Author Archives: heatherv11


I tend to compare myself to who I used to be…. Before I had to quit working in 2004. Even though I was in a fair bit of pain, I was still fit. I was working. I was riding my bike in the summer and skating in the winter. I was running a fair bit too. I was strong. I loved my strength more than anything. It made me feel so good about myself.

On Sunday, I tried skating again for the first time since before I started having surgeries way back in 2007. Yay! It felt great but it became evident quite quickly just how out of shape I have become. I didn’t realize how fit you need to be to go skating. I was out of breath within maybe a few minutes of skating. As I sat there catching my breath, I started to remember how I could skate before without getting slightly out of breath. I had no idea how fit I really was before things really went sideways and how much I clearly took for granted.

Of course, with this realization of how badly out of shape I am, I started to get really hard on myself as I often do. I know it isn’t my fault and I have tried to keep up with as much exercise as I could do but in my head, that was still not enough. “I should have pushed myself harder between surgeries” “I have been too lazy” “I should be able to skate for much longer” “I am so pathetic” are just a few of the many thoughts that were running through my head before I start to realize how silly those thoughts were.

I have been through 5 major back surgeries since the first one in 2007. The first being the hardest. It felt like I was having to relearn to walk again. I couldn’t get down on to the floor for months. The pain was excruciating. I was pretty much stuck in bed for close to a year due to complications. Through the past 10 years (almost 11 now) I have struggled with so much back pain that has made it hard to even walk at times let alone consider anything beyond walking. So I should be able to let myself off the hook right?

Yet even if I “let myself off the hook”, it doesn’t stop me from missing and comparing myself to the girl I used to be. I used to be into sports. I played soccer. I loved skating and skiing. I was physically fit. The girl I used to be felt like the opposite of who I am now. I miss her so much. I wonder if I will ever be that girl again.

Currently I am still dealing with back pain where I had the crack in my spine that needed to be fused again. I have si joint inflammation because I am putting extra strain on my lower back because my upper back is fused. It takes a lot to push through the pain to do basic stuff, let alone exercise. But I do push myself because from what I understand, there is a chance that it will help. So, every evening I push myself. The pain is horrible, but I do it anyways. I do it at night because it wears me out and then afterwards I can go to bed. I usually want to cry from the pain but apparently exercising doesn’t hurt anything, so I keep going. What amazes me is how far I can go beyond the point that I feel like I can’t push any further. I can still only last about 15 minutes though and it truly does take everything out of me. The girl I used to be, would have been running circles around who I am now. Yet, will pushing myself so hard bring me closer to getting “better” or just wear me out? Am I holding on to a dream that will never be attainable again? Is what I have now, my new normal? Is comparing myself to who I was before, leading to me pushing myself farther and harder than I should be? Am I being too hard on myself? I think I know the answer to the last question, but I really do not want to admit it.

If you are wondering, pushing myself so hard isn’t anything new though. I have always pushed myself. Some say I push myself too hard and need to relax. The truth is, I don’t know how to do anything else. I used to compare myself to other people which kept me pushing to be better and stronger. Now I just hope to become who I used to be because I know what it felt like and how good it was. Plus, apparently it isn’t good to compare yourself to other people. LOL

Maybe comparing myself to myself yesterday and even the past year, can be good because it can help me to see progress that I have made. Yet, comparing myself to who I was 10 years ago might actually be harmful. None of us are likely where we were 10 years ago. For some, it might be good we are not in the same position that we were. For others, it leads to feelings of sadness and loss for what we used to have.

There is a huge thing about comparing yourself to yourself to help motivate you to keep going. Although maybe it is only helpful if we look back as far back as yesterday or the past year to remind ourselves of progress we have made and not to remind ourselves of something we have lost like health or strength that we may never get back.


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The Duck who is in Charge

It may surprise you that the top duck in my flock is a girl but Martha is definitely in charge. Martha is many things and I could have chosen many titles for her but I think her best quality is that she keeps everyone in line. I would like to also share some of her other quirks as well because she has many. 🙂

Martha is a very special girl to me. She is one of the original group of ducklings that I started out with. The group that I made many mistakes with (like trying to read Tom Sawyer to them to get them to like me) and we all sort of learned things together. She was also the only girl in the group that I got. I named her Martha because right off from the start, I could tell that she was always stressing about everything and making sure everything and everyone was in order. It wouldn’t be until later that I would get more girls so Martha had a Mary to go with her. You can’t give the ducks food without Martha following right at your heels to make sure you are doing it right. LOL the poor girl will go nuts if you try to move the food dishes too.

