2nd Tui Na Massage

I drove out to the little small town nearby for my second Tui Na Massage appointment this morning. It was different from the first in that a) I was fine to wear soft, not-long-sleeved or -panted (is that even a word?) clothing, b) we only went over what was currently painful c) it was only one hour, and d) I did not need to rest afterwards.

We spent some time talking about the things I learned this week. The practitioner was glad to hear that I had learned about how my posture/habits/etc. affected my pain levels. She said that some people don’t take time to notice those things and those are the people that she sees repeatedly for “little issues that have become big.” I told her that I consider myself a life-long learner and that that applied not just to my mental education, but to my physical one as well. ūüôā

She went to work on my right foot, which I’d stubbed a few days ago, finished up on my right hip, and re-worked my left spine in the spot that always pops out. Then she told me something that she said she’d felt to compelled to tell a lot of people lately (and may as well tell me): people really need to work on being good at being adults. I laughed, as she had just gotten off an “emergency” phone call from her son wherein she had to give him directions somewhere three different ways before he understood her. Anyhow, the gist of it was this: watch your posture, eat food that makes you feel good (not just full), and wear good shoes. I’m am totally guilty of at least two of those. *sitting up straighter & searching for better shoes & tossing out all the super-crunchy food now* Ah-hem.

At the end of the appointment, she asked me if I still thought I had RA. I told her that while she had, in fact, made me feel better than I had in years, I wasn’t willing to go quite that far. I still am having my morning stiffness (which she said “everyone has that, it’s part of being older”) and I am still low grade feverish, as I am when I am flaring or overworked. She told me that a lot of people with migraines have low grade fevers and that I had one each time I’d been to see her so far (which was true; I’ve been very migraine triggered lately). I will have to look for more information on that because I’ve never had a regular doctor make that particular connection before.

In any case, I’m back to feeling better now. I didn’t have to lie down after this appointment and I don’t have to do the warm clothes & soup thing this time either. I just went to my new favorite bookstore and am back home again. ūüôā

Tui Na

I had a form of Chinese massage today to help with my RA. Oddly enough, my massage therapist doesn’t believe that RA is a real thing. She told me that I had basically dislocated most of my joints and set to work putting them back into place. For the most part, I’m feeling pretty good now. Range of motion in my neck, shoulders, and hips is better than it’s been in years. A few places still aren’t up to snuff. One place actively hurts like h*ll. In any case, I get to spend the next three days in pj’s and eating soup. Then, I go back next week to try to finish up the stuff that wasn’t done today..

mental health

I am starting to think that what I really need is a mental health blog.  Or to combine all my little blogs into one big blog so I can stop repeating myself from different angles.  Who knows.

A friend of mine committed suicide this weekend. ¬†We weren’t close lately, hadn’t been for a couple years, but once upon a time I lent her all my books about depression and gave her my number and talked to her about my experiences with therapy and brain chemicals that just don’t work right . Through her, I lent her husband the book “How to Help When Someone You Love is Depressed” that I’d gotten for my husband ages ago. ¬†She still had a few books that hadn’t made it back to me. ¬†I guess they never will. ¬†These aren’t the thoughts one generally shares, I know, but somehow they are the ones my brain is holding onto right now, instead of blubbering insanely about how sad it all is and how hard I tried to help her and how I failed to keep up and how I regret it and how I am never ever the person I mean to be when it comes to other people and how I should have kept up with her when she went silent. ¬†Because once I get started with them, the tears start, they don’t stop.

THIS YEAR. ¬†I CAN’T TAKE THIS YEAR.

One of my good friends from junior high died this last year: breast cancer. ¬†My ex-boyfriend from high school was accused of sexual misconduct with a student and I can’t quite bring myself to admit that I really do think it’s something he did, because then I’d have to admit out loud to my family and other people how awful he was (in college I had girls email me out of nowhere and ask me to join their therapy group because ….) and they don’t need to hear that. ¬†Then there was my mom and the hospital last summer. And another ancient friend’s husband died unexpectedly from pneumonia. ¬†Another one’s brother died and I somehow totally missed it and I feel awful about it, but don’t know what to say now. ¬†Another friends son had a terrible car accident months ago and is only now walking. ¬†And then the husband of a girl here in town that was one of those friends-of-a-friend that you always hear about that you feel like you know even though you’ve actually never met them? ¬†The one you’ve heard dozens of stories about? ¬†Yeah. ¬†Her husband died trying to save someone after a car accident. And now this.

 

I told my spouse that I needed a Self Care day. ¬†He was busy, of course, because we are NEVER not busy these days, and said the wrong thing and that made me cry more. ¬†He apologized and said the right things later but I ….well… ¬†I am broken at this point. ¬†And thanking God or the Universe or Whatever I’m Believing In This Week that I asked the doctor for those anti-depressant, anti-anxiety meds way back in October. ¬†Because I don’t know what or who to believe in these days, but SCIENCE seems like a good thing. ¬†Quantifiable, you know. ¬†I don’t, I just don’t know. ¬†Nobody is available on a Saturday to talk, so I’ve been making due with a bunch of movies (The Decoy Bride I need to own and Wild Targets I’m going to rewatch and A Good Woman I’m in the middle of, but it’s kind of bland so far despite good reviews – I’m thinking I just don’t like Scarlet Johanssen) and a bottle of wine and a box of chicken quesadillas.

 

Thank you for listening and thinking about me. ¬†I know we don’t know each other in person, but you mean the world to me, you really do. *big big hugs*

 

Infusions…oh the joy

IMG_2696

Me in the infusion chair at my doctor’s office. I totally forgot to bring any entertainment today and had to rely on the elderly magazines, as my phone died after this picture was taken. So sad. ūüėČ

I had another infusion of Orencia today. ¬†I was really excited to see my old infusion nurse there. I asked about the old-new infusion nurse, if she was taking vacation days, but she is GONE, which mightily made me happy. ¬†Apparently other people had complained about her. ¬†I hadn’t, as I hadn’t wanted to seem whiny, but the truth of it was that she was not careful with me and she insisted trying veins that I knew and told her would not work for me. *sigh* ¬†So the old infusion nurse is back. ¬†YAY!

Unfortunately my best vein is no longer my best vein. ¬†Something happened to it while she was off working in x-ray land and now it has a kink in it. ¬†It could ease out or I could be left without this happy vein as an option. ¬†Who knows. ¬†I’d like it to repair itself. ¬†Having the infusion in my other arm impedes my ability to get things done during my infusion, like writing, and I’m really trying hard to get back in the habit of daily writing again.

Anyway, I talked to my doctor about the flushing and heat issues I’m having. ¬†He hadn’t heard of anything like that, but the nurse later told me that she hears that complaint all the time from other patients, so now I’m a bit confused. ¬†Has anyone else heard of this? ¬†I’m pretty much constantly feeling overheated and I work up a sweat quite easily. ¬†I can’t find anything on the internet on my searches, but maybe y’all have heard something?

I see my primary care physician next week for my usual round of bloodwork and stuff. ¬†I’m going to ask him about it and also about how to lose weight. ¬†It seems like every time I hit the gym I end up with an infection or complication of some sort, so I’m going to ask for his advice on what to do. ¬†It would really ease my pain to weigh less, but I’m going to need some help.

Rheumatologist appointment

After I spent yesterday perusing the¬†blog carnival about pain scales, I came to the conclusion that a) my pain level, regardless of scale, is usually only about 2 or 3 in a few joints, with occasional forays into 4s and 5s when I’m in a flare. ¬†So when¬†I had my 6 month check-in with the rheumatologist today, I decided that instead of asking for the next big gun treatment, I was going to ask for another stop-gap measure, something I’d read about on other people’s blogs that had never been offered to me: a pain relieving, anti-inflammatory gel.

 

I didn’t start off with that, of course. ¬†I told him about my last few months, about how I only flare when I’ve got big things going on (of the stressful variety. ie. Thanksgiving or Christmas) or I do something exceptionally stupid (moving furniture, driving long distances, trying to do all the Christmas crafting in one week, etc.). ¬†I told him about my prednisone tapers and how they’d helped. ¬†I told him about my in-between days when I’m feeling all right and the days that I can barely move my fingers and I’m not fine. ¬†He told me my next option was the IV drugs and physical therapy. ¬†I said “No, thank you” and then mentioned the gel. ¬†He said the only reason they hadn’t offered it was that it doesn’t always work and that it was kind of expensive. ¬†“More expensive than IV drugs and physical therapy?” ¬†No, not at all.

 

And so that’s what I’m doing. ¬†More prednisone when I’m flaring (with a phone call in to the office to let them know), anti-inflammatory gel for the in between pain, working on my PT at home from my PT Folder o’ Goodness, and follow up in 6 months.

New season, new aches?

As the season has been turning cooler, I’ve noticed new aches and pains that weren’t around in the summer months.¬† I’ve started carrying my seat-back-cushion into places that I’ll be sitting for long periods of time (anything over half an hour really).¬† I’ve noticed that the one I use around the house, which I got over the summer (at the dollar store, of all places) and was tremendously nice then, isn’t as nice now that it is cooler out because it has vents that let cool air through.¬† The one I use in the car is more like a fitted pillow and now that it’s cooler out I’ve been noticing how nice and warming it feels when I lean against it.¬† That’s the one I take in places anyways.¬† I was worried when I first started doing it that people would look at me funny or make comments, but the only thing that’s happened is that the pastor’s wife is now bringing in her own back support and a stool for her feet (genius!¬† I’m bringing mine next time!).¬† I haven’t yet asked what’s going on with her, but I know she has some kind of pain condition and I’d like to reach out to her, but I’m not sure how much reaching out to do, exactly (this is our new pastor & wife; we don’t know them well yet).

I’ve also noticed issues sitting at the piano.¬† It’s not just my fingers, wrists, and hands that hurt.¬† It’s also my shoulders, spine, hips, and even my feet.¬† Oddly it leaves my knees alone.¬† I’ll take that bit of goodness!¬† ūüôā¬† The funny thing, to me at least, is that I remember this pain.¬† I remember it as part of my burn-out process.¬† It just started hurting so much to sit there and play.¬† But I’m not giving up this time.¬† I know now that the pain isn’t just going to go away on it’s own, that it is as much a part of the process of everything that I do, and that I can’ t let it take the joy away with it.¬† So I’m practicing more often in shorter shifts and that seems to help.¬† Plus it fits in great with my schedule!¬† Oh look, I have 10 minutes before we have to go, I can practice!¬† ūüôā¬† Also, my fabulous husband got me a heated back massager, the kind that straps into a chair and does rolling & shiatsu style massages.¬† It has been a thing of wonderment.¬† It works best in a plain wooden chair, but I’ve given up on that plan, as I don’t have one to spare and it’s not easy to move around.¬† So it sits in my bedroom reading chair for now just waiting for the next time I need it (which some days is 3x a day and sometimes only once).¬† It is so very lovely.

In other news, I wore sandals yesterday after the cold front went through and woke up to my feet feeling like there were shards of glass in them before I even got out of bed this morning.¬† So I finally dug out all my cold weather shoes.¬† I also have been stocking up on comfy house socks, since I have a general dislike of shoes, but my feet get too cold in the winter without them.¬† I have blue polka dotted ones and white-purple-pink polka dotted ones and once I fix the one sock, I also have black ones with little dangling cherries.¬† I’ve also had a kid (guess which one!) volunteer to do my toe nail polish for me, since that seems to be harder than usual lately.

Well that’s about it for today.¬† I hope that all those writing prompts my brain came up with yesterday come back to me today so I can write them down.¬† ūüôā

This post was written as part of NHBPM ‚Äď 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J

Water as therapy

I¬†am a pool person– I spent¬†nearly every day from March til October¬† in the pool from the time I was 6¬†until I turned¬†22.¬†¬†¬†Then we moved away from home and although we had access to a pool, it wasn’t a lap pool, more one of those artistic looking things that really didn’t encourage swimming.¬† The town we moved to after that (our current one) doesn’t have a decent public pool.¬† We have a few college pools that require you to be a student to use them and several private membership pools, but nothing for the general public that doesn’t want to spend $600-$1200 a year on swim club fees.¬† So outside of swimming lessons for the kids, we haven’t swam at all for the last 7 years.¬†

So today I went in for my first day of Aqua Therapy.¬† I was so excited to get to go in the water all alone, no kids dragging on me at all.¬† I got there early, showered, was all ready.¬† (Note to self: you need flip flops and you don’t need a towel and bring a flatter bag next time!)¬† The instructor was there and there were more than 30 elderly people in the pool already.¬† I was the youngest person there, excepting the intern.¬† I got in the water chest deep, and started walking as instructed.¬† Boy, was it hard.¬† I hadn’t expected that.¬† After a while the instructor told me to walk sideways, which was even harder.¬† My hip started hurting, then my knees, the the tops of my feet near my ankles.¬† I finally whispered to the lady across from me if it was supposed to feel this way and she told me to talk to my therapist, who when I finally got back over there told me that my time was up on that exercise anyway.¬†

Next up was low marching, which was not a problem, and then a goose-march step, which wasn’t much more difficult.¬† Squats were so far from not bad that I was shocked.¬† Squats outside the pool are not possible for me at all, but in the pool, it was just up-down-up-down (this is not to say that there wasn’t any knee or hip clicking or popping- there was – but it didn’t hurt).¬†

After all that I made my way to the deep end with some arm floaties and made v’s with my legs – open -close – open out to my left and right sides.¬† The instructor thought that would hurt, but it wasn’t too bad. Then out and back front and back.¬†That one¬†nearly had me crying.¬† It hurt so much.¬† I stopped early on that one.¬† Then I got to¬†bicycle my legs, which started off easy and ended up with me¬†feeling very tired.

Then I was done.  I got a sheet of things to work on once the pool at my gym opens and I went to get out of the pool.  I felt pretty good walking to the stairs, but with each one I climbed, gravity reasserted its pull on my limbs and I felt heavier and heavier.  By the time I got to the top I was so heavy and sore that I could barely walk to the locker room.  By the time I got to the door I was crying, not just from the pain, but from the shock of the weight of the world.  I had forgotten how heavy real life feels. 

In the locker room I talked to one of the other ladies that had been in therapy with me.¬† She told me how she usually schedules an extra hour into her daily plan for therapy days, as she can’t get straight out of the pool & straight back into clothes right away and how she has to rest for another hour after that and to plan to¬†have convenience foods for lunch or¬†pick something up.¬† That it hasn’t really gotten any easier for her, even though she feels like the therapy is helping her in regular life.¬† I thanked her for her advice because this is the kind of stuff that the doctor never manages to remember to tell you.

I made my way in to shower, but¬†ended up just rinsing off, as I couldn’t really raise my arms or my legs.¬† It was so demoralizing.¬† I finally got into my clothes and got out to the parking lot, limping all the way.¬† The lady that watched my youngest child while I was out was nice enough to feed¬†us lunch when she saw how exhausted I was and then I had to go pick up my middle child, who was throwing up in his kindergarten classroom.¬† We’ve spent the afternoon resting and watching TV/surfing the internet. Even four hours later I’m still limping through the house.¬† My ankles and knees and hips hurt from all the activity.¬† My shoulders hurt from the strain of holding my body up on the floaties.

I hope this is worth it.  It is, right?  Everyone else thinks it helps?

Physical Therapy

As is the way of things in my world, everything went wacky along the way to physical therapy. At first it was that the scheduler called while I was driving the kids home from school. My eldest son answered the phone just as I was attempting to drive past a house that had tree cutters out working on their front yard (which, if you’ve never experienced this, involves several men standing in the street staring up at the man in the tree, at least two tree service trucks and also some sort of grinding trailer), and directly in front of us a police car drove up, parked sideways in the street, and sat there without anyone getting out. I had to make a turnaround amidst this craziness and David handed me the phone anyways. So I got confused, told the scheduler the wrong information, and made a bad appointment date…which turned out to be the right one in the end because I’d miswritten my middle child’s school field trip in my calendar. Anyways, after a bunch of confusion and rescheduling, I finally managed to get an appointment on a day I could go, found someone to watch my child, and all was good. Right? Wrong. The morning of my appointment the babysitter called and said her child was throwing up. As I was driving there. So I took my youngest son with me.

We made it over to the appointment & found good parking, so we had time to spare.¬† I set him up a little spot to read his stories while I filled out forms, which did not take nearly as long as they allocated them to take.¬† The lady that ended up later being my physical therapist brought out a toy (the kind that is like a wiggly wonky abacus) for Greg to play with, which was excellent, as it turned out that they’d triple booked the therapist I was supposed to see, so we ended up waiting for an hour before we got to see someone.¬† When we got back into the office, my little boy was not interested in his books or his toys any longer, but I had a trick up my sleeve: treats hidden in my bag.¬† So he ate some cheerios & drank some juice while I got through my evaluation.¬† Fortunately he’s the kind of kid you can take anywhere.¬† ūüôā

The first thing the therapist told me shocked me: my insurance requires a co-pay per appointment and my doctor requested 12 sessions for me.¬† The insurance would start covering 100% after 60 sessions at $35 a piece.¬† She thought that was unreasonable, especially since we had evidence from my last bout of PT that showed that the insurance used to just have me pay $35 for the first session, then up to 8 “follow-up” sessions were covered 100% before I had to pay another co-pay.¬† Ridiculous.¬† So she evaluated me and we decided amongst ourselves that since I have a gym membership that includes a room full of yoga/stretching equipment¬†& a pool, I can do most of my therapy on my own, and come back every few months when the exercises she gives me start getting easy.¬†

After the first session, she sent me home with stretching exercises that were nearly identical to the ones that I was doing at home anyways, so when I went back on Tuesday I was able to tell her that I’d passed section one.¬† I was able to go alone to that appointment and the therapist I saw on Friday came and gathered me up before the person that had been allocated to me for that session came and found me.¬† Which was good, as she had prepared an entire three months worth of exercises for me to do.¬† I have three layers of hardness.¬† I start with the easy stuff, then move on to the harder, then the hardest on my list.¬† I’ll be¬†doing stretching, core work, and giant exercise ball work, along with time on the elliptical machine every day.¬† The elliptical remains easy going, as does the stretching, but the core work kicks my butt.¬† Every. Single. Exercise.¬† So. Very. Hard.¬†

I’m so excited that I’ll eventually be able to walk again without turning my legs the wrong direction and without all the hip and knee pain.¬† So I’m going to work hard, harder, hardest and get my core & my legs strong again.

Finnegan, Begin Again

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.
–Maria Robinson

I get up every morning and read all the RA blogs. Okay, not all of them, but quite a lot of them. Every day someone out there surprises me with something I didn’t know about this disease or the drugs that I’m taking or just an outlook about something that I’d never have thought of myself. So thank you, people. I love “spending time with you” even though we don’t know each other in real life.

This morning a couple of my favorite bloggers wrote about their struggles with diet and exercise. I have to admit here, now, that I haven’t been to the gym in a week or so. I spent all last week with yet another sinus infection and I felt sorry for myself, so I stayed home and ate Easter candy. My face still hurts this morning and there’s been a big weather change so it’s cool & it’s rainy & I’m achy all over, so I had a nice day all planned of staying in bed & folding laundry while watching movies.

Not now. I made myself a healthy breakfast (a half-whole-wheat blueberry pancake topped with local wildflower honey, a slice of turkey bacon, and a couple mugs of organic chai tea sweetened with organic stevia – I’m not a big breakfast eater). For lunch, instead of reheated pizza, I’ll make some chicken salad (rotisserie chicken, no skin, with apples, celery, almonds, & just a bit of light mayo & plain yogurt to stick it together). For after school snack, instead of doritos (not mine, my mom sent them home with the kids, actually), we’ll have blackberries & milk. For dinner, well, we’ll have what’s already on the menu: grilled salmon with broccoli & cous-cous.

Now I’ll go get started getting ready to head to the gym. I may not do a full workout, but I’m going to get started and see how it goes from there. Thanks for the inspiration Warm Socks & Wren! ūüôā

Alternative therapies

For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.
–Mary Kay Ash

I won’t deny that I’m a believer in modern medicine.¬† If there’s a drug out there that might make my pain lessen or stop the course of my disease, I’m going to give it a try, or at least ask my doctor why I haven’t had it yet.¬† I do a lot of research on things that might help before my appointments and I’ve learned to bring my sources with me when I go in (I’m currently seeing the PA, not the doctor, as I’m considered medically stable.¬† The PA is…sweet, but not as well-read as I’d like him to be.¬† He’s constantly amazed at my sources.¬† I’m glad to know that the doctor is usually out in the hallway & that the PA will run out and check on things with him frequently.)

That being said, I don’t think that modern Western medicine is the end-all-be-all of my arsenal.¬† I’ve wandered the gamut, trying all sorts of different things, some of which I no longer remember. Here are my experiences with them:

Massage:

By this point, with the exception of anyone that has gotten their massage license in the last year or so, I’ve had a massage with just about everyone in town that advertises in the phone book (and many that don’t).¬† I’ve had Swedish massage (light, circular motions, with scented oil which was terrific), which was nice, but not particularly helpful.¬† The Shiatsu massage (light finger pulses on certain meridians of the body) I tried was quite nice, but didn’t do as much as I’d hoped for.¬†¬† I also had pregnancy massages (until I and my therapist were pregnant at the same time) and they were lovely in that “wow, a table with a cutout for my belly!” sort of way.¬† ūüôā I had one session with a reflexologist (parts of your feet align with parts of your body), but other than my feet being happy at the end, I saw no improvement elsewhere.¬† I’ve had deep tissue massage (just what it sounds like), which was really quite painful during and for a couple days after, but after the pain wore off, seemed to have been more effective that the others. I’ve also had some sports type massage therapy that focused on certain areas, like helping with my knees or hands.¬† That was actually the best.¬† I had to get a prescription and see an occupational therapist for that series, but oh, it was helpful.¬† I’m not sure where yoga falls into my categories, but I do a little bit of that daily, some days regular and some days more modified, depending on the day and the pain and the poses.

