Category Archives: healing

taking care of me

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August has already been quite the eventful month. I decided to look into a part time job. If you are counting, this makes 3 outside of the house jobs.

  • teaching
  • cleaning, tourist changeovers
  • server, Applebee’s

And don’t forget:

  • mom to human child
  • mom to furbabies
  • wife
  • band booster secretary
  • band mom
  • and I am sure I am missing some…

I have set out to start taking better care of Jen, (no, I will not be speaking any further in the 3rd person….it s just plain weird)

I have walked every day since July 7th. This is a HUGE accomplishment for me. I did not set out to walk every day for 30+ days. But once I hit day 16 or so, I felt like I could do anything!! And, I figured I could set a goal of continuing the streak until I started back in school September 2nd. At first I kept this goal a secret. I didn’t want to jinx myself. I kept going. Adding one day at a time.

To make this goal a reality, I am having to change the way I speak to myself and out loud. I talk about wanting to get my walk in and not how I “need” to walk. I want to continue my walking streak and as long as I think about it as something I want to do then I will keep on keepin’ on. Some days are hard, not gonna lie. I tell myself to just start moving. I can walk one mile no matter what!!

Two weeks ago, my Q and I started the PiYo program. We set out with the intentions to follow the program exactly the way it is written out on the calendar which was provided. Week one we rocked. Week two took a few twists. Taking on a new job where I am on my feet the whole time changed my thoughts on working out just a bit. I want to do every piyo workout. More importantly, I want to do every piyo workout without injury. That means I must listen to my body and not that tiny voice of guilt from not doing it. Last week, I took one rest day and then doubled up the next day and that was great!! The day I doubled up, I felt strong and ready to tackle it all. The day before when I chose a rest, I was tired and my legs felt tired and heavy.

And then there was Sunday. On Sundays I clean in the mornings but this Sunday, I also was scheduled for a training shift at AppleBee’s (AB) from 5-10pm. Did I mention this was all the night before Q started band camp?!? In between cleaning and showering for AB, I walked one mile in my bedroom. I took that walk low and slow…I use my Leslie Sansone videos but to keep it low, I don’t use the normal intensity. I keep the kicks and knees lower. I wanted to walk to keep my streak alive but I knew I would be on my feet for 5 hours. Keeping it low allowed me to walk and to stretch my legs a bit.

I am learning I can walk every day. I can do the PiYo workouts. I can work a physical job. I can do it all. I think walking every day has been good for me. I am successful in  this goal and I am starting to feel my legs responding. PiYo is hard for me but I modify and I do my best and I cannot wait to see what 8 weeks of this looks and feels like. I am looking forward to the physical changes, I am already noticing the mental benefits of both of my fitness endeavors.

I have walked late at night to get it in. I walked last night at 9:30. It is a wonderful benefit of walk at home workouts….I don’t have to worry about heat, humidity, rain, bugs, dark, etc. Even on the days I have walked late, I have felt like such a rockstar for getting in my walk. I feel like I am doing this great thing for my body. I am now realizing, it is not just my body that is happy for my daily walks!!

My new fitness endeavors are new ways to take care of me!

WOW!

 

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trues & toots

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I am going old school with this post.

You see, back in the days when I was just starting out on social media and blogging shenanigans, I spent a lot of time hanging around the Sisterhood (of the Shrinking Jeans). Around the ‘hood, Tuesday is for True Confessions or Toot Your Own HornI haven’t participated in way  too long and more than likely I will not blog like this very often. Today, however, both blog posts could be appropriate. I have some confessions and some brags and some of both.

 I was going to break them down but I have decided to do a bullet list ( I really love these) of the confessions and the toots combined. 

