These 5 Signs Scream Drink More Water!

My youngest daughter recently started running cross-country.  A cross over from soccer as she loved her coach and he coaches girls soccer in the spring, and cross-country in the fall.  She’s been doing an amazing job, until the one race she was in agonizing pain.  I knew that she was running last after being at a meet all morning, but what did I miss?

It suddenly hit me that no one, herself included, remembered to remind the kids to stay hydrated for the last race.  Then, volunteering to march alongside the band for the oldest daughter in a recent parade, a mom told me of a boy cramping and almost passing out during the last parade.  You guys.  What do I always say (to my kids to be embarrassing)?  Hydrate with some high quality H2O!! Yes.  I use The Waterboy.

So now that we have covered this, grab some water right now and read the rest of this.

5 Signs That Your Body Needs More Water:

  1. You actually feel dry.  Dry mouth, dry eyeballs, or dry skin.  Right.  Like you’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name…or something like that.  Sugary drinks are like adding some crack to your brain and are not going to hydrate.  I do not make these facts up.  I just write them in a more interesting way than others.  If you are experiencing itchy eyes and don’t normally have allergies, go for some water.
  2. You feel like you are 80 years old at age 30.  I might be the exception to this because I started to feel old at 23, but really, if you are experiencing joint pain, I learned about this really cool thing called synovial fluid, and hey.  It needs some love.  Sugary stuff is inflammatory to joints.  Chances are you have heard this.  Water is not.  It helps nutrients move through your blood therefore getting to your joints, and not only that, your body’s cartilage is composed of nearly 80% water.  Hmm.  What if it’s not getting any?  Where is it taking nutrients from?  Think about it.
  3. Fatigue like you can’t explain to the average person.  When I was in chronic fatigue, my body had to work twice as hard.  I don’t try to think back on those days of 24/7 pain for like 5 years, but I do know that I wasn’t doing the correct things.  No doctor ever addressed this.  Seriously.  Water brings oxygen into your body.  No one, not one doctor, said you know, mild dehydration causes the blood to thicken.  I started noticing when I went for phlebotomies that my blood was really thick at certain times (not trying to gross you out, but it was part of my life for over 19 years to watch my blood go into a bag, and technically, I still have to keep an eye on it).  I was always so out of it before, and during the nurses would say drink, drink, drink.  One smart nurse finally hooked me up to an IV.  Duh.  That felt better. I didn’t know that my body was sucking the oxygen out from wherever it could find it, thus creating this sort of mini-storm of fatigue, mood swings, and basically quicksand feeling.
  4. You might suffer digestive problems.  Let’s talk about our colons.  They need some acknowledgement for all the shit they put up with.  << I couldn’t resist, but really.  I would be embarrassed about this, but that ship sailed years ago when my friend was diagnosed with colon cancer and had zero history and the only warning was she thought it might have been hemorrhoids.  I know I sound like my college biology teacher, and I can still hear her today, but she would yell to the class your ermmm feces says lots about your health.  Again, if this saves a life, I don’t mind saying stay hydrated and take note of any issues and see a doctor as needed.  Don’t be embarrassed about this as life is too short.
  5. Your headaches are increasing.  A very noticeable sign all the way down to your young child who is in sports.  A theory is that the dehydration feeling causes pressure in your brain to change.  Drink 2-3 cups of water immediately as that helps (in theory) to level out the fluid levels around your spinal cord.  I believe this to be true as I get enormous pressure and, I notice when I urinate that it is not the right color.  Ack!!  Those two go hand in hand.  Dark pee, headaches, drink more water.  Sorry not sorry.  Trying to be helpful and embarrassing at the same time.

The bottom line is, why don’t we talk about this with our health professionals?  Are we too embarrassed to mention these signs?  Our body is showing us in the only way it can that it is of dire importance that we notice the signs and signals it is giving us.  Liked this?  Here are 5 Steps to Being Healthier Today to continue on in this theme.  Just use the search button on the right hand side or the top tab “health” for more.  Want my newsletter?  That’s over there too.

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9 tips on how to manage your iron overload disease.

9 tips on how to manage your iron overload disease…

This post will be dedicated to all of my new friends and friends I have yet to meet.  I can’t wait to get to my quote, but that’s my closing signature as you know.  So here it goes.  Let’s collect all of things we have learned and put them on one page.  I’m going to start because it’s my blog.  Onto your assignment.  If you have been diagnosed with Hereditary Hemochromatosis, you already know what’s wrong with you.  Hopefully, somewhere along the way someone explained what you should be doing, but if not, click the link above.  I am moving onto the next step.  Healing.  All of the bloggers I have recently met share a wealth of knowledge, but we are not doctors.  We are here as a support group for each other, so ask your doctor about any tips we share.  I am going to share some things that have taken me over 14 years to learn.  I don’t want you to wait that long.  If anyone has anything to add, please comment below.

