K: Kickboxing and krav maga


Despite my aversion to exercise, see post here, I do love kickboxing.  I have done it twice.  Each time I loved it.  And each time I couldn’t walk for days.  Or I could walk, but very painfully.

My husband loves boxing.  He is the very athletic without trying type.  Grr.  He chooses to channel his emotions physically, through running, boxing, etc.  The story of how he roped me into it can be found here.

What I like is how it makes me feel that my body isn’t useless.  How I feel that I’m not defective.  That my  muscles and bones and joints and tendons can all work together like they are supposed to.  I don’t feel sick in the one hour that I am trying to keep up with the class, although I’m sure I look pretty sick.  In my head I look like one of those MMA chicks.

Also, what is important for me as a rape survivor, is that I feel like I could defend myself.  I feel like, if I were in a situation again where I was powerless, I could do something to protect myself.  That is so important to me.  I do still have a goal of actually attending krav maga classes one day, just right now financially and health wise it is not realistic.  Hopefully one day I can get to a place where I can make that happen physically/financially etc.

The exhaustion from that kind of exercise is different from the usual exhaustion.  It is a PRODUCTIVE exhaustion, if that makes any sense at all.  Normally, just walking around all day exhausts me.  But that kind of exhaustion makes me feel like I’ve earned it.  Like I’ve battled for it.

It’s on the goal list…

E: Exercise



Yes, exercise is good for me.  But I pretty much hate it.  I am not one of these fitness nuts.  I have never been athletic.  I have always been a klutz.  But I do know that it helps what is wrong with me, and that sitting on the couch isn’t good for anyone.

But through experience, I have learned that going hard is not good for my body.  I have to start low and go slow.  I have to do low impact.  Even when I’m feeling better I have to watch that I don’t overdo it because I will feel worse.  Because then I won’t walk for days.

Yoga is good for fibro and autoimmune.  Walking is good.  Swimming is good.  Boxing is not good.  Neither is running.  Even the elliptical at the gym is way too high impact for me.  I have learned this from experience.  Painful experience.

I do have a goal of learning krav maga one day, but that is far off.  I know that I have to build up my body before I can even entertain that idea.

But it is spring.  It is a time of renewal.  And hopefully after the winter that never ended I will be back to yoga.

B: Balance



Balance is something I struggle with…as a mom, as a nurse, as a wife.  I guess most people struggle with this, but it is harder when your body doesn’t listen very well.  I have had chronic illness for nearly 9 years, and I still struggle.

But I have learned some valuable lessons:

Take care of your body.  Learn what your limits are.  Right now, my tolerance for shopping is about an hour in the grocery store at ultimate health (think 100% life on video games), probably 30 minutes when I’m flaring or stressed.  I’m at about two to three stores (for about 20-30 minutes) if clothes or Christmas shopping.  I have to adhere to these rules or I run the risk of outpacing my energy sources and crashing.

Rest means REST!!!  I don’t have to sleep, although sometimes that is helpful, but keeping my body quiet, in a peaceful and quiet location for at least an hour is optimal.  That means no interruptions, no getting up constantly to serve a certain seven year old, no putting out petty fires that other adults can’t seem to solve on their own.

Understand that your body is different.  Your body doesn’t function the way it once did before.  It no longer has the endurance, the ability, the properties to hike all day, to go on a 12 hour shopping spree, to do the things it once did.  You may be physically able to withstand these activities, but the payment in terms of recovery is often more than the enjoyable activity in the first place.

Learn your body, learn your limits.  Strive for balance so you don’t spend your new life miserable, in pain and in bed.

A chronically ill Christmas

The holidays mean something completely different for those of us with chronic illness.

You know you're from Pittsburgh when Troy Polomalu is enshrined on your tree

You know you’re from Pittsburgh when Troy Polomalu is enshrined on your tree

Someone who isn’t blessed (cursed?) with one of these lovely diseases often finds themselves stressed after the holidays.  All the hustle and bustle, the shopping, the cooking, the traveling the entertaining usually takes a toll on the healthiest of our society.

