Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Resolve

OK, guys, this one is going to be a bit different from my normal Writing While High posts. I am going into this one already a bit happy. Coming down from a smoke out, and just now ate a few gummies. So we’ll see where this goes.

It is the new year, so why not make this Writing While High prompt, Resolutions.

I really didn’t have any resolutions this year. Due to COVID-19, Sheltering-in-Place, and all, I had already been well into a workout routine, food plan, better health care of myself, mental health working, etc… thing I just decided to do one day and, thanks to Mary Jane, I can actually focus on and have the motivation and do it.

I’ve been doing better and better since I started in November.

I do not put time limits on anything. My only goal is to do better than before. I know what my agreements are and I do them, no overthinking, no monsters in my head degrading my desires and work, no procrastination. No pain. No punishment.

And it is working.

I have already started working what would have been my other resolution as well. Our house needs a lot of repair. We’ve tried and tried to get enough money together to do a big fix. It never works out. I have slowly started doing little fix-em-up projects on my own. It really feels good to even get one small thing done yourself.

I have felt a growth of confidence within myself lately, I think it also can be attributed to the partakage of the Grass. It kills my anxiety, therefore it kills the Monsters in my head that tell me I suck, I’m worthless. Without those voices I find more courage to try things and actually work to improve my skills.

Also, anxiety and depression are draining in every way. So by taking the Herb and killing the anxiety and depression, I find myself with much more energy and willingness to get things done!

A lot has changed the past six months. I am almost like a whole new person.

So, no need for resolutions. Just keep doin’ what I do.

I am thinking about giving myself a mow-hawk. I really like the idea. I’ve always wanted one so it would not only be fun, awesome, and cool, but also a bucket-list item!

I do feel genuinely happy and free. Like the whole of eternity is at my fingertips and, within the realm of possibility, I can do anything I set my mind to.

And so I no longer worry about every little grain of sand, I know life isn’t great, it’s full of pain and suffering but….I’m cool with it.

I’m all good, yo.

Like, for real, gimme some munchies, a roof over my head, and the love of my loved ones, I’m all goood.

One good thing that has come out of this pandemic is that it has forced those of us with brains in our heads to slow down. Stop and smell the flowers.

Re-prioritize.

My mind is a blank tonight.

Really, I’m dull tonight. Except that my keys seem to be floating under my fingers.

*Giggles*

I just went on a laughing fit so long and hard I almost pee’d myself.

Why I’m Trying To Lose

With all my raving about finally losing weight and being so super happy about it I’ve actually gotten some looks and responses from people who seem to assume I only want to lose weight because I’m ashamed of my body as it is. They couldn’t be more wrong.

I’m the farthest you’ll ever get from a fat-shamer.

But from their responses I have come to the decision to set the record straight.

I couldn’t care any less about what people think about me or how I look. I’ve never cared about other’s opinion of me. I live for me and only me. I live for truth and reality.

*Yes, I have had moments of feeling ‘ugly’ and ‘undesirable’. Everybody does, that’s part of being human, especially in this messed up society. But those feelings are shallow and fleeting for me. I have immensely more important things to think about and worry about.*

I am not ashamed, nor have I ever been, of my body. I’m not perfect and I never wanted to be or aspired to be.

However, I do expect my body to reflect what I put into it, good or bad. This is what led me to spiral down a path of frustration and a bit of burnout/depression.

This is what happened to me: I developed hypothyroidism and one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is a slowed metabolism which makes it tons easier to gain weight and tons more difficult to lose weight. I was on medication but it wasn’t helping the symptoms. So I gained and gained and gained weight.

I was eating healthy and exercising a lot. I should have been losing weight, but I wasn’t.

I shouldn’t have been that heavy. This is what was making me unhappy. I  was eating healthy and exercising healthy. My body should have reflected what I was putting into it, but it was reflecting the opposite.

Imagine looking into your mirror and seeing someone else instead of you. This would be quite disquieting, wouldn’t it? This was me, I looked in the mirror and I didn’t see me. I didn’t see the real me, the me I was working for.

I have nothing against big bodies. If the body you have is fine with you, then be you! But if your body doesn’t reflect the you you know you are and want to be, then change it!

The body I had was not the body I am and want to be. I looked at that body and I knew I wasn’t healthy, I knew it was an illness causing that weight-gain and not my lifestyle. That’s what made me unhappy….not the actual chub but why it was there.

