Adina Mayo

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

Sunday, December 9, 2018


It's incredible how a loveable furry four-legged friend can become an indispensable part of your life.

From waking up in the morning, following you around all day, conversations while cooking (on my part at least), to falling asleep at night...when they're gone you don't really realize how much you interacted until that constant leaves.

The first week was raw, in the sense that I simply could not talk about it or think about it without a giant hole tearing up my insides. I think that is a decent way to describe it. I threw myself into finishing the KonMari of my upstairs with help from the best parents in the world.
Unfortunately, the day after My Fluffy Alarm clock died, #leohusband got on a plane to finalize his overseas project. Getting through the week without my best friend was hard to put it mildly.

How to Survive a Dog's Death

I rearranged furniture. I hung new artwork. I donated office supplies. I cleaned out books. I evaluated what I actually wanted to devote my time to.

Then I ran out of steam. Honestly, I don't know how people do these KonMari marathons of cleaning. I think my emotions get the best of me holding everything and seeing 'if it sparks joy." Man, that's tiring ya'll.

I was already tired and stressed from Tiger's death, oh and my basal cell skin cancer surgery, and then it got infected...

Did I mention I was in the ER the night before Thanksgiving and Tiger died the day after Thanksgiving?

Worst Thanksgiving Ever!

This beats when I got my tonsils out when I was 21 on Thanksgiving. I thought that one was bad. Whew! That's life for you.
It's been 10 days and I only get the occasional pang when I expect him to be there. Take yesterday, I was making my Paleo Mac n Cheese and I literally said "Ooh Mommy's going to make her favorite quick meal" and then realized that he wasn't there. Sigh. I teared up and had a moment but then went back to my cooking.

I will say I did have to take a day a week later and really absorb his loss and what that meant. I allowed myself to feel the sadness. It was exactly one week after his death and it wasn't quite so raw. I was coming out of the numbness. The distractions needed to be set aside so I could focus on the grief in order to let it pass.

I know in the days, weeks, and months to come I will get moments of surprise sadness, and I will acknoweldge them, feel them, and then let them go. While I know it's ok to be sad, it's not ok to stay sad.

I am hopful we will meet again because where ever Tiger is, I want to be there too.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

I’ve mentioned before that #leohusband and I have ‘completed’ a KonMari of our house. Well, by completed we cleaned out the kitchen and didn’t get rid of nearly the amount of stuff I wanted to. I did an excellent job of cleaning out my closet. However, the upstairs and the attic simply never got touched.

For a couple of reasons, we had to go slow because of my pain levels and the holidays were upon us. So we just did not get to the level of minimalism I desired in my life.

Well, as soon as we came back from Hawaii... I started on the upstairs. I deconstructed all the closets. Put my crap everywhere so I could just sort through it. When it came time for my housekeeper to clean, I just told her to skip the upstairs rooms that were crazy messy.

She has had to do that twice so far. However, I have learned to live with it because I am simply tired of shoving my excess crap into the closets of our guest rooms.

To make a long story short...(too late) I’m in the final stages of sorting through all of my art and crafting items. I’m setting up stations to get the most of my hobbies and work. In true KonMari style, if I want to do it or use it...it needs to be actually accessible.

I’m so psyched to get everything done before #leohusband gets home. So far it looks pretty scary...

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Everyone loves peach cobbler right?

Well, that's a great summertime treat, but why should fall fruits be overlooked?

I love pears and I feel like a kid at Christmas when they come into season. This year I wanted to have a simple Paleo dessert for Thanksgiving since I was attempting my first turkey (and it turned out really good). I thought about cobbler but peach season has come and gone...so that led me to think about pears.

Best idea I've had in a long time.

I modified our family peach cobbler recipe to Paleo and then subbed in pears for the peaches.

It was so delicious and easy. As a chronic pain warrior, the hardest part was chopping the pears, and that didn't take nearly as long as other recipes I bake.

Plus, I finally got to use Cassava flour as a 1:1 switch for All Purpose Flour and it worked!
Paleo Pear Cobbler

Ingredients:
7 - 8 Fresh Pears (any choice but if you use Bartlett, make sure they are firm and not soft)
1 1/4 cups Coconut Sugar (divided)
1 stick grass fed butter
3/4 cup Cassava Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened almond/coconut milk blend (So Delicious, Nutpods, or BetterHalf)
1 large organic free range egg

Supplies:
4 bowl mixing set: small, medium, medium-large, large
Cutting Board
Knife
13 x 9 baking dish
Whisk

Make It!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the butter stick in a 13x9 baking dish and place in the oven while it is preheating.

