Friday, November 12, 2010
I used to struggle with getting enough sleep. Some nights it seemed I got no real sleep at all, just drifted in and out and never dreamed all night. The pain would wake me, or muscle spasms, or sleep apnea. Getting a CPAP helped a ton, but I still had to work through my bad sleeping patterns that had developed over the years. Some friends suggested I try taking Melatonin and it helped, but it only helped if I was willing and able to go lay down peacefully after taking it. I didn't even notice the results of taking melatonin if I took it and then watched TV. Still, with the combination of no caffiene, drinking enough water in the day, doing my physical therapy whenever possible, being more active and wearing my CPAP machine, my sleep gradually improved. Still, I would often be up till 2am and then sleep till 10am if I got 8 hours. And that was a pretty big if because I would still wake up for one reason or another several times a night.
After my recent tonsilectomy and UPPP I was told I should have an easier time sleeping. And I did have to lower the pressure on my CPAP. But I didn't notice myself sleeping through the night any better.
When I did notice the biggest change recently was after I started working out DAILY for at least 10 and up to 30 minutes. I really have found that the work outs I'm doing make it easier to sleep through the night. For one thing, I'm stretching and working out the muscles in such a way that I'm not injuring them, so I'm not waking up with muscle spasms as often. For another thing I'm tired from working out. I also noticed I am waking up earlier. I have more energy most days, and I wake up earlier, but I wasn't going to sleep earlier. So I've been trying to go to bed earlier. Some times this leads to laying in bed longer before I fall asleep. But I do seem to be getting to sleep before midnight now for the most part. Last night I noticed the clock at around midnight, woke up again at 2:30, woke up again at 6, and woke up again at 8.
So I got about 7 hours of sleep, with a few interruptions. I think the interruptions were due to stress. I have surgery coming up, and some young friends I mentor are being severely bullied in school. One had to be removed from his high school and is being home schooled now. The other is a senior in college and quite frankly is brilliant, so he thinks he has to do it all on his own. He has refused my help on numerous occasions, but it finally has gotten to the point that a friend and I are having nightmares because of it and losing sleep over it. So we decided to tell him that we need to help whether it's sueing his school for not following their anti bullying policy (a last step in my mind) or simply going and sitting silently while he talks with his professors. Since my surgery is coming up, I asked a friend of mine who is also losing sleep over this to sort of lead the way in this. So he's taking the contact information we found for this guy and making sure the student gets to sit down with supportive teachers who will help him and a member of the Anti Defamation League who can advise him and if needed write a letter to the school advising them of their need to step up and follow their own policies. Tho why that is even necessary I do not know. Poor kid just wants to graduate and get into the working world, yet has to content with bullying at school because he is perceived as homosexual or gender ambiguous.
Anyway, I do realize the stress is not a good thing for me, and I am working on being able to let it go and let others take care of situations that are beyond me. But it is obviously not working 100% with the nightmares I'm still having. I'll keep working on reducing my stress, and keep working towards my sleep goal of to 7 to 8 hours a night of unbroken sleep.
On a positive note, I am getting way more sleep than I used to, and actually managed to get a nap on the couch without my CPAP machine the other day. So when I go to my next sleep study Sunday night, I suspect that they will tell me I don't need my CPAP machine anymore, or that I could simply switch to a mouth gaurd to keep my tongue out of the way or something (Because it does still fall back and block my airway occasionally) I'm hopeful that at the very least they will lower the pressure on my machine again, and as I continue to lose weight maybe the sleep apnea will fade all together now that I no longer have those huge tonsils and uvula in the way!
So hang in there fellow insomniacs, hope is on the horizon! I know that for me, I still need to improve some things, but it's come a long way. I believe it will continue to improve as I continue increasing my exercise and I develop healthier sleep habits! And by the power of that intention I know I will draw in healthy sleep!
What have you found to help your sleep patterns?
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Hello Spark Friends! I am so excited to tell you, that I have beat my goal for how far I can walk! Just a few months ago, I couldn't go for walks much further than down to the street and back. I was lucky if I could walk 500 steps in a day, and they had to be broken up by rests on the couch.
So I was happy that I had been able to walk .66 miles at the furthest in October. It was all I could do without my lower back and legs giving out on me. So I'm sure you can understand how amazed I am to tell you today that I walked more than a mile!
This is proof that my new way of eating and working out are working! Who knew I would be able to walk the dogs far enough to wear them out some day. If I keep this up, not only will I reach my goal to drive again and some day to go back to work, but maybe I will some day be able to do something I have always wanted to and not yet been able to do, even before my disability hit. Maybe some day, I will be able to surf!
What things can you do now that you couldn't before you joined Spark People? What goals do you set for yourself and how do you set realistic ones? So far I have been setting mostly small goals like drink 10 to 12 glasses of water a day. Join a gym. Work out 10 minutes a day. Walk 3 times a week. But right now, I am seeing goals coming to fruition sooner than expected. It gives me hope and hearing your accomplishments would give me futher help.
Thank you my spark friends, may your days be joyful and your goals come to pass!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I said I was going to do the Positive and Grateful for today challenges from the Autoimmune team, but I have found it hard to remember to log in and post daily, not to mention some days I just don't get online because I'm going to doctor's appointments, working out, volunteering and spending time with friends, all wonderful things. (and amazing that I can do so much more now than I could, I can't wait till I'm even healthier to see what all I can do!)
But I really like the idea of keeping my mindset positive and grateful by stating something I am positive about and grateful for today. Sorry for the 2 posts one right after another, but I wasn't able to blog yesterday because the site was down.
Anyway, Yesterday I knew I wanted to blog about the Personal Trainer ups and downs, but today I really wanted to blog about my recommitment to being positive and grateful and helping develop positivity and gratitude in my life this month that will continue into many years afterwards.
In my life I have done several challenges like this that have motivated me, encouraged me to do better, and really helped me keep a positive mindset despite the physical and sometimes emotional pains of my life. I have come a long way from the kid who had found out he had an untreatable immune disorder and would be in pain and fatigue for the next 60 plus years. At that time I was utterly depressed and if suicide was an option in my mind, I would have taken it. Thankfully, I am more the type who even in my darkest times finds light. I tried going to support groups for Fibromyalgia, support groups for immune disorders, and even took my doctor's advice and saw a therapist. Frankly, the support groups were useless to me. I found myself constantly giving support and spreading positivity, but all I got in return were people wanting to tell me how awful their lives were. And considering most of them could lift a glass to their lips, answer the phone, type, and STAND UP out of their chairs, I was more than a little peeved that they wanted to sit around and gripe to each other. I just wanted solutions, not gripe central. I don't mean to sound insensitive. I understand that it sucks to hurt and be in pain, and be fatigued. But I already knew that, why sit around and repeat that info again and again right?
But what did help, was the therapist who empowered me to laugh. She told me I was the most positive person she'd ever met who was sent to her for "depression" and she sent a letter to my doctor telling him to get his head out of his you know what and treat me because it was not a mental problem but a physical one. She even encouraged me to go ahead and switch to my friend's Internal Medicine doc who specialized in lupus and who eventually got me better treatment and a diagnosis and USEFUL support. But the most important thing she did, was to give me a book by the doctor who inspired the Patch Adams movie, about how Laughter is the REALLY the best medicine. So go ahead, give yourself permission to laugh! If you have to be sarcastic to do it, do it! But do try to find lighter happier ways to get there as well. Because laughter reduces stress, increases seratonin and other happy chemicals natural to the body, and is just generally infectious. Try laughing out loud in public some time and see what happens. At the very least you will make yourself smile, but you probably will make others do so as well. Heck, someone might even join in with you!
I was excited when I found other people like me who wanted to find positive solutions. And being reminded of that here on Spark People was a really great thing! So I am recommitting myself to write down one thing I am positive about daily, and one thing I am grateful daily. But instead of trying to log into the AI team to do it, I will post it to my status either on Facebook which I can do from my phone even if I don't get online, or here on Spark People. And I hope some of that little step of positivity will increase my overall positive outlook on life, and get me back to the inherently loving being of light that I am. Please feel free to join in with me in spreading positive and grateful sparks if you feel so inclined. If you try it, you might like it too! I'll let you know how I do on my next weekly update.
Today I am positive that I will have a great work out, and I am grateful for people like Alex and Lauri who help protect my friends who are being bullied. (I can't tell you how much both of those things mean to me!)
What are you positive about today? What makes you grateful?
Thursday, November 11, 2010
So far I have not been impressed with our Physical Trainer package at LA Fitness and if they mess up one more time, we are asking for our money back. I'm told this is not a common experience, but it has now happened to us 3 times that the person we were scheduled to see was not there when we showed up, even tho we showed up on time, and even early (at their request) and even when they had called us to RSVP the night before. And it's not just one bad Personal Traininer. The first day the girl was there, but passed us off to someone else. Maybe she was uncomfortable with us. The next time the guy who had confirmed the night before wasn't even there but thankfully Bri was, because she gave us a hard core lower body work out that I felt for 2 days afterwards, but not so badly that I couldn't work out the next 2 days. And then finally yesterday it happened that we showed up and the guy who we had been scheduled to see was with another client and we weren't even shown on the computer even tho we sat there and watched Stacy type our name into the schedule the night before.
On the up side, the first two personal trainers who worked with us were great and we would have been happy having either one work with us again. And they did offer us a free personal training session this morning, so in an hour and a half we will be going back and Bri will be working our butts off again, hopefully literally.
We really loved working with the first lady, but can't remember her name. And we loved working with Bri too. But it was so upsetting to Patch this last time it happened, that honestly she was grumpy all the way home and even after she got home from work. She isn't looking forward to going to the gym this morning, and I don't blame her. We just worked ourselves out hard yesterday when the Physical Terrorist flaked, now we're coming back less than 24 hours later...it's a bit exhausting. But we want to learn more work outs so that we can go into the gym on our own and safely use the equipment, and so that Patch and Carlie can go work out while I'm recuperating from my surgery.
Here's hoping Bri was told we're on her schedule because she's a great physical terrorist and I'm a bit afraid if she isn't there Carlie and Patch really will demand our money back from LA Fitness for the Personal Trainer sessions. This whole thing has been more stress than it's been worth. I'm still hopeful, but a bit nervous. Hopefully it will go well today. Wish us luck!
Edit: Bri was told we were coming, and was there waiting for us when we arrived. We got there early enough to stretch and warm up, and jumped right into an upper body work out. GOOD STUFF! My pecs are definitely gonna be on fire tomorrow! I'm really glad. Now to make sure I get my cardio today.
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