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.

Persistent Pain vs Persistent Purpose

It’s so easy to want the results without putting in the work. I’ve fallen victim to this over and over. Every morning I get up with the intention of making strides to moving toward getting fit, but by mid morning it wanes. This is partly due to the pain that plagues me all morning and hoping it will subside before doing any sort of workout. By the time it does, my mind is tired and my ambition is nil.

Yesterday, I was able to do a half hour walk in the house (it had been another day of rain here) and get some yoga in. But, the entire time, I kept mulling over what I needed to do to get myself to get past these hurdles and the self doubt that I could work through the pain. I decided last night to make myself a inspiration/vision board and use it as a background for my phone.

I must admit it was a motivational way to get me to my mat for a Pilates workout session this morning. But, I was dealing with some immense myofascial pain in my ribs, so I needed a bit more of a push. About 5 minutes into my routine, as I struggled, a thought came into my mind. Where is that bracelet I bought? I should wear that as a reminder to keep going. So, I clicked the pause button on the DVD and started rummaging through my jewelry. It took me over 10 minutes to find it, but was well worth it. It was a splurge buy that popped up on the internet one day, and I was drawn to how much it resonated with me. It’s not some fancy bling, but a mere reminder to “Be stronger than the storm”.

DVD restarted and away I went; thirty minutes of stretching, breathing, and muscling my way to feeling better. It worked! All of it! The motivation, the dedication, the movement, and the breathing, all helped decrease the pain and put me in a better state of mind. I ended the workout with another 30 minute walk around the house. (yep, it was still raining)

I wish I could imprint this feeling on my brain everytime I doubt my ability to work out. Or try to use it as an excuse. I honestly feel a bit better. Pain free? Absolutely no. But the positive vibes and self confidence has spilled into my being. That is something I can utilize during the small storms I’m dealt with for the rest of the day.

So, here’s what to take from this. Move. Just move in the direction that will provide you with what you ultimately desire. No matter how hard it is, how big the storm feels, you can move beyond it. If it is a desire, a dream, a goal, a wish, or need, push beyond those negative “I can’t because” reasons. You may have to alter it or tweak it, but don’t avoid it. That will not get you closer to what you are reaching for. And it may leave you more frustrated than dealing with the pain does.

Fellow fibro /chronic friends…Do it! Find that form of exercise that is right for your body in the moment, and do it. Not in despite of the pain, but because of it.

Wishing you well power .

See you on the healthier side of life.

A jounal, a blog, a destiny unknown.

Oh my, you guys. Ya’ll. Whew, I woke up to the stark reality of how slow this process is going to take. My muscles are screaming at me.

I did a bit of yoga yesterday, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, I took it easy. However, since I do love kettle bell routines, I decided to just grab a light weight hand weight, a mere 3 lbs, and do some “round the worlds”. I also did a bit of upper body work with them and figured I could try to get back into doing push-ups. I only did 5! My body was just not liking it.

It hates me even more today. The pain under my clavicle is horrible and my whole upper-body is in searing pain. I’m sure some of you can relate to that burn after a workout from lactic acid buildup. Well, us fibro peeps are unable to break lactic acid down. It has to do with mitochondrial dysfunction. It can take hours or days to recoup after physical exercise, repetitive movement, and many various tasks.

So, it’s just another reminder that I need to listen to my body. Today, I will focus on stretching and some light yoga, avoiding anything with too much upper body work. I’m thinking I might need get a foam roller to release my fascia between workouts. Listening to my body is certainly going to be essential. I just don’t want to do too much, too fast and set myself back for days at a time. With chronic pain it isn’t a one workout at a time thing. It’s a one movement at a time. Gauging when we have pushed it a bit too far and backing off is imperative. Most people work out to a point of muscle exhaustion and to where each rep becomes a bit more laborious. This is not beneficial to those with fibro, as it may place them into a flare up or keep their pain levels high for days. That does not put anyone in a mental capacity to want to continue with any further workouts.

Yep, I’m backing off, but not backing down. My journal says I can’t. Every day that I can, I write 3 dreams in it. (said journal is not something I’m not committing enough to and should be) Everyday those dreams may be different or similar to the previous. One recurring journal dream is obvious: become the healthiest version of me. I’m not sure what that looks like, but I think I can imagine what it won’t feel like. It won’t feel like defeat and giving in to pain and a host of other symptoms every day. It will feel like success! It won’t feel like being out of control. It will feel like freedom! Handwriting that dream onto paper helps seal it into my reality. It will happen. It must.

This blog is another way to place this dream into real life. It has been a slow pulling and pushing out of the darkest, barricaded corner I’ve ever placed myself in. I still have further work to do to move from it and toward better, brighter days. Although I have mostly come to terms with the physical part of my journey, I have avoided the mental.

One thing I did for that mental need today was change up the style of this blog. Did you notice? I wanted to be sure it was a place I was happy to come back to. I didn’t want it to become a painful workout that I resent and avoid. Like that flower, I want to put my face to the sun, feel the warmth of life, bend with the wind, and enhance the path forward.

On my wellness way. At my pace.