Do yourself a favor and get a small mixing bowl for "trash" to put the pear cores in. This will make your prep work super fast and keep your cutting board clear since you have a lot of pears to chop.

Get a second medium to large bowl, to drop in the pear chunks you are baking with.

Wash the pears and cut into quarters. Remove the stem and seeds (drop into trash bowl as you go). Chop each quarter into 2-inch chunks. Drop into your large bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup of the coconut sugar.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. The butter should be completely melted by now and you don't want it to burn.

Whisk all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl together including the remaining 3/4 cup of coconut sugar.

In your last remaining small bowl, whisk the egg and the nut milk together. I decided to try this new milk from Thrive Market and it was perfect.
Slowly add the wet into the dry and stir together. Pour batter over the melted butter in the baking dish and then spoon the pears on top. Do not mix. The batter will rise up in between the pear mixture.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until the crust is firm and not soggy. The sides should be bubbly.

Enjoy!

#leohusband who isn't paleo like me enjoyed his with a scoop of Bluebell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. However, he had it for breakfast this morning and loved it plain too!

I also had it for breakfast today because even though the Thanksgiving food was great, seeing family was awesome, Friendsgiving was superb, it really was the absolute worst Thanksgiving in my life, but more on that later...

Friday, November 9, 2018



This gorgeous fall dish also tastes amazing. It seems like the flavors would clash but the salty brine of the olives goes so well with the sweetness of the pears.

Ingredients:
2 Asian pears
1 large red onion
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary 
3 T olive oil
Large handful of Kalamata olives
4 sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley

Equipment:
Large bowl
Chefs knife
Cutting board
Aluminum foil lined large baking sheet
Oven


Roasted Pears and Red Onions with Rosemary

Make it:
Preheat your oven to 425°

Wash all produce.

Cut the pears in half then in quarters. Cut each quarter in half. From the haves, cut three slices (this should be approximately 1/4 inch slices). Place in bowl. 

Peel the onion. Cut the onion into 1/4 inch rings. Place in bowl. 

Strip the rosemary from the stems and place in the bowl with the pears and onions. 

Drizzle the olive oil over the pears, onions, and rosemary. Toss. Spread out evenly on the baking sheet. 

Roast for 20-25 minuets. 

While everything is roasting, strip the parsley from the stems and coarsely chop it with the Kalamata olives. 

When the roasting is finished, dump the roasted pears and onions back into the bowl. Top with the parsley and olive garnish. Serve immediately. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

This crazy girl decided to finally go on a long vacation with #leohusband.

Well, the vacation needed to be taken for several reasons. One #leohusband has been working himself to the bone and traveling all over the world. While that may sound very exciting, he spends most of his time on planes, in airports, and hotels.

If you had a conversation with him about it, he would tell you that he's working the entire time so sight-seeing is out of the question. He'd rather sleep in his own bed and have a home cooked meal from me.

So he needs a vacation.

Two, I need a vacation from my job of fighting my disease all the time.

However, the problem is I haven't traveled more than a 3 hour flight or a 5 hour car ride (with extensive breaks so I can walk, stretch, and rest) in my awesome air-conditioned super comfy car seat.

So where to go, not break the bank, or break me in the process.

We settled on Hawaii after seriously kicking around the idea of Venice, Italy.
How to Fly with Chronic Pain

So now I'm sitting on the plane, in Economy Plus thanks to #leohusbands fight miles, five hours into the flight, three hours to go, and I'm not dying.

I'm uncomfortable for sure. What all do I have with me? My bear pad and pillow for the seat. You can see #leohusband carrying both in the above picture. I've got my back brace on underneath all my clothes so it's definitely chaffing my skin. My old-fashioned ice bag is currently under my left hip and I'm probably going to switch it to my right in a few more minutes.

I'm getting up every single hour and walking around, taking the long way to the bathroom. I'm drinking as much water as I possibly can because staying hydrated is key to my success in this adventure.

I took my prescribed pain medication about 2 hours into the flight, right when I started getting above a 5 and luckily I've stayed at a 6.

I stretched for a few minutes by the bathrooms at the halfway mark.

I've also got my tens unit, although getting that on in the tiny airplane bathroom doesn't sound appealing. If I hit a 7, then we're about to try that out.

Lastly, I have a compounded topical pain relieving medication that my pain management doctor gave me to survive all the physical demands that this trip will do to my body.

