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.

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.

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?

Weekend Woes

I actually wrote a blog post in the midst of one of the worst weekends I have had in a long time. It was a mental post that I’m not sure will ever be placed into blog world. But then perhaps it would be cathartic. Maybe when I am in a better mental state and can more clearly present it. Until then, here’s my watered down version.

Saturday started out pretty well. I had a bit of shoulder pain and some lower back pain. Hubby and I had been working on a puzzle, so although it was painful, I pushed through since we were so close to completing it. I was hoping if I just kept moving it would work itself out. So, I swept and mopped the hallway and our bedroom. And then set out to clean the bathroom (it was long overdue). By the time I was halfway through, I was starting to feel the pain spreading throughout my entire body. Despite that, I completed the task and decided I’d utilize the heating pad and just take it easy. However, hour by hour, the pain became deeper and deeper. I ended up in bed the rest of the day and had absolutely no appetite. Smelling of muscle rub, wrapped in a heating pad, weak and frustrated beyond words, I tried not to mentally lose it.

I struggled to sleep throughout the night and by morning, I was feeling things becoming worse. I knew I was on the cusp of a migraine, so I attempted to do my best to relax. Nothing worked. By mid day, I was writhing in pain and the migraine took hold. I tried to at least to get something to eat, but that wasn’t to happen. I laid there in a puddle of tears and pain drool, and wished myself to just pass out. My DIL brought me meds; my hubby tried to massage my muscles and soothe me. I couldn’t even stand to lie in bed as the pressure of it on my muscles was excruciating. My pillow felt like a rock. By late that evening, the pain started to lighten up. I was in a mental stupor, but glad to have the pain no longer trying to push me over the edge.

Today, is a day of recuperating. I’ll have lost almost 2 and half days and that bums me out. But, lesson learned again: mental energy does not equate to physical capability. . Oddly, this is not the first time that I have had this issue after the cleaning the bathroom. Seriously! I think between the bending and twisting, and the cleaners, my body can’t tolerate it. It is one of reasons I was glad to be living in a hotel for just over a year, bathroom duty didn’t belong to me. And as for future bathroom cleaning sessions? That task has been relinquished to the hubby.

This has already meant a slow start to my week. And exercise won’t be happening until I regain my footing. But I remain determined in my goal. My willpower remains strong. The power of wellness will not elude me. I think some light yoga will be my go to as a restart.

Month two of working toward well power.

Tomorrow will mark my two months of adding Plexus products to my bags of tools to help me along on my journey of turning my willpower into well power. I thought it would be a great time to take a real look at what changes I’ve seen and feel. I am going into this with an open mind and without expectations of “a cure”. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, IBS, and Myofascial Pain. After nearly 16 years of dealing with chronic pain, I know it is not realistic, nor beneficial to my mental state, to believe there is a magic potion out there to make all the symptoms go away. But I am confident there are ways to decrease the intensity of the symptoms and increase my quality of life.

One of the very first positives I noticed was a decrease in inflammation. This is especially true in my hands, as this where I can visually see it. Most morning my hands are swollen to the point of being unable to bend them. This may or may not last all day. However, I have only had about 3 mornings of swelling, since about 3 weeks into starting Plexus. Physically I can feel less swelling throughout my entire body.

The second thing I have physically noticed, is a bit more energy throughout the day. I usually hit a wall both physically and mentally about 2 p.m. each day. Most days, I would be ready to crawl into bed for the remainder of the day. Every task beyond that bewitching hour was grueling and draining. I now have found I can sometimes have the energy to make dinner. Although pain still makes it difficult to do it at a “normal person” speed, I am grateful that there is a bit of stamina left to keep me moving through it. Having that bit of energy alleviates some of the daily frustration and in turn, gives me small snippets of actual happiness, rather than the “don’t let them know you are struggling face”. It’s a genuine feeling that I thought had forever eluded me.

I actually enjoyed cooking last night! It is chore that is usually spattered with expletives because pain persists and brain processes perish. But I actually enjoyed making these two new recipes and felt quite pleased by my sustained energy levels, as well as how delicious they turned out. The hubby said they are “must keep” recipes. I totally agree. I have shared the recipes at the bottom of this post

Left photo: Warm Potato Salad with Hummus and Arugula Right photo: Maple-Dijon-Cider Pork Tenderloin (Sauce not shown- But I did make it and it was delish!)

