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.

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

 

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.

Breaking Bad

#Sorrynotsorry but this isn’t a post about Walter White.

It’s about tracking new habits while breaking bad ones. The past few weeks I have accomplished something that I never thought I would. I took my vitamins! I know right? Something so simple. Well, yes and no.

When a flare hits, I don’t care if school keeps. (As my mother is fond of saying.) As much as I would like to have a pause button – life goes on. This month is all about capturing the things that I feel contribute to a flare. As I do, I really wanted to track all of the things but I really did best with the vitamins.

Another key to my wellness is tracking my symptoms. I use an iPhone app to monitor my pain levels, what type of pain, where, what lovely side effects was I dealing with and whether or not I had to take something for the pain. It was a success at the beginning of the month but not so much on this last half.

I won’t dwell on what I could have accomplished because I TOOK MY VITAMINS! Sometimes, just having one thing done means the world to me.

lissy

Photo Courtesy of Kaboompics

 

Shaping Up For Fall

Now that the days are shorter and life is getting cozy again, I’ve been reflecting on my goals. This past summer has been a rough one with my own motivation going slightly array. It has taken all that I possess to get in front of my computer lately and keep this blog going.

I know that compared to five years ago, I’ve come a long way health wise. I know I still push myself, my eating habit are crap and exercise is a laugh. With this in mind, I sat down this past weekend to work out some goals in three areas that I had the most concern about with my health.

This has led me to a three-part series that I will be sharing with you over the next few months.  Frist, I will be working on Tracking My Illness with paper and an app. Then, onto two very critical aspects to keeping me well – Fitness and Food. This girl really needs a plan when it comes to fitness and food. With this, I will also be working out “Plan B” for the days when my illness flares and it halt’s any game plans I have lined up.

I hope you will join me on this trek as I am so very excited to get moving!

lissy

Created by Waewkidja – Freepik.com

First Aid for the Chronically Ill

Objects, doors, windows, cubicles, glass containers on the floor are out to end me! I guess being a klutz is just an added bonus to being chronically ill. I can blink, and a new bruise will appear on my legs or arms. I’m often asking myself “when did I do that?” I know we all have a moments…but it seems to be blown out of proportion when you are ill.

Here are four things to keep you safe.

1 – Turn on the damn nitelight – this would have probably have saved my foot for crashing into a glass jar I left on the floor after a recent cleaning extravaganza

2 – When in doubt, call family or friends – “Hi, don’t panic, I’m bleeding!”

3 – Meditate – On the fact you’re the dumba$$ who left the glass jar on the floor in the first place.

4 – Purchase an overabundance of first aid supplies – Yassssss! I’ve got this one covered!

 

***when in doubt, laugh***

 

Kon Mari

I drank the kool-aid friends. I finally caught up with the KonMari craze that swept the nation about three years ago. If you have been hiding under your clutter and don’t know what I’m talking about – well, let me ‘esplain,

Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up hit book shelves in 2014. Heck, she even has an app for that. The book is described (per her website) as a “best selling guide to decluttering your home.” I’m in.

Emphasis though is on tidying up – in categories.  The first being Clothing, then Books, followed by Paper, then Komono (miscellaneous areas like the kitchen pantry) and lastly, sentimental items.  Marie recommends to gather all similar belongings – dump it ALL on the floor and start purging.

Marie also recommends going through the categories in a rather rapid pace. Umm, yea, that is just not going to happen for me. I adapted her process by spending no more than an hour of my weekend on an item in a category. For instance, under Clothing there are tops; bottoms; dresses; outerwear; socks; so forth. And I didn’t go the floor thing, I was worried I would not be able to get back up.

I had purged a majority of my clothing the previous year using an approach of having 44 items in my closet so working on the clothing was not a long process. I did, however, have an over abundance of socks.

In July I am tackling books. They are everywhere, bookcases, floor, dresser, side table…oy!  This could prove to be interesting.

lissy