Gyms, today and tomorrow

I’ve been to the gym three times this week.  That’s what the Doc said to do.  Go three times.  I did.  (Four times starts in three weeks’ time).

It has got to be said.  I’m not a fan of gyms.  I’ve been a member of various gyms in my lifetime but have never enjoyed going to the gym.  I used to enjoy classes, I’ll admit that.  I am a fan of spin classes particularly and when my fitness improves will venture back into these.  Of course, I do love a good yoga class too.  But everything else about gyms I have not been a fan of.

But this week has surprised me.  OK, not completely surprised me.  The incompetence and lack of organisation by staff members has not changed in 20 years.  I joined, they lost my number so couldn’t arrange my first appointment.  I phoned.  They didn’t call back.  I phoned. They didn’t call back again.  I went in, made an appointment.  I had the appointment.  They have now lost the program they wrote for me (if they actually wrote it, they are not sure if they did).  Not a good start.  Gyms create their own stereotype for those muscled up people behind the desk.

At least though, I do remember the program that they wrote for week 1 and I’ve now completed it.  What I can say about this venture into the gym is that it is different from before.

Previously, I’ve joined gyms to look good in a dress, to look good on my wedding day, to look good on an overseas trip, to look good in a bikini.  Not this time.  This time I’ve joined a gym because the Doc said if I don’t I could:

  • have a stroke
  • have a heart attack
  • be bedridden for the rest of my life
  • live a life of extreme pain
  • have no quality of life.

It changes the stakes, doesn’t it?

What I will say about the trips to the gym this week is that the people behind the desk actually are aware of my circumstances and are full of positivity.  They have something to prove, that what they do can change my life.  They are now part of my “team”.  My team that is a growing number of specialists, GP, exercise physiologist, chiropractor, yoga instructor and now gym trainers.  They are part of the team to change my life without doing anything too drastically so that I don’t speed up the process of the cardio-vascular disease or the fibromyalgia.  They understand when the doc says the routines must be set before winter and the cold sets in.  They are on board.  They will provide a warm training place when winter sets in and the cold increases the pain.

Today at the gym it was better.  It had purpose.  A purpose that wasn’t about fitting into a dress.  The purpose is living today because I don’t know how many “days” of full life I have left.  The doctor said on Thursday that the fibromyalgia will speed up once menopause starts and I have to beat it now to control it then.  He said I need to take control now because FM goes in hand with other auto-immune diseases and the blood tests show others are on their way.  I need to stop them at the pass.  I need to stop them now.   The hypertension could see me dead in 5 years if I don’t change my life now.  The fibro could have me bedridden in 5 years if I don’t change things now.  The other possibilities are not even worth considering right now.

So I’m living for today.  I didn’t want to get up today.  It hurt.  It hurt like hell.  And I’m so tired.  How can I wake exhausted after 12 hours in bed? I’m so tired all the time.  But I chose today so I got up.  It was hard, it hurt and it was slow.  But I got myself into the car and I drove to the gym.  I did the cardio.  I did the weights.  I did the stretching.  The end result?  I got up off the floor with an ache from exercise, the fibro pain had subsided.  I’ll take it for as long as it lasts.  I’m determined to make it be this good for as many years as I can.  I choose today.

I like gyms now because they have a purpose.  I’m living for today.  I’m not putting off anything until tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come.

Now I’m off to read a whole heap of books on anti-inflammatory food.

My new normal might just be good.

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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia.  It has taken time to process that word.  I’ve been pondering it all day, since the doctor first said it this morning.  How to pronounce it and how to spell it.  How to process it.  Fibro – isn’t that the stuff that all good old Aussie suburban homes on their quarter acre blocks were made from in the 1950s?  My – well that’s me I guess.  Algia.  Algae?  Rot?   It’s a suffix that means pain.  So it means I have pain in my house.  I guess the house is my body, right?

Fibromyalgia.  At least now after all these months, there is a word.  Apparently, it is a word that will not be going away.

Fibromyalgia.  Apparently, Lady Gaga has it and it’s a thing now.  Apparently, before she got it, 5% of women around the world also had/have it.  And I have it.  That’s OK, I like Lady Gaga songs.  I like Lady Gaga outfits.  I do like to rock out to ‘Bad Romance’ and I do like my fancy dress.  My specialist thinks I’m eccentric.  He said that is a good thing.  He apparently is eccentric too.  He said it helps.  He has fibromyalgia  He says his eccentricity has helped him.  You have to laugh, he said.  You have to laugh.

