutual.  But I also have a very active and busy life in my real world that can't ever be neglected and occasionally, I experience "conflict" over do I write a post or do I make a phone call?  To address that conflict, I am experimenting with a Facebook page for Gains and Losses.  In a way, it almost seems counter-productive, as if that's just one more thing to take up time, but a Facebook update can be quick, while writing a post (at least the way I choose to do it) takes thought and time.  So my plan is to update the Facebook page at least daily, maybe more while continuing to write a regular post at least weekly, hopefully more!   We'll see where it goes.   For the time being, if you have a Facebook page, please "like" mine, so we can interact together in that way.  You'll find a Facebook Badge on the left side of the blog - click on it to be taken directly to the page.  So far, Bill is the only one who "likes" me.   He thinks that's funny - I keep reminding him I have many ways to "like" him and Facebook ISN'T going to be one of them!!   (I don't even know if I have this page set up correctly, so if anything looks odd from your perspective, PLEASE tell me.)

The highlight of my walk was coming across this gorgeous field of sunflowers!
Sums it all up nicely, don't you think?

Sounds like a lot of whining and moaning, doesn't it?   Not meant to - it's just what was on my mind and came out through my fingers.  There is a lot going on in many of your lives as well.  I know that and think of you often!  That's why we have each other.

Any "Conflicts of Interest" you are willing to share?
Would love to encourage you this week!


  1. I'm so sorry your medication is giving you trouble! As for the prednisone, forget the scale and focus on what you're doing. If you're eating correctly (by your definition; there's no accounting for brussels sprouts taste) and exercising regularly, well, that's all you can control.

    Why did you get a bunny rabbit and I got a snake? That seems unfair. :)

  2. My computer isn't working --can't get the internet to load --that's a huge conflict for me!

    Sorry to hear about your arthritis. It always amazes me that you can hike at all. Also encouraging to me as I face an "official " diagnosis of arthritis.

  3. Ack - so sorry about the RA, my Grand Dad had it and it was not good!! Of course they have been ways to deal with it now. I hope you get to feeling better soon!!

    Love your pictures, so glad you had a nice time.

    Take care of yourself and stay focused!

  4. *HUGS!*

    You know, this is your space and place, you can post as often or not as you'd like. Maybe it'd just about reevaluating how you want to blog? :)

  5. Hang in there with the new meds! Hopefully you can adjust and not endure any weight gain. Yes, change is always hard even when its good change. Looks like you had a great weekend at a beautiful place.

  6. Sharon,
    I am sorry you are in a rough patch right now all the way around. Life piles up on us like that sometimes. I had a business law professor with RA in undergraduate school. He would have flare ups and be out for weeks. That is all I 'know' about it. At least there is some releif. The weight gain, you know is temporary and not due to any faulty eating.

    I am sure you'll emerge from this time stronger, and leaner, physically and emotionally.

  7. Ugh on the prednisone. When I hurt my back, I refused to take the pred and I probably could have saved myself a lot of pain, but I was afraid.
    Maintenance is a rocky road for a lot of people - myself definitely included there. I think finding your footing will come with time, but there definitely will be some periods of time where you lapse. It's just a matter of not letting the lapse turn into a slip and slide.

    Regarding the blog. Just blog when you can. Don't feel pressured to do it. It's supposed to be fun, right?

  8. Sorry about your health problems, Sharon. BUT---you have to do what you have to do to control the pain. It's easy for me to say to you: don't worry so much about the weight. BUT--I know how you feel. We try so hard to get the weight off --and the hard part is keeping it off. I'm at goal now --and am going to a Nutritionist the end of the month to get some help THIS TIME (since I have lost and gained so many times) in keeping the weight off. I hope that this works for me. I finally realized (at age 70) that I can't do it on my own...

    I know how you feel about blogging. It does take time. For me, it's not the blog writing --but is the blog visiting and commenting. I did cut my blog down to 3 days a week ---and don't blog when we are vacationing. That helped me alot. You might want to cut yours down some. I do enjoy Facebook and do it when I'm on vacation and NOT blogging. I cannot do both. Facebook is faster and easier ---but you can't give the details like you can when blogging. SO--I still love blogging more. You just need to do what you WANT to do--and what makes you happy.

    As an older woman and friend, I will say to you: Don't be so hard on yourself. You seem to be a perfectionist --and expect nothing less from yourself. I'm definitely that way --but have made myself slow down some the past 10 or so years.. I don't expect as much from myself as I used to... I will continue to eat healthy knowing that I am human and will fail at times--without getting upset about the results... I will do some exercise --even though it may not be as much as I 'think' I should get... Life is just too short to let myself get upset anymore....

    Just my thoughts... God Bless You, Sharon.

  9. Glad you guys enjoyed your trip! I think I'm kind of glad the new academic year is starting. I find it hard to work when David is here...ha! But of course I'd miss him too if we had just spent so much time together like you guys. Just remember you have lots of friends and things to do to keep you busy :)

    My conflict of interest with the blog is that I sometimes sacrifice sleep. Like last night it was almost midnight, but I had to get a blog entry done...or so I thought. I think the facebook idea is great (mostly because I'm an addict, and I'm on there often anyway).

    In answer to your questions on my blog... We went up Pretty Hollow Gap (which starts at Cataloochie near the school house, then we took Palmer Creek trail to the left all the way to Balsam Mtn Road...hiked .6 up it and took a right onto Balsam Mtn Trail to the Shelter. The Shelter really is nice. It was rebuilt last Novemberish. It is a little overgrown, but not too bad. Mostly with a bunch of the yellow flowers like you see in my pictures. Pretty Hollow Gap isn't overgrown right now. It is a pretty steep decent though and very rocky in places. Definitely use those hiking poles :) My favorite part of the whole trail loop was the Mt. Sterling Ridge Trail from Gunter Fork to Pretty Hollow Gap... 5 of the flattest miles I've seen in the Smokies...Loved it!!

    1. Okay, I forgot to say, I'm sorry to hear you are having pain from your ARD...and that it prevented you from kayaking. I'm in the same "blah" place in trying to get this dang plantar fasciitis healed...not wanting to take meds that are bad for my liver, etc. But for right now, you have to do what you have to do to get the pain to go away. Don't worry about the scale (but don't use it as an excuse to eat either and then blame in on the meds...ha!..that is something I would do)...stay true to yourself and know that the weight gain if any will subside. I'm rooting for you Sharon! :)

  10. Hang in there Sharon. RA is tough. Even if you do take the Meds and gain, it's temporary. Plus, eating as fewer processed Foods should help with the inflammation. So you can pick up where you left off. See you on FB. Karen P

  11. Sorry to read that your ARD was acting up again. I hope you tolerate the medicine a little better this time. With the side effects, it is good to know that a remedy is there for you.

    One of my conflicts of interest is in my favorite exercise, biking. When I go any distance, I have to eat many calories just to keep my energy up. With a BMR that is very low (1070 resting) it is hard to find the balance of how much to eat so that I do not undo my hard work.

  12. Lovely photos as always, Sharon. You are so gracious in taking all of us with you on your trips. Much appreciated :)
    As far as maintenance goes, now that you've crossed on over to sit within my 'group' I can share your frustration. You will have those fleeting moments and they are perfectly normal. You will handle yourself with grace in this transition phase. I have complete faith in you.
    Regarding the pred. Consider this another transition phase as you find something more appropriate. Hugs and more hugs to you!

  13. hope you are doing better. looks like a gorgeous place