Monthly Archives: August 2013

NEW MEMBER OF THE FAMILY

Yesterday we welcomed a new member of our family into the world. Another little boy that I get to be Auntie to has joined our family. As our family grows and expands and these little mind and bodies enter the world I realize how short our lives are and how fast life can pass us by. I don’t say that with regret or remorse but just a realization that there is no point in waiting for anything because the chance, the opportunity or the moment might be gone by the time you decide to make up your mind.
I held this little body in my arms and looked at his face, his head, he hands, his feet and everything that makes up what he is and as I looked at this miracle creature my heart was literally swelling with love. These little people need us to be the best we can be. They need us to be healthy, strong, available, loving and nurturing. They don’t ask for this, but these are the things we know they need. As I watch my other nephew turning 3 and realize how quickly he is growing and how quickly he is changing I know the same thing will happen with my new nephew. I have 2 bug eating, mud sling boys that I get to chase after, play with and spend time loving. This is a great gift for me that I don’t take for granted but instead I cherish. I look forward to moments I get to share with both of these little boys as they enter new stages of lives.

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TAKING TIME OFF

I took a little time off from everything and just hunkered down into rest mode. I needed a good week of taking care of myself and spending time with my husband and family. I had taken a break from Bikram after my flare a couple of weeks ago and last Saturday decided to try it again. I got through the warm up and had to leave because I felt the flare coming on and didn’t want a full blown flare to take over. As soon as I stepped outside into the fresh air my body stopped hurting and I was able to complete the day without a flare but I did move slowly. We headed to camp that same day where we just did nothing but kayak, walk, hike, and relax. This is our annual family trip up to camp and this year was so needed for mind, body and soul. There were wonderful talks on the dock, a walk in the woods, beautiful views and scenery and tons of eating and drinking.
I tried a little wine the first night but felt it in my body the next day and since other types of alcohol can be trigger for me I was not willing to tempt it so no more red wine for me for a while. I think my body was already in a weak state as red wine doesn’t normally set off a trigger for me but it did this time and I was trying to recover from life this week.
Fast forward to yesterday when I stepped back into the Bikram studio after 2 weeks and I felt it. I didn’t flare or have a verge of flare but it was incredibly hard. I felt a little dizzy and very tired. I’m clearly struggling in my practice right now and I don’t want to give up on it but I do want to cut back and see if I can find my rhythm again. I have chosen 3 days to go to Bikram in a week so cutting back from 5 days to 3 days should help me work through this. Some people find going more helps work through tough practices but for me I think it might be a little too taxing right now for this body and maybe a little less yoga might help which means I need to step up my walking. This past week I did so much walking and realized that I can walk and walk forever if I had the time.
I asked my husband if I could start a walk and just keep walking until my legs give out and cannot take one more step and would he come pick me up. He thinks I’m crazy but of course he will oblige my crazy request and do it so now I just have to plan my long walk of life. However, in the midst of all my walking I didn’t find time for weight training but we were hauling kayaks, and large water jugs and coolers around so I was doing some heavy lifting but not enough weight training. I keep saying I’m going to make a commitment to my weight training but I don’t really like it when I’m doing it but I do like the way I feel after I’m done. I hesitate to announce once again that I’m taking weight training seriously but the truth is that I need it more than ever.

WHEN WILL THE FATIGUE END

Today is my weight training day and although I got through it I was looking to lie on the mat and take a nap between my reps and sets which just made the weight training session less than enjoyable. I woke up feeling fatigued but that has been a new constant for me recently and I just want to push through it. I could keep sleeping but is that really the right answer? When is it time to push through, and when is it time to stop? These are questions I have to analyze almost every day because if I don’t push through I might give up my exercise all together.
I mentioned to the doctor that I need some help with energy so I’m hoping that is next on her list of magic potions for me. I tried the 5 hour energy but that made me feel wacky and I worried I was putting more burden on my fried adrenal glands with the high level of caffeine. The Eboost helped for a little bit of time but eventually that stopped working and I decided to just push through. Most days I can find the energy and strength to walk but even recently the idea of Bikram makes me worry that it might be too intense for some days. I have decided to give myself a 2 week break from Bikram and work on weight training and walking for a couple weeks and see how I feel. I struggle with whether this is a good idea or not but I know that weight training is going to help me now but especially help in my next stage of life so I want that to be a constant part of my routine.
Today my weight training was mediocre at best but I did do it. I wasn’t lifting as much as I had earlier this week and today when I saw my cross fit class I was thankful I was not in there. My fatigue isn’t debilitating enough to keep me bed by any means but it is enough that what little energy I do have is zapped fairly quickly. I’m enjoying my walking and got inspired to walk more after my last challenge and got some hand weights to use while I’m walking. I love being outside, I love first fresh air, I love being able to walk in the sunlight at lunch time so maybe I need to just focus on walking and weight training for a short time and then put Bikram back in. I love Bikram, I love the heat, I love the practice but I’m finding myself burning out quickly during balancing postures and having to lie on my mat to recoup. This is a new experience for me so I was thinking maybe 5 days a week was too much for just now, not long term just right now. I also need a chance to have my new medications start working and see if that adds any benefit for me and decrease some of this fatigue.
The doctor thought my fatigue was very normal for peri-menopause as well as MCTD, my age, and my activity level. I was very upfront with her that this fatigue is not something I can live with and I don’t want this to be my new baseline so we are going to work on it.

