Archive for the ‘Health Update’ Category

Pursuing Success

Friday, January 5th, 2018

This was written a few years ago. It showed up in my feed again and does occasionally. It’s a good reminder to me of a time when I was at a really good place in my journey.

If I think about what was going well and why I was at my healthiest it’s easy to pinpoint how I got there. I got healthy while going to school, exercising, and raising my kids. I was able to devote time to taking care of myself and my family while investing in my future goals. It was through those disciplines that I got to my healthiest and happiest place I have ever been. It was then that I was able to finally be well enough to pursue a career.

It is my current goal to regain that level of health that was lost due to external stressors and physical illness by focusing on my own self care, investing in personal development and providing for my family’s daily care. It is my goal that in time I can return to part time work, but not until I am holistically healthy.

This is a huge financial strain on our family and not a decision made because we can afford it, but one made because we know we can not afford not to take care of my health knowing how dangerous a position it places me in when I am unwell. I feel extremely guilty for the burden this puts on my family, but I am trusting that God will provide for our needs and that in time not only my health will improve that the overall health of our family will as well – including our finances.

My story isn’t over yet and for that I am grateful.

Queen of a broken heart

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

The last time I did the queen bee was in 2014. I was at my healthiest – my lowest adult weight after losing over 90 lbs, able to run and was having mostly painfree days. I had recently graduated college and life was going well. Dean & I had recently overcome some difficulty in our marriage, but we were at a point where things were turning around.

Since then, I’ve struggled with countless health setbacks and the stress of it all has taken a toll on every area of my life. I’ve gained some weight back due to those issues, but have been able to maintain a little more than 50 lbs lost since my heaviest. The last few months have been extremely difficult – physically, emotionally and mentally. I’ve cut back on my hours at work to be able to focus on healing in all areas of my life, out of necessity not laziness or because we can afford it. I’ve been reaching out for additional support and it’s been exhausting, but I know it’s needed.

As I’ve tried to survive the last few months on my own, it became evident I couldn’t do it alone. I was going through the motions every day but that was all. While I have been training for a half marathon, I found very little joy in what I was doing. In the past I enjoyed going out and training. I would enjoy time spent outdoors on the trails. Recently I have had no joy, in any area of my life. I kept pushing myself to continue doing the daily things like walking, training and trying to participate in my family’s life but it wasn’t helping. I was still feeling lost and stuck in a hopeless place.

With the help of our newfound friend, Ozzy, I have been prompted every morning to get out of bed. If it weren’t for him, I can’t say I would make that choice every day. I am grateful that I had the insight after grieving Ginger to know that I needed that kind of the help every day. Thanks to his help, I have consistently trained for today’s race. So today, I got up and anxiously laced up my shoes. I was in pain before my feet hit the floor. I knew it was going to be a difficult day, doing a half marathon or otherwise. I was thankful I had prepped my gear last night, otherwise I don’t know that I would have made it out the door at all today. I was running late and due to lines at the port-a-potties I actually was one of the last half marathoners to start. I didn’t realize the other participants waiting behind in the corral were waiting for the 4 mile event to start. I finally asked one of them why their bib was a different color and unfortunately without pre-race stretching headed off to the start line and up the first hill of the race.

For me, the first two miles of any race or training are always painful, with or without a warm up. This race is even more difficult as it literally is 2 miles uphill from the start. I was surprised at how well I did on the hills considering, cardio wasn’t my issue as much my leg pain that started before the race even began.

After that it was pretty much smooth sailing for a while. I even went pretty fast for a bit, aside from bathroom breaks. (My garmin clocked one of my miles as 12:22/mile – and that was just walking!) I ran into Dean around mile 9. This in itself meant more than you can know. We’re again in a tough place. Chronic illness, depression and our past issues can take a toll on any relationship. Our relationship is no different. Knowing he took time out of his day to be there meant a lot.

Miles 10-13 were very difficult. I was grateful to have run into some familiar faces along that portion of the course. It made a huge difference. I finished just a few seconds under my goal. I was really hoping to do better time wise than I did, but considering how my morning started and the need for frequent restroom breaks due to stomach issues it was amazing I even met my time goal at all.

I had a ton of valid reasons not to do a half marathon, today or ever. My body has real limitations. I am reminded of this daily. It’s for these reasons I fight every day to keep moving. It’s for these reasons I strive to push past those limits.  I finished the half marathon today for these and other reasons. This week in particular because I’m choosing to fight for my life, health and happiness during a time when things feel particularly hopeless.