Another reason I wasn’t happy was the overwhelming knowledge that I had no control over my own body. Can you imagine how it feels to have your body running out of your own control? Again, disquieting to say the least.

I am a control freak, I admit it, so when I got tired of not having control over my own body I took action. I did my homework, I advocated for my own health, and I took back control.

So there you have it. The record is straight. Fat is not my concern, my health is. What people think of me is not my concern. My body reflecting who I am, the real me, reflecting my efforts, this is my main concern. Because this is how I know I’m healthy and everything is working right.

Plot Twist

I had a follow-up appointment with my primary doctor today, after seeing her last week for a painful lymph node, terrible headaches, and dizzy spells. I had labs done which came back with some abnormal results but nothing that would contribute to angry lymph nodes or headaches. I was put on antibiotics even though the labs didn’t indicate infection.

Three days after my doctor appointment my symptoms decided to get extremely bad. I had dizzy spells that included moments of blindness and hearing loss. My head was throbbing so bad I was actually tempted to cut it off! I was having trouble swallowing because of the swelling in my neck.

Then I started to have chest pain, palpitations, and shortness of breath.  I spent that evening in the ER. They did an EKG, CT scan, blood work, blood cultures, and gave me a migraine cocktail which made my chest pain worse.

The blood work showed no infection.I had a low grade fever, The CT scan showed nothing worrisome. The ER sent me home with Hydrocodone for the pain and told me I would just have to “wait out” the lymph node.

For the next two days my symptoms did not get any better.

This morning I awoke to feeling better. I attributed it to the fact that I had slept the night before with my heating pad firmly stuck to my sore swollen lymph node and set on high. It helped the swelling which helped the pain and trouble swallowing.

When I checked my e-mail I noticed a message from my endocrinologist. She confirmed the labs said my thyroid tests were abnormal and I need to have them redone to verify.

I had an appointment with my primary doctor this afternoon so I got there early and did the labs first.

They called me in and weighed me. I lost another 5lbs in one week. My temperature was normal, BP was 125/70.

The doctor came in and I told her all about how things had just gotten worse, and how I had been having chest pains now, too, and my voice is being affected.

She asked me if the ER had explained the CT results. I told her they said it didn’t show anything worrisome.  She replied that it didn’t show a swollen lymph node. That whatever is making my neck swell and causing all the pain (neck, headaches), and making difficult to swallow, it’s not a lymph node.

So she gave me a referral to a ear nose and throat specialist.

I asked her for better pain management, maybe something with anti-inflammatory. She prescribed Naproxen (Aleve) and said I cold stagger it with Hydrocodone if I need to.

plot

She went on to suggest that my chest pain could be caused from the thyroid issues I’m apparently having (if the recent labs are correct). Or could also be caused from the extreme pain I’ve been having in my head.

My husband chimed in and asked about possible exposure to black mold. I’ve been dealing with a lot of mold in our fixer-upper home.  She doubted it was anything caused from that. Usually mold, asbestos, and other things like that that come out of repairing and cleaning old homes is going to present with upper respiratory issues. I have none.

Although I had an appointment already set up for tomorrow to get my first of 12 B12 injections, I asked the doctor if I could do it today. I need B12 injections because my labs showed I am low on B12.

“Sure!”

So I waited a bit and the nurse came in and gave me a B12 shot in my left arm. She asked if I need my flu shot. I said yes. She told me to go down the hall and get it. So I did.

I am so stressed out about this swollen neck issue.  The worst part is not knowing why. What could cause my neck to swell up and hurt and cause massive headaches, trouble swallowing, and mess with my vocal cords, too?  I didn’t injure myself, could it be a virus?

What’s wrong with me?!

Please, Help Me!

One would think that taking in a pittance of calories a day would result in rapid and large amounts of weight loss, right?  Especially if one is active while not eating much..and what they eat is very healthy.  So why have I not been able to lose one pound?!

WTF, mate?!

Let me give you the rundown of my situation.  I am type 1 diabetic with a lot of complications of diabetes. I have been following Dr. Bernstein’s teachings since early November and during November I was able to regulate my blood sugar very well and lost almost 20 pounds.  December I fell off track and gained several pounds back and suffered many high blood sugars, so bleh to December.  January I was back on track, regulated my blood sugars very well, eating very little but very healthy, exercising a lot more (but still not as much as I need to), but have not been able to lose not even one frickin’ pound!

Here is a general rundown of an average nutrition in an average day for me:

Daily totals (spread out over the day of course):

Calories: 666  Maybe it’s the number that’s cursing me!

