Fear and Flashbacks

On Monday I was helping my husband temporarily close in a wide doorway. He had just placed two 4 by 8 foot pieces of plywood in front of the doorway and had walked away to grab a skid to place in front of them to told hit. Meanwhile, I grabbed one nearby and was going to put it in place when I hear him shout “watch out!” I looked up just in time to see daylight coming through the door and get my arm up to block one of the pieces from hitting me in the head. In the next second, down came the second piece. The weight was too much for me to hold. Both pieces came down on my head and knocked me backwards. Luckily I fell into a an unfinished wing back chair, and while landing on it bruised my ribs and leg, it kept the plywood from crashing atop me and injuring me further. I’m battered, bruised, and sore, but luckily no broken bones.

I knew from experience, the initial pain was going to be a piece of cake. I had adrenaline to thank for that. The real struggle was going to be the days following. And sure enough, the following day, stiffness and pain ensued at a higher level. I’ve been doing all I can to take it easy and a reek of muscle rub.

When the incident happened, and it all was occurring in slow motion, my thought was “no, please! This can’t be happening again!” I actually laid sprawled over and in the chair carcass and felt like my struggle of 17 years was re-spawning me back to the beginning. I was in disbelief and utterly disappointed.

I’ve tried to rewire my thoughts and just stay in the here and now for the past 48 hours. But last night, I woke up to the pain increasing. Muscle spasms began. And here I was, mentally back to 2001 when I fell at work. Panic set it. I felt my heart quicken. “I’m repeating that pattern of pain that ultimately began the 17 years of declining health and chronic pain.” I can’t do this again.

And then I suddenly shook myself free of that thought. I began an inner dialogue with myself, a pep talk if you will…

“No, not only can’t you, but you won’t.”

“You will not be taking presciption meds to mask the pain”

“You will heal”

“You just need time”

“You will give it rest as needed and not take take prescription meds to push through and keep up with what you think the world expects of you.”

“You know and understand your limits.”

“You know your body better now than before.”

“There will be no injections”

“There will be no surgeries to ablate nerves”

“There will be no medicines to counter health issues caused by other medicines”

“You have life plans in place, places you want to visit, goals you want to meet.”

“You are in control.”

I will not deprive myself of climbing the steps of Machu Picchu one day.

I feel like I have taken 10 steps backwards after gaining 5 in the past 6 months. But this will not stop my momentum. To know that I now have all the proper tools, knowledge and experience at my disposal, allows me to be fully confident in that.

Just watch me. I didn’t develop all this willpower to be meek in my journey.

I. Will. Be. Well!

Oh, those fabulous, vile vittles. Gut health goals!

As a kid, on my walk home from the grocery store, I’d snug that paper bag close and draw it up close to my chin. It was that loaf of bread that mom told me to purchase and the bagger had, thankfully, placed at the top of the bag enticing me to do so. On a warm summer day, the sun would encourage that just baked smell to permeate my nostrils, so I’d often walk along with my nose as close to that loaf as I could. I’d then begin my taste for a warm dough ball that I would make from a slice of bread as soon as I arrived home. Bread, was my weakness. As was pasta and lasagna. It was not uncommon for me to eat a half a loaf of bread to make cinnamon sugar toast for breakfast for myself. Make a loaf of garlic bread, and I might not have felt compelled to share. Today, it still sounds delicious, but for a mere second or two. When my brain suddenly drops that memory of what my body feels like after partaking in it, that desire for a bite dissolves.

I do love food. But I have always tried to balance my wants with my needs. Gaining weight was a huge reason for this, but my slow digestive system was the other.

When I was first diagnosed with digestive issues, I was told I had a “slow system”. In other words, I didn’t poop often. In fact, I could go 2 weeks without having a bowel movement. Just imagine all those toxins building up in my system. Ick! In my late 20’s, the term irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was used. At that time, I was dealing mainly with constipation, bloating, headaches, and lower body pain. In 2001, I took a fall at work. A year later, after not completely becoming rid of pain in my shoulder and neck, my worker’s comp doctor started treating me with a prescription medication. I’ll spare all the attempts made to rid me of the pain, but let’s just say the med list became longer each time I had an appointment.

A year later, I was not sleeping more than 2-4 hours a night and I had lost so much weight the doctor warned me about losing more. But the medications I was on made the thought of food nauseating. Most days I sat on the couch in so much pain I couldn’t bear to make myself get up. The pain was unbearable and I had no will to continue life.

In 2003, I had had enough. The doctor diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and myfofascial pain syndrome, told me to take my pills, and get a job. His encouragement was “you are going to have pain for the rest of your life, but you won’t end up a wheel chair.” I left in tears and swore I would not continue on the path he and prescription pills had me doomed to take.

For the next 10 years, I researched. I added supplements to my diet and I did everything I could to keep the weight off since several doctors warned me of added pain if I added weight. I did begin to improve, but I still didn’t have my life back. By 2013, I was plagued with diarrhea 3 to 4 times a month. I was given a prescription to use when the loose stool came on, but then it would bind me up. I once again, tweaked my diet. I became gluten free, reduced my sugar intake further, and started looking further into more supplements. Gut health is important, and I was convinced of that. Things were becoming bleaker, as I started having all over chronic body pain, migraines made visits, and I started becoming plagued with vertigo. I also hated food. My stomach felt like it was always filed with acid. Everything tasted horrible and I had the taste of burnt ashes on my tongue. I had been tweaking my diet trying to get control of my issues. But I couldn’t figure out what was causing all of this sickness in me. After being told nitrates might be causing my vertigo, I avoided foods containing it. The vertigo ceased. The gluten free diet started to improve my digestive system, and I began having bowel movements almost daily. I was slowly peeling back the smelly onion layers of issues, but I had a long way to go.

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The three products that are bringing me back to a life desired.

