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Archive for the ‘Health and fitness’ Category

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….

Hello there!

I’ve been meaning to post everyday and keep a “journal” of my workouts, but I keep forgetting. When I do remember, it’s days later and I have like 3 or 4 workouts that I don’t want to post all at once.

So I’ll just that I’ve been doing A LOT of rowing on the row machine. I love that thing. I’m working my way up to 5k meters. Once I hit that, I’ll work my way up 1k each week or two.

My feet still hurt almost every day. Some days are better than others. I have a certain level of stress that is only relieved when I work out, so I’m pushing myself and resting my feet when I need it. I can tell when I’ve over done it and then I take two days off from any exercise activity. It’s really quite irritating to not be able to do what I used to do in these workouts, but everyone has to re-start somewhere, right?

Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Until next time…

Working my way up…

When I started going back to the gym 2 weeks ago, I made a decision to NOT throw myself into Crossfit the way I did before. I decided I would not workout 5 days a week and as hard as I could. I decided to workout when I felt like it – but I had to go at least 3 times a week. I’ve stuck to this schedule pretty well and with the start of the 3rd week, I decided to throw in something I haven’t done in over a year. The dreaded AMRAP workout. As many rounds as possible in a certain amount of time.

This is what I did today:
350m row to warm up
10 shoulder press #45 (my upper body strength completely disappeared so I’ll be working on that a lot)

15 minute AMRAP of

5 push ups (modified on knees)
10 sit ups
10 kettlebell swings (25#)

I did 7 rounds of this and feel pretty good about that, considering I had to go a little slower because of my foot not being in a good mood today. It averages to just a little over 2 minutes per round. Pretty solid work for my AMRAP.

Until next time…

Doing what the big kids do

So I challenged myself today to do one workout that was on the main Crossfit website ( I went through the website and I settled on the WOD from yesterday, Thursday the 17th.

10 rounds of:
1 minute of rowing
rest 15 seconds
30 seconds of shoulder press
rest 15 seconds
total meters and total reps of the presses is your score.

I got to the Ville at around 2:20 after taking some vacation time at work. I changed into my workout clothes, did some stretching, set up my little piece of paper to write down my meters and reps and then set the stop watch on my iPhone. After setting my bar (45#) on the rack so I could easily shoulder press it, I hit start on the stop watch and off I went.

Round 1 – 200/14
Round 2 – 195/12
Round 3 – 190/9
Round 4 – 203/10
Round 5 – 199/7
Round 6 – 194/7
Round 7 – 190/7
Round 8 – 193/8
Round 9 – 196/7
Round 10- 188/7

total meters rowed – 1948
total shoulder press – 88
Time to complete – 24:22

My shoulders already hurt and my legs feel like jelly. There is one good thing about the rowing machine, it makes my foot feel fantastic. I’m wondering if my foot responds so well to that because it’s working out the scar tissue at the incision point. I don’t know.

I struggled with the shoulder presses, as you can see from my numbers. I think I also rested more than 15 seconds between eat exercise station. I’m okay with that. I completed a big kid workout!!! YAY me!!

Time for two days of rest, since it’s the weekend and the gym is not open during times that work for me.

Until next time…

Getting back to a routine

For the last year, I’ve used my foot surgery and a few other things going on in my life as excuses to stay away from the gym (in the firehouse or the Crossfit box I belong to) and I’m done with that.

Today, I used the gym in the firehouse so I’d have a little motivation from people I know.

One of the Captains was doing:

5 rounds of:
250m row
20 double under (jump ropes)
20 kettlebell swings (75#)
How long it took him to do one round – he would rest that same amount of time. This means, if it took him 3 minutes to do the first round, then he rested 3 minutes before starting the 2nd, etc.

So I decided to do something similar and this is what I did:
3 rounds of:
250m row
20 box step ups
20 db swings (25#)
It took me a total of 16:36 to complete, including the resting times. It kicked my ass pretty well.

I’m on a new maintenance medication for the asthma and today was my first dosage of that. I have to say, my lungs have not felt this clear in a very long time, even when I was a nonsmoker for about 5 weeks! I’m still going to try the quitting smoking thing. While I realized I don’t really want to quit smoking, I do know that I will be better off as a nonsmoker, health wise.

I’m glad to be getting back into a routine of sorts with my workouts and I am beginning to enjoy the feeling of the workouts again.

Until next time…

April 15 – well that didn’t take long!

When I worked out regularly over a year ago, extremely cardio heavy workouts would make me feel pukey. And sometimes, I’d give in to that feeling, let myself vomit, (after running to the restroom of course – puking on a gym floor is unacceptable LOL) and then go back to finishing the workout.