Fibromyalgia.  I still remember the night I first really felt it.  I cancelled going to book club that night because my feet and hands really hurt.  That was back in May.   Apparently, that is a thing.  I’m going to cancel things.  A lot.  Apparently.   Apparently “fibro fog” is real too.  All these months of losing things, forgetting things, forgetting what I’m doing.  The day the GA at work helped me for hours to track down my glasses.  They were in my pocket.  Or like last Friday when my principal found my glasses for me.  They were right near me.  Fibrofog.  It’s a thing.  And will happen again.  A lot.  Apparently.   I’d actually like to go back to that Friday night because what I thought was pretty bad that night turned out to be nothing compared to what was to come.  I didn’t know that night that it was going to get worse.  Much worse.

Fibromyalgia.  I joined a gym.  I do weights now.  Apparently, I do weights four times a week.  Apparently, I exercise for 60 minutes every day.  Apparently, I exercise twice a day, every day.

Fibromyalgia.  I eat very well now.  I like spinach now.  I don’t like bread anymore.  I don’t like alcohol anymore.  Apparently, I like salmon now.  Nope, sorry, not going there.  I’ll take fish oil instead.  Apparently, I take Omega 3 fish oil now.  God help me.

Fibromyalgia.  I’m OK with this, I really am.  It is just a new version of normal.  It is not cancer.  It is not terminal.  I’m not a refugee on Manus Island fearing for my life.  I’m not a victim of a shooting in America.  I’m not living in a war-torn country.   There are people living with much worse.  As we learn from King Lear “And worse I may be yet. The worst is not / So long as we can say “This is the worst”.  My husband has lived with auto-immune disease pain for over 30 years and he is a rock.  I have nothing to complain about.  Life is good.

Fibromyalgia.  In my 20s I was so bloody healthy.  I was zen.  If green smoothies were known about back then, I would’ve been a green smoothie junkie.  I was an Amazon Woman.  I was Wonder Woman.  I exercised twice a day, my diet could not be faulted in any way.   I rock-climbed, I canyoned, I hiked, I skied, I swam, I rode.  So I’m taking this as being in my 20s again.  Nothing wrong with that.  I can do all that again.  I will do it all again.

Here is some Lady Gaga in some funky outfits.

Lady Gaga

PS – medication for the blood pressure is working and at least that is now normal, even if the medication is for the rest of my life.  See?  Life is good.

 

The plot thickens

I’ve spent the past few days doing what the exercise physiologist has said, and getting my blood pressure checked.  So from the initial 146/99, we went to 152/93.  Thankfully, it fell a bit, just in time for a planned hike.  It fell to 126/89.

The good news with that was I was able to do the planned hike with my husband and boys.  The hike had several purposes:

  1. Testing whether my knee and hip are ready for me to go back to WWOT;
  2. Getting the boys off devices these school holidays;
  3. Family time.  Always love our family time;
  4. Destressing for all of us in nature and showing the boys a part of their ‘backyard’ that many of their friends don’t even know exists; and
  5. Encouraging the boys to live the wild life and enjoy everything that fitness, health and nature have to offer.

We headed to Katoomba and walked out to Ruined Castle.  It is a beautiful walk and I highly recommend it.  It says on the sign to allow 3-5 hours one way, but we did the round trip in 4 hours (14 km).  Now I’m going to be honest with you, we cheated.  By the time we got back to the valley floor of Scenic world, my knee and hip were definitely tender so we opted to pay the $50 and catch the cable car back up instead of climbing the hard stairs out.

We did part of the stairs last week when I took the boys to Katoomba Falls, but that was a short walk and not off the back of a 4 hour hike.

The Ruined Castle hike is quite gentle for the most part.  There are only a few tricky spots.  Firstly the climb in.  The boys were quite shocked with how much their legs were shaking by the time we got to the bottom of Scenic World.  It only took 10 minutes. But that’s 10 minutes of walking down uneven stairs.  It definitely elevated the heart rate and got the blood pumping.

