What I’ve Been Up To: January

Well hey there!

The last month has flown past while I’ve been busy writing, designing, coding, and, oh yeah – loving on my babies and my husband.

Here is some of what I’ve been up to:

Fighting the flu. The reports aren’t exaggerating — this strain is stubborn.

Finally answering (nearly) every imaginable question about going (and staying) shampoo free: Shampoo Free FAQ. If you have any additional questions, please ask! Not kidding –  I’m happy to help anyone considering this.

Trying out other uses for baking soda (since I knew it had to be for more than just baking, hair care and cleaning counter tops).

Watching Alabama’s victory over Notre Dame (Roll Tide!!)

Helping Abbie finalize her application to ASFA.

Inviting y’all to come visit us in Birmingham. Seriously. It’s on Jetsetter.com’s list of the 6 places to visit in 2013.

Continuing to update on the latest Resources and News for parents and educators of gifted and twice exceptional children.

Creating some logos, web designs and graphics that I’m super proud of. I can’t wait for them to go live.

Taking the kids to Tuscaloosa for the first time, so they could watch the BCS Championship parade.

And, starting today, this:

 What Ive Been Up To: January What Ive Been Up To: January
The Plan What Ive Been Up To: January.

I happened to catch a post from Missy, at Almost Naptime, where she mentioned the book and that she was going to start on it. She mentioned that it is an anti-inflammatory diet, and that even foods that are healthy can cause inflammatory reactions.  That caught my attention, so I sought out more information. I had a lot of questions and have watched her go through the first week and half (I’ve messaged her a lot… bless her heart…)

(Even though I do not have a Kindle, I downloaded the Kindle app and purchased the Kindle version What Ive Been Up To: January, and HELLO! I love the Kindle app on my iPhone/iMac/Macbook Air! Highlighting, bookmarking… heaven…)

By the time  you read this, I will have already weighed myself and drunk/drank/drinken (heh) 16 ounces of water with lemon juice (after weighing myself, thank you…), had a cup of dandelion tea for liver support, and eaten some flax seed granola with blueberries.

Why?

Because despite the fact that for the last 3 years I’ve been eating healthier than ever, I have struggled with chronic pain/autoimmune issues and, though I run 4 days a week, a slight weight gain. I want to find out if I’m reactive to any of the healthy foods I am eating, and I don’t want ‘slight’ to turn into ‘major’.

Speaking of my chronic pain, several people have asked and I still plan on having my IUD removed. Because I’m a new patient, I had to wait for an appointment, so I will keep updating here as I figure things out. It will hopefully be removed next month.

What are y’all up to? Do tell.

(The book link above is an affiliate link. If you purchase it using the link, I’ll toast you with some dandelion tea… thanks. ;) )

When Birth Control May Do More Than Just That

IMG 6746 w600 When Birth Control May Do More Than Just That

Other than a couple of questions here and there on social media, I haven’t really mentioned the chronic pain that I have been experiencing for the last 2.5 years.

It started in the summer of 2010, and I originally thought that I had a herniated or slipped disc in my neck/back. By the time the cooler weather came around, the pain was not as bad, so I kind of wrote it off as changes in the weather, humidity, and in my body, as I approached 40.

The problem is, the pain never fully went away. It retreated occasionally, but never completely, and never for long.

During this time, there were also increases in other issues, such as skin, scalp and hair issues (eg: eczema, hair thinning) and slight weight gain. All of these have ‘normal’ reasons, such as approaching and passing 40, allergies, diet…

So:

I’ve spent many days and nights wearing hand and wrist braces, thinking it was just really bad carpal tunnel.

I’ve changed to a standing desk, thinking it might just be really bad tension in my muscles caused by how I sit at the computer.

I’ve upped my exercise, thinking it might be rheumatoid arthritis and that it was best to keep moving.

I’ve tried OTC pain relievers, thinking if I could just get some relief, my body might heal itself.

I’ve added various vitamins to my diet, thinking it might be perimenopause.

I’ve gone shampoo-free, hoping to alleviate scalp issues.

I’ve changed my diet, trying my best to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, thinking it might be a food allergy, issues with wheat/gluten…

Until two months ago, I didn’t have health insurance, so I’ve prayed daily for healing and (/or, at the very least) comfort. I’ve laid awake many nights worried about what was wrong. It’s become a part of my daily life.

Last year, at Randy’s prompting, I started keeping a journal – tracking the pain: the dates, levels, locations. We knew that when we saw a doctor, in order to have a good grasp on things, and help along a diagnosis, we needed to have a sense of when things were happening.

Eventually a pattern emerged.

Almost three years ago, I got a Mirena IUD. It basically stopped my periods, but in my journaling, I realized that the pain always increased around my usual cycle.

It didn’t make sense to me, at first, that they might be related, but I searched the internet for correlations, trying to figure out if the IUD created symptoms, or exacerbated symptoms that were created by other issues.

In other words: was I already struggling with health issues? Or was it possible that the IUD was creating them?