In the middle of last year, I hit a breaking point. My energy levels had me moving at crawl, my pain was pushing to a level that I felt my brain was becoming numb, and it took everything I could do to muster up the strength to push through the day. Every Saturday, and sometimes Sunday, my body forced me to stop and try to recuperate from the week. Days were becoming a blur filled with pain. My brain was exhausted from the “fake it til you make it” regimen I was putting myself through. I just wanted to sleep so I didn’t have to feel the pain. But the pain kept me from sleeping.

I was forced to do something that breaks my heart to this very moment. I had to stop taking care of my grandsons during the day. I had to put myself first, although “my self” wanted to be with them. It was during this time, Plexus made an appearance. Skeptical, but desperate, I looked at the premise and ingredients behind their goal to improve gut health and maintain healthy sugar levels. All of the information I found pointed to the deterioration I felt was occurring in my body for years. Medications taken as a child, poor food choices starting as a teenager, medications taken after the fall, and toxins building up after years of constipation and likely also from the environment, had burdened my body to place where it could not heal itself. I was already taking many of the vitamins and minerals in the Plexus products, but I was certainly not schooled in knowing which ones might further promote how another one works within my body. Perhaps they had the right formula that I was seeking. Well, at least that was my skeptical hope.

I’m not sure how to round up this post, as this journey is still a work in progress. But I can give the facts as to where things seem to be progressing:

Decreased pain

Increased energy

Improved digestion

Decreased inflammation

Improved sleep

Increased hope

There are so many other gears and pulleys that moved me away from a healthy life and body and then back to where I am now that aren’t shared here. But, I guess if you follow along, they will slowly be revealed. And, I hope as I journey forward, more answers will be uncovered. And with that willpower to keep seeking,trying and sharing, more well power.

Be well!

Refocus and redirection in the midst of seemingly forced life changes.

It’s hard to decide where to focus, what exactly the writing should look like. Bring in personal experiences, desires, expectations, plans….. where focus should be in time of quarentine. Life isn’t like it what we are used to and how we have set up our everyday patterns. Where should we place our time and energy? We aren’t used to focusing on mere survival. It is so much more than being in a physical place, it is what we build within that space to encourage a healthy mental space.

My yoga mat has become my refuge for getting away from the negative and the newly attained unalterable situations. However, although it has been weeks, it has often felt like years. Sometimes writing can be another place of mental reset, but it is sometimes difficult to syphone the thoughts into one cohesive topic. I find it amazing that, in a time where we are forced to slow our lives, our minds runneth over.

I have been trying to use the time to make thoughts focus on future movement: finding and setting up a new home, traveling to a few places on my wish list, taking hikes across new terrain, and spending time with family we haven’t seen for some time.

It’s a good time to recenter and refocus, but it is difficult without seeing what life will be beyond. But do we really need to see that. Do we every really see the result before we have worked through the various choices and solutions? The real battle is within ourselves to think we have to fully understand and visual that life exactly as it will be once we arrive. We take issue with stepping into the not knowing. Is it because we are unsure of ourselves and our ability to adapt and cope outside of our old patterns. Maybe we should ask ourselves if those patterns were 100% working in our favor. Yes, others will make decisions that will affect life going forward. And we will have to adjust to that. But what about those changes that might ultimately lift us from ruts we might have been in prior. Changes that might bring about new opportunities and fresh ways to consider living your life.

Think back to when you were a kid. How easily did you adapt? You crawled and that was good enough. Or so our little minds thought, as we were reaching into areas we had never chartered alone. But then you were placed on your feet and encouraged to walk. So you did. We weren’t given the choice, but yet we instinctively new the benefit in pursuing and mastering it. It didn’t matter how many falls we endured. The muscle memory of that encouragement and success propelled us through the next life lesson.

But where is that thought process now as an adult. Reunite with that resiliency you had. As children we are hopefully gifted with people who encourage us to learn and grow. I’m sure all of us had someone like that in our life, or we wouldn’t be where we are today. We were encouraged by loved ones to push through and to be confident in our ability. We were being filled with tenacity and know how to always remove obstacles, find solutions, and persist. But somehow as adults we forget those lessons. We see the obstacles, halt, and question why they are there and why we are the ones burdened with them. Rather than grow around them and use them as a way to climb higher.

I know we are experiencing something that is uncomfortable, confusing, and feels confining. But, it is all about how we view this time, harness it, and plan for the future, that causes us to fall into its grip and swallow us up or ignites us to grow bigger. We cannot see what lies ahead, but we can decide to move the obstacles as they present themselves and find ourselves a comfortable or perhaps even improved life beyond it.

A particular situation stirred these thoughts in me. My eldest grandson, who is typically a “follow the rules” kind of kid, and whose confidence is just beginning to emerge, evidently had decided his bangs were bothering him. Aren’t we all experiencing this given we haven’t had haircuts, at least professional ones, for nearly 2 months!? While his mom was busy working out and dad was giving his two younger brothers a bath, he went into the kitchen and grabbed a pair of kid scissors. He then boldly began cutting his bangs. Now, mind you, he had not expressed this visual impediment aloud, until his dad walked in to find him addressing it on his own. Although taken aback, dad just asked him what he was doing. After and explanation of how bothersome it was to have them blocking his vision, he was allowed to proceed with his remedy. His hair was then styled by his dad; AKA, buzzed off.

Even having no experience with that task at hand, he tackles it with a determination and certitude that the outcome will be nothing but an improvement and be met with positive results.
The pride in the accomplishment and a new skill formed is obvious in that stance and grin.

This is precisely the way I want to tackle the current situation and all hurdles going forward. Why not cut to the chase of what we need to change in our life that wasn’t working us toward a positive direction or serving to fulfill us, We need to get past what appears to be blocking our vision.

This is the opportunity to grow, learn new skills, and be reminded that all of the falls, hurdles, and setbacks now provide more experience than we had when we took our first step or handled our first pair of scissors in fumbling, uncoordinated, hands.

Trim away what blocks the view. Then grin proudly to have succeeded at your best possible attempt.

