Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Random Ramblings

Figure I should post an update... My first graduate class is pretty much done, so I don't really know what to do with myself.  I guess I could finish the last two chapters of reading, but sadly, I really don't feel like it.  I sure am hoping I did well on my final paper.  I need an A in this class!  It's kinda cool to think I'll have a graduate degree in a couple of years.  Assuming I make it through, of course.  Hmmm... I guess I could play my flute - haven't done that in a couple of weeks, since my tooth was very painful, and then I had root canal part one.  PAAAIIINNNN.  And since I need my mouth to play my flute... Yeah, not very compatible.  

What else, well, I'm flying to Germany in a few weeks to visit the boyfriend.  Oh, I am stoked.  We have all sorts of fun plans, and this time he gets to show me around :)  The last few times we saw each other, it was on my turf, so I showed him around instead of the other way around.  Well, actually, I've been to Germany, and have been to where he lives, but only a few times, and it's been YEARS (like seven years).  Very much looking forward to this trip!

Next up is my marathon, which is in less than five weeks.  Ah!  Aaannnd... the foot still hurts.  GR.  It's partially my fault, I'm sure.  I'm stubborn, and like to test my foot out to see if I can run on it.  Note to self: if doing the motion of running hurts when not actually running, then running isn't a good idea.  Fortunately, nothing else hurts, so I can use the stair-climber machine and the elliptical for an awesome workout.  I did thirty minutes on the stair machine on Sunday, and oh man, I was DRIPPING in sweat at the end of that workout.  I'm hoping this translates into SOME running fitness.  I have also done some bike rides and kept my heart rate around where it would be on a similar run.  Sadly, my IT band, while doing much better than it was, does not like cycling very much.  Less so than it liked running.  LUCKILY, the tightness from cycling usually goes away in a couple of days - ESPECIALLY if I apply heat to it to help loosen it up.  I don't know why I never thought of heat before... It works so much better than ice for that injury. Everyone says to ice, but ice just numbs the pain... I guess it reduces swelling too, but it doesn't help with tightness, and that's what caused my IT band to hurt!  Heat also seems to help my foot when I apply it to my calves (which I'm ASSUMING are pulling on the tendons in my foot, because stretching makes the pain go away COMPLETELY).  Also, rubbing my cayenne paper mix on my foot helps a lot too, followed by some soaking in epsom salts.  I'm sure if I keep this up WITHOUT trying to run until I'm pain free, then I'll be back to running soon.  In the meanwhile, the rest of my body is getting in better shape.  Lots of ab, leg, and arm workouts to make up for my lack of running.  Lunges, one-legged squats, calf raises (which also helped my foot, oddly enough), and other things that I hope will help translate into better running, and less future injuries (stronger hips = less injury for the most part!)

Also, random note: reading suspense novels before bed is probably not a great idea, especially if you are like me and tend to dream about whatever happened during the day.  I had dreams of flying from random brain controlling people (I like dreams where I can fly though!)  It wasn't a nightmare or scary dream, it was just kinda strange.

Okay, nothing else interesting to write about today.  I'm sleepy from staying up reading (I only went to bed around 10:30, but that's late for me)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Early Morning Ramblings

Well it's almost six a.m., and I have been up since around two!  That's when I looked at my clock, actually.  I was awake before that.  So I figure... what better thing to do than write a blog post?  Even if I don't really have anything relevant to say.  Nobody is awake, and I'm too tired to really work on the paper due Sunday - which is like half written anyway... It's a 9-10 page paper that needs 4-5 sources.  I've found like twelve.  This is why I did so well as a psychology major.  It's a lot of research, and I'm really good at finding research and making it relevant.  Heck anyone who knows me knows I research EVERYTHING - from the medications my doctors give me (who wants to be uninformed?) to the natural remedies, to psychological issues to... okay I guess I'm interested in health.  Maybe I should've tried to be a doctor.  Oh well - health care administration is close enough, right?  Okay, maybe not quite, but I figure I'll need some knowledge of at least the system (I'm still in services marketing right now, so I haven't covered much of the health care aspect, besides how to make the experience better for patients).  I suspect at some point I will attempt a Ph.D. in Psychology.  It's always been my passion, and I think it will continue to be that way.