  1. My joints ache.  What should I do?  Start taking a product with Glucosamine and Chondroitin like Relief.   I use the products I linked here, but you can use whatever works for you.  I personally know these have no fillers and no adverse side effects for my autoimmune disease as well.
  2. I am exhausted all the time.  What’s next?  After your ferritin has reached a good level (10 is nice), have your doctor check your vitamin D.  Seriously.  Why did it take 12 years to realize this?  I can’t be out in the sun for long.  This would make sense to check.  My favorite is this one called It’s Vital Minerals.
  3. I was taking a multi-vitamin.  What now?  Stay away from them!  Too much vitamin C is not needed as it promotes the absorption of iron and obviously we can’t take iron.  It was all Mr. Flintstones fault…if only we knew back then.  Find a vitamin with either low C or none added, and no added iron!
  4. I like raw seafood.  I heard I have to stay away.  This is true…to some degree.  Do not eat raw oysters ever due to Vibrio Vulnificus.  Thanks to one of my new blogger friends, I learned this word.  Honestly, no one ever told me why, just the get sick and die part.  Seriously.
  5. Drink more coffee.  Why?  Coffee is your life’s blood.  Ha.  Okay, so not really, but it does interfere with the absorption of iron.  Awesome.  We are Bi-winning now.
  6. Can I still drink gallons of sweet tea?  Okay, so I live in the south, and drink lots of tea.  My momma will even tell you she put it in my bottle.  No lie.  Please drink all the tea you want!  In fact, it also has magical properties if you drink the green tea version.  Would I fib?  Well, maybe not exactly magical per say, but it depends on your symptoms.  We are basing this off me.  While it does have a trace amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), it has selenium, which helps the thyroid.  This is important as iron has played with parts of my body I was not aware of.  That statement sounds a bit off…moving on.
  7. Prebiotics are good for your gut!!  If you are in maintenance phase and are de-ironed, add these chews to make your digestion better.  Prebiotics are fibers that support the growth of healthy probiotic bacteria in your digestive system.  Very important to heal your “gut” and to think about it as something that helps balance your whole system.
  8. Yay!  I am “normal” again.  Can I stop getting treatments?  No, you can’t.  Not unless you have a vampire living with you or you are into bloodletting with leeches.  Go every 4-6 months for life and you’ll be fine.  That is why my doctor has a house on the water and just added a library addition.  I wish I was kidding.  She could at least offer me a tour.
  9. Please get checked for diabetes, thyroid problems, heart disease, or pituitary issues should new symptoms occur.

This list will continue to grow and evolve as my readers share their knowledge.  If you found my blog through Facebook, welcome!  Please feel free to subscribe and share with your loved ones.  And now the part I like sharing best…one of my favorite quotes.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”

~C.S. Lewis

The yo-yo mood…

So it just takes one thing…just one for me to start my yo-yo mood.  The other day, I was doing whatever random things I do on the computer.  Mostly making quotes for a few pages I run, and a friend sent me this article in a message called It’s Not Fibromyalgia.  I read her message and was surprised that she too suffered…but when I started reading this post, my head went to the place it goes to when people write about their experiences.  It kind of goes like this when people talk about how bad it is living with pain…I hear you sister.  I understand this.  It sucks, but damn this is depressing to read in someone’s voice other than my own.  Do I sound like this?  Crap. This is messed up.  Sigh.  More depressing things I have been through.  I could be her…she could be me.  Wait.  Wait a minute.  She just said something I need to hear.  Someone actually listened to her.  Hold on and back up to that part because the rest is the same as my life.  Except this part.  This part where she finds HOPE. 

So I get to the symptoms, you know the part where invisible diseases can’t be seen except for the fact that I have lots of those symptoms…and doctors don’t really know what to do…so I kind of stopped talking to them about what’s going on.  And I get to the part where she prayed she had this thing because it actually explains something.  Black mold.  Wow.  Who knew?  Well, obviously someone did, but not anyone else most of us have ever come across in our long line of 18 different specialists.  So I messaged my one advocate in this fight…Dr. Marion who I have written about.  And she says yes.  Yes we can do this test.

For those of you who might be new, I gave up on regular doctors after getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia by a man who was a nervous wreck and a top rheumatologist in the area.  He said he understood why I wouldn’t want to be on pharmaceuticals given the side effects of the “medicines” and the possibility of a liver compromise with hereditary hemochromatosis (see my tab at the top about that genetic disorder).  Not to mention the other possible complications with those “drugs”.  I decided to go all-natural using plant based phytotherapy (see my tab Vitalize You at the top).  So that brings me to where I am.  No doctors listen to my intuition.  None.  I know for a fact that something deep down has made so many things spin off…and it’s only a matter of time before we find the link.  So if this isn’t it…we keep going.  But it’s one more thing to cross off.  I will let you know what happens.

