New Year New Goals

I’ve been so busy posting about all the other things that have been going on, I almost forgot to post my New Year goals. This year I decided instead of calling them resolutions (which I swear in some other language means epic fail), I’m calling them self care goals. When I went to my psychiatrist and was diagnosed with bipolar depression, he asked me how often I took care of myself and my needs. I honestly didn’t have a good answer for him. “I mean I eat and sleep and bathe if that’s what you are talking about.” I told him thinking that was a good answer. It was not. He wanted to know how often I did things that were specifically for me. Shopping for a new purse or going for a mental health walk to clear my mind, or getting my nails done. I rarely did these things. So he asked that I start carving out time for myself in order to continue my path to well being. I have done this and I have to say that it does make me feel better to do little things for myself. I have compiled a list of self care goals that I would like to maintain this year in order to continue on my path to health, happiness and harmony as I like to call it.

  1. Set aside time to do yoga every day. Whether it is a full yoga routine for my workout, or just some light yoga before bedtime to stretch muscles and get ready for a good night’s sleep, yoga needs to be part of my daily routine. No excuses.
  2. Get a manicure and pedicure as needed (usually every two weeks). I love having pretty nails and toes and getting the pampering treatment does my heart good. I look forward to my “spa day” even if it’s just a couple hours worth of pampering.
  3. Get haircuts and color touch ups regularly. If I want to look a certain way then I have to maintain my canvas. Having a pretty haircut and rich vibrant color helps me with my self image. I actually enjoy looking in the mirror now because I look “put together”.
  4. Take better care of my skin. I’m not getting any younger and so far I don’t look my age at all. However, taking the extra steps to wash my face twice a day and moisturize morning and night isn’t going to kill me. I already purchased the products I need to do so and have been keeping up the routine for a few days now. I have to say my skin feels great and there’s nothing better than having that fresh clean feeling!
  5. Continue with good eating habits, try new recipes and don’t eat my emotions. I’m a comfort eater so when I feel stressed I eat. I have now been able to identify that I do this and know when I’m opening the fridge for hunger or when I’m opening the pantry or freezer for comfort. When I’m hungry I will always gravitate towards healthy foods because my allergies keep me on a very strict diet. When I’m in need of comfort, I’ll get cookies and ice cream and muffins and items that are empty calories and have no business in my face. I will eat an entire pint of the Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey Dairy Free ice cream without a regret in the world, at least until I get bloated and lethargic from all the sugar I just consumed. I know that I have no self control when it comes to dessert type items, so if I don’t have them around, they won’t be a temptation.
  6. Take more walks outside. I’m blessed by living in Florida and having outdoor weather all year round. There might a day here or there where it’s too “chilly” out to be outside but those days are few and far between. I love hiking and exploring new places, especially when I can do so with my hubby. Even if it’s just a walk through our complex, being out and getting some sun and breeze is always good for the soul.

This is my little list. I’m sure I will add to it as I find things that fit it’s theme. For now these are my base structure, a solid foundation of self care necessities that will get me started on a positive journey for a new year. I always say every year that I will focus on my health, that lasts until mid February and then the excuses start coming out. I want this year to be different and the only person who can make it different is me. No more silly excuses (I’m too tired, I didn’t sleep well), no more whining about not losing weight. ( I walk two miles a day 6 days a week why have I not lost a single pound?) If I’d just stay consistent and not worry so much about seeing results, then I’m certain by the end of the year I’d be amazed at how far I’d come.

A Day Of Adventuring

Carrying on with the theme of staying active and exploring new places, hubby and I went out for an adventure day on Monday. We decided to go to the Little Manatee River State Park to go hiking. We arrived at the front gate and the park ranger was super nice and made sure we had a map to follow and told us to enjoy our hike. The weather was warm with some light breezes which made it a very nice day to go for a hike.

We parked in the first parking lot we came to, assuming that it would connect to one of the trail heads. Well it had a small trail called the Oxbow loop that went around the area, but the only thing the Oxbow loop connected to were the camping grounds and the river access for canoes and such. It was a short little jaunt of a walk but we took it anyways. There was one section where the trail had the beautiful canopy tree cover which I absolutely love while I’m walking. It is just such a romanticized vision in my mind especially with all the Spanish moss hanging loosely from the trees and swaying in the breeze. Once we finished the Oxbow loop we came out at the parking lot next to the playground area. We turned around and headed back up the trail and took one of the offshoots toward the campground hoping to find more trail to walk. We found it and saw some awesome sites as well.

We found the equestrian trail area and the parking area for the horse trailers. This also led us to a blue trail marker. We started walking down the trail and we got to see horses. They were tethered to their trailers as their humans were finishing up lunch. Beautiful horses too, they looked healthy and they were not very happy with being tethered or having their blinders on. We walked past that area and made it to the trail leading to the lake. This section of trail had complete sunlight and it was so weird walking a trail in January and starting to sweat from the sun being on me. (Still can’t get over Florida weather).

