Health changes continue – exercise and home products revisited

December 6, 2012

I am feeling energized as I am eating healthier.  My pain level seems to be slowly decreasing, though it is still there.  My back pain is easier to deal with, though I hope to be able to eventually sleep on my back again.  I notice that I am able to make it through a day much more than in the past.  At times I still have bad days, especially if I feel stress or have a cold, but overall every day is so much better than 6 months ago.

I am trying to reduce some of the chemicals and unhealthy products I use each day.  As I run out of supplies, I am aiming to buy more organic beauty supplies.  I bought some make-up from Pure Minerals that feels great on my skin.  I also am trying some organic shampoo and conditioner.  I have noticed that my hairs feels silkier (even before the shampoo change), and perhaps this is due to the extra nutrients and water I take in each day.

This is the first time in a long time where I lost weight in a healthy weight.  Most of my recent weight loss was due to stress or changes in medications.  I have always been happy when I lose weight, but my body still felt drained even though I weighed less.  I enjoy shopping at the discount store for smaller clothes, and not having my stomach hurt in my tight jeans.  I feel lighter and it helps me stay motivated to make other changes.

Being the goal person I am, I am looking to my next step.  I plan on continuing to add back different food into my diet to see if there is any effect.  I am starting back on a regular weight routine with the P90 book to build up my muscle.  My teenage daughter is interested in doing it with me, so it makes it more fun and keeps me accountable.  I also will continue to build my network of friends and support through blogging, reaching out, and health coaching.  I love having people around me for support.  Thank you all who have shared with me.

Advertisements

Plan 15M – A life of adaptation

October 1, 2012

Last week I was really sick with some stomach bug.  I am hoping it is just the flu and not some new chronic condition.  Fibromyalgia has a way of stealing my innocence.  I am aware that many chronic conditions seem to take place after regular illnesses and stress.  This was the case for me with fibromyalgia.  I initially had a cold virus and was dealing with some stressful situations in my life.  The antibiotics might have also contributed to my body shutting down.  Unfortunately now when I have an illness that lingers, I go back down memory lane (somewhat like pstd) and feel fear.  Though I have recovered somewhat (meaning I can leave the couch), I still am struggling to eat.

Often when I start some exercise routine, I seem to get sick.  Though if I probe closer, I generally fight infections regularly anyway, and have many allergies that can bring me down.  A regular cold may hit me a bit harder than before fibromyalgia.  I could pretty much function ok, but scaled down some.  Because my life is already scaled down, and my body running with less energy, a cold can knock me out.  I decided my body needed some rest, and limited my exercise last week.

Fortunately life always has many plan Bs to choose from.  This week I will go with plan 15M.  My goal is 15 minutes a day of some exercise even though I still feel sick.  My neighbor needs her dog walked as she is recovering from surgery.  This is a great place to start.  I will also continue the P90X plan.  As I anticipate more illnesses in the future, whatever time I miss for illness, I will extend to my plan.  The P90X plan is geared for making changes every 3 weeks.  So if I miss a week for illness, I will spend 4 weeks in that particular area.  I might add a few sprints into my dog walking, but will take it easier on the running for now.

The good news about having stomach aches is I am forced to eat better.  It seems I do better with healthier food – who knew?  I even cooked up some tofu that didn’t taste too bad.  Next time I will google how to cook tofu before cooking it.  I don’t know why there isn’t instructions on the package like every other food you buy.

There is a good possibility the stomach pains are partly because of my medication reduction.  Though I haven’t reduced my medication in weeks, it feels similar to what I experienced when going off other narcotics.  For now I will continue to maintain my current level of medication.

Well off to call my neighbor about the dog walk.  Wish you all a great week…..


Another day…..let the scales tip

September 23, 2012

In my dream land I would find the balance – perhaps that would be all too boring.  I am happy to report I did great on my exercise this week – yoga class, P90X yoga, cardio and 3 resistance training at the beginner level, 3 days of running/walking and 2 days playing racquetball.  Ok – perhaps I am over the top, and paying for it.  For this I take the weekend off – well sorta – 4 games this weekend where I am the assistant coach.

I look at the piles on the coffee table.  At least 20 books waiting for me to read/review.  About 6 of them I haven’t returned to the library because I want to blog about them.  Thankfully with renewals I can have about for about 12 weeks, unless others are requesting the book.  The laundry is in the dryer, so some housework is being done.  My husband even made the bed, something in which is on my “what’s the point” list.  I hate tucking my blankets in anyway.

I hate the idea of scaling back on the exercise.  I feel really good as far as energy level and outlook on life.  There are some moments I feel really up, bubbling with energy, talking a bit excessively, and radiating joy where I go.  Love that!  Fortunately I can keep up – though my skills in racquetball need some work.  On the down side, my poor knees are going in revolt.  What is preventing me from forging ahead isn’t fibro but my pathetic knees.  I tried to limit the hill running, though I think when the endorphins kick in I can’t feel the pain, so what I do is push myself a little too much. Ooh yeah, love the sprints too.  Doing the squats that seem to strengthen my knees, may not help either.

My dream of being medication free is still on the back burner for now.  I am hoping to reduce again, if I can keep myself active enough without putting myself in bed for a week with illness and/or injury.  I am content with the level for now, but in the general health outlook, the exercise and food seem like the best place to focus for now.

I am learning to use my laptop as intended – on the lap. This is helpful when I continue my ice and heat treatment.  The ice really helps with the healing especially in my knees.  I am trying to ice and heat 3x a day, though 2 seems to be more accurate.  A great way to gain down time.  My cat Jet, loves it.

One other benefit to exercising with fibro, is it forces me to eat better.  It appears that my stomach can tolerate less unhealthy food when I am more active.  I crave food like salads, which to me is a rare thing indeed.  Still love ice cream, but tends to make me sick the next day.

So the week ahead awaits me.  Another opportunity for balance in the life of the fibro patient.  I may need to attempt some modifications to my exercise routine this week, such as more walking and less running.  If I am not able to have enough cardio, I may want to try some swimming one of the days.  I will need to push myself a bit to do the needed but less thrilling chores.  Though at times I feel a need to rest, other times I just hate cleaning the kitchen every day.

Thanks for reading – time to change the ice.  Like everything else, moderation isn’t always my forte.


Exercise for people with fibromyalgia

September 17, 2012

It seems that many experts on fibromyalgia do not recommend intense cardio exercise.  Perhaps the assumption that more jarring on the muscles will increase the pain.  This may be the case for some people, but has not been my personal experience.

In general my favorite ways of exercising have been running, weight lifting and aerobic classes.  When I began experiencing chronic pain I tried yoga, more walking and swimming.  Before chronic pain, my philosophy was to make the most of my time and the more intense the cardio the better.  When doing weight lifting, I would lean towards less reps and more weight, versus a lighter workout.  I was surprised that yoga was not as relaxing as I had envisioned, much more physically demanding when my body wasn’t prepared for it.

Regardless of what exercise I do, if I push myself beyond my fitness level in any capacity I will generally experience pain later on.  I have experienced this with running, walking long distances or with lots of hills, light or heavy weights, yoga, or even gardening.   When I didn’t have fibromyalgia I would also ache the next day, but it feels more intense when I have fibromyalgia.  My body can take longer to adapt to new exercises.

The advantages of doing a higher aerobic exercise is that the endorphins also help in reducing my pain.  I have noticed that many times after a run my pain is drastically reduced for the 3-5 hours.  I also have increased energy to do other activities and my mood is elevated.  I have started to add some sprints into my run to produce more endorphins and raise my fitness level.  Sometimes the increase in exercise may bring a crash if I overdo it.

Personally I prefer a variation of exercises to keep myself fit.  I am trying to increase my higher aerobic exercise to keep the endorphins kicked in.  Currently I am aiming for 5 days a week of running or racquetball (15 minutes at a higher intensity), as well as other strength training like weights and yoga.  I find that warm up and cool down are important as well as icing and heat to calm the muscles.  Lots of walking and stretching seems to help prevent more pain later.