I will have to write a separate post on the experience of getting this medication filled...because getting that medication required jumping through flaming hoops, in the middle of a lightning storm, on a dry field, in the middle of summer, covered with gasoline.

In other words, it was really difficult, but I got it, and we booked our flight, our Air B&B's, and our rental cars. I contacted my #sororitylil who lives in Maui, the lucky girl, and told her we were coming.

I'm doing it. I'm actually doing it.
What I really think I want to communicate with other chronic pain sufferers today is this, I spend every damn day of my life trying to survive. I never really feel like I'm thriving. I wake up and I fight my disease and it's exhausting. I have felt that my life stopped, or on sad days, ended, when I got Adhesive Arachnoiditis.

That's why this trip is important. If I don't make the effort to keep living my life and doing the things I've always wanted to do, then my life really did end April 14, 2016.

So I'm scared, and I'm probably going to have pain, and have bad days, but Hawaii is a place I've wanted to see and experience with #leohusband and I'm not going to let this chance pass me by.

I hope that this is the beginning of a new chapter where I still can dream big and see those dreams come true.

Except for Japan, definitely can't travel there with their super strict medication laws...sigh.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Shoulder pain? Yeah. I've been there since April. It sucks so hard and frankly, I wish it would just stop.

I'm at my wits end with my inability to sleep how I want to.

My Adhesive Arachnoiditis makes my right side unbearable to lay on most nights, which has been fine because I can get my mountain of pillows and stack them to get my right leg into the perfect position to sleep laying on my left side. However, since I messed my left shoulder up in April, getting bursitis and shoulder impingement, I can't lay on my left.

Sleeping on my back makes my shoulder pain throb and I can't really lay on my right side so I'm just SOL.

It got so bad I even considered dropping $300 on this pillow system.
If you don't know what the different things that can go wrong with your shoulder...this article is great at explaining.

My awesome PT guy hooked me up with some stretches and a few exercises I'll cover next week.

1. Doorway stretch.
3 times, 30 seconds each, move arms up and down. Now I will say this does bother my back. I have to make sure my core is tight and I'm tilting my pelvis up so my lower back extends. Gosh, I hope that makes sense.

2. Foam Rolls
3 different locations: lower shoulder blade, mid, and upper. 10 each. Hold your neck for stability

3. Arm Levers
Keeping your injured arm perpendicular to your body. Bend at the elbow and raise the forearm. Using your opposite hand, gently push the stretching arm to the floor.

10 times, 10 seconds each

Even though it is my left arm that is injured, I repeat the arm level on my right side because I don't need that side acting up!

Well, all is said and done. As long as I keep up with my stretches and exercises on a daily basis I'm fine...but it's just one more damn thing to keep up with.

via GIPHY

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

I keep having issues thrown at me. I get on a great track of doing the things I need to do. Making my to-do lists, staying on top of my alternative therapies for my Adhesive Arachnoiditis, and generally getting crap done. I feel like the ultimate boss bitch of my own life, I can go out and conquer the world despite my disease.

And then something dramatic, stressful, or stupid happens and kills my daily routine and expectations I have built up. It takes a week or more to get over the said event and by then I have to regain the energy and gumption to get back into the habit of things.

Organized Me vs Real Me: 4 Things to Get Back on Track

1. I have generally accepted that I am going to get disrupted by something.

Whether it's my husband gone for business, my elderly dog having terrible health issues, or me hurting myself, I just know it's going to happen. I've decided that if I at least get my face washed in the morning, do 10 minutes or less of yoga, drink my water, and eat paleo, it's a win.

via GIPHY

Sometimes it's so easy to fall into the I'm going to do "what's easy" trap. I know when I spent all that time food prepping and then couldn't move for 5 days, I'm not joking, it would have been so easy to just make some Annie's Organic Gluten Free Mac and Cheese.

However, I improvised and made my sweet potato and tomatillo hash into a soup using my instant pot so I didn't have to stand up at my stove. Luckily, that soup lasted for 6 meals.

2. Pick One Thing and Do It


I know I've said start small and I do mean it. In my pain haze, I decided to just focus on making sure I ate good and drank the appropriate amount of water each day.

via GIPHY

It's not much, but it did keep me on track.

Then in a few more days, I added a bit of yoga on.

In a few more days, I started dry brushing to move my lymph again.

It may take me two full weeks to get back up to doing my everyday routine but I'm in the acceptance phase where I know I will eventually get there which brings me to...

