Posts Tagged ‘working out’

Fitness with a chronic illness

February 19th, 2016 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

Fitness with a chronic illness, I didn’t think that was an option!

I took almost a year off from Just Mildly Medicated. I posted occasionally on the FaceBook page and kept active on Instagram, but not the blog. I’m not sure you missed me, sometimes when someone stops showing up that happens and it’s okay. I am going to be back. There are multiple reasons I am coming back, mostly because I still need to share my journey.

When I left you I had started cardiac rehab. I was a reluctant participant at the beginning and was frustrated when I would really try only to be hailed down by a nurse and told my heart rate was too high and slow down, but I kept showing up. In my last post I said this to you on the concept of exercise making me all better.

“Unfortunately eating mostly whole foods, exercising, and loving the heck out of me, as well as everyone around me, is not going to cure any of my medical issues. I’d be wary of people who claim any differently, and they’re out there. My own cardiologist is convinced cardiac rehab is just going to zap my autonomic system back online. The truth is I am just trying to work WITH my body, and its issues, instead of fighting my body or hating it.”

That is all still holding very true. I am happy to report that I am still working out just about every day. If you have been following on Instagram you’ve seen the time I am putting into this. Here is a before and after. The blue dress photo was from March, pretty much when I disappeared from the blog-o-sphere, the pink top is from a few weeks ago.

March 2015 January 2016

March 2015                       January 2016

No, working out is not going to fix chronic illnesses that are not after effects of poor health choices. Yes, working out can make you stronger and more secure… and I mean literally more structurally sound. I wasn’t doing myself any favors, physically or mentally, by being afraid of moving. Starting was so slow it was nearly embarrassing. Who am I kidding, it was embarrassing, but progress was made.

Is my blood pressure not dropping from Orthostatic Hypotension? Well, yes, but less frequently and the strength I now have in my muscles is very helpful in keeping me up a little longer and getting to the ground slowly. Is my heart rate normal now instead of jumping all around when my I stand up (POTS)?  It can still be unpredictable but the work I have put in has made the overall time for it to return to normal much shorter and overall it happens less often.

Am I saying working out will “fix” you? No, because truth be told it just isn’t. Am I saying working out can help you become physically and mental stronger? YES, yes I am.

I believe this so much that I am currently enrolled at the National Academy of Sports Medicine so that I am able to help others by being a personal trainer. My local gym has shown specific interest in my progress physically and throughout my course. They are excited to potentially have someone on their staff who, quite literally understands, what it is like to balance health and illness.

It isn’t often that I am all positive mushy mushy, but exercise has made a huge positive impact and I just want to pay the fitness forward. If you have been thinking about trying cardiac rehab I urge you to go, it literally changed my life.

Hey, lets connect on Facebook  <~ just click it

and I am active on Instagram <~just click it

Twitter is beyond me so we’ll just skip that one

this Dysautonomia gal is a Work in Progress

April 24th, 2015 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

A work in progress, this Dysautonomia gal is working hard towards the progress.

We’ll call this work in progress Eat, Exercise, Love…

Unfortunately eating mostly whole foods, exercising, and loving the heck out of me as well as everyone around me is not going to cure any of my medical issues. I’d be wary of people who claim any differently, and they’re out there. My own cardiologist is convinced cardiac rehab is just going to zap my autonomic system back online. The truth is I am just trying to work WITH my body, and it’s issues, instead of fighting my body or hating it.

After being diagnosed with Dysautonomia (dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system) which impacted pretty much my entire body I started seeing my body as separate from ME, after all it was the uncooperative enemy that began holding me back from doing what I wanted. How are you supposed to embrace the thing weighing you down? How can you treat your body well when you’re mad at it? I don’t really know how yet as we are just starting to get on a good foot in this relationship but I am hoping for positive things.

So the goals:

behappy

EAT

Eat mostly whole foods and avoid processed foods with too many chemicals to name, chill on the snacking, and keep track of what is going in my body. I have been surprised and how much and how quickly my diet changed when I was holding myself accountable for what I was eating. Working within restrictions of a Gastroparesis friendly diet and coming a bit closer to hitting those nutritional needs and losing the empty high calorie junk has eased some nausea, helped with a few pounds, and I will admit to having a bit more energy.

(Gastroparesis is a partial paralysis of the stomach which causes poor digestion, malnutrition, nausea, and vomiting. I’ll also add that I am NOT in a “flare” meaning I am not at a point where those symptoms are acute. When they are acute it will greatly impact what I am able to eat and how much.)

EXERCISE

If you’ve been around you’ll know I am in cardiac rehab, and I love it. Yes, I am there because a cardiologist thinks with some conditioning my autonomic nervous system will just decide to function normally. I do believe you can do many things to strengthen your body to help alleviate symptoms but unless you have dysautonomia truly due to deconditiong this theory makes little sense.  Luckily I have other doctors who understand the condition better but I also decided when else could I work out in a controlled environment with nursing staff right there to monitor me… my insurance covers it so I see it as amazing personal trainer time.

As I am exercising more and gaining strength and confidence in my body I am willing to try more. I am doing things like walking on completely flat surfaces for about 10 minutes at a time, that was something that 2 months ago I didn’t trust my body to do. I had passed out too many times from my autonomic system causing my heart rate to sky-rocket and my blood pressure to plummet to trust my body at all. Those abnormal responses are still happening I am just doing better at listening to my body and either going slower, waiting it out, or giving my body the break it needs… but then I am trying again.

I even did a yoga session today! Something I have said for years that I can’t do because of the postural changes. As I am getting stronger I am finding I can do it, it’s just at my pace and not someone else’s. My pace is slow, much slower than I would like, but it is time to accept I am not racing anyone, this is about me.

LOVE

As my body responds to my new ever challenging demands I am finding a better relationship. I can’t say I see my body and ME as a united front yet. We are learning to trust each other, a little dance of give and take. When I ask something new of my body, like yoga today, and it tries I am proud. When my body starts to get dizzy and over worked, like yoga today, I am trying to give it respect instead of frustration and anger. Total work in progress. 

As these changes are happening in me I am also thinking about the love outside of me. I have such an amazing supportive partner who has been a patient caregiver even when at times I know it had to be scary and frustrating. My kids more often than not chose encouragement over frustration at my limitations. For all of my crazy doctor patient dysfunction I do have a team of doctors who understand my condition and are willing to really take the time to be sure I am at the best I can be. My nurses, oh how I love the nurses involved in my care. My friends, both from way back to new ones, I am amazed at the understanding and compassion that comes from them. I am not usually an overly mushy person but I need to be sure these people really know what that means to me.

everyday

 

Are you a work in progress? What are you working on?

Did you miss about my starting Cardiac Rehab? <~ click it

 

highs and lows of working out, getting back on the horse, stationary recumbent bike and motivation.. I hope

January 16th, 2013 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

I think everyone (well except Jillian Micheals and maybe some marathon runners) have highs and lows when it comes to exercising. You do well for a while, see results and maybe even get a little cocky then slack off. I mean with a reason of course. Work becomes overwhelming, kids schedules make it hard to find the time or you get sick and the motivation doesn’t really come back when the virus leaves. Most you get back on the horse eventually.

I am getting back on the horse, well technically it’s a stationary recumbent bike.

Finding that ‘new normal’ with Dysautonomia is a work in progress.

Dysautonomia (or autonomic dysfunction) is a broad term that describes any disease or malfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

The chronic illness (much like life in general) is always changing. Once you get a handle on one thing and it becomes doable something else goes haywire. September and October were awesome. I still struggled with a few things;paresthesia (pins and needles) was a daily companion and had pretty regular episodes of tachycardia and bradycardia but I was eating well and working out every day.

Those who know me in ‘real life’ saw what I was getting done. I rode 116.9 miles after my pledge of 100 miles for National Invisible Illness Week in September and in October I did a 100 push ups challenge. I even took up Pilates twice a week.

Then November and December came, I was in the hospital with bradycardia, my heart rate stayed in the 30 and 40’s for over 24 hours, a few days after I came home it went back to normal. Then the flu hit. Even after the flu was kind enough to leave me Chronic Fatigue came to visit and nestled in for far too long. I dare to admit CF is still hanging around and the fog is unbearable, unflattering and undeniably hard to shake. Then I was hit with vision issues, out of nowhere one day everything went double. Apparently the muscle in each of your eyes, the ciliary muscle, which allows for you to transition from near to far is part of the Autonomic Nervous System. (Thanks ANS!)

So now we are half way into January, time to pull it together. I hauled myself onto the stationary recumbent bike and told myself to pedal, slow and steady but by god body please pedal. So for 30 minutes I did just that, 3.3 glorious miles towards getting it back together.

Like everyone I have the highs and lows of working out. Dealing with chronic illness can exaggerate the lows and we may take longer get back up, but we will.