Staying on the Get Healthy Wagon

Fun with the Fitness Marshall

Ok, so I fell off the blogging wagon for a little bit (much of that due to migraines and other chronic pain flareups), but the good news is I haven’t fallen off the “trying to be healthier” wagon. I’m still trying to exercise whenever possible (swimming or cycling on good days, doing some light aerobics or walking on so-so days, and taking bad flareup days off).

Lately I’ve gotten into doing at home aerobic dance videos by the Fitness Marshall, which I would highly recommend. He is hilarious and very encouraging to all kinds of people, not just fitness buffs. I love how he uses plus size demonstrators as well!

I am still trying out LDN (low dose naltrexone) for my chronic pain, migraines, and inflammation. It hasn’t been a magic bullet, but may be helping some. I’m on a very low dose (1.5mg). I’ve tried the 3mg and 4.5mg doses, but they actually seemed to make me feel worse. I’m looking for good OTC supplements or meds to use for my migraines, so if you know of any good ones, please share! I can’t take Excedrin or Tylenol Migraine most of the time because the caffeine seems to upset my stomach a lot.

day 3 – getting healthy with chronic pain diary

Today has been a bad pain day. From the start my feet have been hurting, but I tried to get a little exercise and socializing in anyway. We went to a small local craft fair and then went to do some regular shopping, so I felt like I got a decent amount of walking in altogether. I’ve even been adding extra bits of walking by not having my husband drop me off at the door, which he often does when I am in pain or not feeling well. Unfortunately, my feet aren’t very happy with me at all for putting them through all the walking.

When we got back home, my electric bike was here! After hours of frustrating and headache-inducing assembly (those instructions sucked!), we got it put together and mostly in good shape. Still having trouble with the seat, so need to work on that. I took it for a quick spin and wow…the difference! Those things take off at a pretty good speed! I set it on low power, so I still peddled a lot and got in some good exercise, but it was so nice having the extra help on any uphill bits! This bike may be a major game changer!

My diet hasn’t been so good today. Started out the day with Girl Scout cookies and KFC, so you can imagine. Tomorrow is another day though and I’ll try again!

Day 1

In an effort to motivate, hold myself accountable, and blog more consistently, I’m going to start journaling/blogging every day about my struggles, failures, and triumphs with trying to become healthier while dealing with chronic pain/chronic illness (eating better, exercising, being more social, finding things that make my soul happy). I know some days I might not succeed and I will be honest about my feelings, experiences, and worries along the way. I hope you will follow along!

For today, my first day, it has been pretty good. Went with my husband to a Freethought luncheon at Bob Evans and had some interesting conversations with some pretty smart guys. Ate grilled chicken and french fries and 50/50 sweet/unsweet tea (grilled chicken a good choice, um, fries, maybe not). Working on cutting down on sugars, so stepping down gradually with the combo sweet/unsweet tea. Dinner was tuna, grapes, and crackers. And a couple s’mores afterwards.

After lunch, husband and I went for a walk around a local lake, probably 15 minutes, maybe a little more. I’m aiming for 20 minutes of exercise every day, but if I get at least 10, that’s a start. Ordered an electric bike that I’m very excited to try out! Should be here sometime next week. Also, my new heat/massage jacket arrived today, so tried it out. I think I like the massage even better than the heat. Saving up to try out an infrared heating pad!

Weekend Life Update: Depression, Meditation, Politics

bald-eagle-140793_960_720

I am currently experiencing a real downturn mood-wise, but I’m going to try to write a life update post anyhow. I tried to write a blog post yesterday, but was simply to depressed to complete it. Today I’m just going to sum up a few things that went on this last week, so hopefully, I will get something done today.

