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.