Imagine what this time of year does to someone with an illness that is negatively affected by stress.

Merry Christmas!!

This is my 8th year celebrating while sick.  The first one was absolutely awful.  I could barely drag myself out of bed.  And when I did make it to my family’s annual holiday party, I was ridiculed, put down, cruelly made fun of because I couldn’t help with the clean up.  That is why I live 1500 miles from said family.

I have learned over the years to pace myself.  To not get so damn ambitious and try to do EVERYTHING that is associated with this time of year.

As most people with chronic illness know, just leaving the house can be an ordeal.  The crowds at the mall or a store can just suck the energy out of you.  For me, it seems the larger the crowd, the more my energy is drained.

I have learned to do as much shopping as I can online.  I have had an Amazon Prime account for years, and that helps tremendously.  Its $80 per year, but it pays for itself.  Being that I have many relatives far away, including my bonus son, just eliminating the chore of going to a store, fighting with the crowds, then going somewhere else and shipping said gift is lifesaving.

My bonbon tree.  The colored ones are oreo and the brown ones are peanut butter.

My bonbon tree. The colored ones are oreo and the brown ones are peanut butter.

I also plan my baking and cooking carefully.  I do a little bit at a time.  For instance, I baked a bunch of sugar cookies for Sunshine’s class party.  I doubled the recipe so we’ll have cookies here for Santa.  I cut out and baked the ones for Sunshine one day, then decorated them the next.  I froze the dough that I’m going to use on Christmas Eve.  I’ll cut out, bake and decorate those in phases too.  It all doesn’t have to be done at one time.

And no matter how much I wanted to make a gingerbread house from scratch this year, I conceded that it probably isn’t going to happen.  So I bought a pre-made gingerbread house that me and Sunshine can put together.

I also made my dessert for Christmas dinner WAY in advance.  Bon bons.  Fairly easy to do, just a lot of mixing.  I really need a good hand mixer.  So those are chilling in my freezer until Christmas.

I’m trying to pace myself.  My parents had a party yesterday, and I did more than my part.  I cleaned, cooked, mixed, entertained.  But I did it all on my terms.  I rested very frequently.  I would do something for 10 minutes straight, and then rest for 20.

My FAVORITE light display

My FAVORITE light display

I divided the wrapping over a series of weeks.  I started shopping in November, and as of right now, everything is wrapped and hidden.  I did a few things one day, a few things the next.

I have gone out with Sunshine on three separate occasions to look at Christmas lights.  I picked the warmest nights and we spent some much needed “Mama-Baby” time just driving around and admiring the displays.  Its the little things that make this time of year so special for me.

I am nervous about traveling to a colder climate this week after all the excitement.  After 20 minutes of sitting in one position, I freeze up and it’s hard to move.  I’m not looking forward to a three hour flight.  But I get to see my bonus child and my husband’s family and friends, so it’s worth it.

So I’m learning.  Its been difficult over the years, but pacing myself seems to work.  And it  is a hard lesson to learn.  But each year it gets easier.  I don’t have to do EVERYTHING that is associated with this time of year.  I don’t have to do the parades, the insanity, the mad rush.  It’s my own.  I do it to the best of my ability.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Saturnalia or whatever you celebrate this time of year.  Enjoy the season.  Enjoy your loved ones.  Don’t kill yourself trying to make the “perfect” holiday.  Your health is more important, and you will enjoy it more if you aren’t completely sick for the holiday.

Thank you all for the kind words you have shared with me.  I really appreciate it.  Those of us blessed (cursed?) with these types of illnesses need to band together because no one else understands.  Take care of yourself.


A fibro Thanksgiving

I think I overdid it.  Again.

Left knee is KILLING me.  It is a stabbing pain in the middle of my knee cap.  I don’t remember twisting it or jerking it.  So I’m taking it easy today (at least exercise wise) while I try to figure out what is going on.

