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Making my way back to feeling healthy

In 2010, I started doing Crossfit style workouts, as a lot of you know.  I loved it.  I could take a regular Crossfit workout, you know the ones that have names to them, and adjust it and make it mine.  I could change regular push-ups to knee push-ups.  I could change box jumps to box step ups.  Whatever worked for me and my body at that moment.  I loved it.  I religiously did it for a couple years, every day after work, rarely missing a day.  One of our firefighters would give me a workout a day.  And if he forgot, another one would help me make up my own.  And then I started having foot problems.  My right foot would feel like it was catching on fire and it was horribly painful to walk on.  It would also, sometimes, cramp up so badly my toes would become like hammer toes.  THAT was the worst.

I finally went to a foot doctor in December of 2011.  He told me I had something called “Morton’s Neuroma.”  It’s a growth on one of the nerves between the toes.  Holy shit does it hurt!  We tried six months of injections.  The first four injections were cortisone.  The last two were an alcohol solution to “kill” the neuroma.  None of those worked and after the last injection of alcohol solution, I decided no one would ever (EVER) put a needle towards my foot again, unless it was for surgery.  The last two injections discolored the top of my foot and changed the way my foot looks.  To this day, the top of my foot is discolored and the skin looks thinner.

They also almost made me get close to passing out from the pain of it and it never once took away the pain from the neuroma.  During the series of injections, I tried to continue working out with my Crossfit style workouts.  I was healthier and happier than I ever had been in my 40 some years.  Some days I could do my workouts and some days my foot hurt so badly, it took all I had to not just burst into tears.  How did I know the pain was cry worthy?  During the few years I did Crossfit, my pain levels went up.  It took a lot to make me hurt physically.  So when it was close to making me cry, I knew it was hurting.

We scheduled surgery for the end of June in 2012.  I had the surgery and he told me it would be several months before I could do any type of high impact activities.  This meant no running, no box jumps, etc.  After my foot healed up a bit, I started out slowly going back to working out every day after work.  Some days, I could do it and some days I couldn’t.  Even just doing deadlifts where you have to plant your heel into the floor, my foot would hurt and sometimes cramp up.  It was heartbreaking.

A few months after I realized I couldn’t really do much, I got depressed.  During the years I did Crossfit, I didn’t need to take an anti-depressant.  My doctor and I had weened me off of them after I started doing the regular workout routine.  Here I was a few months later, back on something for my depression and anxiety.  I tried to keep going to the gym regularly, but I was half-assing it.  I knew I was, but I wanted to present the appearance of at least trying.   I was back to having anxiety attacks and feeling very despondent.  I ended up canceling my membership at The Ville, citing “financial issues.”  Which in part, was true, but was not 100% true.  Most of it was the fact I felt horrible about myself and I just lost my motivation.  I lost my motivation to feel healthy and feel better about myself.

So, to soothe my hurt feelings over not being able to do my full workouts anymore, I would eat.  I would eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and I didn’t care.  I knew most of the food I was putting in my mouth was bad for me.  I just didn’t care.  I started to gain weight, a lot of weight (60 pounds to be exact), which added to the depression and anxiety.  And then I really didn’t care.  I stopped paying a few creditors, I kept eating shit, I sunk into a funk that I was in for at least a year and a half before something snapped.  My dad was diagnosed with inoperable cancer, which didn’t help the depression.  He later passed away with me 5 feet away on the couch in his living room.  I spent a month helping my stepmom take care of him and as painful as it was, I am ever so grateful for that month.  I got to know him through the eyes of his wife and his friends.  He had changed.  He was a different person than the dad I knew way back when.  It was an amazing experience for me, as difficult as it was to get through.

September and October of 2016 changed me.  Eventually, I realized it was for the better, but during those two months, I was scared and even more anxious and depressed.  At the beginning of September, I noticed my ankles were swelling.  I mean, really swelling.  It was horrible.  And I noticed it hurt to walk and that my heart rate would go insane whenever I got up to do something.  It didn’t matter if it was to just go to the bathroom, my heart rate would skyrocket.

