Tag Archive | finding balance

The Prednizone

Nope, not a typo. I’ve entered back into The Prednizone. Third day in and I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept in two days, I’m cranky and just so darn tired my eyes hurt. But I have to power through a few more days of this hell . Why did I give in and let them prescribe this to me? Well, it’s keeping me out of the hospital. That’s why. There will be times I must have a prednisone burst because of my asthma and ABPA, and this is just one of those times.

So, because I’m so wiped out from this trying to breathe thing, I’m making very simple meals, one that flows into another. Quick and not energy zapping. I bought cauliflower and sweet potato rice this week and have used it for breakfasts and dinners: under fried eggs, under a Hawaiian chicken patty and added to other leftovers. A little pop of color and it tastes great. We don’t waste food here so one meal is just repurposed into the next. Even breakfast can become a sweet potato and some leftover pulled pork with avocado. It’s using what you have and yet being creative. Last night, I took a sweet potato and then covered it with leftovers consisting of broccoli,  riced cauliflower and sweet potato, ham and apple sausage and then drizzled my dairy free ranch over the top; a simple meal that was pretty to look at and yet quick and filling.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. I do all my prep work on Sundays so the rest of the week is a breeze. Heat and eat. And by repurposing leftovers, you are keeping things interesting and also not wasting food.  The key is to prep things on Sunday which can be worked together during the week.

My ranch dressing recipe:

1/4 cup avocado mayo

about three tablespoons of coconut milk or enough to get a ranch dressing consistency

1/4 tsp celery salt

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/2 -1 tsp dried dill (I like lots of dill)

small pinch of salt and pepper

mix until the consistency is smooth and this will last a week in your fridge.

Another tip is to take that small amount of   Dijon mustard you are about to throw away and add a little champagne vinegar and honey. Shake well and you have a nice vinegrette. Again, no waste.

Once you get the hang of repurposing meals, it gets easier. Honest. And if I can do it, so can you. So, what are you batch cooking this week and how will you turn those varied leftovers into meals?

Signing out from the Prednizone. Maybe I’ll get a nap today. Oh, who am I kidding?

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Asthma and emotions/stress

The declining health of a parent, the anniversary of the death of a loved one, work stress…  All things out of our control and yet things which affect us emotionally.  All things which may make it hard to eat, to sleep, to concentrate.  Well when you have asthma, stress can affect your breathing. Stress is the enemy to asthma and anyone who has asthma needs to learn how to manage stress.  And it’s hard.

Believe me. I sit here typing after having my third breathing treatment of the day.  I was up all night unable to breathe.  I started coughing until I gagged and vomited.  Awesome, right?  And why?  Because rather than keeping my stress in check, I let it fester and grow until it made me physically sick.

I talk about food and health and how important it is to eat healthy to stay healthy.  But emotional health is important too.  I shared this with a student the other day who was very stressed.  I told him to find a time in his day to regroup and breathe.  And normally, I follow my own advice. There’s always time in your day.  ALWAYS!  Find something that calms you and make time for that. Go for a run, listen to music, go outside for fresh air.  Remove yourself from the situation.  Don’t let the small things become big things. Talk to a friend or loved one.  Whatever it is that works for you, do that.  Because nothing is more important than your health. Nothing. As for me, worrying won’t make my mom better or bring my loved one back or make that colleague any easier to work with.

If you have asthma, I challenge you to find small ways in which to work on handling the stress in your life.  When I actually practice what I preach, my asthma stays in check. I saw the warning signs but I refused to stop and listen.  I’ve been using my emergency inhaler so much the prescription I filled on April 4 is already empty and I can’t get another inhaler until May 4 without my doctor’s intervention.  I also know that because I let things get this far and I’m bordering on bronchitis I’m probably going to be forced to take a prednisone burst.  And darn it, I know better.  Because now here I am beating myself up… more stress.  I would laugh but that makes me cough!

So, learn from me.  Not taking your health seriously can have serious consequences. Pay attention to your emotions, get rest, eat properly and follow your asthma action plan. Reminders for both you and me. Together we CAN do this! We CAN keep our asthma under control.

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Body, mind and spirit

It appears I have a raging fungal infection in my sinuses and am developing another round of oral thrush. Because, of course I do. All stress-related, I’m sure. Fortunately, I know what to do when this happens so I’ve bumped up my supplements and probiotic intake and am drinking lots of water and herbal tea to flush this out.  And then there’s the sinus rinsing.  Lots and lots of sinus rinsing.  I also bumped up my workout routine.  That may seem counter intuitive to you since I’m fighting off infection but it has been really great for me. I have a trainer pushing me and I feel so accomplished and strong after each workout.  Right now, it’s vital that I continue to push myself and fight mind, body, and spirit.