  • I am on a walking streak!! Last night was Day #22. 22 days in a row where I walked. Actually 21 of 22 walks were inside using a #walkathome video. I love Leslie Sansone. When Q was a wee little babe I discovered Leslie and as I venture into getting back in shape, I am going back to the tried & true.
  • I tend to get wrapped up in the compare game. And I have learned this is detrimental to me. I don’t do well when I try to compete because…well, I am not all that competitive. I don’t need to be the leader on some stepcount board. I will never run faster or longer than some of my friends. I am finally ok with all this. I am ok with me being me. With me doing this whole thing MY way. I just need to remember this. Why do I forget it? Why does it take so long to remember?
  • I have been seriously slacking on my yoga practice. I don’t really have a reason but I haven’t been doing nearly enough yoga.
  • I don’t want to track everything I eat or count calories at all. I don’t want to restrict and deprive. I have enough issues going on (belly gremlin, itchies) and restricting isn’t going to help. BUT, I do need to focus on eating the food that make me feel good and not eating the foods that hate me.
  • Speaking of….I have been eating like crap. Too much wheat. Too much takeout, which is just stupid for more than just the wheat. Too much ice cream. I may not like tracking but that doesn’t mean my body doesn’t know just exactly what I am putting in it. Time to crack the whip. Believe me, I have a big bloaty belly to show for my junk eating.
  • I hate calling food good or bad. I just hate it. #thereIsaidit
  •  I hate weighing myself. I don’t really care about the number and dammit I have bigger problems than the scale. My gremlin and itchies. And I am lucky enough to have awesome health numbers (cholesterol and blood pressure) even though I am overweight.
  • I have officially decided to stop trying to lose weight (not that I have really been trying). I am shifting my focus completely to my health. I will figure out what keeps my gremlin and itchies away. My joints get achy and tender. I want to feel strong again. I want to move comfortably in my body.
  • I am beautiful but I really don’t know how to dress. I need to learn how to dress. For real.
  • I sorta tried to play the ukulele since my kid brought me one home for my birthday. It does not fit right in my hand. And, seriously, my boobs make it uncomfortable to play. I am putting it down. And moving on.
  • My mom’s husband  gave me an old acoustic guitar. Q has already taught me to play twinkle, twinkle. little star. 
  • And one final note: IMG_20140728_211139_719 My Q has joined me in the piyo craze. She has committed to the 8-week program…we have a week of band camp in there so we will work it out so it works for us.

This was a fun post to write. It took me ALL day but I needed the brain dump. A lot has been going on and I needed to get my feet sturdy on deck before I blogged about it all. I am getting myself to a much happier headspace and my little corner of the universe is looking brighter.

What’s going on in your corner?

menus & prepping & success

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Last week I was terribly and completely unprepared. Mother’s Day was lovely but I did not complete any of my prep work. So today, I am made lists and menus. I cooked and prepped. I gotta say, it is a good feeling to know I have go-to snacks and lunches ready.

#foodprepsunday included:

Dinner Menu:

Sunday: Steak & Citrus Shrimp, fancy potatoes and a salad

Monday: Cuban Shredded Beef, rice & black beans

Tuesday: Man Pleasing Chicken, brussels & potato hash

Wednesday: Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole (two batches – one with elbow noodles for AJ & Q, one with cauliflower for me)

Thursday: Steaks or Breakfast (Band practice for Q, walking club for mom, Big Man is in charge of dinner)

Friday: Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken, rice, green beans or snap peas

Saturday: Ribs, potato salad, slaw & salads

And this is a great start.

I have some basics to get me started. I have lots of fruit in the fridge and I have bananas ripening to be made into pumpkin vanilla muffins in a few days.

I will also plan out my exact lunches and breakfast each night so work mornings are smoother. Lunches and breakfasts will include: eggs, paleo bread, smoothies, burgers, soups and cucumber salads. Snacks of fruit, nuts, soup, hardboiled eggs, cucumbers with salsa, and other veggies will be on hand so I can just grab & go.  I have lots of options.

Options and preparation will be key  to success….right now success means sticking to the gluten free thing (it works, as much as I hate that it works, it works…more on this later) and I very much want to focus on eating enough vegetables. Fruit is easy but vegetables take some work to get enough servings each day. To start,  I am going to aim for 6 veggie servings, with a serving being one cup, each day.

I am setting myself up for success.

 

 

not enough planning

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Friday was my anniversary. Saturday I was a zombie….okay, I wasn’t eating brains but I couldn’t get off my ass and out of my chair. I am pretty sure the stress and anxiety of the work week finally lifting for the weekend left me depleted. I needed the rest. Then Sunday was Mother’s Day and my daughter worked and needed to be dropped off early…so we had breakfast where she works and then went grocery shopping.

Ain’t life exciting?!?

At least my view for breakfast was fabulous!! 😉

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After grocery shopping and produce shopping, the rest of the day was pretty mellow. But, I did not complete any food prep. Let me tell you, I need food prep. I did create an incredibly basic dinner menu but it needs work.

