Getting Back to Pain Free Days

Man, what the hell is up with 2019?

I feel like it's been one long string of bad luck experiences. It's as if I've been stuck in Retrograde all damn year.

What gives? I'm starting to notice that years ending in 9 are some of my worst years.

What the hell universe? Seriously.

I was doing great, January I had zero pain. I was feeling awesome.

Then I got BioTe, Bio-Identical Hormones, at the beginning of February and it was all downhill from there.
I knew that my testosterone was .02 when I was tested, so I had been on hormone cream for a couple of months. However, it was hard to remember some days to apply because let's just face it, remembering things is hard when you have chronic pain...especially when you are currently in a pain flare-up.

We're working on our house this weekend and my father-in-law asked me where the paintbrushes were, I know we have them, not a clue as to where. Now, this may sound fine and normal to some people, but I'm the kind of person who can tell you the peanut butter is on the 3rd shelf up, on the right, behind the tuna. Damn, I hate what pain does to my brain.

Back to BioTe...

When my functional medicine doctor was getting my dosage ready for the implantation, he asked me if I get headaches before my period starts. I answered yes, so he said, "Let's put a little estrogen in the mix to help with that."

Ugh.

Huge mistake.

In the next few months, I gained 15 lbs...and I was still working out and eating right, so it was the effing estrogen. Also noting that I felt like I had chronic fatigue syndrome, I was a constant bitch to my husband, my joints became even more hypermobile, and did I mention I gained 15 lbs?

F- that! I'll take the damn headaches, just get this crap out of my body.

Well, I had to wait until they "dissolved" for the estrogen to just go the hell away. Meanwhile, back at the lodge, in April, I hurt my back trying working out harder than I should have to lose the weight I had gained from the estrogen. My chiropractor got my back into place from the misguided workout attempt, but two nights in the ER had it out again.

Why was I in the emergency room you ask?

That same day of my extreme workout, I had routine blood work done for my annual physical and the phlebotomist punctured my artery.


That next week, I flew to Orlando for #breadwinnerbff's 40th birthday. I walked about 8 miles around Universal Studios. That is an amazing feat for someone with Adhesive Arachnoiditis. I got to rest for two days after that but was home alone taking care of myself, like the stubborn idiot I am (introvert wants alone time).
Finally, #leohusband came home from Kuala Lumpur. We got Luke, our third attempt at a rescue dog, the very next day and...

Luke was infested with fleas, so I hurt my back, again, trying to give him a bath with #leohusband that same day. I spent the next week vacuuming and running laundry every day. More trauma to my back.

Going into our third week with Luke, I made ramen for dinner and subsequently spilled the boiling ramen all over my legs when I crawled onto the couch to eat dinner.

I haven't moved that fast in years, especially since I got Adhesive Arachnoiditis. I jumped off the couch, bent over and ripped my ruined yoga pants off my body as fast as I possibly could, and sprinted to my shower to drench myself in cold water.

My legs were on fire and #leohusband is Googling that I need to stay under the cold water for 20 minutes. My back seized up under the cold water and me shivering halfway through the twenty minutes.

I know what you're thinking, geez could it get any worse?

Oh just wait!

So that week we had some really, really horrible thunderstorms come through. Turns out that Luke had severe thunderstorm anxiety. No matter where I was he would try to get as close to me as possible, which meant my lap. My lap is not made for a 76 lb dog. After constant attempts to sit on me, the pain in my back just got out of control.

#leohusband left for another trip and I could not physically take care of Luke on my own, so I ended up calling his foster mom to come get him.

Then I had two weeks of being on my own, trying to keep the fort running, and waiting until #leohusband comes home to finally take care of my back issues.

So by this time my back has been out of alignment for 8 weeks. It has spent so much time out of alignment that it is the norm for it now. My freaking hypermobility is so annoying. Actually, I have some real choice words for how I feel about my hypermobility but I'm trying to keep this blog PG-13.

#leohusband finally got home but the damage was done a long, long, time ago. We traveled to San Antonio for my nephew's graduation which there was no way I could do hours in a stadium seat so we did dinner and quality time, and went home.

Mid-June when my chiropractor would put my back into place and it would shift back out within 20 minutes to 48 hours, I called in for back up.

#leohusbands mom came down to do laundry, help us put together freezer meals, and do some odd jobs around the house that I just haven't gotten to and if I did them, I would just further piss off my already infuriated back.
With her help, we planned another weekend for her to come back with my father-in-law to do basic home maintenance jobs that just aren't getting done because they involve two people and I simply can't do it. Well, I'm stubborn enough to do them but I shouldn't do them if I want to stay out of a wheelchair.

That's the reality of the situation. All the gains I had with the last two years of yoga have been lost in 3 months. Muscle death with Adhesive Arachnoiditis is real y'all.

So my awesome physical therapist gave me a 28-week plan and I joined Life Time Fitness. Upon my first day it was obvious there's a cult following where some people have had the Kool-aid. Why are you at the gym all day? What are you an athletic model? seriously?

All I care about is getting my stretch on, doing my PT, and then hitting the treadmill or lap pool. Last week was hell. I don't know how I even made it to Friday. I was so tired, and in so much pain, but I've got to keep on it to rebuild the muscle I've lost.

In short, I haven't kept up with my blog, or my Instagram, or just life in general. I am finding it hard to function period. I've probably said this before but when #breadwinnerbff was getting married and her sister missed her flight, her reaction was priceless, "It's not that I don't care, it's that I can't."

Nothing has ever been so pricicely clear than that phrase. That's exactly how I feel, I should care about keeping up my presence online and in social media, but I just can't right now.

I'll be up and motivated to spread my wisdom and help again soon, because I refuse to give in to this disease and that folks, is what this battle is all about. I just need to direct my energy to me for a bit.

Gluten Free Ramen with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Inspiration can strike when you least expect it, or in my case, a moment of starvation.

I had a moment of wanderlust in my local Costco and I stumbled upon Gluten-Free Ramen.

Now, I normally eat grain free, but on the occasion I need to have something more substantial, I tend to turn to brown rice. That's exactly what this ramen was made from, organic brown rice.

I couldn't wait to get home and try it out.

Gluten Free Ramen with Creamy Avocado Sauce


1 T Ghee
1 Avocado
1 t Curry Powder
2 t Minced Garlic
1 T Coconut Aminos
1/4 t Sesame Oil
1 Handfull of Cilantro
1 Cup Bone Broth or Vegetable Broth
1-2 t of Taste of Thai Green Curry Paste (Whole30 and Paleo compliant)
Leftover Green Vegetables (I used zucchini, broccoli, and asparagus)
Leftover Protein from Dinner or Soft Boiled Eggs - How to do Soft Boiled Eggs omit if vegetarian or vegan.

Boil the gluten-free ramen as per instruction. If making eggs start that water as well in a smaller saucepot.

While the water is heating to a boil, in a large skillet on medium high, heat the ghee.

When the ghee is warm, but not smoking, add the garlic and let it come to a warm golden color. Then add the spices, green curry paste, and coconut aminos. Whisk spices together and warm until fragrant, about 1 minute. If using leftover protein, add that to the skillet with the leftover vegetables and saute for 4-5 minutes.

At this point, the ramen and egg water should be boiling so get that started.

Add the broth to the skillet and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

Cut open the avocado and mash half to a fine paste. Add to the broth and stir well. Salt and Pepper to taste broth mixture to taste. Thinly slice the rest of the avocado for topping.

When the ramen is done, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Leave the noodles in the sink and work on the eggs if using them in the recipe. Once everything is ready, add your ramen to a bowl, pour the broth mixture over the ramen and top with the leftover avocado, eggs, cilantro, and sesame oil if desired.

Enjoy!

Summer Vegetables and Meatballs

Summer is officially in full swing and I can feel the heat just sitting inside my darkened house. I swear if you didn't know any better you'd think houses in Texas were inhabited by vampires since I keep the blinds shut all day long to keep the house cooler.

In the words of Xander on one of the best shows ever created, Buffy the Vampire Slayer..."You know, our friends, that sleep all day and have no tans..." Yep. Texas looks like it's full of vampires in the summertime.

However, the one great thing about Texas is the variety of veggies that come out. Particularly, zucchini and my new favorite heirloom tomato blends. Yum.

I decided to start a Whole30 in between events this summer. That's after my nephew's graduation from High School and before #leohusband's birthday, even though that means a Whole30 July 4th - American Independence Day for my non-US readers.

I feel confident that my two servings of fruit from a cold watermelon on Independence Day is just fine with me in lieu of peach pie.

Unfortunately, my back has been totally f'ed up since April and I haven't had the chance to sit down and evaluate what I need to do to actually feel better. I've been in pure survival mode hanging on by my fingernails trying to keep up my blog, keep up with my daily 'I need to do this to feel normal' activities, promote my awesome new podcast Chronic Warrior Women with Rebekah Svensson aka #awkwardyethealthy, be social with family and friends, oh, and do my daily responsibilities like laundry and ironing, etc...forget about getting a meal on the table.

By the time I'm done with all that I'm done - stick a fork in me!

Needless to say, I haven't been eating that great, not bad, but not up to my normal standards. In fact, I had to switch my morning affirmations from I love my life, to I love to cook. This is so weird to me because back when I was teaching, I did love to cook, it was my stress reliever. Now, it's my stress inducer. Crazy!

So yesterday was my first Whole30 day. Well, I felt so bad I didn't even start eating until lunchtime when #leohusband woke up and made breakfast for lunch. LOL! Then all I had to do was dinner.


Summer Vegetables and Meatballs


Zoodles:
5-6 Zucchini
2-3 t salt


First, prep the Zucchini. Wash, dry, and spiral about 5-6 large zucchini. Place the spiraled zucchini in a colander, in the sink, and generously salt the zucchini. Set a 20-minute timer and start working on the meatballs.

Meatballs:
1 lb of grass fed ground beef
1 egg
1 T almond flour (as long as it's not the main ingredient this is OK on the Whole30)
1/2 T Italian blend herbs, divided.
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper


Mix all ingredients in a medium-large bowl with your hands. Wet your hands and then roll the mixture into 1.5-2" balls. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment at 375 for 20-30 minutes. Around this time the zucchini should be finished.

Sauce:
1 T olive or avocado oil
1 t of minced garlic
1/2 small onion, diced
1 lb of mixed cherry tomatoes
1/2 T Italian blend herbs, divided.
1 t salt
1 lemon zested


In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic and onions and saute until fragrant and the onions are slightly translucent.

While the onions and garlic are sauteing, slice the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise. Add the tomatoes to the pan and salt and pepper the vegetables.

Head to the sink and grab the zucchini and a bar or tea towel. Dump the spiraled zucchini in the middle of the towel. Pick up all four corners of the towel and now you are going to twist the towel to "ring out" the excess water from the zucchini.

Add the drained zucchini to the tomato mixture. Saute for 5-7 minutes.
Around this time the meatballs should be finishing. Check to make sure that they are done in the middle. Temp should be around 165 degrees in the center and juices should run clear. If the meatballs are done add them to the skillet.

Toss everything and top with lemon zest. Serve.

Essential Oil No More Scars Blend

I have so many scars on my body.

So many.

I always like to think of that line in the movie The Replacements with Keanu Reeves...Chicks Dig Scars...Glory is Forever..etc.

Well, I don't think men dig scars on women as much as we dig scars on them. #leohusband has this awesome scar on his back and he likes to tell people, in jest, that it's from a bar fight. He is 180° different in appearance than someone who would have a bar fight scar.

I have 23 surgery scars on my body. You can't really see them because I have a magic trick.

Abracadabra...

Essential Oil 'No More Scars' Blend

For the carrier oil, you are going to use vitamin E oil.


In your rollerball vial:

Frankincense 15 drops
Helichrysum 10 drops
Sandalwood 7 drops
Top off with Vitamin E Oil - I prefer Jason 5000iu Skin Oil

Use twice a day after moisturizing so it stays in place. If on your face avoid makeup in that area, if possible. Let's put it this way, there's a reason I styled my hair differently for 6 months.



Thrive Market


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Disability can Affect Anyone at Any Time

My mother always told me, "Don’t judge a book by its cover." Later in life, she also told me you don't know what is going on in someone's life, what they are dealing with. This was a lesson on giving grace, being less judgemental, and being patient.

Ninety percent of the time I do a really good job of empathy. When I'm having what #breadwinnerbff lovingly calls my devil hell bitch days not so much...but that's usually three days before Satan's Waterfall hits me so the other 20-24 days of the month I'm usually happy, usually.

So I guess I'm saying that I get it, we all have bad days, ladies we are all underappreciated, fellas we are all stressed. However, never in my adult life, keyword being adult because I did some stupid vindictive passive aggressive bs when I was growing up, have I gone out of my way to purposely hurt someone or their property. Sure, everyone wants to key their exboyfriend's car Carrie Underwood style, but only crazy bitches do that.