3. Give Yourself a Break from Guilt


I think we just get so down on ourselves for our failure to not maintain the status quo when something happens. You got a nasty cold and suddenly you can't keep up with your workouts. It's fine. Give your body a chance to heal but as I've said before, start small and get back on the horse.
Life is rough, it's not easy, and it's vastly unfair. Don't place more negativity on yourself (yes I am also writing to myself here because I'm not perfect and I struggle with getting off my routines) by beating yourself up about that PB&J you made last night or the exercise class you missed.

Put something funny on the TV and work on your laughter skills.

4. Get a Buddy that Understands and Encourage Each Other

One of my BFF's called me about two weeks ago and we had lunch. She wanted to pick my brain about her struggles with depression and everything she said was speaking to my own soul.

We decided together to seek out some professional help, encourage each other daily, even if it's just a quick text, and be candid with the times our brains go to the dark places in our mind. She doesn't have my disease but she has her own demons and that makes me relate. We are also proactive about getting better.

via GIPHY

You need to find someone you can relate to and is proactive about seeking positivity. They are the type of person who recognizes there is a problem and is willing to do things for a change.

If you have someone in your life that is the opposite of these things, consider giving them less of your time.
Organized Me vs Real Me: How to Get Back on Track?

When all is said and done, the real-life me, the one who always gets bombarded with something weird has learned that each day is a new day to become the organized me.

I look forward and am hopeful that I have at least one or two days a week where I'm on top of my game...and since I haven't eaten breakfast yet, I better get on that. I'm just thankful I felt creative enough to do a blog post.

One small thing at a time, right?

I'll eventually get back to being the boss bitch I am. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but I'm hopeful it will happen soon.

Monday, September 24, 2018

I have spent the last two, now going on three days, in severe pain.

Why?

Well, I would love to make a long story short but that's just not my style.

Since May, #leohusband has been traveling for work, and when I mean traveling for work I mean halfway across the world. Also, he's gone for 2 to 3 weeks and back for a few days, maybe a whole week if I'm lucky, and then gone again.

This hasn't been a positive situation for me.

I am usually stuck at home due to my limited mobility and energy levels, so seeing #leohusband is my outlet. Isolation isn't that great for someone with chronic pain. While I do have friends in the area, I have to balance my energy on outings and getting things done around the house, not to mention my personal goals...like this blog that has become almost impossible to update.

One of the things I hate the most about Adhesive Arachnoiditis is the energy suck (okay the pain isn't fun either). Some days I have to choose between cleaning the kitchen and cooking dinner or doing yoga and videotaping it for my blog. Guess what I've been choosing since May?

So while #leohusband is away, my goals and my life feel like they have been put on hold, not to mention that my health has taken a drastic spiral downwards.
Fluffy Alarm Clock has also had major health issues since March, so that has added to my stress and contributed to my current depression, in conjunction with #leohusband not being here.

My pain levels are increasing and I know that one of the contributing factors is because I'm not eating exactly how I should. Now don't get me wrong, I'm still eating paleo, but when you start eating Bob's Red Mill Paleo Museli for breakfast and dinner...something is just not right.
Which brings me to our topic...
Why Food Prepping is Bad


Another of the many things I struggle with is my brain thinking I'm still normal. I haven't adjusted to the new normal with things I think I should be able to do, even though I talk about making the new normal your bitch constantly.

For instance: Some of my family mentioned getting a speedboat for a vacation and I made the offhand comment that my speedboating days were over. This I understand. I have adjusted to the new normal for recreational activities. Rollercoasters? No. Standing in line for more than 10 to 20 minutes to get into a museum? Hard pass.

via GIPHY


The other part of my brain thinks that I should totally be able to prep meals for a week. Although in the past I've food prepped with #leohusband and one of our couple bff's for the Whole30. I found out the hard way that four people food prepping together is way easier than one person alone.

I even took breaks. Work for 45 minutes to an hour, take a 20 to 30-minute break.

Didn't matter.

The irony is, I spent all that time washing and chopping, sorting into Tupperware, and organizing each meal...and I'm in so much pain I can't even think about standing in front of the stove to actually cook the meals I prepped.

Ugh. Life is too damn hard sometimes.

It looks like #leohusband isn't going to be letting up on his travel anytime soon so if I want to eat healthy, like I know I should, I've got to find a better way.