Protein: 27g

Carbohydrate: 36g

I have no energy issues, I never feel hungry and rarely have cravings anymore. I require an average of 20 units of N per day and an average of 7 units of R per day. I drink an average of 72 ounces of water a day, and 1 liter of diet soda. Occasionally, but not on a daily basis, I drink tea without anything added, and coffee (black).

For reference, I did some research on several websites, and reviewed Dr. Bernstein’s recommendations and as follows is what I determined is healthy for me, and only me, according to my lifestyle, biology, health issues, etc.

Calories: 1300-1500

Protein: 46g

Carbohydrate: No more than 30

I also use many herbs and spices in my cooking (no nutritional value, just lovely flavor).  I also take many nutritional supplements:

Cinnamon

Evening Primrose Oil

Fish Oil

Red Yeast Rice

Vitamin B12

Magnesium

So, please, can someone shine some light on why I can’t lose weight?!  My only suspicion here is that I might have PCOS.

Where I am Now

I have made a lot of lifestyle changes over the last several months.  I eat a very strict diet, exercise regularly, check my blood sugar several times every day, adjust my insulin accordingly.  Through taking notes and paying close attention to my body and actions I have learned a few things both good and bad.

1. The dawn phenomenon can go die in a fire.  I can do so well and have the most perfect blood sugars, and then I go to bed and when I wake in the morning my blood sugar is around one hundred points higher than my calculations should have it at.  I  know my calculations are correct, I check my blood before bed, calculate my basal insulin dose according to the amount of time I  intend to sleep.  I even take any bolus that might be needed to even me out for the night.  So why the high?  WTF, man!

It’s because of the dawn phenomenon.  The liver, in anticipation of waking and needing energy to get going, releases glucose into the blood stream. Obviously this raises blood sugar.  I have tried taking a higher basal dose of insulin before bed to try to counter this high, but have yet to find a dose that works.  I don’t want to be taking a massive basal dose at bed because one reason I am living the lifestyle I am living is to NOT have to take large amounts of any insulin.  I can wake in the middle of the night and bolus for the anticipated high, but I have no reliable idea of when this high will happen, so a bolus can just as easily drop me too low.  GAH!  I am working on this and any tips or suggestions are appreciated.

2. My menstrual cycle can go jump in a vat of acid. I can be doing so well, my blood sugars are perfect and I couldn’t be happier. Then Auntie Flo starts on her journey over to my house.  Several days before she arrives my blood sugars begin to get all upity about her anticipated arrival and there is the biggest fight every frickin’ month to get them to calm down.  Finally, a few days in to Auntie’s visit the blood sugar finally calms the hell down.  I have to raise my basal AND my bolus’ during this time, and it’s no joke, my insulin needs skyrocket during this week to week and a half.  Really?!  I hate my body.

3. Carbs are the devil.  I’ve always known this but it has become immensely clear now that I don’t eat them.  I am so very sensitive to the effects of carbs on my blood sugar, weight, and how I physically and emotionally feel.  I have to take at least three times the amount of insulin to counter carbs than I do when I don’t have hardly any in my diet. Carbs and the increased need for insulin pack on the pounds quickly and easily…and A LOT. Also, when I eat carbs and they raise my blood sugar, both make me feel bad: dehydration, cramps, achy joints, mood swings, blurred vision, lethargy, just to name a few.

On he flip side, when I don’t have the carbs in my diet , I feel energized, happy, relaxed, and nearly pain-free (I have a lot of health issues that come with pain). My blood sugars are so much easier to control and I require much less insulin. I feel satiated with smaller portions of food that includes ample veggies (non-starchy) and plenty of protein. I feel good!

4. Change comes quickly. When I first decided to follow Dr. Bernstein’s teachings on a very low carb diet I expected to eventually see a change.  This is how it worked with all the other diets I’ve tried, you start doing what the diet teaches and a few weeks later you start to see the positive effects.  With Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution I saw the positive results within 24 hours!  5f50e-imag0312This is one reason I have stuck to it, it works!  And it works immediately! First my blood sugars dropped and stayed below 100 as long as I was eating right.  Then my insulin needs fell to a fraction of what I was using before. Then I noticed I felt better all over both physically and emotionally…and mentally. My aches and pains and depression were melting away rapidly.  I felt more energized and wanted to go for walks and work out and dance. Then I noticed the weight dropping. All of this began within 24 hours and by week two I was 100% a Bernstein believer.

