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Posts Tagged ‘health’

Death by cancer.

My Husband’s Mom’s doctor who shot himself recently after learning his diagnosis of ALS.

Family, friends, and even bloggers who have crohns, colitis, diverticulitis and type 2 diabetes.

First cousins who passed before the age of 26 from Cystic Fibrosis.

Acquaintances, like one in particular who is a Facebook friend with MS, who’s recent posts range from “feeling trapped in her own body” to “it’s getting harder to breathe”.

Last night I woke up at 2am. As soon as my body woke me up, I knew. I had a urinary tract infection. I used to be plagued by them monthly and thankfully I haven’t had one since last September. I am not trying to compare a UTI to any of the ailments above, but if you’ve ever had one before, they are extremely uncomfortable.

I stood in the hot shower from 2am to almost 3am. Then I laid down in the guest bedroom, with a heating pad, chugging bottles of water, and taking doses of cystex. I couldn’t help but really start to think about how important your health is. I tossed and turned and waited for the cramping and burning to stop until almost 6am. The time I originally planned to get up and go to running class. Skipping that made my mental state even more miserable.

See you can control your own happiness about so many things. Work, money, love, friends, family – you can choose to be surrounded by certain types of people, you can choose the work you do – or at least your attitude when doing it – all of these you can control. In the end I feel like your health really is the most important.

Sure you could have a good attitude if you’re sick, or dealing with a disease – but in reality, living your day to day life in pain, being exhausted, and physically, and probably as a result, mentally feeling awful – sucks. It consumes you. It just sucks. I watched my Grandmother physically wither away as a result of lung cancer, arthritis and osteoporosis , but mentally, she was all there. It was awful.

I know ways to help prevent getting UTIs and I need to be more careful again. Last night was a crappy reminder of it. It was also a good reminder that I want to get a little more serious about taking care of my health in the ways I can control, and stop taking it for granted.

I can control my teeth health – getting myself into the dentist and flossing like I always say I will.
I can control my nutritional health – eating healthy unprocessed foods, and providing enough protein and vegetables to my body.
I can control my bone healthy – strength training, properly refueling, and stretching.
I can control finding out about any healthy ailments – by continuing to get regular physicals at both the regular doctor and gyno.

This wasn’t meant to be a depressing post, or even a preachy one. If anything I’m in a damn good mood after only 3 hours of sleep. But it’s a really good reminder to put shit into perspective. To make myself happy in ways I can, and to control the parts of my health that I can.

As the burning fades this morning, I can’t help but want to dance around my office. Feeling normal and healthy, truly is, the best feeling that I don’t ever want to take for granted.

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The other night after gorging on multiple plates of Chinese food, I opened up my fortune cookie…

“Release and let go. Live simply with joy in the present.”

It’s time for a fresh start. A reset. A clean slate.

The past three weeks have been crazy. In fact I’ve drafted at least 5 blog posts that I never finished. Weekend trips to Buffalo, Rhode Island, and having numerous family members and friends stay for long weekends (or random week nights). A baby shower, a wedding shower, a 5 mile race and morning workout classes before work 4 days a week. The new boss starting, and big complex projects handed my way. Quick unhealthy food options – due to letting myself get far too hungry and then choosing fast food, BBQ foods, countless cookie binges and just double the portion sizes. Seeing the Husband only in passing – literally in passing – to the point where we have had far too many fights, all about the same thing. We’re exhausted and we miss each other.

My focus on the rest of June is all about letting go, starting clean, and living in the present.

Part of that will involve clean eating for the remainder of the month. That means no processed foods but choosing to eat whole, unrefined foods. It means no alcohol, sweets, or dairy cheeses. It means a lot more fruit and vegetables. I’m actually taking part of the June clean and lean challenge to motivate and push myself through. [I will be technically cheating on one thing: caffeine. I will be having my daily coffee. ] After only a couple of days of at least 5 servings of vegetables a day, 2 serving of fruit, lean protein, unprocessed complex carbs, healthy fats and absurd amounts of water, I feel fantastic. For the first time in weeks I don’t feel bloated.