Every step I took today was me choosing to put one foot in front of the other. I daily have to make that choice, and while it may not seem like a hard decision to make – if you were to walk a day in my shoes you might understand just how hard it is. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even myself most days. I fight through the pain, sadness and anger of having to try so hard to overcome what seems so easy to others because the only other choice is giving up – and that should never be an option. I could give more than 13 reasons why, but today I walked my 13.1 in honor of the countless reasons why I choose life, today and every day despite the pain.

Join me on October 15th to support those, like myself, who are impacted by mental illness and have either lost family members or friends to suicide or struggle with the daily fight to overcome the negative voices every day so they have the hope they need to never give up! Help us bring light to this important issue. You can donate online if you can’t participate in the walk. (I started a team called “Better together” or you can join as an individual if you want to walk, or you can just donate. There is no “fee” to join the walk other than the donation which is any amount you choose to give).

Nevertheless she persisted…

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Last year I signed up for the Brokemans Half marathon.  At the time I was healthy, well healthy for me. At that time I had recently completed a half marathon and was inspired that I could keep up that distance over the months in between.

Life happened. I got pneumonia. Several times. I gained weight from repeated doses of steroids for pneumonia and upper respiratory infections. More recently I had surgery and that was the final deciding factor that a half marathon was completely not doable right now. Last week I convinced myself I could do 4 miles. I had been keeping up my mileage, at least walking 2-3 miles a couple times a week. I had started testing out running intervals again, but it was very slow going and every day was dependent on how I felt that day whether or not I tried or just was content with being out of bed and able to walk through my illness.

Two days before race day I decided I couldn’t do it. I attempted to run and it went poorly. I was sick again and was in a lot pain. I was upset and frustrated that I couldn’t beat this, that was Friday.

I woke up on Saturday with a fire in my belly. I was angry. I was angry I was allowing my body to set my course. I was angry I was being limited by an invisible demon. I was angry I was giving up. I was determined to fight for my health. I know I am happiest when I’m on the trail. I know I’m content when I’m giving it my all, even if it hurts. I know even if there are tears along the way, every step is worth it because I am in control. That in those moments, even when it may not feel like it, I am winning the battle.

So I went to bed late Saturday with voices telling me I couldn’t do it. Voices that said it will be too cold that I should just sleep in. Voices that said I stayed up too late and I probably just shouldn’t bother trying. Voices that said I was too sick to do it. Voices that said I was going to make myself sicker by doing the race. Voices that told me I wasn’t good enough to be at the race with other runners. Voices that said I wasn’t healthy enough to be in a race. Voices that said I was too weak. Voices that said others would judge me when they saw me walking the entire race because I couldn’t keep up. Fear that made me worry about talking to other runners because I didn’t want them to find out I was voiceless and try to convince me I shouldn’t be out there with them. Fear that said what if something happened on the course and Dean wasn’t around and I was voiceless and couldn’t communicate my name or any of my health information to the medical team?

These were the voices that kept me up late into the night. These were the voices I rejected as I woke at 6 am and laid in bed for 40 minutes until finally I decided to quickly get ready to head out the very last minute to leave for the race. I arrived 10 minutes before my event was to start, leaving me just enough time to pee and get to the start line. Which means I avoided talking to anyone and was able to quell any worry of anyone finding out how sick I was at the start of the race.

No one knew I took pain pills before and after the race. No one knew I needed my inhaler to make sure I could breathe afterward. No one knew I was in unbearable pain for the first 1.5 miles, even though I was just walking.

What happened after those painful first few miles? I cried. I caught a glimpse of the sun through the trees. I let go of the fears. I let go of the pain. I let go of the worry. I just put one foot in front of the other and took in the beauty all around me. I worshiped along with the music I was listening to on my headphones.

I eventually started doing run/walk intervals. The pain subsided. For 2 miles there was bliss. Pure, heavenly, painfree, peace. It was short lived and replaced by other issues but for a brief period of time I experienced the one thing I can only find when I run. I don’t know why it happens or why it only happens sometimes. But sometimes, when I run I feel good. Really good. It doesn’t usually last and the aftermath is usually pretty bad, but for the brevity of it, it’s almost always worth it.

So it was worth it. I will keep fighting. I don’t know what’s wrong with my body and accept that I may never know. But I know that for me running or run/walking is the one way that I can escape it, even if briefly and not even always consistently. Some days I can barely get out of bed. Other days I can run with no pain. It makes no sense. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.

But yesterday, for a little while, I saw a glimpse of glory and I am grateful for it. I will keep fighting for those moments. Even if it means there will be pain and tears along the way, the reward is worthwhile.

