I decided to choose this option for my BSG challenge blog this week. National Women's Health Week is May 10-16th. Where are you on your health journey?
With the pandemic going on for almost two months now, I think it is wise for all women to stop and think about whether or not we are taking good care of ourselves during this stressful time. I have been doing okay, but I know I need to be even better! It's easy to fall in a rut and not keep up the motivation to stick to your health goals. Here is how I've been doing and what I want to do to take better care of myself at this time.
Weight and Nutrition: I have gained about four pounds from my lowest weight (which was fleeting.) I have about ten pounds to lose to get to a goal weight I will be happy with for awhile. The past two months have been harder for me to stick to the low carb lifestyle that works best for me. I'm not used to being home so much, and I therefore think about food more, especially what always gave me comfort in past years. Recently I have had food that I was not touching at all before: some bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, pizza, cookies, pretzels, ice cream, etc. I haven't eaten these foods every single day, and I still eat healthy foods and lots of freggies, but I feel so much better when I stay away from white carbs and sugar completely. I do drink lots of water so that is not a problem. I keep weighing myself every day to make sure I don't get out of control, and I am determined that I will get the scale back down to what it was!
Exercise: My dh and I take long morning walks outside several times each week (usually 4-5 miles,) so I am happy that I am still being active. I also have done other cardio workouts inside, either YouTube videos or dancing to songs I play. But I have not been doing my PT exercises and ST as much, so I need to work on this. I really miss going to the gym for my Group Active class three days a week - that was a great routine that included cardio and ST for all the muscle groups.
I am happy that the swimming pools have reopened, so when it starts getting really hot, I will switch up to water walking. Oh, and I started to ride my bike last week, but on my second time out, I fell and injured my knee pretty badly. The wound still hasn't healed and is very sore. So it will be awhile till I get out riding again!
I used to golf twice a week, but after I injured my shoulder in the fall, I stopped. Since the golf courses here never closed (they made safety accommodations) I finally decided to try it out again to see if my arm would hurt when I swung the club. I was quite surprised and pleased that it didn't hurt, even though I have a very limited range of motion with my left arm. The thing I probably like best about golf is being outside in the fresh air and sunshine, which I think is really important during this pandemic.
Health Conditions: I consider myself fairly healthy overall, considering my age and some medical conditions. I do take daily meds for hypothyroidism and high cholesterol (although that has decreased with my weight loss and I hope to get off it completely.) My blood pressure and heart are excellent, as well as my blood sugar. My body is feeling the effects of aging though, especially in my joints-my osteoarthritis has flare ups some days due to the weather or foods I ate, so I take ibuprofen on days that I feel worse, and I remember that it feels better when I stay away from sugar and a lot of dairy. It’s also important to move and stretch. I feel worse and stiff when I get up in the morning or when I am sitting a lot.
I also have seasonal allergies that are triggered by changes in the weather and barometric pressure. I take daily allergy medication but some days need a nasal decongestant for sinus pain.
I have had more surgeries since I’ve moved to Florida than the whole rest of my life! First I had my gall bladder taken out in 2015, then parathyroid surgery in 2016, as well as surgery on an encapsulated right shoulder. Then in 2018 I was diagnosed with breast cancer-invasive lobular carcinoma. I was very fortunate that it was caught early from a screening and then diagnostic mammogram. A lumpectomy done in March of 2018 showed wonderful news - it had not spread to the lymph nodes, so I did not need chemo! I had radiation treatments late spring of that year and now I take a daily medication to prevent a recurrence and go to the oncologist every three months for check ups.
Other self care: I am faithfully taking my vitamins and medication every day. My dh and I take our temperature and blood pressure every day. am washing my hands more frequently and keeping the house sanitized. We have been getting groceries delivered so we do not have to go to a store (I have a face mask, but haven't been going anywhere that I needed to wear it so far!) I try to get seven hours or more of sleep every night - I am not always successful in getting to bed early enough but I do not have trouble getting to sleep, so that's good. I drink alcohol moderately, and less than I used to when I went to social gatherings and out to restaurants for dinner. Now I just have a glass or two of wine with my friend, Mary sometimes when we do our watercolor painting in the afternoons.
Getting my regular check-ups with my doctors: I was lucky that I had my oncologist appointment right before the shut-down, so I don't have my next appointment till July. Same with my dentist and eye doctor. I now get my yearly mammogram at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, and that happened in January. I am up to-date with getting a colonoscopy and I recently had a bone density test with good results. I missed getting blood work done and my regular doctor follow-up appointment, so I intend to get that done in the near future, so I can see if my thyroid, cholesterol and other levels are okay.
I also missed my audiologist appointment to get my hearing aides checked and cleaned. I am going to call tomorrow and make a new appointment. I get a skin check at the dermatologist every year, which is especially important living in Florida. I need to make that appointment, as well. The doctor I really need to see though is my orthopedic doctor. I need another injection in my shoulder since it has gotten worse again, hurting more often. And there is a possibility that I may have surgery like I did a few years ago on my right shoulder.
It’s so important to keep up to date with all areas of our physical health. Neglecting or ignoring any area can be detrimental.
Mental and emotional health: I feel so fortunate that at this stage of my life, I do not feel that stressed during this crazy time. I have dealt with enough of it the past seven years that I need this break! I have a lot to be thankful for right now! I live in a beautiful place with my loving husband and son and have all that I need. I do not mind staying home with my dh (well...for the most part! LOL) I do not have money worries, since we are retired and both have pensions. Our son is doing well with his sobriety and he has been able to keep his job and work through all of this, so I am very thankful for that. Although I miss my parents every day since they passed away, I am actually glad they are not around to experience this pandemic. They would be stuck in their personal and memory care facilities and not be able to have any visitors. That would be very upsetting and confusing to them. I do have depression issues but take antidepressants to keep it under control. Besides getting a little down some days, mostly from being tired of this type of restrictive life,
I have kept busy as much as possible, doing things to stimulate my mind and creativity, along with active exercise. I read a lot, do puzzles and card games on my phone, and have been doing watercolor painting and rock painting with my neighbor, Mary. We go to each other's houses and paint at a table outside on our patios, so we are able to have proper social distancing. Oh, I try to find something funny each day so I can laugh! Also I can't forget the support and motivation I get from sparking! I think it's so important to keep connected with people, so every day I text and/or make phone calls to my sister and friends. Our neighborhood has come up with a weekly social "Meet and Greet" which keeps to the social distancing rules. On Saturday evenings, those who want to participate either sit on lawn chairs in their driveways or ride around in their golf carts to say hi and chat for a few minutes. We also did a Cinco de Mayo golf cart parade last week. I really believe social interactions are so important to our health! I can't wait to give out hugs again!
So that's where my health is at the present moment. There is room for improvement, but I think all in all, I'm doing well. I know there are so many who are struggling, and I pray for them every day, and hope that our regular lives and the economy will be back soon!