PicMonkey Collage

Part of that involves letting go of any resentments or silly battles that I have with the Husband. We had a nice long chat this past Sunday about both of us making more of an effort to have quality time together, to stop nagging each other in the moments we do get to see each other, and to be more kind and thoughtful – even if we are exhausted or busy. This month we’ll have a few quality date times together and all I want to focus on is just enjoying the present time with him.

Part of that involves fewer plans and racing around. Saying no to things that aren’t important or that I just don’t want to do. Instead I have a few nights scheduled where I can head home, cook a nice dinner, watch TV and relax by myself. Fewer plans but more quality. Like a full beach day with my best friend this weekend. Or attending my cousin’s first wedding dress fitting appointment. Or a Father’s day BBQ with the Husband’s family. Or an afternoon with the Husband for apartment hunting – we officially want to move. (FRESH start!)

I’m excited. I just feel like mentally, physically, and emotionally I’ve been carrying around a lot of extra weight and it’s time to let it all go and start clean.

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News from the lady doctor

Message 1: Your CF gene mutation test did not detect an abnormal gene. This is good news. It reduces your carrier risk from 1:25 to 1:268.

Message 2: Your pap smear is normal.

LittleJoys

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One SWEET (secret) goal

The weeks prior to Lent I was on a cookie and sweets binge.

Let me first explain that I’ve never once in my life followed Lent. I’m technically Protestant but never practiced and my Mom always asked that we do more good for the world/community/our friends during Lent versus give something up.

Anyway, it had become somewhat of a winter habit this year to always have sweets in the house ready to gorge on after dinner or when it was too frigid to go outside. During Nemo I think I ate a pound of chocolate over the course of the weekend. On Monday and Fat Tuesday I ate an entire bag of chocolate chip cookies from Trader’s and a decent amount of homemade cookies (…like 24). No, I’m not exaggerating. I actually had the worst headache on Tuesday night and I felt beyond ill after all of that. In total, since the wedding I have gained back about 8lbs.

Enter a goal moment.

Usually when I have a goal or an idea, I’m the first person to shout it to the world. I’ll write about it on here and I’ll tell everyone I can as a way of holding myself accountable. Now that really worked for certain goals – like my first triathlon. I asked people to watch me cross the finish line which forced me to always push my hardest during training and during the tri because I had 10 people driving hours to watch me and I felt like I had trained hard enough to give my best.

When it comes to personal goals though, where it’s really only myself at the so-called finish line, for some reason lately when I shout my goals to the world…they fall through. I lose steam, I lose drive and as quickly as I explain them to the world, the goal loses its appeal and I’m on to the next.  It’s like, as I’m typing my goals, I’m excited, motivated, passionate and an endorphin rush hits…and then I hit publish and I realized I’ve already peaked and I feel exhausted before I’ve begun.

So one of my so-called “secrets” that I held off on writing about for a bit, and that you probably figured out by now, is that for Lent I gave up all sweets and desserts. That includes cakes, cookies, chocolate, candy, dessert martinis, ice-cream, frozen yogurt, hot chocolate etc. I also haven’t added any additional sugar into things, well, I wasn’t really before anyway, but I don’t add sugar into coffee, baking, oatmeal, etc.

For the past 13 days I have not had a single sweet treat or dessert.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal to most, but to me, it’s huge. I can’t remember a time in my entire life that I went more than 3 days without some kind of dessert, candy, or sweet treat. Even in college when I was doing Weight Watchers I made sure I had points for at least one dessert a day. I’m a dessert girl through and through. 

The truth is, it actually hasn’t been that hard these past 13 days. Sure I’ve had a few cravings but nothing too intense and they fade more and more as time goes on. I’ve been taking notes for the past few weeks and trying hard to notice any differences that I could document at this point, and then to compare again at the end of the month when this all ends on March 30th.

I will say that so far the hardest part are the PEOPLE! I swear the most frustrating, annoying, and irritating thing of all has been responding to people and their apparent need to force feed me sweets. As it is I’m one who hates peer-pressure of any kind with a passion. If you try to get me to drink faster, or eat more, I will be that much more committed to not doing it. Even more so, and what I don’t think most people get, is that this is a choice for me to do this. I want to stop eating sweets for a while, but I don’t care in the slightest if anyone around me eats them.

Here’s pretty much how conversations have been going, almost daily with people at work, to friends, to family, everyone (minus the Husband who has been far more supportive than I imagined):

Person: “Do you want a piece of [cake/cake-pop/candy/ piece of chocolate]?”

Me: “No, thank you”

Person: “No really, have a piece, we have a ton!”

Me: “No really, I’m good, but thank you anyway”

Person: “But it’s a [celebration/birthday/goodbye/hump day/good day/bad day/national girl-scout cookie day/dumbest reason ever day], you must have some! You’re not on some crazy diet are you?”

Me: “No, I actually gave up sweets and desserts for a while so I’m going to stick with saying no”

Person: “Omg, why would you do that? Is that hard? Are you losing weight? Can you cheat a little?”

Kill.me.

There were alternate (worse) versions to that conversation too. Once that included the person then popping their treat into their mouth in front of me and mmming and ahhing to explain how good it was and if I had changed my mind yet. Or those who responded with why (my) giving up sweets is silly or stupid. Or a few people who doubted that I could do it and they felt the need to tell me that. There were moments where I wanted to say something like, “I’m diabetic and it would kill me to eat that”  just to shut people up. It has truly surprised me at how negative people can be and for a lack of better words, what a pain in the ass they can be.

The thing is, I’m not giving up sweets forever. There’s no way in hell I’d do that and that’s not the goal. So what is my goal?

For one, I do want to prove to myself that I can turn sweets down and that I don’t have to eat dessert daily (or multiple times a day). I truly got to the point where if I was looking at cookies and I could only have one (instead of 5) than I didn’t want any because one wouldn’t be enough. I want to retrain my thinking when it comes to desserts and not eat loads of sugar just because it’s a habit to do so every night. I want to eat a healthy portion of a dessert, thoroughly enjoy it, and be OK with stopping there. Or even on some nights, decline dessert.

So far I’ve held strong and I really do feel fantastic.

The good:

I’ve lost 3 pounds.

The past few months I have had these crazy ups and downs in my moods – practically every other day. I haven’t had a single mood swing since I gave up all the extra sugar.

I’m eating a ton more fruit in place of sugar (which seems to make my digestion happier). After the first few days of cravings passed, the fruit usually satisfies any dessert craving. Strawberries are my go to.

I’m sleeping better. I feel like I’m waking up less during the night and it’s been much easier to wake up early in the morning. I swear since this started I’ve been up naturally by 7am even on weekends.

I have more constant and consistent energy.

Talking about it with people who are supportive or doing something similar is really fun. I was with a few girls this past weekend, one who actually is diabetic genetically, and one who is borderline type 2 diabetic, and it was just a really good conversation about healthy lifestyles, snacks, workouts, positive body and mood changes, etc.

The bad:

I’m craving more carbs. This gets a little dangerous as I know that carbs turn to sugar, so it seemed like instead of dessert I’ve been grabbing extra portions of garlic bread, pasta, or rice. I have to be more conscious of this one.

Socially, it has already required far more conversations and defenses than I would want to deal with on a regular basis.

What I thought would happen, that so far, has not:

I thought my skin would be exceptionally clear with the lack of sugar but truthfully, so far, it’s been worse. I’m not sure if it’s the total change in diet, something else I’m replacing the sugar with (i.e. the carbs) but I’ve had more breakouts than I have had in a long time.

I thought my headaches would go away. I wrongly assumed my headaches were from all the sugar binges but I’ve had just as many. I think it’s more connected to clenching my jaw.

***

In the end, this morning I really struggled with whether or not I was going to talk about this goal so soon but the truth is, I can do this. I’ve gone 13 days so far, and I have no doubt I can go another 33 days. I’m excited to see how I feel in comparison at the end.

