Summer Projects

Summer projects have been started these last few days. Much mapping out of plans and making lists as per usual. I wanted to take some time over the next few months to work on a couple of home projects, play around with the One Little Word prompts and take some quality time of other creative ambitions.

First up is The Great Closet Purge of 2018. We are rounding on five and a half years at our home, It’s time for me to purge the contents of my walk-in closet. Its like all the things I have accumulated have used my closet as a final resting place. It is out of control.  I still maintain a capsule wardrobe with no more than forty-four vestments in my closet. However, I also use the space as a storage spot, a shipping/packing area for my direct sales business and attire for a renaissance group I belong to.

The space could really use a kon-mari weekend. The goal is to remove all the overgrowth of stuff, streamline my shipping needs and get rid of stuff that no longer serves a purpose. My ultimate goal is to sell what I can, donate the rest and enjoy the results.

Next up is the kitchen  – time to lay down fresh shelf lining, weed out the unused items and get the old out and refresh with the new. I am the logistics manger for this family task. With years of daily use the self lining has seen better days and we could use a bit more organization in spots within the cupboards.

I figure one cupboard a weekend will keep us in line to get this done throughout the summer. All of us here deal with health issues and there is no good reason for us to try to get this done all in one weekend. Slow and steady turtle pace for us Chronics.

As for my creative ambitions, I will be using my copious free time to do some painting and work on the One Little Word prompts for the summer season. I won’t lie, June didn’t happen for my journaling endeavors and I am already into July. Eeps.

I have been thoroughly enjoying a crazy new world of 3D painting. Click here for a more informative video cuz I may not have all the right words to explain. I’m not a person who enjoys creative projects that take too much time (i.e. traditional embroidery). I enjoy projects that are very quick and very easy.  Instant gratification basically.

I’m ready to enjoy a productive summer and could really use a sweet tea right now.

Summer Projects

photo by unsplash

 

Blood and Guts

I am back from another trip to see my nature path. This visit was primarily to get an interpretation of my results from a few weeks ago. We spent well over an hour going though the whole report. There are three tests that gave him a baseline. They were a Cardiac Reactive Protein test (CRP, High Sensitivity), Hormones (thyroid, reproductive, etc) and Cortisol. There were countless others including a food reaction test but we focused on the big three.

I am going to do my best here to give you a layman’s version of what he spoke about and what the plan is for the immediate future. I did some basic research (which really means I googled it) to give a bit more back ground into the whys.

So about this CRP (no, not short for crap). It is a test to actually help determine your risk for cardiac disease. It is an indication also of how inflammation affects you overall health.  I hit on the very high-end of the scale for this one. General base for this test is less than .9mg/L, I hit it at 30.3mg/L.  Doc was not too surprised as this test is also used on fibro patients and he was expecting an elevated result.

I was actually very encouraged with this result. Nothing pays with your head more with chronic illness then the thoughts that “it’s all in your head”. Granted there is not an actually blood test just specifically for fibromyalgia – but the ones I have had give me a more valid diagnosis.

I would like to think of this tests results as the umbrella on top of the other findings. It is everything underneath that we are dissecting and getting a closer look at to get me to my optimal health.

Hormones, oy! I am happy to report that my thyroid is in good shape. It’s doing the best it can do send out the necessary signals to create the what my body needs. All the T3 Free floaties in my body are in working order. My progesterone, however, is tanked. This explains a lot too.

With the low, low amount of this mighty hormone (like to think of it as estrogen’s big sis) my body has been in “we must save the fat or we’re gonna die” mode. Now here is the kicker, did you know that a study has shown that low progesterone can be linked to heavy periods? Me either!!

The doctor is having me utilize a progesterone cream at intervals during my cycle. We will be carefully guiding my body into a normal range for once in my life.

