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?

 

 

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

 

 

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**

 

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

Four Tips to Start Fresh, Again

Anyone care for a do-over? I could really use one right now. I had written out this post and when I pulled it up to edit…it was gone. Oy! If I ever wanted to throw a computer through a window, it was today.  It seems I’m not the only one either. I have seen a lot of social media lately with that theme. January was just a trial month apparently.

Consistency seems to be lost on me right now. My one job was to write weekly for this blog. Where I have I been then? On my bed, watching a Netflix binge. This is not how this works! Right? So we first, thank the Lord we have the tenacity to do what it takes to get it done.

Listening has helped tremendously lately. I was introduced to a podcast called The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo. I adore her. I am slowing working my way through her two hundred plus podcasts. I shuffled thru her list and picked out thirty shows with topics I wanted to delve into personally. My top picks thus far are #6 Vulnerability vs. Victim Mentality and #15 Other People’s Opinions. In my list are also topics on weight loss and entrepreneurship.

Gratitude Log – do you have one? This is not a new concept. I started mine years ago while reading one of many of the Sarah Ban Breathnach’s books. Which, if my faulty memory serves, is one of the chapters in her first book Simple Abundance. She recommended writing no less that five things you are grateful for each and every day.  If am tired, I will navigate to writing a small sentence for the day.  Even on my worse days, there is always something to be grateful for.

When in doubt, eat a frog. Ok, now don’t take me literally. I am talking about the one task you have been putting off forever. I am here to tell you that there is nothing more invigorating than finishing off that nagging something you don’t want to do. Whether that hateful task is making the bed or doing your taxes. Just do it people!

I truly hope these quick tips help you get started again in February. Comment below on what helps you when you feel like you are due a do-over.

lissy

Four Tips to Starting, Again

Three Benefits Of Removing Clutter

Achieving Less with Less

I adore Mari Kondo. If I were to actually get a chance to meet her, I would give her a huge, huge hug! It’s no lie that this experience has given me a sense of determination and a whole lot of freedom. Clearing my clutter has improved my ability to manage my space without going bonkers, improved the way I utilize what I have and created a lovely, livable space for this chronic dragonfly.

Less is, indeed, less

This past month, I completed the Komono portion of the KonMari method. It took less than a half hour to complete as I rarely need a hammer, screw driver or a yard stick. I did however remove all the duplicates of items and “poof” I was done. What I have found with using her method is once you get started, you begin removing items as you go along. By the time I arrived at this category, I was practically done. Thus arriving to a wonderful first benefit of having less. Less to maintain. Less to clean. Less to store. Amazing to come to this point in my journey.

Less to manage

Another benefit has been that I now, of course, less to manage. GOAL! Yep, goal achieved!. This is what I wanted in the first place. As I walk along this path of chronic life, I don’t want the weight of having to too many things bring me down. It has been an incredible trade-off to be able to spend more time reading and less time cleaning. With less to manage, I gain time to paint, time to craft and time with family. Wowzers! What a concept! Right?

A Girl Needs Her Space

This leads me to the final benefit I have created for myself. Space. It’s not just a final frontier. As I have moved along Marie’s road map, I have created spaces for all my things. Cleaning supplies, planners, washi tape, make up, toiletries, and clothes all have a designated space. But here’s the thing, I need less containers to keep them in. I just loaded my car with all the various boxes and baskets that stored all my “supplies”. What a joy it has been to have arrived to this point.

The next challenge will be the last point in Marie’s book, which is the Sentimental Items.

Next month, I will wrap up my KonMari journey and have a bit of a re-cap and what is in store for the new year.

 

later, lissy.

Agnsty Agnst

Hello, my name is Lissy and I am a planner girl.

Over the past four years or so I have dived right into the world of paper planning. It’s a nice hobby of collecting all sorts of things for the use of planning – pens, stickers, paper, washi tape – if it can be used, I has it!

Sadly, I am finding that I have planner angst.  I define this as a “need to set-up a system of planning incessantly”.  One moment, I’m all about a traveler’s notebook, then I think I would be better suited using my Hobonichi, while I’m over here setting up another bullet journal. It’s exhausting me.  I have been a paper planner since I arrived to the corporate world many moons ago. I have even took a plain notebook and made my own.  This really shouldn’t be a big deal, right?

Even with this damn illness I am a girl with plans – somewhere. You can’t get much done if you are constantly changing it all up. It doesn’t help that I am coming into another planner season (we have two, the start of the academic year and a January start). Will I need a planner for my finances? for tracking my health? oh, but did you see that new cover that came out? All the while, my lovely plans get scrapped for a new notebook, stamp set or pen.

Ok, I do admit that I my addictive personality is adoring all the commotion I am causing. We’re going to go set up a new bullet journal in just a few. See what I mean? I offer no solution because I have yet to find one. But, I won’t stop trying until I have all the planners!!

If you are curious about what I am talking about in regards to Hobonichi, bullet journals or paper planning in general – drop me a line. I have loads of information to share.