My searches didn’t turn up much. I still felt at a loss to explain what would have brought on such a sudden, chronic pain.

In the last few months, I’ve realized that my search terms were off. I changed my search from searching the internet for “IUD chronic pain”, (which brought up a bajillion posts on chronic pelvic pain) and changed my search to “IUD autoimmune issues”.

And I found that there are many women who have been dealing with the same types of pains and issues. Some of them found great relief upon the removal of the IUD, many, after having had testing (and even possible diagnoses) for RA, MS, and many other autoimmune diseases.

After a few months of a mild decrease in severity, my pain has been back in full-force for the last few weeks, and the last few days, it has been worse than I can remember in awhile.

I’m making an appointment with my doctor, and I’m planning on having my IUD removed. It may turn out not be the root cause of my pain, but it is the simplest test I can do at this time.

Honestly, I’m hoping that it really IS just the IUD.

A Note From a Frustrated Runner

I’m frustrated.

Running has been a close friend for most of my life. I was one of the fastest runners in my elementary school. I ran track in high school. I ran for fun in college. I ran to lose the baby fat after my babies were born. I ran to stave off panic attacks and depression. I ran for clarity in the days leading up to my divorce. I ran for sanity after it. It’s my time to think. Clear my head. I feel good and free when I run.

Except when I don’t.

Recently, my runs have become sporadic and more difficult. This saddens me, because, regardless of the reasons, I was doing so well in my stamina, distance and endurance for so many years. One of my goals around the age of 35 was to run a marathon by the time I was 40. I turn 41 in less than two months, and I haven’t run one. At this point, a 5K wouldn’t be worth the entry fee.

I am not where I want to be with my running. At all. And it frustrates me.

Maybe it means that my reasons for running have changed.

I’m no longer running away. Or towards something. Or for sanity (ok… that’s questionable…) But I still need the stress relief; the health benefits.

Holy cow, do I need the stress relief. And did I mention I’m almost 41? Hello, belly fat, that won’t go away!

So I’m thinking about documenting it more online here. I dunno know… But I do need accountability. I just know I need to do it, just like I need to Just Write.

Life gets busy, and stressful, but I don’t want to roll over and let it stomp all over me.

Wrapping Our Heads Around Another New Reality

4 kidz w500 h1000 Wrapping Our Heads Around Another New Reality

This week, the kids are at their bio-dad’s. It’s their first long visit since last December; only their 3rd visit in that time.

The past two years, visits have been very few and far-between, but recently, he has decided to get them one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer, and a couple of other times during the year.

It’s all been very stressful. When he wasn’t seeing them regularly (and for a long while, not calling) there was a certain mindset I had to go into, in order to shield the children from the reality of the situation. They, too, had to try to make sense of the things that they were aware of, and how things went when they did visit him. They met many different girlfriends/fiancees during that time, and stayed at different places; all very confusing.

But, they adjusted, and coped rather well with the absence. They’ve always been good about asking questions and they asked a lot of them:

Why didn’t he call… again?
Why didn’t he come down for a weekend, when he promised he would?
Why doesn’t he write letters back?

You know, the stuff that screws with anyone, but especially a child.

Every situation is different, and so is every parent/child relationship. Our children want to know things and will drill down to get to the answer. They also know when you are bullshitting them. So, while I haven’t divulged every detail, I haven’t lied and I didn’t sugar-coat what I did tell did them.

Having their reality explained to them in terms that they can grasp, while also knowing, without a doubt, that they are safe, secure and loved, has been a healing balm for them.

We moved forward and created a new normal. One with an absentee father. Because we had too.

But now, we are having to adjust. Again. And it’s been difficult for all of us, because, once again, we are having to wrap our heads around a new reality for them. For our family.

I still feel the need to protect them, and be on guard.

I am, cautiously, thankful that they will now have (*fingers crossed*) regular visits with him.

I am nervous that he will slip back into his old ways, but praying he doesn’t.

I am amazed by the resiliency of children.

*holding breath*

Just Write

This blog is my spot for sifting through my deeper, not-always-pretty thoughts. For the less gritty version of me, be sure to check out my other site: Living The Life Fantastic, where I blog about how we’ve been happily moving forward.

Blah blah blah

I’ve written a lot about not knowing what to write lately.

The irony is not lost on me.

I’m trying to force myself to write until the words just flow, the stories return, my punctuation and sentence structure improves.

Blech. (Thank you for putting up with me.)

I’ve been writing on other sites about other topics, but this blog is my tiny piece of property where I can chew on things, toss them around and try to make sense of the world, share my deep thoughts, or post random photos showing how my hands look like Madonna’s (they totally do.)

My stream of conscious thoughts are not always pretty, so I still censor. My point of view has changed on many things, and I’ve irritated too many ‘friends’ on Facebook already, so I bite my tongue.

blah blah blah…

I’m afraid of losing my voice.

It’s why I keep forcing myself to write at least one post a week, despite the fact they say pretty much the same thing, every time.

linked up to “Just Write” at Extraordinary Ordinary