There have been bumps in the road.  It is easy to be pulled off track by life and a lack of will power.  I spent December regressed into my old habits and hating myself for it.  But I picked myself up and am back on track once more.

5. Food. Eating a very restricted diet is not bad at all.  Part of this is because, well, you still have a lot to work with.  Don’t look at what you can’t eat, look at ALL the wonderful things you can! And part of this is because there is a good reason the foods you are restricted from are restricted.  Because they’re bad for you.  I have no problem staying away from starchy foods, fruits, and all things carb and sugar filled because they make me feel bad.  Some of them may taste like heaven, but they make me feel like hell.  So I have no qualms about kicking them to the curb.

6. Exercise is heaven. It’s hard to get into an exercise routine when you’ve lived so sedentary for so long.  Even though I’ve always loved to be active, I haven’t been able to move much over the last few years due to excruciating pain caused by a number of complications of diabetes. But once I started feeling so much better because of my new eating habits, I started trying out different workout programs.  Of all the things I’ve tried, I’ve found two that I love and am sticking to.

– Xbox Fitness:  A program offered on the Xbox One and Xbox 360 (found in the gaming center). I love it because you can choose from a ton of different workouts and you are given incentives and achievements that offer you an immediate sense of progress and motivation to keep working.

– DDP Yoga: This program is progressive and you work at your own pace.  So starting out not being able to reach my left arm straight out to my side or above my head is OK.  I can keep working at it at my own pace and eventually I’ll get there.  I love this program because you get stretched out while strengthening your entire body and gaining balance.  I love to stretch,and it is helping a lot to relieve my frozen shoulder and I can do it without aggravating the neuropathy pain in my legs.

I also walk a lot.  I love going out and breathing fresh air and just walking around town.  It’s relaxing and refreshing, and good for you!  I don’t walk fast because of neuropathy, but at least I am walking.  A quick note here: I found that walking in high heels keeps the neuropathy pain away.  So I ditched the tennis shoes because I get terrible pain when walking in flats.  Go figure.

A lot of changes.  A lot of lessons learned.  Still a long way to go.  But I am getting there.  I am trying.

Xbox Fitness

I am the type of person who loves to work my body.  I love the feel of a good workout, the stretch and burn of working my muscles, the type of exhaustion that somehow also makes you feel energized and ALIVE!  I just love it.

But I am also the type of person who finds it difficult to get up and go.  All my health issues keep me knowing I need exercise but also make it difficult and very painful (in a bad way) to do any real physical activity.

So, how do I get and stay motivated and encouraged to work through the  pain and find good health and fitness?

One thing I found is through Xbox Fitness.  It is a program on Xbox One and Xbox 360, (found in the game center)where you can choose from many workouts, many are free but some you will need to pay for.  Choose your workout and do it. You can pick any workout you want to do at any time; keep doing the same one or change it up as often as you like.  They offer workout programs for every level, beginners to experts  What keeps you motivated to keep coming back and keep giving it your all is the many achievements set for you to reach like:

-time goals (work out for 10 min., work out for 30min, etc.)
-beat your last score
-beat your personal best on – squats, jumping jacks, lunges, etc.

And so many more!

During your workout the program (through Kinect) reads your body heat and tells you when you need to “go lower!”, “Dig deep!”, “Reach higher!”, etc.  And also encourages you when you’re doing it right, “Keep going!”, “Awesome!”, “Excellent!”, “Perfect!”, etc.

The program also keeps track of all your stats like, age, weight, height, heart rate, etc.

You gain badges for your achievements and once you get enough badges you move up to the next level of fitness.

It is an awesome way to keep motivated and encouraged to work harder and keep trying.

Have you tried Xbox Fitness?  If not, what keeps you going?  How do you stay motivated and encouraged to work harder and keep at it?

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

This was originally posted to my old blog on October 23, 2014

This is purely my own experience and opinion.

There are arguments out there that claim taking vitamin and mineral supplements does nothing to help improve health.  That they are a waste of money, and in some cases can be harmful.  Some state that our bodies can’t properly metabolize the supplements in pill form because our bodies are made to draw the nutrients from the source (food, etc.) and so just spill the nutrients from pills through the bodies urine.

I can’t say if these claims are true, or even if I’ve stated them accurately, because I am no professional.  I can say with certainty, though, that I am a supplement taker and they work damn well for me!  When I go without taking supplements, I notice a significant and more negative difference in my overall health.