The next kilometre is fairly easy, although there are a few tree obstacles that have to be climbed over (they proved challenging for me because I’ve lost so much agility and balance).  Another 1/2 km in and we hit the landslide.  This was challenging for me.  It required a lot from my hips and knees and also challenged my poor depth perception.  Add to it the motherly instinct of panic when your children are bounding around rocks that have a death fall and, well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

After the landslide the walk was beautiful.  About 4km of undulating track through bushland and rainforest.  We had lyre birds come and greet us on our way.  There were quite a few people out so we got to say ‘hi’ many times.  The thing I love about Katoomba is you’ll always have a representation of many countries on any given hike on any given day.  We met people from China, Japan, Korea, India, Germany, Amsterdam, England, New Zealand on this trip, plus of course a whole heap of Aussies from different parts of the sunburnt country.

We quickly stopped for lunch at the bottom of Ruined Castle and then started our climb.  I’ll be honest.  I was worried.  The final decision was I would give it a try, but if the knee and hip started playing up I would stop and start my descent, as I had to get back across the landslide again.  The husband of the millennium and the boys went on ahead.  I just trudged up slowly, took my time, made sure my heart didn’t beat too fast (pharmacist advice when they saw my blood pressure) and away we went.  Needless to say, I was only a few minutes behind my troops and I made it to the top.  What a view!  I haven’t been up there in 20 years.  It is beautiful.   It is only 600m up and the track winds around the mountain so there are not too many steep bits.

We descended and started our trip back to Scenic World.  The other thing I love about Ruined Castle is there is a toilet at the bottom.  Sure, it’s a big hole in the ground pit toilet, but it is a toilet nonetheless, and that is always a bonus.  Plus it was very clean.  Bravo to the National Parks team in Katoomba for doing such a good job there.

Of course, that hasn’t been the end of the blood pressure saga.  It is back up 136/93.  I’ve been told that it is the lower number that is the concern.  I’m still avoiding salt and sticking to the CSIRO diet strictly.

I see the doctor in a couple of days.  Here’s hoping he says “yes, by all means go back to training with Wild Women on Top”.

Following crumbs

My specialist appointment is still over a month away, so waiting, when you are in extreme pain, is hard to do.

Thanks to the internet there is a whole world of information opened up to people.  Of course, I’m not a medical practitioner and Google is certainly no doctor, but it is amazing what you can clean from things you read.

When you follow the crumbs it is quite incredible what you can find.  As you know, my reading led me to the CSIRO Low-carb Type 2 Diabetes diet with low salt in-take. I changed the diet just this week and the pain miraculously disappeared.  Following another website’s advice I’ve made sure I’ve walked every single day.  That has been hard because of the pain, but, as I said, the pain has disappeared this week.  So has it been the diet, the exercise or school holidays or a combination of all three?

Yesterday I saw my exercise physiologist and we discussed it, we discussed the ‘what ifs’ – all those questions that have arisen due to my reading.  Questions the doctor never asked.  We discussed hypertension and blood pressure which one of the websites suggests is going on.  She asked me “what was your blood pressure when the doctor took it”.  The doctor never did.  So she took it.  Ready for it? 146 over 99.  High.  She’s not a doctor.  I’m not a doctor, but we both know that that is significant.  So the plan is to get readings every couple of days until I see the doctor.  Was this a one-off or have I been suffering from something like peripheral artery disease?  That needs a doctor to determine.

Then there is the blood sugar levels.  My blood sugar levels have been high but not high enough for the doctor to say “type 2 diabetes”.  They are just under.  The doctor hasn’t been concerned.  BUT I have now found two pieces of information:

  1. It is now known that diabetic peripheral neuropathy can happen in the pre-diabetes stage, if that stage lasts for years (I’ve been battling blood sugar for over 20 years).
  2. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed with lower blood sugar levels than the range normally used to diagnose it if the patient has had a splenectomy.  So here is a new question, does that count partial splenectomies?  I had a partial splenectomy in 2011.   Am I diabetic?

Then there is the question of urine.  Brown.  Why?   But that has also disappeared this week.

So many questions that need answers.  But what I do know is something has happened this week that has made a difference.  The pain is gone.  I will continue doing what I am doing.  I’ll monitor blood pressure and I’ll go back to the GP with the BP data and the questions and ask again.  Last time the doctor dismissed all the questions and said “don’t read Google”.  But what if?

Right now, all I can say is a big thank you to my exercise physiologist and my yogi bear yoga teacher – both who have made suggestions that got me to where I am right now;  pain free and as a side-effect fitter than what I was two weeks ago and 2 kilos lighter than what I was 4 days ago.  Nice.

Health, teaching and a few other things

Have you noticed I’ve been missing in action?  I’ve sure noticed.  I have had so many good intentions this year that have all gone up in smoke with an end result of gaining another 10 kilos instead of losing 20 kilos.  So now I have to lose 30 kilos.  What went wrong?  Glad you asked.

I was on track, I was doing really well and then this one day in early May, a Wednesday in fact, my feet were hurting.  Cramping.  Thursday my hands and feet were cramping.  By Friday evening I couldn’t stand, walk or hold anything.  Saturday it was up to my knees and elbows and I had pins and needles and burning everywhere, but my feet and fingers were numb.  This and a variety of other symptoms has continued.  Some days have been better than others, some a lot worse.  Some days the pain in my legs goes all the way to my hips.  Some days my neck is also involved.  Some days I can’t get out of bed because of intense headaches that medication doesn’t relieve.

Exercise stopped.  It started off as a slowdown, but it eventually stopped.  I could barely walk.  My body is stiff ALL THE TIME.  I feel like an ironing board most days.

Initial blood tests have said it is possibly auto-immune.  Blood tests also suggest pre-diabetes, cholesterol, and a few other things.  The doctor has not been able to work out what is going on.  Then vertigo started.  My whole world started spinning and didn’t stop. Then my hearing started playing up.   Please, whatever you do, don’t stand on my right-hand side to talk to me.   It moves between painful to I just can’t hear you.

Then there was sleep, or should I say a lack thereof?  I can’t stay asleep.  I’m tired.  So very, very tired.  My hair is falling out in clumps.  I have bald patches.  And I’ve put on 10 kilos in as many weeks.  Believe me, I’m not eating that much for that to happen.  Part of the problem is my bowels aren’t working properly every day.

Lots of things have been bounced around, still with no answers, but stress seeming to be the biggest problem in my life.  The doctor was hopeful that whatever it is will go away as fast as it appeared.

Well, let me tell you this.  Two days into school holidays and it has gone away.  After two terms of it, it has just disappeared.  Just like that.

But I did make changes in the last couple of weeks.  The doctor said increase water and decrease sodium and sugar and go for walks twice a day, even if it is just 15 minutes each time, have a set bedtime each night, do yoga and reduce stress.  I put all into the plan (except for the de-stress, because, well I’m a teacher, name a teacher who isn’t stressed).  But the last two days, with no work and increased exercise, has resulted in it going away.

I’m guessing the biggest indicator of it being stress is my physical reaction to a text message to do some work from a senior at work today.  Yep, my stomach knotted and I felt instant fatigue and anxiety.   So maybe the doctor is right.  It is stress that is causing this weird illness.

So, I’ve spent time with the doctor and my exercise physiologist and we’ve worked out a plan.  Not quite sure how we will deal with the stress as soon as we go back to work in 2 weeks, but in the meantime, I have a plan.

The one thing I’m not focusing on is weight loss.  It should just happen by itself if everything else falls into place.

I have an exercise plan and I have the CSIRO low-carb total wellbeing plan.  I’ve increased water and decreased sodium.  I’m doing yoga and I now have a yoga plan for each day to centre my mind and work on flexibility.  It is a 13-week plan for it all, with a visit to the doctor in November.

I’ve been teaching for 4 years now.  I thought I was stressed in my old career.  This is a whole new ball game and the one thing I’ve learned is I am not good at coping with is the societal teacher bashing that happens in Australia, the ridicule, and complaints by parents and by students.   I love teaching.  I love watching my students finally grasp the previously out of reach goals.  I love seeing them rewarded for their efforts.  But teacher life sucks.  No wonder so many teachers quit within 5 years.  We don’t get to turn off.  That downtime never seems to come.

A new week; a good week.

I’m one week in to this new life that I’m living and so far so good.

My new bad knee is actually coming along quite nicely, so I think it was no more than a sprain.  The swelling is gone and I’m walking without a problem – except for stairs.  The stairs are not as big a problem as they were last year when I did my right knee, so I’m feeling positive about that too.

Eating is going OK.  It has taken a lot of time and effort to make sure each day goes off without a hitch, but I’m sure as the weeks go by I’ll get better at it.

I’m down 1.5 kilos this week, which is very good in my book, considering how my knee prevented any exercise and I’m just learning this new way of eating.

I was bold today.  I took ‘before’ photos.  I’m not so bold as to share them yet, but I actually took them.  Once I’m 10 kilos down, I’ll do a comparison.  A ‘before’ and a ‘third’ of the way there compare.

Today was another bold day.  I ventured out on a hike.  A very small hike.  A miniscule hike.  A walk so small that it doesn’t constitute a walk.  However, I wanted to test my legs on trails.  I still must avoid hills and stairs (something almost impossible on a hike), but I wanted to test my legs on trails.  It is difficult when you can not feel your feet much anymore.  It is difficult when your legs just hurt all the time.  A different type of pain every day, but pain nonetheless.  But I had to test it.  And it worked.

It worked because I was in nature.  It worked because it was small.  But I know that I can build up to something decent and with the weight loss, the strengthening and dealing with the health issues that have developed over the last three months, I will get back to WWOT.  My goal to get back there by summer is looking possible today.

Today I’m working out my exercise plan for the week.  I’m feeling confident enough to be able to start small HIIT sessions 3-4 times a week to start with.  Another week and I’ll aim for the bike and the pool.  Yep, I’m going to be brave enough to don a swimsuit in this body.  A relative told me, the way to get a bikini body is to get a bikini and put a body in it.  The end.  I love her for that.

IMG_0911.JPG

 

A fresh start

I haven’t written for awhile.  There is a reason for that.  I’ve been tired. Really tired.  I’ve been hurting too.

I often wonder how people with anxiety, depression or other mental health illnesses get through the day, because seriously, even just having some of the symptoms, just for a short while completely ruins you.

There have been so many things going on that I don’t know where to begin.  In fact, I’m not going to begin.  You don’t need to read about all the woes when you probably have your own woes.  We are all faced with family and friends dying, we are all faced with spouses being ill, we all struggle financially at some point, we all deal with stress (or don’t deal with it even though we have it) and we all have our own health issues to deal with.  So no, you don’t need to read about my woes.  And quite frankly, even though all these things have been happening, I look at what others go through and I know that what I’m dealing with just doesn’t even come close.

Having said all that, I have had a wake-up call.  Yep, there was the knee injury twelve months ago that is still recovering.  I threw in another knee injury just a couple of days ago, skiing again.  But they are just injuries.  People get hurt every day.  You move on.  In recent months though there have been lots of things going on with my body and my head.  Several blood tests and trips to the doctors later, it appears that I have an auto-immune disease.  What auto-immune disease it is, we don’t know yet.   I’m learning just how crazy the auto-immune world is – it can take months to get a diagnosis.  Add to it, a diagnosis of pre-diabetes and I have my wake-up call.

I’ve been told to lose 25-30 kilos. Yep, you read that right.  30 kilos.  That’s a lot of weight, huh?  It is a daunting amount.  I’ve been told to exercise for 45 minutes every day.  On the other hand, I’ve been told to avoid hills and stairs because of my knees.  Swimming triggers an old ankle injury.  I’ve been told to avoid running, walking, cycling, squats, lunges, anything that requires sideways stepping.  Seriously, I think one health professional needs to talk to the other because they are at odds with each other.  I can’t avoid all these things and exercise for 45 minutes a day.   But what I do know on the exercise front is that I have to work on my glutes and my core to be able to do all the other things that I so want to do again, and love doing.  I want to go back to WWOT (it has been a year!).  I want to run.  I want to ski without getting injured. I want to cycle.  I want to live.

That’s the key, isn’t it?  I want to live, really live.  And to do that I need to lose 30 kilos (there’s that scary number again).  I need a strong core and strong glutes.

So I am going to be writing regularly again, because I need to document this to keep focused.  One thing I’ve learned from WWOT is it is good to have goals.  I can’t sign up for any endurance events at the moment.  In fact, I can’t sign up for any events at the moment.  But I can still have goals (in addition to losing 30 kilos and exercising for 45 minutes each day).

Goals:

  1. Get back to WWOT by summer
  2. Start running Parkrun again by September, even if I have to walk it to start with.  Take my kids with me.  It will be our family start to the weekend.
  3. Be able to keep up with my kids when skiing in 12 month’s time (this will only be achieved with a strong, healthy body)
  4. Do a triathlon by the end of 2018 (yes, it will take that long to be ready for it, otherwise the same injuries will just keep reoccurring).  Why a triathlon?  Because it will keep me balanced in my training – it will get me back in the pool, it will get me back on the bike and I won’t spend all my time running only.  That, and I’ve always wanted to do one.  My kids do them.  I can join them.

So here we go.  I’m off to plan the day’s menu and to weigh in to get the official starting point number.  It all starts NOW.

The return

Some extraordinary things have been happening to me of late.  I mentioned before about the mind shift resulting from my “attitude of gratitude” daily goals.  I do have renewed perspectives.  I am looking at the world in a positive light and I am focused on what I want to achieve.

And I am achieving.  It is all coming along slowly, but it is happening.  We are 25 days into the new year and I have exercised every single day.  That’s 25 days straight of exercise in some form or other.  I am seeking opportunities to be more active.  I am being sensible.  I’m following specialist orders so that I don’t reinjure my knee and so that it does fully rehabilitate (which of course still means no Trek Training for awhile longer yet, unfortunately).  25th day of the year also means 25 days without anything but water, milk or almond milk to drink – mainly water.  25 days of eating ‘right’.  Not one piece of refined sugar or processed food (other than food from a can that is whole food, eg diced tomatoes are just diced tomatoes, if you buy the right can) has passed these lips in 25 days.

But truthfully, the best thing has been the removal of Facebook.  I still use twitter and instagram (my #photoaday and #attitutdeofgratitude challenges are playing out on instagram), but no other social media.  The reason is, you don’t actually have to interact with anyone on either twitter or instagram.  Yes, they too are problematic for many people (we all know the trolls), but at this point they are something I can disconnect easily from.  I can walk away from it and not think of it again.  Facebook was different for me and problematic for me, like it is for many people.  Taking the advice of a psychologist, I walked away.  Did the world collapse?  No.  Did I die?  No.  Did the earth shift off its axis? No.  Did people notice?  Some.  Some actually have.  Most have not, but some have.  How do I know?  Because people who I haven’t connected with in a very long time other than through Facebook have picked up their phone and called for a chat, for a coffee, for a visit.   Connections became real.  They may not have noticed that I wasn’t on Facebook, but they noticed the disconnect and they reconnected that thread.  And that is something worth clinging on to.

My neighbour and I have both disconnected.  The result? We spend time together each day running, walking, doing kettle bells and, most importantly, laughing.  There is something wrong with the world when two people living side by side only communicate via technology.

Finally, I came upon this blog ‘How I got my attention back’.  It leaves me with a resounding YES.  He is more eloquent than I am and he says everything that I want to say.  I totally get what he is saying.  I got sucked into the game too and I have resurfaced.  I’m putting this blogger down as a person I am grateful for.

End result? I am more attentive.  I am a fitter person.  I am a healthier person.  I am a happier person, and those things make me a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend.

Today I am grateful for the friends who noticed my absence.  You make the world a better place.

Back on Track

I have adopted a few new philosophies or ideas on living and I actually feel, for the first time in a very long time, that I am back on track.

Firstly, as I’ve said before, I’m doing the photo a day challenge.  It seems simple enough and arguably has no point to it, except for one thing.  It forces me out of the house every single day into nature.  My eyes are open.  I am searching for that one thing that grabs and holds my attention that day and makes me wonder on the beauty of our natural world.  My worries, my stresses, my concerns are all gone for that time that I am out running, walking or riding, and am opening up to the healing properties of nature.

I have adopted the ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ philosophy.  Deeply founded in Buddhism and Christianity (and most likely in other religions too), it is about finding those things each day to be truly grateful for.  This has been surprisingly hard.  At first it was easy, but 14 days into the new year and now I really have to think hard about finding a new thing to be grateful for each day.  I am searching my soul and each day I am giving thanks.  It means that I have to think and ponder each day on all the positives that have been going on in my life.  As a result, I no longer have time to think about the negatives.

It sounds very zen like but each day I’m now outside in nature, looking at the wonders of our world and thinking about all the good people in it and how they make this world a better place.  The mind shift is phenomenal.  It reminds me of my wedding day when the priest told us that, no matter what, we must find the joy in each day, no matter how hard the days are.  There truly is joy in every day and an attitude of gratitude helps discover this.

