Thursday, March 07, 2013
Tonight is my second sleep study.
Sleep studies focus on sleep apnea. While they said there is a 'slight' bit of that, I do not think anyone addressed the true issue the first time: pain that interrupts sleep. Since tonight they'll have me on oxygen to see whether it helps me sleep more, I am entering this with some negative thoughts.
Yes, I want more sleep. However, discomfort awakens me and being hooked up to things (be they the wires or oxygen thingee on my face) only further complicates the issue at base of sleep problems. I feel this in my bones.
What in my humble (?! yuhhhhh.... !!?) opinion should have been done first was checking into neurochemical and hormonal numbers to see whether imbalances are present. My guess: oh yeah, f'r shurrrre.
I liked this article about sleep and fibromyalgia, which notes the area where I think my sleep issues is rooted:
Have seen more complex abstracts about this issue, so to me the imbalance 'theories' warrant further investigation.
My weight, energy levels, memory issues, slow-response time and more cycle with lack of sleep, inability to think through pain. Am hoping tonight's sleep study is not a waste of my time that sends doctors off onto irrelevant diagnoses and recommendations.
Saturday, March 02, 2013
"Power up the Positivity!"
That's one of my little 'mantras'. Periodically, I post it as a huddle comment. But it's more than a quick comment to me. It is serious stuff.
Life can be pretty much a downer at times. At least that's been my adult experience. And those morale-crushing events have to be combatted with a little effort; they don't always just melt away. So. I have an arsenal of 'tools' that I use when needed.
One of those tools is a journal of pleasant THOUGHTS.
Not a journal of current feelings or plans or goals or diaried current events.
A simple little journal book that is loaded with... happy words and phrases.
WHAT TO DO:
Buy a tiny journal book... or just use a small, but bound!, notepad.
You can do it anytime, but especially when the going is rough;
commit to writing at LEAST one positive-image/feeling-evoking WORD or word combination in that book each day.
Commit to reading what's been written previously.
Choose words that just bring back memories or images or thoughts that are pleasant.
It worked for me, may help you when you need to ... y'know: power up your positivity!
(same words? sunset, crocus, first daffodil!, peaceful, gentle, bunny, [name], The Pond,....)
The same thing can be done with a scrapbook of happy thoughts or memories;
just tape in magazine clippings, greeting cards, old photos, handwritten words, notes from friends, visual images of attainable goals (vision collage!), a phrase about an accomplishment (like "today I reached Onederland!" or "down a dress size!"), ... anything.
To have a positive-thought resource book is good for lifting spirits.
Whether this idea is helpful to you or you devise some other means of having a personalized power-up-the-positivity tool, taking the time to make a 'resource' of this nature can be a real bonus. Yes, for many of life's harsher moments. But also for those times when in the journey a hurdle just seems too high. Sometimes looking at what we have accomplished makes the hurdles we face seem less difficult with the help of positive thoughts strengthening our perspectives.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
One reason many people 'fail' at 'diet' attempts or exercise plans is that they see so many changes that they want to make and/or need to make...and dive in too suddenly with to attempt to make too many changes at one time. Well, that would be just dandy if we all lived in those self-contained vacuums, not affected by Real Life's external disruptions. But we do not. And frankly, some people believe they have 'failed' when in fact they've merely 'slipped'. Turning a temporary setback into total defeat. This does not have to happen if we plan coping strategies, progress at a reasonal rate through short-, medium-, and long-term goals that reach toward the ultimate ones.
Weight and other huge lifestyle 'issues' don't exist in a vaccuum.
Change of old habits, therefore, will at times feel like forces from all sides are against the change. Remembering this fact.... ACKNOWLEDGING IT!.... is important.
Acknowledge while setting and striving toward goals that temptation, frustration... LIFE... exists and keeps on happening regardless of what we WANT.
Disruptions and negative events are part of life. They pop up when least expected, which is in part why coping with them can be complex. We can't sit around planning for them, but do need to be flexible enough to handle them without completely unwinding ourselves (ie falling apart). When the disruption is a major life event or tragedy, all our energies and attention are needed to deal with it. If our plan for change is modest, we can eventually get back on track with the plan with more ease than if we'd taken on too much all at once. Being too aggressive in pursuing the ultimate goal can for many people be the perfect set-up for failure. Being realistic about goal-setting is crucial. That's why SP has so many wonderful articles about that topic, too! Do a SP site search using the words " goal set article " and see what I mean!
Few people in need of major lifestyle changes do well by taking on too many changes at once. I'm a firm believer that we need to break down big problems into smaller parts and handle those parts one at a time - slowly, thoroughly...and forgivingly. Forgivingly? You betcha! Accepting who we are, what we want, what we CAN accomplish are factors incorporated into any journey whose goal is personal change. And honestly looking into that proverbial mirror means facing facts about ourselves that just plain hurt. We can be angry with ourselves for 'stupidity' or any other name we put to some failing habit, but the fact is that we need to forgive our past behaviors and move onward. Most of us are harder on ourselves than necessary; our self-talk is nastier than anything we'd ever convey to anyone else. I know I've looked in the mirror and thought things about myself that I'd NEVER say to anyone else! How about you?? (Example? Last night! I looked in the mirror and thought, "My face is a %#! plaid mine-field of wrinkles! GROSS!" Then, I put the magnifying mirror down, looked in the bathroom mirror over the sink and felt a lot better. (Or should I have thought it was just a messy graph-paper image with lines drawn by a blind four-year-old? Hey, it is what it is!) Okay, so I'm aging. I accept that. And realize that the era of using such magnification of my image may have passed! And. I know I'd never tell anyone her wrinkles were a bizarre pattern of plaid.
Unless you live in a vaccum, lasting change of ingrained habits takes time and patience. I choose to not think that such and such an event 'destroyed' my nutrition or exercise plan. But know that events can and will in the future slow down my progress. And that sometimes one current plan will have to be amended because of this or that life event. Just as I want to make changes in my own habits, in my weight, etc: the world keeps on spinning and changes around me will continue to infringe on my predetermined plans.
Being flexible keeps a journey going.
And sometimes changing the path taken is enlightening, so maybe the seemingly negative events just make us stronger, better... and more capable. In the long run.
No, lifestyle changes do not occur in a stagnent, controlled environment. We are strong enough to bend like the willow tree to let the winds pass through and by us while we remain deeply rooted in our commitments.
When Life gets in the way, it's time to go back to basics. Start afresh; revitalize the journey. Slowly. Every small change is worth celebration. Because we overcome more than just that target goal when we reach it; we do it despite the swirling mass of Life that can't be control by a vacuumed existence. And that's pretty kewl, isn't it?
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Sometimes we feel defeated. Lots of levels to that feeling, but I'm talking about the gut-level feeling of defeat. Not because of some imagined problem but because life can be one hard test of what makes us... or breaks us. I've learned to adjust each time something blocked my goals. We're talking LIFE goals, not lifestyle or weight issues here. Stand in my way, and I'll still keep going even though by a different route or altered methods. I'm a survivor. A quiet survivor who does no flashy moves but just keeps on moving. To the best of my ability. My approach to lifestyle goals is akin to my approach to my life goals. Do the best I can... and keep trying to improve upon the ever-expanding possibilities. Growth of this dimension is an experience that appears external but is most profoundly felt at one's core - the soul, if you will.
None of us KNOWS what it is like to live inside another person's skin and set of internal/external issues.
Part of this journey should be understanding that we are each individuals, that what is easy for me may be your impossibility, and that we can and indeed should cheer others onward in those personalized quests and accomplishments. "Let no externals deter me from my goal" makes sense to me. That includes comparing our progress, abilities or goals to those of others, because doing so is unfair to all in predictably lop-sided non-equations.
Music is a wonderful boost, and linked below is a song (Cher knows how to go to the gut in a song!) which speaks to me on so many levels .... Sums up a lot about who I am!
Who am I?
I am a survivor. My obstacles are like yours: unique. And frustrating. But I will still find a way around them... or over them... or right through them!
Friday, February 08, 2013
Today the sleep center called to give me results of the sleep study from a few weeks ago. So. Now I have to have a second sleep study (scheduled for March 7)....
Though the sleep study results do indicate that I have 'some very mild sleep apnea', that didn't account for the average of 20.6 "arousals" per hour (30x/hour during REM according to the readings.) Hmm.. If this had been a sex study, that would have been wild, but 'arousal' in this case apparently is like semi-awakening when not fully awakened.
The technician at the sleep center read the report to me; the doc concluded that the constant awakenings are pain-related, not apnea issues. Duh. Um, I've known this since first diagnosed with sleep disorder due to pain in 1994, so this was no news to ME.
But a 'slight' apnea is there mainly because I have a very small throat. If they find that using a mask helps me sleep, they think I may break this cycle of tiredness, weight-retention-pain. Worth a shot? Ok, I have no problem with dying in my sleep from sleep apnea (let's face it, it would end the pain, right?), but if sleep can help with the pain, I'm for trying.
Not sure what this study proved except to finally have documentation of what I've told people all along: I do not sleep well. Not big news to me. For 20 years and 2 months I've not slept well...since the day of the accident that started this. Until I can get more sleep, weight loss and reduction of pain are unlikely. I truly miss having quality of life in my life... so... Here's hoping. Though I expect nothing. Face it, I'm used to this so change would be nice, but I won't count on it!
I don't get enough. Do you?
Some articles on the importance of sleep:
"Sleeping Better for a Healthier Heart - A Good Night's Rest Can Boost Heart Health"
.... By Jennipher Walters, SparkPeople Contributor
"Insomnia Can Hinder Your Weight Loss - Sleepless Nights Stop Progress"
.... By Laura Bofinger, Staff Writer
Of course, what bugs me is that my current doctors had to have all this testing done to prove what I've told them for years, what doctors at the physical rehab hospital had already diagnosed: I have a pain-caused sleep disorder. How long will it take for them to realize what I was told years ago: that if I were to continue sleeping instead of waking up and changing position, my pain would be worse when I'm awake!
If I could get enough sleep, my metabolism would improve, I might actually lose weight, and my heart and anti-cancer would be healthier, too. So while I think sleep studies are silly for MY needs, I'll see where this can go.
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