I just wish I had a Whole Foods or a Sprouts near me. I would think that they would have organic pre-cut food. Unfortunately, the produce that is pre-cut at my local stores is not organic and according to my functional medicine doctor, I need to avoid anything that has potentially been exposed to RoundUp, aka Monsanto.

via GIPHY

So while I do choose to use pre-cut veggies occasionally, they are not viable for long-term use.

That leaves me searching for pre-cooked food delivery options that are Paleo or Whole30 compliant.

Join me in my search next week as I explore options.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Since #leohusband has been traveling all the freaking time, I really have not been into cooking.

Actually, I haven’t been into anything lately.

I guess you can say the strain of him being gone for the last four months is really starting to take its toll. It’s obvious I’m missing my other half because things just don’t seem to be fun without him. I’m definitely on cruise control here.

Well, at least he’s back for a little bit and it seems that I have rediscovered my desire to cook again. It helps that there’s an appreciative audience.
So this morning I dug through my pantry and got out the Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Pancake Mix I brought from Thrive Market a while back.

The steps to make this are very simple and took less than 5 minutes. I did substitute one item because I am a fan of adding avocado oil to pre-prepared mixes than coconut oil. I find that melted coconut oil solidifies as soon as it comes into contact with eggs from the fridge, which is not good for cooking.

Other than the coconut oil I kept the recipe the same. I decided not to do anything fancy this go around just so I could try out the plain pancakes without any additives like dried fruit or nuts.
They mixed up well, the batter was slightly runny and they poured fantastically. I got about six medium-sized pancakes per the recipe.

I had my griddle on 350 with a light spray of olive oil on the plates.

The only drawback in the cooking process is they do not bubble in the traditional way that most pancakes do. When it came time to flip them, I watched for when the tops turned from a glossy sheen to a matte. That's when I flipped them. At that stage, they were golden brown so my timing seemed to be correct. Good thing since there was no bubbling.
I didn't time the second side, but it was long enough for me to peel a peach and slice it up. So maybe three minutes???

I served the peach on the side with a tablespoon of organic maple syrup (also courtesy of Thrive Market). I wanted them on the side because I felt it was important to try the pancake plain.

I mean plain, noting on it. No Ghee, no honey, no syrup, no almond butter...nothing.

Even plain they had a good flavor. They weren't dry. Semi-fluffy but good none-the-less. They were even better with the peaches in syrup.

All in all a great go-to mix when you don't feel like making your own or you are short on time for breakfast. The only complaint I had overall is that there is coconut sugar in the mix which I honestly feel is unnecessary. Come on people, we're going to add maple syrup anyway, why the add?

Whatever.

Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Pancake Mix Review
Taste: ★★★★☆
Chronic Pain Ease: ★★★★★

I highly recommend this for my chronic pain and illness community. It was so easy to make and required very little standing time and effort. Plus, since it was only me for breakfast, I have leftovers so tomorrow's breakfast is taken care of.

Friday, August 31, 2018

I love smoothie bowls. There are simply my favorite thing to eat when I just don't know what to eat. I also believe that they are not exclusive to breakfast. Have one for lunch or dinner. It's the better alternative to the "I'm just going to have a bowl of cereal for dinner" syndrome.

I do that a lot especially when #leohusband is out of town. Cooking for two is cool. Cooking for one is just not worth the effort sometimes.

Enter the smoothie bowl.

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

You can do this in a glass or bowl. I personally like the bowl because I add toppers like almonds because unless I'm chewing my body does not recognize that I've eaten.

This is Whole 30 and Paleo. It's also quick to make which is a bonus for my chronic pain warriors. If you want it vegan-friendly omit the bee pollen. Bee pollen is not considered safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Bee pollen also can cause a serious allergic reaction in some humans who ingest it.



Ingredients:
1 pear
1/2 fennel bulb
1 thin slice of fresh ginger, lengthwise
1 cup of packed down spinach
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1/2 c of unsweetened coconut water
2 dates chopped
1 T chia seeds
1/2 avocado
Big handful of ice

If drinking as a smoothie in a glass - 2T of nut butter or hemp seeds
If eating as a smoothie bowl - a handful of chopped nuts or seeds of choice

Optional:
1 T of bee pollen (if you have built up your tolerance) if not 1/8 t until you build up a tolerance over the next several weeks and months, note any reactions you may have - preferably in your bullet journal.

Make it!
Wash all produce.

Cut the pear in quarters and dispose of the core.

Cut the cucumber in half and peel the cucumber.

Remove the pits from the dates and chop finely.

Cut the avocado into quarters and add 1 quarter.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass or bowl (top with chopped nuts if doing a smoothie bowl).

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