When we got to the lake there was a couple there on horses who were letting the horses cool their hooves in the water. We stood looking out over the lake for a few and as we turned to head back up the trail I head the man holler. The woman was dying laughing. Apparently the horse that the man was on decided it wanted to lay down in the water, which resulted in that man getting some very wet pants. We snickered as we walked back up the trail. I mentioned how I needed to make friends with someone who had a horse, so I could “borrow” said creature for riding and not have to be the primary care giver. Keeping horses is not cheap and they are a lot of work. However a community horse would suit me well.

After our hike, we decided it was time for food. So a quick stop at the local Denny’s for some lunch hit the spot. I’m in love with omelets lately so I had the veggie omelet (no cheese) and a fruit cup instead of fries or hash browns. I also don’t get bread because well, allergies. I felt good about my food choices as I entered my meal into MyFitnessPal. I actually ended up getting two fruit bowls because our waitress brought one out to me before the meal arrived and I got one with my meal. Yay! I’ll take double the fruit any day.

We weren’t quite ready for our adventure to be over at that point so hubby took me to the Manatee Viewing Center. This place is located across the river from a power plant. The reason the manatees like the water there is because it’s the warm water that is released from the power plant after the cooling process happens. We walked out on the boardwalk and saw some huge fish (Tarpons) and hubby even saw a ray jumping out of the water. From far out on the boardwalk we could just make out a tail flipper here or a fin there of the manatees. The breeze coming off the water felt nice and we decided to walk back closer to the buildings to see if we could figure out how to get to the observation tower. By the time we got back to the buildings it was too late to go to the tower (they close those trails at 4pm), so we viewed the manatees from the viewing platform that is right off of the cafe/gift shop building. This area was a much better viewing spot as there were a dozen or so manatees just chilling in the water. I also caught sight of a different type of fish that was eating barnacles off of the support poles for the observation deck. Being out in nature and seeing these critters sure does make my heart happy, I’m so glad we got the opportunity to go on such a lovely adventure.

We headed home to have dinner and both were extremely pleased with our day out. Oh I forgot to mention, you know we had to stop in the gift shop before we left the viewing center. I picked up a wind chime that was a wooden chime with a sea turtle and I got a new key ring with a sea turtle that has tiny seashells floating inside of it. I know if we go back in the future with my son, we are going to be spending quite a bit of money in that gift shop because sea turtles are his favorite thing.

If you are ever in Florida and love nature and hiking, I would recommend the Manatee Viewing Center and the Little Manatee River State Park. I loved it!

Measurement Of Success January 2017

The last time I did a measurement of success post was all the way back in July of 2015. My measurements were as follows:

Weight: 187lbs

Chest: 37.5 inches

Waist: 35.5 inches

Hips: 42.5 inches

Thighs: 37 inches

Biceps: 13 inches both right and left

Calves: 14 inches both right and left

Today I took my measurements to see how successful I’ve been over the last year and a half. I was pleasantly surprised, there was only one section where I gained inches instead of lost inches. Here are today’s totals.

Weight: 181.5 (loss of 5.5 pounds)

Chest: 37 inches (loss of 1/2 an inch)

Waist: 36.5 inches (gain of 1 inch)

Hips: 42 inches (loss of 1/2 an inch)

Thighs: 36.5 inches (loss of 1/2 an inch)

Biceps: 13 inches on both right and left (no change)

Calves: 14 inches on both right and left (no change)

I now have a starting slate of comparison for the new year. In my plan to get healthy this year, I’m hoping that these numbers change in a positive direction. I’m proud of how far I’ve come over the years and I look forward to continue the journey!

California Or Bust

When my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I told him I wanted to go home to see my family. I wasn’t thinking that this was a reasonable request so I just laughed and went about my day. He purchased round trip tickets for me to go to California to visit from November 30th thru December 12th. I was surprised and excited because I haven’t seen my family in a few years. I would be making my trip alone because my husband had work and my son had school. I was nervous how they would fare for 12 days without me around, but I figured they would handle it and no one would starve to death in my absence.

I posted on social media that I was coming out for a visit to alert my family members that if they wanted to see me, that would be the time to request me to drop by for a visit. My niece and I did a countdown to my visit and everyone seemed excited for me to be coming out.

The day of my departure arrived. I left on an afternoon flight, so I didn’t have to be up super early. Hubby took me to the airport where I had my purse and one rolling travel duffel bag. I didn’t have to check it at the counter, so we walked around the shops and waited until I had to go to security before parting ways.