Martha bonded with one of the male ducks early on and their bond is stronger than I ever realized a duck bond could be. I decided to name him George because it goes well with Martha. 🙂 I think she lets him believe he is in charge while she quietly rules everyone from behind. The other ducks know who is boss though. Poor George goes absolutely nuts if he loses track of Martha. He tries to keep up with her and follow her everywhere. Sometimes Martha gets away from George though because she is also an independent woman and doesn’t always need her man.

Which leads me to Martha’s next quality if I would call it that. It actually proves to be quite a problem for me. She is a master escape artist. If there is a hole, she will find it and escape. Not only that, she leaves poor George behind! Another sad part is that it appears she employs George to help her escape and then leaves him. I know though when she is loose because I can hear George going nuts because they are not together. It would be wise of her to take him with her I think. She does take Mary or Lucy with her though, whether by choice or not, I am not sure. The one photo I shared yesterday was Martha and Lucy on one of their escapes.

One last quality I would like to share about Martha is that she is absolutely beautiful (as all my ducks are! 😉 ) She is probably the only one that I would classify as close enough to show quality though for a Welsh Harlequin. Although she is quite feisty and would probably bite a judge if I tried to show her. LOL I am also not sure how George would handle her being away from her. So I will need to think about whether it is something I might consider. It could be a lot of fun though. 🙂

For the photos – 1st photo -here is one of Martha’s Mysteries. How she laid an egg in between the nozzle handle of the sprayer! I still can’t figure it out. I had a very tough time getting it out too!

2nd Photo – We like to call Martha a dirty girl. LOL But truthfully, all the ducks love the mud. 🙂 Doesn’t she look proud of being covered in mud though?

3rd photo – a close up of Martha’s face

4th Photo – Martha recently and what she looks like right now in her winter colour. After molting in the fall, my ducks got darker for the winter. Not sure why they would get darker but they do. Please excuse the poop. Ducks poop a LOT and keeping it clean is next to impossible. lol



Posted by on February 25, 2018 in Ducks, Randomness, Uncategorized


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The Duck That Wouldn’t Swim

I have spent all day trying to come up with a proper title as well as time to write. I find I write better at my computer, but due to this duck (Lucy) being difficult, i haven’t had a chance to sit at a computer. So I am writing this post on my phone, while sitting in the shop with Lucy.

I should first give a bit of back story as to why Lucy is in the shop to begin with. A couple of weeks ago, i noticed her bum covered in clumps of poop and quite swollen as well. So I had to take her to our sick pen in the shop to start treatment. One of the best ways to get dried poop off of a ducks bum (that I know of) is to have them soak it off in a tub of water. But Lucy decided she didn’t want to stay in the water. Honestly, I have never had a duck fight me to stay away from the water!

The first attempt we made was to place her in the usual tub we have for ducks who need a soak. It does happen occasionally that a duck needs to be brought to the shop for this bc it is too cold in the winter for a pool. Her feet barely touched the water before she was flying out and splashing me and my dad in the process. Multiple tries later and we had managed to get her in the water for a total of maybe 5 minutes. We were soaked! We can’t understand her unusual aversion to water. She normally loves water.

I have tried multiple tubs of different shapes and sizes. She manages to soak me and get out of each and every one of them. I have had more time soaked in water than she has I think! Lol

I have been feeling a bit defeated because of my inability to figure out how to get her to soak. I finally came up with an idea that seems to work, even if she still puts up a huge fight in the process. We have an extra large cat litter box that we don’t use which is completely enclosed so she can’t fly out. If i can manage to fight with her that i can get her in through the front hole, She stays put for about 30 minutes at a time. She would pout if ducks could pout. Lol when i finally let her come out, She definitely gives me some serious stink eye before waddling off quickly out of my reach.

Why does she fight me when i try to put her in a tub of water? I wish I knew. I just hope this new solution will help her heal finally. I know her bum has to be quite sore so the sooner she can heal, the better.

