Fighting to Persevere

I’ve mentioned how poorly I was feeling before.  Here and on social media.

I downplayed it.  If you know me, you know I tend to downplay things.

I was at the point where I was counting spoons to see what I could and couldn’t do through my day.

I called off work one day a few weeks ago because I woke up in the middle of the night in pain and wasn’t able to get back to sleep.  Nor was I able to stay standing while fixing my breakfast.  I didn’t have the spoons for the day.  I took the max dose of ibuprofen (800mg) after calling in and went back to bed.  I spent the better part of that day and the next doing nothing but laying on the sofa with my feet elevated.

Just the day before one of my managers was telling me I needed “to get healthy” because there was a big load of work coming up.  The irony is I’m probably the most health minded person there even if I’m not healthy right now.  I had these reactions running through my head when he told me I needed to get healthy.

Are you fucking kidding me?  Do you realize who you’re talking to?

I’m never going to be healthy here. 

You selfish bastard. 

I just want off my feet! 

Stop talking already! 

Let’s go back to “I’m never going to be healthy here.”  When I realized how true that statement was, I knew something had to change.  Either I get to the root of this problem and figure it all out or I quit my job.

I kept all this in mind for my doctor’s appointment.

Pain, inflammation, heart palpitations, problems sleeping, mood swings, fatigue, being so tired I was falling asleep on the sofa if I wasn’t vertical, feeling like I re-sprained my wrist.  I thought that my thyroid was going haywire.  I was at the point that I felt like I was hitting the same rock bottom that I hit before.   I was crying because I felt so horrible, yet I kept pushing myself to do more than I should have and still not give in.

My life was like this again…

The Saturday before my appointment, I was awake mega early again due to pain.  This time along my pelvic bone on the left side.  This was new.  I couldn’t go back to sleep and I eventually got up and started my morning routine.  When I got to work the same manager that told me I needed to get healthy was asking me how I was doing.  I told him, “Not well.”  Then I explained being woken up by pain when he asked.  “Are you going to the doctor today?” he asked.

At this point it was creeping towards noon.  My doctor is not in on Saturdays.  I probably could have driven myself to an ER instead of work that morning, but I was trying to hold out.  I was incredibly irritable from lack of sleep, pain, and generally just tired of being sick all the time.  It took all I had to not just reach out and give him a wake up smack.  He is a really nice guy when he’s not so focused on the bottom line, but I knew he was thinking in the back of his mind, Oh no, we can’t get even more shorthanded so close to the holidays.

I started thinking again, I’m never going to be healthy here.

You might be wondering, then why not quit?  That’s the easy thing to do.  I’m a person who feels bound by loyalty.  I am not bound to the corporation.  I am loyal to my co-workers and my team leader.  If it weren’t for the ones that make it worth being there and laughing with, I would have left long ago in search of something else.

I went to my doctor last week Tuesday, starting with my chiropractor and moving on to my integrative doctor.  I didn’t rush through my progress note to my doctors to let them know what is going on.  In previous months, by the time I saw them, I wasn’t feeling nearly as bad as I had this last month or even as bad as I did when I went in after being off work for nearly 48 hours.

For the first time my neck adjusted better than it had in months.  I have a stiffness that settled in months ago and would not adjust for anything.  Normally, my chiropractor jokes about me starting without him as things start popping back into place while he’s getting me into position for the adjustment.

My doctor sat with me and reviewed everything I wrote down.  We went over the Stress Chart they have in every room and discussed where I was on the chart and the cause of my stress.  Work.

My wake-up call

I never thought I’d hear the words, adrenal fatigue, coming from a doctor of mine and directed at me.  But, it explained everything.  It explained why my plantar fasciitis was getting worse no matter what I did to help it along.  Icing my feet after work, stretching them out, rolling them over golf balls.  My feet were just getting worse and worse.   I thought the inflammation was what was driving everything.

If you aren’t familiar with adrenal fatigue or even what your adrenal glands are or what they do, let me do a quick summary.  Your adrenal glands are responsible for releasing epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol when you are under stress.  Epinephrine is also known as adrenaline.  In my case, my adrenal glands were working overtime to pump out cortisol while at work because of the stress I was under.  This resulted in my cortisol levels being all over the place rather than high in the morning and steadily dropping throughout the day, which explains the sleep problems.  When there is too much cortisol running through your body, your body turns on the inflammation response and poof…inflammation!

I never plan anything after my appointments with my chiropractor and integrative doctor.  I don’t want to completely undo everything they just did and I want my body to be able to accept the adjustment and acupuncture and get maximum benefit.   I spent the rest of Tuesday on the sofa.  As my body adjusted, I felt more and more exhausted.  I just wanted to sleep for months.  Or at least sleep until I was better.   I think getting an answer gave me finality and my body just wanted to shut down and say, it’s okay now, let me do the work to make it better.

I felt the same the next day, but slightly less irritable.  Baby steps.

I talked to the manager responsible for my scheduling, who happens to be the one who told me I need to get healthy.   I explained my diagnosis and that I needed my hours cut as I recover.   He agreed to meet my needs, which I fully expected.

By Friday, I was feeling light at work.  Less stressed.  I kept my focus on my tasks and if I happened to get called away to answer a call on the other side of the store, or get carts outside, or help at the registers, I went without all the negative thinking in my head that fed the stress.

Baby steps.

Here I am, Monday.  I’m still sleeping like crap.  I was awake well before I needed to be this morning.  I laid in bed for a while before finally getting to it.  Grocery shopping.  Housework. Yes.  I finally cleaned today.  I still have clutter going on, but I cleaned my bathroom, swept, mopped, vacuumed, and dusted.  Still baby steps, but it was something I couldn’t do a week ago today.

I’m moving forward and moving slowly.  I’m running on my time and to the beat of my recovering drum.  I’m reminding myself not to push myself too much or too far.

I persevere.

Super Berry Smoothie – Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten-Free

Super Berry Smoothie

Maggie, She Let Them Eat Cake, is hosting this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free event.  I participate in this few and far between since some themes I don’t have time to play with (and wish I did) and some months I miss out on seeing what the theme is completely.  When I read this month’s theme, I knew I didn’t really have to play around in the kitchen.  I was already making something and planning on sharing this recipe anyway.  Score!

This smoothie is full of natural anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant based foods.  Blueberry, cranberry, açai, raw local honey and raw cacao powder.  This will help your body fight inflammation and oxidative stress (or oxidative rust, as Dr. Mark Hyman calls it).  This is also full of vitamins and minerals.  I normally make smoothies with some kind of greens included, but this one I’ve left them out.  You can add greens if you’d like.  The darker the better for those polyphenols.  You can also use other dark berries if you don’t have one listed available. And if you don’t like cranberries, you can’t even taste them.  Seriously.

If you have nut allergies, you can use raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead.  I would not recommend Sunbutter as it threw the entire flavor profile off when I tested it.  Or, you can use Maggie’s Oh Mega Mix.

I have a tendency to use raw local honey as much as I can.  Not only is it a natural anti-inflammatory, it helps with allergies.  My last chiropractor tried for years to get me to use raw local honey instead of getting allergy shots.  Finally, one day, I was able to remember to have a tablespoon a day and made the transition.  I stopped getting allergy shots several years ago.  One of the best things about moving to Cincinnati is that my raw local honey is so local, I get it from farm just a mile away from us.

Super Berry Smoothie – 16 ounces

1 banana

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 cup frozen cranberries

1 tablespoon freeze-dried açai powder (I use Navitas Naturals), or 1/4 cup frozen açai berries

1 – 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (I use Navitas Naturals)

1 tablespoon nut butter

Sweetener of choice (I use 1 tablespoon raw local honey)

1 teaspoon raw maca powder (optional)

Unsweetened dairy-free milk of choice (I use 365 Unsweetened Almond or So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut until I can start making my own)

Add fruit, powders, nut butter and sweetener to your blender.  If you are using a sweetened dairy-free milk, omit or cut back on the added sweetener.  Pour dairy-free milk in just under the 2 cup line.  Blend well.  Serve.

This post is linked to Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert and Dogs. 

This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix at The WHOLE Gang.

Inflammation, If You Please.

Yes, you guessed it, my shins are still hurting.  I can feel it all the time.  Sitting. Standing. Driving.  I’m ready for them to stop hurting already.  I was sitting here, cross-legged, not too long ago and had my left hand on one of my shins.  I suddenly became aware of narrow strips of heat emanating down each side of the shin.  WOAH!  I immediately checked the other shin and discovered the same type of heat in the same place.

That’s what we call inflammation, folks.

I went straight for the ice.

I know I have inflammation from the heat coming from an injured area, even if there is no pain.  So, this was my signal to remember what I’m dealing with and what I need to do to treat it other than just rest them.

I know I keep talking about ice and you might be wondering what else I’m doing to help the inflammation.  Nothing.  Nothing, but ice and rest, that is.  Why?  Because I’m limiting my use of ibuprofen to extreme cases.  I’ve taken lots of ibuprofen in my day, especially for migraines, which I rarely have anymore.  I may take some later today, but it will depend on how bad my shins feel.  I will definitely use some of my Da Balm on them before I go to bed.  Many of the essential oils I use in it have anti-inflammatory properties.  I’m a big fan of aromatherapy and have been benefiting from it for years.  My interest in aromatherapy has led me to making my own cosmetics as far as skin care and soap making.

If it seems crazy to you that I wouldn’t do more than I am now, maybe it is.  However, the pain and discomfort I feel lets me know that my shins are not healed.  If I were to take medications that masked the pain, then I might feel inclined to think that my shins are healed and go right back into the intervals and potentially damage them further.  I have a fairly high pain threshold, which helps.  A lot of us are quick to take something to get rid of the pain and forget our body is still healing.  I admit, I’ve been there and done that and the results suck.  Just think about it the next time you are wanting to take something that will just mask the pain.  Do you really need it?  Can you live with the feeling until you are healed?  Or is the pain really interfering with your ability to function?  That’s where my decision lies.  If I can still function and do the majority of my daily tasks, then I’m fine.  When I can’t do those tasks is where I decide that it’s time to take something.

I need to ice my shins again, but I leave you with this.  A whole foods diet is naturally anti-inflammatory, so just think about how much pain I’d be in if I were eating  processed and refined foods.  Some of my favorite foods with anti-inflammatory properties are green tea and raw local honey.  Not together though.  I take my tea unsweetened.  Cheers!