The willpower exists. Employ it. No, do one better, capitalize on it.

Be powerfully well.

(Featured image: Keepinspiring.me)

A (3rd) shift in life and mindset during stay at home orders.

Unprecedented times. How many times have you heard that lately? But it is true. Most of the generations today have never lived through such trying times of uncertainty and social isolation. And I believe most of us are digging deep and analyzing how we chose and need to live life now compared to how life was pre-Covid19. It’s only natural to compare what once was to what we are currently living through. There is a huge sense of loss on many levels at this time.

I have to admit, at the start of this, I was not in the least filled with dread or concern with being told to shelter in place. I looked at it as my responsibility to work toward the common good of all. I certainly didn’t want to put my family in harms away, nor did I want to be part of a chain that might possibly transmit the virus to others. I tried to look at it as “life as usual”, with just a little tweaking.

I have been doing a lot of tweaking and self evaluation prior to all of this. At the end of last year, I was no longer taking care of grandsons. I had, at that time, decided I needed to look more at my health issues and put my entire focus on that. It was a large part of why I could no longer physically keep caring for them. Pain, inflammation, and digestive issues had taken over too much of my life. With all the extra time on my hands, I wanted to utilize it for a positive change. Admittedly it was mentally difficult to not have a purpose. To place all the focus on myself seemed selfish. I had to keep reminding myself that I was actually making a crucial health choice and that it would ultimately be important for me to do so as to enjoy traveling with my husband, be physically able to play with grandsons, and live out all the other nuances I had desired to have in my life. I was tired of the daily doldrums and disappointments of deciding what I had to eliminate from each day in order to push through it or to take part in any small things that brought me joy. It was time to tackle and eradicate the issues that were forcing me to make these upsetting and mentally debilitating choices.

When my health issues came to boiling point about 16 years ago, I took it as a sign that I had to slow down. I had to not be that “yes” person who took on more than I could cope with because I would become a disappoint. I used it as a wake up call. I knew I needed to slow down, but it wasn’t until a critical point that I actually took action. Despite all I have tried, I’ve not overcome all the issues that are depleting parts of my life. My second wake up call was that moment I had to tell my son I could no longer take care of the his boy in a way I felt they weren’t being affected. I weep now at the memory of that confession to myself that I couldn’t carry on with something that brought me such joy. My life was being controlled by an internal monster. I felt had lost everything that defined me because of it.

Two months into tying to regain myself and my life, I know I still wasn’t being honest with myself in what I truly needed to be doing and that I still wasn’t giving it enough. I was mentally giving up and allowing the pain to consume me. I felt lost and wasn’t sure where to turn. Some of it was because I was mourning the loss of time with the grandsons. I was trying to get more sleep as I often only slept only 4 to six hours a night. I was getting more sleep, but it was taking me 10 to 12 hours to get the needed 8. I did remain focused on eating right and tried to get some sort of physical workout when pain levels weren’t soaring. However, mentally I was drowning and the pain was winning yet again. I remained in the “fake it till you make it” mode and throwing on a convincing smile.

Doctor after doctor have warned me about not putting on weight as it would exacerbate the pain I was already experiencing. I knew I had to move more in order to keep the pounds at bay, despite how much it hurt. Unfortunately, hitting my mid-50’s, the number on the scales was creeping up. My husband and I were taking walks, albeit not as long as I had hoped. It was just so painful to move. And I was walking indoors in order to keep moving and was doing yoga, although at times that was even difficult. Trying to refocus through Mel Robbins program Best Decade Ever helped pushed me through the harder days and to remain hopeful for a better future despite the pain. It was during this time a high school friend who I had been chatting via IM with about supplements that help reduce pain, told me about a product another mutual high school friend was using. Being a skeptic, I merely stalked her Facebook page for awhile until I finally got up the nerve to comment. When she reached out to me, I, with my doubt in tow, let her explain the premise behind the products. A few weeks later, I decided to take her up on a three day trial. From there, I decided the products were worth a 3 month trial.

I was just at my third month of using the Plexus products, when the stay at home order was enforced. It was then that I felt this mental push to up the ante. Life once again, was directing me to step back. I was feeling the positive effects of taking them, but I was still saying quite ugly things to myself. Negative talk can take you down a deep rabbit hole both mentally and physically. So, while I was further losing myself, the world seemed to spinning into an unknown dimension. It took my thoughts back to 911, when our nation made a collective gasp and we all had a mutual understanding, empathy, and alarm for the suffering that was occurring. This seemingly unwieldy situation is happening on a global scale. This, this overwhelming lack of control, has been my third wake up call. I had to gain some control over this world of chaos within my personal space.

I have to admit this ability to cope waxes and wanes. However, I’m sure I am one among billions who are feeling the mental strain. But this third, and deeply immense wake up call, has brought me further into seeking positive change. I have a long way before I feel I am capable of eliminating my mental struggle. I’m still questioning my ability, but not my determination. I am walking more. I’m resisting the need to stress eat. I meet my insecurities at the yoga mat at least 5 days a week. And I am taking advantage of the plethora of free programs, videos, and blogs that encourage self discovery and self love. I’m tweaking my Plexus products to get the best results for my body and needs. And each night I read at least 15 minutes in order to remove any negative thoughts of the day. I’m not sure what will bring me to the edge of my best health yet. But, with the uncertainty of what we are currently living in, I do know I want more than just a mediocre existence. And while being asked to shelter in place, I feel the need to start building something that will be better when we come out on the other side of this.

I’m also hoping the world also emerges more peace-filled and whole.

Plexus and the Pink Drink Progress Update: Fibro symptoms reduced.