After work, I made my way to the gym and looked to see what the WOD was for today. Here is what was on the board:

500m row
15 deadlifts (185/125)
25 ring dips
35 air squats
3 rounds

Needless to say, I can’t do 125# deadlift, so I adjusted the weight on that to 65#. Then, I realized I can’t do ring dips. One of the coaches helped me with a band on the rings and I couldn’t stabilize myself, so she moved me over to the bar they use for that stuff.

She also told me to lower the amount per round, as it’s a very cardio intensive workout. And this is what I ended up doing:

500m row
15 deadlift (65#)
15 bar dips
25 squats
2.5 rounds

I say 2.5 rounds because during the rowing of the 3rd round, I felt pukey but pushed through to the bar dips. During the bar dips, I almost lost it so we know what happened after that! When I came back out to finish the workout, my right foot cramped up to the point I could hardly move it for a few minutes. I knew then that I was done for the day.

I love being back in the gym. Even though I’m not going every single day like I was, it feels good to be going every other day or so. Wednesday is a rest day for me and I’ll be back in the gym on Thursday.

Until next time…

The basic elements

There are several lifts that we use in Crossfit. There are the basics like front squat, back squat, overhead squat, shoulder press (shoulder to overhead), push press, etc. and then there are the more complicated cleans, power cleans, clean and jerks, deadlifts, sumo deadlift high pull (my personal fave.)

It’s been about a year since I’ve done a workout inside a Crossfit box. It’s been a year since my foot allowed me to wear tennis shoes for more than a minute before pinching the nerves and setting my foot on fire. Yes, I wear wide width shoes. Yes, I’ve been fitted for workout shoes. My foot has been a problem for a long time.

After my surgery in June of 2013, I went on workout hiatus. It resulted in me gaining back most, if not all, of the weight I had lost. I didn’t want to find that weight again.

Yesterday after work, I went to the Crossfit gym and a friend from work walked me through the “elements” of Crossfit and the basic lifts, along with deadlifts. I felt a little sore, my foot behaved for the most part for about an hour. By the time I got home, my foot was on fire, so I took the shoe off and I had immediate relief.

I decided I would keep going to the gym, several times a week.

Today, I went to do a regular workout (WOD) and decided to do what they had written on the board, which is basically what everyone taking a Crossfit class would do.

This is what was on the board:
4 rounds of
15 shoulder to overhead (135/95)
15 K2E (knees to elbows)
400m run

This is what I actually did:
4 rounds of
15 shoulder to overhead (45#)
15 v ups
400m row

My goal was to do it in less than 20 minutes. I barely made that mark, but I did it. Immediately after the workout, after catching my breath, I got my gym bag and changed my shoes to flip flops. It helped my foot quite a bit on the ride home.

I then got in my car to come home and got stuck in the worst traffic ever and it took me an hour! However, even the horrific traffic could not ruin the mood I was in after finishing that workout.

Until next time…

Learning as we grow older

Sitting here watching some Grey’s Anatomy episodes on Netflix (yeah, still trying to catch up to current on this show) and I’m thinking about the last 5 days and how frighteningly revealing they were. Revealing things about me, about others, about life in general for me. I will tell you a secret that I haven’t said out loud. I thought I was going to die. And that one thought had me so anxious and full of fear, I couldn’t think straight for two days. Anxiety disorders are not jokes.

I look back on the last several months of my life and I can see, clear as day, how I stuffed what I was thinking and feeling. I would be blunt about certain things but keep other things to myself. A lot. I did it a lot. The only place I was 100% honest about anything that was going on inside of me was in my GA meetings. Thank God for that because I can’t imagine how this would have gone had not been being honest at all.

I was put on Bactrim for a sinus infection back on the 10th. Three days later, I wasn’t feeling “right” but figured it was just still the sinus infection making me feel funky. On the 14th, I went to sleep at 7pm and slept 14 hours into Saturday. I spent Saturday feeling pukey, ache-y everywhere and lethargic. I didn’t sleep Saturday night. My heart was racing, I was dizzy, I was still nauseous, I got diarrhea that kept me up most of the night as well and somewhere in there I started having a pressure in my chest that wouldn’t go away. I fought it off and I fought it off. I kept trying to convince myself that it was NOT a heart attack and it was just an anxiety attack. Finally, at around 6pm on Sunday, I had enough. I was fighting it all off because Monday was payroll. I have to be there for payroll. Right?

I arrived at the ER at 7pm, shaking everywhere and barely able to speak or sign in. I immediately told them I felt that I was having a heart attack or a very bad anxiety attack. They took me back immediately and started hooking me up to machines and talking to me to get information. I was so scared. I was alone. I was all alone in a strange city and I just kept saying to myself “I wish my mom was here. I wish Tobe was here.” But they weren’t. I had to find a way through this on my own.