I didn’t really contribute to last year’s Thanksgiving, because I was too sick.

This year, I’m doing the stuffing and the mashed potatoes.  Oh and I made Steeler cupcakes because they are playing tomorrow night.  And my family loves the Dallas Cowboys.  Just have to remind them who has the most Superbowl wins.

I make my stuffing and potatoes from scratch, so I’m trying to do as much as I can a head of time.

Also, my mom is determined to make this “the most perfect Thanksgiving in the universe” so she is running around here like a turkey with their head cut off.  I think she has rearranged the dining room three times now.

We are expecting around 20 people.

So I did the cupcakes this morning.  It was also a practice run for the cupcakes I’m making for Sunshine’s upcoming birthday.  I just wanted to make sure they turned out ok before the big day.

I chopped the celery, herbs, onions and garlic.  My eyes are still watering.

Sunshine is the “bread” girl, in charge of putting the bread out to stale and turning it over to make sure each side stales evenly.

My mom is doing the turkey, and the rest of our guests bring something.  It should be fun.  I just hope that people can behave for company.

Good Lord.  The several hours I spent on my feet already have NOT helped the knee situation.  No swelling.  Just pain.  I hope it isn’t indicative of something more seriously wrong.  Like RA.  Hopefully it is just overuse.

I’m learning to shake off the constant criticism.  I was asked to clean the bathroom, and again, I explained that I already agreed with my husband that he would take that duty, since the chemicals give me a migraine.  Again, she pretended not to remember that very specific issue I have with strong smells, especially chemical ones.  So I continued with the prep that I CAN do.

If I hear “it is my house, I’ll yell when I want to” one more time, I think I may start yelling.  She yells at inanimate objects, the animals, us, Sunshine.  I don’t want Sunshine subjected to the constant yelling.  Its not good for her.  She is beginning to have issues in school, and recently confided to her teacher about all the stuff going on in the house.  I have a meeting scheduled next week with both her teacher and therapist.

I’m debating on if I should even broach the subject with my parents.  I don’t want Sunshine to continue to suffer, but I’m concerned that voicing my complaints will earn me a spot at the homeless shelter.  I have been threatened several times with expulsion for seemingly minor infractions.

So I hope tomorrow goes well.  I hope that the police don’t need to make an appearance.  I hope that my mother remembers she’s an adult, and that others are entitled to their opinion.  Judging by the screaming match that erupted at dinner the other night (about the news reports of the “knockout game”)  I am really concerned.

Hope you all have a pleasant, pain free, fatigue free holiday!!

PS:  I’ve dropped 20lbs since August!!


“Good” pain

Things in my house haven’t gotten any better.  If anything, they are worse.  Which is probably why I’ve been to the gym four times this week.

And it HURTS!!

I don’t think its pulled muscle pain, more like “I have fibro and I’ve been to the gym” pain.

With fibro, any kind of muscle exertion hurts more and way longer than it would to a “normal” person.  Which is probably why the past few days have been so much fun.

I’m taking a break tomorrow and probably on Sunday, I’ll get back to it on Monday.

Its nice to know that it is possible to have this level of physical activity with fibro and not keel over.  The pain isn’t fun, especially in my quads.  Getting up to standing from sitting is awful.  I’ve been popping Tylenol for the past few days.

But it feels really good about halfway through my workouts and for a few hours after.  I come home right away and take a hot shower.  And I hydrate.

I’m sleeping better too.

So I’ll probably continue this trend.  It gets me out of the house, it helps with the aggression I’m feeling toward people in my household, and its having good side effects for my health.

I survived the gym!!

I am so happy with myself right now.

I felt like hell this morning.  It was frosty outside, and my muscles and joints DID NOT want to cooperate.  But I forced myself to go to the gym.  And I didn’t die.

I did 25 min on the treadmill (walking) and 10 minutes on the bike.

And now I feel a ton better.

Now to take a HOT HOT shower to make sure my body doesn’t stiffen up again.