Happy Friday! This post was supposed to have been finished two weeks ago. Life and laptop issues and mere procrastination has delayed that. Wednesday marked my four and a half months of taking Plexus products, so, it is about time to share how it has improved my health. I take three products religiously: Slim (Microbiome Activating), Bio Cleanse, and ProBio 5. If you are unfamiliar with what the benefits and purpose of these supplements are, I have included a brief explanation at the end of this post. I had thought to share it first, but for the sake of sounding like one of those long winded infomercials that seem to never get to the point, I decided otherwise. Instead, I’m going to first update on the improvements I have experienced and you can chose to read about the supplements after if you so chose. Or even skip to the supplement explanations. Again, your choice.

So, now on to all the positive changes I have experienced. The real good stuff! I am trying to be oh so cautious and mindful of what I express in terms of improvement, so as to give credence to how these products have actually influenced that change. I have not changed any other area of my life, taken other products, or engaged in any other health approaches, in order to realize the full affect these products solely have on any improvements I see. In fact, as I have felt improvement, I have tested them further by increasing physical activity and introducing foods I normally could not tolerate. It is no by scientific data, but it is my heartfelt darnedest to personally investigate if these products will help with my specific issues.

I’m forewarning you, it’s a no holds bar going forward. I’m going to throw out the exact experiences, no matter how personal.

Here goes:

Digestive Issues: Pre-Plexus I was experiencing bouts of diarrhea if I ate certain foods. (Those with Fibromyalgia also have IBS) It could be anything from a bit of gluten, to a milk product, to too much broccoli or pineapple that would start the onslaught of problems. Sometimes I couldn’t even decipher what caused it. After years of constipation, this situation of emergency runs to the restroom started back in 2013. Three years ago, the hemorrhoids became a major issue. They were to the point where some days I couldn’t walk without being miserable. This then decreased my ability to feel comfortable using walking as a way to lose/maintain my weight. In fact, it became a hindrance to almost all physical activity.

For the past 3 weeks I have had minimal hemorrhoid issues. I can only surmise that this is due to a more regular and consistent bowel movements. I have had lasagna with regular, not gluten free, noodles and had no issues. No stomach pain, no nausea, or diarrhea plagued me. I have not had any bloating or stomach and intestinal pain for the past three months. Holy smokes has that been fabulous! No more having my clothes feel tight because my gut is extended.

Pain issues: How about I make this easy and just list the improvements?!

  • No morning stiffness for about a month now
  • I haven’t had the deep, bone breaking pain for about 6 weeks.
  • The tingling, surging pain like when you hit your elbow has not reared its ugliness for about a month.
  • No longer have debilitating pain in my elbows.
  • No longer have swelling in my hands unless I am outside on a very warm day or when I take long walks.
  • No longer waking up with harsh pain. I still have pain at night, but it is not so debilitating that I can’t fall back to sleep and just want to curl up and cry. It’s tolerable. I do feel a bit achy in the morning, but it is not the type of pain where I am dreading touching my feet to the ground in order to get up.
  • If I had to explain my daily pain in terms of numbers, I’d say that I used to deal with pain levels of 5 to 6 throughout a typical day. My levels are now down to about 3 to 4. They can spike a bit, but never remain at the higher level throughout it. I think the best way to explain it is rather than having pain that makes me stop and catch my breath, it is a constant ache that is still a bit mentally tiring, but not also physically debilitating.
  • I am able to get through making a meal without having to stop to catch my breath because the pain is getting out of control.
  • My hubby and I have been walking 3 to 5 miles at least 5 days a week. My pain levels may sometimes increase, but they still are not to the levels I would have had in the past. They might fall into the 6 range after a 5 mile walk, but in the past that would have put me out of commission for the day. Perhaps even for the following day as well. I am also trying to do yoga each day.

My energy has also improved. Although I am walking long distances, I am still able to complete other daily tasks without feeling exhausted and having increased pain. Now don’t take this as I am “back to feeling and moving normally”, because I don’t feel that will ever be a possibility. I will never go back to how I used to feel and move, but I can improve it to a point where I feel I have some control, am able to get through more tasks within a day, and the struggles are not causing further anxiety or depression. I am hopeful, but need to remain realistic. Fibromyalgia currently has no cure, but I will leave no stone upturned in order to find out ways to live better despite it.

Okay, I believe that sums most of it up. So, here now is the further explanation of the supplements I am taking.

Slim with Microbiome: It’s also known as the pink drink. Although it is demonstrated to help lose weight, and that is something I desire, I began using it for other reasons. It promotes the growth of good microbes and supports a healthy glucose metabolism. Admittedly, I look forward to having this every day. (I seriously love it!) I drink it an hour before my first meal of the day, which given that I am currently doing a daily fast of 18 hours (eating for the remaining 6), I tend not to drink it until lunch time.

Bio Cleanse: Stated as a cleanse, I don’t particularly like to phrase it as as such, as the word “cleanse” has negative connotations for some. A cleanse is often seen as a harsh purging of the body. I have tried one of those harsh cleanses that had me drinking this weird concoction that I would have rather vomited than allow get through my system. But, because I was desperate, I endured it. I have not experienced that adverse reaction to BioCleanse. In fact, I have noticed nothing but positive affects to my body including decreased inflammation and

This is how I view the importance of BioCleanse for me: Our bodies are set up to eliminate the toxins that are ingested or that our body come into contact. However, given the number of toxins we are subjected to in our environments, sometimes our bodies need a little aid in ridding them. This product aids in that elimination.

Some of the symptoms I have had over the years have pointed to toxin overload in my system. There are several times when I have become ill when being exposed to things like cleaners, detergents, and products people use on their lawns. I have felt light headed, nauseous, suffered headaches and even migraines when exposed to them. Therefore, I am taking the Bio Cleanse to aid my system and hopefully decrease the possibility of experiencing these issues. It also helps eliminate the harmful microbes in the gut.

Pro Bio 5: While the Bio Cleanse is eliminating the harmful substances and microbes, Pro Bio 5 in introducing the good gut stuff. This is essential for being able to properly digest food and to maintain health. I have been taking probiotics for several years, but I believe the key to my recent success with improving my gut issues is the removal of the toxins and harmful microbes with Bio Cleanse and the Pro Bio introducing to help balance my gut.