Below is a photo of Lucy (in front) and Martha (in the back) when they managed to escape their pen in the summer. The video (if it plays) is Lucy today in the litter box and Marshal and Roxy keeping her company. Although they may have been more bratty than helpful! Lol


Posted by on February 24, 2018 in Ducks, Randomness, Uncategorized


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A Shaky Morning

First off, I would like to thank those of you who told me how much you appreciated the words I wrote in my last post. It means the world to me. I fear though that I have put an expectation on myself to write something that is as good or better because I don’t want to disappoint. I think it has formed a bit of a writers block so to speak. But I was given some advice to just write. So that is what I am going to do.

One of many “issues” that I deal with is getting quite shaky if I don’t eat on time. I suspect it is my blood sugar but my current gp doesn’t take me seriously on much so I just deal with it. My reaction time on responding to people/anything around me slows down, I get really shaky, confused, and dizzy. I find that eating something with sugar (like chocolate) gets it under control quickly. I keep it well under control I think for the most part. Many don’t even know I deal with this. But this morning after a whole lot of things went “wrong”, I was clearly not ok.

So here I am, sitting and waiting at the chiropractor who was running late because they were busy due to the long weekend. I am feeling hungry and hoping everything goes quickly enough that I can get going and get something to eat. But it didn’t. I was sitting on a stool at one point, unsure whether I would fall off or not because I felt like I couldn’t keep my balance. I then passed the front desk and the one lady there said something to me, and I was standing there struggling to process what she said and what to say back. She noticed and asked if I was ok. I managed to say that I didn’t feel quite ok. I said I would grab some water and sit down. I sat behind the water cooler to sneak chocolate from my purse. I am never without chocolate just in case this happens. LOL It felt wrong somehow to be eating chocolate in a chiropractors office where health is the whole focus. I felt like a rebel. LOL

The funny thing for me is that I feel embarrassed when symptoms like this become visible around other people. Even at the chiropractor, I hate to have people see me like this. I suppose it makes me feel vulnerable and not in control. I want to look as normal as I can despite all the “issues” that I deal with. I like to hide that I consume a fair amount of food to keep myself from shaking, or that I carry a stash of chocolate in my purse. LOL Some would be surprised at the amount of calories I consume in one day! Why do I feel so embarrassed about this morning and letting something get out of control? I feel like I failed somehow and feel that others see it that way too. But did I fail? Do I have to be so hard on myself because of a slip in judgement on my part (to not eat extra beforehand) and for other factors that I had no control over (Chiropractor running late)? I have literally been beating myself up about it all day. Maybe I am not alone in this line of thinking. Maybe we don’t have to beat ourselves up when accidents happen. Maybe we can accept that we do have challenges and it is ok to not be in control all the time.


Posted by on February 21, 2018 in Opening Up, Randomness, Uncategorized


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The Little Things Wear Me Out

This morning I had to change my bed sheets. It has been quite a long time since the last sheet change. I put it off because it takes so much out of me to do. It seems like such a little thing, but it wears me out. It takes me about 2 hours to do because of all the breaks I have to take. For the rest of the day, I feel very tired and the pain level is much higher. My hips hurt a lot as well and I can barely walk. There are so many little things that need to be done and I can only do so many each day, so it is inevitable that things get left longer than they should.

I feel so guilty and horrible about not changing my bed sheets as often as I should. I do it as often as I can manage though. Recently I decided to ask if I was alone in this on a group I am in, and so far, there has been over 70 replies from people saying that they have the same struggle as me. Changing sheets is very tough when you have an illness, chronic pain or any sort of disability. It is probably a chore even for  people not dealing with disability! LOL One person even thanked me for posting because it helped her know she isn’t alone. That really helped ease a lot of my guilt and frustration at my body for not working like I want it to.

There are many little things that are a challenge. Making meals, personal hygiene (showers, washing hair etc) running errands, meeting people for coffee, doing laundry, cleaning rooms or the house, gardening, etc. These are all “little things” that can wear a person out. I don’t often share how difficult the little things are for me and many of my friends likely don’t know how hard it can be for me and others who also deal with disability. This is why I wanted to share this- that others who also struggle know they are not alone and for everyone else to maybe gain some more understanding.


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Nissan Visit

Hello again

I haven’t been on here in quite awhile bc i sort of got out of the habit of coming on my blog. I have been wanting to get back into writing again though, so here i am!

Back in December (I think), i received a letter from Nissan that there was a recall involving my car and the air bag could have shrapnel if it deployed and cause injury to me. My first thought was that it’s amazing that this was my first recall in 5 years of owning the car! Lol There are recalls quite frquently on many brands of vehicles so I figured it was only a matter of time that it would be my turn.

Well this week i finally got the call that the part was in. Yay! No more chance of my car having exploding shrapnel. Lol When I brought it in and the guy looked at the odometer reading, he looked quite shocked. I think he possibly did a double take. He was like “wow your mileage is low”. I have only driven just over 30,000km in 5 years.

I felt the need to explain that I have been through 3 back surgeries in the span of owning my car and I haven’t been able to drive as much as i normally would like. He didn’t seem to care though. So I was tempted to lighten the mood and say I only drive my car on Sundays and use my broom stick during the week. Lol I declined though bc he didn’t seem like the type that would even laugh at that. Oh well. I chuckled to myself still. You have to get your laughs where you can, right?

Now my car is fixed. 🙂

I hope you were able to get a chuckle or 2 as well. Thanks for taking time to read my post.

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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Uncategorized


If I opened up to you, would you still like me?


Last night I read something that hit really close to home that is from a lady whose name is Genevieve Georget. It is a post that a friend of mine shared on facebook and seems to be getting shared a lot. If you would like to read it, here is a link to her post: Genevieve Georget . It is really powerful and I think it would resonate with most people.

When I was younger, I was someone who had a hard time using the classic phrase “I am fine” when asked how I was doing. I felt like I was lying and felt I should be honest. But I learned that people are not always asking “how are you” to hear how you are actually doing. It seems that it is more of a greeting in some ways… people say it in passing and don’t have time to wait for a response. Most times, like Genevieve mentioned in her post, it isn’t the right place or person to share all that you are going through. She talked about the Starbucks Barista who thought Genevieve’s life was golden because that is what it looked like from the barista’s perspective. She talked about how it isn’t the right place to share the difficult struggles she was facing and there isn’t time to do so either. So in the short interactions that she had with the barista each day, her life did seem golden. Yet it wasn’t quite as it appeared.

I am now someone who guards myself so fiercely so that no one sees a lot of what I am facing. I even have trouble sharing about the physical challenges I face. I worry that if I share too much of what I am going through or what has happened, people will not like me and will not stick around. If I don’t joke and act happy, people will walk away and steer clear of me in the future. I feel like I hide so many secrets that it is difficult to have a relationship. I keep such a large part of myself hidden so that I don’t lose people and in some ways it is causing people to walk away maybe because I keep them at arm’s length. I don’t like to be seen as negative and was actually called that by someone the other day who I tried to open up to.

Yet after reading Genevieve’s post, I wonder if my struggles that I keep hidden would actually be helpful to someone else. We work so hard to project ourselves in a certain way, to look perfect or happy or healthy or normal…. scared for others to see that we have struggles or problems in our lives…. maybe because other people look like they have it all together and we feel inadequate next to them…. yet that person might also feel they must have it all together because they think we do. We all end up feeling alone and/or inadequate because of this. We think if they only knew our secrets, they wouldn’t like us. I know that I think that a lot.

People call me kind and all sorts of nice things but it is hard to accept because I feel sure that they wouldn’t feel that way if they knew who I really was or what I have done in my past. So I end up unable to accept the compliments that people give me. I constantly have self-doubt and more easily believe the negative comments because that is how I feel about myself and who I really am. But what if I opened up and shared some of those secrets? What if people didn’t leave like I fear that they would? And if some did leave, were they ever really my friend then anyways? What if by opening up, I actually attracted people to me who would be real and authentic friends? That would be quite amazing actually. Maybe if I let these walls down and didn’t feel like I had to hide such a large part of me, I wouldn’t have to work so hard to keep it hidden and I could feel more free. These secrets become heavy burdens don’t they? Maybe it is time to shed some of these burdens and maybe at the same time, I can help someone else know that they are not alone or maybe even help someone through sharing my own struggles.

This scares me so much to think about sharing things… but sometimes what scares us is the thing we need to do right? 🙂 So I am going to work on sharing more about myself…. within reason of course. I will not post anything that should be shared privately one on one verses on a public forum like this. 🙂 I am going to write posts and actually hopefully have the guts to post them. I write so many posts and then discard them because I feel scared to share them. I worry so much about what people will think of me…. and I shouldn’t. Thanks for reading this post and I hope that you will consider joining me through this. 🙂

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Posted by on October 5, 2015 in Opening Up


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