Monday, 2 October 2017

Just Say No

I just had a call from my doctor. He was following up on a test I had done last week on Friday - the results were negative. This, from a health perspective, is a good thing. But it sure is not helping me otherwise. What it means is that I don't have another UTI even though all signs would point in that direction - especially today when my nerve pain is off the charts.
There was quite the ticker-tape parade that helped
me finish the 38.5km 4.5 hour ride in Hamilton.
Thanks to Theo, Dave, Dalton, Ali and Mike
for always having my back. 
One of the Men's 50m finals
that we attended on Friday.
What an experience
being in a place where
having a disability was
considered "normal".
I got up to see the kids off to school, had breakfast, checked my email and that was it - all I could manage. So I went back to bed, slept on and off until about 1:30. Theo checked in on me every so often reminding me that rest was good - it'd been a hell of a busy month. He brought me a cappuccino and I cancelled all my events for the day: physio, a meeting for accessibility and a social.

I asked my doctor "if there is no infection, then why the all symptoms?" He didn't have an answer; that's the thing about nerve pain - no one really has an answer. He asked me if I had been over doing things to which I sheepishly responded "maybe". I said "that is what October is". He asked if I had a measurable goal for resting this month. I guess I need to make some plans of a different sort.

I honestly don't know how to do that. How to say no. Elaine says that she is going to give me some lessons - but how to I say no to speaking? to helping the county become more accessible? to my family? to my friends?

Me and my mini-me, Anne, standing in the Exo.
Last week, for example, I thought would be quieter because the IPM was over. But we did Greg's ride (38.5 km in the heat on Sunday) I had two appointments, went to London to walk in the Exo (and interviewed two people for my book) and we went to Toronto on Friday to the swimming finals for the Invictus Games (saw Prince Harry and shook the hand of The Honourable David Onley former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario). Plus we had David and Anne for the week. How could I say no to any of that?

The part that really bothers me is that I had to cancel my physio appointment for today. That is the most important thing that I do right now - that is my work! I just called in sick to work - which I almost never did before. And the irony of it all is that I just wrote another column for The Citizen entitled "No Limits, No Excuses". How does anyone ever achieve "work-life balance"?

Take a deep breath, enjoy the fall sunshine and relax. Perhaps when the cat comes and sits on top of me I should just listen to her say "you are going nowhere".

I guess SAWESOME and I will stay put today and my "big plans" will be to pick Oliver up from the end of the driveway.


  1. Praying God's healing for you: rest, refreshment, restoration.

  2. Gosh. This was such an interesting reflection on how life can get busy with so many GOOD things. Towards the end of my career as I neared retirement, I came to realize that there is no such thing as work-life balance. There is only life. Yours. You'll work it out and thanks for providing these instructive reflections for those of us who struggle with this too. As an competitive athlete and career educator your goals are high--for yourself and for your family. Your face at the end of the driveway is one of the MOST important parts of Oliver's life and your ability to meet him is a pretty important part of your own. Who in the heck cares how big that looks from the outside? I bet it felt pretty big for both of you when he jumped off that bus and headed your way. XO

  3. Hi doll!
    I've been meaning to comment for a while now, but this post FINALLY got me off my "duff" (get the pun there??!!)to do it. Julie Sawchuk having a hard time saying no?? Yeah, that's hard to believe (said in a voice dripping with sarcasm!). Julie Sawchuk, the overachieving teacher/athlete/mentor/coach.....the list goes on. Can't say no??? Shocking!!

    I was thinking about how our situations kind of parallel each other--you with an SCI, me in retirement. How can these situations POSSIBLY be somewhat the same? Hear me out. Both happened overnight and resulted in an instant change to a life that had been lived a certain way for a long time. Now I knew my change was coming and you did not, but one day you're leading one kind of life, and the next day you're not. Learning to adjust to this new life is not easy. You've had to deal with huge physical changes which have consumed your time. I like how you said that physio is your "job" right now and I completely agree. It should be, because it's going to enable you to move on with your new life. My new life should be all roses and rainbows, because I've got all day to do whatever I want. However, I don't want to tell you how many projects I've started (and not completed), how anxious I get about planning when/where I want to go for a holiday (how can holidaying POSSIBLY be stressful/anxiety inducing???? Believe me, it is). Having too much free time is as difficult as not having enough free time. It all comes down to balance, baby!! I am just now learning how to balance my time, just as you are now coming to the realization that you can't do everything you WANT to do, because it's too hard on you physically.

    When you first started this journey, I sent you an email about my husband, who paralyzed his right arm in an accident when he was 18. I told you that he learned to cope with his paralysis, carried on with his life, and now I don't think about that paralysis hardly at all, despite the fact that I see it every day. I told you that I was SURE you'd get to that point....and I'm pretty sure you're there now! Yes, you're in a wheelchair, but you have a rich life, full of possibilities. You've got a hundred things on the go about which you feel passionate, and you're eager to move forward with all of them. You've also learned to adapt your old passions to your new body.

    How to say no?? I'm old and I just keep a low profile, so I don't get asked often enough that I would need to say no!!! You are still young, and now VERY high profile in your new passions, so you WILL be getting lots of requests for which it would just about KILL you to say no!! Maybe you need to say "later", rather than no. Now that you're aware that you have to do a better job of balancing, you'll know how much you can realistically do in a week/month. If you're asked to do a speaking engagement, can you ask if you could do it at a LATER date? Can you write that article LATER in the month/year?

    If anybody can figure out how to balance her life, it'd be you, Julie! I remember that video you showed at a staff meeting of Erin Yungblut when she won some important race. I distinctly remember you saying, "Watch the look on her face! That is pure concentration and pure determination." I bet that look is on your face these days! Stubborn, single-minded, driven, determined....are those your middle names??? Cuz they should be!

    OK, that was QUITE a ramble on my part! Really enjoying the blog posts. Good luck with the balancing...and the 47 million things you've got going on!!