Body – During this time, I’ve been playing around with food. Now that I’m working out harder, I find I need more protein. My latest favorite is lettuce wraps.  How can something so easy be so fantastically wonderful?  Really, I’m addicted to them. And they are so portable.  I fill mine up with turkey, ham, peppers, a pickle, a little mustard and avocado…    And they are super easy to make: just lay out some parchment paper and then place your lettuce and start stacking your fillings.  And then roll, while tucking in your ends.  Once it is rolled, slice in two like a deli sandwich.  I can’t eat the whole thing, so this gives me two sandwiches.  And, they are filling.  If I feel like I need something else or something crunchy, I’ll have an apple. Snacks for me now consist of a hardboiled egg or maybe some tuna or walnuts.  I never realized how tasty plain walnuts are and the healthy fat is good for you. I’m also very deliberate with my breakfast as well, ensuring I have enough protein to tide me over until lunch.  And, water.  I drink lots and lots of water.  I’m lucky in that the women’s restroom is in very close proximity to my office, that’s how much water I consume each day.

Mind and Spirit – A weekend getaway to the ocean allowed me to clear my head and breathe and reflect. I was reminded I am strong in spirit. Maybe a little too strong in spirit because, on the way home from that trip, I registered for a 10k and my second half marathon. I’m also running a 12k in three months. I continue to push myself to run and swim because it makes me feel good – normal. And it’s my way to say to my illness “you aren’t going to win this battle. You are NOT getting the best of me.”

I swam Alcatraz a couple of years ago (850 of my closest friends and I jumped off the boat at Alcatraz and swam back). And I share this because that was THE hardest thing I’ve ever done. And now, when things get tough or I doubt myself, I remember what an amazing thing I accomplished and that no matter what I end up facing, I will do so with the same grace and determination.  Find that one thing which makes you feel strong and embrace it.  Hang on to it tightly and when the going gets tough, remind yourself you are strong, you can do this, whatever “this” happens to be. We all have that inner fight inside us.  We just have to believe enough in ourselves to listen and act upon it. If I can do it, so can you!

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Feeding your soul

I share with you much about feeding your body but not of feeding your soul. And as I type this I’m doing just that. It’s four o’clock in the morning and I sit on the balcony overlooking the ocean. Not another soul is stirring. It’s just me and my thoughts and the sound of the ocean in a place which means so much to me. A place which evokes so many memories of my children and my own childhood. Today, this is my church and I sit in the silence  just listening. God is all around me. I feel it and I am comforted. A friend of mine said many are with me this weekend as I walk the beach and also as I pray. And I feel it. I feel their prayers and love. In this moment I know I’m not alone.

I share this with you because we all need to experience a moment like this. To be still and just feel. To listen. And it’s a rare moment we do just that. And it doesn’t have to be at the ocean. We just need to find a moment in our day to still ourselves. To center ourselves body, mind and spirit. We are so careful of what we put in and on our bodies but what of our soul? To truly heal, we must care for that as well.

I challenge you to do just that. Find a quiet place and just be. Listen to the things around you. The wind or the rain, the birds… Just listen and breathe. If you need to, go back in your mind to a moment or place in time. Hear the sounds, breathe in the scents. Breathe… I guarantee you will find the same innner peace I did this morning.

Peace.

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I’m a big, fat cheater

Yup, that’s right. I’m a big, fat cheater but that does not make me a failure; it makes me human.

I ate a cheeseburger last night – a big, fat juicy cheeseburger with bacon! And I own it. How do I feel after cheating? Exactly as I knew I would. My head is killing me because my sinuses acted up, I had breathing difficulties and my stomach was miserable. And it’ll be a long while before I do that again. However, the big takeaway here is I’m not spending my time beating myself up. I did it, I paid the consequences and I’m done. End of story. I was reminded there’s a reason I must eat the way I do and that reason was validated last night. And I’m ok with it. I like eating the way I do. Because I feel good when I follow the plan.

What led to the big cheeseburger cheating incident? Best as I can figure it was because I gave blood yesterday. Now let me start by saying that donating was a big deal for me. Giving blood represented good health. It meant I was finally healthy and strong enough to donate. And after I donated, I wanted a cheeseburger. So I had one. End of story.

There will be times you are going to make the wrong food choice. Learn from it and then let it go. You are not a bad person or a failure. You are human. The key here, however is that once you realize what you’ve done, don’t give up. Don’t say well I’ve already screwed up so what’s one more, etc. Don’t give in to that inner talk. Get right back on that horse and start over.   Immediately. Keep fighting. This is a daily battle and it’s not an easy one.  But you can do it. Your health depends on it.

