Thursday, March 13, 2014
Can I tell you how many dirty day dreams I've had of velveeta mac n cheese or chocolate dipped macaroons? Oh yes, really.
I'm throwing that out there to expose you to how obsessed I have allowed myself to be regarding food over the years.
My pain management therapist helped me come to the reality that this is a coping mechanism that I have created and fed as a way to cope with my health and chronic pain. As Ethel grew and raged over the years, I have reacted in unhealthy ways. But he refused to condemn me for it. Which for some reason bothered me initially? I guess I was too busy blaming myself, and thus repeating a wonky cycle of ridiculous emotional eating. My thighs can confirm this. : (
After too many years of denial in allowing myself to truly FEEL my fears, my stress, my pain, my anxiety, in an effort to push through those moments, I've decided to embrace it all. Abandoning the food restriction mentality that clearly did nothing for me, except solidify that I would emo eat later, and continue a strange and windy road that I forced myself upon.
I am now trying to give MORE attention to rewiring my noggin and rewarding the 'homecoming' to the eating style I definitely had growing up (AKA normal eating). I'm kinda excited actually to be honest. To NOT sit near someone who is ordering off a menu, based off of their desire and true hunger, not torturing the waiter with menu changes - and silently hating them. Of course, I need to get well enough to get outta the house, but you know what I mean!
Speaking of brains, have you seen the advertisements for the Good Morning America anchor Dan Harris' new book? 10% Happier. How I tamed he voice in my head.
He had an anxiety attack on live TV a while back, and then went on a self help journey. The book pushes even just 5 minutes of meditation per day and how it can work wonders in your happiness bank account. I must say I am intrigued by it.
So what do you do when things get funky? You're a stressball over bills, maybe you've been sick for months and can't catch a break (or your breath)? When work is a bear (or the other B word)? How do you mellow out, bringing yourself back to being sane when your inner emotional brat wants to crunch out the stress?
Don't tell me that you come home and reach for a handful of carrots to satisfy that craving instead of chocolate covered peanuts. I won't believe you...
Prayer seems to be helpful for me, unless I fall off the food wagon (and under its wheels). Then I seem to feel almost too guilt ridden to pray, and I find I avoid it. Sad but true! Like I'm unworthy to pray. Who am I to say that God won't hear me because I have Nutella smudged on my chin? Why do I finish my prayers feeling like a shriveled raisin sometimes? What's that about?
Visualization is great, but I find I dwell too much on the old healthy (non Erythromelalgia) me, not just the smaller me. Then I get depressed and sad. It's the equivalent of bringing down that old box of photos that some of us have in the closet, and sitting on the floor in a puddle of wa-wa-wa's by reminiscing. Not the best kernel of self-help for me currently. Maybe I'll give that a do-over when I'm ready.
So getting back to one of the concepts in this book was to watch your breathing. Yes, I'm sure it can be helpful for slowing down the chow-monster as well as anxiety. You know, those moments ha here you hear your heartbeat in your head? The more and more I read and try to understand emotional eating, the more that I can see that my emo eating behavior IS a form of anxiety reaction.
Wait, that means I have anxiety issues too? That's just bittersweet then, like dried cranberries. I'm learning more about myself, but also know that there's more I need to work on. Ok. I'll embrace that.
Mindful eating is where my focus is at currently. Being mind-full and not food-full. It's not for the faint of heart, and I wish I could find a way to do some mental push ups when things get stressful. To better arm myself (pun!) to feel those stressy anxious moments. Not to eat them (and the bowl-full of them, then crumbs that fell on my shirt, and even those on the floor. Ack, did she just say that?!?).
I do find bits and pieces from all of these methods intriguing and in need of more practice from my end. I'm certainly glad that there are so many methods out there.
Yoga works for some, as well as intense workouts. Workout buddies are great too, but my mobility is growing more limited, so I am not storing my nuts of self reward in those methods currently. Get me a cure, and I promise to come back to this one!
I am tight with a few spark pals, and we try to stay in touch OFTEN. It keeps us accountable, and we probably stir in one (or all) of these self-help methods at one time or another. Sort of like a giant bowl of trail mix. Sometimes we pick out the Brazil nuts - and skip the visualization. Sometimes we go for the cherries and almonds - and channel our energy into writing. My point is, depending on the situation and our potential reactions, we tend to use what we hope works in that moment. I could use some company on this journey. Care to join me?