Flaring and a quick update

First order of business….the inflammation in my eyes is back.  Not horrible, not enough to require treatment.  But its back.

That was a little disheartening.  But we did have a conversation about future treatment, should I need it.

I have been off of steroids for nearly two months.  Off of chemo for almost five.  I do not plan on EVER going back on those meds.

Doc said if he needs to treat the new inflammation, he will do steroid injections into the eye.  Which is what I wanted to hear.

So that’s good news.

Fibromyalgia has been rearing its ugly head again.  I’m pretty sure it is weather related, as the temperature actually dipped into the 40s here.  That morning I woke up and couldn’t move.  At all.  Fuck.

It took me about 45 minutes to actually get out of bed and get moving.  I went to work.

But each day since it has been better.  Still needing some help in the morning with Sunshine, but overall much better.

I plan on resuming my workout tonight.  Hopefully I can move tomorrow.

Thank you for all the likes and follows and support.  I really appreciate it.  I know this journey isn’t over yet, but at least I’m in a better place than I was a year or even six months ago.

Snap, crackle, pop

I’m not talking about the cereal here.

I’m talking about the sounds I make in yoga class.

Since I have been off steroids, I have been making a concerted effort to be more active.

My parents live next to a “green belt” (for those of you unfamiliar, it basically mean “the woods”) and there are walking trails.

And EVERYBODY and their mother, dog and children are out in the evenings and mornings running or walking.  This has to be the most physically fit place I have ever lived.

My ultimate goal is to be able to go to one of my husband’s boxing classes and make it through the entire class without dying.  I’m tentatively setting this goal for next summer.

He finally came to a yoga class with me today.  And he wants to go back.

Yoga has seriously been the best exercise for me since my fibro diagnosis almost 8 years ago.

I started it in my teens and would go to class as time allows.

Mostly every day I have done some sort of stretching.  Either in bed, in a chair, or out on the floor with a mat.

I have been able to keep up with the regular classes, going to the “gentle” classes when I was on methotrexate.

That is one thing I would recommend to anyone with fibro.  Find a “gentle” yoga class.  Go.  Yes, you will feel muscles you never knew you had before, and you will be sore for a few days, but if you do light stretching the next day, it helps.

The endorphins released during this type of exercise really helps with the pain.  The meditation helps as well.  And maintaining flexibility is paramount to having the use of all of your muscles as you age with this disease

A very positive day today (so far).  I’m helping out with Sunshine’s Daisy troop later in the day.  10 shrieking, active, little girls.  Wish me luck..

I survived the great move of 2013

So far…so good..

I really surprised myself with what I was able to do.  There are some things that I knew I couldn’t do, so I didn’t even try…like moving furniture.

But I was able to pack and to move some boxes.  I wasn’t slowing things down.  And that is good enough for me.

The first night we moved in here, I took a LONG LONG bubble bath to help with the muscle soreness.  It helped because the next day I could actually move everything.

Day 2 went much better.  I’m still in pain, but it is not unbearable at this point.

I went to yoga today with Sunshine.  Probably the most stressful yoga class I have ever been to.  Sunshine was one of the oldest kids at the Yogatime! class for kids and mommies.  And she was one of the best behaved.  But I didn’t get the usual benefit that I get from a nice, peaceful class.  Oh well.  I’ll have to go again soon.

I am walking every night with my husband.  He’s Mr. Super Athlete, he boxes, runs and played rugby in high school.  He’s going to start training for a marathon.  I haven’t tried to run yet, just a brisk walk is enough to get my blood pumping.  But I’m doing more and more each time we go.

And I work all this month.  Only four to six hours a day, but its something.  And it will definitely help the financial issues.

We will see how this week goes.  Hopefully our cat Punkin survives meeting my parent’s dogs.  Punkin hasn’t really left our bedroom much, but the dogs know she is there, and she knows they are there.  Its just a matter of time before the fireworks start.

Thank you for reading and for all he supportive comments.  I really appreciate them.