I’m not going to pretend I am an expert on gut health, but I do urge you to do your own research on it. There appears to be many health issues that are linked to having an unbalanced gut. I can speak to how it has improved my health. I have, for years, tried to regulate it on my own by way of probiotics and food choices. And, yes, even that nasty cleanse I had tried. I have made progress in terms of finding foods and environmental problems that trigger my issues and did decrease my bowel issues to a point. However, it has been only since taking these products, have I begun to feel as if I might be able to get a handle on more of my health issues.

I’m not expecting a cure. I’m just looking for a life better than what I was experiencing. And I want to feel as if I have some control over continuing to improve it. The past couple months have given me hope. That, my friends, on its own, is huge, because I have lingered in the despair of having none for so long.

My path to health might not be the same as yours. This might not work for you. But I hope, at the very least, it encourages you to keep seeking your best health.

Wishing you happiness and good health.

Until next time… Keep digging deep to find that will power to become well.

Grandboy love, Life as it is, and Making strides not despite but because.

Hello friends! I hope this post finds you all healthy and staying sane in this weird and unsettling time in our lives. I know it has been awhile since I checked in, so I thought it was time for an update. We have had some sickness run through the family, but thankfully we have remained a few steps away from any Covid 19 infections.

A couple weeks ago, we had picked up the the 3 grandsons on a Thursday night to bring them down to NC for a 3 day weekend, since the oldest didn’t have school on Friday. On Saturday, our son, their dad, was diagnosed with Flu B. We knew that the Covid 19 issues would soon be knocking on our door, but we were prepared to heed any recommendations given by the state or federal government. We, at that time, were still in “business as usual” within our own little life bubble. But within 24 hours, the suggestion of social distancing became more stressed. We made a conscious decision that we would have to tweak our usual plans of visiting playgrounds and favorite eateries. And, of course, although our son was diagnosed with flu B, his high temperature and sore throat was a bit worrisome since the cornovirus was hitting closer and closer to home. We also decided we would have to play it by ear as to when it would be safe to take the boys home given he was contagious.

Our Friday was merely a day of playing at my son and DIL’s, whom we currently live with. Saturday’s plan of taking the boys to their favorite place for chicken and fries, Tenders, and then to a playground turned into getting take out and a jaunt to Lake Norman where the kids could throw rocks into the water and get a little nature walk in. It was a bit disheartening for the 5 year old, when we didn’t stay to eat at that restaurant. He leaned his little body against the building, head hung low, and bewildered and sad stated, “I just don’t understand all this.” I did my best to reassure him and explain the situation. We promised that, although we needed to heed the safety concerns, it didn’t mean we couldn’t find alternate ways of having fun.

It was decided that we would find an area that did not have a playground to alleviate any potential frustration the boys would feel not being able to enjoy it. Our little picnic and time near the water to dig in sand, rummage for rocks, and find the perfect rocks to make huge splashes was the perfect remedy to keep it light and fun. Little did we know this would be our last gathering as a family with our NC kids and our VA grandboys.

Boys, rocks, and mud: as a mom of boys and now grandboys, that is life at its best.

On Sunday, the little guy started to run a temperature and was only wanting cuddles. He was also complaining of “owws”, which when asked where his booboo was he pointed at his head. He was showing the exact symptoms his dad was. At that point, we were already talking about keeping the kids another day, because Virginia had closed schools due to Covid. By Monday evening the poor boy was just miserable, so my DIL and I got him into a clinic 15 minutues before they closed, and he, too, tested positive for Flu B. I was relieved to at least know this was what we were dealing with. Our little 3 day weekend turned into a week stay as we didn’t feel comfortable putting him through a 2 1/2 hour drive home. Hubby, Matt, and I did our best to make his first long stint away from mommy and daddy as comfortable as possible. The older two were as good as gold, and given we were just beginning the throws of this Covid 19 issue, we were unable to go out as we normally do when they are here for a visit. And with the suggestion to social distance and Ian being sick, visiting the other NC family was totally off the table.

Ian had improved a bit by Thursday and his fever had finally broke, so we decided to try to get him home where we thought he would be more comfortable. I know it was easier for him to have his older brothers here with him, but I felt that was the best place for him to continue his recovery. It was a tough drive back to VA. He was a trooper, but I could tell he was still miserable. He even vomited only 5 minutes into the trip, and I almost reconsidered making it. But ultimately, home is always best when we need to heal, so we moved forward. I know he and I both had a sense of relief when he could finally take a warm bath in his own home and cuddle up on his own couch. We felt lost for the days after, as I took care of Ian during the day and my husband took the night care. The older two boys kept life lively and fun, and we had plenty of hugs and love from them. Upon returning home, Ian felt lost without his Papa as they have a very special bond. He even asked for him at night as he had become accustomed to cuddling with him while Matt told him stories about pirates and other adventures.

The next 10 days found myself and Matt down with something. It was a cough and a slight sore throat with no temperature. Mainly it was just a lot of miserable coughing and exhaustion. Needless to say, for about three weeks, any sort of workout was nonexistent. I was, however, adamant about keeping up with my Plexus regimen and keeping on course with making healthy food choices. I must admit, my pain levels didn’t reach as high as I expected given the lack of sleep, the hours of caring for the boys and holding and carrying Ian, and the coughing spells I was enduring. The worst part was hip pain due to hours rocking and holding him for hours while he napped. I must admit it was a huge win that fibromyalgia didn’t put me into a position of not being able to care for all of them. It was a monumental milestone in feeling as if I am combating and overcoming fibromyalgia’s suffocating infliction.

Now that we are in the midst of this myriad of days of sheltering in place, I’m using it as an opportunity to focus on my health with more diligence. It has actually forced me to step back and make it my primary goal. Before life from the outside was beckoning me to try to keep up with the world. Something I truly haven’t had the physical and mental capacity to do. Now, instead of fighting the urge to keep up, I’m revealing in the moments I have to catch up. And given the state of our new normal in the world, there are a multitude of them, wouldn’t you say?

Each day I now focus on what I can do to improve my health. I am doing a 18/6 intermittent fasting at least 5 days a week, eating healthy, and am continuing my Plexus supplements in order to regulate my sugar and improve my gut health. Since recovering from our illness, my husband and I try to take daily walks for both the mental and physical benefits. We mapped out a 3 mile route we try to take daily, but have actually recently added to that so as to get almost a 5 mile trek in when we are up for it. We have done that route both Monday and Tuesday this week, and I can happily report that my pain levels have to not increased in the least. Good things are happening within me due to the choices I am making. I can’t begin to express how elated I am about this!

I hope you are all finding your way through these uncertain times. I wholeheartedly believe we will all come out of this with a deeper appreciation for the little things in life. I mean if toilet paper can become something we can revel in having possession of maybe, just maybe, the big world waiting to be once again appreciated, will find itself becoming our human accommodating Pandora (Avatar).

Be well. Be safe.

I look forward to one day seeing you on the outside. Until then, I’ll keep meeting you here at a safe social distance.

That nasty inner voice, going no where, finding myself elsewhere.

Two days late, but here I am. My planner said I had a writing appointment here for Monday. But, once again, as it has it has over and over, procrastination due to fear of failure and the inability of read worthy writings, had me skipping that arrangement. I’m proud to say I showed up here today without any decided subject matter to discuss. Something often used as an excuse not to show up. I have to confess, I caught myself opening up my last blog post to see if there was anything there that would spur on thoughts and ideas to write about. I quickly rerouted my brain to, “you are not there anymore. You are in a new place today. Write about that.”

This week I feel stronger. Not fixed, or have any nuances of mental or physical struggles removed, just stronger. It’s as if I am a toy car that takes 12 AA batteries to run, and although they are all dead, someone has kindly replaced one. That stored energy is there awaiting for the others to be replaced, but there is no way the full potential of movement, nor all my other fancy bells and whistles, be enjoyed. at least, not yet. There is something I don’t have that a toy car doesn’t. The mental capacity to understand that I am one battery closer to full operating capacity. I have potential energy. I have potential.

So far this week, I have done three continuous days of yoga. This may or not be due to a that before each yoga session, I spend some time using a heating pad to warm up the most problematic areas in terms of pain. These tend to be my hips, upper back between my shoulder blades, especially the left side that I injured, and my chest area near and below the clavicle, and my shoulders. I continue to use the 30 Days of Weight Loss videos that I mentioned in my last post, and am currently on Day 10. I am often finding the need to have more forgiving self talk, because, after each yoga session, I believe I should be able to do more that just 30 minutes. I often took 45 minute and hour long yoga classes, so the reminder that I have to stay with in my body’s current ability is essential. To move beyond the edge of my where my body is today, may ultimately decrease where that edge will be in the future if I don’t listen intently to its needs. It’s amazing how much current negative thoughts can set the probability of future self sabotaging thoughts. Without my ability for acceptance of where my body is today, I may never move beyond its current capability. That merely sets me up for possible physical issues going forward and, therefore, perpetuating negative self talk. I’m learning to tweak those thoughts in order to avoid self sabotage of my goals.

It’s amazing the things we have to relearn. Especially those we once thought we had mastered. Growing up, I didn’t let the opinions of others deter me from who I thought I was and what I wanted. Of course, there are times we must find different paths to our ultimate goals, but I was good at seeing ways around obstacles. Even if those obstacles could take the form of someone else’s opinion of me.

Point in case, when I was younger, I always thought I seen as a “bad kid”. If my mom felt we were especially “bad” on a given week, we were told we had to attend confession on Saturday morning. This mostly occured in my preteen and teen years. However, I never saw myself as what I thought she saw. I mean, yes, I did typical kid things like fighting with my siblings. To me, being sent to confession, was like being sent to the police station to admit to a crime. I didn’t see myself at all as overstepping or breaking a rule. Arguments with sibling were usually for some rational reason. I didn’t speak up against my parents opinions or rules, unless I felt they were not valid or their judgement of something that I was said to have done or said was out of context. I wasn’t “all that bad.” I merely wanted my opinions and needs to be respected, and felt I was deserving of that. I felt all persons are deserving of that. So, I didn’t allow others opinions of me dictate my opinion of me. But something has shifted me away from it.

Namely, it was my diagnosis of fibromyalgia. The symptoms and the affects of fibromyalgia became the means for my unhealthy transference. Fibro makes me angry. It has taken things from me. It has diminished what I had hoped my future would hold. I look back to the freedom I felt in my previous body, my fibro free body, and I want it back. I want to wake up feeling unencumbered from pain and the mental anguish that will keep me from accomplishing and enjoying everyday choices and chances. It has left me making choices time after time of what part of my life I delete in order to eek out those things I truly must do or desire. This week I am focusing only on needed exercise and decreasing all other physically taxing errands or situations, in order to spend time with my grandsons this weekend. I rest days on end, to have energy for a day or two. I give and give to fibro, and it keeps taking.

So, who or where do I redirect these emotions and feelings to? Anyone who takes from me. Anyone who reminds me of what I was and how I used to be. I don’t need these reminders. I know I cannot be counted on showing up if I am asked to participate in something. And if I do show up, I might not appear to fully be there mentally. I cannot be counted on if you need my help in a physical activity. I will try my best, but it is hard for me to be “on time”, especially in the morning, because my body fails me often. Yes, I “used to” be able to do all those things and I feel like a burden and useless because of my inability to do so now. Fibromyalgia is obstinate, controlling, selfish, relentlessly cruel, and hurts me to the core. So, when someone shows or tell me I am no longer the person I once was, in those moments I despise them as much as I do my archenemy, Fibro. They are tearing down any minuscule of self acceptance, self esteem, and self love I have left.

I find it strange that at the ages of 16, and 26 and 36, it was easier for me to deflect any outside influence to alter how I viewed myself. But, here I am, nearly 56, and I have allowed other’s choices in how they interact within my life, to knock me off my feet. I try to come out of this with an understanding that they truly don’t understand the scope of what I am dealing with, and how they may not see the depth their words and actions might dig into a raw part of my already deepened and embedded self hate. I know I must work on this. I must work to forgive myself for believing the hurt they inflicted was due to me not “being enough”. I’m still unsure how to explain the depth of personal loss I feel daily , so that others don’t feel the brunt of that transference. Or that I have to, once again, feel the pain and disappointment and immediately fall into a self protection mode. That mode of protection brings out a very angry, introverted person who falls further into self loathing.

I know this voice has to be silenced. I know I have been spinning in this circle for about 8 years now, and I am the only one who can pull herself out. The words of others, the actions of others, and the opinions of others is not going to bring me out of this painful despair and feeling of inadequacy. I have to believe in myself. If I cannot physically and mentally give what they are in need of, it cannot fully be my responsibility. Let them look elsewhere if they cannot accept where I am. If they must give up on me, because I am not enough, then so be it. Perhaps if I put it out there in a letter:

So, dear person/s who see me as “not enough” or “giving enough”,

I have to come back to being enough for me. I cannot give another inch of myself until I do. At least not without resentment. I am not selfish. I am not ignoring your needs. I am not lazy. I am trying to survive what fibromyalgia inflicts upon me. Please do not inflict more. I smile when I am in pain. I already show up, even when I truly don’t have the capacity to do so. You don’t have to remind me I am not who you thought I was. I am not who I thought I was becoming. Nor who I wanted to be. I am learning to adjust to that and accept it. I am not blind to seeing you expect more and that I continue to disappoint. I know my limits, and sometimes your are pushing beyond them. I have to stop when it is too much for me. I have to love myself enough to do this. On my terms. In my time.

Please be patient.

Please be accepting.

Please don’t expect me to live up to your expectations.

If you cannot. Please, move on.

Staying in the winners circle of life.

I really don’t know the why and how of my blog titles, I just throw out whatever seems to seep up from the back of my mind. But, I think this one wraps up what has bloomed from this week.

Last week was pretty good in terms of staying on task with workouts. I had my mat rolled out everyday. Then I took the weekend off, figuring it would give me a good break before starting off this week. Monday proved to be a pretty good day and I got a really good yoga practice in. Tuesday I was hoping for the same, but ended up with a more gentle yoga that only lasted about 10 minutes. My pain levels were soaring, so I rolled up the mat and opted for a long soak in Epsom salts. Yesterday was no better. In fact, I got dressed hoping to do some more gentle yoga, but that was not to be. When I can’t even get into one of my favorite poses, down dog, without feeling uncomfortable, I know it is time to back off. Instead, I grabbed the foam roller I just bought off Amazon, and hoped that would alleviate some of the deep pain I was dealing with in my back, shoulder, and legs.

Since trying to workout on a regular basis, I realized how the issues with myofasical pain has been plaguing me. So I decided to invest in a foam roller. I’m all about options and versatility, so I opted for this one by PowerPro. It is actually two rollers in one. That inner cylinder can be removed and is a smooth roller. I have used it twice and so far I am liking it and noticing a difference.

This has just been an off week all around for me. I felt exhausted on Tuesday and it was almost as if I hadn’t slept for days. Then yesterday and today, I slept in until 10:00 a.m.! But, I must admit, today I am feeling a bit more spry and am a mentally in a bit better place. I’m going to revel in that, but not overdo it. Even my appetite was off. Last night I couldn’t convince myself to have dinner, and opted to have popcorn and a Lean protein drink so I wouldn’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night.

My plan today is to get back on the mat and only go as far and as long as I my body tells me. I’m going to not stress about how much time I lost this week. I have decided to reboot my writing blogs and get back to showing up each week with posts on The Gregarious House. As far as this blog, I’m going to post once a week and not focus on what my readership looks like. I will not focus on the numbers of people it reaches, but remain hopeful it reaches those who are in need of it. Health goals with chronic issues are hard to obtain when the medical research still doesn’t have definitive answers. But, I am willing to put in the hard work to go it alone, with the hopes that others can follow along, find some use in it, and not feel isolated in their diagnosis.

This post, and many to follow, may not be filled with happy hiking and zen~filled yoga workouts. It won’t have definitive answers to the best way to work through pain, to lose weight, or the best remedies to fight through the mental struggles. Because I don’t have any of that. I only have my struggles and my experiences to share. My ways may or may not fit into what works for you and vice versa. But, I have learned and seen, time and time again, how differently most of us that have been diagnosed with chronic pain, have come to have it. There is no set course to it, and there is not one specific set course out of it. We just need to keep working toward a life where it does not define us or dictate our daily life. I can’t say I am very close to that at this point, but I am noticing small nuances of the person I was emerge. And I’m going to hold onto those priceless nuggets and build on them.

Whatever your struggles, I hope you find resilience, strength, and continued hope in every moment forward. We got this!

DeeDee’s Endorsement: If you have ever wanted to try yoga or are new to it, and have Amazon Prime, I found this great video series called 30 Day Yoga for Weight Loss with Julia Marie. The series is free with a Prime membership. Although I have had experience with yoga for quite a few years now, I am finding it beneficial for me to start out as if I am new to it. This has given me the opportunity to really focus on my alignment in various poses and to realign my past views of exercise having to remain in be a pain or no gain realm in order to be beneficial.

Coming back, dusting off the dirt, ain’t easy.

(Warning: This post was published without proof reading, because it often leads to excessive self censoring.)

Avoidance, procrastination, call it what you will, I’m in exactly that frame of mind. I’m doing my best to increase only good habits in my life. You know, things like eating healthy, finding balance, getting enough sleep and exercise. But that’s why I am struggling with coming here to write. I can so easily throw it into the box of bad habits of too much social media and not enough real life time. That’s part of the reason I haven’t written any posts, but it is only part of my struggle.

I’m trying to sort out so much in life right now, that I am unsure what the necessary parts of it are. Those who don’t know me personally, don’t know the current limbo my husband and I are living in. It has been an ongoing world of unknown since September of 2018. I hadn’t set out to even discuss this part of my life in the blog post, yet here it is, at the forefront of my thoughts as I type. I guess if I’m going to be authentic, this part should be discussed.

You see, we sold our house back then, but had no particular place to move to. I won’t go through the entire journey to where we are now, as it is lengthy. But here is the short of it: We lived in a hotel in VA for a year, while I continued to take care of my grandsons. But in October of last year, we moved to North Carolina and have been living with our third oldest son and his wife. The goal is to settle down here in NC. That, too, is a long back story. Where we are now in this journey is part of why I struggle. I don’t want this limbo to be a wasted frame of time. It is the perfect time to do a life reset. And I am still trying to sort out what that looks like.

At the onset, my goal since moving to North Carolina is to become healthier, stronger, and to decrease my pain levels in order to increase my quality of life level. Since January, I feel like I have made some key changes in moving toward that direction. I am definitely making more time to roll out my yoga mat, I’m sticking to the eating healthy regimen while allowing treats here and there, I’m allowing my body to rest on days it requires it without feeling (too) guilty, I’m putting in long walks when I’m capable, and I have continued using my Plexus products to get my gut issues in check. All these are essential in moving toward making this my healthiest decade ever, but there is something missing. Purpose.

It was easy when my kids were still at home. They were my purpose. Then I went into blogging mode when we became empty-nesters, until the first grandson came along. He, and then later his two brothers, became my purpose. Physically, it became difficult. Mentally I was in despair, because the person I knew and thought I had become was dwindling away. I’m fighting back, but I don’t know where this all leads. I had hoped that a return to blogging would help me return to that part of me that I left somewhere back there in that heap of chronic pain.

Admittedly, it’s hard. It’s hard to not recognize yourself and to fight each day against what limitations your body and your energy impose upon it. I thought, and hoped, that writing would help me see my own progress and encourage others to persevere as well. And that hope hasn’t completely waned. However, I find it hard to show up here and feel there is anything worthy of writing and reading. I find it hard to plug into social media, when I feel so disconnected from myself. I have yet to come to grips with the fact that my writings won’t be all unicorns and rainbows like my writings at my blogging infancy. I couldn’t get to my laptop and sign into my WordPress account fast enough back then. Now, I allow my laptop to remain buried in its bag collecting dust in the corner of the room.

I know there is a joy in writing for me. At least, I remember it once feeling that way. But I feel such a disconnect to it now. Perhaps it is because I am dealing with the reality of what I can’t control. That’s a raw thing to share. There is no certainty that I will succeed. With that comes the realization it might not be helpful to others. And there is also the judgement that comes with making myself vulnerable. Sometimes I think I am not at a place to endure that. A few years ago, perhaps I would have been.

I guess I just need to tap into that person. The one who, eight years ago or so, was not swayed by those who wanted to peg her as something she wasn’t. I liked her. She had confidence. She felt worthy of good things in her life. She found happiness in the smallest of things. I was proud to know her.

I guess, in order to put my best foot forward, I just need to meet her here more often. To let her talk it out. To feel that vulnerability and take it in stride if confidence and self love wane. Maybe I’ll come back to it, then. That person and skin I felt comfortable in.

Nothing to lose at this point. But there is a life and a future I need to regain.

Some days digging deep means you just scratch the surface.

I have all the best intentions to make each day count and work my hardest at striving towards accomplishing my best decade ever. But, that requires making minuscule changes and tweaks in order for it all to fall into place when, no matter what extent of effort is put forth, the wheels are just spinning. I’m going nowhere today in terms making huge strides. I have to succumb to that reality.

There are just those days, that we sometimes call “a wash”. The to do list might be long. The end goal might be ticking in the back of our brain, nagging us to bring it to the forefront. It tugs, it pulls, it screams as if your life depends on it being noticed. But, no matter any attempt to move in the direction that we think needs to be taken, the inability to function properly to do the tasks in nonexistent.

Whether that be a physical barrier such as pain, or a sluggish mental state that has you want to throw in the towel, sometimes we have to just sit back and realize this is where things are today. So instead, of fighting against this tidal wave that is wearing me down further as I fight against it, I am finding it best to ride it to the shore. That shallow water along the shore is befitting for what might really be needed; a mere few minutes here and there of having ideas and future plans lap up against me.

The ideal day would have me up and dressed after preparing myself a healthy breakfast, a fresh load of clean laundry put away, hubby’s business accounting up to date for the month, and have me headed off to grab the groceries from the list I just completed, with the plans to workout as soon as I arrived home. My reality is ~ I’ve eaten a healthy breakfast and I’ve gotten the grocery list started. End. of. story.

I am now having to cast all those things that will have to wait back into the water, knowing they will wash back up as needed. I’ll get the groceries, but not without changing out of my pajamas, or course. And I’ll save up the rest of my energy for making dinner and working out. Those are in keeping with realizing my ultimate goal of making this my healthiest decade. Putting off those other things also promote my goal. Peace and serenity in my life, is key in keeping my mental health in check. This is as pertinent as any other muscle workout. And although it is hard and frustrating for me to put tasks off that I would previously undertake without issue, I have to know my limits.

“What self-acceptance does is open up more possibilities of succeeding because you aren’t fighting yourself along the way.”

― Shannon Ables

So, I am not defeated. I am finding alternatives and accepting where I am today on this journey. In fact, by eliminating other outside forces, I am actually more acutely honing in on my main goal. It’s like mental minimalism. Hmmm, I think I’m on to something here.

Got goals?

Go on! Go get the ones that count.