As the nurse was hooking me up for my first EKG of the night, my heart rate was at 128 and going up. I could not stop shaking, it was almost like a convulsing. He kept telling me to breathe and relax. I didn’t know how. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry.

As they were coming and going from my little ER room, I was texting coworkers and friends to let them know where I was and what was happening. One offered to drive 1.5 hours up to the hospital to sit with me. I told her no because she had to go in and do payroll since I wouldn’t be there for it. But she offered it at least 3 more times. One said they would come out, but they were working and couldn’t. One texted me out of the blue to let me know if I needed anything, he and his fiancee would be there in a heartbeat.

I finally got them to give me something for the anxiety because I could not sit still, which made my heart rate keep going up and scaring the crap outta me. I was frightened the entire time. I was alone. It made me feel more alone than I have ever been in my entire life. Not much gets me feeling lonely, but I do feel alone a lot.

They decided to keep me over night, so I texted the few people who asked me to let them know what room I’d be in, etc. They ordered a nuclear stress test. All the blood tests and EKGs they had taken came back normal and the cardiologist that came to talk to me was really nice and gave me kudos for taking it seriously. He said that a woman of my age (44) with a history of smoking and high cholesterol should always take it seriously. Even if I think it’s an anxiety attack, take it seriously because the symptoms mirror each other.

Monday morning came around and I sent a text to my coworker/friend who was stuck doing payroll to see how she was doing. We chatted a little bit and then I had my one and only visitor to come see me while I was there. He spent about an hour with me before they came to take me for the stress test. Later in the afternoon, I was told the stress test came back great and there are no issues with my heart or the valves (YAY!!!) but they didn’t know exactly what was going on with me and they wanted me to follow up with my regular doctor in a day or two. They had not given me my antibiotic while I was in the hospital, so I took it when I got home at around 3pm.

Twenty minutes after taking the Bactrim, I started feeling crappy again. I was nauseous, dizzy, headache came back and then I started feeling anxious again. On Tuesday morning, I called my doctor and made an appointment for noon, explaining what was going on and that it sounded like an allergic reaction to the Bactrim.

I went in at noon and was taken back to the room. I was still pretty anxious and shaky. We went over all the symptoms and everything the hospital did, etc. etc. I had a severe allergic reaction to the Bactrim, which then exacerbated my already existing anxiety issues, which in turn made me feel like I was having a heart attack. So we’ve removed me from the Bactrim and I am on a small dosage of Ativan daily for a week and on a new antidepressant that helps both issues. I go back in two weeks to check up and see how I’m feeling.

She thinks that with all the things that have been going on in my life in the last few months, good and bad stress, added to the allergy to the medicine, it made my anxiety issues resurface unexpectedly. My resting heart rate for the last several months was 88-90 and I was always told it was normal. I didn’t like it, but said okay. After one full 24 hour period of being on my medication, my resting heart rate has been 68-72 today. I’m quite pleased with that.

I’m still not feeling 100% right now, but I’m on the road to recovery and I’m determined to no longer internalize my stress (whether good or bad) and will express myself.

At 44 years old, I’m still learning about me. I’m still growing. I’m still evolving. I know who I am. I know where I’m going and I know I’m more comfortable in my skin today than I was yesterday.

I go back to work tomorrow. I’m a little nervous, but I’m looking forward to interaction with real people. I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls and texts checking on me, which is awesome. But I need that in person interaction and I haven’t had that since my one friend came to visit me Monday morning.

Until next time…

Monday April 15, 2013

First, let me address the horrible events in Boston – my prayers are with the families of those who have died and are injured. My prayers for a speedy recovery for the injured and my prayers for strength and courage for everyone directly involved. Horrible actions. The world is becoming a very sad, angry, evil place.

1 minute of each:
ring rows
push ups
v ups
3 rounds for total reps:
224 reps

Thursday March 14. 13.2

So, as a lot of you know, the Crossfit Games have started with the Open. Every Wednesday for a certain amount of time, they will release the WOD of the week. Yesterday, they released 13.2 (2013 Crossfit Games, Open workout 2) You can see the exact workout here.

5 shoulder to overhead (115/75)
10 deadlift (115/75)
15 box jumps (24″/20″)

10 minute AMRAP

I decided today I would attempt this workout. Even though my foot may not last during the box jumps, I knew I could scale it and modify it to however it works for me.

This is what I did:

5 shoulder to overhead (55#)
10 deadlift (55#)
15 step ups

4 rounds + 20 reps (140 reps) The step ups slowed me down. I actually tried the jumps in the first round and it destroyed my toes/foot, so I switched it up to the step ups. I think if my foot would have allowed me to continue the jumps, I would have gotten more reps in. The #1 woman in the world did something like 337 reps in the workout (11+ rounds.) Insane stuff right there!