“Get that out of your mouth.”
“Oh God there is poop on my hand!”
“I’m only crying because I’m so tired. She just won’t sleep.”
“Please eat your food.”
No, we do not have a toddler.
Devon and I have brought home a rather adorable nine week old Australian Shepherd puppy.
The plan is for nova to eventually become my Diabetic Alert Dog .
We have A LOT of work to do before that day comes.
Until then our lives have already changed pretty drastically.
Gone are the days when I can just run to the store, go to work, clean my house and sleep through the night (for right now). Our days now revolve around caring for this baby dog who needs a whole lot of attention and care. Finding puppy sitters for times and places she cannot be with me, tons of walks, cramming AS MUCH work and chores into her nap times as I can and making sure she doesn’t eat absolutely everything she finds throughout the day.
Much like having a baby, no amount of preparation, literature, YouTube videos or personal advice could have truly prepared us for what we are experiencing.
Despite extreme sleep deprivation, frustration, countless trips outside to go potty and yes even tears – it really is wonderful.
Whether she is sleeping at my feet during band practice, or keeping an eye on me during physical therapy and even when she is hyper AF and attacking my favorite pair of sandals- I cannot help but smile.
Nova, Devon and I are a team. We are learning together. As a family.
Today begins week three and she is now nine weeks old. I am already so grateful to have her. I have already learned a few really significant things about myself thanks to this little ball of fur.
I knew it wouldn’t be long before Nova made her way into my blog. What I did not expect was just how much I would have to say about all the things I have already learned from her in three short weeks. So this will be the first part in a four themed series about the lessons Nova is teaching me.
Part One: Sleep Deprivation
My best friend recently became a mom for the first time. About one month after the baby was born her husband shared this with me in regards to lack of sleep as a new parent:
“It isn’t that you’re not sleeping at all per say. It’s that you get one hour here, then are awake for two hours then forty five mins etcetera. You don’t get a solid block of sleep – and that is the exhausting part.”
At the time I had neither a child nor a puppy – so I was somewhat able to imagine what he was saying but I was not in anyway able to know just how hard things can get when you do not get solid sleep. Nor was I prepared for the absolute insanity that happens when someone with a chronic illness doesn’t get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation is one of the toughest things I have gone through in a long time. Yet it is also the most enlightening thing I have ever experienced. In the past when I was struggling with depression and anxiety – insomnia was something I struggled with. However what made that different for me was when I did eventually get tired enough to sleep, I was able to do so.
Having a chronic illness I need more sleep than the average person. So imagine a person who needs more than the ‘normal’ amount of sleep getting nowhere near that amount. Like … not even close to what I needed.
On the positive side of this I have not taken my Trazadone since the day we brought Nova home. That is three weeks off sleeping medication.
I have been on some form of sleeping medication for fifteen years.
Now when Nova decides to sleep I can lay down ANYTIME and fall asleep. Never thought I would be able to do that. Thanks fuzz ball ❤
My emotions have also been running rampant. Not only did we begin this journey with Nova (and the lack of sleep) – but around the same time I had a change in birth control, the worst period of my life, and an eczema flare up so painful and serious they had to put me on five days of steroids…which made my blood sugar so f&*king high I could barely keep it all together.
About a week in I started to notice that by giving Nova all this attention and energy, I was putting my own self care on the back burner. Not eating as frequently as I was atempting to before we brought her home. Ignoring trends on my Dexcom so I could get fifteen more minutes of sleep before having to do a finger stick. And a drastic increase in caffeine. Like lots of it. For me even if my choice has no carbs or sugars in it the actual caffeine make my numbers jump if I don’t bolus a tiny bit for it.
Which wasn’t happening because I was chugging energy drinks down super fast so I could dress myself and get to work on time.
Needless to say that shit had to come to a stop really quick.
A revelation at work: Nova is here to help me. Not hurt me. And although I was terrified of making any sort of mistake with her along the way – I still had to come first. She isn’t a newborn baby, she is a puppy. Certain aspects of my life were falling to the back burner and I couldn’t allow that to happen.
This happens to everyone. Whether you just got a puppy or not. Sometime you have to take your first sip of coffee each morning and think:
“What is my passion? What are my goals? How am I going to pursue them today?”
Time to get back on track. Time get get organized again.
Writing, reading, puppy care, music , my health care, my relationships…
Sleep deprivation made it very clear to me that I should ONLY give my time, energy, and attention to things and people in my life who MATTER. If it isn’t important to my passion[s], my personal relationships, my dog, or my well being…I am not going to my waste energy on it.
I woke up this morning and made my coffee. Nova ate her breakfast as I shuffled through the house, eyes barely open, scooping coffee into the filter.
Opening my blinds, sunshine came through and flooded the kitchen.
It was a beautiful day.
After taking my first sip of coffee I said it to myself again…
“What is my passion? How will I pursue it today?”
Taking a second, third and fourth sip of coffee I go into the living room, pull out my notebook, turn on my laptop and begint to write…
It’s a good day to be alive my dear friends.
It is a good day to conquer all of your obstacles.
Do not chase your passion.
Run next to it.