  • This past Wednesday, my husband and I tried out a new meditation group (new to us anyhow). I haven’t meditated in months at least, and it felt good to “get back in the saddle” so to say. Even though I don’t find that meditation is all that great at relieving my anxiety and depression symptoms overall, it does at least give me some perspective and allow me to step back a bit when I am feeling my worst and realize that it will pass if I just wait it out. That awareness is definitely beneficial to keeping myself on this earth when part of me wants to check out.
  • My blog post about not being a social media doormat really became popular! I guess many others struggle with all the bullies and haters that tend to hang out on popular social media platforms. Glad to see I’m not alone in this experience.
  • Today I am taking my bike and aerobics trampoline to sell them to a used sports equipment store. I have had to face the fact that I am not physically healthy enough to use them anymore and they are just taking up space. Hopefully someone else will get some use out of them. It is a bit depressing though to just give up.
  • I am so disgusted by American politics right now. I am disgusted with Trump. I am disgusted with his blindly loyal followers. I am disgusted by those on the left that display blatant hypocrisy and pretend to be “the opposition”, but are just as sold out to big money and corporation interests. I am disgusted by all the pointless warfare my country perpetuates. I am disgusted by the news media that twists everything and often outright lies.  I am disgusted by the lack of empathy many people have towards anyone who is different from them. I am disgusted by the fearmongering and scapegoating. I am disgusted that in the richest country on earth, Flint, MI still doesn’t have clean water, and much of Puerto Rico still doesn’t have power. I am disgusted that 40 million Americans don’t have health care and that 40% of the country can’t afford basic necessities like food and shelter. I am disgusted that conditions have deteriorated to the point that suicide rates have risen 30% since 1999. I am simply disgusted and feel powerless to help.

Physical Therapy and CFS

DSC08349

Having CFS/ME really sucks sometimes. On Tuesday I went to my traction physical therapy appointment for my bulging disc in my neck and they asked me to do a few minutes of really easy, simple exercises that should have been a breeze. Instead, here I am, 35 years old, looking fairly healthy and fit, and yet, I had to constantly take breaks from even these few little stretching and postural exercises. It makes me feel like I’m really living in an 80-year-old body.

It is embarrassing as well, because I fear the judgment of those who see how little I am actually able to do. I worry they will just judge me as lazy or think I am just being difficult, which is entirely the opposite of my personality. I’m the kind of person who goes out of their way NOT to cause trouble or slow things down. I often wish other people really understood how crippling chronic fatigue syndrome can be. For instance, all my adult life I ALWAYS took a shower every single day and washed my hair. Now, I’m lucky if I can find the energy to wash my hair every other day, even though my OCD traits are going crazy at the change in my lifelong routine. Even typing these blog posts requires frequent breaks.

Sorry if this post seems a bit whiny, it just sometimes hits home over little simple things, how much my life is affected by my new physical limitations, and it is hard to accept.

* Art by Maranda Russell

New YouTube Video – “Plantar Fasciitis Sucks! My Experiences with Foot Pain”

Since I have openly talked about some of my health problems and how they affect my life, I have had a few people ask me how I developed the foot condition plantar fasciitis and why it limits the kind of jobs I can do. So, I decided to make a vlog video about the pain and problems related to plantar fasciitis and why the condition has greatly affected my personal and professional life. I didn’t make this video to whine or try to get sympathy, I just wanted to share my story in hopes that I can educate people about the condition and let anyone else going through similar problems know that they are not alone.

My New Year’s Intentions for 2015

NewYearsEve

Happy soon-to-be New Year everyone! Around this time of year, I always like to pause and assess my life. I decide what is going good, what I need to leave behind and what I might want to work on. I don’t like to make “New Year’s resolutions” because that phrasing to me seems to have guilt built into it. When people make New Year’s resolutions, they tend to feel guilty if they fail or make a mistake and eventually just give up. I like the phrase “New Year’s intentions” better because it doesn’t have that stigma to it and to me, intentions are about trying to do the right thing. Sure, we all mess up and even epically fail sometimes, but as long as we keep getting up and trying, I don’t think we truly ever lose.

