Category Archives: 12K Steps Challenge


Ever feel like you are in a rut?  I’m definitely in a working out rut and it happens about once a year for me.  I don’t really feel like doing any of it but at the same time the thought of not doing it makes me anxious and crazy. Last year about this time I was feeling the same way and my trainer asked me to take a week off and said that taking the full week off would be better mentally and physically then pushing through with a half assed work out.  I don’t know about that.  I wondered about back then and didn’t take a week off and the feelings passed and here I am again.  I did however just walk for a week last year as a compromise to doing something vs. nothing.

I was thinking I might do the same thing this year but I always have so much yoga that has to be done that I can’t avoid it.  I’m still doing my teacher training so yoga is top priority for me in the mornings and evening and I enjoyed all summer with walking outside 1 -2 times per day.  Now I’m back in the gym every day and spinning either in the morning or at lunch time and doing my weight training 3 days a week and my mind just isn’t fully focused on the task.  I think I’ll do the compromise again for a week and do my yoga certainly with just walking for 7 days and see if this rut makes its way by the wayside.

With winter coming, the holidays coming and just the feeling of dark and cold I don’t want to be in this rut long and I don’t want it to come back again for another year so I’ll try this and see what happens.

My steps this week were still decent and I am still staying active even with the brain rut.

Weekly – 97,913

Daily – 13,988

Miles – 38.32

Floors – 169



  My challenge is finished. I started in the Bikram studio yesterday morning and couldn’t finish this challenge on a bad note so I pushed myself and squeaked out 12,102 steps yesterday. It is much hard to find time for cardiovascular exercise when I’m in the studio. I have said many times though I love being in there for the 90 minutes sweating, working hard, and find focus.

My favorite instructor has chosen to move on to “greener postures” and find a new studio to teach at. I miss her already but it this will force me to get use to other instructors. The concept behind Bikram yoga is that it is the same 90 minutes every time you go in there. The same 26 postures done in 2 sets. The criteria that changes is the heat in the room, the humidity in the room, the other energy from the other yogi’s in the room, and finally the instructor. Perhaps they hold a posture a little longer or push you a little harder to get into final expression. The instructor is the key to a successful practice just as much as you yourself are key to a successful practice. I certainly enjoy other instructors teach styles but I had my favorite. I have let her go and moved on and now I need to just focus on the fact that every time I go in there I will probably see a new instructor until they find a full time 6am person.

I’m thrilled because they have decided to add 6am to the Tuesday and Thursday mornings as well. This would allow me 5 days a week to start with Bikram or to change up my schedule if need be. I’m usually in there 3-5 times a week but could never make it to a Tuesday or Thursday class this way I could go 7 days a week if I wanted or go when I can. It just opens up a lot of possibilities for me and honestly I think Bikram is the best for my joints and muscles, maybe even better then my physical therapy on some levels. Because I have joined a Bikram studio as my primary yoga I have to go to other studios for hot vinyasa and other types. I think a regular practice of Yin yoga would be great for my long term joint therapy also but I don’t know that I would have time to fit it in on a regular basis. There are so many types of yoga and I like the intense but sometimes we all need a little meditation too.


  I woke up this morning feeling so rested. Finally, I had a great night’s sleep and many hours worth of it. It has been a while since I woke up feeling really well rested. Perhaps this is the first step to being back to myself and getting the high level of prednisone out of my body. I’m still round in the face and bloated but that too will come with time. It doesn’t take long for me to feel bad on higher levels but then again it doesn’t take me long to start feeling good again also.

Yesterday I started in the gym and I was the only one there for about ½ hour. Perhaps everyone is enjoying basketball or even better just sleeping in. After a quick workout on the elliptical I headed over to hot vinyasa. The studio was very inviting and beautiful. There are typically no mirrors in hot vinyasa classes so I just pick a spot regardless of who is around me since I don’t need to see myself. There were very few people there so I got my choice as to where to put my mat. I’m a front of the class type person and find if I’m in the back I’m missing out.

It isn’t very hot in there but warm enough to take the outside chill off. I left my jacket on for a while but once we got flowing through our sun salutations I was warming up and my jacket came off. When I started my hands were purple right down to my knuckles so once I warmed the pink came back. I know people notice, how can they not? If they don’t know about Raynaud’s it must seem really odd to them. I did much better with my upper body strength but still have work to do with it. I felt so good afterward and will be back there soon.