WEIGHT TRAINING

During my appointment with my new doctor we talked about adrenal fatigue and what it means and if I have it. She thinks I have adrenal burnout associated with taking prednisone for 10 years and my age so not that I burned them out during my exercise entirely. We talked about what I really enjoy doing for exercise and my two favorite things are walking and yoga but I always feel like I need more than just those 2 things. She believes that walking and yoga are 2 great exercises and enough for most people but that I should be incorporating weight training back into routine. I was so relieved to hear that. I enjoy weight training and I also enjoy feeling that sense of strength while I’m weight training so I was over joyed to learn I can put it back in my routine. I just needed to figure out where to put it in how many days a week. I’m going back to 3 sessions each at 30 minutes to start. As I get stronger I can increase but the hard part is how to fit in 7 walking sessions, 5 Bikram sessions and 3 weight training sessions in a week without sacrificing too much of other aspects of my life. Saturday was my first real session but I had plenty of time to walk, weight train and do Bikram on that day. Today was my 2nd sessions and I took my 90 minutes and broke it into 60 min of walking and 30 minutes of weight training. I did this at the gym because I’m not prepared at home for heavy lifting.
I am using my fitgain app that walks me through proper position, reps and sets and provides a 30 minute full body training session for me. I was feeling good after my weight training session and already can see that I’ll be back to my normal lifting very soon and will increase from there. While I was at the gym this morning my cross fit class was going on and I watched from weight room as they ran through their circuit and as much as I missed it I also realize that I’m not ready to jump back into an intense class like that just yet. My Bikram is considered intense but I also get certain calm from that intensity that I don’t get in circuit training. I might find that I want to jump back into a class and when she gives me the OK I will explore that possibility. For now I will watch from a far as I bench press myself back to strength and health.

WEIGHT TRAINING

During my appointment with my new doctor we talked about adrenal fatigue and what it means and if I have it. She thinks I have adrenal burnout associated with taking prednisone for 10 years and my age so not that I burned them out during my exercise entirely. We talked about what I really enjoy doing for exercise and my two favorite things are walking and yoga but I always feel like I need more than just those 2 things. She believes that walking and yoga are 2 great exercises and enough for most people but that I should be incorporating weight training back into routine. I was so relieved to hear that. I enjoy weight training and I also enjoy feeling that sense of strength while I’m weight training so I was over joyed to learn I can put it back in my routine. I just needed to figure out where to put it in how many days a week. I’m going back to 3 sessions each at 30 minutes to start. As I get stronger I can increase but the hard part is how to fit in 7 walking sessions, 5 Bikram sessions and 3 weight training sessions in a week without sacrificing too much of other aspects of my life. Saturday was my first real session but I had plenty of time to walk, weight train and do Bikram on that day. Today was my 2nd sessions and I took my 90 minutes and broke it into 60 min of walking and 30 minutes of weight training. I did this at the gym because I’m not prepared at home for heavy lifting.
I am using my fitgain app that walks me through proper position, reps and sets and provides a 30 minute full body training session for me. I was feeling good after my weight training session and already can see that I’ll be back to my normal lifting very soon and will increase from there. While I was at the gym this morning my cross fit class was going on and I watched from weight room as they ran through their circuit and as much as I missed it I also realize that I’m not ready to jump back into an intense class like that just yet. My Bikram is considered intense but I also get certain calm from that intensity that I don’t get in circuit training. I might find that I want to jump back into a class and when she gives me the OK I will explore that possibility. For now I will watch from a far as I bench press myself back to strength and health.

MEETING A NEW DOCTOR

Today I met with a menopausal specialist and I was pleasantly surprised. She was very attentive and intrigued with my situation. She spent an hour with me and we discussed a lot. Many times I have to explain MCTD to new doctors but she understood what I had and although she wanted to know what my specific symptoms were she had a clear understanding of what MCTD is and what it means to live with it. She also validated my concern about going through menopause and discussing hormone treatment and having this autoimmune. For many years I was in balance, now I’m clearly out of balance but the solution is not as easy as just identifying the problem. I felt like she is willing to work with me and try new things and realizes that I take my health very seriously but I need help.
We decided on a compound mixture of natural hormones with a coconut base which made me smile and thankful that I found her. I’ll try this compound and see what my labs say next. I realize that I will be having lots of labs done in the near future as we discover together what my final analysis will be. I am more than willing to put a 100% into my health and wellness and I get the impression she is willing to put 100% in right alongside of me. This may be the opportunity I have been waiting for to really get this body where I want it and keep it there through the aging process and beyond.

FINAL DAY OF CHALLENGE

The day is finally here, the end of my 30 day challenge. I’m so glad I did and it is good reminder that challenges can keep me honest and motivated even if I feel total exhaustion. A few days this past month I didn’t reach my 11K steps but each day I kept doing what I could do and all in all it was success.
On my final day I did 16808 and felt good about every step of that. I almost had a flare but I didn’t and although I wasn’t pushing myself too hard during my moment of teetering on the verge of flare I was able to reel it in and just take a deep breath and slow down. Every day is different for me now, where I felt as though I had balance and normalcy, now I feel that my normalcy is out of balance. I am desperate to find balance and seeing a new doctor tomorrow that will hopefully help me. I’m on to new challenges, some record worthy and some not but they are all my challenges. Same can be said for small victories.