I know this blog is supposed to be my “EDS Blog” , but the truth is while EDS impacts all facets of my life, I still have a life. if you read just this blog, you might think. Wow.. what a horrible struggle. But the truth is, I am finding ways to gracefully bend and work around them and still get projects done.
Because I was dealing with so many medical issues last fall ( before we understood what this is and how to work with it), my gardens got seriously neglected. No last fall cleanup, no trimming of the perennials, just a mess this spring. I lost a few plants, but most everything survived.
I have a favorite shaded garden at the end of my clothesline. This is what it looked like before the clean up:
Kind of a scary mess, eh?
Now here is what it looks like AFTER the cleanup.
long view( lots of daylillies to the left)
I uncovered the hastas, coneflower , coreopsis and daisy starts that were buried. The ostrich ferns in the back, I transplanted from a too sunny spot.
newly planted cinnamon fern
First Trillium Leaf uncovered
Was this just as fast and easy as it would have been even 3 years ago? Not at all. But I have figured out the work arounds for several reasons.
Sanity. Keeping as normal as possible helps me and the rest of the family balance. I know days when my pain is worse and I am hitting the ice packs and meds harder, it has an impact on the whole family. When I can have a fairly normal life, it is better for us all.
Stress Relief. i am probably an oddball, but getting my hands in the dirt is almost meditative for me, it helps me relax, calm and ripping out weeds is very satisfying 😉 Afterward, although I am tired, I feel calmer, and the aches do not hit me as hard. I know this is helping to lower the norepinephrine in my system, which lowers my body and brain reactions to the pains I have.
Strength building. Ok, sitting on my butt is not exactly aerobic, but there is muscular strength used in pulling weeds and digging holes (especially when shovels are involved) that works muscles I do not work in many other ways. Any activity is good activity.
So how am I managing it?
Don’t rush. It takes me longer than it used to. I pace myself. I do not try to do half a dozen projects in one day.
Take breaks. It used to be I would dive into a project like this and not come up for air until it was done. Now, I take breaks. As many as I need, and I do not let myself feel bad or guilty about it.
Switch it up. In a project like this, there are lots of different things to do. Some mean I sit, some mean I stand. Some are pulling, some are digging. Rather than tackling all the sitting task at once, I switch it up. 10 minutes or so in a position, then find something to do that requires me to work different parts of my body. This lets me last 2-3 times as long as I would if I pushed just one position and then got hurt.
Ice is my friend. When I take a break, I strategically place cold packs for 5-15 minutes. Every little bit helps. When I can prevent some inflammation early, I can last longer.
Get help. For me, right now the worst part of garden work are things that require bending over and picking up repetitively. Things like the aftermath cleanup and picking up piles of weeds and litter and getting them to the compost kills me. So, I recruit help for those pieces. Instead of holding onto stubborn determinism and injuring myself, taking me down and out for longer, I try to delegate out the tasks that I know will be problems. Luckily I am blessed to have a household of helpful hands.
I hope this gives you a better view of me as a whole person, and not just my battles/strategies with EDS. If you want to see more of my garden projects, you can check out my normal Geek/Gardening blog. If you just want to page through some other pictures of garden/yard projects, you can page through the Picasa album.: