Getting Healthy

Me on Sept 22,2019

This sounds like an oxymoron when you know that I have an incurable, chronic and debilitating disease. However, I hate being fat and unable to walk for long periods of time without pain. So, I have decided to do something about it.

I am walking and doing yoga daily. My body is finding new muscles and my stamina is getting better. I am only 3 weeks into it. 1 if I am going by my Real Appeal coach, since I didn’t get to participate in the coaching session the previous Monday.

I am tracking my meals and discovered that I rarely meet my calorie goal of 1475, which allows me to have snacks and even my fruit smoothies. I am trying to plan healthier meals and not binge on guacamole and chips. Eating out I am trying to make healthier choices. Of course it helps to have allergies to cow’s milk and wheat as it limits what I can eat.

I am sleeping a bit better. I think meditating daily has helped clear my mind of negative thoughts that cause my anxiety. I still do no get 8 full hours of sleep, but have been getting about 6 hours. Better than the 4-5 hours I was getting.

I am writing in my journal everyday. I wish I could make my day to day life sound exciting, but it’s not. I am adding in my mood, so that I might be able to see if depression is creeping in. I have been feeling blah the last few days. Hopefully this is just a temporary setback.

Last month I joined FabFitFun and they have a forum of amazing women, who encourage each other. I wasn’t sure what good I would get out of this box, but I have been enjoying most of the products I received. I am trying new skincare products and hygiene products that I love. I will be getting a subscription for Kopari Deodorant, which I love and it’s natural and still helps eliminate odor. I am looking forward to my next box.

Here is the plank challenge.

I digressed a bit. In the FabFitFun forum they are having a plank challenge this month. I have been able to keep up, thanks to yoga. Planks are good for you upper body and arms. I am trying to get rid of my fat, old lady flab on my biceps. I think that is the upper arm. I use weights when I get on my balance board during my minute long stand goals each hour that my Apple Watch insists on reminding me about. Yes, up until I began exercising in earnest my biggest goal was to get up for 1 minute each hour for a total of 12. Not very industrious of me, but as I am dizzy most days, I thought it was a good goal. Now I am trying to close all three rings on my Apple Watch and have been succeeding.

What I look like at the start of my journey.

It’s too early for me to notice a change in my clothing sizes as I am trying to make this a slow weight loss journey, so that it might stick. If I wanted quicker results, I’d shoot for the 1250 calorie per day diet, but I want some leeway to enjoy my food. I will post again when I can see some differences in my body. I can feel the differences and my legs are thinning judging by the looseness in the legs of my jeans.

I hope you’re loving life.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Saturday in California

Watching the Astros play is probably one of our favorite things. We headed to Anaheim after Ralph got off work Friday. We checked in about 10:30 pm to our hotel near the stadium.

After breakfast we headed to Long Beach. The Aquarium of the Pacific was our destination. I uploaded a Ralph and Rita Show video if you want to watch. There maybe some triggers for people due to movement.

I was fascinated by the jellyfish. The sea lions were cute as were the seals. Sharks, colorful fish and starfish were on view. So much to see.

I was feeling so good through 3/4 of our adventure. Then the dizziness and nausea started. I muddled through the rest.

I have learned to know this is the beginning of my migraines, even before the auras, floaters and sleepy spot.

During Attack

We left soon after this photo. We went back to the hotel without going to the beach, which is what I really wanted to do, so I could crash. I took a Frova (fast acting triptan) and a nap.

I felt rested when I awoke. So we headed to watch our Astros beat the Angels.

A little pregame fun!

It was a fun filled night. Angels fans are pretty awesome. It was amazing to see all the Astros fans at Angel Stadium.

Jose Altuve was mobbed by fans. I could only get the top of his head. He’s the one facing us at the front of the mob.

Justin Verlander hit a couple of records last night. He struck out his 3000th batter in his career and his 300th batter for the season.

Justin Verlander

It rained a little, but not enough to really get us wet. Now I know why Ralph wears baseball caps… they keep your glasses dry.

You can see the rain here….

The Astros won 6-3. We’ll be at today’s (Sunday) game.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Reading

Loved this book.

I love to read. Long before I had my own adventures, I had books. I still read, though my life no longer centers around my books. Who am I kidding? I hate being interrupted at a particularly engrossing part, even for my life.

It’s hard to read slow.

I have been taking part in a book discussion with the author of the Celestial Blues series. I am reading slowly, so that I can take part in the discussion once a week as she goes live. It’s so hard not to read straight through to the end. Vicki Pettersson is soft spoken, witty and interesting to hear, so I try to ask questions and engage her during her lives.

Books are a great way to escape on down days, unless blurry eyes, nystagmus or vertigo make it hard to read. These days I just try to rest, though their really is nothing restful about vertigo. Closing my eyes makes it worse, but I can’t do anything except hold on for dear life and pray for the end.

I digress. A good book can take you out of your own life into different places and times. You can fly on dragons backs, slip into the past or future, and travel out of this world. I traveled more in books than in real life.