So here are my three New Year’s intentions for 2015 –

1. Focus on health. I have many health problems that I can’t do anything about, however, I do have control over some of my health and unfortunately, I often ignore the importance of taking care of myself. So for 2015 I plan to try to exercise at least 3-4 times a week (even if I can only do light exercise like walking and yoga). I will not push myself too hard or make myself do things that cause real pain, but I can try to work within my physical limitations. I will also try to eat better. I won’t force myself to give up things I love (like chocolate), but I will try to consciously pick out more fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy grains at the grocery store (because if I buy healthier foods, I will eat healthier foods).

2. Be more social. A few years ago I had to be more social. But now that I work at home, have taken a break from fostering kids and my husband resigned from being a youth pastor, I don’t have to be social. I can hole up at home and be a hermit. To some extent I have done that. We still go to church, but now that my husband isn’t working for a church we get to pick and choose what to be involved in instead of having it decided for us – which is great, except that I have to remember to actively look for things to do and ways to serve. It is far too easy to ignore social activities because I feel that I am not socially proficient. Sometimes I get kind of depressed seeing how easy it is for others to connect with people and make friends. I just don’t have that kind of personality.

Having Asperger’s Syndrome can make socializing uncomfortable and awkward, but I still want to make a difference in people’s lives. I want to care about others and have them care in return. The only way I can do that is to make myself reach out more. So this year I hope to reach out more to others, whether it be by saying a simple “hello” and learning someone’s name or by making myself go out a little more often, even when it is easier to stay home and veg out on the couch.

3. Stop letting people hurt me. In the past few years there have been a few people who hurt me deeply. They may not even realize they hurt me (in fact some of them think I deserve to be treated badly and have said so). In most cases, they were people who never really got to know me and then misinterpreted things I said or did. Instead of approaching me and clarifying what upset them, they either shut me out entirely or told other people a lot of bad stuff about me which isn’t actually true. By the time I knew there was really an issue, damage had already been done. I tried to work things out with some of them and find out what I did to upset them, but I was either ignored or told everything was my fault.

Maybe my lack of social skills in some areas caused the problems…or maybe they never really liked me to begin with. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve allowed these people to make me feel bad about myself and wonder if I am unlikable. It really dealt a blow to my self-esteem in some ways. At this point, I want to build my ability to trust others again. I want to not let a little meanness or misunderstanding hold me back anymore. I have already chosen to consciously forgive, now I want to let myself learn from any mistakes that were made and move on.

So there you have it, my list of intentions for the coming year. What would you like to change or work on this year?

Determined to get healthy

Since I started fostering kids, I have let my own health and wellness fall to the wayside somewhat.  I have been so involved in helping these hurting kids and making sure that they have what they need, that in some ways I have neglected my own needs.  I used to exercise almost every day and put a lot of effort into eating right, but between family visitation, therapy, doctor, dentist and vision appointments, foster care training classes, school events, and all the other responsibilities that come with parenthood, I have turned to fast food far too often and rarely find time to exercise in my schedule.

So what made me decide changes are needed?  Well, for one thing, I don’t feel good.  My IBS has flared up a lot recently, a problem which I had nearly conquered in the past by changing my eating habits and making healthier choices.  I have also found myself sick quite frequently, even more so than normal.  I do have some immune system deficiencies, but I know that unhealthy habits only compound those problems.  Another problem is that I have found myself out of shape, and although I’m not exactly fat, my muscles have become rather flabby.  I get out of breath easily, and my asthma is actually much worse, which I believe is due to a lack of cardiovascular exercise which strengthens the lungs.

Getting in shape isn’t going to be easy.  I’m surrounded by temptation at every turn.  Church means good home-cooked food and freshly baked desserts, our busy schedule guarantees that we will have to eat out at least a couple times a week, and having kids in the home means that I am tempted by cookies, candy, ice cream and other sweets.  But those kids are part of the reason why I want to make this change.  After all, if I’m unhealthy, I’m not very capable of helping them attain emotional, physical and spiritual health.  Plus, “set a good example” has always been my motto, and I don’t want to be a hypocrite!