I got on the shuttle that took me to the TSA area for security checks. This time around I thought I was prepared. I had slip on shoes on so I wouldn’t have to untie and tie them going through the check point. I only had my purse and one bag, so I considered that a win with the luggage. Well that is until I went through the bag scan section. Apparently my bag was flagged for suspicious liquid contents. I was asked to step aside after I went through the body scanner. When the TSA attendant brought my duffel over to the table, he said rather abruptly “Don’t touch anything on this table, keep your hands back”. I stood there while they wiped my bag down with powder residue wipes. Then he rifled through it until he got to the culprit, my toiletries bag. Inside that bag were the usual, toothbrush/paste, makeup, and my face wash. The attendant pulled the face wash out of the bag and said “You can’t have this, it’s not regulation size.” I stood there and was irritated that I was being put through all this for a friggin bottle of face wash. I hadn’t even opened it yet, it was brand new. I have to admit I was snarky with him and said “Yeah cause I’m gonna hijack your plane with my Aveeno face wash”, I think I heard my eyes roll after I said that. He responded back “That’s not funny ma’am”. I opted for them just to “toss” the face wash as I didn’t see the point in mailing it to my destination and I didn’t have time to go back downstairs to the check in counter to declare it and check it there. This is the second time I’ve traveled and had my face wash of all things confiscated at TSA. I should have known that bottle was too big, but honestly I didn’t even think about it at the time of purchase.

Beside ┬áthat small hiccup, my flights were smooth and transitions were easy I flew American Airlines this time. The first flight from Tampa to Dallas was on one of their new planes. Talk about high tech! The back of each seat had a small TV screen in it that not only allowed you to watch media during the flight, but it’s also how we watched the security video before take off. The seats seems slightly larger and there seemed to be more leg/foot room. I was comfy and I slept through most of that flight. Landing in Dallas I had a bit of a layover so I decided to grab some grub. Most terminal fare is not anything I can eat. My food allergies make it difficult to have any fast food. I found a sushi restaurant and decided that sounded so good. I purchased two sushi rolls and some miso soup. This restaurant did things different though, their miso soup had this sea grass in it instead of the standard seaweed pieces. It was delicious. My rolls were wrapped well and very fresh. I delighted in my food for so long that by the time I had paid and moved into the gate waiting area my plane was boarding. I had to go to the bathroom, but I didn’t have time, so I boarded and figured my bladder would wait until we were in the air. My bladder was angry. The seat belt was pushing into it, the takeoff made my stomach drop and I was miserable until we reached cruising altitude. I managed to get a flight attendant’s attention and asked her if she could tell me as soon as it was safe for me to get up because I really needed to use the bathroom. We hadn’t quite reached cruising altitude when she tapped me and said “Come on.” I have never been so relieved to have access to a bathroom in my life. The rest of the flight was spent sleeping and I did a little bit of reading.

I landed at the Fresno airport and my niece’s were there to pick me up because my sister was at work. It was like old times, we were joking around and laughing. I always have fun with the girls when I’m there. I even made a stop to get my chai latte at Starbucks so I would have a little bit of a pick me up before the car ride to their place.

I stayed with my sister who lives in Visalia. Her house is so nice, even if the bedrooms don’t have lights in them. The house was built in the 1960’s so the bedrooms did not have ceiling lights, they used lamps. The bedroom I was using didn’t have a lamp so my niece had to hunt one down for me. I got a bedroom all to myself and I settled in as much as I could. Later that evening my niece and I went to go pick up my sister from work. She was surprised to see me because she thought that I would have been in bed already with it being around midnight. I told her I slept on my flights, so that I was tired but not too tired.

While I was there I visited my father. He is sporting a ZZ top style beard now which was a complete shock to me. I’ve never seen him with that level of facial hair! We sat at his dining room table and chatted for almost 3 hours. I could tell that he really wanted to get onto watching his football game, so I left and headed 4 minutes up the road to my other sister’s house. She and I decided to go get some food when her hubby got home from work. He was tired and didn’t join us. We went to a Mexican restaurant. I was worried when we walked in because food allergies mean that most Mexican dishes are not on my list of things to eat. However this place completely customized a plate for me that consisted of refried beans, Spanish rice, an enchilada and a taco. I admit I pigged out. I had no regrets and I ate everything on that plate. There was no dairy, no gluten, no onions, no garlic and no other allergens that would irritate my stomach. While we were there the brother of her boss came in and said “You two look so much alike, you must be her sister.” She introduced me and said “Yes, she’s my sister.” We both favor our dad in the face but she does have some features of her mom too. (I have a different mother).

I was planning on going to visit my brother once she and I were done eating but he’d had an accident earlier that day as he was trying to get Christmas decorations out of his attic. He fell through the attic floor and landed in his living room. He was scratched up and very bruised and welted. I didn’t figure he was going to be up for visitation with that incident taking place, so I just drove back to Visalia and spent the evening with my nieces.

