Adina Mayo

Fighting back against chronic pain with a simple, creative, & healthy lifestyle. Inspiring others to become warriors.

Monday, June 18, 2018

If you are like me you spend a lot of time in doctor's office waiting rooms. Why for the love of Pete can they not get comfy chairs? I mean my old neurologist's office had the worst chairs I've ever sat in, in my life. They were the decedents of medieval torture devices.

Save me a seat, I'll take the iron maiden in the corner.

Seriously.

Of course, it's ok because the doctor always runs on time. Oh wait, they don't.

So you are now stuck on a modern-day version of the rack and you are there for...the longest I've waited in a waiting room for a doctor's appointment was 6 hours. Add an hour drive both ways to that and it's an 8 hour day. Note that I never actually got to see the doctor, I finally had enough and walked out.

Talk about massive pain flare.

It took me 2 full months - 8 weeks - to recover from that visit. I actually didn't know if I was going to make my sister in law's wedding because of my pain levels.

That's when I knew...waiting room survival kit.

If you have chronic pain or illness you need one.

9 Things for a Waiting Room Survival Kit



1. Get a lightweight, small suitcase.

First, you do not want to carry anything. That will fatigue you beyond reason, so you want to get a bag that rolls. The heavier a bag is the harder it will be to get out of the car.

I initially got an 'under the seat' suitcase for travel purposes because I do not need to be lifting a suitcase into the bin. I really loved its handiness and lightweight, I started taking it with me to doctor's appointments.





2. Get a Honeycomb Gel Seat Cushion

#leohusband calls my cushion The Bear Pad. It sounds way cooler than 'my gel cushion' but that's what it is. I specifically recommend the honeycomb ones because they reduce the pressure on your points of pain. It makes sitting with Adhesive Arachnoiditis a little better and lets me stay seated longer.

I really need to sew a new cover for mine because we have definitely left it at friends houses and restaurants. That black cover just blends right into some chairs. Oops!





3. Old School Screw Top Ice Bags

Someone somewhere has access to ice. Maybe it's the Starbucks in the hospital lobby or an ice machine in the staff lounge, you can get ice and put it in your handy 'old fashioned' ice bags. Get it on your pain before it spirals out of control. Ice works best for my nerve pain but...




if heat is more your thing...


4. Heating pad

Seriously, take a heating pad. There are plugs in every doctor's office waiting room. Use them. I have a small travel sized one for my endometriosis. I have no problem plugging it in and sitting with it, of course, I'm kinda at the I don't give a damn flip what people think stage of my life.

There are also microwavable rice packs and I know every doctor's office has a microwave. Just ask!





5. Headphones

I don't know about you but when I'm in pain the last thing I want to hear is other people's phone conversations or screaming children. I just plug in my headphones and lose myself in an Audible book.

Music is great but a good story can take you away from the hurt and frustration. Also, nothing is better than having people staring at you for laughing out loud at what appears to be nothing.

Here are some of my favorites:




My earbud covers make my apple headphones super comfy, and with that new plug, your options are limited.





6. Coloring Book or Bullet Journal

While I'm listening to my book I like to either work in my bullet journal by setting up the next month or color in one of my adult coloring books. #breadwinnerbff and I always laugh about the 'adult coloring books' like they're illicit. Yeah, we're immature but it's still funny.

Keeping my hands busy and my brain busy is a key combination to surviving a long wait time for a doctor's office.





7. Yoga Towel

I've also been known to do yoga in doctor's waiting rooms or in the hallway. I have to do my yoga anyway so instead of doing it in the morning, I save my exercise time to keep moving instead of sitting for long periods of time at the doctor's office.

I get the best looks when I do this. I don't mean to brag but I make excellent people watching material.

It also doubles as a great blanket or if you need to lay down because of pain then you don't have to lay on that nasty floor.




8. Pain Management Supplies

I do feel that this goes without saying but have whatever pain management medicine or devices with you. For me, that's my IFC/TENS unit, Lidocaine Patches, pain rub, and breakthrough medicine.

Right now I'm super into Hemp Rub. It's amazing and totally takes away the pain for 6-8 hours. I've been putting it on my shoulders and knees.





9. Extension Cords

Sometimes that plug you need is across the exam room. Sometimes there's a jerk that won't give up their seat in the waiting room. Either way, having an extension cord to plug in your heating pad or TENS are a must.




Make packing your bag a priority the night before an appointment so you are not rushing around the day of. Put it by the back door so you don't forget it on your way out.
Hope this helps! I know until I put this together getting through a day of doctor's appointments was hell on earth with long recovery times afterward.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Growing up as a 6th generation Texan practically means that Tex Mex runs in my blood. Most Tex Mex aside from fajitas is not paleo. I definitely miss my enchiladas. Then I saw one of my favorite food bloggers mention something about paleo tortillas. Well, obviously I had to check them out immediately.

Siete Foods out of Austin, Texas makes grain free and gluten free tortillas, tortilla chips, and a variety of paleo products.

I'm totally geeking out about tacos, enchiladas, chalupas, and fajitas.

I ordered their sampler pack to see what works best for each product.

For the enchiladas, I definitely prefer their cassava and coconut flour tortillas. They have a great texture very similar to the traditional corn tortillas used for enchiladas.
So I whipped up a batch of beef and chorizo paleo enchiladas for me and #leohusband to try out and they were perfect.

Paleo Beef and Chorizo Enchiladas


Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350.

Tools:
Saucepan
Skillet
Whisk
Measuring cups and spoons
13x9 greased glass Corningware dish


Enchiladas:

1 lb of grass fed ground beef
1 lb of paleo compliant chorizo
8-12 Siete Cassava and Coconut Tortillas

Brown the chorizo and drain on a plate with paper towels. Using the same pan, without wiping it out, brown the ground beef. Drain the beef with paper towels. Dump both types of meat into a large bowl and stir to mix.

Sauce:
2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 t onion powder
1 t dried Mexican oregano
2 1/2 t chili powder
2 1/2 t chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 cup Pace Picante original
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato sauce
3 cups water

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onion, oregano, chili powders, basil, ground black pepper, salt, cumin, parsley, salsa, and tomato sauce.

Mix together and then stir in the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.

Place the tortillas on a plate and microwave for 15 - 20 seconds to soften. Take a tortilla in your secondary hand forming a taco-like shape. Put a spoonful of meat in the tortilla. Gently fold the tortilla over at one end. Place in the corning ware dish and complete rolling it up and keep the seam down.
Repeat for the rest of the enchiladas. Reheat tortillas in the microwave as needed to keep them soft so they don't rip while rolling. Pour the sauce over the top and place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly.

Top with diced red onions, avocado, and cilantro.


If you have non paleo eaters in the family just sprinkle cheese over half before baking.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

May 2018 sucked.

I'm slowly getting over the disappointment, grief, and stress. Oh and did I mention knee and shoulder injuries that will take time to heal??? Time I don't have.


Why? Well, my PIC is absent.

#leohusband is working very hard and very far from home and while I have support from family and friends, I like my autonomy. Would all the INFJ's stand up! Truly, the days are easy, it's the nights that are rough.
My fluffy alarm clock, his life will be coming to a close soon. I am caring for my elderly dog who doesn't understand why we are not doing night walks. It's 10:20 pm and it still feels like it's 92 with 70% humidity. Texas is not for the weak y'all. However, it's definitely not weather for 100 lb, elderly Golden Retrievers wearing fur coats.
Every night is a battle royale of wills, me against a stubborn old man who thinks he can walk the entire block in this heat.

Short of having my parents move in with me until #leohusband is done, which it may come to that soon, I foresee my health taking a drastic backslide because it already has.

I keep messing up my left arm.

Just when the pain goes away I move it in a weird way or hell, I even slept on it last night. Big mistake. I've heard it can take months to heal a shoulder injury. Months as in 6-9 months. I just can't catch a break. Even typing this right now, my shoulder doesn't know if it wants to relax or tense up.

These walk "fights" with Big Fluffy are just making my knees worse and I have only 1 knee brace so I keep switching it back and forth like an idiot.

I'm also trying to at least keep up with some yoga. I can't let all my hard work go to waste especially since muscle death is a real problem with Adhesive Arachnoiditis. However, so far I've only managed to do one day of yoga a week. At, least I'm beating that average so far this week with yoga on Monday and I did restorative today.


Last and not least, #leohusband and I donated our embryos to scientific research. So I have been grieving the loss of motherhood, what could have been, and what will never come to pass. To say that it has been difficult would be putting it mildly.


Two good things got accomplished in May.

I sucked it up and finally filled out the paperwork to get checked for Ehlers Danlos or EDS. After hurting my left shoulder (bursitis and tendonitis) and my knees in yoga class-- all due to my hypermobility, I knew it was time.

Again there is no treatment and no cure but hey, just something else to start being aware of. I was accepted as a candidate but the wait list for an appointment is a year and a half. Hopefully, I won't f-up anything else on my body in that time.

I finally got my major hormone panel test completed. A thirty-day hormone evaluation. It was cumbersome and tiring but not as bad as the rest of my May 2018.

So how did I deal?

1. I played a lot of Xbox.

I got really into #leohubands copy of Dragon Age Inquisition.

I know that video games get a bad rep but I am a fully formed adult so my mental development is already complete.

If you have never tried video games I suggest doing what #leohusband did with me, he used Minecraft as my gateway drug.  I loved Minecraft.  You got to fight bad guys and make stuff. It helped me learn to use the Xbox controller. Then we progressed to the Lego games and Portal, and the next thing I knew I was playing Gears of War and Skyrim.

2. I stocked up on Sun Baskets and Paleo Treats

I am an emotional eater. I just am so I went ahead and got some Paleo treats and made some as well. I placed a Sun Basket order so I would have meals planned and the food for them. I placed a huge Thrive Market order to be ready.


This way I had things to turn to and didn't feel bad if I "binged" a little. Note that even though everything I got was Paleo - eating Paleo cookies every day is not good behavior so I definitely need to knock that off soon.

According to my #breadwinnerbff or #bwbff, I should focus on eating one clean meal at a time, which ironically I told her a couple of months ago.
via GIPHY
3. I slept in when I could

I think that when we are going through emotional adjustments the tiredness level is just a bit higher than normal.

It seemed that I had excessive tiredness. It doesn't help that I do not sleep well when #leohusband is gone. I had to psyche myself up to do daily chores and with things going wrong at the drop of a hat I never got to do the things I wanted to do - like refinish a cabinet, plant my herb garden, or start selling my excess crap on eBay.

Not doing the fun things seemed to just add to my tiredness.

I started sleeping in and tried to not beat myself up about it. There were definitely convos in the mirror about how I was not going to feel guilty about sleeping in.

via GIPHY
So that's How to Deal with Everything Going Wrong or at least my version of it.

There was also lots of anger and tears and me laying on the couch for days trying to find the motivation but eventually, I got up. I'm having to power through right now while I figure out how to handle Fluffy's health and #leohusband working on the other side of the world. As #bwbff said today, "Things are going to change, or things will change."

So true. This is a season and eventually, #leohusband will be back and I'll get back my motivation.

Monday, May 21, 2018

I've been searching for-ev-er for yoga pants with pockets that also have at least some amount of cotton in them. Alas, it seems that manufacturers just don't seem to grasp the concept that cotton is better for our lady parts to breathe in. You're killin me Smalls!

Sandlot quotes aside, I finally found some amazing pants in my search on Amazon. They not only have one pocket but three!

They were comfortable to wear all day and kept their shape!!

Sometimes to me, it seems that yoga pants can be great in the morning but too loose when it comes to the twilight hours.

These stayed in place all day and they fit my iPhone Plus! The two inseam side pockets are big. I'd say big enough to put your ridiculously large phone on one side and a wallet on the other.

There is a tiny pocket for keys or a credit card or id in the lower back waistband.

I love these and recommend them! I got the black ones that had a 34" inseam!! I also got the grey capris which fit equally as good.

My focus for the last few weeks has simply been increasing energy. I figure if I make energy my goal for the next few months then everything else I need to accomplish will simply fall into place.

I hope. I mean it does make sense...

So I've made a point to work out and go to yoga class. I've also begun a Whole30 this month (last minute with zero planning) to keep my healthy eating on track. I am also focusing on replenishing my energy after my workouts.

I'm really just trying to avoid IUEV.

I put some time into researching some new supplements and amino acids. I decided to try Arginine this month especially since I'm increasing the intensity of my workouts.

I should note here that if you try anything new - only try 1 thing at a time over the period of a month to make sure that you are not having any side effects before adding more things onto your supplement stack.

So what is the last hurdle? Getting adequate sleep.

Sleep is a big piece of the energy pie that we are trying to tackle. If you have a chronic condition it is unlikely that you are reaching the deep levels of stages 3 and 4 sleep at night.

Hey, I didn't have stage 3 and 4 sleep for a year before I finally broke down and talked to multiple doctors about it.

What's the big deal about stage 3 and 4 sleep?

Well, your brain slows down and starts emitting Delta waves. It is here that your body physically and mentally resets itself. You experience healing. Your hormones are replenished and your immune system gets a boost.

Getting Better Sleep for Chronic Pain and Illness: Week 1 Bedtime

Get a bedtime routine and set an alarm to follow it. My alarm goes off at 8:00. I wrap up what I'm doing and set the coffee maker for the next day.

I get the water going in my tub and lay out my workout clothes. I add all the ingredients necessary to my Epsom salt bath. This is the first stage of relaxation for me.

I usually read a book while soaking - step 2 no screens!!

When my 20-30 minutes are up I get out and start taking all my nighttime medicine.

Step 3, take your sleep medication and pain medication if you need it.

I take a prescription medication for insomnia - I highly recommend talking with several doctors (I talked to my GP, my neurologist, and my pain doctor) and be willing to try a few different things to find the right fit. I finally went with what my GP recommended and it worked great to an extent.

I also found that I needed to take a 10mg Melatonin on top of the prescription medication. This is most likely due to Adhesive Arachnoiditis effects on the brain. I slept great for 6 months and then I was able to take less of the prescription.

You may need both, like me.

What you really need is sleep so make the effort and have the difficult conversations. I would come in with research on all of the different insomnia medications out there and be ready to be blunt. You don't want anything that is going to make you gain weight. That will just make your pain worse.
Next, I put my lidocaine patches on and my tens unit on. If I find no relief in the next 30 minutes before I turn out the lights, I will eat a small snack and take my pain meds. If you have had an active pain day - take your medication so you can hopefully get control of it while you sleep.

Step 4: Read before sleep so you can let your medication kick in and help you relax. Remember no screens!

I have an alarm set that says "LIGHTS OUT!!!" because I want to be able to stop my reading, turn my light off, and drift off. Now if I have done all this relaxing stuff beforehand and my pain is dealt with - I normally drift off.

That said - even I have nights where sleep just eludes me. It doesn't matter what I do or take or prepare myself with, sleep just isn't going to happen.

We'll touch on this kind of night next week.

Friday, May 18, 2018

I do love my instant pot but I also have the same fondness for a sheet pan dinner. Really it's the same concept. Instead of loading everything in the instant pot, I just wait for the oven to heat up and toss everything on a cookie sheet.

Since asparagus is coming into season let's celebrate that with a super simple and easy dinner.


Sheet Pan Dinner: Smoked Paprika Chicken with Asparagus, Shallots, and Olive Tapenade


Ingredients:
Grocery Store Olive Bar Blend
1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 bunch of Asparagus
3 Shallots
2 Lemons
Smoked Paprika
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper

Supplies:
Cookie Sheet
Aluminum Foil
Big Bowl
Cutting Board
Knife

Preheat oven to 400.

Wash your Asparagus and chop off the woody ends. Set aside. Pat dry your chicken and dump into your bowl. Drizzle with 2 T of olive oil and 1/2 t of smoked paprika, 1/2 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper. Toss well to coat.

Place chicken on the aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Arrange the asparagus around the chicken.

Finely slice the shallots. Sprinkle the cut shallots over the chicken and asparagus, and drizzle the shallots and asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Now slice the lemon into rounds. Top everything with the lemon slices.

Cook on the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes.

While everything is cooking, take your grocery store olive blend and roughly chop the olives.

When the timer goes off, top the chicken with the olive tapenade and serve immediately. Nothing worse than cold asparagus!

Thursday, May 17, 2018



If you are reading this on your phone and you are home, walk into your bedroom.  If you're not at home picture your bedroom.

Can you instantly see or think of one or more things that need to get done but you just haven't done them?

I know I can.

I have jewelry I need to find a home for, a painting that needs to be stored until next winter, and a bookcase in desperate need of styling...or at least the cords hidden for Pete's sake.

Ugh.

It doesn't matter that I finally got my cord keeper mounted and organized on the back of my nightstand, or I finally hung artwork that I received as a gift on the wall.

I don't think of what I've accomplished, I think of what I haven't, and that's called the Ziegarnik effect.  More on this psychological theory here.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to challenge you to do 1 to 3 things in each room and then see how you feel mentally (and even physically) when you get those things off your plate.

So the above pictures are my before photos.

As always I will document my mental state.  Today...gee I'm doing a Whole30 and it's kill all the things days. LOL! Well, we will see how I do.

Week 1: Treat Yo Self Mental Chores: Master Bedroom

One week to:

Sort and store my jewelry 🗹
Hide the TV cords 🗹
Style my bookcase/media center 
🗹

DONE! 
Yes, I do feel really good when I crawl into bed at night.  It's finally finished and even #leohusband said it looked really good.  I almost fainted! This coming from him is a real compliment.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ardha Chandrasana is one of my favorite poses. Don't let the fact that you are balancing on a leg scare you from trying this amazing pose.

Half Moon strengthens the thighs, ankles, glutes, core, and spine. While you are strengthening you are also stretching. 


The hamstrings, calves, chest, shoulders, spine, and groin are all opening and lengthening. This asana also helps you work on your balance and focus and gives you a sense of better coordination.

Since your head is usually below your heart it is also a stress reliever. It can help with menstrual pain, leg pain, and back pain. Those three items are why it's worth it to include this pose in my weekly practice.

Let's get into it.

I hope you've been practicing your Virabhadrasana II and Trikonasana because these two poses help you prepare for Ardha Chandrasana.

Modifications for Ardha Chandrasana, Half Moon Pose



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I have a hard time remembering and keeping track of stuff.  Let's face it with chronic pain and illness our mental capacities are not what they used to be.

So much stuff is just stuff, so it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things to a person with a chronic condition, except when that stuff starts to make you sick.

Confession time.

So when we moved into our house (a terrible experience for first-time buyers, it haunts us and probably why my husband is reluctant to move closer to his office) we didn't get any documentation from the previous homeowner.

No books on the water heater, nothing on the oven or dishwasher, and certainly nothing on the ac unit.

So it came as a complete surprise that we had an internal air filter in the unit that we were supposed to replace annually.  Whoops!

I won't tell you how old and nasty this thing was.  No wonder I kept getting sick.  Ugh!

I will be honest.  We definitely don't replace the individual filters as often as the recommended three months on the package.  We do four months.  I buy them in bulk and doing every four months instead of three gives us two years of the bulk buy.

Hey, one month isn't going to kill us.


So when should you replace your toothbrush?  When should you think about getting new carpet?

Well, I did the research for you and made a lovely bullet journal collection so I can keep track for myself what has been done in my house.

Monthly:
Bath Pouf
Contacts (if you have them or according to manufacturer's instructions)
Sponges

Quarterly:
Water Filter
Toothbrush
Contact Case
Air Filters

Semi-Annually
Toilet Brushes
Mascara
Refridgerator Filter (if you have them or according to manufacturer's instructions)

Annually up to 10 years or more
Running shoes
Spices
Makeup Brushes
Towels
Cutting Boards
Plastic Ware
Hairbrush
Pillows
First Aid Kit
Fire Extinguishers
Carpet
Household Appliances
Cloth Furniture

Most of these things need replacing because of bacteria, dust, allergens, and/or mold contamination.  Some just wear out.  I've definitely noticed that our towels seem to leave behind more water than they used to...

Monday, May 14, 2018

I'm on a kick to increase my energy.  As I discussed a couple of weeks ago, chronic pain and illness has a nasty side effect, fatigue or as I like to call it IUEV.

Last week I focused on three supplements to increase your energy.  This week I'm focusing on amino acids.

Amino acids are the basic building blocks of the body. They are also sources of energy, like fats and carbohydrates.

The importance of amino acids as the precursors of enzymes and neurotransmitters is often underestimated. As such, amino acids regulate almost all of the metabolic processes in the human body, and they are essential for a healthy body.

Supplementing with the right amino acids can boost deficient brain chemicals and make transitioning to a healthy lifestyle more achievable.  In chronic pain and illness terms, it can help lead you back to a more balanced life.


4 Amino Acids to Boost Your Energy





Tyrosine

This amino acid is a precursor of adrenaline, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are important for maintaining a sense of well-being and energy and also promote a healthy metabolism and nervous system.

Tyrosine also works with iodine to promote thyroid health. Supplemental L-tyrosine is excellent for treating fatigue, low moods, depression, and anxiety.

Dosage begins at 500 mg, one to three times daily. Increase dosage as needed, up to 2,000 mg three times daily.


Ornithine

Your kidneys convert ornithine into arginine. Arginine is a precursor for a compound called nitric oxide, which helps dilate your blood vessels when you require extra blood to your tissues. Arginine also helps your muscle cells produce creatine, a compound they need to contract.

Research suggests that consuming extra ornithine can help promote physical strength and endurance. For example, a study published in the November 2008 issue of "Nutrition Research" found that healthy subjects who took extra ornithine experienced less exercise-induced fatigue than a placebo group.

The authors concluded that ornithine promotes more efficient energy usage by cells, and they recommend it as a nutritional supplement to prevent fatigue.

L-ornithine supplements are generally considered safe, although no minimum effective dose has been established.


Arginine

As discussed above, L-arginine has multiple benefits, including improving immune function, fertility, detoxification and brain power.

Another important aspect of L-arginine is that it stimulates the production of certain hormones, especially beneficial growth hormones and insulin that help usher glucose into cells to be used for growth and energy output. This is one of the reasons it’s believed to enhance physical performance, stamina and strength.

Dosage begins at 500 mg, one time daily. Increase dosage as needed, up to 1,000 mg three times daily.


Carnitine

Carnitine is good for a number of conditions, it is a good energy booster, antioxidant and a mood and cognitive enhancer.

Since younger healthy people have a sufficient amount of carnitine in the body it does not have as great of results as in older people. In older people or people with chronic conditions, carnitine improves body composition. However, it may improve exercise endurance in all ages by increasing muscle carnitine levels.

Initial studies have found that dietary carnitine stimulates the break down of fats into energy, reduces the amount of lactic acid produced during exercise, speeds up recovery from exercise stress, prevents cell damage, and prevents cell death. This may contribute to weight loss.Just as carnitine’s ability to produce energy from fats can help boost your endurance to exercise and lose weight, it can also fight fatigue.

Dosage suggestion 1,000 mg daily.



Glutamine

Glutamic acid, which is derived from glutamine, is essential for ideal brain function.

During times of stress, your body uses up mass amounts of glutamine that can easily be replaced with a supplement of L-glutamine to keep you functioning at your best. Glutamine is also highly effective at fighting sugar and starch cravings. In addition, glutamine is also used to aid muscle recovery when taken before or after exercise.

Suggested dosage is between 500-1,500 mg up to three times daily.

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