Difficult times

The open gate…

While I have been thinking about this post for a few days, I have not written it.  There are many reasons it needs to be written…I think someone else wants to know that I understand.  The products I use to “close the gate” are listed at the end.

Imagine if you will, that you have to get up and go to the store.  Maybe you don’t like going to the store, but you have your list, you get dressed, and you go.  Imagine a fibro friend has to go to the store.  You haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep so when you wake up you are groggy.  You ache in places you didn’t know could ache, but it’s normal, so you try not to let it interfere as you know you have things to do.  You hold tightly onto the handrail as you slowly creak downstairs.  I say creak, because in your head, you are imagining that you are 85 years old.  But of course, you are barely 40.

When you get to the kitchen, you look at the list, because without it, there is no way you will even know why you are going to the store.  Memory-schmemory.  You read the list 3 times because you know, you just know, you will forget something.  You get the keys, you say to yourself, I can do this.  You don’t even sit down after getting up.  Why?  Because you know you won’t go.  Again.  To the damn store.  You realize you have to go to not one but two stores because of the special items on your list.  You tell yourself you can rest after this.  You look for your keys.  Wait, you have them.  Ok.  You leave the house.  Task one is complete and it just felt like you ran a marathon.

When you get to the store, you see an elderly woman walking slowly in.  You quicken your pace even though you ache all over.  If she can do this, so can I.  You actually make it into the store.  You check your list, again.  As you go down the aisles you begin to get tired.  You tell yourself to push on.  You get what’s needed, after checking the list multiple times.  And then you check out only to realize it wasn’t that bad.  But you have to go to another store.  You realize you are exhausted, but you can do this.  Task two is complete, and the marathon has now turned into an ultra-marathon.

The next store.  You sit in the parking lot telling yourself that this is it.  You only have a few things left.  You go into the store.  You don’t think.  You can’t dwell.  Get in and out.  Do not abort the mission or your dachshunds will have no food.  That would be bad.  You get the items you need, plus some gluten-free things they have here, and on that particular aisle, it’s almost like they know.  They just know, you needed a song.  So “Roar” starts playing.  Sweet.  Now even Katy Perry is cheering for me to finish this trip.  And my damn eyeballs are teary because it’s the part, you know the part, “Get ready cause I’ve had enough…I see it all, I see it now.  I’ve got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire, cuz I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar.”  Sooo, I’m like, let’s go store.  I got this.  So now it’s like a decathlon or something.  I don’t know, because I was a ballet dancer and soccer player…and now I do yoga, but it’s like I ran a freaking marathon.  If one liked that sort of thing.  Which I don’t really.  Task 3, done.

And that my friends, was just the trip to the store.  Not the putting away of groceries.  Not the actual making of things with these groceries that you stare at and hope perform tricks after all of that, and jump into something nice like a soup or a 3 course meal.  That was just the trip.  The TRIP.

To further explain, I want to share this research on a pain analogy:

Old house
Pain is affected by how much we attend to the pain sensation. You can think of pain intensity being like the experience of trying to go to sleep in an old house. If you listen quietly, an old house will often creak and groan at night. If these sounds are familiar because they happen all the time, you assume they are just normal creaks and groans, do not pay much attention to them, and drift off to sleep. But, if someone had broken into the house recently, then you’d be on high alert. You’d pay close attention to every creak or groan, wonder if it meant that someone was trying to break into the house again, and stay awake for hours. Similarly, if you don’t attend to your pain you may find you don’t have too much difficulty doing what you want to do. But, if you think a lot about what all your pain might mean, or attend to how much the pain is bothering you, you will find that the pain interferes more with your life (S. Tupper, personal communication, 2012).
So, I kind of like this except for the fact that I wasn’t trying to “attend to my pain”; however, I have been to my Applied Health Doctor this week and worked on things we don’t usually work on.  So those pain receptors were stuck open.  Like an open gate.  Bingo.  That works.  So read this:
Railroad crossing gate
The gate control theory is a very popular theory, originated in the early 1960’s by Melzack and Wall. This theory posits that there is a virtual gate that controls the magnitude of the pain signal that reaches the brain (Melzack & Wall, 1965). It can be effective to describe the path to families as an actual gate. You can think about pain signals being like trains passing through a railroad crossing gate. When the  gate is all the way open, trains pass right through. Similarly, when the gate to your brain is open, pain signals have free access to your brain. Medication might close the gate partway, but for many people, medications do not close the gate completely. Other interventions such as learning cognitive behavioral therapy skills, distraction, engaging in acupuncture, and increasing activity can all be effective ways to close the gate and help to keep it closed.
 So for the trip to the store I described above, all the while, the pain receptors mess with my concentration, my ability to think about anything but pain at times, and my desire to do things in the cold because the cold magnifies the pain I feel.  However, that being said, when the gate is at least partway closed, I function better.  That being said.  I am not on any other medicine other than what Dr. Marion and I talk about.  Many traditional medicine doctors have tried to put me on other things.  I looked up all the side effects.  It went from bad to worse.  That being said, if it is working for you, that’s great.  No one should have to be in pain.  I hope it is working for you.  I am stubborn, hard-headed and afraid of the horrible side effects since I already have other conditions.
Here is what I do when I am trying to close the gate.  If I have eaten something that causes a Hashi’s flare, which can flare fibro pain, I use a wrap One theory that we have come up with is that my lymph nodes are not exactly taking out the trash so to speak.  When I wrap, I feel better.  The bloating goes down, the flare is shorter, it just works.  Ha.  Get it.  And yes, this is a company that both my doc and myself are in.  I actually met her at one of the meetings.
Okay, so the next thing I do is to take some Relief.  I have done extensive research in the last 3 years on anti-inflammatory foods.  Guess what’s in here?  Well, the cool thing is that we don’t hide any ingredients and they are all-natural.  So turmeric, which is one of my favorite things to use, is there, plus yucca root.  Did you know that An international research team reviewed data from previous studies on the anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties of Yucca schidigera, a type of yucca native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. They noted strong evidence that yucca’s active components, including steroidal saponins, resveratrol and yuccaols, all seem to exert anti-inflammatory effects that may explain their historic use by folk medicine practitioners to treat arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Researchers recommended further research to try to pinpoint more accurately the mechanisms through which yucca prevents and/or treats arthritis. They published their findings in a 2006 issue of “Journal of Inflammation.”  So when people tell me they don’t need this because they are already on a glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate formula, like maybe my husband, I say try this.  And after generic versus mine, his pain was improved within one week of taking this.
So, I met a new lady this weekend and after doing an event where we set up our booths, something told me to speak to her about my fibro.  She said she was undiagnosed for years but was always in pain.  She described her pain as continuous, not being able to be touched and having the pressure points.  I immediately told her about my products and since she looked exhausted, I asked her if she was going to have to rest the entire next day after the event.  Her eyes welled with tears and she said “How did you know?”  I lightly touched her arm and said I just know.  I then told her about something that helps me sleep and recover.  New You.  It is again, phytotherapy, meaning plant-based.  Years ago, when I was first doing research on natural therapy remedies, I heard about MSM.  Plant based, and anti-inflammatory.  Did not know how to find it back then.  I had never heard of my company, It Works Global, and if I had, I wouldn’t have known about their leading phytotherapy research because people only associated them with “getting skinny”.  I know, because the book of Face polices the website link.  Anyway, New You helps to stimulate natural production and release of HGH (human growth hormone), while it aids in building lean muscle mass for those of us over ummmm 35.  It enhances exercise endurance, AND helps improve sleep quality and memory.  So for those of you not aware, fibromyalgia causes us not to get fully into REM sleep thus not feeling like we slept.  This one supplement is a life-saver for me.  Gate closed at night!!!!!  Yes.
So why did I put all this in here?  Because I am actually a tiny treasure trove of hopeful knowledge for people who think they can’t get help.  I don’t advertise my other business page a lot, but I should.  The tab on this blog says Vitalize You, and I invite my clients to ask me questions so we can get their body up and running again.  Believe me, I do understand.
Author’s note: Since this post was written, I have done more for my clients than advise them on my all-natural supplements, which yes, to this day I take New You every night to sleep naturally and help me feel great.  However, after completing over 200 hours of Vinyasa yoga and getting additionally certified in yoga for arthritis and pain, I created this program for you called 4 Weeks to Wellness.  I put everything I had in it to create simple daily tasks that someone coming from this place of pain could manage.  I have optional chair yoga pdfs, workbooks, journal therapy and more!!!  It is a wonderful resource.

Pain

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My break up with sugar and gluten…

FYI…I originally wrote this for a magazine, well actually an e-zine that has published me before, but I am not sure if they actually published this piece, and quite frankly, I like it.  Plus, sigh, I write for free anyway.  So here it is:

A little over three years ago, I began to notice food was not my friend. It was a difficult concept and one I ignored for a long time in hopes that my instincts were wrong. Sadly, they were not. I started to have stomach pains, headaches, irritable bowel symptoms and more. Never in my life had I bloated from eating bread…until now. I was beginning to see a pattern so I scheduled an appointment with a gastroenterologist. The only thing he could really say was my stomach appeared to be having problems digesting food…and that I was NOT celiac. Okay, but that didn’t answer my questions at all. He put me on an acid blocker and sent me on my way. Why would someone who had been able to eat bread her whole life suddenly develop gluten intolerance? He could not help me. Not a clue. The idea came to me that perhaps I had developed gluten intolerance since I had also recently learned of my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis diagnosis.   When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. So for whatever reason, I knew that food was setting this off. I just couldn’t explain it.

