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

Doing The One Thing That I Dread

Overcoming personal obstacles

I thought I would pop on today and update you on my One Little Word project. In February, Allie had use pick one thing to do that month. For her, it was going on a hike…me, overcome procrastination on a project.

My patio/balcony was looking like the aftermath of a police raid.  Broken furniture, dead plants, rusty gardening tools everywhere. And did I mention the spider webs? Gah.  With some help from my parental unit; gone are weather damaged seat cushions and decaying wicker furniture. Oy!

Why was I dreading it? Pain. With most physical endeavors, my energy has to be at prime status and I have to plan for days of recuperation. So I took advantage of the President’s Day weekend. Realistically, it took less than an hour to complete from start to completion. And the best part?  Throwing objects off my second story balcony. I totally felt like I was reenacting a scene from a Monty Python movie.

My recovery time as minimal – I was shook! In fact, I recovered faster from the patio purge then I do from practicing yoga. Granted, two different scenarios but when you live your life in pain every damn day…this was such a wonderful blessing.

When I look at my February pages on my One Little Word binder, I am going to be uber pleased to see what I overcame.

What obstacle in your life have you recently been victorious in?  Leave me a comment below and give me all the deets!

lissy

 

 

Five Tips to Start Your Day

Nothing so jarring as that morning alarm ringing in your ear. Snooze button is my friend. I have come to learn over the last few years living with a chronic illness how important it is to have routines. Mornings used consist of a morning shower as my wake-up before make-up but that has changed. I found out quickly how utterly exhausting it could be to take a shower in the morning. Sounds crazy but sadly true. Now I shower in the evening so my body can rest afterwards.

This meant I had to utilize my mornings sufficiently so I could still be an active member of society outside my bedroom door. Most of my good energy is in the morning. It’s why I get up at 5 a.m. to write blog posts. By the end of the work day – you’d think I had pulled an all nighter.

The following are tips I have learned along the way to get my day started on the right foot. On the weekends, I actually have to work a bit harder to remind myself to take my medication.

Clean. Which in translation is “make your bed”. I will honestly state that this something I need to work on more but it is important. It has often been said that this one simple task can be a life changer. I know for myself on the days that I don’t make my bed, I feel down. I heard a talk on this and put into context of being an accomplishment. If everything else goes to pot, at least you accomplished one thing – making your bed.

Medicate is its own separate category mostly because it can be so automatic for me that I stop and think “did I take my meds?” This is why I use a tracking app. I use Mango Health for iPhone. Not only does it allow for customization but also checks your medications for possible interactions, allows you to customize a healthy routine and rewards you for making good healthy choices.  It also has an option for adding Care Recipients – so if you have a sick kiddo or furkiddo, you can get reminded of their medication routine as well.

Dress to your shoes. Do you know FlyLady? She has been helping others get organized and sustain routines for the masses for years. I learned about her through my bestie, Ms. Monkey. I still use her methodology to get my mess in order on a weekly basis. One of her take-a-ways is getting “dressed to your shoes”. Meaning, always be on the ready. You never know when you are going to have to run out the door in an emergency fashion. For the work week, this is a must – it’s the weekend days that I need to work on.

Check yourself. Do I have what I need for the day in my bag? Where’s my keys? Did I turn off all the lights? I have a list taped to my bedroom door to remind me of doing a quick check before I leave for the day.  I can not being to tell you have useful this can be on the days were I am lucky I actually made it out of bed. I haven’t had my coffee yet – how am I supposed to think?

Automate. Remember The Clapper commercials? Ha! Well, I don’t actually have that particular device but I do have a timer for my bedroom lights. It comes in handy to have a source of light when you are rushing out of a room at o’dark thirty in the morning. I have a set of LED twinkle lights that give off enough light for me to see my way around in the morning. This is not the only thing that you can automate. Heck, I bet your coffee maker is set on a timer. My point is, if you need something done in a limited time – automate it.

I truly hope that these simple tips help you navigate through your morning. As always, leave a comment below and let me know what is a must do in your morning routine?

 

lissy