Occupational therapy:

I am accident prone.¬† Really, really accident prone.¬† I like to blame it on the RA, but the truth is that I have always been the type to fall off stationary objects, tear a ligament just by walking,¬† and to sprain my thumb carrying in the groceries.¬† I’ve had a lot of occupational therapy.¬† I’ve done all the stretching, weird repetitive motions, bizarre things involving me, a giant ball, and a wall, things where I’m strapped into weird machines, electric stimulation, heated wheat kernals flowing around me.¬† All sorts of things.¬† Over and over.¬† I have a cupboard full of weird braces for very specific injuries.¬† (I recently had to move them all to a bigger cupboard.¬† My husband seemed amused.)

Chiropractors:

I saw a chiropractor/naturopath for about a year and he would recommend things.¬† He had these weird ways of telling me if my drugs were working for me, involving tapping me various places while holding my medicine in his other hand.¬† I have a pamphlet that tells me how each vertebrae that is out of alignment affects other random parts of the body, like my cheeks and gallbladder.¬† It’s interesting.¬† He put me on a sugar control diet, where I couldn’t eat any complex carbohydrates and certain vegetables were out as well.¬† That was interesting.¬† He also put me on barley grass (yech), something to boost my adrenal glands, acidopholous, and a plant based enzyme to aid in the digestion of protein (I have notes, can you tell?).¬† Anyway, I stopped going after a year because I had to go in 2-3 times a week and at $30 each treatment, plus supplements, it was too expensive to maintain.¬† (My insurance wouldn’t cover it then, but says they would now, but I’m no longer interested in frequent doctor visits.)

Supplements & teas & ointments:

There are a thousand and one kinds of supplements and teas and ointments out there.¬† I haven’t tried them all.¬† In fact, I tend to go into my health food store about once a month and just ask what’s new and what they’d recommend.¬† (They know me there; they all seem to go to my church, oddly enough) I don’t have notes on all I’ve tried, but here’s a sample of what didn’t work for me: glucosomine/chondroitin, green tea extract, ginger extract, colloidal silver, arnica, probiotics, borage oil, capsaicin cream (it burns, precious!), evening primrose oil, various essential oils blowing through a diffuser or heated over a tealight or rubbed on parts of me, and “arthritis” teas.

Things that I’ve kept in my daily plan: Omega -3 with DHA, honey lemon ginseng (green) tea, a chunk of crystalized ginger,¬† a daily multivitamin high in B12 & iron, at least 15 minutes outside every day (even when it’s¬† rainy) for Vitamin D, calcium, and folic acid.

Diet:

I got the book Eat Right For Your Type: Rheumatoid Arthritis and intended to implement that, but the foods I like best and are most likely to eat were all out (kidney beans and potatoes and bread all come to mind) and things I will not eat seemed to be best recommended (tomatoes, all kinds of peppers).¬† We also took a look at The Makers Diet, but it also went out the window as being too restrictive.¬† So I’ve been paying attention to the foods I eat and what makes me feel good and what doesn’t.¬† I kept a food diary for a while (I like sparkpeople.com for an online tracker of food, calories/fat/nutrition, and exercise) and noticed that I don’t do well with a lot of red meat in my diet (also, we don’t eat pork or shellfish, but that’s a religious consideration) or a lot of milk.¬† Cheese doesn’t bother me the same way that regular milk does, oddly, but I can’t drink a lot of milk or eat a lot of yogurt or my tummy will not love me.¬† We don’t actually, as it turns out, eat a whole lot of potatoes or kidney beans or bread.¬† When we eat bread or pasta, it’s the whole grain kind.¬† I put flaxseed in whatever I’m baking to replace some oil/butter & eggs. I love salad, so I eat a lot of that with walnuts (those were recommended in ERFYT:RA) and homemade whole wheat croutons and fat free Italian dressing (where I don’t mind the peppers).¬† We eat pretty healthy most days, with lots of fruit and veggies.

Things I’ll Try Next:

  • Biofeedback (I’m anxious a lot and I think it would be good to learn to relax at will)
  • acupressure (everyone says acupuncture is better, but I’m not happy about needles)