If you are reading this and have just realized you are a crazy bitch, it's not too late to seek the help you need.

via GIPHY


Let’s just talk about how disability does not know age, race, color, or class.

Not all disabilities are visible. Last week someone saw me park in one of the handicap spaces to go to the grocery store and they gave me a funny look.

I initially didn’t think anything of it, until I had a flat tire with multiple punctures in the side wall in which the tire guy told me it definitely looked like a pocket knife had done it. #leohusband and I definitely didn't need a $300 tire bill this month on top of all of my other medical expenses...

You can’t see my nerve pain. You can’t see my permanent and progressive spinal cord disease from the outside. What you see is someone young and pretty but you can’t see the horror that lives inside my body every day. To the man that slashed my tire, I now have a sticker on my back windshield that explains that not all disabilities can be seen on the outside.

My mother's 83-year-old neighbor had his car keyed because apparently if you are driving a sports car you can't be disabled.

Disability can Affect Anyone at Any Time.

Have you been judged by your appearance or age? Are you disabled and you can't tell from just looking at you? Please share your own story in the comments. This is the kind of topic that needs to be discussed out in the open so more people are aware.

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Can Fasciablasting Help Intractable Pain?

If you haven't heard of the latest trend in health, Fasciablasting, you are not alone. While it may seem to those "in the know" that Fasciablasting is on everyone's radar, it isn't.

Last month when I got together with #breadwinnerbff, I had to explain what it was to her, and it didn't help that I hadn't brought either of my blasters with me.

I showed her some YouTube videos and she was already in the know about fascia and how it can affect your muscles and pain.

So first what is fascia?

Fascia is a connective tissue within your muscles. It can become tight and inflamed contributing to muscle spasms (knots), muscle weakness, tenderness, and a host of other issues.

When you get a deep tissue massage the therapist is often working on breaking up some of your fascia that has clumped and thickened.

What is Fasciablasting?

Fasciablasting is a term created by Ashley Black, the creator of the Fasicblaster, where you use a many-pronged device to break up the fascia that you can use in the comfort of your own home. Back when I started Fasciablasting there were only two devices, the original and the travel. Now there are so many that I can't even keep track.

Can Fasciablasting Help Intractable Pain?

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty, I'm not going to make judgments about levels of pain and so on, suffice to say that while fasciablasting is recommended for things like fibromyalgia, my problems and pain levels are much more serious.

I have Adhesive Arachnoiditis which is classified as one of the worst pain conditions. It ranks at the top of the list along with metastatic bone cancer, renal colic, chronic regional pain syndrome, and migraine.

So when I say I Fasciablast, I do it completely different than what is recommended for fibromyalgia.

First, if you have inflammation, I have neuroinflammation, do not use heat.

I fasciablast only the areas that have a hard time keeping muscle strength and are consistently tight. I never fasciablast along the nerve pathways that are affected by my adhesive arachnoiditis. I save those for dry needling. I fasciablast my upper legs and stomach.

Second, I do mine in the shower. I have a process. First, I dry brush my entire body and then get in a warm shower. I start fasciablasting my legs then my stomach, finish the shower and get out.

In the beginning, I started with five strokes down my IT Band, 5 stokes down my quad, 5 down the inner thigh, and 5 down my hamstring and over a period of 4 months, increasing by 5 each month, I worked up to 20. The same for my stomach.

In the fifth month, I added on horizontal strokes at 5 and worked up over a period of another 4 months.

In all the effect I have received is my legs are less sensitive to touch which for me is major. My stomach blasting has allowed me to work on my core since the blasting helped me to lose some inches. It also has helped digestion issues.

Do I blast my whole body?

No, and in honoring my body and what I need to do for it, the energy expended blasting my whole body would dampen the benefits of the blasting itself. Plus, I did that once and the inflammation it caused and the resulting pain flare took me months to get over.

When I get out of the shower I immediately put ice on my "nerve pain" areas and follow up at night (or afterward) with an Epsom salt ice bath for 20 minutes.

Fasciablasting is not pleasant but I did eventually find relief in combination with all of the other things I do to stay on top of my pain. Again, doing natural, alternative medicine treatments can take months if not a full year to see a benefit. Stick with it chronic pain warriors.

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