I learned that the best way to figure out what was triggering my reactions was to start an elimination diet. First up, and one of the hardest things ever, was to eliminate gluten. To do that, I had to educate myself on what that meant. From the Celiac Disease Foundation: Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (durum, emmer, spelt, farina, farro, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected (see Sources of Gluten).

I recently read that Celiac disease currently afflicts about 1% of the population, but the prevalence is increasing. 80% of people with celiac disease are unaware of it. So if you were to try to go gluten-free because you are experiencing some symptoms, it might actually help you. Because I am classified as having gluten-sensitivity, the side effects are actually very serious. And in this same article, it states that there is no clear definition of gluten sensitivity, or a good way to diagnose it, the only true way of knowing is by eliminating gluten temporarily from your diet, then reintroducing it to see if you have symptoms. More can be found from 6 Reasons Why Gluten May be Bad For You: http://authoritynutrition.com/6-shocking-reasons-why-gluten-is-bad/

Several disorders have been proven to show improvement when gluten was cut from their diet. When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, the doctor did not even try to help me. No diet changes, no mention of it being autoimmune, nothing. He was talking into his tape recorder and sent me on my way. RIGHT then he should have said “I want you to eliminate gluten for 30 days, and let me know how you are feeling.” But the thing is, 30 days is NOT enough. Over and over again in these support groups on autoimmune diseases, people say things like “Whew, that 30 days was hard, but now I am going to eat gluten again.” Stop!!! No!!   Wheat is completely different from what our ancestors ate back in the day, and adding it back in will just re-contaminate that tiny amount of work you did to start feeling better. After 6 months of being gluten-free, if I slipped up once, just once, I felt very sick the next day. I was in more pain, my stomach would bloat and I was back to running to the bathroom. My eyes, which had cleared up, would go back to red and itchy. From that same wonderful source of information I was reading about gluten, I found out that Modern wheat was introduced around the year 1960. It was developed via cross-breeding and crude genetic manipulation, which changed the nutrient and protein composition of the plant. This is a very interesting read: http://authoritynutrition.com/modern-wheat-health-nightmare/

It also HIDES in everything. Everything. I had to make my own salad dressing, muffins, cookies, chips, basically, if it came prepackaged and had even one word that was something I couldn’t pronounce, I stopped buying it. But it wasn’t enough to help me. Something was still wrong. I had long suspected there were other allergies. So back to the drawing board with my allergy doctor, who also said not one thing about autoimmune disease and allergic reactions. Not. A. Thing.   You can read more about that here: http://theburnedhand.com/2013/04/16/teaching-tuesday/

Absolutely every food I had ever loved was attacking me. It was unbelievable…but one thing struck me as odd. SUGAR. Who is allergic to sugar and what could that mean??? That led me down my path of research into people who have drastically cut sugar out of their lives and the benefits of what it does for your body. Whether or not you have autoimmune diseases, this is something that everyone needed to hear about.

Ok, so my GI track appeared to be a mess. It was getting mixed signals from everything and messing up my entire body. I was getting closer to my answer of pain, headaches, bloating, IBS issues, weight gain, stomach pains, etc. I had intestinal permeability, inflammation, and my good bacteria were completely off kilter, so I learned I had to remove all things causing this inflammation.

I became acquainted with the “nitty-gritty” of sugar. According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, added sugars show up on food and drink labels under the following names: Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, syrup and white sugar (See Reference 1). Other types of sugar you might commonly see on ingredient lists are fructose, lactose and maltose. Fructose is sugar derived from fruit and vegetables; lactose is milk sugar; and maltose is sugar that comes from grain. For more, read http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/different-words-sugar-food-labels-8373.html

Now that I know sugar in is everything, I cringe when my children read labels that say “High Fructose Corn Syrup”. However, I know I am doing something right, because we read labels now. I feel like I have made a huge move to keep them safe from those words on all the cans that could mean anything. Did you know From 2001 to 2004, Americans consumed lots of sugar: an average of 22 teaspoons a day, the equivalent of 355 calories, according to this section on How much sugar does the average American eat? I know not all the readers are American, but this particular report was AHA’s 2009 scientific statement on added sugars and cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, too many Americans are drinking sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks. I have never been a soda drinker really, but since I live in the south, we drink copious amounts of sweet, sugary tea. I would be so tired during my day of teaching wee ones that I would occasionally go grab the largest size tea they had at a fast food chain near my school. That was the old me. The me before my body started holding onto weight.

Sugar, quite frankly, was making me sick. My body already had a few “hiccups”, many of which cause inflammation, leaky gut, and joint pain. In How Inflammation Affects Every Aspect of Your Health, Dr. Marquis states “The truth of the situation is that FOOD MATTERS. That’s right; it’s not just a movie (which by the way you should all watch!). Hyper-permeability of the gut, regardless of whether you can feel it or not is often a significant cause of an extremely long and ever-growing list of conditions.”

