Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tucson times

I forgot (read: was unable to locate) my camera cord before heading to AZ, so you'll have to deal with the pictures I have taken on my phone...which actually aren't too bad...yay EVO! I am having so much fun with my nephews and getting to hang out a lot with my family. I would have more pictures of Carter, but I am usually holding him. Apparently, he's quite taken with Aunt Sissa...no complaints here :) Good times!

Uncle Bobby caught in the act of beating up on John Michael

Carter chowing down and flirting at the same time. Kid has talent :)

Blowing out his number 4 candle

Apparently sitting on a just-got-woken-up-by-my-adorable-nephews-Sissa is a lot of fun

Monica and I left John Michael and Nana to make cookies and this is what we returned to...

Wearing Sissa's hat

On the "milk truck" at Shamrock Farms

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Going Gluten Free

Yup, I am. Starting on Jan 1st, I am going to go gluten-free for 3 months.

Why? I've been doing a lot of research and talking with a doctor or two and studies are showing that inflammation and gluten are related. Autoimmune diseases come with lots of inflammation- a friend of mine, and a doctor, has RA and eats gluten free and has had positive results- less pain, fewer flares, etc. I don't have RA, but my disease is in the same family, so I figured, hey it doesn't hurt to try it! And if it helps, WAHOO!!!! From what I've read, you need to be gluten-free for about 3 months to see any affects, and if it works, well just call me Gluten-Free For Life Girl. :)

So I am researching away right now, finding recipes, making meal plans... If you have any good blogs, cookbooks, websites that you recommend for gluten-free please let me know. Since I don't eat a lot of meat (and NO beef), gluten-free vegetarian recipes would be even better!

I plan to do a gluten-free status post once a week to let you all know how it is going.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Girls Group Christmas Party 2010

Photos compliments of Allyson, who is launching her photography career :). Check out her blog here. We had our Girls Group Annual Christmas Party and it was FUN :). Love my girls and so blessed to have them in my life.


Gift exchange

Wreath :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vault of Torture

I really really really wanted to call this blog "Ovary Crunchers" but thought "hmm, is that really appropriate?" So I made it the first line of my blog instead :D. Read on, you'll get to it...

I had a, we'll call it "back episode", on Tuesday. And to start off, NO, it was not related to my running a mile on Saturday. How do I know? 1)Unless running can cause joint inflammation in one's left hand as well as the back, this was totally related to the fantastic action of my white blood cells attacking my connective tissue (ie my disease) 2) I have been running for the past month, for comparable durations to what I did in the mile, and never experienced any issues- these running episodes were in addition to 3-4 workouts per week (stationary bike, elliptical, aquajog/swim) that I have been logging, so I really don't think the running caused this. However, I will of course, continue to pay meticulous attention to every minute sign that my body throws when I start running again. Believe me, this gal does not want to be on the active lifestyle sidelines.

That being said- I woke up on Tuesday morning unable to bend my fingers on my left hand (an occasional occurrence for me, so that didn't worry me). However, my inability to stand without seeing stars and triggering my gag reflex from the pain did worry me. I crawled to the medicine cabinet (praise the Lord I keep the potent stuff in a lower drawer), downed a Vicadin (hate that stuff) and a muscle relaxer and proceeded to sob myself into a drug induced stupor. (Big thanks to the roomie who worked from home in case I needed something- thankfully no bonding moments with a bedpan were required of her). By the afternoon, I could hobble fairly well and I continued to improve into the evening.

Of course, once I could speak without drug-induced slurring, I called my awesome chiropractor/PT inflictor to schedule a torture, er, PT session the next day.

On Wednesday, I was THANKFULLY able to move around pretty well, some limping and I was doing the whole stand-up-like-an-old-lady routine (no offense meant to the elderly out there). I headed to the Vault of Torture, or more commonly known as my chiropractor/PT inflictor. Where I proceeded to regress to my pre-run-by-two-months-PT-treatments of...you got it, OVARY CRUNCHERS.