(That lil guy at the top of the page is one of my grandsons. My dream and desired destiny includes many new adventures with my grandkids. Here he is digging his toes into some of St. Thomas’s Magens Bay sand.)

Why get fit? Why now?

Howdy, friends! I thank you for following me this far on my wellness journey. I thought I’d take some time to explain what brought me to here. Not blogging, because a have a couple of those that I write as a hobby. But to blogging about striving to get well and to live in most fit body fit ever.

As for the getting fit part, that’s easy. Who doesn’t want to feel good in their own skin and not have clothes tug and pull across unwanted weight. Or to constantly be changing out your wardrobe because you keep changing pant size. I once had the goal to bit a fit mom of four at 30. Then it was the goal to take time for me since my boys were becoming independent and to be fit by 40. That then led into wishing to being a fit and fab grandma at 50. I kept falling short. I stayed trim for the most part. But I wasn’t my healthiest. Now I’m three rambunctious grandboys in, and I want to be able to keep up with them. And instead of being 55, fit and fabulous, I have tipped into the overweight realm and my fibromyalgia symptoms are piling on. And I am also noticing more of this bloated, swollen feel throughout my body. It isn’t at all pleasant.

I have never been a yo-yo dieter. Food has never had a lot of control over me. I have always tried to be conscious of the amount of food that goes into my body. This is where most of my willpower lies. If I get an extra portion of that yummy supper, I can’t have that chocolate candy I love. If I have a sweetened tea or wine with my meal, I have to adjust my food intake to offset the calories. Now, that is not to say I was always eating the healthiest versions of food, because I fell victim to the ease of fast meal prep by using boxed and frozen meals. I often made homemade meals, but there was always plenty of mac and cheese types of boxed foods within reach. Those preservative filled foods were not removed from my life until about 2003. I think that is what has helped me keep my weight in check over the last decades.

Now when it comes to exercise, this is where the yo-yo was apparant. I could keep on track for months at a time with an exercise routine, but then suddenly something would crop into my life and I’d be off track. My weight changes weren’t crazy, but would fluctuate 5 to 10 pounds. In 2018 I was taking care of my grandsons 5 days a week, and was sometimes too tired to work out. But I always kept on the move and got plenty of steps in to at least maintain my weight. By late that year, we sold our house in Virginia and moved into a hotel. I was still watching the grandsons, but since there house was smaller than ours, the steps I completed each day dropped considerably. My pain levels were on the rise, as was my weight. This despite the fact our hotel room was on the fourth floor and I rarely used the elevator.

This is just a couple of months ago. ( I am on the far right. The other two beauties are my daughter in laws) This was me was before I hit my overweight mark and when, in seeing this photo for the first time, I understood why I wasn’t happy, and how much bloating was going on in my body. I was feeling trapped and chained to a dissatisfied lifestyle and self image. I needed to make a change. Sidenote: I actually sent this photo to myself in an email labeled “fat photo”. In actuality, I should have called it “unhealthy photo”. It’s time to make that healthy change. No better time than now.

Since the end of 2019 we have been staying with my son and DIL in North Carolina as we seek a new residence. My pain levels have become as such that I rarely have the energy or ability to workout as I’d like. But since, I am no longer helping out with my grandsons, there is absolutely no excuse to not get myself back on the right track.

And this is the perfect time to do so. Why? Because I am currently in limbo. I am no longer taking care of the grandsons. I don’t have a house to keep up with. And my time can be me own if I only let it. I am a person who loves to help others, but often with the mistake of neglecting and depleting myself. I’m sure a lot of you can relate. But this is the perfect time to prepare myself for what lies ahead: the grandsons hopefully moving closer, so I can be chasing them around more often, a new home to keep up with, and hopefully more travel abroad.

At 50 I was on track to be the fittest I had been in my life. I was losing fat and gaining muscle. I had never been able to gain muscle. But a change in diet changed that. However, just as I had time after time, I wasn’t consistent. Life and pain got in the way. I know I can get back to this. And plan to push further than what I accomplished back then. This blog, being accountable for keeping you along for the journey, and hopefully inspiring you to become a healthier you, my drive to be able to decrease my pain, being able play more with my grandchildren, and traveling without constant “what ifs”, will help keep me from deviating from my goals.

I am taking this slow, because I have to be realistic. Fibromyalgia is not that forgiving, nor is muscle pain something I want to aggravate. I am no longer placing a marker for when this goal has to be accomplished. I’m just planning to, as Mel Robbins says in her newest free program, make this my “Best Decade Ever”. And the changes will be multifaceted, from continuing to find new healthy recipes, focusing on eating the best for my body, moving and exercising according to how my body tolerates it on a given day and in a given moment, finding balance in peace, elimminate things in my life that don’t serve me, and making sure time for me is a priority instead of a last minute ditch effort to make up for all the suffering I have put it through.

Breaking old habits is key. Case in point, I am writing this without having yet done any form of exercise. I have done 4 loads of laundry, nearly finished this blog post, and finished making supper. So, I guess this is my moment. I’m off to commit to me and my goal.

Until next time, ponder this…

What does your best decade ever look like?