I would like to urge all of my readers to consider changing their diets, even if it was just for a month. Again, I must refer back to more of my research on the ever-changing food we eat. This said everything I needed to say and more: http://theburnedhand.com/2013/05/01/killing-me-softly/   When I watched that TEDx talk from Robyn O’Brien, I again felt validated. I kept finding so many pieces of this puzzle it was eerie. I’d like to conclude with some of the scariest facts. Friends around the globe are getting diagnosed with cancer before the age of 40 or close enough to it. I have five friends who I know of actively fighting. Two who have lost the battle with the big “c” and one newly diagnosed.   Wake up friends. Wake up. This is real. Start thinking about the bottom line: nutrition does matter.

Eat realAuthor’s note:  The road to wellness is paved with many pitfalls.  I learned my lessons over the years and now have healed my gut, my pain and am moving again.  I completed over 200 hours of yoga and additionally was certified in yoga for arthritis.  I also received my sports nutrition certification and created a plan off my years of research into the body and healing people using my Head, Heart, Health method.  Read more about it here.

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Restorative Yoga…finding my place

Coming to yoga from a place of pain…Aimee’s perspective:

I was afraid my body was not ready for this class.  In fact, after taking the beginner yoga class, I waited weeks before coming back in to give it another go.  You see, the ego whispers to me “That was too hard, you must give up now.”  It is coming from a place of pain.  Pain I have lived with for the last 5 years since developing the symptoms and ultimately the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  But last night on my mat, as I held the pose for a little bit longer, my mind tried to scream at me again to register and focus on my pain.  I then shushed it, and focused on my breathing instead.  And guess what happened?  It worked.

What is restorative yoga anyway?  Basically it’s the best thing ever for your body if you are new to yoga and trying to come at it from a place of pain and/or needing healing postures.  Click the above link to find out more.

Three weeks ago as I was getting ready to take the first class, an acquaintance called me, but I said I had to go get ready for yoga.  She asked if she could go; however, she is not known for her patience, so I explained this was not like traditional yoga.  She said she was fine with it…haha.  We arrived and were told to get bolsters, a blanket, a block and a belt.  She kept asking me questions about what we were going to do.  I did mention I had not taken this class before.  Throughout class, she fidgeted.  She whispered.  She twitched.  She complained under her breath.  I was NOT happy.  Yoga is MY place for peace.  If you invite yourself to come with me, you need to respect that this is already hard for me, and I like to relax.

At the end, oh the end, I was mortified.  Tea was served, and I dearly love hot tea.  As it was being passed out, fidgety gal loudly says WHAT IS IT?  I stared at her.  It’s tea.  Well, what kind??  I need to know.  No you don’t.  Be quiet and drink the tea before I lose my calm on you and go off all Scorpio style in this nice place.  She then got out her PHONE.  Yes, her phone, and proceeds to play on it.  NUMBER one rule of yoga is there are NO cell phones in yoga.  Everyone knows this.  Everyone.  Except her.

Unfortunately, I left restorative yoga more tense than I should have.  I allowed another person’s behavior and energy to seep into my space.  I don’t have time for that in my life.  I just don’t.  So I went blessedly alone the next week.  And again last night.  What I learned was that each week, Lauren works on a different part of the body in the poses.  If I had given up because of my mind, body, or embarrassment of the above, I would not have known that.  I am working hard on shifting my focus.  There are things we can’t control, but when you get to your mat, control what you can.  Slow down you mind, focus on the breath, drop the chatter in your head, and let the others melt away.  It is your journey and yours alone.  No one can do this for you.

I truly appreciate this class as it feels like it goes at your own pace.  Some of us use more bolsters, blankets, or props to get in the pose and get the best benefits.  It does not matter.  This is truly a class to teach you to slow down.  Namaste.

 

Heart

Motivational Monday…natural tips for pain

My plan was to write about something else today, but I can’t stop thinking about my pain, so I guess someone must need me to write this.  So I wake up most mornings with numbness in my hands and my thumb hurts now too (not including my shoulder, etc.).  I pump my hands open and closed for a bit to get the blood moving.  I go to hold my coffee cup, and the joint in my right thumb feels “rusty”.  My guess is arthritis.  So I called my dad because he had arthritis at a young age.

His advice is about 5 different prescription medicines he knows about.  And to each one I respond with, well, you know I don’t take anything that isn’t all-natural because we don’t how that might work on me.  So here is what I do instead:

  1. I make hot tea.  It is calming and gets my mind off the pain.
  2. I make Turmeric Milk.  See my Pinterest boards for more.
  3. I use only all-natural products.  Some from my own business I am now in.  Vitalize You tab or website Vitalize You Wellness.
  4. I am about to go back to yoga and start writing about that process as a way to heal.
  5. I put a microwave heated wrap around my neck and shoulders.  Helps some.
  6. I eat using anti-inflammatory foods.  No gluten or sugar.
  7. I have a tiny piece of dark chocolate.  Clicking the word tells you why.
  8. As a last resort, I take a nap.  I say last resort because I could literally sleep all day.