My doctor sent me for blood tests.  He is currently away and I’m seeing him when he gets back in two weeks.  I’ve had insulin resistance since high school so I have blood tests every 2 years to monitor it.  In my 20s I was all over it and had it under control.  It was when I weighed 52 kilos, was super fit, would bring the rock climbing gym to a hushed silence when my I threw my body onto overhangs (and dropped the F-bomb like a regular potty mouth as I gave everything to not fall).  Then it all slipped away.  I had children, I had an injury that resulted in no more climbing (yes, I do have a tendency to get injured a lot), work promotions, changes in careers and the slipping morphed into falling.  I was losing control.  Then the doctor phones and says “I’m on holidays, I do need to see you about your blood tests, it’s not urgent.  It can wait til I get back.  But from this moment you are back on your diet, you are losing 25 kilos and you are not breaking it.”  Chat goes on, ending with him saying “You know what to do”.  Yes, I do, and I have not shifted from it since that phone call.  And I won’t.   I have had a mind shift.  My mind is thinking the way it did when I was in my 20s.

Finally, I have adopted a hybrid form of the “minimalist” philosophy to living.  Now, I’m not going the whole way with this as the reality is we live in the western world and our culture and economy are based on consumerism and quite frankly if every single person was to adopt this philosophy in its entirety that would be the end of our economy, jobs would disappear, etc.  But there are aspects of it that I really like.  Cutting back on spending so that we only spend what we have.  Cut back on waste, particularly when it comes to clothing so we are not filling our tips with billions of tonnes of clothes, dyes in the waterways, and paying people in third world countries less than minimal wage to produce these garments that don’t last and therefore cannot be donated.  I suppose the reality is no, we are not taking the minimalist path, but we are stopping and considering the impact of every purchase.  The impact on our wallets, our future, our environment.  We are moving away from the ‘I want’ and asking ‘Do I really need this?’ and ‘what purpose does it serve?’.

In the meantime, I am not closer to getting back to Trek Training, but I am feeling fitter and I am feeling more focused.

Today I am grateful for every person that I have met in my life’s journey who have provided me with experiences and perspectives, whether they be negative or positive, because I am the sum of my experiences.  Each person played a role in making me who I am today.

I sprained my arse

Yep, you read it right.  I sprained my arse.

What was supposed to be a building up to return to trek training, ended up being a set back.

Now, you may be asking “how on earth did you do that?” or your mind may be jumping to certain thoughts, that unfortunately hadn’t happened.  What you need to know first is this isn’t the first time I’ve down this injury.  It happens to be a chronic injury.  The first time I did it, was 20 years ago, canyoning in the Blue Mountains in NSW.  I had completed the abseil and the swim and we were doing the rock scramble out of the canyon when I slipped and fell.  It hurt but I was able to keep moving and manage the big climb out to the car.  We got in the car and drove home.  I couldn’t get out of the car.  I couldn’t move.  I couldn’t walk.  I was on a walking stick for over 6 weeks.  That was the start of it.

My hip/arse has played up ever since.  It locks up, it hurts and I have limited movement in that side of my hips.  I managed to do it again when training for Coastrek.  I did it again slightly when training for Oxfam.  It prevents me from buying a motor bike because I can’t move my leg enough to get on.  It makes rock scrambling and bush stairs that are uneven very difficult due to the limited movement that I have.  But I push on and I try.  It is the reason for my knee injury.  Between an unstable hip and significantly damaged ankle courtesy of netball as a kid, my right leg is not very stable.  Hence the knee eventually being injured too.

But jump forward to now.  Slowly building up strength and exercising again and getting ready to return to full training and boom, there it is.  I was doing lunges.  I had only done 10 when something ‘twinged’.  I kept going but it felt weird.  The next morning I woke and it was like the Blue Mountains all over again.  I couldn’t move. I couldn’t walk.  I stretched and stretched.  I iced and iced.  I spent hours rolling around in pain using my massage ball and foam roller.  Eventually, I visited the wonderful chiro and he confirmed it “bloody hell, you’ve actually managed to sprain your arse again, who does that?”

So now I’m sitting in a motel room in Cowra, still trying to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise, travelling in a car that I can’t get comfortable in because, yep, I sprained my arse.

So Trek Training return is put on hold, but I can still get other exercise in, so long as I keep getting out of the car regularly on this road trip (it was supposed to be a hiking trip around the Warrumbungles, but hey, I kinda stuffed up those plans didn’t I).  But I am laughing at this one and I know I’ll get over it fast.  It’s just that hills, stairs and now lunges are prevented for sometime yet.

In the meantime I received a call from my doctor … but that can wait for another time.

Today I’m grateful for all the volunteers around Australia and the world, who give up their time generously to assist people from all walks of life, or to run events, or to do charity, or even help as kindy readers in schools.  You make the world a better place.