The Common Cold

I’m getting over a cold this weekend. The illness itself only lasted about four days, but the lead up to getting cold symptoms was a week and a half. I blame MS and maybe hormones.

I realized several years ago that I would inevitably have low energy periods each month. I experienced flu-like symptoms (fatigue and muscle aches) without the upper respiratory distress. Every time I made plans to start a regular fitness regime, I would feel not well enough to get started.  Now that I know I have MS, it all makes sense.

You see, the period when I’m coming down with a cold is slightly worse for me than for people who don’t have an autoimmune disease. I’m just guessing. I haven’t done a study. I missed a few days of work last week because it seemed prudent not to overtax myself. I didn’t get a lot of exercise either. I feared that overdoing it could lead to a flare-up.

The only way I can get in better shape when I’m faced with these monthly energy fluctuations is to not skip workouts when I’m feeling good, and do what I can during my less than 100% periods. I’m considering getting in a little strength training every day with some cardio built in. I keep talking about it, but not making a plan. The trick is not to use the lack of a plan as an excuse to doing nothing.

Today, I’m recovering. Tomorrow should be better. I might do some hooping.

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Back to work

Today is the official New Year’s holiday. Tomorrow, I go back to work. I don’t wanna! The work week won’t even be semi-normal. I take my car for an alignment tomorrow and then take my dad to an appointment on Wednesday. I also have to go to Comcast and swap Dad’s malfunctioning router for a new one. The good thing is that I’ve got some fish and vegetables pre-cooked, and I’m well stocked on veggies for a while.

Last month, Riley destroyed my Wii Fit disc, so I ordered another one.

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An innocent sleeping Riley.

I also bought Zumba Fitness World Party. I haven’t tried it yet. Maybe I’ll write a review after I’ve given it a spin. It’s important that I get two days of strength training into each week. I have everything I need to accomplish this goal, but for some reason, I’m not good at seeing it through. I should make sure to do it on Mondays. That way, I’ll be half-way to accomplishing the goal. I may have to set a weekly schedule. Ideally, I would have my workouts set up for a whole month. The Evernote Moleskine notebook I ordered might help me to get moving on a workout schedule. We’ll soon see.

I forgot to post this picture of a tree ornament at my neurologist’s office. Is that Gandalf the White?

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Must be Gandalf!

Let’s give this year a try

It’s 2017 and I’m still here, but I sometimes feel like I’m running out of time. The best course of action would be to form a plan. Can I make a plan without the plan itself becoming my primary focus? Or, is that the point? They say that it’s the journey and not the destination, don’t they? Oh, THEY are wise.

Resolve

I gave up on making New Year’s resolution. They set you up for failure. I do however, want to make some changes in my life this year. I have MS, so taking care of my physical and mental health should be my number one priority. That means making more time for exercise, and to do that I will need to put my needs before my father’s needs. Taking time to cook healthy meals is another top priority. Next on the list is my creative practice. I want to continue to make lots of art and jewelry. I want to start selling that art and jewelry. As the list grows, I begin to worry that I won’t be able to manage it all. I want to give up before I start.

That paragraph looked like a bunch of New Year’s resolutions to me. I think it will help if I blog everyday. I know, that’s another item added to the list, but I won’t achieve anything if I don’t keep reaching. This year, I’m taking a journey, and I’ll blog about. That’s the ticket!

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Beginnings of a mixed media work.

Is it PMS or the MS?

To recap, I was diagnosed with MS in March of 2016. It wasn’t a surprise because I had suspected it for years. I had the tingling, the weakness, the drop foot, etc.

I’ve had a theory that I’ve been suffering from exaggerated PMS symptoms ever since I stopped taking the birth control pill (post hysterectomy). Every month there’s about a week and a half when I feel like I have a mild flu. I need to sleep a lot, my lower back hurts, and my hip flexors tighten. I think these symptoms couple with or exaggerate my MS symptoms and generally make my life difficult.

I’m currently experiencing that phase of the month, but I think things are slightly better because I’ve been working on improving the health of my legs. I do strengh training for the leg muscles twice a week, and I try to walk 30 minutes on the treadmill on most days. The trick is to make sure I work  out during these “fluish” times of the month so I can continue to improve my fitness level. I’ve been drinking a lot more water these days which I think is making a difference too.

I’m not doing great on the diet side of the equation. I haven’t been eating enough food because of the anxiety I’ve been feeling. Thus, I haven’t been getting those five fruits and vegetables every day. The increased Fluoxetine dosage seems to be working now that three weeks has passed. I’m hoping things will continue to improve.

Making art helps ease the anxiety. I’m trying to keep my art blog going as I create. I’m starting to think of myself as an artist. I’ve got two canvases going now. The art journal work has ceased for the moment. I’m sure I’d be more productive if I cleaned off my table. That might happen someday.

Photo of 10 x 10 canvas in progress.

Canvas in progress.

 

 

Writing 101: Serially Lost – Dancing Acumen

The assignment is to write about something you’ve lost and then make this part of a three-part series

I was once an okay dancer, but I got into grad school for dance because of my  talent for choreography. I had to take technique classes with the undergraduate students. They were better dancers than I was, but I persisted, and I improved. I became an okay dancer with some technical skills. I would never get into one of the top companies in New York, but I could have gotten into a company. Maybe a company that paid its dancers a small salary. Thing is, I didn’t really want to be in a dance company. I realized after four years of taking seven technique classes a week; I didn’t like dancing that much. I liked dancing, but it wasn’t my passion.

So I resigned myself to being a person who has undergraduate and graduate degrees in something they have no plans to use. Then I moved to Bloomington, IN and got involved in a dance company  that offered no pay except for free dance classes. I got REALLY involved with this group because it allowed me to keep dancing and have a social life. At some point, the work required to be in this company outweighed the rewards.

This story is beginning to take too long to tell so I’ll move on to my hysterectomy in 2009. I had my uterus removed because of a fibroid tumor that started to get too large to be tolerated. After the surgery, I stopped dancing so I could recover. I think that’s when my body stopped being the body I used to know. I won’t go into details because I’m sure a fairly complex set of circumstances contributed to my sense of being unfit for dance. A major contributor to my problem was my weak ankles. I finally went to a foot doctor who recognized that my high arches were causing the problem. He prescribed orthotics  and physical therapy. Now I’m on the upswing, but I have a ways to go. I understand that part of my problem is really tight hip flexors. This makes it seem as if my leg muscles are weak. They aren’t really all that weak, rather they are fighting against too  tight antagonist muscles. I don’t know if antagonist is the word I’m looking for, but I’m going to leave it.

I won’t go into too much detail about how I seem to come down with what feels like a mild flu  every month. I’ve chalked that up to PMS. This faux flu feeling has been causing me to exercise less because I just don’t have the energy. I found however, that when I went to PT during this flu-like time I was forced to push through the tiredness. That means I can work out hard most days of the month. That’s what I need to do. Will that improve my dancing? Will getting in better shape bring my dancing body back? We’ll see.

I just realized that this post can easily be serialized as I track my progress in reclaiming my body.

Next time I’ll write about visualizing myself dancing well. I should also talk about making a plan to get fitter.

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It’s the ankle!

It turns out that my ankle is the source of all of my problems. I’m exaggerating a little, but not a lot.
I was looking at my left ankle and realized it was a little swollen. Then I thought about it, and concluded that my ankle is always swollen.

Here’s something weird. I recently dreamed that my late grandmother and her sister (also deceased), were showing me how to apply pressure to a place on my foot. I believe these women were contacting me from the great beyond to help me fix my physical problems. There are more things in Heaven and Earth…

So I put a wrap on my ankle, and OMG, my life changed! My leg weakness and muscle spasms are gone. I even feel taller. I’m going to go to a foot and ankle doctor to see what he can do for me. My ankles are very week and prone to twisting, maybe he can help me make them stronger.

I think I will dance well again, and soon!

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I think I’m moving in the direction of my destiny. I think that all of my dreams will come true. I’m feeling good about my day job. I have cast aside most of the bitterness I’ve been harboring for the last three years or so. Life is good.

A Plan for This Week

I’ve got a plan for this week. I’m trying to make the muscle spasms in my legs stop by increasing my exercise time, and adding a magnesium supplement. If things don’t improve I’ll have to go to the doctor and see if she wants to test me for MS. I’m really scared that I might have MS. If I do, I could handle it, but I want to be able to dance the way I used to.

I’ve been religiously doing physical therapy exercises that I’ve found on the Internet, and it is making a difference. I really do believe that I probably don’t have MS. I don’t want to have to get an MRI of my brain to prove it though.

Here’s this week’s plan (all of these are for every day unless otherwise noted):

1) 30 minutes on the treadmill
2) PT exercises
3) Practice DDBD Gen Con choreography
4) Use the Ab Glider 3 times this week (if the thing gets assembled)
5) Stay hydrated
6) Take magnesium supplement
7) Eat fruits and veggies
8) Manage stress with deep breathing and positive thinking

I feel like I’m broken; I want to be fixed.

The RDA of magnesium for females over 31 is 320 mg/day. Here’s some more info from WebMD.

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