Can anyone tell I haven't really slept yet?  I feel drunk.  You probably shouldn't write blog posts when drunk, or sleep deprived, but hey, it's okay.

I have an appointment with my neurologist today.  I'm HOPING HOPING he says I can drive at the end of the month.  I've still had partial seizures (a couple that I was SURE were going to end in full on seizures - aka - tonic clonic seizures - aka, grand mal seizures), but still no loss of consciousness that would get someone killed on the road, so I think I should be good!  Besides, I get like... two hours of feeling weird before I have a grand mal seizure anyways.  If I'm feeling weird, I won't be dumb, I won't drive.  I sure hope my next commander is understanding of this issue if I have to show up to work a little late, or I will probably end up back in a WTU to get med boarded out of the military.  But it's really not worth driving if I'm afraid I will have a seizure...  Actually, hopefully I will go somewhere where I can use public transportation, since this place has NONE.  That way if I have another seizure and can't drive again, I can still get around.  This would be ideal.  I wish 90% of army posts weren't in the middle of nowhere...  The cities AROUND Army posts usually have transportation, but unfortunately, unless you are somewhere like the Northwest or the DC area, there isn't usually a far-stretching transit system.  And because most places are like... ten miles from post if you want to live somewhere decent, it costs a lot to take a taxi.  I think taking a taxi everyday for a month would cost a ridiculous amount of money (more than gas!)

Next topic is, as usual, running related.  My foot and my knee!  Foot is doing even better today!  Stretching a bunch and using heat and epsom salt soaks, and rubbing my legs with that magnesium oil blend I talked about in last blog post are all helping a great deal.  I have also taken some Naproxen.  I wanted to avoid taking stuff, but if it will help heal it up faster, taking a little bit won't kill me.  Also, heat!  I have found heat to be significantly better for both of my injuries than ice.  I mean, it does make perfect sense.  I think this foot thing is caused in part by tight calves, so heating the calves helps relax them, hence pulling less on the tendons in the foot, and causing less pain!  Same with my IT Band, which has been a bit tight since my long bike ride on Sunday.  I've been applying heat to the leg above my knee (IT band and surrounding muscles), which helps loosen up the IT band, and takes away the pain.  Now I'm thinking... why would anyone say to ice these things?  It tightens everything back up.  Sure, it reduces swelling immediately after an injury and temporarily relieves pain, but once it's no longer acute, it doesn't make much sense, except maybe RIGHT on the spot of pain to reduce inflammation.  Since it seems as if most overuse injuries are caused by tight muscles surrounding the painful spot, it would make more sense to loosen them up than ice them... Just my thoughts and experiences.  I don't know why I didn't think to try this sooner... My heating pad is AMAZING!!!  Also, it is helping me deal with my post-strength training galore yesterday.  Did several lunges, single leg squats, double leg squats, other assorted leg exercises for the hips, abs, arms... pretty much everything.  Abs and arms aren't too sore, but the legs.  Oh man.  Those lunges will destroy!  I never do them, and the single leg squats are usually enough to leave me sore.

All right, I guess I'll finish getting ready for the day... Everytime I wake up too early I end up rushing out the door when it comes time to leave because I spend so much time doing other stuff (I mean, I have hours to go when I first wake up!)


Friday, October 5, 2012

RANT - People hating on healthy eaters.

I think I have posted similar rants to this one, but if I have, I'm going to post it again.  If not, then here goes!

One of my number one pet peeves is when people a) assume I eat healthy just to be skinny and b) people assume that anyone thin must just have a naturally fast metabolism...Or they are anorexic. Or they just don't eat enough.  Oh, and it's okay to taunt people for eating right and trying to be healthy, but saying something about someone being overweight would be awful.  Okay, I guess that was more than one pet peeve, but they're all related to the same thing.

When did our culture turn into this?  Can't we have a happy medium?  I'm guessing it has something to do with magazine covers and movie stars setting "unrealistic standards," so our culture has completely rebelled in the opposite direction.  Suddenly it's okay to be really unhealthy.  And yes, obesity is unhealthy.  You may not notice many issues at age twenty, but you will notice them when you are forty, or maybe in your thirties.  I can understand that not too many people can look like super models.  That's okay.  I can understand body acceptance.  If you're naturally built to be a little chubby, but you take care of yourself/eat right/exercise, then that's cool.  Even if you're not always the healthiest eater, that's not the end of the world either.  I'm not writing this to criticize other people's eating habits, but more to criticize people who criticize healthy eaters.  The same way someone overweight would be really pissed at me if I commented on their food intake and body.

Example of what I've heard about smaller folks... Apparently we only eat bird food portions and starve ourselves.  Not the case.  As a matter of fact, at somewhere between 105-110 pounds (depends on the day, but I don't own a scale), I am almost NEVER hungry because I eat healthy foods that fill me up for awhile (chia seeds, nuts, leafy greens, fruits, peanut butter, oatmeal, etc.).  Or very rarely if I forget to bring food with me somewhere and go too long without eating.  And I am training for a damn marathon.  My "secret"?  I eat healthy, natural foods and exercise (I KNOW I've posted this before).  But really, it's no secret.  I think the problem comes in when people don't want to put in the effort to get healthy, so to justify their own habits, they put down the people who do work hard.  Let me list the reasons why I do what I can to take care of myself, and why I switched to a more natural diet in the matter of a short time - especially after my diagnosis of epilepsy:

I am taking a bunch of medications that screw with me as it is as a result of the epilepsy, which, by the way, is somewhat influenced by food because food can influence hormones/metabolism/chemicals, which all have an influence on brain activity, and the side effects RELATED to my medication often result in vitamin depletion which causes other nasty side effects, so I try to eat right to avoid those side effects.  Type II diabetes is rampant in my family, and even at a healthy weight, I've sometimes been near borderline diabetes, so I don't need that on top of everything else.  I FEEL better when I eat healthy. I don't want to get cancer from ingesting a bunch of unnatural foods.  I prefer the TASTE of real foods - rather than chips, as an example, which are merely "addicting," and actually only taste good after the first few - but we all know how hard it is to stop once started (as an example of the change in my taste buds, I used to eat Compleat meals... aka, boxed meals you put in the microwave - I tried to eat one after changing over to healthier stuff and I almost gagged).  Oh, and because I'm at a healthy weight - and I know it's my healthy weight because it's where my body naturally fell once I started eating more natural foods and exercising - I think I look better too.  I still have my shape that I had before and definitely don't look unhealthy, I'm just a bit smaller with less "extra" weight in places I don't want weight, like the back and hips (which I still have, by the way).

Those are just a few reasons why I choose to eat right.  I don't feel like I should have to justify my healthier eating habits, but apparently our culture is so skewed the other direction that it's necessary if I don't people to assume I have some type of eating disorder, or I'm just some crazy health nut who can't enjoy life.  I also feel like I have to explain that yes, I do eat "tasty" food too, though nobody can understand how I enjoy eating salads or fruits.  I mean, what's not to enjoy in a green leafy salad with feta cheese, avocado, walnuts, various seasonings and other veggies and olive oil? Sounds pretty delicious to me.  I still eat chocolate, some ice cream, and I pretty much eat what I want when I go out to eat (which isn't often).  I just hate having to justify it to people who want to feel better about themselves because they don't take care of themselves, and I do.  I understand this isn't everyone, this is more directed at people who DO give me an attitude when I pick up organic foods, or tell me I don't need to eat healthy because I'm all ready thin, or to stop running because I'm going to get too skinny and blow away.  I can still maintain my weight when I'm not running... So I HATE when people say it's all related to "oh, you run so much!  That's why you're thin!"  Some guy said that the other day.  We were waiting for something or the other, and he's hurt so he can't run, and he says "See, she's lucky, she can run.  When I run, I cut weight so quick." (by the way, yes I do feel lucky I can run because I love it, but it has nothing to do wight weight).  Okay... you can still cut weight if you stop ordering out.  It just might take a little longer.  Most of the people I know who are overweight in the army attribute it to being hurt and unable to exercise like they could, and yeah, you might put on a little extra weight because you can't burn off that extra food you had yesterday, but sometimes just a little adjustment to eating habits can at least slow it down, or result in less extra weight.   I'm sure I would gain a few pounds if I stopped exercising, but unless I was eating a bunch of junk food, it wouldn't be enough to make me overweight.  But I constantly see these same people eating junk food, ordering out, or going to fast food restaurants... It's not just the lack of exercise.

I'm not trying to make myself sound like I'm some perfect, healthy eater all the time, and I look down on others, even if it sounds that way.  I know everyone has different reasons for their choices.  But I would get criticized if I looked at someone's chips or pizza and said "you probably shouldn't be eating that - you're all ready big."  It's the same as when I'm out on a run, or I pick up something healthy, and someone tells me "you don't need to do that - you're all ready thin."  It completely destroys all of the work I've done to make myself healthy, and makes it sound like it's all a ploy to either make others feel bad about themselves, or that I have some type of disorder that causes me to eat healthy even when I'm all ready thin.  Which, by the way, when I did have eating issues, I was hungry all the time, and reasonably heavier than I am now, so no, I don't have any eating disorders. I just learned how to take better care of myself, and that naturally resulted in a healthier me.

Okay, rant complete... for now.  I hope if you're one of those people who criticizes healthy eaters that it upsets us as much as it would upset you to be called fat, or criticizing your food choices.


On that note...Here are some pictures to a) prove that thin doesn't mean unhealthy looking, and b) showing what I love to do that helps with that :)  (all from Montreal) - the first one was during a run, hence the sweatiness, the third one was renting a bike to ride across a bridge (with a HUGE hill!), the fourth one is enjoying a very tasty chocolaty cappuccino, and the last one was walking through a park.  All quite fun if I do say so myself :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Natural Remedies for Pain/Tendinitis?

With my recent foot issues, I have taken to looking at natural remedies - which I've always been interested in anyways.  The first one I tried was DMSO, which I will admit, definitely helped with my initial foot pain.  I could barely walk without pain at first, but after a few applications of DMSO, I was able to at least walk mostly pain free.  Unfortunately, it is rough on the skin, so I have cut way back on that.  Plus, I would think after the initial anti-inflammatory response, it wouldn't do much.

The next thing I have tried, that I read about on the Pose running site from Dr. Romonav (founder of the method) was that using Apple Cider Vinegar was useful, so I've been doing that for a couple of days, and it definitely seems to be helping.  I've also been putting my foot in a little tub with magnesium and apple cider vinegar.  It smells bad, but I can tell you that the pain subsides with it.  I've also been taking magnesium supplements (in the form of Epsom salts).  From my research, I've found that a lot of anti-seizure meds cause depletions of a lot of key nutrients in the body, including magnesium... I've also read that exercise/running depletes magnesium in the body (the more running you do, the more magnesium you need).  Based on MORE research I've done, I've found that chronically tight muscles might be related to magnesium-deficiencies.  This does make sense to me, and I've heard it before.  Sooo, in addition to taking magnesium internally, I came up with an idea.  My calves are tight, and it's caused several issues in the past.  Part of my injury is supposedly caused by tight calves, so I've been stretching/massaging the calves, and immediately after, the foot doesn't hurt, but inevitably, the pain returns shortly, so I can see this as being a huge cause of my pain.  SOOO, what I did was concoct my own little "muscle relaxer" for my calves.  I put magnesium with a little warm water, coconut oil so it spreads easily and a TINY bit of DMSO to let it penetrate to the muscle more easily (but not enough to cause irritation).... AAAnnnnddd, what do ya know.  It hurt significantly  less after I applied it to my calves.  Oh, and I've also been using heat instead of cold, which also relaxes things and helps everything feel better.

So, I don't know, maybe it was a placebo effect,but I'm not so sure it was, as I do know that magnesium is really important to preventing muscle cramps/spasms. I have a little roll-on thing that is supposed to help cramps, and it does help relax my muscles (it's mostly magnesium), but it's really expensive, and my little concoction is almost the same thing, but WAAAYYY cheaper.

So, does anyone else use natural remedies for pain?  What do you think - do they actually help, or is it just a placebo effect?  I will try to keep everyone posted on my foot progress :)  Obviously, rest has played its role in letting the initial inflammation subside, but the past few days, the pain has stayed at about the same level, so I decided I need to be proactive in trying to make this stupid foot pain disappear.  I take enough medications, and I actually have prescription muscle relaxers, but I don't want to take more than necessary (and my doctors know I take a magnesium supplement - I'm just adding some extra to it), especially since the body becomes dependent on that stuff if you use it too frequently.

Alas, I will keep this one (relatively) short.  Hope everyone has a fabulous Wednesday :)