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Have you ever dated or been in a relationship with a guy that you knew you shouldn’t be with? But you were addicted and for whatever reason you just kept letting the crappy behavior slide and you’d still hang out with him?

Or have you ever watched that happen with a friend? You mention multiple times to your friend that the fact that this person cancels on them 90% of the time and usually only calls them after 11pm on weekend nights is less than what your friend deserves?

I find that no matter what you say, usually it has to run its course. In the friend instance it’s painful to watch, and you talk it through over and over but somehow it keeps happening.

But then at some point (sometimes months too long) it clicks for that person. They deserve better. They aren’t happy. They have been pretending the whole “see you when I see you thing” works. But it takes that person getting to that point to be able to change it. You can’t push them there.

This post is not about crappy guys and dating. Although I have (and am) watching quite a few friends go through that exact scenario. And I want to shout over and over, YOU DESERVE BETTER, but they have to want better.

Anyway, this post is actually about fitness and health.

For the past few months I have wanted to get back into the groove. I’ve signed up for race after race and added many Google calendar appointments to work out.

But I haven’t. Aside from one 5 mile race and one triathlon I’ve fallen through on the rest. I watched as the scale crept up and I posted about my frustration, sadness and disappointment with my weight gain and outlook on health. I kept saying I was going to change, I came up with strict goals and signed up for more races.

But it didn’t change. If anything it got worse. 2 slices of cheesecake and 1 slice of blackout cake (in one night) from Cheesecake Factory finally set me off.

Maybe it’s my all or nothing personality.

Maybe I just needed a break.

But yesterday it clicked. Finally. That moment of knowing that I’ll make the effort because I really, truly, deep-down want to make the effort.

I met with my trainer yesterday who did initial measurements. My weight, my BMI, and other assorted fitness tests. He wants me to lose 4% of my body fat (which is about 8lbs). I agree. It’s not a crazy goal, in fact it puts me at a comfortable weight – one that I know I could maintain in a healthy, easy way.

I needed that slap in my face of seeing my weight written down by my trainer.
And now I need someone I am held responsible to.

So honestly? Screw my previous September goals. I didn’t meet half of them, but I’m over it. I’m not dieting, I’m not giving up dinner with friends, and I’m most definitely not giving up alcohol or all desserts. I’m doing this the real way.

Slow changes. Getting my booty to the gym 4x a week. Making healthier eating choices. Controlling my portions.

And GO.

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Physically I appear strong, healthy and athletic. But here’s the truth about my body, my physical appearance and my health…

My eye sight is well below 20/20. I have frequent dry eyes and eye ulcers from their apparent hatred of contacts.

I have interstitial cystitis. It’s uncomfortable a lot, and can send my mood downhill fast. I’m switching to a new doctor soon enough who can hopefully get me on something like Elmiron. Stinging pain after sex or drinking is not something you want to look forward to.

I have hair extensions. It’s the most vain thing I have ever done but I’ve always hated how thin my hair is. Everyone comments on how soft my hair is yet they can’t believe how thin it is. Think a ponytail that matches the thickness of your pinky finger. Earlier this year I spent a few hundred dollars to get great length extensions (for thickness only). They match my real length and color amazingly. Since having them multiple people have commented on my hair. I feel 10,000 times better.

I have PCOS. I found this out by accident when I was living in Australia. After examining me the doc had my ovaries up on a screen and said, “do you see all of the hair follicles surrounding your ovaries? you have polycystic ovaries.” At the time I thought it meant nothing. Now I understand there are quite a few side effects if I don’t keep myself healthy. Very quickly I can gain weight, breakout, and have my reproductive health disappear.

I have three first cousins with Cystic Fibrosis. It was made clear to me while growing up they likely wouldn’t live past the age of 20. They’re surviving, in and out of the hospital, but they’ve all made it past 20. I don’t know if I have the cystic fibrosis gene, but my future spouse and I will need to be tested before having children.

I may have gripes and frustrations with my body – but there’s just no excuse not to appreciate it for what is it.

I’m going to my absolute favorite spin class tonight with a thick ponytail. It sounds ridiculous, but that makes me happy.

source

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