If I have a book, I am never bored. It’s not even a matter of waiting for the next book in a series as I read whatever catches my attention. Kindle has free books that can introduce me to authors I have never read. Believe me, I take advantage of free books when I am low on funds. The library is a great resource as well. Sometimes, I scout the shelves until a title grabs my attention or a cover stands out amongst the many.

My heart is in the paranormal and supernatural genres, but I am up for a good mystery, thriller, sci-fi, adventure and romance too. I love reading about kings and queens of the past.

I have a ready library of books available on my Kindle, which I can access from my phone or iPad. I love paper books, but ebooks allow me to enlarge the words, illuminate the background without lights and read on the go.

My e-reader has an instant dictionary, so if I don’t know what a word means, I can look it up. Of course there are authors who are in love with words that take me out of the story too often to want to continue reading, but this is rare.

Sometimes a great title will get me to pick up the book. Occasionally, the title is the only thing the book has going for it. I know from experience that these authors love their stories, and there will always be someone who loves it as much as they do, just not me. I don’t force myself through books that can’t keep my attention. I simply go on to the next. There are so many books that I will never have a shortage.

I hope you find the time to read.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Fighting Myself

I get black eyes on bad days!

I have noticed since developing my issues that part of the battle is with myself, not just the physical.

Sure the physical limitations are hard, but not insurmountable most days. Unless my mind makes me anxious. Anxiety plays a huge factor when you have an unpredictable illness.

Fatigue and anxiety often prevent me from doing things. I have learned to push through the fatigue. Dealing with anxiety is an ongoing battle. Each time I have an attack, whether vertigo, drop attack or dizziness, I have to actively work on my anxiety of the next attack. I don’t like to go out by myself most days if I can help it. I never drive when dizzy.

Lately I have returned to meditation as a daily part of my exercise regimen. I even used it to help me fall asleep due to migraine. Yoga and walking are in the mix. Some days it’s a struggle to do what I know will help my health in the long run.

I even managed to take the dogs around the block a couple of times by myself last week. As I have said previously I struggle with anxiety and being out by myself.

I just breathe through the anxiety. Slowly in through my nose and slowly out through my mouth. It works to calm me and slows my heart rate with each breathe.

I found out many years ago my Ménière’s and Migraines are stress induced and can typically manage to reduce stress by breathing. After a full vertigo attack or a drop attack (I had 3 within 2 weeks.) my anxiety rises. Fear of being alone and having an attack is real.

I try to be prepared. I carry my cane with me every where we go. I have earplugs, blue light filtering glasses and sun glasses to stop light & noise triggers. And I carry meclizine and triptans with me.

Being prepared helps lessen the anxiety. Breathing helps too. And mindfulness comes in handy.

Mindfulness to circumvent anxiety or panic attacks. It gets your mind off of the anxious thoughts.

I am curious how you manage anxiety and/or panic attacks. I can always use advice.

Be spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

WYSIWYG

Me at The Giant’s Causeway.

What you see is what you get with me. I am who I am. I don’t change for different situations. If you know me… You have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes that’s good, but when it has to do with my emotions? They are all over the place thanks to depression and anxiety.

I try to be authentic, because I instinctively know when someone is not. So, I am me no matter what situation. I am trying to be a better me, but that is okay, because I know that I am not perfect. I tend to be brutally honest. I had a moment of brain fog and almost wrote beautifully honest. Perhaps that’s a good Freudian slip, since I find honesty beautiful.

I would rather you be honest than tell me an untruth. I am empathic enough to know when someone is lying. I instinctively know when someone doesn’t like me. It bothers me when the act like I’m their best friend. I will not go out of my way to invite people I don’t like to hang out with me. That’s not to say I won’t treat you with respect when we are in a social setting, because I will.

Last year for Balance Awareness Week. Namaste!

So, though I am trying to change myself to be the best person I can be. That is not to say that I don’t like me. I know I am not perfect and I desire to be more peaceful. With that in mind, I am working toward that goal. I am the only one I can change, so I am working on changing my reactions to situations. If I can get to my inner peace, I hopefully won’t overreact. This is hard since I have depression and anxiety, but I am a work in progress. The rest of my story is still unwritten. Though “My Crazy Life” is almost completed.

I am trying to fulfill my dream of helping others, so I am working on that too.

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

I AM NOT FAKING

Meme by Rita L Smith

It makes me angry how judgmental others can be. I feel bad for everyone with chronic illnesses who have to defend themselves to others.

How would you like it if you have a cold and I said, “You are faking.”? You wouldn’t like it at all. Why anyone would doubt someone who says they don’t feel well is beyond me.

Invisible Illness Artwork

I don’t know anyone with a chronic illness who enjoys being ill. Though I try to enjoy my life, it would feel like heaven if I didn’t have any pain, dizziness or vertigo.

Try being compassionate the next time someone says they have food allergies, arthritis, Ménière’s Disease or whatever. Remember just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. I can’t see your brain either. LOL! I totally stole that, but it’s true. Next time I hear someone say they doubt someone’s illness, I am going to say that. You are forewarned.

If doubters felt the way I do on a daily basis, they’d never get out of bed. Sometimes I wish they could experience what a person with a chronic illness goes through for just one week. Hopefully, that would make them more understanding. Unfortunately, they’d probably think that they were strong enough to overcome it.

Just rest assured I will be there for anyone who says they don’t feel well. I will never doubt them. If it’s a chronic, debilitating illness I will learn about it, so I can support you.

This was a so-so day! Still I was heading to Ireland.

If I say I know what you’re going through, I am not trying to one up you… I am commiserating. I do have an idea of what you’re going through, because I have my share of debilitating illnesses.

This is a bad day and one I stayed in bed.

Believe me when I say, I am actively seeking treatment to make me feel better, as are others with chronic illnesses. Sometimes there is no cure and what works for one person won’t for another. We still keep on trying.

We are frustrated, because we often know more about our disease than our doctors. Still we keep on going.

This was a symptom free day.

If you see us out having fun, you should be happy that we are able. You don’t see us when we are unable to get out of bed. You won’t see us the next day when our disease decides to pay us back. You won’t even see us when our disease decides to party too. We will smile and try to make our exit as soon as possible, so you don’t.

If I say I have a chronic debilitating illness, believe me. Don’t say I am just working the system. I worked for my disability income and I had to jump through hoops to get it though I paid into it. Treatments/tests/medication I need are often denied to me, unless I can afford to pay out of pocket.

I wish you would tell me why anyone would want that?

I hope you never have to go through what I do, especially with people like you in your life.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Getting My Act Together

I saw this and thought I am fat!

There are so many self-help things on the web. I need to lose weight and I need to sleep longer. So, I looked up my health insurance and they have programs to help.

I came across more than I thought about. Help with being happy. Reminders to laugh. As if I need help with that.

My favorite App comes with a coach.

I had started walking daily and yoga before joining. It only counts walking, but I knew I needed to implement a more thorough workout that is gentler than boot camp and I can do at home.

Real Appeal helps track your calories and even has menu ideas and recipes. Unfortunately, they don’t take into account food allergies. So, I am basically on my own with that. No matter, I can survive.

Rally suggest daily journaling. I figure I do that on here. I enjoying writing for each of you, but I will probably do it. The Rally app suggests being creative, spending time outdoors… Really all the things I enjoy. All this combines to create a happier me.

I knew this instinctively, because I’d already started doing this. I have Let’s Make Art coming every month. Watercolor is hard, but I enjoy it.

Speaking of my art. I want to have a contest to win one of my watercolors or Zentangle. You can find the details on my Facebook page, My Crazy Life.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Living with Chronic Pain

The back of the shirt says, “Rise & Shine Mother Cluckers.”

Let’s talk about pain since it’s Pain Awareness Month. I am always in pain. With Fibromyalgia, Costochondritis, Osteoarthritis, Scoliosis and Migraine, it’s rare that I have a pain free day. I don’t have pain killers. I’m not even sure if they would work.

I am only supposed to take Tylenol, but my fingers have been hurting so bad that I went back to Naproxen.

I do have triptans for my migraines, but usually I take a nap. Since the Sumatriptan only has 9 in a pack and I was only allowed 4 Frova. Frova works the best getting rid of the migraine within 10-15 minutes and keeping it away for up to 2 days. Sumatriptan may or may not work, even with 2 and a nap.

People don’t quite get having chronic pain. They think you can take a pill and then you’re magically cured. It’s not that simple. Pills might lessen the pain, but once it wears off, it’ll be back.

Enjoying life with pain!

I persevere through the pain… Even sometimes the migraines to live my life. I wish that there was a cure. I hate the pain. I hate that it limits my enjoyment of things. I appreciate the relatively pain free days. I love the good days and so-so days.

I refuse to give in to the pain for long. Occasionally, a migraine or back spasms will put me down for the count. It’s necessary to rest when this happens. The longer I ignore it, the longer it takes to go away.

I sound like a broken record. “Live on the good and so-so days, rest on the bad.” It’s the best advice I can give. I often rest before I know I’m going to be active in hopes of staving off the Ménière’s, but it helps with the pain too.

I hope you’re pain free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

BALANCE AWARENESS WEEK

As Balance Awareness Week comes to an end I want to share some resources with you.

VEDA has a great flyer that explains Vestibular Disorders. VEDA is the best resource for types of Vestibular Disorders. I am using their banner on this post.

Ménière’s Society– The UK’s leading charity for people with vestibular (inner ear) disorders causing dizziness and imbalance.

Baby wants me to write this article!

What can you do to help your friends or family with balance issues? Ask them. Be there for them. Drive them. Ask them places, and be understanding if they can’t go. Keep on trying!

As always I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita