Learning and Living with Chronic Illness

In the last few days I have had many questions about arthritis. Not exactly a topic I would chose to claim as an expert, but alas I am. It’s not a fun disease to deal with nor is there a cure. It’s also annoying because it’s your own body attacking your necessary body parts. As with many autoimmune diseases nobody really knows why this happens. There are theories that it’s heredity or that it is triggered by an infection, but there is no way to cure the nasty attacker.

One of the biggest misnomers about RA is that it only happens to old people. This disease strikes any age – usually females. The idea that it is an ol’foggey disease is because it gets confused with OA – osteoarthritis. OA is wear and tear on joints – which typically takes years to develop yielding a higher age group to posses the uncomfortable striker.

As the aging process takes place it seems we find that our friends and family discover unfortunate diseases, like RA, and are at a loss when it comes to dealing with it or offering support. What is it that you have been recently diagnosed with? Do you have a child or parent that battles with a disease and you are looking for support? It would be wonderful if you would share your story so this could be a place of support and information.

Dealing with a chronic illness requires a massive amount of physical and mental energy. A positive realm of support can be the best medicine and alleviate the a heavy heart when all seems lost. I look forward to your feed back and hope you have a pain free day. -trvw

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Race Postponed?!

startlineRemember Melinda…the Surprise weight loss picture and article? She’s really into running and calls me occasionally for running tips. It really flatters me that somebody wants my fitness advice so I always make an effort to get back to her in a timely manner.

She called me the day before her half-marathon, but not because she was nervous – she was a tad ticked off. The weather forecast was calling for snowy conditions and the race had been postponed one week. “What do I do?!” she wondered.

If your race get’s pushed out don’t panic. One week difference won’t hurt you. If it’s much more than that you’ll still be fine – you just need to adjust a bit. The nervous tension (and agression you have because your training got jerked around) can be laid out on the road. My suggestion for running is to run light and easy, enough to let out some pent up energy. Don’t do a race, store up the energy and don’t risk the energy.

Forget about timing these training runs but instead just focus on keeping limber and pumped up for the real run. As the week moves closer try lower impact exercises like the EFX (elliptical) just to maintain. Continue to taper like it was the former week and keep a positive focus.

If your race got pushed out more than a week, try to go back to the same point from your training schedule and follow the miles and taper. However, if the race is too far out you might be better off to sign up for another one to avoid over-training. Good Luck!!! -pm

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Parental Control

lollyTo understand type 1 diabetes is to understand a life of schedules, “diet” food, shots, meters, medicine, and more. The American Diabetes Association defines it like this: “Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar (glucose), starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.”

It can be managed but not cured. This autoimmune disease is difficult for the person stricken with it; to know they struggle with it takes understanding from everyone around them. There is a lot of chemistry that goes on in the body and when it gets out of control it makes life hard.

Having a parent with a disease is never easy-it means having compassion, understanding, and knowing that it’s ok to get mad sometimes. I have a parent with type 1 diabetes (lets abbreviate – t1d). So the things that I write will be from the kid point of view. I hope to offer tips and suggestions for families that have t1d in their lives.  I’m not a shrink or doc so use advice – as on any site – to your discretion. I’m just a person with experience willing to share if it might help. -pm


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Alternate Workout

efxIt’s good to have a back up workout plan for a few reasons.  You might get rained out of your run, the elliptical trainer might be occupied, or you just might feel like a change when the alarm goes off.  Allowing yourself the freedom to do something different will keep you motivated and let you feel in control of working out.  Our brains and bodies get tired of the same ol’ routine. Even if you love your daily runs, a simple change in route or mileage can stimulate your mind and body. When your mind gets tired the body will follow-yes that right our brain controls the energy flow to the body more than we realize.  If you can snap your brain out of boredom your body will follow the excitement.

A little bit of variety will keep you motivated and challenge different muscles.  Have a few workouts that you can do to switch up the norm.  Have a few fitness DVDs that you can fall back on, use a different machine or use them all by doing circuits.  There’s plenty of that you can do to stick to your fitness routine, it might involve a little creativity but it will certainly be worth the effort. -pm

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Nix Chapped Lips

lip-balmThe cold, dry weather is hard on everything.  Dry lips are easy to fix with all the fun, tasty options on the market.  Lip care isn’t just for the ladies; guys there are several non-glossy formulas to remedy your chapped chops too. Listed below are a few good choices to try.

Chapstickis one of the classic selections for guys and girls.  Not glossy, smooth formulas, and a variety of flavors.

Merry Hempster is a good organic choice that you can find in most health food stores. Also a balm that’s genderless.

EcoLips has vegan and energy formulas.  Fun for something different.

Nivea Kiss of Shine is a squeezy tube for gals that like a hint of color, super gloss, and lasting moisture.

Alba Botanica has a gloss and balm made using organic ingreadients and have really tasty tropical flavors.

Neutrogena Moisture Shine offers a SPF 20 cooling gel that feels good without tasting like medicine.

Carmex and Blistex are good standbys that have branched out with a variety flavors and formula to suit everybody.

Keep them with you all the time to keep the lip crusties away. They’re a fun way to protect your lips and shine your smile. -pm

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Running Advice

running-shoesHow close  together can I put two half marathons?
-Melinda K.

Racing frequency varies for each runner.  The more experience you have with running and racing, the more familiar you will be with your body’s energy level and recovery rate.  Take your goals into consideration.  Are you wanting to PR (personal record) or just finish?  How challenging are the courses? Other things to think about are your current weekly mileage and race history.  If you are running around 20 miles a week and never ran a half marathon, I would not suggest that you schedule your second race until you see how you recover.  However if you are well rested and experienced you could schedule them within a week of one another-nothing that you would want to do on a regular basis.

Again, each runner is different.  If you are really wanting to run an event but are unsure if you should push yourself then you have the option to go easy and make it a training run.  Don’t bolt out there and hurt yourself if you aren’t ready. If you are smart about adjusting your weekly mileage, use cross-training exercises, and eat well then you are probably safe to one every six weeks.

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Thoughts Become Things

The holidays are over and you’re broke. The weather is cold and the news is dull and depressing.  Good times seem forever away, but not so.  It’s in your own power to make the time now for feeling fine. Take an escape from all of the drama and just focus on being cheerful and happy.  Even if you have to fake it a bit, positive thoughts are proven to breed more positive thoughts and generate positive energy.  You owe it to yourself and people around you to feel good and inspire positive energy.  If we all work on that perhaps we can send this economy into a state of improvement. 

Don’t get me wrong, I typically have to work at maintaining a positive focus.  Negativity naturally consumes me it seems.  No, you can’t walk around with your head in the clouds, but being down in the dumps all of the time will serve no positive purpose. Mike Dooley, as featured in “The Secret,”  says “thoughts become things” so I am making them good thoughts.  You deserve to do the same.  -pm

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Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you have a wonderful, energy packed holiday. I hope you get out and move as much as you enjoy the festive treats. Give thanks because you want to, not because you feel like you are obligated. I would like to know what you do to stay moving keep it all together through the holiday weekend. Enjoy! -pm

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Fall Back, Fast Forward

We’ve moved the clocks to “gain” an hour but the time speeds on by. This time of year screams go, go, go! Hustle and bustle is the phrase that pays when November and December come around. Retail thrives on people needing quick solutions to food, gifts, and anything else that might come up last minute. People really stress out this time of year and sometimes it seems that there is no escape from the madness. Treat yourself, friends, and family to some downtime. Take a quiet hike in the woods or walk your dog. Bundle up, go out and get some fresh air. It’s good for the brain and the light exercise will lower your blood pressure while burning off some of those extra holiday calories. If you are needing to conserve calories, maybe you’ve got a big race you are training for, the supplemental stress reducers might be better served by light stretching or deep breathing exercises. Sure this time of year can get rowdy but take some time to get away so you can recharge your energy and enjoy the craziness with everyone else. Moods are infectious, be the one spreading good cheer! -pm

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Energy Flow

Working might not be as bad if the workday were only 8 hours start to finish. Unfortunately there is commute time, lunch time, prep time-because your healthy lunch isn’t going to pack itself and your clothes won’t climb out of the closet perfectly coordinated. There is a laundry list of work that goes into getting to work. It can zap your energy if you let it. Of course keeping fit is one of the best remedies to keep energy levels up. Throughout the day our bodies need to keep that blood flow going as a means to stay energetic.

There are numerous ways to get moving while stuck at work, it just calls for a little creativity. Here are a few to get you going:

Stretching is one of the most obvious and easiest ways to get the blood flowing.

Keeping good posture ensures a good flow of oxygen to the brain.

Take a walk while discussing a project with a co-worker.

Find tasks that encourage movement. Stand up while you talk on the phone, do some toe raises or lunges.

Take deep breaths several times through the day.

Visit SparksPeople for more ideas!


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