My blood pressure spiked up to 148/98.  This was the highest that I know it got, however, I didn’t have it taken all that often, so it could have been much higher at some point.  I don’t remember what my heart rate was that day, but I know it was higher than 100.  This was on Monday, September 14 around 8am.  Later that day, I went to my doctor and explained everything I was feeling and about my blood pressure.  She immediately put me on a water pill for the swelling and blood pressure.  She couldn’t put me on a beta blocker because I have asthma, so we could just hope the water pill worked.  She also referred me to a cardiologist for follow up.  My doctor felt that my anxiety levels were through the roof (she wasn’t wrong), so she changed my anxiety medication as well.

Three days later, I was having chest pains at work so I had a coworker take me to the ER.  They did an EKG (2nd in a week) and it was fine.  They took blood and it was fine.  They did a chest x-ray and it was fine.  I sat in that ER for 7-8 hours and had a lot of time to think about shit in my life.   The ER sent me home with no medications, no fluids, nothing.  Nothing was wrong with me.  I am currently fighting with their billing department because the doctor and the billers put down that I was treated for nicotine addiction.  That is a story for another day.

After getting home that day, after a firefighter picked me up from the ER and took me back to my car, I sat down and I meditated.  I thought, I processed, I analyzed.  My slip down this depressed slope started when I couldn’t do my full Crossfit workouts anymore, yes, all those years ago (at least 4).  It continued due to financial stress and the physical stress of working two jobs and going to school.

I started to let my new meds work.  The water pill helped my ankle bloating and I got a home blood pressure thing so I could monitor it myself as well.  I went to the cardiologist and they found nothing.  They gave me an EKG, it showed nothing.  They sent me for a nuclear stress test, it showed nothing.  I still owe about $1500 on that one, and yes, I have insurance.  The new anxiety/depression meds started to work and I started to see the fog lifting.

October of 2016, I resigned from my second job and immediately felt a sense of relief after giving my resignation notice.  Almost immediately, I noticed a difference.  I was sleeping better, I was feeling better, and my thought processes were better.  I started thinking about what I wanted to happen and my main goal is to feel healthier and get back to some sort of working out.  I have a row machine here at home, which I’ve used off and on, but not regularly.  So I need to get consistent with that.  I’ve also become very consistent in taking my medications at the same time (or within an hour) every day.  I was in a spot in my life where I would half-ass taking my meds, just like I would half-ass a lot of other things.  Taking them every single day around the same time has made a huge difference in how I’m feeling.

During this process, I was invited to a good friend’s house for a “Health and Wellness” class type thing.  I jumped at the chance to go learn something new about how to improve my health and wellness.  I figured I would just be listening and taking notes, learning things about nutrition and ways to make my home less toxic for me and my furbabies.  I am still a bit skeptical about some of it, but I’m improving little things each day and I haven’t felt this good in a very long time.

I signed up for an online shopping club, with the intent to try a few products here and there with the hopes of improving my health.  Three months later, I’ve changed all of my cleaning products over to their products.  There are no toxic chemicals in them.  Specifically, no ammonia or bleach, which I really like.  I did have to get used to it at first, because it doesn’t smell like PineSol up in here when I clean now.  So, ya know, I had to let go of that old thinking.  “If it doesn’t smell like bleach or PineSol, it’s not clean!!!!”

I’m slowly changing my eating habits and I’m using an appetite control protein powder and make a shake every morning.  I’m counting calories, I’m tracking my water intake and I’ve gone to eating 5 to 6 meals a day instead of 3 meals a day.  I’ve pretty much stopped drinking Dr. Pepper regularly.  I’ll have one every few days, but usually just one (compared to drinking 2 or 3 of the 20 ounce bottles a day).  I’ve started taking a supplement for menopause, which has just been miraculous for me.  I’m sleeping better, I’m feeling better, and I’m having fewer hot flashes and no night sweats after the first week of being on it.  I’m also taking a multi vitamin pack that has a multi-vitamin, an omega-3, some probiotics, and an antioxidant.  My energy levels have gone through the roof and I’ve started to slowly lose weight.  And my bragging moment?  I’ve lost almost 5 pounds since the beginning of December.  A little slower than some, but it’s at my pace and I’m taking my time learning new habits and what not.

With all of this being said, if you made it this far in the post, I love you and am grateful you are here.  I’m working towards a better me, so that I can be a better person, a better friend, a better employee, a better woman.

Until next time….

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