While there I rented a vehicle to be able to get around on my own for a few days and not have to use my sister’s car. I ended up getting a Jeep Patriot. I was brand new and only had like 159 miles on it when I rented it. I was the first customer to drive it and it still had that “new car” smell. I loved how well it drove and the U-Turn ability was amazing considering it’s size. It was spacious and I loved having cruise control (we don’t have cruise control on our car at home). I almost felt sad having to take it back, but I couldn’t afford to keep it the entire time I was there.

12 days flew by but yet they seemed to go by so slow at times too. I ended up getting really sick the 5th day I was there and my cold just got worse and worse. I spent most of my days on my sister’s couch binge watching shows with her, playing with the toddlers and taking lots of medicine trying to knock my symptoms out.

We had an adventure getting Christmas trees. Did you know that you can fit two 7ft Christmas trees in the trunk of a Chrysler 500 series? For those of you who don’t know it’s a luxury car and beautiful as it is, it is not meant to haul trees. Now we had to use twine to tie the trunk down to one of the trees in order to keep it from popping up while we drove. Luckily we didn’t have far to go to get back to her house. We drove like 2 miles an hour the whole time and my panicked sister kept yelling at my niece who was sitting in the backseat “Are the trees still there? Is everything ok?” I didn’t do much but sit in the front seat and giggle the whole time we drove the trees back home.

Overall it was a fun trip. I slept on both flights back home due to my cold but despite being sick for most of the trip we still had a great time. I did mention however that I would not be visiting again during winter. It was too cold for this Floridian and next time I’ll visit in summer so I can actually go outside and the air won’t hurt my face.

 

My Year In Review

I recently noticed that my last blog post was in July of 2015. At first that didn’t register with me, but then I was like “holy cow that was 1 1/2 years ago!” Blogging is definitely one of these free time activities that gets tossed to the wayside the instant anything else comes up in life. I feel bad that I’ve been so neglectful of my blog because I spent so much time getting my page to look exactly like I wanted it to look. Well here is what’s been going on in my world the last year and a half.

Towards the end of 2015 in November it was discovered that I had herniated discs in my neck (C5 & C6) that were causing some paralysis and numbness on my left side. The only option to correct something of this magnitude was surgery. However due to holiday periods and doctor availability my surgery wasn’t scheduled until January 2016. This means that November and December of 2015 was spent on a ton of pain medication and with me pretty much living on our giant bean bag in our living room. I couldn’t lay down because the pain was too intense so I had to partially sit up all the time, even for sleep. It sucked and I was not very happy about not being able to celebrate Christmas the way I wanted to that year, but I knew that soon it would be done and over with.

This brings me to January of 2016, surgery happened. I had an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion. I stayed overnight in the hospital then was released home to recover. Recovery included wearing a very uncomfortable neck brace everywhere I went and still not being able to fully lay down to sleep. 3 weeks after the surgery I was feeling so much better, I could tell that all my previous issues with pain were more than likely caused by these herniated discs.

In February I started physical therapy to strengthen my shoulders and neck which lasted for 4 weeks. Not much else was going on other than celebrating Valentine’s day with the hubby and homeschooling my son 5 days a week.

In March my physical therapy ended and I was able to start slowly working out again. It was nice to not have chronic pain all the time. We started kicking around the idea of moving to Florida from Georgia. I knew I wanted to move out of the horrid rental house we were in but I wasn’t sure where that move was going to take us.

In April we spent Spring Break in Florida while we house hunted. We found an amazing condo in a community that we wanted to live in and on a whim we made an offer on it. Well our offer was accepted and we began the process of becoming first time home owners. This also means that I began the panicked realization that we were going to be moving soon and we had to pack up all our stuff again!

May was spent packing and being in constant contact with our realtor in order to get this purchase finalized and all the paperwork filed. It was a whirlwind month and it went by so fast. My son finished 8th grade with straight A’s and we were ready for the next chapter in our lives.

June was moving time. We hired movers to load our Uhaul for us. With a few little hiccups (we didn’t get a large enough rental truck so not all our belongings went with us) we made the drive down to Florida to our new home. Moving in, putting stuff away, getting utilities set up and all the lovely responsibilities that come with home ownership were now ours and we never had a single regret. I also found out that I was pregnant at the end of June. It seemed like things were falling into place for our little family.

July was not nice to us. The A/C unit here went out and it had to be completely replaced as the old unit was beyond dead. That was one cost we weren’t counting on having to spend money on so soon after moving in. Frustrating as it was, we handled it and had cool air in no time. We also had to get a water treatment system because the water here in Florida is not only hard water but also has sulfur in it. Talk about stink! Once the water treatment system was installed we didn’t have to hold our noses to drink the water anymore. I continued being pregnant and wasn’t having any issues with morning sickness at all. July also saw my son go to summer camp and hubby and I playing around for a few days in Orlando and at Haulover beach. We got a mini vacation while my son got the full summer camp experience, which of course he loved!