Monday: Grilled Chicken

Tuesday: Spaghetti

Wednesday: Cajun Chicken and Shrimp, rice & beans

Thursday: Breakfast

Friday: Kielbasa, homemade kraut, potatoes

 

I told you…basic. But it’s a start.

 

Tonight I am going to work with it and see what I can do to help myself. I need some pre-made, grab & go snacks. I need to find a substitute for a piece of toast.

 

#foodprepsunday is going to happen …but it’s Monday and I will only be doing a small version!!

a guest post near and dear to my heart

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My bestest friend, Heather, has the second-most amazing daughter in the whole wide world. When Evi was a very itty bitty newborn she needed some help from Children’s Hospital. Children’s Hospital earned a permanent place in Heather’s heart, and now mine. Heather is hosting a virtual race to raise money for St. Judes and I asked her to write a blog post.
Please read and help out in any way you can! My daughter and I will be virtually racing very soon, after we train a bit!
So, without further ado, please meet Miss Evi Ruth, the coolest five year old I know!
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The scariest moment of my entire life was the handful of seconds between Evi’s birth and the moment she cried. The most amazing was that sound, her willful protest of all things bright and cold and loud and weird. Until the moment we actually DID bring her home, I wasn’t sure we ever would. And then there we were, new parents to a real live newborn with all of her amazingness and crazy new things. New sounds, new smells, new routines.
She was easy from the get-go…sleeping six hours her first night. She smiled a lot, laughed, cuddled. And then all of a sudden she was three weeks old and she wouldn’t stop throwing up. It was acid reflux, the doctors assured, sending us home with medicine. It wasn’t, we insisted, reappearing in their office with specific measurements and distances to accurately describe her impressive projectile output. We brought pictures of the laundry we’d done that week. We described everything in ridiculous, measured, scientific detail.
In the end, I resorted to Dr. Google. I looked up symptoms obsessively, knowing in my heart of hearts that something bigger was wrong. She wasn’t getting better. She hated eating. She was losing weight. That was it, the final bit. I took her in to the doctor’s office one more time, armed with a rapidly shrinking infant and a gut feeling about the diagnosis.
They weighed her, and she’d lost fifteen ounces in a week. She wasn’t a big baby to begin with and she didn’t have fifteen ounces to spare. They were scared and confused, and I pulled out my hypothesis.
Pyloric stenosis. It means the valve (the pyloris) that takes food from your stomach to your intestines is growing out of sync with the rest of your body, growing too fast and closing up on itself so food can’t be digested.
I was prepared for the arguments. “It’s so rare,” they’d say. “It happens to boys,” they’d argue, and I’d push back. Except they didn’t argue. The incredible nurse practitioner listened to me, really listened. She called in the practice lead doctor. He confirmed that I just might be right, and sent me packing immediately to Children’s National Medical Center. I called my husband on the way home and he met us there. We called every grandparent, aunt, and uncle on the way to the hospital.

We sat in the waiting room, surrounded by seriously ill children and pale, worried parents. We waited maybe twenty minutes before we were taken back for the initial screening. The techs who worked with us were patient and gentle. They spoke clearly, used simple words, gave us easy directions, and asked questions with polite concern. They managed to convey the importance and urgency without making us feel in the way. They made it clear they cared about our baby and about us. She was admitted almost at once, and we were escorted to a temporary room until a permanent one could be made available for her. In the meantime, a hospital volunteer brought her a stuffed animal, now forever named Pink Bear, that had been hand sewn by other volunteers. It was teddy bear shaped, with no real features but a sweet floral pattern. Evi still loves it.

 

On the way to our room, they took us to get her an ultrasound, where they confirmed. Yes. It’s pyloric stenosis. We watched on the screen as what little was left in her belly swirled around, unable to make it past her too swollen pyloris. Yes, the doctors confirmed, she was slowly starving to death. I tried not to break down. I broke down anyway. I tried to hold on through waves of guilt that my sweet little girl was slowly starving. It would have killed her, they confirmed.

 

But it won’t,” they said, more firmly now, as they looked us right in the eye. “She’s here, and we can fix this. It’s actually a simple surgery. She’ll be able to go home in a day or two.”

 

They showed us to our room. They set her up in her baby cage. They scheduled her surgery for the next morning. Thankfully we weren’t going to sleep anyway, as they came in to check her vitals every few hours. She wasn’t allowed to eat, so they gave her her very firstpacifier. In the morning, the put her into the world’s tiniest pale orange hospital gown and it still swallowed her whole. They let me carry her down to the operating room and we got to sit with her while the doctor walked us through. The surgery would be laparoscopic, meaning it would be done through tiny cuts in her abdomen and wouldn’t require a big incision. It would be quick, he assured. When the nurse finally took her from my arms, she did it with such tenderness that I couldn’t help but be comforted. These people cared, deeply and completely.

