Monthly Archives: August 2012


Today is my 9th anniversary with an extraordinary man who is truly my biggest supporter.  I understand completely that my life is designed very differently than many other people out there, especially some of the people closest to me and this is because of his support and love.  Sure he wants to spend as much time with me but he also knows that when I get up and leave the house in the pitch black I’m leaving to make myself stronger, healthier and in turn happier.  He likes to say and of course he took it from somewhere else “A happy wife is a happy life” I tend to agree.

Nine years ago on this date it was actually the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  We had our family and closest friends there to share this special day with us.  I was a bit drugged up to make sure I could walk down the aisle but not to the point of being loopy.  That day was the most beautiful and incredible day of my life. After nine years I can still remember each memorable moment and as I look back I would not change one minute of that day.  I also wouldn’t do it again.  Once was enough and now I just remember and cherish each and every day and year that goes by.

Thank you handsome husband for the wonderful years!!!



On the 10th day of the transformation along with sticking with the natural foods diet and doing a PEM workout they also recommend taking an E-mail fast.  I wish I could spend the entire day avoiding e-mails and computers but unfortunately my life doesn’t allow for that.  With that said I could try and do an e-mail fast over the weekend.  Talk about coming out of your comfort zone.  I’m constantly attached to some sort of device. At camp when we are on vacation with no access to coverage I take a break from technology and e-mail but even when we get a little service we check in with the real world.   Maybe doing it in small steps and just refraining from opening, answering, and looking at any e-mails for 1 day would be a good place to start?

My PEM workout consisted of a Cross Fit training session.  This morning she gave us 10 gruesome exercises and asked for 15 reps each and 3 rounds in 30 minutes.  I did 3.5 rounds but I can’t say I enjoyed it.  We did Burpees with hops, Lara Crofts, speed squats, my dreaded but getting little easier push-ups, and many others that just made me exhausted.  The 30 minutes today dragged on but I think it was because I was honestly beat after 1 round and had to find the strength to get in a total of 3 rounds.  Some people did 4 full rounds; I thought I was doing well at 3.5 rounds.  She pushes us and I wouldn’t necessarily say gently either.  She is a bit gruff and at 5:30am she comes across even a little bit gruffer but I guess that is why I’m doing this. My introduction period is now over so I have to decide to keep going weekly or what I’m really thinking is doing it myself.  Now that I have the concept of cross fit and WOD along with Tabata and HIIT training with some sprints thrown in the mix I think I can come up with a weekly routine to keep me busy for a while.  As the season changes I’m hoping to throw in some more Bikram as well and don’t want to overdo my training.


Today is a check in day. I started the 21 Primal Blueprint Transformation 9 days ago and here is where I’m at with diet, exercise, how I feel and other things.  The diet has been much easier to follow then I original anticipated. I have not had any bread, pasta, rice or any other grains.  I did cheat with birthday cake on Sunday for my nephew’s party and although I started to have regrets after I ate it I made myself let those regrets go.  This is lifestyle change for me not a short term goal. I gain nothing by beating myself up for birthday cake but I also recognize that eating stuff like that a lot over a life time is partly how I ended up here with MCTD in the first place. I’m on a new path now and although I expect to slip up I’m not likely to do it often only because I feel so much better when I don’t and I’m also seeing some real benefits to eating real foods.

The exercise has been a lot of fun for me because I’m trying all kinds of things.  I realize after doing some research on line that my form of Cross Fit is a probably Cross Fit light.  It is meeting the needs of the masses in a regular gym.  We aren’t throwing anything and it doesn’t come with a hardcore exterior.  However, Cross Fit light or not I’m leaving my 30 minute sessions exhausted which is really what I want in my workout routines.  I’m doing more 30 minute bursts of HIIT or Tabata workouts in the morning and then using my lunch hour to walk.  This allows my heart rate to get up and the late walking helps to clear my head and balance my hormones.