I'd love to know what YOU find successful, and if you haven't found something that works yet, you're not alone! Keep digging in that bowl until you find it. It's ok to fall. Just keep going!
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
It's been 3 weeks since my last round of pain treatment at the joint (the hospital), and those last drops of treatment drugs seem to have been depleted.
I find myself sad about that since that also means that restful sleep is now a luxury I won't get much of, and my annoying pain is back to 100%. I seem to have a whole litter of new lesions breaking through on my hands and feet too, which force me to think twice about walking or touching anything, and take months to heal.
Although the treatment drugs only seemed to blunt about 30% of my pain, I now see how much that truly did help. Even though I only got about 2-3 weeks of that pain buffer, I should be thankful that there is at least one option for me that I can go to.
It's not a cure. And I would rather have one, but we are not there yet.
I need to shake the funk off and look back at the small daily tasks I was able to do a bit better, even temporarily.
My dog certainly appreciated the extra wuzzles. I also drove short distances around town, folded some laundry, cut up some brussel sprouts (don't laugh! I love these things!), and got my eyebrows penciled on straight more times than not.
I guess I just needed to work this out a bit in a blog.
Funk has been shaken and wiggled off.
Transformed into anticipation of my next round of treatment in 4 weeks.
The countdown has started. I will cut up more brussel sprouts soon! Munch munch munch...
Monday, December 16, 2013
Strange week for me, as this will be my last week at work. Time to go on disability. I've been at my job for over 13 years, but Ethel has just become too much. The swollen bumps and lesions on my hands and feet make it just insanely painful to move much, on top of my daily swelling and pain. I feel like I have to move mountains in order to walk more than a few feet, and driving is a bit too challenging for the time being.
My pain doctors said last week that they were concerned that my EM was actually deforming my hands, and want me to start coming into the hospital for a week-long stay every 6 weeks to try to help with pain. There is just no way to get around that and trying to work. And I can't work part time.
I feel like I've been defeated, and I'm also pretty p!ssed to be honest. But perhaps it is for the best. I've worked a lot longer than anyone thought I could have, so hoorah for being a persistent chick! And of course, there's a slice of me that is hoping that I get some major pain relief soon, a cure for my disease, and can get back to work. That would be so great!
Happy to say that there is a silver lining to being stuck at home from work though (yay!).
The Mayo Clinic has contacted me in response to my doctor's 2nd petition to try to help me.
So exciting! Especially since they turned me down years ago.
I will need to get to MN in February of 2014. Can't fly anymore due to what the pressure does to my system, so we are trying to figure out how to get me there. Randy will chaperone me, which is great, and we are both excited. I wish I was like one of those CIA agents who get knocked out and shipped all over the world in a box lickety split like in my books. Ha!
So now I guess I will be reading a lot of kindle books on my ipad and navigating the storm that is Ethel for the next bit in between treatment. I should feel thankful for the time and I know that I will soon, as so many others don't have health insurance or the option to go on disability. I am blessed for sure, but also unfortunately bitter since this was not a part of my plan. Need to shake that last part off.
I will get to be home for Christmas, but will check into the hospital on 12/30 for my next round of treatment. I need to use this time to listen to my pain, and stay still when needed. I also need to use this time to pay attention to my emotions and not allow them to feel as though they trigger me to eat poorly as a result of it. Bad eating certainly won't help my body!
Thursday, September 05, 2013
Did you hear from me recently? Was it a bit of a shock?
Hi, I'm Bren. I most likely slammed you with a goodie (or two) recently. If not, look out, it's coming. I'm basically blowing my spark points piggy bank and goody'ing all of my sparkly friends. I've been lagging in that departmeant, so forgive me.
I do really want to be encouraging and supportive for you, heck, even just plain silly. I've been fighting my body lately, and felt it easier to just lie down (with my legs up over my head (LITERALLY) to try to alleviate some of this swelling that I have been plagued with for over a month. New issues on top of existing ridiculous ones? Fantastic.
Oops, see, look at my big huge eye roll right there. I'm not my usual silly self.
I HURT HEAPS!!!
I have to literally take a break after a short (cold water) shower since I am in a lot of pain just from the motion of moving around to get into the stupid shower.
My 'good' time is practically non existent, and I spend that good time by doing things like petting my dog (since I often can't touch her. She's too warm!), or making myself lunch. Gotta be honest, I've let it get the better of me, and have not been sparking as much as I should have. It's easier to curl up and wish the pain away, but that doesn't help the pain right?
It's NOT easy to spark and support others when I'm in a frumpy dump mood, but it IS valuable and important to me to be involved and STAY involved.
So here I go (again), announcing that I am here, and will likely be flinging some ridonkulous goodie your way soon.
It's just me, telling you that I am thinking of you, encouraging you, and screaming at you if needed (ha!).
Thursday, August 22, 2013
99 Bottles? Nope, I don't really drink.
99 Cents Store? Uh Uh, I am not the land of discount stuff and strangely scented air fresheners.
99 Problems? I'm not JayZ...
I'm feeling like a bit of a Paleo failure. I was really putting my eggs in one basket with this Paleo lifestyle thing. But of course, one diet lifestyle does not fit all (Bingo!).
Day 99 of my Paleo journey officially ended yesterday. Unfortunately for me, I gained at least another 5lbs this past month, bringing my total lbs gained to at least 15. Having those extra lbs come hang out with me while NOT eating sugar, soy, dairy, grains, beans, legumes, white potatoes, corn, refined stuff just seemed to baffle me in a big way. As of a couple of weeks ago, my calves down through to my feet seemed to protest loudly with major swelling and redness. I still can't see my ankles and its been almost three weeks! Hurts even more to do simple things that were already hurting to begin with due to Ethel. So yeah, my body is p!ssed off to say the least.
I kept receiving encouragement from others to stick to it, and how my body was just finding its way into healing, so I did. It made sense, but that doesn't seem to be the case at this point. Could my body really be reacting this way due to food? I found a naturopathic doctor near my home and got to see her last week. Just waiting on some blood work to see how she can help. Fingers crossed : ).
And then a sparkly pal suggested that perhaps I was p!ssed off as well, and had every right to be. Well CANNIE you were right! I guess I didn't allow myself to acknowledge that since I refused to believe that healthy food (NOT junk food) could be causing such a reaction from my body. So I thought for a moment about it. Yep, I was mad. Grrrrrr!
I capped off day 99 to end my paleo efforts with HUGE spoonfuls of Nutella that a pal brought me from her trip to Ireland a while back.
It gets even better. I planned it. Well, honestly, 99 days of eating so spanking clean, just to be even more wiggly (sorry!), seemed to bring my inner three year old smack up to the surface of my emotions. She wanted a prize for being so good for so long. So... I decided to break that paleo contract with some horribly good sugar (the horror!), and then go back to just plain old balanced food today.
I am still not to be trusted with sugar around. I know that I can't just dip one spoon (finger/chopstick/my dog Olive) in that jar again w/o inhaling it. But that is why I brought it here to work. I find that comforting for some reason, like i don't have to stress about that since it is truly out of sight.
And I refuse to feel guilty about the Nutella. Sorry, ain't happening. I don't plan on doing that again in the near future, but darn it, it was GOOD. Am I breaking the rules by saying that? Forgive me. Strangely, I slept better than I have in a very long time, even with a lightening storm turning my bedroom into the Vegas strip every 60 seconds. : )
So what have I learned on this time of living a paleo lifestyle? 99 days still proved (to myself anyway) that my sugar cravings were just not going buh-bye, no matter what author, blogger or medical professional promised. They were still there. Amazingly, they were at their worst these past few weeks (Nuts!). It also proved to me that I now know FOR SURE I can (and have) survived longer than I thought I ever would have been able to without any sugar or junk food.
Boy, if you would have asked me months ago to give up popcorn for almost 100 days I would have laughed at you (and probably thrown heavy things). I did it. Too bad it didn't seem to change my body for the better -well, at least from the outside. That was the very vain Bren speaking there. Oops! Yes, I need to work on that.
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