 

They handed us a pager, and we headed to the hospital cafeteria. We hadn’t eaten since the previous lunch. We picked half-heartedly at sandwiches before giving up to pace restlessly down the hospital hallways. As we turned into the atrium to go make her a tie-dyed onesie, the pager buzzed. It’s possible we’ve never moved faster.

 

They took us to recovery, where our groggy little girl was just waking up. We spent one more night in the hospital, her tiny arm wrapped to hold in an IV for fluids, and she was intensely monitored. They checked her regularly and gave us the green light to try a tiny bit of food. She didn’t nurse well to begin with and would have been in no mood, so we gave her a 1oz bottle. She took it, and threw it up. The nurses were encouraging and comforting. “It’s fine,” they assured. They gave us a clear schedule of how much to feed her and when, and we kept trying. When a few hours passed and she kept food down, they cleared us to go home.

 

They sent us home with clear directions, a direct line to a doctor if anything unexpected happened, specifics on what to watch for, and heartfelt best wishes to never ever see us again. They scheduled a followup for two weeks out, and they waved goodbye.

 

We never did see them again, because she bounced back to vibrant life like the tiny miracle she is. In no time she was round and happy, and at her two week followup she surprised the doctor with her incredible health and wellbeing.

 

on the left: Evi just prior to surgery on the right: 1.5 weeks later

on the left: Evi just prior to surgery
on the right: 1.5 weeks later

She’s five now. FIVE. She’s about to start kindergarten. She’s happy and healthy and strong and silly. She’s full of spontaneous affection, random facts, and her fair share of tiny attitude. She runs and laughs, pouts and cries. She reads books, draws robots. She’s perfect. She’s thriving. Children’s National Medical Center saved her life, and I’m grateful for them every day. To help support the thousands of other children they work so hard to save every day, I’m organizing a virtual race. You can register here for one of the 26 spots left.

gremlins, itchies & glutenfree

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Gremlins

Actually, only one gremlin. I have been dealing with stomach issues for almost two years. I get this pain in my left side, up near my ribs. At first, I thought it was an ulcer because spicy food caused me immediate pain. It wasn’t an ulcer. After a year of dealing with this pain, I finally went to a GI doc. My GP put me on an acid controller but that didn’t really do anything.

The GI put me through every test he had: colonoscopy, endocscopy, CT scans, ultrasounds, stomach emptying scans, blood tests and maybe more. The results: nothing, nada. No physical reason for these pains I continue to experience.  Yes, this is great news! I don’t have any craziness going on internally – no cancer or tumors or damage. For this I am thankful. However, one year (of doctors and tests) later and I still have no answers.

Since I don’t have a name for what is going on in my stomach, I call it my gremlin. When I get pangs of pain I say, “my gremlin is pissed off” or something similar.  My gremlin has been a thorn in my side for well over two years. Sometimes, the gremlin is accompanied with bloating and gas and cramps but there is almost always a bruise-like feeling in my upper left stomach quadrant.

Its not the cute fuzzy gremlin, its the gremlin after a midnight feeding.

Itchies

Because having my very own gremlin isn’t enough, I decided to get itchy. All over itchy. At first I just thought I had a bad case of dry skin, of season changed dry skin. I have used the same laundry soap, shampoo & conditioner, and body wash for years so I know its not that causing itching. I don’t use a lot of lotions or perfumes and the ones I use are very mellow.  I’ve seen my doctor and now I am seeing an allergist.

Guess what?!?

Once again, all the tests come back negative. However, I react as soon as I am touched with the allergy test pin. My skin is so irritated. I will spare you the pictures because it is just icky. My lower leg/ankles are tore up like I walked through a field of chiggers except I didn’t. I will spare you any more details but let’s just say I itch everywhere. All the time.

And it is so not sexy to itch all the time. Itching so much has definitely messed with my head and I often feel like I am going crazy. It is hard to be on your game when you itch all the time. I have gained a lot of weight back in the last three years (ankle/knee injury, surgery, recovery, gremlins & itchies).

Gluten Free

As a last ditch effort to hopefully heal my gremlin and itchies, I have decided to try a gluten free experiment.  I have already tried eliminating nightshades and other major allergens, all to no relief. I have held off on gluten free because it just seems so trendy. I did complete a round of Whole30 but I just could not sustain that for longer than 30 days. I did that for weightloss and not health reasons.

I am hoping, this is GF experiment is different. I am only focused on feeling better and I am not going to be restricting anything other than gluten.

I am seeking health.  I don’t want stomach issues or itchies anymore. Please let this help.

I will be using myfitnesspal.com to track my food but weight loss is not my focus. I set my calories pretty high after research pointed me in that direction. To heal a gut, the body needs plenty of calories not to be restricted. I am only focusing on gluten free. I am not going to go crazy and buy all sorts of GF flours but rather, I am going to keep food as simple as possible. Produce and meats, rice and the occasional sweet. My coffee will remain GF as its been all along (who knew?!?) with creamer & splenda.

I figure this is an experiment so I will ease into it. For right now, I am keeping it simple but as the weeks progress I may need a bread alternative. Or I may cut back on sugar or sweets or potatoes or beans…whatever. I am not planning that far ahead. I have created a board on Pinterest and since I love cooking, I am going to make this experiment as fun  and sustainable as possible.

So this is where I have been. I hid a lot of this from the world. I didn’t want to admit to myself what problem this actually been. I’m out now. I’m ready to find a happy place,

Crying at yin

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Last night I went back to yin yoga. I took a two week break after my car accident. The first week after the car accident, I wasn’t up for class and the second week it was just very difficult juggling my doctors appointments, Q’s physical therapy, work and school with one vehicle. And to be honest, after my accident I was not comfortable driving the truck. I drive a little Hyundai that could probably fit in the bed of my husband’s pickup truck.
Back to last night…
I was late leaving school. It happens sometimes but yesterday, it made me a bit edgy. Feeling jumpy, I thought maybe a hot shower would release some stress and it did its job. For a short period of time. As the clock drew closer to 5pm or the time I should be ready to walk out of my house, I could feel nerves starting to jump again.
I didn’t really want to go to yoga. I didn’t want to drive back over to Ventnor. More, I didn’t want to drive home from Ventnor where three weeks prior I had my car accident.
I got in the car and drove to class more white knuckled than I’d like to admit. I drove slow and I left my house late so I arrived at class 5 minutes late. I forced myself out of my car, into the building, up the stair and into the classroom. I found a nice spot in the back corner and I quickly set up my mat. I almost did not go into class. I almost chickened out.

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One of the first poses of the evening was cow face pose. I tried to get into this pose and realized it was not gonna happen. I tried to fond a comfortable modification but I could not. I felt defeated and broken and fat. My body was not comfortable, my head was not comfortable, and my soul was not comfortable. Sometime during this pose, I felt tears burning my eyes. We switched sides, then added the arms, and by the second side arms, I was full blown crying and trying to not blubber and snot all over myself. We moved on to different poses but I never found my happy place. That place where my brain turns off and I feel the release of the pose. If you have never tried yin yoga, you melt into and stay in the poses for 3-5 minutes.
Letting go is big part of yin. I was so uptight throughout my yin class. At one point I actually checked my watch to see how much time was left in class. and blissfully, as if the teacher read my mind, we moved into heart lung bench pose. This is one of my favorite yin poses. And it was a precursor to corpse or svasana aka the end.
I’ve loved yin from the very first class over a year ago. Last night’s class was difficult and emotional. My body didn’t want to move into or stay in the poses. My neck, shoulders and lower back  have not been happy happy nice my car accident but I didn’t know just how much that bothered me until last night. Driving home, I kept thinking I should just quit yoga. My body is not designed for yoga. I can’t do it, I can’t do it right so why bother.
I’m no good at yoga.
My body is no good.
My mind swirled with these thoughts. I thought I would think about it all night long. But I walked into my house to the smell of dinner and my husband and daughter sitting at the table waiting for me. They make it easy to forget the touch stuff.
But only for so long.
Not long after dinner, I was feeling very emotional. Then came the headache and neck pain. I took some advil and iced my neck but the pressure never really released. This upset me because it was just one more sign if my body hating me. Yep, that’s where my head was last night.
Today, I’m feeling a bit more rational but not a whole lot less emotional. I hoped journaling this out would make me feel better. It did but I’m still not sure what to do. I’m going to sit with the emotions for a while.