I started changing my diet about 15 years ago when my IBS was starting to get out control and I was noticing sugar and gluten increased my pain. I also had to focus on keeping my weight in check, since several doctors have warned me that a higher number on the scales equates to higher pain levels. I started eating clean and have rarely eaten processed foods since that time. Sweet tea is one of my weaknesses, so I limited that to once or twice a month. These choices, along with trying to get some type of exercise when my pain levels allowed, kept my weight in check. However, since hitting that 50 year old mark, my weight has been creeping up each year.

By the middle of last year, I had tipped into the overweight group. So, although my original intent was in alleviating other health issues with Plexus, weight loss would be an extra perk. To date, I have lost 5 1/2 pounds. I have not altered my diet. But I have had less cravings for chocolate. I used to literally wake up in the middle of the night and crave it. The only additional thing I have added, is walking each day. And I am able to do this because of my increased energy. It is no where in a normal range, but it has improved.

In terms of pain, there is a slight, but noticeable decrease. I still wake up nightly with pain, but I am moving more throughout the day, so that is something I expected. I hope over time this will diminish. Pain in my tender points has been less severe, and searing pain and tingling in my arms and chest at night are occurring about a 1/3 of the time now. I have also noticed I recover a bit more quickly after taking a shower. Yes, I said, a shower. It is one of those strange things that occur with fibromyalgia. I usually take showers or baths at night for this reason. Everyday task like that can be exhausting, and it is a good way to gauge levels of improvement.

A huge improvement for me both in terms of digestion and mental strength is that I am not facing severe repercussions for consuming gluten or even enjoying a few morsels of a non gluten free food. I have also been able to eat regular portions of foods like broccoli, mushrooms, pineapple and such, that used to once have me making quick trips to the bathroom if I ate more than my system could tolerate. I’ve also noticed decreased bloating. I now no longer look like I am 4 months pregnant after eating certain foods. There is still slight bloating after eating the occasional gluten free bread, but it isn’t something I like to indulge in much anyway due to preservatives.

The one fibro symptom that many night be aware of, but that is a huge issue when it comes to self confidence and self worth, is what is called brain fog. It brings much frustration and despair to daily life. The inability to remember words, finding it difficult to process thoughts quickly, and merely following common directions like a recipe, can become overwhelming. The many ways it decreases self esteem and worth feels never ending. In the past month, I have seen more windows of mental clarity throughout my day. Of course, when pain levels are up, this can feed into that difficulty of processing things mentally. But, even without pain, brain fog can be debilitating. I would love to see this disappear!

So, overall things are ticking in a positive direction. Since I have been plagued with pain for years, I know this is going to be a slow process. But, I am not moving backwards and that is a good thing. I could never go back there! It was a horrible time in my life. And I refuse to stay in the state I in as it is still not the happy and fulfilling life I want. This why I am seeking change. But I am still garnering all the willpower I can and am grateful for these small grains of healthy change. It is mental morsels that keeps me optimistically pushing forward.

I’ve unpacked my products and am ready to delve into month three.

Recipes:

Maple-Dijon-Cider Pork Tenderloin

Warm Potato Salad with Hummus and Arugula

Ain’t no mountain high enough.

This past weekend’s weather opened up another perfect opportunity to hike. I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. As I stated in my last post, hiking is my preferred way to get exercise and keep my body moving toward better health. It wasn’t as strenuous of a hike as the previous weekends in terms of steepness, as the the bulk of the inclines were walkways rather than a series of stairs, but my heart and leg muscles were getting a great workout. We probably did almost 3 miles by the time we tweaked the original trail of 2.8 miles we started out on.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

I also took my hiking poles on this trip, so there was more upper body work as well. I enjoyed every step despite the mental battle to keep going when my body was ready to give in. Concentrating on breathing deeply for optimal oxygen intake was essential. As was reminding myself of one thing on my vision board: to one day climb the steps of Machu Picchu.

I wish I could say I woke up feeling relatively “fibro normal” as I did after last weekend’s hike, but that was not the case. I was up in the middle of the night with searing pain throughout my entire body. And today my energy levels are low.

I won’t call this a step backward, however. Last week was a productive week for me and my energy levels remained at a place where I felt more in charge of my life. And to then to also fit in a hike at the end of that busy week was a huge win! Although today it is expected to be nearly 70 degrees today and it will take all I can to muster a walk through the neighborhood, there “ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough” to deter me from doing so.

Dear well power,

Cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Remember the day I set you free
I told you you could always count on me darling
From that day on, I made a vow
I’ll be there when you want me
Some way, some how
(lyrics from Martin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough)

Always here for you,

Willpower