I’m still practicing Bikram 3 days a week but I must admit those practices are getting harder and harder.  I’m finding it a struggle to stay focused throughout the 90 minutes and where I once felt like a rock star I now feel like I’m a newbie learning the postures for the first time.  Many things could be going on here and I just need to be patient with myself and figure out how to change things.  Part of my struggle could be that I’m just fatiguing quicker in my class and not able to keep the energy needed for the full 90 minutes due to the lack of carbs I’m eating.  I tried having a protein powder shake with water before my practice this morning and it did help.  I also had stopped drinking water in class but now I take the water bottle back in and find that I’m drinking throughout my practice.

My mind wanders so that is a practice in itself just staying present throughout the 90 minutes.  There is a real balance to the exercise program I have chosen for myself.  At one time I was working out 3 hours a day but it was mostly cardio and my Bikram practices were seemingly easy.  Today my workouts are harder, quicker, more intense, built around weight training and it may be that I’m not leaving enough for my Bikram practices.  Next week my husband and I start our fall yoga practice 2 nights a week so we’ll see how that goes and I’ll probably have to make adjustments around adding that too once I see how my body reacts.

The good news is that I feel great and my body feels brand new.  I wake up with no stiffness most days and find that I have slept through the night peacefully.  I have been on 300mg of Plaquenil over 6 weeks now and I have dropped to 4.5mg of prednisone.  It is way too soon for me to get excited about dropping to 4.5mg just yet since it has only been a several days and I know I can still flare but once I get to several weeks, if I get to several weeks that will be a huge accomplishment.  9 Years in the making and just waiting to finally say I’m at 4.5mg.  I have chosen a good time to try again to lower to 4.5mg because my body feels so good.  Also, I have not had to take any medication for my Raynaud’s since beginning of June.  This is a huge victory since I sit in the A/C all day and my fingers tend to be purple all the time.  They still turn purple so I am not cured of my Raynaud’s by any means but they don’t go numb or do I have any tingling which is why I stopped taking my meds. Perhaps my circulation is better or my body might be burning energy more efficient and keeping the blood rushing to my digits.  Either way again, I see this has a victory no matter how small a victory it might seem


Today my little nephew turns 2 years old.  I can’t even tell you where the time has gone.  24 months ago we were sitting at camp waiting for the phone call that our little guy had arrived and at that time didn’t even have a name yet for him.  The call came and as you can imagine my mother, sister and I took off to the hospital. Now 2 years later we are still running off to see him whenever we can.

We had his birthday party yesterday and although he doesn’t exactly understand what it means to have a birthday he was more than thrilled to see all kinds of balloons, an overstuffed Elmo and lots of pretty packed gifts all for him.  Yes he was excited to see us to but we were just the vehicles for the shiny gifts. Everyone says, including me, that you cannot negotiate with a 2 year old and I watched my sister-in-law negotiate with this child over all kinds of things.  He is extremely smart and even at 2 knows exactly how to get what he needs and she is so in tune to him that she can spot the boundary push coming before it even fully registers.

This concept of parent and child is so beautiful to me.  The relationships that have formed with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew are extremely wonderful.  I get these over joyed tears when I think about it.  My tears are not because I want or need that in my life but I realize that my most important job now is being the best Auntie I can be and although he would much rather have his mommy and daddy I hope I’m a close 2nd in that pyramid.  Connecting with a 2 year can sometimes be really easy and other times really hard.  I don’t mind either way just as long as I’m making the connection.

At this birthday party there was a little girl 14 months old.  There is a true biological difference between boys and girls.  She may have been nearly a year younger than my nephew but she was communicating in a different way than he was at that age and even now in some situations.  I was amazed that she was so strong on her feet running after the 2 year old boys, up hills, down hills, through the bushes, nothing was stopping her if it wasn’t stopping them.  She is already learning to just be who she is, time and life haven’t had a chance to tell her not do certain things yet and I hope she doesn’t experience the “you can’t do that” but we all know reality is that our lives are based on what we hear.

I say run as fast as you want, play in the dirt, fall down and get up and doing it all over again.  These are the same words I use with my nephew and I will hopefully use with if I have a niece also.  Children give us new perspective if we just take a minute to notice it.


In addition to my sprinting I also do other types of HIIT. What is HIIT? It is a quick way to say High Intensity Interval Training. I did my HIIT training yesterday morning.  There are so many ways to achieve this and I have already described Tabata which is a form of HIIT. With all the podcasts I have been listening to lately and there are a lot of them ranging from health, fitness, weight loss, the paleo diet and many others, I have learned quite a lot in all the areas of my interests.  One of the podcasts discussed a type of interval training incorporating cardio and weight training.  It is the “Miracle Workout” which was designed by W. Jackson Davis and although there hasn’t been any updates on the website and it doesn’t seem like Dr. Davis is still pursuing this idea the concept was very interesting to me and I did yesterday morning before my Bikram class.

The concept is do cardio hard such as running for a minute, get off the machine and do 12-15 reps of a weight training move, get back on the machine all out for a minute and back to weight training.  The idea is to do a series of cardio and weight training back to back for 30-90 minutes.  I will tell you right now that 30 minutes of this concept was more than enough for me but I can see how I could work up to 60 and we’ll see about 90 that might put me into the chronic cardio group which I’m trying to stay out of.

Here is what I did just to give you an idea in case you want to try it.  I was at the gym early so it was quiet on a Saturday morning and a good time to do something like this.  I chose a treadmill at the end of the line and grabbed a stability ball, medicine ball and free weights.  I walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes to warm up and then up the tread mill up to a speed I could run at for minute. After my first minute I kept the treadmill going for 2 reasons.  First, I could keep track easier of how long this whole workout takes based on the minutes running and the minutes off the machine doing my reps. Second, I didn’t have to take time to adjust the speeds up and down during my transitions.  I would caution anyone that jumping on the rails of the treadmill can be dangerous and I certainly don’t want anyone to get hurt. 

OK the warm up is over, my first minute running was followed by 15 reps of squats, with weights back to the treadmill for a minute off for another round of squats. I did each exercise 3 times and anywhere from 15-25 reps depending on the exercise.  The next set was running for a minute and dead lifts for 15 reps with weights.  The set was running and roman dead lifts, running and lunges with weights, running and side leg lifts with weights, running and plie squats with weights, lastly was running and crunches on the stability ball, running and planks and finally running with bicycle crunches.  The treadmill was reading 40 minutes which mean my HIIT was 30 minutes so I used the last 20 minutes as just walking and cool down.  After 60 minutes I was done and on my way to Bikram.  If you noticed I only did lower body and abs.  The next time I do this I’ll do the same concept only I’ll focus on my upper body and nothing for the lower. The running kept my heart rate nice and high and the quick intensity weight training kept it right in the zone.  It was a good workout and the time went by very quickly. I think I enjoy these types of HIIT training sessions to slugging it out for long periods of time on the cardio machines.  Like most people I get bored on these machines unless I have a really great book to read but then I’m not really concentrating my workout and that puts me a zone but that is mindless exercising and most of my podcasts want us to be mindful in our exercise, mindful in eating, mindful in our relationships and mindful in our lives. 

This is  practice for most of us and I’m practicing.


I’m going to take a break from the Paleo and fitness blog for a moment and just talk about staying motivated.  I was at work on Friday and someone said to me how is it that you stay motivated every day even in the summer time.  They went on to say how in the summer time they are just enjoying life and don’t see the point in exercising and with all the BBQ parties and other gatherings they don’t watch what they eat but they’ll start again after summer.  I didn’t say this but what I was thinking to myself is if they take the summer off and then expect to get back into a routine come fall they are side tracked again by Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s so now they are taking the holidays off and in full blown winter and needing comfort food so they may end up taking the winter off and low and behold they are back to spring worried about getting into their tank tops, bathing suits and dresses. 

As the conversation goes they didn’t really want my answer to the original question but it brought up a good point for me that I wanted to share with you.  The question was “how do I stay motivated every day?”  Very simple, I have to.  I don’t have the luxury of taking time off for fear of stiffness, soreness, fatigue, and having a worn out body. I am learning that my body doesn’t need  hours of exercise to function daily but needs to be mobile whether that means walking, yoga, weight training, classes, sprinting, interval training, Bikram yoga or anything else that keeps my joints moving and limber. As far as food and diet, again I can’t afford to eat whatever I want when I want for fear of putting weight on already compromised joints, or feeling fatigue from filling my body with foods that don’t work for me or just eating for the sake of eating.

When I say I have to keep motivated I mean it. For me I’m not willing to sit back and let MCTD over take my life.  However, I also see the flip side of the disease or similar diseases where people have autoimmune but don’t have the motivation to take the steps necessary to do what is needed.  What makes me different from them? This answer is a little more complex.  When I found out I had MCTD I was starting a new life with a new husband with hopes of being a mother.  The day I received this news I had 2 options take control or be controlled.  That day I was armored with a superior doctor, a supportive and loving husband and family and my own will to make life work living with MCTD.  I have days that aren’t easy and especially in the beginning it was downright exhausting but as I kept with my new lifestyle I found that days got easier which made staying on plan easier.  I have tried everything and still trying as you can see from my recent posts.  My goal is to be flare-up free for as many days in a row as possible. Today I’m at 104 days and still counting.

The question to ask yourself is what is your motivator?  What literally gets you out of bed every day and tackle the day ahead of you even when you don’t feel like it? What keeps you trying for your flare-up free days?  What keeps you motivated to try different things that may or may not help with MCTD? Whatever your motivators are hold on to those things, don’t lose your focus and keep trying.  If you don’t feel like you can get out of bed then you probably shouldn’t but when you are ready to get up take that time to walk just a little bit and remember that every little step you take today means for more good health and flare-up free days later. 


Along with my PEM workouts I also did Cross Fit on Wednesday and our WOD was a series of 10 exercises done for 45 seconds at full blast and rest enough to move to the next station.  3 rounds later and about 40 minutes we were done but I was exhausted.  I’m learning that Cross Fit uses a board with the WOD on the board.  WOD = Workout of the Day.  Our trainer puts up the WOD the time allotted to accomplish and how long the whole training will take.

I will say that once the training begins there is very little talking.  First of all it is 5:30am and most people aren’t that talkative, but we are also really out of breath and moving through the sequence.  I find my exercise to be a bit more social than that in a group atmosphere but I’m learning to adjust.

The sequence she had us doing were cardio first with burpees and high knees, yuck on both.  Moving on to abs with a series of transfers, pike and crunches. On to legs with bench step-up and jump squats using TRX bands. Arms using a cross pull, pull-up machine and throwing a ball against the wall. Performing these exercises doesn’t seem like a big deal but performing them 3 times each at full throttle was exhausting.  I’m able to do it but I was really struggling in the 3rd round with the arms.  They were like jelly and although she says tire to fatigue does she mean tire to fall off?  One would have to guess yes.

Next week is our last week in the program I signed up for and I’m not sure how to precede going into September.  It would be a great time to totally concentrate on PEM training, walking, yoga and interval training but I might miss the group even in a quiet state. I have a week to decide where my fall exercise will land.

On Thursday morning that was technically my day off so I just woke up and went right to Bikram.  I didn’t do any other form of exercise that day.  I must say it is easier to adjust to days off than I originally thought it would. Good thing I don’t have too many of them in a week’s time.

A little bit of info on the diet, I’m finding it easier to plan my meals and filling my bowl or plate with lots of vegetables and then putting the protein around it.  I have also changed to eating HUGE salads in the morning for breakfast when I’m really hungry.  This morning I’m having chicken, greens, seeds and a whole bunch of different vegetables. As the day goes on I’ll have some eggs, cottage cheese, maybe some fruit, some more meat in there and maybe some nuts. My options are easy to choose from but the combo’s are unlimited.