Adina Mayo

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

I'm always trying new products in my quest for pain relief.

I'm still on a year and a half waitlist for Ehlers-Danlos testing. You'd think they could just have everyone come in and give their damn blood so we could get a move on. However, since I do have Adhesive Arachnoiditis, an untreatable and incurable disease of the spinal cord, the pain can at best be background noise throughout my day and at worst crying and convulsing on the floor.

I've experienced both in my journey and it just depends on the day. Regional nerve pain is too hard to predict and control.

Topical Chronic Pain Solutions

In my quest, I stumbled upon Charlotte's Web Topical Hemp Balm. Hemp is different from CBD products as it is covered under the 2014 Farm Act. It should be noted that CBD is not legal in all 50 states but Hemp is.

Thrive Market

I ordered this from Thrive Market to try for some of my worst nerve pain flares.

Right now, I have bursitis and shoulder impingement (rotator cuff tendinitis) in my left shoulder. My arm has been killing me for months to the point of wanting to cut it off. On top of my Adhesive Arachnoiditis pain, I have been pretty miserable. I can't lay on my left side for relief, nor can I lay on my right for relief.

This balm has been my saving grace. It takes about 30 minutes to work after applying but keeps the pain down for about 4 hours without having to take ibuprofen or naproxen which can kill gut bacteria and lead to Leaky Gut - a problem I have been battling for over a year now with the help of my functional medicine doctor.

I wish it would work a little bit longer and while it does great for my bursitis inflammation, it is hit or miss for my nerve pain. There is a stronger lotion that I may try when I run out of the balm so stay tuned to my chronic nerve pain journey.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Through numerous conversations and supportive shoves gentle nudges from #leohusband I've finally gotten past my mental roadblock of going back to work.

I've worked so hard to manage my symptoms of Adhesive Arachnoiditis that while I still have bad days, I have more good than bad. I've even had good months. Four weeks of good days. It's hard to beat that.

Now that I've committed myself to get out there and I've applied at several local community colleges, I'm now planning on how to get through my days when I am working. To me, that means an easy meal to put on the table while staying healthy.

Thrive Market

I've been trying out several 'pre-made' Paleo and Whole30 kits, meals, and corner-cutting / time-saving products like Thrive Market's Paleo Pizza Crust.

Thrive Market Paleo Pizza Crust Troubleshooting

Now before you nail me to the wall, I know that cheese isn't Paleo and yes, I put it on my pizza.

I want to state up front that I know most of my food triggers for pain and inflammation and cheese isn't one. I still don't eat much of it but when I do I'm comforted by its nutritional value. Cheese is a source of conjugated linoleic acid, a fat that may have anti-cancer, weight-reducing, and heart-protective effects.

On to the review...

For the first batch, I followed the directions to a T and it did not turn out well. The dough was way too sticky and when I rolled it out on my greased and floured wax paper it stuck like glue. So I had to ball it up again and start over. Ugh, I was so upset too because I rolled my first perfect circle!!
Take two!

So I followed the directions again and using my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with the dough hook I slowly sprinkled extra mix into the dough until it formed an actual dough ball, not a sticky mess.

Then instead of using wax paper, I used greased and floured parchment - that way I could cook it directly on the parchment without having to remove it and transfer it to a baking sheet - or in my case a pizza stone. Easy Peasy.

Thrive Market Pizza Crust Review

The crust had great texture and color. It was crisp and had a good pizza crust feel. Even #leohusband liked it. The 12" round pizza gave us each 3 small to medium size slices (sized compared to fast food pizza like Pizza Hut). However, the grain free crust had us nicely filled up and unlike major pizza chains - I didn't crave food within an hour or two. I was satiated.

Our one drawback was that the crust was...sweet.

The recipe called for a tablespoon and a half of honey. I think that was way overboard due to the fact that we could taste the sweetness. I would personally recommend 1 tablespoon or less of honey maybe even 1 and a half teaspoons.

Taste: ★★★☆
Chronic Pain Ease: ★★★★☆

As long as you are using a stand mixer with a dough hook this is quick and easy. However, if you don't have a stand mixer then I think you would end up standing up for a while to make this.  Also, definitely use the parchment.

Without a Stand Mixer:
Chronic Pain Ease: ★★☆☆☆

Monday, July 9, 2018

I deal with some sort of pain all the time.

I have Adhesive Arachnoiditis and Level Four Endometriosis - the most severe kind to have. I'm also on a long ass waitlist to see if I also have Ehlers Danlos. It's fun being me and I'm only slightly sarcastic when I say this.

Side note, my spunky much younger sister-in-law told me about a tee shirt that said, "I see your sarcasm and raise you some sass." I definitely need this tee.

Seriously, it is fun being me, pain and all, and after the two and a half years of darkness I was in, I can confidently say this.

However, that doesn't mean I get frustrated when new things occur or when I suddenly start having severe pain either in a known area or a brand new one.

This is where troubleshooting comes in. I have to ask myself if it related to my endometriosis or adhesive arachnoiditis first. If it's not - then I have to figure out what happened to me that this new issue is chronically hurting...(my knees, my shoulders, my ankles, etc.)
5 Ways to Troubleshoot Pain

1. What is New in Your Life?

Have you started a new supplement or medication, a new workout program, new eating habit, new furniture, or heck, even new shoes???

I have really emphasized starting only one new thing at a time. Unfortunately, I should take my own advice. Insert laughing until you are crying face here.

In one week, I bought a new sofa, started pilates (because yoga has currently messed up my shoulder), and driving myself around my giant mega-metroplex. Then I went on vacay with #leohusband to see his family. Talk about stupid. We got back late, late Thursday night and by Friday I was in so much pain my seven-step process didn't work. I was in so much pain I eventually passed out due to exhaustion around 1 AM.

Luckily, I woke up Saturday around a 5 and have worked hard to keep my pain at a 5.

So again, don't do what I did these last two weeks, try to stick to one thing at a time to see how it is affecting you.

2. If you Start Hurting, Immediately Stop.

This is a great piece of advice from my Physical Therapist and a Level (something or other but extremely advanced) Iyengar Yoga Teacher, I had the lucky opportunity to take a private lesson from.

If I'm totally honest, I'm also bad about this. I have a hard work ethic and sometimes I have this drive to work through the pain because I want to get stronger. Unfortunately, this backfires on me all the time. If you are doing something that hurts, as in sitting, standing, and new exercise etc. Immediately stop and do something different.

In the middle of writing this, my nerve pain turned on and I immediately got up and got ice to sit on. After I complete my thoughts here I will probably start a new sewing project so I am moving around and not sitting down. Plus, my mind is distracted so double bonus.
3. If That Area is Talking to You, Don't Scream Back at It

My #breadwinnerbff and I were talking about her getting back into CrossFit. They did a day of arms and shoulders and she was commenting on either taking the day off because her shoulder was 'talking to her' or letting the trainer know at the gym to modify her workouts so she doesn't injure her shoulders.

Oh, how I wished I had that conversation with my yoga teacher back in April. My left shoulder was still talking to me a week later and revisiting all the exercises we did in the previous week landed me with shoulder bursitis and impingement. You don't ever want bursitis or any kind. It sucks just as bad as my adhesive arachnoiditis. Ugh!

So the point here is if you are aware of an area in your body because it has been overworked then don't work it further, especially if you are over the age of 30! 18-year-olds can do that crap, not you.

4. There are Sore Muscles and Then There's 'Holy Crap, Cut This Part of My Body Off'

I've been sore and I've been sore where it's kicked off my arachnoiditis, but with a true injury - there's throbbing, limited movement, and sharp pain. This is the kind of thing that needs medical attention. The first week I overtaxed my left shoulder I was sore but I could still move and had no agonizing pain. The second week was a totally different story.

If I could have cut my shoulder off I would have. That is not normal and if you are feeling anywhere along these lines then you should get a doctor's appointment immediately.
5. Surgery Should be Always Your Last Option

There are some people who believe that if you step into an orthopedic's office that they will immediately recommend you have a surgery. Now, this is quite possible but I believe a good orthopedic surgeon will exhaust all options first before suggesting surgery.

If you go to an orthopedic surgeon that immediately suggests surgery, get a second and third opinion. If there is severe damage then yes, you may have to have surgery but in most cases, you can recover with physical therapy and a combination of pain management treatments like acupuncture or dry needling, ultrasound, steroid injections (never get a spinal steroid injection), cryotherapy or topical medications.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

To me nothing says summer like BBQ.

It's a southern thing I guess. I prefected my BBQ pulled pork recipe last year at #leohusband's request. He loves pulled pork and I love it because it is so easy to make. Just put it in the Crockpot and forget it. Last minute company or plans - use your Instant Pot.
Whole30 and Paleo Pulled Pork

14 oz of Whole30/Paleo BBQ Sauce
1 pork shoulder (approx 2.5 lbs)
1T fresh lemon juice
1 medium diced onion

Place roast in Crockpot or Instant Pot.

Cook on low 10-12 hours or high 5-6.

Instant pot:
Place on wire steaming rack. Add 1 c of water to bottom for 8 q or 1/2 c for 6 q. Cook on high pressure for 30 mintues with a 10 minute release.

When cooking cycle is complete for both Crockpot and Instant Pot, remove roast and discard cooking liquid.

Shred pork with 2 forks and return to Crockpot or Instant Pot.

Add BBQ sauce, lemon juice, and diced onion.

Cover and cook on high (slow cooker high setting on Instant Pot) for 1 hour.

Serve on buns or over coleslaw salad or both. That's how #leohusband does it. I do it with just the coleslaw to stay compliant.

Monday, July 2, 2018

There's not a whole lot of recipes for Whole30 or Paleo BBQ sauce that don't use exotic ingredients like Tamarind. Since I don't live anywhere near a market that would sell that I had to come up with my own recipe.

I will warn you, this is a Texas Style sauce, therefore it is vinegar heavy and not sweet.

Whole 30 and Paleo BBQ Sauce

1 large onion diced
2T compliant oil
6 cloves of garlic
16 oz of organic tomato sauce
4 dates chopped and diced finely
2 T of coconut amnios
4 T apple cider vinegar
2 t black pepper
1/2 t salt
4 t ground mustard
1 t Wright's All Natural Liquid Smoke Hickory or 1 t of smoked paprika

Medium Saucepan
Blending Stick
Mason Jars
Measuring Spoons

Make it:

In a saucepan saute the diced onion and garlic until browned. Add the tomato sauce, dates, coconut amnios, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper,smoked hickory (or smoked paprika) and ground mustard.

Stir Well.

Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes and then using a blending stick or your blender, completely blend the BBQ sauce.

To bottle:

Make sure your mason jar is sterile by thouroughly cleaning them with boiling water or washing them on the sterilize cycle on your dishwasher.

Pour your sauce into the bottle while is just off the simmer. Be caeful and I recommend rubber gloves for protection.

Immediately tighten the cap and allow to gently cool. The cap should seal.

Can be stored in the refridgerator for a few months but use it within a week of opening/breaking the seal.

Serve over all BBQ but I especially recommend my pulled pork recipe coming tomorrow!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

I've always hated coleslaw even before I gave up sugar. I'm sorry but a 'salad' should not be sweet.

However, #leohusband has a thing for pulled pork sandwiches - the Carolina kind with coleslaw on the top. Last year, I endavored to make a Whole30 and Paleo Version of these treats for his birthday. It was a great day - celebrated at one of our local craft breweries with friends and family. Several of the ladies in attendence, including me, are all on a health journey so it was even more important to come up with a recipe enjoyed by all.

Whole 30 and Paleo Southern Cilantro Coleslaw


2 bags of organic coleslaw mix - the ones with carrots, green, and red cabbage
2 green onions sliced on the diagonal
1/2 c of chopped cilantro
2T Primal Kitchen Mayo
3T fresh lime juice
Sambal oblek to taste

Large Bowl
Small Bowl
Measuring Spoons

Make it:

Wash all the produce. The coleslaw mix should already be washed.

Spin dry the cilantro in a lettuce spinner.

Dump the two bags of coleslaw mix into a large bowl. Toss well.

Chop the cilantro and add to the bowl. Toss again.

Cut the green onions finely on the diagonal. Add to the bowl and toss.

In a seperate small bowl, add the mayo, lime juice, and sambal oblek. If you like things spicy then add about a tablespoon, if not, I recommend a 1/2 teaspoon.

Whisk the wet ingredients together until they are completely incorporated. Pour over the salad mix. Toss to coat everything evenly. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.

Serve on its own or over pulled pork. Stay turned for my BBQ sauce and Pulled Pork recipes!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The fourth is coming up next week and that usually means lots of good food - preferably Texas brisket or at least some BBQ for me - and drinks.

However, I'm doing my best to stay on track with strict Paleo due to several recent injuries on top of my adhesive arachnoiditis. I've had to really cut back and modify my workouts so I'm making up for that in the food department.

Next week - July 4th will be the ultimate test since I will also be on vacation, visiting #leohusband's family in Florida. I've never fully been able to stay strictly paleo when I'm there. Too many tempting treats!

This year I'm hoping to be on track especially since one of my sisters-in-law is a complete health nerd like me. Hopefully, she and I can hijack the kitchen and keep things healthy.

I'm optimistic that I can make this mocktail and maybe my Whole 30 Pulled Pork next week to stay on track. I came up with the recipe last year for a friend who has Type 1 Diabetes. It has no added sweeteners at all! Stay tuned tomorrow for this yummy goodness...

4th of July Paleo Mocktails

1 c of filtered water
1.5 lbs of Strawberries hulled
1/4 c of Raw Unfiltered Honey
1 Full Spring of fresh Rosemary or 1 drop of Doterra Rosemary Essential Oil
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 T of fresh lemon juice
Ice Cold Cran-Raspberry LaCroix
Rosemary sprigs for garnish
Blueberries for garnish

Sauce Pan
Blender or blending stick
Mason Jar

Make It:

Wash all produce and herbs.

Chronic Pain Warriors - for quick hulling of strawberries, I like to make a V cut in the top of each with a sharp paring knife and then slice them in half, working over the saucepan and sink.

Add the water, rosemary, and honey to the pot and bring to a boil. While the strawberries are coming to a boil zest the lemon, cut 1 in half and juice it. Once the strawberries have come to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add the 1T of lemon juice and the lemon zest. Stir well. Simmer for 5 minutes and allow mixture to cool.

When the base has cooled off, take out the rosemary sprig making sure to get any yummy strawberry goodness off. Either pour the base into a blender or using a blending stick, thoroughly blend the base. Pour into a wide mouth mason jar through a sieve. Chill for 1 hour.

To serve:

Add 1-2 T of the strawberry base to the cocktail glass of your choice, top with ice and Cran-Raspberry LaCroix. Garnish with blueberries and a small sprig of rosemary.


Friday, June 29, 2018

There are some things I just miss. I think this is been a recurring theme in my blog posting lately.

I really miss pancakes sometimes. So cruising through my local grocery store I saw Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pancakes.

I’ve worked with these over the past month to get the best pancake recipe I can find, and this is what I came up with.

Instead of using coconut milk or almond milk, I found the best thing to use was the Lifeway Plain Organic Kiefer.

This key ingredient gives you the fluffiest pancakes and the most pancake like texture.

I even got super fancy and added some dry nut mix this time.

This was the ultimate prebought gluten-free pancakes that I modified and they were simply delicious.

I like to make a bunch and then reheat them in my toaster oven during the week for a quick breakfast.

I purchased Bob’s Red Mill with my own funds, I did not get this product for free to test.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

I treated myself a few weeks ago to a beautiful BHG Organizational Magazine. It was a nice under $10.00 Treat Yo Self moment.

The gorgeous cover caught my attention mainly because if I could sell everything in my house tomorrow and start fresh, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I don't know if it's that everything reminds me of better times or I'm a new person since my disease so I feel weird and out of touch in my surroundings. Maybe both.

As I browsed through the magazine at first glance an article about addressing the true needs of a room caught my eye. It really got me thinking that although I have a small home office set up in the guest room and an art nook, I always end up grabbing my finances or supplies and hauling them downstairs to work on in front of the TV.

What are you using your living spaces for?

Bullet Journaling? In front of the downstairs TV.

Crocheting? In front of the downstairs TV.

Calligraphy? In front of the downstairs TV.

XBox? You can guess what I'm about to say.

Seriously. Art through XBox occurs in our downstairs living room. $10 says you can guess where I'm blogging right now. So why don't I have a desk in there?

Ooh! Let me look at 'desk in the living room' layouts on Pinterest.

6 hours later...

I have confirmed that a desk in the living room would rock and that yes, I should totally sell everything in the house and start over. Sigh. Back to square one!!!

I took the plunge and sold our loveseat and couch on Nextdoor. I used the funds to buy a desk and thanks to my awesome parents - they bought me a sectional that is comfortable enough to stretch out on for my arachnoiditis leg. I will be doing several covers for my mom and a few book layouts pro-bono to repay her.

I challenge you this week to really examine what you do in your rooms at home and set up that room according to how you actually use it.

Here is what I came up with...

Monday, June 25, 2018

Friday night I had a pain flare that dramatically increased from a 5 to an 8 within minutes. I was already in bed and knew I wasn't going to be able to sleep due to the intensity of the pain.

So I started my 5 step process to get the pain under control in order to fall asleep. I think that if you suffer from chronic pain the things that I recommend are worth talking to your doctor about.

5 Ways to Defeat Painsomnia

1. Lidocaine Patches

I immediately slap on a lidocaine patch. It is my first line of defense. I set a 15 minute timer and...

2. Headspace SOS Pain Flare Meditation

I listen to the Headspace Mediation on Pain. If my heart is racing and my body is tensing from the pain this helps it calm down. If the pain is not coming down within the 15 minute timer, I go to the next step.
3. TENS unit

I put on my tens unit around the pain area and then set a 30 minute timer. I either turn on the TV and put a funny show on to laugh or listen to a book on Audible. When the 30 minutes is up I access my pain, if I'm still in as much pain as when I started...
4. Frontline medication

I take my muscle relaxer. It's a prescription and while it does absolutely nothing for my nerve pain, it helps my muscles relax because they are tensing and tense muscles lead to more pain and migraines. The last thing I need during a pain flare is a migraine. The muscle relaxer can also help me sleep, so it's a piece of my bedtime pain strategy in combination with my sleep medication and melatonin.

5. Ice

Last I get ice, and this is last because I will fall asleep with it, which isn't great for your soft tissues.

If it comes to it there is a 6th step and that is my last resort and frankly, #leohusband usually has to talk me into it.

If nothing has worked I finally break down and take my prescribed pain medication. I usually have a Larabar or an RX Bar in my nightstand drawer for emergencies.

I feel that in today's climate it's important to talk about the people who actually need pain medication. I do. I'm not a drug seeker or an addict. I rarely take mine and I go through all of the above steps before I do. Treating people with serious conditions like Adhesive Arachnoiditis like criminals bodes ill for the future of medicine and medical treatment.

Even then, my pain medication sometimes doesn't work. Then I'm stuck until the nerve pain finally decides to just turn off.

There have been many times that #leohusband has come downstairs to find me asleep with my cell phone still playing Netflix. Luckily we now have an Amazon Fire Stick in the bedroom so I can watch TV during emergencies.

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