Cortisol anyone? Yet another test that validates the myalgic encephalomyelitis and fibromyalgia diagnosis I have. The normal range for this test 6.0 to 18.4ug/dL.  Your girl is at 6.0ug/dL. Whattheheck?Talk about the stress hormone being stressed! Lordy.

This poor little guy has raised the white flag and surrendered. No wonder my fat has taken up residence. There is very little my body is doing right now to aid in the metabolism of fat, carbs and proteins

We are gonna aid this malnourished adrenal by the use of hydrocortisone in pill form. With it being so low, it affects my weight and most importantly, my sleep.  What I wouldn’t give for a solid eight hours of sleep.

I am very happy for what I learned with my blood tests. I feel encouraged and ready to get these unwanted pounds off my body.

More to come next month on the progress of going diary-free and reducing my gluten intake.

 

Three Tips on How I Prepare for Summer

Arizona has two seasons – HOT and not hot. We were treated to a very rare cool spring but our days are escalating quickly to the 100 degree mark and our summer monsoon season is just about to hit.

I am, however, in a better state than ever as this Summer rolls into town. Just this month I was able to take a full day’s vacation that wasn’t eaten up by a doctor’s appointment or being sick. It was a glorious. Not only that – but I still have time available to me for the rest of the year. Go me!

Once it starts getting warmer I switch my capsule wardrobe to summer mode.  I wear comfortable dresses that flow and are not too tight against my body. I have always been comfortable wearing dresses and search for ones that will be appropriate for work but also meets summer comfy requirements for me. I am also on the search for perfect pair of palazzo pants for this summer. Being a petite person, this is harder than it should be.

Next is, ice-cold water. And lots of it. Now, if it is a tumbler full of nice shaved ice with water, Even better. Slushies make an appearance with me on the hottest of days. I keep a limit on those due to the sugar and dye intake. I should never be without water – this is one area that still needs improvement.

Lastly, Rest. I am talking about at least a half an hour each day with quiet time. No distractions. No phone. Got kids? Too busy? Do it anyway. Make it a family goal to spend time being quiet. Even if you only get 15 minutes, that is huge. We all have lives with responsibilities – you are own advocate for being well – so take some time to chill.

What do you do to prepare for the Summer? Leave your tips in the comments below.

 

 

 

How To Plan A Doctors Visit

Planning a Doctor's Visit

 

I tire of visiting doctor’s offices by this time of the year.  Whether it is a dentist or eye doc, I grow weary of waiting impatiently in a cold sterile room. Nonetheless, I still make the appointments and I go.  I find the greatest thing I can do for myself is go plan, plan, plan.

It starts with setting up yearly appointments for what I call the wellness basics. They consist of the a visit to the gynecologist, optometrist, and dermatologist.  These three are the once a year doctors that can generally book in advance and rarely have a follow-up appointment.

Not a lot of prior prep work needed for these basic visits. Wellness visits are a must for any women – so ladies reward your self for the rather uncomfortable visits once a year.

The Core Group consist of my rheumatologist and now my naturopath. These two appointments have more frequency and consistency. These two also have more follow-up and have other elements to review like blood work.

Since I am now on a every six months schedule with the rheumatologist, it’s important for me to have my questions prepared in advance. Too often, I found my self giving a confused, blank look when asked “so, do you have any questions?”. Ummmm.

Prepare yourself! One way I do this is with my calendar. My current setup has a daily page layout. I go ahead and write down my questions/concerns on the day of my next visit. I believe it was David Allen who said (as I loosely paraphrase) your brain is not a storage unit. Write it down!

Anyone with a chronic illness will spend copious amounts of time doing research…we always have questions. Mostly, I want to know if I am being prescribed something that is going to make me feel worse cause the side effects are horrid. Have you heard about this study that came out recently? Do you recommend this therapy? You get the picture, right?

This practice takes time and effort. It only takes a couple of “oh snap, I forgot to ask about this” to get you into the habit of writing it down.  It doesn’t take a fancy set up – just a pen and paper.

How do you prepare for your doctor’s?

 

 

It’s in the Blood

So, your girl is going dairy and gluten-free. May we have a moment of silence for the loss of pancakes?? Sad as it may seem, it is what my naturopath recently recommended. The gastro issues I have been having are being feed by an inordinate amount foods that make my tummy very sad. plus, it wants sugar, it really wants sugar.

What are the guidelines to going dairy and gluten-free? Does anyone know? In a recent trip to my local library I was only able to find cook books but no “how to”. Hello, where are my step-by-step instructions to life changes? I don’t know if I am particularly ready to give up avocado toast and ice cream.

Thankfully, there was a Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Eating a my library. In it, it gives details on what grains to look for in labels. I understand from my naturopath that he wants to delve into gut health so I better get reading.

On the other plate is dairy. My recent blood work showed surprising results for allergies to Cow’s milk and of all things, eggs. The doc stated that humans are the only species that drinks the milk of another species. Makes milk sound a bit gross now. It may take me a bit longer to let this one go. I do consume quite a bit of dairy during the day.

There is cheese on the eggs, ice cream, and sour cream with my Taco Tuesday! Not to mention the yogurt I just had for breakfast. OY! This is a very wicked plan to get me to eat more vegetables.

Where do I start? That is my question right now.  I recently asked my crew on Instagram for recommendations on books and sources. One mentioned a vegan site…they shoot meat eaters with carrots, don’t they?

If you have a resource, please share in the comments below.

Let’s Snooze

There is a semi-new restaurant in my local town called Snooze that describes it’s self as an AM eatery.  My expectations were that it would be a hipped up version of a pancake house. Dude, I was so wrong.  The selection was way different from your normal pancake house. The menu was rather inclined to be more of a brunch style with selections like the Spring Harvest Benny, which is described as “quinoa cakes and topped with two perfectly poached cage free eggs, smoked cheddar hollandaise, and everything spice. Dressed with fresh watercress, zucchini, and heirloom cherry tomatoes, in a Dijon citronette”.

Ummm, where are my bacon and eggs with a side of bacon?

The staff at the Tempe location were very personable and our waitress even went out of her way to accommodate our basic request for pancakes. Which were fab btw. Their philosophy is to do small a carbon foot print as possible for a restaurant. They have a mission to be community oriented and create sustainability both of which are commendable.

The interior reminds me a hipster version of mid-century modern.  It’s logo is on the walls, the glasses and waiters t-shirts. I found the overall atmosphere to be too loud. Definitely something to consider if you are susceptible to sensory overload. I would love to see what they will do in the summer here in the armpit of hell. The Tempe location has a huge outdoor eating area and plastic chairs. Should be interesting to see what they have planned for our hot season.

I was not incredibly impressed with what they had to offer to eat.  I’m still trying to figure out how one quinoa selection had 1100 calories. Also, I found their lack of Waffles disturbing. Like I said above, we just wanted bacon, eggs, bacon and pancakes. If brunches are your thing, then this is a great spot to recommend. The Bloody Mary menu look mighty tasty.

It was nice to try it out but not a place I would find myself gravitating to over and over again.

resturant review

 

 

Going on a Field Trip

Ok, I’m going to date myself here on this one. Does anyone remember the Siouxsie & The Banshees song Cities in Dust? I remember it as my first history lesson on Pompeii. I can recall the interest that the video on MTV provoked as it was my first glimpse of the Pompeiian body casts. (you know, way way, back in the day when MTV actually had videos.)

Well, this Spring I got to visit Pompeii.  No, not the actual site but slice of it at the Arizona Science Center. A nice tidy exhibit of over two hundred artifacts from the Naples National Archaeological Museum. My parental unit (aka Mom) is avid newspaper reader. She came across an article last November letting us Phoenicians know that Pompeii would be coming to our desert town. It’s basically been on the family to do list for months. When asked what she wanted for her most recent birthday, she just said “Pompeii”.

With a gorgeous Spring day, we headed out for our adventure. Since I hate parking in unfamiliar places, I suggested we take the light rail to our destination. It was a forty minute ride into downtown Phoenix from a local park and ride.   Our destination was just a block and half from the rail stop so walking didn’t tire us out too much. We planned ahead and since the exhibit was a timed event, we picked a late morning viewing.

It starts with a video component that gives the audience the day in question (August 24th, 79 AD) and then leads you into villa.  For me, I will always remember the beautiful black and white marble mosaic. It is always so breathtaking to see such artistry from another place and time. The exhibit it’s self gave you an overview of daily life within Pompeii giving a brief historical view of their culture, the food they ate, the places they visited during a typical day and of course the body casts.

Before going into the gallery that had the body casts there was a dramatization of the impact that the eruption would have been like. At this point of my day, I was already pretty anxious but the noise of the eruption was almost too much for me to handle. Then again, it’s not too much worse than going to action movie with surround sound.

All in all, given my propensity of getting way tired, I actually did far better than I thought I would. It helped that we took the light rail, which meant no traffic/parking stress. We also pre-paid for the event, meaning less time in a line. We even took time to have a rather awesome lunch at The Rose and Crown before heading back home.

I had a wonderful day with my beautiful family.  Share your adventures in the comments below.

 

What to Pack for a Day Trip

first aid pouch

I am excited to share with you the essentials that I packed for a recent day trip in my hometown of Phoenix. As a person with a chronic illness I had a few things I wanted to be prepared with.  I am a total list making freak so I am always searching thru the interwebs for inspiration. There are boundless lists out there for us, lists for peeps with kiddos, lists for peeps with pets and so on.

Depending on my excursion, these”essentials” can be stored in my travel bag along with my wallet, keys, small notebook and camera. For the purposes of this post, I used a Fjallraven mini kanken. I was so very happy that everything fit and it didn’t end up feeling weighed down.

The first kit I put together was for first aid – inside I have a few of my prescription pain meds, various band aids, alcohol wipes.  A visit through a local dollar store yielded up a small case to store the bandages as well. This was by far the biggest of my three pouches and it when in my bag first.

day trip first aid

Next was my eye care.  As a contact lens wearer, you can never be too prepared in this area. I sacrificed a weeks worth of contacts should I have to replace the ones I was already wearing. I also packed a pair of glasses (last years prescription glasses work for a back up) and solution as well.

day trip eye care

Lastly was a pouch with what I call “what if’s”. I had some hair ties, tissues, wet wipes and such. Not pictured, a gel hand sanitizer.  Ever been to a public restroom that had no toilet paper?? Just sayin

day trip kit

What do you consider as an essential when out about town or travelling – share your ideas in the comments.

**This is not a sponsored post – these are products that I use**

 

Weighty Issues

I am consumed with one thing right now in my life. It is my elephant in the room. It’s the thing that people politely not say to you. “Your fat, Lissy.”

It goes without saying that the pharmaceuticals that we take to help manage our illnesses can either load you up or skinny you down. I am the one who always seems to get the one that adds weight. I have tipped the scales pretty high in my adult life and have been ultra skinny on occasion as well. For me, what finally woke me up to get “healthy” was the recognition that I was no longer cute.

I’ve got sass to me that comes with a bit of class, I’m petite, got the red hair to match my fiery disposition and I know how to get back on my feet when I get knocked done. Granted, over the past few years, it just takes a bit longer to get back up.  I’ve always considered myself as a cute girl. There is a bit on tomboy in me but I do clean up well.

Mirrors don’t lie and neither do scales. Reality has come to the forefront recently when I realized that for the first time in our adult lives my sister and I are at the same weight. My sis (the most creative person I know) has always dealt with weight issues for most of her life. As she enters a new phase of womanhood (that would be menopause people) her body is currently shedding the weight – but not me.  OY! I’m so done being this fat. My BMI is obese and that just will not do. I just want to be healthy.