Last week I checked out a book, Bring It, by Tony Horton on the P90X exercises.  I have the videos on hold at the library, but it could be another 6-9 months before my turn comes up.  I have heard many people rave about this program, and figured it could be helpful since the beginning routines are geared at 20 minutes of exercise at home.  They have cardio, resistance and yoga routines.  They have some great exercise routines for all levels of fitness.  Though according to the quiz in the book, I am more intermediate, I thought it would be better to start at the beginner routine until I can develop the consistency.  This is a great book for anyone as it gives great illustrations on different exercises and routines to follow.  I put the page numbers for the exercises on a sheet of paper (don’t know them all by name yet) so I can quickly go through the routines.  Having a book allows me to go at my own pace (longer or shorter) and tends to be more relaxing than a video. If an exercise is too painful I can modify or skip it entirely.  I will eventually purchase the book for my own library.

Well I think I am awake enough now to attempt some exercise.  I will start with a run/walk then maybe do some resistance training.  Eventually I will need to find some time for the laundry piles and mopping the floors.  When I figure out how to keep the house clean and exercise I will let you know.  There is always tomorrow :).


The Long Run Book Review by Matt Long and Charles Butler

August 28, 2012

I love reading books about physical recovery.  It inspires me to keep healthy and fit in spite of challenges and continue to move forward even when I have set backs.  I also learn new medical information, resources and coping methods.  The Long Run is a great read about an elite athlete and firefighter who was involved in a bike accident (he was hit by a bus).  Even though he wasn’t expected to live, he miraculously began the road to recovery.  Matt shares both his struggles and milestones in an honest and compelling way.  I was captured by his story, moved by his pain and encouraged by the people who supported him.  I was also amazed by the body’s ability to not only heal itself, but how Matt Long was able to still push his body to the limit.  Though the struggles didn’t end, he found a way that helped him continue to live in spite of his new circumstances.

Though I personally haven’t seen the healing that I would hope for, I believe that growth is essential to my well-being.  I must strive to move as much as I can each day to help my body heal.  Even if my day or my week makes it difficult to exercise or accomplish what I wish, I must avoid dwelling in self-pity for too long.  In general I love being active when my body is feeling well.  I enjoy a walk, a run, a hike, playing soccer with the kids, lifting weights, doing yoga and racquetball.  What can be harder for me is finding the time and energy to exercise when so many things in life seem to jump in the way or I have too much pain.  The most consistent way that I am able to exercise is when I involve my friends and family in my activities.  This keeps me from being isolated and becoming depressed.  When involved in personal exercise like running, it is generally best done in the morning.  Rarely do I come away feeling worse than I did before exercising.  At times the pain can increase or my symptoms will intensify, but overall I will feel better in the long run.  It is always helpful to remember that others have been here too, and I can press on.  Thanks Matt for sharing your story.


On The Field

June 26, 2011

I can feel the pain intensify as I am standing in place, listening to my husband give soccer instructions to 12 girls.  As a co-coach I need to pay attention so I can implement what he is teaching.  I move around back and forth, as this reduces the pain that is circulating through my body.  I ignore my feelings of paranoia, concerned how I might look to the outsiders who don’t know of my illness.  I can feel the warmth of my body, as my fever begins to spike, like a premature heat flash that randomly appears.

As the instructions are finished, I recruit half of the girls onto the opposite player field.  I try to remember what I am supposed to do, as my fatigue and mild ADD seems to muffle even the best of teachings.  It is similar to living with a constant flu, with the aches, mild fever, and tiredness.  I attempt to implement what I can understand of the drill by watching my husband from across the field, and making up the rest.  I am less aware of the pain, as I am running around chasing after flying soccer balls.  My fever seems to level off, though I find it difficult to breathe when I am running too fast.  I slow down my pace and send Sarah off to collect the ball that flew past the goalie net.  I am grateful for the sun that is shining today, as the cold weather makes my fingers and toes go numb, which makes kicking a soccer ball painful.  I look up, and see Kathy make a goal.  The sounds of laughter and cheers from her team mates, brings me into the moment.  I smile and tell her “great kick at the side of the goal”.

Having chronic pain can effect greatly what I do, even on the soccer field.  When I become more in tuned with my own pain, I also take in more of what is around me.  My meditative state allows me to go deeper into the pleasures around me, as well as accept the pain that often comes with it.  These moments hanging with my soccer girls are treasures I will keep in my heart, the blessings that I am aware of, that bring life to today.


%d bloggers like this: