Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Benefits of cold weather (from someone who must be in cold temps at all times!)
Doctors claim that cold weather boosts your metabolism in your body's effort to stay warm, so people tend to lose more weight in cold weather. Hmmmm? I Like it!
Pesky insects don't survive in freezing weather. No Mosquitos, Fleas, etc! Which also means none of the horrible diseases that these insects carry either.
All the dog poo in the back yard freezes, making it easier to scoop. If you step in it, it does not matter, IT'S FROZEN & will not stick to your shoes.
(My most favorite): Cold Weather Can Reduce Inflammation - There's a reason putting ice on an injury works. That drop in temperature reduces inflammation. But the theory works on a much grander scale, too -- cold temperatures can reduce inflammation and pain all over. In fact, athletes and spa-goers even have a remedy of sorts available for muscle recovery. A 2011 study found that, at extremely low temperatures, such treatments, called cryotherapy, did more for athletes to recover from physical activity than simply resting. At some spas, cryotherapy chambers appear much like steam rooms - with, of course, the opposite effect. And while the majority of us probably won't be taking a trip to the cold room, it certainly beats summer swelling!
In some countries, the use of cold temperatures for medical purposes is taken quite seriously. Several years ago, Finnish researchers reported the results of a study of 10 women who, for three months, took cold-water plunges (20 seconds in water just above freezing) and submitted to whole-body cryotherapy sessions. Blood tests showed a two- to threefold jump in norepinephrine levels minutes after cold exposure. Norepinephrine is a chemical in the nervous system that wears many hats, including a possible role in pain suppression.
Endurance Performance Increases in Cold Weather:
More Fat is Burned During Cold Weather Exercise: Exercising in cold conditions can produce both higher usage of muscle glycogen and also higher rates of fat metabolism…Insulin levels have been shown in some studies to be lower in winter and cold conditions which can also spur on fat breakdown.
Cold Water Bolsters Immune System: Scientists from the Czech Republic immersed subjects in cold water for one hour, three times a week and monitored their physiology. They found significant increases in white blood cell counts and several other factors relating to the immune system. This was attributed to the cold water being a mild stressor which activates the immune system and gives it some practice.
Athletes who train regularly in cooler air (or in cold water) are less likely to experience downturns in their immune systems after workouts than those who are exposed to the cold only sporadically.
The Cold Will Make You Happier: cold will also stimulate your parasympathetic system, which is responsible for rest and repair, and this can trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are a vital part of keeping us happy and low levels of them are linked with depression. Couple this effect with the endorphin rush as you take the plunge and it should make for a warm glow and a wide smile when you re-emerge.
Speaking for myself and my disease, cold temps keep a bit of a muzzle on some of my chronic pain. Warmth of any kind triggers pain flares and wild swelling. Since people with EM cannot sweat from the affected areas (arms, legs, face), it's a whole lotta no fun. Cold temps and ice packs sit on some of that pain, at least for a little while each day. I love me some cold! And I have a new appreciation for it after doing this Spark Team homework : ))
Yay for staying chilly (at least for myself!)
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Were you assaulted by marshmallow peeps or that danged Cadbury Egg?
I'm pretty sure I consumed both. Blech.
I won't say I blew it this holiday weekend, but I certainly didn't fare well.
I DID have an 'aha' moment last night though, and I am kinda impressed with myself.
Is it possible to be disappointed by my appearance and my eating issues and still give myself some kudo's? Important to note that these are not the real candy bar Kudo's of the grocery type, but a much needed pat on my (already) padded back? : )
I feel like a screenwriter here, but here goes:
Monday eve. Nervous and anxious about potential nerve damage in my left leg as a result of the procedure last week to hopefully relieve some pain. I just might be one of the casualties that the docs warn you about before they knock you out. I'm so upset!! EAT!
Will it last forever?! Numb from the knee down, but still have so much pain there? Is that even possible?? Eat. Eat.
Is this how I will need to live out my life ON TOP Of living with Ethel (my EM) and CRPS? - With crutches and being unsure of walking on my own -FOREVER?! I can't breathe...
WAIT A SECOND.
Is living out my life with potential nerve damage going to get any easier with eating my emotions and getting even bigger???
*Stop eating* (Woah!!!).
I waddled to the kitchen and put back the remaining sweets (holy moly), and even tossed the extra popcorn (wasting food? The horror!)
Do I get an award for this? Will I one day write and bellow out some sappy acceptance speech (and forget to thank the people I love accidentally)? Hee Hee. I dunno.
But strangely, aside from the total discomfort of eating too much prior to that moment, I felt... motivation? Like a slice of my former self hollered out, "hey you, chubby. Yeah, I'm talking to you. You have always hated the idea of throwing in the towel. You've not only thrown in the towel, but i think you're eating it. KNOCK IT OFF!!!"
A tiny particle of the old healthy me didn't retreat with this inner confrontation, but acknowledged it instead. No excuses this time. No denial. I don't know how that 'aha' moment could have motivated me, but it did.
So this morning I did as much of my dvd mat workout as I could handle. Even though I had to hold ice packs (acid fire arm pain); even though I couldn't wear my shoes (yep, more fire pain); even though my workout pants wanted to roll off of my belly like some twisted circus trick (stay up darn you!).
Instead of focusing on the sad scene of me fighting with my pants throughout that partial workout, I have been looking online for some of my favorite Lucy capri workout pants. My bum is bigger. I get it. But (har har) to keep me inspired to shrink it smaller, I want to get some workout clothes that fit!
Look out world, here I come.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I have used this phrase in reference to my hands and feet often, but this time I am referring to my nails.
They seem to be leaving the building. As in, 'Elvis has left the building'.
I've noticed that I dwell on this recent occurrence more than I should.
By then again, how can I avoid it? My hands are right there in front of me. I generally cover my legs with a pair of black tights and a skirt, so that doesn't nag me too often. But my nail-less fingers...it gets under my skin.
I needed some distraction from my nails, or lack there of.
Rather than focus on all of the things I have not been able to do for quite a while with the frail and now some missing nails (like opening soda cans, picking up a penny from the floor, actually pushing those 'push' buttons, etc. why not think up some fun benefits that warped and/or nail-less fingers CAN do?
Yes, many of my nails have 'left the building', but it was time to put a twist on this reality. It was time to get my giggle on. Check out what I came up with, Elvis style.
I visualized myself in metallic gold shades, flaunting a frothy pair of unaffiliated side burns.
Then I surfed my own personal wave of a Blue Hawaii daydream, as if channeling The King:
I could stir the peanut butter in the jar with my index finger, not having to worry about getting it stuck under my finger nail before making that fried PB and 'nanner sandwich.
Don't worry! I haven't actually done this. I'm just dreaming about it.
Mmmmmmm....drool drool drool.
I could play a guitar with a guitar pick, and not worry about using nails here either. I just might belt out, "All Shook Up" though. So be warned, I can't carry a tune!
I would have no problems hopping into and out of those polyester sequined jumpsuits since there are no buttons. Yay for giant zippers!
I took the shiny gold shades off and came back to reality. I seems that Elvis Presley is a good fit when I need a good distraction.
Bonus of Elvis daydreams: the rhinestone clad wardrobe distracts anyone (even myself) from seeing those mangled fingertips. Nice!
Friday, August 24, 2012
I am now referring to my frenzied stuff-face behavior as the 'Pig Pen response' (remember that kid from Peanuts?).
I know I am not alone here.
Have you ever felt like you just have a whirlwind of items on that to-do list, truly enveloping you?All are important, and all with an urgent deadline.
At that moment, the freezer and pantry light up like neon signs, advertising their sweet and salty contents like a mini Las Vegas! I won't tempt you with the food porn...
Speaking for myself, my raging stress response to pain could trigger my inner Pig Pen, or giving myself an unrealistic to-do list, etc.
But really, its all about my reaction to a trigger.
I've skimmed over recent events that lead to my last Pig Pen response.
My chronic pain had ruled most of my day. Big surprise here on what I did next. Yep, I saw the neon lights of the sweet & salty treats, and out of the depths of my memory, I remembered exactly where each of those items were hiding (candy under quinoa pasta, potato chips behind the pouch of flax seed meal, etc.). I sabotaged myself!
Stuff face. Rinse. Repeat. Yuck.
This is not an acceptable way to cope. Ugh.
I logged on to Spark and poked around for some motivation to fend off my inner Pig Pen. I read some great blogs by CANNIE50 and AAACK and decided to integrate them into my daily life. I've been working hard to "tidy up my side of the street" by keeping my inner complainer in check. Allowing that negativity into my life just piles up emotional 'trash', and trash stinks!
I'm also making sure that I do at least one thing per day that makes me feel accomplished (no matter how small), and then acknowledge that moment. It's amazing how such a small thing can keep you smiling.
I challenge you to make a mental list of your Pig Pen triggers.
Then list your personal battle tactics to prevent you from wolfing down your refrigerator contents. Be sure to put your action plan at the forefront of your mind.
After all, no one wants to clean up after Pig Pen!
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Does that apply for hospitals?
For this trip I've been a 'guest' in the hospital for over 2 weeks. I've gotten the best care by truly talented people.
Initially I was admitted into the hospital via the E.R. over the 4th of July weekend, and stayed for 8 days due to painful nerve flares. I was so homesick and bolted at the first chance I was given to go home. Unfortunately I checked out too soon.
I was so happy to be home, but my disease refused to follow the doctor's orders. A few days later I had to return to the hospital. : (
I was in my room for less than 5 minutes before some of the nurses from my past visit came over to day hello.
'I'm so sorry to see you come back. Didn't the treatment work?', they asked. '
'Oh, I feel great. I just missed the food so much, I wanted to come back!' : )
And then I was plugged into the hospital matrix (har har).
Crisis Nurses were called in to start IV's on me since I am considered a 'hard stick' (small difficult veins that get easily irritated). God bless those nurses!
I surfed my gurney as it was rolled to the opposite side of the hospital into the O.R. to get my first epidural and catheter placed. I was then literally flipped over onto my back so that my doctors could do another nerve block procedure via my neck. The gurney roller coaster ride started up again, and I was wheeled back to my room.
Colorful wires were taped on my torso. A portable (heavy) cordless heart monitor stuffed into my gown pocket, constantly dragging my gown faaaaar too low in the right boobie region -embarrassing!
Throughout my time in the hospital, I received multiple types of drugs and treatments.
I had another vampire bite in the neck to administer a nerve block for my right hand.
I have had 3 long term epidural catheters inserted in my back to administer pain drugs to my legs.
I had a 4 day ketamine infusion (horse tranquilizer) for pain, and was warned that I might hallucinate.
Yep, I saw my cat Jit-Zu replicate and come to visit me in the hospital as a duo. Pretty strange, but an unsuccessful treatment.
I had a 3 day Litocain infusion to cool my constant burning nerve pain. Also unsuccessful.
I fought and cried through 2 (literally) burning treatments of capsaicin patches, which were sealed on my feet for 2 hours each time. The first round was unsuccessful since I have a very stubborn and evil condition.
I reluctantly agreed to a second attempt and now refer to this treatment as Chicken Fried Feet. Successful? Time will tell.
The next treatment that my pain doctors are recommending involves a drug called Prialt (snail slug toxin) to 'stun' my nerves. Umm, I'm still undecided on this one.
Horse tranquilizer, capsaicin chili patches and sea snail toxin? Wild!
Throughout all of this, I have had 2 shiny IV poles with at least 3 bags of medication hanging over my head at all times. This obviously has made just about everything difficult. Try fitting two IV poles in the bathroom with both yourself AND a nurse!
I quickly felt claustrophobic with all of the tubes and wires. Especially since most of pills and IV medication often made me quite sick. Feeling dizzy and barfy while hooked up to so many things is a terrible feeling. Then again, so is getting vomit in your hair and relying on the nurse to clean me up.
Bless the nursing staff for making the rough days much better!
I celebrated my birthday in the hospital. My husband tried to decorate my room and make the best of things. He even brought Sprinkles cupcakes for the nursing staff, whom we have gotten to know quite well. One of the nurses told me that a common joke around the hospital is that you can leave $100 out in the open and it won't be touched, but bring some desserts and they will get nabbed in a second. She wasn't kidding : )
I'll be checking out of Chez Hospital today (hope hope hope). This second stay added up to 15 days.
My solid-gold hubbie used up all of his vacation time to be with me. He came to my room daily in the morning and left late every night, taking a break only to go home and feed Olive. There were many days that were a fuzzy blur for me, and he still sat next to me as I slept. This entire experience really has been one of those 'for better or worse' vows played out. I know how lucky I am : ).
A HUGE thank you to Spark pals for keeping my spirits lifted throughout my time here. Believe it or not, its actually challenging to stick to a healthy diet in a hospital. I had free reign on the hospital menu, but found limited healthy gluten free options that tasted good. It was so much easier to order the cheese plate and an ice cream sundae daily. Thank you for the reminder that it's the little changes that add up over time - no matter where that time is spent!
Now, back to business. Do I get to keep the robe, err, gown? Perhaps I should leave it here. Talk about a wardrobe malfunction in the rear section every time I get out of bed! : )
*i wrote this a few days ago but was not able to post it until today. I'm recovering at home. Yay!
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