 

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

The Wait is Over

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

I have been accused of being a person that overshares on facebook. I tend to think that’s not altogether true. I like to think that I present a true portrait of my life on social media. I don’t hide the bad days and glorify the good days. I would rather be authentic than perfect.

These last few weeks I’ve had to extend a great deal of restraint in sharing the true details of my life. The truth is, life right now has been one great big downward decline into a valley so deep I didn’t know how I would ever get out of it. It seemed every day new challenges arose. Challenges I wanted to share but there wasn’t always enough info to give and it often left us with more questions. I didn’t want to be the person who made vague updates and then left you hanging. We have been waiting and waiting for months for answers.

Most recently, we have been waiting for 2 weeks for very important answers. About a year ago I found a lump on my side. I mentioned it to my doctor who said it was probably a lipoma and nothing to worry about. Over the year my health declined, at times rapidly and sometimes in ways that scared us beyond words.

I noticed over the last 6 months that this lump was growing in size and changing in consistency. When I was facing recurring pneumonia I began to wonder if it was related, but brushed it off because it wasn’t that big of a lump. More recently I noticed the lump had hardened. At an ER visit for something not related I said, hey I think it’s not related but maybe someone should look at this lump just in case. They referred me to a surgeon. I had to wait weeks to get a consultation appointment. After that appointment I had to wait weeks for my surgery appointment.

Two weeks ago, I had an outpatient surgery to remove the mass. It was deeply rooted and went down into my ribs. The dr admitted today that it was harder to remove than he expected due to how deep it was embedded in my muscle. What appeared externally as a small lump was actually a larger internal mass. (maybe my body is so confusing because it’s actually a Tardis?)

Today we found out that the lump was benign, NON CANCEROUS.

Based on the type of tumor it was I may be at risk for developing more of these kind of tumors, but they are usually not cancerous. It’s been a long two weeks. Actually, it’s been a long month or so waiting to get to surgery and then to results today.

Along the way, and even before that I have been unwell. Chances are my symptoms aren’t at all related to this mass, so we still don’t have many answers other than the good news that this mass was not cancerous. Which is great and relieves a lot of stress!

This is not my first battle with the big “C” word. I’ve had skin cancer removed and get frequent colonscopies due to a history of polyps. It wasn’t my first surgery, in fact my list of surgeries is pretty intensive, you should have heard the nurses talking about me at the hospital two weeks ago. We had a few laughs about my medical history.

You would think by now I would be accustomed to waiting for test results. These last few weeks have been torture compared to past experiences. I admit I was somewhat hopeful that what we learned today might give us the answers and help figure out why I keep getting sick, but it’s never that easy.

I see my primary care doctor next week to follow up and determine what our next steps will be.  There are still some pending genetic test results we are waiting for but my doctors expect they will be normal. So there you have it, the last few weeks of vague posts and reasons why I’ve been unwell and not my normal cheery self lately, in addition to the chronic hoarse voice and other symptoms of course all summed up in a not so neat package.

I hope you forgive me for not being open and honest these last two weeks, I’ve tried to protect long distance relatives from unnecessary worry. We’ve done enough worrying for everyone I’m sure.

I am still recovering from my 2 inch incision. The dr thinks I will continue to have pain for a few weeks due to how deep the mass was, which is actually good news as I was concerned that I was still in pain. I’ve been trying to be more active and walking more but won’t be able to get back to my beloved workouts for a few more weeks until my incision heals.

I am very grateful to those who were aware of this struggle as its unfolded and for those who have been praying for my health even not knowing the details. It was very hard to hide the daily struggle, but it was a much needed lesson in silence that clearly I needed to learn.

Seeing as I’m still voiceless, it’s a lesson I’ve yet to master. I hope to update this blog more as my journey continues to unfold and avoid oversharing on FB for those who dislike that!

Thanks for being patient with me through this difficult season and understanding my reasons for staying silent about the uncertainties we were facing.

Humbly Hopeful

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

A year ago things started to go downhill with my health. Things haven’t really turned around since then, it’s been one thing after another trying to figure out what’s going on with my stupid immune system. I wish I could say we knew more now that it’s been a year, but we don’t. We are still waiting on some test results that are due back this week and genetic testing that won’t be back for a few more weeks still.

Currently battling an infection that’s making me unable to talk and eat normally among some other bothersome symptoms. The good news is I have been on antibiotics all week so am not contagious, but it’s hard to convince others of that when they hear or rather don’t hear my voice and assume I am on deaths door.

Though I occasionally feel that way, there are glimmers of hope. Several days last week I was able to exercise normally. I look forward to a time when I can get back to being the badass chic who can conquer 5ks or 10ks and manage working and keeping up with her family without feeling horrible. I really just long to be able to communicate again, it’s amazing how negatively it affects your relationship with your husband and kids when you can’t talk.

