Everyone is stressed nowadays. In fact, as a society, we’ve started glamorizing stress. Think that’s weird? Well, if someone was telling you that they had to somehow figure out how to run to 5 different stores, get their kids to three different sports (all on different ends of town), go to their own high-intensity spin class, and still work full time – what would you think? Odds are, most people think “Wow, they really have their life together! I am so not measuring up.” But, if you really stop and think about how that must feel, they probably feel like a frayed rope trying to hold up an elephant.
These levels of stress are severely unhealthy, and we’re doing them to ourselves. Society has put such a premium on “busier is better” that we don’t take time to relax or unwind.
High levels of stress have been scientifically proven to shorten our telomeres. Telomeres are essentially caps on the ends of our chromosomes that are responsible for protecting our DNA. While they naturally shrink as we age, long-term stress accelerates this shortening process. When the telomeres are no longer there, our chromosomes begin to get damaged, which causes aging and decreased cellular health. Yikes!
(In summary: Being excessively stressed ages you prematurely and causes cell damage.)
This is hard to write, but it’s something I feel I absolutely must – my soul feels broken and heavy, and my heart has been put through a wood chipper.
As the weather gets warmer here in the northern hemisphere, many of us get a lot more active! An increase in activity necessitates an increase in hydration. When it’s hot outside, even if you’re not active, you need to increase hydration as well. Heat causes you to sweat, and sweat causes you to lose a lot more water than you would if you weren’t sweating. While hydration is important year round, I thought the warmer weather would be a good time to really focus on your hydration levels!
I love science experiments, and have always been fond of Petri dish experiments! There’s something satisfying in getting a definite visual result in the Petri dish.
Dan and I decided to try a Petri dish experiment of our own. The toilets in our house needed cleaning, and we wanted to see if there was a difference between the usual cleaner we’ve been using, Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner, and the On Guard Cleaner Concentrate. I can’t actually use the Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner – it messes with my asthma and gives me migraines. When we clean the toilets with the Lysol, the vent fans have to be on full and we have to open the powder room window. The On Guard Cleaner Concentrate doesn’t mess with my asthma and doesn’t give me migraines, so I was hopeful that it would clean well so that I could actually help with this household chore. Continue reading
Lately, I’ve been feeling less and less like myself. With everything going on in my life, my self-care routines have been abandoned – which has created this empty “not me” shell. I’ve still been helping support Izzy and her family (posts 1 & 2), recovering from my arm surgery (posts 1, 2, & 3), and then the general life busyness intensified.
Self-care is different for everyone. Some people go all out and spend an entire day in a spa or go on a full vacation to relax. Some people don’t like those things (my mom hates being touched by strangers so massages/manicures/pedicures are torture for her), or can’t afford them, which is fine. Other’s with limited funds or resources may do spa days at home (I created some luxurious bath bombs for use at home, and they were quite a bit cheaper than the ones you can buy), or choose to take a staycation. And then there is the amazing #BoringSelfCare movement, which I absolutely love!
Or maybe taking a break in the grass is your idea of self-care!
Physical pain is a part of life – everyone experiences it at some point. For people with chronic health conditions that include pain, physical pain is a “normal” part of our daily lives. Thinking back on my life, there isn’t a single day in my memory where I wasn’t in some form of physical pain. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder (G-HSD: generalized hypermobility spectrum disorder), and have had symptoms of it my entire life. Pain and I are old friends, but that doesn’t mean I won’t do whatever I can (within reason) to shove pain out the door for even a few minutes.
It’s been just over four weeks since my elbow surgery. The surgery will hopefully correct pain and numbness that I’ve had in my right arm for over two years due to cubital tunnel syndrome. You can learn more details about why I had the surgery here, and read the immediate post-op update here.
As Dan had said, the surgery went well. I made sure to request they not use Versed during anesthesia (we learned I reacted poorly to it after my SI joint injections), and waking up was a lot easier without it! I was nowhere near as nauseous as I have been after every other surgery. They still gave me IV Zofran right after I woke up though – I was a tad nauseous and nerve pain can always make that worse. I was dealing with pain (and somehow able to give it a number while barely conscious), and they gave me several (3) doses of IV fentanyl before releasing me. (I just looked at Dan’s post-op update, and they also gave me a Dilaudid apparently.) Below is a slideshow of pictures from my surgery day!
*sings and dances*
I’m broken and I have proof, I’m broken and I have proof!
Before I get to the good news, let me back up a little. Earlier this year, I went to an immunologist my ENT/allergist had recommended I see. It was the worst appointment I have ever seen and because of it I terminated my relationship with my ENT/allergist and decided to seek care elsewhere. You can read more about my appointment from Hell: here.
After that awful appointment, I went to my rheumatologist. Some of what the horrible immunologist had said about my conditions really shook me, so I wanted to double check on my fibromyalgia diagnosis and get a little more clarity as to why I had received the diagnosis exactly. I also wanted to get a recommendation from him as he is an amazing and brilliant doctor and has given me many excellent recommendations in the past.
I set up an appointment with the new immunologist for February 26th. That first appointment was amazing: an hour and a half of him truly listening to every single thing I said as we went through my history system by system, asking me in detail about many of my parents’ health conditions, him formulating hypotheses out loud about what may be going on and what may be connected to what, and then figuring out testing to run. He requested records from several doctors to make sure they hadn’t missed anything in their tests, and he ordered a bunch of lab work. Continue reading
The month of April is Autism Acceptance Month! It is not an “awareness month.”
Awareness and acceptance are different actions. Continue reading
Hey everyone, Lizz here! I had surgery on my elbow yesterday (March 27th), and knew I would likely be incapacitated for a while. However, I know a bunch of you wanted to know what was going on as soon as possible – especially since we weren’t sure which surgery I would receive. To easily update everyone, I am having Dan write this post (I’m writing this blurb in advance)! I will write my own update as soon as I am able. There may be a few non-updates that come out in the meantime, as I have a few drafts that Dan just has to hit “publish” on. Be sure to keep an eye on my Instagram, as I’m more likely to be able to update that before I can update here.
Without further ado, here’s Dan’s update:
Post-Surgery Update – Dan’s Perspective
As Lizz indicated in her intro, yesterday was her surgery day. Since her arm pain began, over two years ago, it’s been quite a journey trying to figure out the cause. There was definitely a little tension built up from having to deal with that and the looming surgery so I’m happy it’s finally done. Here’s how it went.