Saturday, March 10, 2018


It's March 10, four days since THE DARKLING BRIDE release. I'm sitting at Boston Logan Airport waiting to board a flight to Iceland. Which would be a terrible place to go right now, with six inches of snow in my front yard and going on our third day without power or internet. I mean, why would I want to be colder? Fortunately, I'm only in Reykjavik for four hours before boarding another flight to Alicante, Spain.

And then begins an adventure: 28 days at SHA Wellness Clinic. It's no secret to those who know me that my health is not great and has been getting worse, especially since our move to Massachusetts. I cover pretty well in public--mostly because I'm not in public very much. I mean, even I can manage to be pulled-together for three hours of church on Sunday (after which I go home and sleep because I teach seven-year-olds for two hours--nine of them--and it's pretty much like herding cats. Extremely energetic cats.)

If you want the dirty details about my daily life, I'm willing to talk. Just know that, on average, for the last four or five years I've averaged 15 hours of sleep and 9 hours awake every day. And awake means staying in my pajamas or managing yoga pants and working from my bed. I've cut down showering from every day to three times a week to conserve energy. If I have a lunch date or a phone call or an appointment--that's it, that's my one thing I can do that day. Clearly, this is not a sustainable way to live if there's any way to change it.

Clinically, I have Hashimoto's Disease (hypothyroid), diagnosed when Matt was a baby. Genetically, my birth mother died at 64 of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, another auto-immune disease. I have had three debilitating bouts of mono, the last just before Jake had cancer. My doctor and I have been circling in on a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as the most likely (though I have a fair amount of pain, I don't have the specific trigger points most often found in fibromyalgia.)

And I am So. Terribly. Bored. with myself and my health.

When I turned 49 at the beginning of the year, I decided that this was the year to do something. I don't want to turn 50 feeling the same or worse. I don't want to end up confined to bed like my birthmother at the age of 54. So with a lot of research and prayer, I started looking for some kind of retreat where I could go and cover a lot of ground in a condensed period of time.

Hence SHA. Of all the programs I looked at, their 28 Day Life Reset was the one that spoke to me. I know that I'm ridiculously privileged to a) be able to pay for it and b) be able to take a month out of my life to go through it. I hate leaving Chris--this is the longest we'll have been apart since I returned from my mission to Haiti in 1991. And Spencer is still just 16 (although driving himself now, which considerably lessens the strain of me being gone.) But there is so much I want to do with my life. I had my kids young--my fourth was born when I was 32--and I've long looked forward to turning 50 and getting my youngest graduated from high school. I love to travel, especially with Chris. And oh man, the books I want to write! I want to be healthy when my kids get married and I have grandchildren. And since our experience with addiction and AA, I've had a great desire to help other families walking a similar path. And I can't do hardly any of that without significantly improving my health.

So . . . 28 days of lab work and neurological testing and sleep studies. Of acupuncture and personal training. Of a strict macrobiotic diet and my own willingness to deal with the emotional weight I still carry from the times I pushed through trauma and pushed away the things that would derail me.

I intend to tweet and/or instagram the next four weeks, for the sole purpose of pretending I'm accountable to anyone but myself :) My goal is to return home in April able to get by with, say, 10 hours of sleep a night. Or even 12. Either would be a victory.

P.S. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I want to sleep less and do more and have more energy and be able to accomplish more than one thing a day . . . but seriously, if I spend 28 days strictly macrobiotic--no caffeine, no sugar, no meat, no dairy, no processed foods--and don't lose a single pound, I will be seriously put out.)

P.P.S. (In all those health things, I didn't even begin on the perimenopause symptoms that have been kicking my butt for two years. Terrible cramps, heavier periods, PERIODS ONLY 22 DAYS APART!, hot flashes that are killing me, night sweats, mood swings . . . honestly, it's adding insult to injury to spend however many years of menustrual cycles, pregnancies, childbirths, etc. only to be slammed by EVEN WORSE SYMPTOMS before you're done. There are some serious design flaws in the female body. Number one is having the bladder directly beneath the uterus. Just saying.)


  1. Crossing my fingers and hoping all goes well for you

  2. You GOT this!

    (Terrible grammar, but it says it just as it's gotta be said.)
    Judy Olsen

  3. Thanks for your honesty. Hope you find the success and peace and health you are seeking my friend! Love ya.

  4. I'll be following with avid interest, and crossing my fingers the results are amazing!

  5. Glad you will share your experience with us! I hope that you find answers and tools and peace and healing. And some lovely souvenirs and book ideas! 💛