I share because I know that this isn’t impacting just my relationships at home. I know I have been absent from social events. I know I am not serving the way my heart longs to beside the people I really want to serve. I know that a lot of you truly care about me and my family.

I just want to ask for a few things. First prayers are greatly appreciated. For my health. For how it’s impacting my kids, my marriage, my workplace, my inability to do ministry. Secondly, when you see Dean or the kids, please take some time to love on them for me! It’s so very hard for me to be the mom and wife I want and need to be when I can’t be there for them. I want them to know how loved and cared for they are, and I know a lot of you do truly care for them and their well being.

Thanks for reading this far, it shows how much you care! We appreciate your words of encouragement, prayers and support over the last year and know that no matter what the next chapter of my journey looks like that you will be along for the ride! I guarantee it will be a bumpy one, but the view is always spectacular if you keep your eyes on the things that really matter.

Discouraged, but not defeated

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

About 18 months ago I was struggling with getting up and down stairs, was in unbearable pain and suffering extreme fatigue. I was battling fibromyalgia, hashimotoâ thyroiditis, high blood pressure and carrying around 87 more lbs than I am today.

After another round of testing for MS was inconclusive, doctors told me there was nothing more they could do for me. I was on my own. I was told I needed to lose weight if I wanted to get better.

I figured I had nothing to lose, but everything to gain. I started walking. I worked up to 1 mile, then 2, then 3. I started run/walking, doing 1 minute run and walk intervals. There were days when I couldn’t even manage getting out of bed, on those days I rested. Other days I pushed through the pain and fought for each step. Eventually, I felt stronger. I started to do Beachbody workouts. I also started drinking Shakeology daily.

I continued to get stronger and the weight kept coming off. I set a goal to reach 70 lbs lost by the time I graduated from college in May 2015. I not only reached that goal, but surpassed it. I crossed that stage healthier and better prepared to return to the workforce after being a stay at home mom for 12 years. I no longer suffer symptoms from fibromyalgia and was able to stop taking blood pressure medicine. I am currently at 87 lbs lost and have maintained my weight loss for a little over a year. Maintaining my weight has been very difficult due to an uncontrolled thyroid problem.

For the last few months my thyroid symptoms have been disabling. I can no longer run long distances, was unable to finish a goal race and barely finished another race. I am continuing to fight for my health, every day. I started a medicine for my thyroid recently and hope that it will give me back my ability to run and the energy I have been lacking. Even success stories have setbacks, but how you cope with them defines whether you continue to succeed or fail.

I have overcome a lot of pain and fatigue these last few years. My battle will not end when I hit a # on the scale. I will have a lifelong battle against my thyroid and other medical problems, but I am not defeated. I will make the choice to do my best each and every day. For me, that means eating healthy foods and remaining as active as my body allows. Some days are better than others, but I will not give up. My story is not over yet and I know that every day is a new chance to fight for my health. Some days I will win and other days I may feel like I am losing, but I will never give up.

These last few weeks I was given the chance to participate as 1 of 4 female finalists in the Beachbody Challenge Ultimate Health Transformation Grand prize. Yesterday I found out I did not win the grand prize. I was upset, and still am a little. But, I also know that I am not deserving of that title. I have not had an ultimate health transformation. In fact, the only time my health will ever be ultimately transformed will be when I get to heaven. God created my body to be unique. It has flaws, in fact many. I was born with an immune system that doesn’t work the way it should. I have a neurological condition that will need treated and regularly monitored. My thyroid will always be my #1 enemy. For years I’ve fought to get as healthy as I am, and for years I will continue to fight. But I know I will never win this fight. Without an extreme miracle, this body will always have its limitations. I have come a long way and even reversed some of those limitations, but others persist and will until I die.

Accepting my limitations doesn’t mean I need to lay in bed all day or give in when the pain and fatigue is too much to bear. It also doesn’t mean I have to give in to the depression that accompanies chronic illness. I have a choice of how I react to my circumstances, to my limitations. Today I choose life. I choose to continue pushing my limits. I choose to try to overcome my genetics. Today I choose health, even if it will always be fleeting. We all have excuses at the ready why we should not workout or reasons why we should not choose fruit over cookies. But I want to encourage you today, that you get to decide your future. No matter your limitations or circumstances, you can be an overcomer. It won’t be easy, but it is worth it.

What’s your story? Is it time to start editing or re-writing it? Stop letting your limitations, circumstances, fear, or excuses keep you from living the best story you’ve ever told.

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