What do you do when you have pain?  Do you let it get you (I used to) or do you try to ignore/fix/move forward?  I think I’ll make my  latest find…a turmeric smoothie!

HealingAuthor’s note, since this post was written, I have completed yoga teacher training, gotten additional training in yoga for pain and arthritis, and completed sports nutrition therapy.  Work with me tab has more.

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My exquisite spell…

Brief overview of the last 17 years.  Phone call New Year’s Eve 1997, cancerous cells found so I had to have a few procedures on my cervix.  Sorry guys, but it’s true.  Told that if I had too many, might have problems carrying a baby.  I was engaged to be married.  A few months later, my urine was the color of a dark red wine.  Blisters appeared on hands, read more here.  Diagnosis that year was Porphyria Cutanea Tarda.  Told to stay out of the sun, not drink alcohol, and oh yeah, get off birth control.  I was about to go away on my honeymoon.  Awesome.  I happened to need/want all 3 of those things at the time.

Years later, blessed with a healthy baby girl.  18 months later, blessed with another baby girl, through a scary life-changing delivery.  Knew that I was only meant to have those two, but because of the scary news from 1997, I made my peace with it.  Because I was still loading iron, my doctor finally tested me for Hereditary Hemochromatosis.

I thought by now I needed a break in the department of “crazy shit no one can pronounce”.  So I got one for a while.  At this point, I had already been phlebotomized, or pints of my blood taken, for years.  I was always tired, and trying to teach.  After my little one went to pre-school, I was asked to teach again.  I was sought out, which was flattering, by a local principal.  She heard good things about me, but my gut said NOOOOOO, don’t go there.  I didn’t listen to it.  My mistake.  Things happened that were political in nature, and I left the school to work in a private school.  Another thing that erm, was not what I was expecting.  After a few years of a whole different ball game, I went back to public school and found somewhere I LOVED.  I taught pre-school.

As luck would have it, my body was continuing its cycle of let’s try to beat Aimee down because she’s too happy.  So my stomach started hurting profusely all the time, for what I thought was no apparent reason.  I went to the gastroenterologist and had things done…not so fun things.  A procedure I actually put off until the last day of school one year because as you can imagine, I had no more time off.

It also coincided with pain emanating from my spine as well.  Then my shoulder started hurting and freezing up.  I had absolutely no idea what was going on (side note, I was developing autoimmune diseases at the time).  Not a single doctor knew what was wrong.  I taught  the next year in complete pain and would come home and put heating pads all over my body and cry secretly.  This was 3.5 years ago.  I refused to be on drugs that would make me not function at school (side note, I was called Mrs. Happy before this point in my life).  We had no planning periods and it was a full day pre-school with 18 little eyeballs watching my every move.

I could not eat without getting sick.  I actually stopped eating any food before work.  I ate very little at lunch and started developing a plan.  I went gluten-free.  NOT because it was a fad.  I want to smash cupcakes on people who say that.  BIG giant cupcakes.  Anyway, it was not enough.  I still was bloated.  Still had pain.  Still couldn’t eat without getting almost violently ill.  I was tested for allergies.  A ginormous portion flared up, BUT not gluten (no Celiac’s as I was tested).  Sugar was a flare.

Now at this point, I am not sure how the doctor, a ENT guy, didn’t think to say “Hey, wow, these are autoimmune flares”, but he didn’t.  I ended up getting worse off, and more sick after the allergens were introduced into my body and had vertigo for 3 weeks straight and was throwing up so bad I couldn’t keep anything down.

When all of that passed, I came to the decision last year that I could no longer carry on my regular duties as a classroom teacher.  I was tired from the phelbotomies (they had made me somewhat anemic), in pain, and not myself.  Life was, quite frankly, a struggle.  A month after school let out, my hip started going out.  I was now having pain radiating in my left hip and it seemed displaced.  In the fall of last year, I started seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis.  He helped get me moving again and my hip managed to get back in place.  When I realized I could no longer afford him on a regular basis as my insurance only paid for so many visits, I was sad, but I had to stop seeing him.

I spent the next three months under heating pads again.  Day in and day out.  At this point, I was still having stomach issues so I decided to stop eating sugar completely in all it’s forms.  I researched Hashimoto’s Thyroid, which I had finally been diagnosed with as my autoimmune problem.  I read everything I could about it and went “paleo” as best I could.  When I say “withdrawals” from sweet tea were the hardest, I am not kidding. 