The rest of the day was enjoying our Maine Maple Sunday. It is the last Sunday of March when the maple syrup farms open up their business to the locals so we can buy fresh maple syrup, enjoy a pancake breakfast or indulge in maple ice, candy and other maple treats. We went in the afternoon since we didn’t have interest in the pancake breakfast and although I really wanted the ice cream it is just too cold. It is a nice way to bring locals together on a cold March day. You need your boots because the mud is ankle high but you are on a farm after all. All in all I got in 13,512 steps yesterday.


  Yesterday I had a whole day planned for getting stuff done around the house and running a bunch of errands. Once I got home from Bikram I decided to just rethink all that and take it easy instead. The Bikram helped with my stiffness so I felt great when I got home but I was at a high level of fatigue and didn’t want to push it. Instead I spent some time in the kitchen. I took my time and really didn’t see this is a chore but more of a therapy.

I’m making a soup today for a late afternoon dinner and therefore wanted fresh bread. I made my bread yesterday and it smelled so good. I also made hermits which I have posted about before and they are just incredible. You have to like clove to enjoy a good hermit. My favorite is a cup of tea and hermit or 2 maybe even 3!

Being in the kitchen when you aren’t rushed and have no where to go really just feels good sometimes. I got a couple of meals done for the week and just had a relaxing day. Ever notice how when you are cooking the time just flies by? It was evening before I knew it and we were getting ready to sit down to a nice a dinner and a movie and bam another day gone. I don’t know where the time goes but it goes by quickly.

Yesterday I was able to get in 12,962 steps and honestly looking forward to end of this challenge. I like the focus but I’m ready to focus on something different now. I am trying a new hot vinyasa studio this morning after I get in a quick work out at the gym. I like trying new studios and new instructors although the vinyasa is probably the same every experience is different.


  How a day can change. I woke up with severely swollen hands the size of mitts and my fingers are little jimmy dean sausages. I was so eager to drop my prednisone and get back to my regular dose that I think I went a little too quickly. I did it on my own and didn’t consult with my doctor. Rationally I realize this is not a good idea but really I thought what was the worst that could happen? I put my body into a tail spin and caused my joints to flare a bit. Along with the swelling I also have some soreness and stiffness in my joints this morning. It reminds me that even after 127 days flare-up I could put myself into one really easily. I do not want that.

I’m starting my morning with some quiet time right now and a little walk before Bikram. I think the heat will help with both more fluid reduction and the relieve some stiffness. I won’t push myself too hard in Bikram and may do partial poses just to make sure I don’t over do it and cause a flare.

Mentally I feel so much better. I was so worried for so many weeks not sure what was happening and what would be coming at me next. Just to get the word from my doctor that every is OK and looks good I can mentally just let all that stress go. I am sleeping better and waking up more rested. I haven’t had enough time with the iron supplement yet to feel any real affects there but that too will come with time.

I’m looking forward to enjoying time in the Bikram studio meditating and relaxing while allowing my body to strengthen and heal. I’m now ready to get back into the studio regularly and since I’m coming to the end of the challenge I can put a lot more focus into Bikram and other types of yoga. I love the experience I get at all kinds of yoga studios and enjoy trying different types.

Yesterday I didn’t do well with the challenge because I was in the Bikram studio yesterday morning as well and didn’t get another chance to work out so I’m sorry to say I was below 10K. I think this is my second time. On the days I hit the studio and don’t get a chance to work out again later in the day it really shows. It doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything but when you are counting steps and keeping yourself accountable it is disappointing.

With that said I can do both get in the studio today and get in my steps so I won’t be disappointed tomorrow when I’m writing about challenge.


  This month the FDA approved a new drug to help with Lupus called Benlysta. I have attached the FDA website here for further information if you are interested.

This is the first new drug to come on the market in 56 years. Interestingly enough the last drug to be approved for Lupus was Plaquenil which is probably the most prescribed medication in cases like Lupus and MCTD. Of course along with this new drug come all the possible side effects which are to be expected but I’m just glad they are still working on new treatments, medications and therapies. My hope has always been to have cure in my life time. I have an incredibly long life line in my genes if my disease stays at bay and doesn’t progress to my internal organs or the medications I take don’t where down my system. I’m also hopefully that if a cure is not found a therapy of some sort for remission will be found and that I can hope for sooner rather than later because I believe with the genius minds out there they are already working on it.