What are ovary crunchers? The most hated of all hated PT therapies (Dr.A, if you are reading this, I am very thankful for all your help. Really.). My chiro has me lay on my side on the torture table and she proceeds to grip my side with both hands as hard as humanly possible and dig her fingers into my belly, attempting push my ovaries through my lower vertebrae in the process. Whilst my ovaries are being crushed, I then have to swing my leg up, and then as back as far as I can go without passing out, and then down. This HURTS. Tears are shed. Why must I do ovary crunchers? Well, apparently, when my body experiences the Big Bad Inflammation, it goes into self-defense mode (i.e. every muscle in my body attempts to curl up, fetal position). One of the most trouble-causing culprits is the psoas muscle (red arrow is pointing to it below).

It's a big tough muscle and mine is SUPER tight (it's like its trying to get away from the inflammation...smart muscle). So ovary crunchers are pretty much the only way to get at the muscle (since it's buried behind things...like my organs) to stretch it and get it to behave. Along with some other contortionist-like stretches that are part of my now vast PT stretch repertoire.

So there you have it. Right now, I feel like I did about oh, 2 months ago. Not quite ready to walk a speedy walk, but not far off. I am super estastic to see how quickly my body has bounced back this time and I pray that this will continue. And that this back inflammation does not become part of my standard tool bucket of disease symptoms. Thanks for all your prayers!


Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for me, encouraging me through emails, texts, and notes. I am so thankful for your friendship and appreciate your words. You all ROCK! :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Reindeer Run 2010

Surprise! :) :) :)

You read the title correctly. Read on for the whole story…

I started “running” again on Nov. 7th, 3 months and 3 weeks from the day I spent in the ER sobbing to the doctor about the scary back pain I was experiencing and that started a bazillion doctor visits, scans, weeks spent laying on my back, PT sessions, lots of tears-grimaces-winces-groans, baby steps, small flickers of light…you get the point…on with the story.

On Nov 7th I was on the Seabrook trails and feeling good, so I upped my pace and put more weight on my footfalls…not even sure if you can call it jogging, let alone running…I did that for 10 seconds. It felt the same as walking (i.e., still felt that dullish right side back pain, but it didn’t get worse). A bit later, I did another 10 seconds, with more weight on my footfalls. Felt the same as the first 10 seconds. So then I did two 30 second jogs about 15 minutes apart. Oh wow did it feel AMAZING to move my legs like that again! And yes, I told my chiropractor/PT inflictor and she approved :).

Here are the walk/run combos I have logged since Nov 7th:

Walk 1 mile, run 30 seconds, walk 1 mile, run 30 seconds

Walk 1 mile, run 30 seconds, walk 1 mile, run 45 seconds

Walk 1 mile, run 1 minute, walk 1 mile, run 1 minute

Walk 1 mile, run 2 minutes , walk 1 mile, run 3 minutes, walk 1 mile

Walk 1 mile, run 2 minutes, walk some more, run 2 minutes, walk some more, run 2 minutes (total 3.1 miles)

Walk 1 mile, run 2 minutes, walk some more, run 3 minutes, walk some more, run 2 minutes (total 3.1 miles)

Walk 1 mile, run 5 minutes!, walk 2 miles

Walk .25 miles, run for 7 minutes, walk, total 2 miles

Walking .25 miles, run for 9 minues, walk, total 2 miles

And TODAY, walk 2 miles, run 1 mile :) (~11:30 pace)

I bawled tears of joy during the first 3 minute run I did. Bawling and running with a HUGE grin on my face and chanting “thankyouLordthankyouLordthankyouLord”.

(followed by a quickly squashed mental wail of “oh my gosh I have completely lost my cardio fitness…being honest here :) ).

The walking was done at a pretty decent clip, 15:15-16:00 minute pace, with the runs at a slow-for-my-usual-pace of 11 minute/mile. In each of these combos, when I start running, I feel the same “not quite right” right back pain feeling- it’s not truly painful, just annoying. Then, as I have increased the run durations, the feeling almost goes away, and I feel pretty much pre-July normal.

So this morning, my running buddy Lisa, who had said she would walk this race with me, actually got to RUN the last mile with me, and I crossed the finish line…RUNNING… ::INSERT BIGGEST GRIN EVER::