Now, maybe it is because I am not a healthy person.  Maybe supplements don’t make a difference for people that are already healthy for the most part.  But for people like me who live with chronic conditions and incurable diseases, supplements can do a whole lot to benefit our health.  I live with Type I Diabetes and a lot of complications of diabetes.  Supplements have done much to help me live a healthier life.

Now I am not talking about expensive products that come from multi-level marketing schemes and may include meal plans and programs and promise cures, weight-loss, and/or other things.  No, I am simply talking about vitamin and mineral supplement pills you can buy at almost any store that sells foods and pharmaceuticals.

Some people don’t like the idea of vitamins because they don’t want to take on an ‘odor’.  To them I might suggest buying the odorless kinds.  Almost all the supplements that used to cause certain smells now come in an odorless version.  Or you can take chlorophyll.  Chlorophyll is excellent at making you not smell like anything at all.  Perfumes won’t  even stay on your skin!  We used to give it to our dogs to get rid of the dog odor and it worked wonders!

As far as the claim that supplements can be harmful…of course they can.  Anything can be harmful when you just jump on in and don’t do your homework first.  If you take too much, or you mix with medication that they don’t mix well with, or you have an allergy to a vitamin.  Everything has the potential for harm.  And also, don’t just buy any old brand of supplements, do your homework on companies and buy from a company/brand you trust.

For me the key differences I notice when on vitamins are a follows:  More energy and alertness, healthier skin, hair, and nails, I sleep better, I experience fewer aches and pains, my mood evens out (I feel happier), my appetite evens out (less cravings). And, of course, the various benefits to health related to why I take the supplements I take!

Everyone’s health needs differ, so obviously different supplements will benefit different people.  For me, here is a list of what I take and why:

*The benefits listed below are not ALL the benefits of each supplement, they are just the ones I take them for. And they are, for the most part, only suggested benefits and may not be scientifically proven.*

Multi vitamin:  Hey, I just like to cover all my bases.  🙂

Calcium +Vitamin D:  Every woman should take this, it’s great for helping to prevent osteoporosis. It benefits bone strength and health.

Cinnamon: The spice of life! There are a ton of claimed health benefits of cinnamon, some are: blood-sugar regulation, mood regulation, and much more. I not only take a cinnamon capsule, but I also use cinnamon in a lot of my cooking. It’s delicious!

CoQ10: Energy, antioxidant, digestion, heart health.

Magnesium: Magnesium is good for the heart and bones and is also good for reducing pain.

Evening Primrose Oil: Helps with high cholesterol, heart disease, nerve damage (neuropathy), and insulin resistance.

Vitamin B-12: Boosts mood and energy, good for the heart, nerves, reduces ringing in the ears, and is a mosquito repellent.

Folic Acid: Good for the heart,  sleep aid, nerve pain.  Folic acid causes vivid dreams.  I naturally have vivid dreams and taking folic acid only makes them more vivid.  I love it!

Cranberry: Good for blood pressure and boosts immune health.

Frankincense and Myrrh oil (topical): Temporary relief from neuropathy pain.

Obligatory New Year Resolution Post

This was originally posted to my old blog on December 26, 2013

Every year my resolution is the same;  I resolve to work out regularly, lose weight, and get healthy all around.  Every year I start out well and in no more than a few weeks all returns to it’s normal gain-lose-gain-lose roller-coaster ride.  Well this year is going to be different, damn it!

I have just a tad bit more incentive to get healthy this year.  After two years solid of chest pain caused from a combination of GERD and coronary artery disease, I had a triple bypass back in October.  So, yeah, I think it is a very good idea to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

So, how do I go about actually sticking to my resolution?  For starters, I wrote down a workout routine and posted it on my bulletin board so I will see it everyday.  Secondly, I thrive on variety, so I have six different workouts planned, one for each day.  The seventh day I shall rest.  I will also be keeping a record of my weight, which I will be checking once a week.

As for food, the household has been decent about only having “healthy” foods in the house…except for on what we call “Fat Sunday”.  So, as long as we can all be good, it will all be good.  I have only had fast food three times since my surgery, and even then I didn’t eat all of it.  My appetite and preferences have changed (for the better) since surgery.  I hope it stays this way.

I think if my friends and family can be supportive as well as holding me responsible for my resolution, it would help.  I would love to hear things like, “How’s the resolution coming?”,  “You’re looking good!”, and “Don’t eat that, you fat pig!”  would be nice.  OK, maybe not the last comment, it would probably make me sob into a tub of ice cream.