Medicine has come such a long way in a relatively short time period time. This gives me great hope for more successes in the realm of autoimmune diseases and what it means to people like me. I must admitted I’m a little leery of an intravenous transfusion but if my doctor sat me down and honestly thought this would help me I would have no choice but to consider it. I have said “no” to many doctors in the past but I have only said no to my trusted Rheumatologist twice in 7 years. The first time was when we talked about just upping my prednisone every time I felt a flare-up coming on. I didn’t and I don’t feel comfortable with that since my body and psyche go into distress mode at higher levels and I have worked so hard to get down to 5mg and although I have not been to go below 5mg I feel like I can manage 5mg. I’ll be at 5mg again very soon this round too.

The next time was recently, this past Christmas season to be exact. I didn’t actually say no but he thought it would be a good idea for me to increase my procardia to 60mg from 30mg to help with severe Raynaud’s. I said I would try it and if I had any swelling in my ankles and feet I would stop and go back to 30mg. If I can’t get my sneakers on or even walk comfortably that is worse for my psyche then racing hearts, hot flashes, irritability and vicious mood swings. Sure enough it took 2 doses to figure out that wouldn’t happen. I decreased immediately and went along time with very manageable Raynaud’s. When I was in his office yesterday he looked at my extremely purple hands and said you are still at an extreme level. I think he was thinking with the prednisone and getting rid of the rash that the severity would go away as well. He didn’t mention making any changes just said we would keep a close eye on it. Fair enough, I’ll keep a close eye on it especially since it is staring me and everyone else I come in contact with right in the face. There isn’t a real good way to hide purple hands.

I had a great work out in the morning and didn’t have any appointments so I got a killer work out at lunch time and I logged 16,987 steps for the day. Another successful challenge day. To treat myself I finished my day doing hot vinyasa and I must admit it was a challenge. I have lost so much upper body strength recently that doing poses like downward facing dog and other poses that require wrist, arm and shoulder strength were very difficult. In time I’ll gain that back too. I focused more on the quiet and heat and did a lot of resting in child’s pose.


  I started my day at the gym with a long work out. I was heading to the Rheumatologist first thing in the morning and since I was nervous about the information I was due to receive I just needed to burn some steam so I had already hit my 12k before I left there yesterday.

I proceed to the doctor’s office and they saw me at 8am which is unheard of but since they were squeezing me in I guess it made more sense to start a little earlier. As my doctor walked in he looked pleased. I couldn’t tell if that was just his morning personality or was he really going to give me good news. As it turns out it was good news for me. My disease has not progressed and I have not overlapped into the Lupus category. My body was met with some turmoil and taking the antibiotic just set things into motion that my body didn’t know how to react to. I will be back to my normal self in no time now and since I was looking so much better to him today we are dropping my prednisone yet again. I love being on the decrease.

My blood work came back normal except for being anemic and I’ll take an iron supplement for that since I don’t get enough in my beets and spinach. I can also increase the amount my body holds on to by having vitamin C with my iron. All I really need is a big spinach and beet salad tossed with mandarin oranges. Actually we did talk about my food and I do have to start with a supplement just to get it back up to a normal level then I can watch it and try to keep it level with food. I have written many times I would much rather deal with situations and keep medications as a last resort as well my doctor knows this and believes it too so if he thinks I need a medication then I do. It is a short term solution to a potentially long term problem.

Once I get my level back to normal he also believes a lot of this fatigue and lack of energy will go away as well. It might be hard to believe I’m dealing with fatigue and lack of energy if you have been reading my challenge but truth is I’m at a high level of fatigue. I honestly thought it was because I haven’t been sleeping well for quite a while and I don’t usually have problems with sleep. I still believe that but I’ll get some good sleep now that I’m decreasing again and pop some iron and we’ll see how I feel in a few days.

I never thought I would feel so relieved to just hear him say my disease hasn’t changed. There is no cure so I’m not grasping at miracles but being told things are the same actually is comforting. In fact, I find this to be even more encouraging because I’m not having regular flare-ups and joint pain. He is totally amazed by that but doesn’t believe I shouldn’t expect anything different at this point. This is a new chapter in my life and a new base line that I can rely on.

I rambled a lot here but I have a lot on my mind. The last thing I want to mention is that I was highly concerned about my blood pressure when I was in there last week it was registering 150/90. That is way too high for me. Today I was at my normal 120/70 that was a relief. At least I know when I’m in stress and my body is in turmoil I can fluctuate a lot and just need to remember it will lower.