Steps Toward Health

Most of my years of blogging have been about starts, stops, and beginning again. (Here and here.)

This fall has been no different. I am finally coming out of months of not feeling well. After so many appointments and tests, which are not quite finished, I have realized how much my emotions play a role in my health.

For 15 years, I’ve carried guilt, shame, and anger. I’m not going to go into details here, but I’ve realized how toxic it can be. So now I am practicing some self-care- again. Daily journaling helps. Meditation helps. And hearing others’ stories on various podcasts helps.

Baby steps.

Lately, I’ve been feeling much better. But I’m not going to fool myself into thinking all is well. Here is what I wrote ten years ago about the same topic! Life is complicated. Emotions are complicated. Humans are complicated. There will be darkness, and there will be light.

And I will be ok.

“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” – Madeline L’Engle

And just when I thought…

This fall I decided to make many appointments. I wanted to try to resolve some health issues I was having.

I wasn’t experiencing anything major- a little dizziness, a few headaches in the morning, a sore tooth. Anyway, each appointment meant a followup. And so on and so on.

When I was close to finishing the appointments (finding nothing huge, by the way), I fell. Yup, right on my knee. And it’s taken me three weeks to not limp! I was determined not to make another appointment, so I’ve babied it, iced it, and basically not slept well.

My exercise plan was shot since I couldn’t really do pilates or power walking. So this morning, I am beginning again. Because at my age, any break in the routine sends me backward. I’ll be gentle with myself today so I don’t re-injure the knee. But I need to stretch and move before I become frozen.

Just when I thought I was getting back into shape, I am starting over.

What I am reading/listening to:

Curable App (A different approach to your pain)

The podcast that goes along with Curable: Tell Me About Your Pain

Faith After Doubt by Brian McLaren because, well, there’s lots of doubt.

Make it Maya Such a sweet, funny young woman who shows easy vegan recipes. I’d be a vegan just because of her videos!

Update: My fun and kind-hearted pilates instructor reaffirmed to me this morning my leg pain is probably a tendon and will just take time to heal. Nevertheless, it was good to move.

Does Trauma Play a Role?

I am drawn to sunrises and sunsets. I’m sure that’s because I find them calming.

Lately, I’ve been listening to a podcast on Curable. Dr. Allan Abbass, spoke about how trauma creates pathways to various kinds of anxiety, even trauma that’s barely remembered.

My husband sent me an article from The Washington Post (he’s such a good support in helping me figure out what’s going on in my body –IBS and morning headaches). The article reminded me I had downloaded the Curable app, but I’d never really used it. I was motivated enough this time to binge on several podcasts today and to sign up!

From the article:

The view that chronic pain originates in the brain — that it’s fundamentally a psychological phenomenon, and can be eliminated by altering thoughts, beliefs and feelings rather than by changing something in the body or flooding it with chemicals — has long been controversial and is still largely dismissed as New Age hooey or offensive victim-blaming. But what started out as a hunch by health-care practitioners on the fringe is finally being proved true by science. It’s increasingly clear that chronic pain is often “neuroplastic” — generated by the brain in a misbegotten effort to protect us from danger. And that’s good news, because what the brain learns, we are discovering, it can unlearn. (The Washington Post)

At this point, I am willing to try anything. The comments following the article show people’s fear and lack of understanding. But if I’ve tried everything else, what could hurt? Anything to keep calm and heal.

The mind/body connection is fascinating.

What I Miss the Most

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

I feel so much better when I don’t have my nightly cocktail. I know, that sounds so superficial, so silly.

But I do miss my bourbon.

As I walk around downtown #fxbg, I think, “Oh, I want to visit that outside restaurant, enjoy a drink on the patio and watch the world go by.” And then I remember: I can’t.

I’m hoping these diet restrictions won’t last forever, but I will never go back to daily alcohol.

It’s not just bourbon, though. I’ve also given up dairy and gluten and most sugar. I watch how many fructans I eat as well as making sure I drink enough water. Balancing alkaline foods with fodmap restrictions isn’t easy. But my gut has stabilized.

Journaling every day helps me keep track of what works (and what doesn’t). So does starting my day with warm lemon water.

Keeping track of all this is like a full time job. Good thing I’m retired!

Traveling and the Gut

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

I do have ways to manage my gut. But I find it interesting that I throw it all out the window when I travel.

Yesterday I had cookies for breakfast. That was after I’d had quesadillas (lots of cheese) for supper the night before. And, in the car, I passed the time chomping on inappropriate snacks!

It’s as if I give myself an excuse, the freedom, to do whatever I want because my routine has changed. Today my gut will not be happy.

Routines are so important, even if they are a little boring. But the consistency helps me feel like all is right with the world.

Back in Fredericksburg, and I started the day with a trip to the local gym- my first visit in two years? Routines.

Grateful for: two houses I love, time to take care of myself, the sun shining in my windows.