For me, healthy means eating more veggies (gah), being conscious of when I am storm eating, and overall daily movement like walking. Learning what foods makes my tummy hurt and do I really need that candy bar. It means that I will probably have pizza once every 180 months instead of once a week. Upping my water consumption and lowering my soda’s to once a week. Treating myself to a bad day with something other than comfort food. Need I go on?

As I sip my green smoothie today, I going to tell you about my recent trip to Revolution Health Medical Center. I have been a patient of theirs previously (in fact, they were the ones who dealt we me when I first developed symptoms of chronic fatigue). Though my previous naturopath is not seeing new patients, (technically, I fall under this category) I was able to get a Saturday appointment with Dr. Johnson.

His background in emergency medicine, conventional medicine and then alternative medicine is extraordinary. With this, I received the first honest to goodness review of my own medical history. People, an hour and half with my doctor.  When is the last time you received that much attention from one doctor.

On the right track, though. I learned that my concerns are valid, that yes, my meds play a part but so do other factors such as what I eat, what I drink and how I sleep. I know this stuff, and I had already implemented a lot of his suggestions. Go me! However, implementing and carrying out are two different things. Right?

Woah! Due! So much information was given that I don’t really think it is all sunk in. I tell ya what – next months health update will be where I will collect my thoughts and let you in on what has been working and what hasn’t. How’s that?

Do you go to an “alternative” health practitioner? Let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions, let me know. If you are in the Phoenix, AZ area and would like a referral to Revolution Health you can leave me a message at dragonflykeepls@gmail.com

laters,

lissy

 

so what had happened was

It’s on of my favorite sayings “Life happens when you are busying making other plans”. I received an email from my web host stating that the server had detected some malicious coding and I was in detention until it was cleared up.  WHATTHEWHAT?

In this imperfect the world, I know of two certainties 1) someone does stay up all night to figure out ways to take my money and 2) if there is something good going on, someone is going to find a way to corrupt it. Now, after a couple hundred dollars and a clean up by the web host, we are good to go…again.

So now what? Well, in my eyes, I have been given another chance to get my a$$ in gear and actually do the work. I know, I said work. I think I learned a valuable lesson when the poop hit the fan recently. I feel that the devil on my shoulder was saying “Hey, you gave it a good try. It’s getting to be rough and you’re like learning stuff. It’s hard. Dontcha wanna quit?” I did think about it for like two milliseconds.

I have these plans, great plans I would say. I am looking to my future of when my body isn’t going to be able to support my 9-to-5 job and I will need to have additional sources of income to be able to support myself. This is my reality. It could be a great while until I actually get to that point, but I just want to be prepared. This means that this blog, this one right here, needs to support my lifestyle.

Why not me? I have watched three particular women in the blogsphere grow their business and become self supporting mavens. What a great group to follow after. I suddenly find myself saying I want to do what they are doing.” I have found my why (OMG! Finally!!). I’m here to help you navigate through this rough terrain of chronic illness. And dude, I could not be more excited!

I mean, there is an ocean of possibilities out there I can be writing about and showing you. I am going to be able to do research so you don’t have to, try products and give you honest opinions, and together, we are going to build ourselves up for when our illness lay us low

Are you with me? Cuz, dude, we are so going to get the chronic party started. I have ideas for posts and vlogs just pouring out of me right now. In fact, I was able to capture one before I drifted off to sleep last night and two more just writing this post.

And, I did I mention vlogs? Yep, I am incorporating a YouTube channel for another source of awesome entertainment to the stack (go big they say). Along with a new post every Tuesday, I will have a new Vlogtini (as I like to call them, mostly cuz it’s catchy!) for you as well. D’oh, I can barely contain the excitement.

Leave a comment below if you have a particular topic to be discussed here on the blog or on my vlog.

laters,

Lissy

being flexible