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Remission

Remission: a diminution of the seriousness or intensity of disease or pain; a temporary recovery.

While I’ve come a long way this past year, I still have quite a way to go on my own journey. Although my APBA is in remission, my RA is not. And while I appear to be doing well, rest assured this arthritis thing sucks and it hurts. A lot. I’ve just learned to deal with it. I’m still working on lowering the inflammation levels in my body and lessening the pain and stiffness via natural means. I’m getting there, I’m just not there yet. This is a lifelong battle that some days I’m going to win and other days will not but a positive attitude is key. It’s amazing how powerful a positive attitude can be and that may be one of the biggest things I’ve learned on my journey. And the thing, I hope, which leads me to full remission.

I saw a quote today that read “apparently spite is not an appropriate answer to what motivates you?” And yet for me, in some ways it is. I hate so much the autoimmune crap I have to deal with that perhaps it is a motivator. I do what I do in spite of this illness. I am defiant because I want to be the victor in all of this. I have no idea how long before I’m completely symptom free or if I ever will be. However I’ve learned to value each day as a gift and will not squander another second wallowing in self pity. And if that isn’t defiance, I don’t know what is.

So I challenge you to be defiant, to be spiteful. To fight for your health. For your life. Fight against what ails you. We only have a finite time on this planet. Make your time here positive, make your time time count. For me, helping others, teaching others, being an example… That is how I fight. How will you fight? What will your legacy be? Where will your journey lead you. Open your mind and your heart and you will find your answer. I did.

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Non Scale Victories

We get so caught up in the numbers; I get caught up in the numbers.  And by doing so, we set ourselves up for failure.  For me, this reset isn’t about the numbers on a scale.  It’s about feeling good about myself, having more energy, building up my stamina. The Whole30 program says to not look at your scale for 30 days.  Do you know how hard that is?  Of course you do.  But you know what?  They are right!  Since I started my reset, I’ve noticed my clothes fit better.  I FEEL better, more alert.  When my alarm goes off, I can now easily wake up and I want to go to the gym (ok, let’s be honest here.  While I did hop out of bed when my alarm went off this morning, it took about 5 minutes on the treadmill before I was awake and alert!).  It has been a while since I really felt my love for running.  I’m back to planning routes in my head and, more importantly, am having fun while I run.  These are the things I’m choosing to pay attention to this month.

It’s so important to find something you like whether it be walking, running, swimming…  Just do SOMETHING!  I belong to a Runners with Rheumatoid Arthritis support group and was talking with another member about her run today and how she felt bad because she had to run/walk.  I said so what.  A mile is a mile.  Period!  It doesn’t matter that she didn’t run the whole way.  What matters is she felt good enough to get up and move today.  Celebrate THAT and be kind to yourself.

This morning, it felt great to be back on my routine and I had a great run.  And what made it great was that I did it.  I felt good and had fun competing with myself to keep my mind occupied and pass the time.  And then I worked on strength training in the weight room.  After, I rewarded myself with time in the steam room.  The beauty of that was I was able to sit in total serenity and just be.  I never allow myself that time.  But I will from now on. 

This journey I have been on, especially this past year, has been amazing.  It was difficult and there were some days I didn’t think I was going to make it through.  But I did.  And I learned so much.  I’m so grateful for everything because last year changed my life for the better. Every single day is a gift.  What people think of me is something I no longer care about because it doesn’t matter. What matters is how I feel about myself.  And, right now, I feel pretty damn good.  That’s the biggest non scale victory of all.

So, don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling. Know that there are better days ahead and, if you are having a bad one, know that it will get better.  I promise.  Find something good in each day and celebrate that. If you just signed up for a gym and are nervous and feel self-conscious, know that’s normal and then let it go.  Everyone there is so wrapped up in what they are doing and probably feel the same as you. Just do your thing and be proud of yourself.  If a full Whole30 is too much of a change right now, then don’t do it.  Don’t set yourself up for another failure because you have to be fully ready to commit.  Instead, make one small change.  Cut out soda or coffee or, gasp, sugar.  Just one.  Do that for a month and I challenge you to see if that doesn’t make a huge difference in how you feel.  At the end of that month, celebrate your accomplishment and then choose another challenge for yourself.  And don’t stop there.  Keep challenging yourself.  Trust me. This is all doable stuff. Is it hard?  You bet.  Is it worth it?  Heck yeah it is! You CAN do it!  I promise.

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