Was diagnosed with fibromyalgia earlier this year as the result of the Epstein-Barr virus coming to life in my spine…oh yeah, that was why I was in pain.  I spent 3 months coming out of what you probably call depression/anxiety, but still was going to find a way to treat my symptoms without prescription drugs.  I want to perfectly honest here for my new friends.  I no longer like to eat.  I actually dislike the thought of food because it made me sick for so long.  So new girlfriend, I get where you are coming from.  I truly, honestly get where you are now.  The reason I wrote all of this is to let you know, you are not alone.  Thank you for asking me the questions you did.  I will always answer as honestly as I can so that you know it’s okay to feel this way.  It will get better.  So I hope I have caught you up to where I am now.  I am on all-natural supplements.  I did find a new functional medical doctor to look at me like a whole person and not one of my diseases.  I am feeling better, but I still have bad days.

Break

Fuzzy…

You know how you are going along and everything seems to be fine in your life until one day it’s just not.  Well that was last year.  I knew I was getting worse off.  I knew that I was sore and in pain almost all of the time…until I realized the difference between almost all of the time and ALL of the time.  It seems like such a small thing, but it’s not.

I want you to understand the difference, if you can, between writing this blog to make anyone in this world feel sorry for people like me and writing it for you to understand people like me.  There is a big difference.  Last week, I met someone amazing and they told me my writing moved them.  To me, that is huge.  I want you to feel what I feel for a moment.  Not to make you feel bad, but to make you think.  When I read, I expect the same.  I want you to put yourself in my shoes while you are reading just as I do when I read.

Right now, there is the possibility that Epstein-Barr Virus has been in my system since I was 15 years old.  It makes sense.  It really does.  I had a horrible case of mononucleosis.  The doctor I saw today said there are any number of factors that could have triggered my Fibromyalgia, and did in fact tell me that is what I have been suffering with.  He did not have any advice on how to treat it naturally; however, he said I was free to treat it as I had been doing or take one of the prescriptions (he did prefer one over the others).  I have been doing some of the things on this site already as they are similar to other research to help autoimmune.

All in all, it’s kind of fuzzy right now.  I find it hard to focus on a point beyond all of this, so instead, I am focusing on one day at a time.

Stand again
Stand again.

Infinite loop…

Infinite LoopAn infinite loop can be described as a computer program which loops endlessly.  Having “no terminating condition” or “one that can never be met” or “one that causes the loop to start over”.  After three years, I think I have finally found the start of my infinite loop.  I have long suspected, as far back as the beginning of this blog, that something wasn’t adding up.  I have a good head for knowledge and research, and I know my own instincts.  They have not failed me yet.

Years ago when the pain started, I thought the doctors were missing all the key signs.  I just found them in this slide show about Fibromyalgia.  I had my suspicions, but looking at the very first slide just now, I wanted to cry.  It shows every spot that was triggered.  For those of you who have been here with me for a while, you’ll remember the post about my shoulder 3 years ago, then my spine.  The back of my neck was next, and this summer was my hip.

In the fall I started waking up not being able to move my fingers well in the morning, and honestly, just didn’t say anything.  What was the point?  Then my eyes started having some issues.  The ophthalmologist said it was severe allergy eyes.  Hmm.  I later learned that almost all of my friends with autoimmune issues have had eye problems as well.  I did not know that.  I already knew I had 16 of the 18 trigger points as this was not the first time I suspected that this could be the underlying cause; however, no doctor has ever looked further into it.  I realized years ago when someone touched my back to pat me and I stared daggers at them like they had just forcefully beat me on the back, that something was wrong.  I just thought “they” would find it.

Slide 5 is very interesting to me as it suggests that patients with fibro “experience pain in response to stimuli that are normally not perceived as painful.”  That would explain many things.  Then there was this piece “Researchers have found elevated levels of a nerve chemical signal, called substance P, and nerve growth factor in the spinal fluid of fibromyalgia patients.”  When all of this started, I told the doctor, a rheumatologist who was “well-known”, that I could feel every single place in my vertebral column.  I got a blank look.  I believe now that was the start of it.

The next slide that is of interest to me is slide 9.  “Patients with fibromyalgia lack the deep, restorative level of sleep, called ‘non-rapid eye movement’ (non-REM) sleep. Consequently, patients with fibromyalgia often awaken in the morning without feeling fully rested, even though they seem to have had an adequate number of hours of sleep time.”  This would explain why my hematologist looked at me like I had lost my mind when I said I am still fatigued all the time.  I suppose it would be too much for any of my doctors to coordinate on a treatment plan.

So what am I going to do about it now?  Well, after I see the next specialist a friend recommended as she uses this doctor for her own fibromyalgia care, I am going to move forward.  I am going to do some of these exercises as well.  I am going to look into Qigong exercises.  I am going to live again and know that while there is no cure, I am not alone.  Thank you to all who have been supportive of me during this journey.

Prosper

P.S.  I like to believe God is more like a father…one who leaves me notes.  One who is supportive and understanding.  YOU can believe whatever you want.