August hit and it was back to public school time for my son. He was going into the 9th grade. School is not cheap and we had to buy him school clothes, shoes and all his supplies. Whew! Lord I don’t remember school being that expensive when I was in school, but maybe it was. I started having some major fatigue issues with the pregnancy and just overall not feeling well at all.

September I found out that my pregnancy was no longer viable. The baby had died at 8 weeks along but my body didn’t recognize this, so I never miscarried. After waiting what seemed like an eternity for my body to “do what’s natural”, my doctor finally suggested I have a D&C done in order to complete the miscarriage. This was done and I began the road to recovering from my second miscarriage in a 5 year period.

October was Halloween, which didn’t seem real to me because it was still hot here in Florida and there really wasn’t that season change into Fall. My son did a school trick or treat function where the robotics club that he is part of had a booth at the function and they handed out candy to young kids that came by that morning. He dressed up like Bill Nye the Science guy because it was a safe costume and very appropriate for robotics club. I began to notice that I was suffering from depression but stubborn as I am, I thought I could just power through it and move on. I thought that maybe if I kept myself busy I wouldn’t have time to be sad, so I applied and was offered a job at Target (which is literally 3 minutes from my house) at the Starbuck’s kiosk. I’ve had this job before when I lived in Georgia so it was old hat for me and I caught on quick. My first day was October 20th.

November found me googling depression after miscarriage and what the symptoms of that were and how long they lasted. I’d been a complete basket case mentally since the D&C back in September and I needed to know that it was eventually going to go away. My research was not reassuring. One day after a shower when I was having a “I really wish I was dead” moment, I talked it over with hubby and he told me to go get help. So I did. I went to a doctor who actually correctly diagnosed me this time with bipolar depression. I’d been treated for depression before, but not the right kind of depression which is why the treatment didn’t work for me. With bipolar depression the treatment has to cover the ups and the downs, not just the downs. I was put on 125mg of Seroquel every evening. I came home and researched Seroquel which I also should not have done. Horror stories about it making you gain 40-60 pounds the first year on it and how people suffered such horrible grogginess from it that they couldn’t function half the next day. Why on Earth would you give a bipolar person something that would make them fat? That seems like it would just invite issues. I decided that I wanted to be healthy and if I gained weight then by golly I was going to deal with it and be glad that my metal health was on point.

Also at the end of November I left for my 12 day trip to California to visit with my family. (I’ll write a separate post about this later). Once again I realized why I hate flying and got my expensive face wash confiscated because the bottle was too big. I was not happy and I might have gotten a little snarky with the TSA attendant who simply replied “That’s not funny ma’am” when I said “Yes I’m going to hijack your plane with my Aveeno face wash”. Shame on me, but I was having a moment and was expressing my irritation at something that seems trivial to me.

Here we are in December and it’s still weird to wrap my head around living in Florida. I mean seriously, we are still swimming and wearing flip flops and sweating IN DECEMBER! There was like one day of super cold weather and that was back in November. We are running A/C in December folks! Why have I not always lived here? It’s weird trying to get into the holiday spirit when it’s 80 degrees outside and your son is asking to go to the pool. We managed. Our tree got put up, decorations went up and I even bought a few new decorations for our balcony. This month also had me coming home from California on December 12th. Unfortunately I came home sick. The joke is that while I was in CA my niece gave me the plague. Well after a trip to my doctor I was diagnosed with a severe sinus infection and upper respiratory infection. I was given steroids, an antibiotic and an inhaler and told to take a few days off work. I’m sure my boss was thrilled when I death walked into Target with my work note and told him I couldn’t work that weekend. The store managed and I rested. I made a small Christmas dinner and even made a blueberry cobbler pie. We opened gifts and had a very low key holiday enjoying the weather that our wonderful state is blessing us with, sun and fun on Christmas day, I’ll take it! By the way I’ve lost 2lbs since starting the Seroquel, so I guess it’s not making me gain weight after all!

This coming weekend finds us spending time with a friend of ours and me working New Year’s Eve. I plan on making a post sometime hopefully Sunday or Monday about my goals for 2017. I’m no longer calling them resolutions though. I’m calling them self care goals. My psychiatrist wants me to start taking active steps in taking better care of myself. I do so much for my family, my customers at work, my pets, friends when I can etc etc, that I forget to take care of my own needs. So I’ve started doing little things here and there that make me feel special or happy, things just for myself. Manicures, pedicures, that sort of thing. Self care is hard especially for someone like me who is a caregiver by nature. I always feel guilty for spending money on myself for anything and when I do have to buy stuff I try to get the cheapest stuff I can so I’m not spending “too much” on me. It’s a bad habit that I’ve had since I was a kid. Always wanted to take care of other people. While being selfless is a very redeeming quality, taking those moments to reward yourself for being an awesome person is also nice.

Look for future posts about my trip to California and my New Year Self Care list, they will be posted soon! Happy holidays everyone thanks for reading!

Consequences For Pushing Too Hard

It’s no secret that I am a very competitive person. That I believe somewhere in the back of my mind that I am superwoman and that I can do everything for everybody all of the time. I’ve been this way all my life and I wouldn’t know how to be different if I tried. However, there is a golden rule in life that there are consequences for every action and that is very true concerning health issues. When you push your body to the limits one of two things is going to happen, you are going to break through and be victorious or your body is going to stand in your way and provide obstacles. Well my body has recently provided me with plenty of obstacles that have me rethinking my super hero status.

I’ll start at the beginning. At the end of March I decided that I wanted to go back to work so I could make some extra money and be able to have some spending cash for myself. I like getting pedicures and having the occasional soy chai latte from Starbucks, so if I was making my own money, I wouldn’t have to spend household funds to do these things. Hubby objected to this idea and said that I didn’t need to work, however he said if I wanted to get a job that he wasn’t going to stop me either. So, I went back to Kroger and got my job back as a barista at the Starbucks kiosk. This job had me on my feet for 7 1/2 hours a day (minus my 30 minute break where I sat in the break room for lunch). I was the dedicated opener which means I was getting up at 4am so I could be to work by 5:30am and working until 1:30pm then coming home and homeschooling my son, making dinner, doing house chores, taking care of the cats etc etc. On my days off I would do the yardwork. Fast forward to about a month ago, I started having foot pain again and knew instantly that my plantar fasciitis was acting up. I called and made another appointment with my doctor because I was in so much pain I could barely walk. I had to quit my job per doctor’s orders and spent the first two weeks on restricted mobility which means I could get up to go to the bathroom and that was it. The rest of the time I was either in bed, or in the family room just sitting. I got plenty of TV time in those two weeks and I even finished a book I was reading and started another one. However the inactivity was driving me nuts.

When I went back for my two week check up my left foot wasn’t doing much better. It still ached and hurt and now the inflammation seemed to be moving into my back and I was having some back pain. My doctor gave me instructions to wear my compression sock on my left foot and to ice it twice a day. He said that I didn’t need to limit my mobility anymore but no strenuous exercise (hiking) and no yard work. Just take it easy and make sure that I always had my athletic shoes on with my new inserts in them (no more barefoot in the house). I did these things and that brings us to 4th of July weekend. I was so excited to be getting out of the house and going camping for the weekend, it was just what I needed to feel normal and happy again. The time came, we packed up the car and off we went.

We arrived at the resort on Friday afternoon and we set up camp. I was on my feet quite a bit on Friday I have to admit, which probably wasn’t the best idea. I swam a few laps in the pool (maybe about 30 minutes worth of actual swim time), mostly I sat in the lounge chair by the pool and chatted with the other guests and watched folks playing corn hole. The chair was horribly uncomfortable and no amount of towels was making it any softer. I didn’t think anything of it, we went to bed and I finally got to sleep.

The next morning I woke up because it was raining and the sound of water reminded my bladder that “hey you need to empty me”. The bathroom was nowhere near our campsite and I had to walk up a hill to get to it. I noticed when I got up that my back hurt and it was painful to lean over to put my shoes on. I blew it off went to the bathroom and came back to bed, not wanting to get up that ridiculously early in the morning (6am, c’mon). By the time I woke for the second time my back was in full on angry mode. I got up and tried to move around figuring that sleeping on the air mattress had just cramped me up. Nothing was working. It was still raining so spending time at the pool wasn’t going to happen, so we decided to try to go shopping for some chair cushions for the pool loungers. This is where it gets bad. My pain went from about a 3 to a 9/10 once I sat in the car. I couldn’t help but cry out and I’m sure the faces I was making were a pretty good indicator that something was wrong. Finally my husband said, enough, and he took me to the local ER.

I was not pleased with the ER nurse’s assessment of my condition. It boiled down to “you slept on it wrong” and they gave me a shot of some muscle relaxer and a strong pain medication and sent me on my way. No tests were run and no further questions were asked. Hubby drove me home and thankfully the medications worked to allow me to doze in the car because that is about an hour car ride. I spent the next 3 days in bed going between medicated sleep and restless periods of semi consciousness. Finally on Tuesday I’d had enough and I stopped taking the muscle relaxers and the pain meds and decided I needed to get up and move, so I did.

Tuesday was an ok day, I was definitely more mobile but still foggy from the medication I’d been taking. Yesterday was the best day I’ve had since the incident (which by the way is a condition known as sciatica, not because I slept on it wrong). I was active, I’m able to sit for about 2 hours at a time before I have to get up and stretch and move about. I’m going on short walks around my neighborhood (not even a mile), just enough to stretch my legs and back out using my good posture while I walk. Fresh air does something for a person, it definitely makes me happier. I even went shopping with my hubby last night to pick up the last few things we need before we leave for our Florida vacation tomorrow morning. Overall I felt good yesterday, I got tired around 8pm, probably due to all the walking but my back didn’t hurt (my left heel is still sore).

Today I have plans to get the house cleaned up and some laundry done. I started packing last night so we don’t have to rush around and do it all last minute. I’m taking it slow, sitting when I need to and moving when my back gets tight. I’m making sure to take my medication with me and a heating pad just in case. I refuse to let anything keep me down for too long, if I can find a way to work around it, I will even if it means going slow or making adjustments to how I usually do things. The lesson learned is don’t push yourself into the ground because you are afraid to ask for help. It does no good if I’m out of commission and can’t get out of bed for days at a time, plus the expense of doctor’s visits is nothing to shake a stick at either. I know that there is an underlying cause for the sciatica and I will make sure that I get the necessary appointments needed to figure that out soon but for right now it’s time to do what I can, ask for help when I need it, nap if I need to and enjoy the little things in life (like being brought coffee in bed in the mornings).

vendor-and-coffee-cups

Measurements of Success July 2015

I haven’t posted since April so I thought it might be time to see where I’m at with my measurements. Here are my results:

Weight: 187lbs

Chest: 37.5 inches

Waist: 35.5 inches

Hips: 42.5 inches

Thighs: 37 inches

Biceps: 13 inches both right and left

Calves: 14 inches both right and left

There was a loss of 2lbs since April which surprises me since I’ve been on medical restriction (more on this in a later post) and haven’t been able to work out at all recently. I’ve also had a loss of 1\2 inch off of both of my calves. My biceps stayed the same. However there were some gains in all the other areas. A 1 1\2 inch gain in my chest, a 1\2 inch gain in my waist, a 1 1\2 inch gain in my hips and a 7 inch gain in my thighs (that was shocking). Overall I’m not too surprised at these numbers and I’m not upset too much by them either. I knew when I got sick that I was going to have gains and that my definition was going to go slack a bit since I wasn’t working out like I was used to. However, now I know where I stand so when I am able to get back to it, I know what areas to target first and I know that even though there were gains, they aren’t too significant and the inches should come off easily enough. If I did it once I can do it again. Time to get my health under control so I can actually exercise like I want to, it’s always a work in progress.

I can do this

Measurements of Success April 2015

It’s been a few months since I posted any measurements here. I will be honest and tell you I simply forgot. However I was feeling inspired this morning and I took measurements and got on the scale. These are the results:

Weight: 189lbs

Chest: 36 inches

Waist: 34 1/2 inches

Hips: 40 1/2 inches

Thighs: 30 inches

Biceps: 13 inches on right and left

Calves: 14 1/2 inches

The last time I posted results was in January, so since the beginning of the year these are the changes that I have had: a weight loss of 3 pounds, a loss of two inches off my chest, a loss of 1 1/2 inches off my waist, a loss of 3 1/2 inches off my hips, a loss of 7 inches off my thighs and a loss of 1/2 inch off my calves. My biceps stayed the same.

This is my new motivation. These are the numbers I will go by in order to remind myself that everything I do is slowly but surely making a huge difference in my health. I recently had a biometric screening done for our family insurance plan this year and I was in the healthy zones for everything except weight. I am healthy and I’ve had more energy over the last month that I have had in a very long time. It’s time to live strong and enjoy every benefit that comes along with it!

Practical-Zen-Brain-Hacks-ADDCrusher-ADHD

Redesigning My Life

For the past few weeks, my life has centered around Waldo. Making sure I don’t do anything that might cause inflammation and irritate the kidney that Waldo has decided to make his permanent home. That means no gym, no walks, no yoga, nothing. Well I’m sick of it. My moods have absolutely gone into the toilet, my stress levels are through the roof, I’m not sleeping well at night and I just feel miserable. So I decided that enough was enough and I went to the gym today to talk to my trainer so we could redesign not only my workout schedule but parts of my life that need some structure as well.

Since moving out of my parents house I’ve been a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl. I hate scheduling anything, I’ll just do it when I want to do it and that’s that. Well now that I’m older and I have some medical conditions that require certain care, I can’t just do what I want to do anymore. Meeting with my trainer today helped for me to see that and to understand that scheduling your day out is not a bad thing and allowing your body to get into a routine will be incredibly helpful in the long run as far as health goes. She wrote down my new exercise plan and had me take notes on other things she wanted me to do in order to take care of myself, because let’s face it, I suck at caring for myself because I spend too much time taking care of everyone else.

So my new workout routine is simple. Before I get on a machine or start a class, she wants me to stretch for 5 minutes. Her reason is because with osteoarthritis, inflammation is brought on by your body going into shock over something that you have done. Whether it be cardio, or lifting weights, or just bending down wrong and tweaking your back. It can come on anytime and last for days. So by stretching, I am transitioning my muscles from me sitting at home knitting while I home school my son to being active. It allows the muscles to understand that more motion and movement are likely, so be ready. I am allowed to do 30 minutes of cardio as many times a week as I want to do it, because cardio wasn’t an issue for me. However, I am NOT to get on a treadmill or use the stair machine at all. She wants me on the elliptical, the arc trainer or the recumbent bike for those 30 minutes. It’s not about how many calories the machine tells me I’ve burnt, it’s about how challenged my muscles feel from the work I’m putting in. I am allowed 2 days a week of strength training, and she does not want them to be back to back days. So it’s looking like Tuesdays and Thursdays will be my strength training days starting next week. I will be going in the afternoons around 3pm, so that way I have plenty of time to make sure my son does his school lessons and it’s enough time for me to do my workout and come home to make dinner. I’m also required to stretch for 5 minutes after I workout, in order to signal those muscles to relax and not cramp up.

We also talked about nutrition. She knows my food allergy issues, so she knows that my diet is healthy. However, I’m not eating enough. My body is in constant starvation/store fat mode because I rarely even get the minimum 1200 calories per day. I’m usually around 800-1000 per day and that’s not healthy for anyone, let alone someone who was doing hour long workouts at the gym 5 days a week. So her and I discussed it and she told me that being afraid of my calories is something that I’m going to have to work on. I’m a recovering anorexic, from my late teen years and most of my 20’s I would simply just not eat. Maybe one meal a day. I was obsessed with being super skinny and if I weight more than 110 pounds I freaked out. That mind set is not something that ever goes away. It’s rare to this day for my body to feel hunger because I spent years ignoring that feeling. I say that now I don’t eat because I’m hungry, I eat because I have to. That’s the truth. So I need to learn that just because my breakfast has over 300 calories in it, doesn’t make it bad, it makes it a solid meal and there’s nothing wrong with that. So it’s a matter of retraining myself which is hard, but I know it’s something that can be done over time. I can’t say that I won’t have anxiety over calories, I’m certain I will, but if I start to feel that way I have a support system of folks to talk to that will reassure me that a 150 calorie larabar isn’t going to end my world.

So I downloaded My Fitness Pal again, in order to track my food progress daily. I was shocked when I saw that my total intake for today before adding in my evening snack and my tea that I drank with dinner was only like 974 calories. Holy crap am I really eating that little? Yes, yes I am. So by having to track it, I’ll be more aware of what I’m eating and know the days when I hit the mark compared to the days that I don’t. On the days that I don’t, I’ll ask myself why and hopefully have a valid answer other than “I forgot to eat”. I already know that I eat well, I just need to eat more of that good stuff in order to fuel myself for my activity level.

When I brought up my insomnia and trouble sleeping, she had very valid ideas for me to try. She wants me to start doing my yoga at night before bed. I eat dinner at 5pm, which means that by 8pm I should be able to do the yoga program and not have a full stomach. After I do my yoga, I will have my snack and settle in for an hour or so of downtime before bed. Once I’m ready for sleep, set an alarm for exactly 8 hours and 15 minutes from the time that I commit to going to sleep. I’ve been getting 9-10 hours of sleep a night, I’m not active and I nap in the afternoon as well. I’m sleeping way too much and it’s taking a toll on my body. So she said, 8 hours for someone committing to my new activity level, no less and not more than 8 1/2. That goes for weekends too, sleeping in might seem like a great idea, but unless we are sick or recovering from an injury, we don’t need that much sleep per evening. So I’m going to try this and see how much better I sleep at night and how I feel when I wake up in the mornings.

Self care is something that must be invested in. Healthy foods are more expensive than unhealthy foods, women’s workout clothing isn’t cheap, setting aside time to unwind and just reflect is hard when you have a family to take care of. However, these things must be done in order for me to be healthy. I have to start investing in myself. For years I’ve given every ounce of what I have to my son and to my husband leaving me with very little. It’s time to change that. My son is almost a teenager now, so he’s able to do things for himself as is my husband. I’ve just gotten into the habit of doing it all that thinking about scheduling time for myself is a very foreign concept to me. Times in the past when I’ve had me time, I always feel guilty because I should have been home to take care of them, or because I’m spending money on myself instead of them. Well I have a new schedule to structure for myself and that will require me to take the time and spend the money when necessary to make sure I have the things that I need in order to be successful. I’m a work in progress but at least now I have a direction and a starting point, let’s see where I can soar from here.

Crockpot Apple BBQ Chicken

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (We like white meat, so I use 5 skinless boneless chicken breasts)
  • 2/3 cup Honey BBQ sauce (I actually use a whole bottle of sauce for this)
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste

Season your chicken with the salt prior to putting into the crockpot. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl then cover the chicken in the crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours. If the chicken looks dark when you go to serve it, it’s ok it’s just from the brown sugar and sauce, it’s not burnt I promise. You can make this with a variety of sides, so use your imagination and get creative!