ewwww, david. no.

(from Life.Church)

Do any of you have any phrases that you say to yourself just out of habit? I do. It’s usually under my breath, and almost always after I’ve done something dumb or I’m overwhelmed. It is always, “Oh my goodness, Sarah. What in the world.” (Not a question, just a statement.) I have said that a LOT lately. I also keep repeating Alexis’ line from Schitt’s Creek, “Ewwww, David. No!” almost anytime I have to do something I don’t want to.

To start, some updates. So far the infection has been gone for 1 week, and even with constant rechecks it hasn’t returned. H-O-O-R-A-Y. That’s the good news. The bad, the scar tissue on my cornea is just horrid. I think I’ve finally found the perfect description of what it is like. Imagine trying to look through 6 pieces of saran wrap (cling film). Everything is warped and distorted. Driving is awful and brings me a lot of anxiety every time I have to get behind the wheel. But I’m making it, adapting, learning how to groove with what I have. Our bodies are kind of amazing. I’m not sure the timeframe on all the healing I have remaining, I just keep being told to have patience. As any woman knows, being told to “Calm down and relax” is almost always going to give you a very different reaction. 🙂

Elimination diet…haven’t talked about it for a while. I had made it through the full 9 weeks having concluded that food is not the cause of my discomfort. I did, however, glean some pretty great info on foods that DO cause some kind of reaction in me. Because of that, and because I was just so used to the diet by that point, I kept it up and I’m still staying pretty close to it even now. I eat very little grains/gluten. Very little legumes. Very little dairy (only some hard cheese…I told you I love cheese.) Little to no eggs. I will forgo all of these rules at Thanksgiving because there are just some things you get at holidays that you can’t enjoy any other time throughout the year.

So what am I doing now? I’m trying to smile every day. I’m surrounding myself with people who care about me. I’m not running outside yet due to the eye (depth perception is not great at all), but I’m doing yoga and loving it. I’m not sitting home alone every night. I’m putting myself out there and allowing vulnerability in a variety of ways. I’m intentionally trying hard to be encouraging to others. I often am reminded of the Brandi Carlile lyrics in one of my favorite of her songs, “do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet?” I even have that on a t-shirt. 🙂

This weekend I heard the phrase, “A waiting season is not a wasted season.” Oh so true! All of this is going to add up to something…and it might be where I am currently. Like I’ve said over and over the course of this year…I have to be ok with where I am, otherwise the human in us is only going to see the darkness and how far we still have to go. Where I am now, EVEN WITH MY JANKY BROKEN EYE, is better than where I was. Every single time someone tells me, “You are different.” I am smiling. Because I am.

TODAY I LOVE: The Netflix show “Schitts Creek.” I LOVE THIS SHOW.
SONG OF THE DAY: “That Wasn’t Me” by Brandi Carlile

a sight to see

Where do I even begin? When I last wrote my birthday was on the horizon and I was super optimistic about October and the goals I was ready to smash out. Yeah, so none of that really happened. Ok, my birthday happened. But that is it. I am indeed 39 years old. Father Time decided to kick me right in the right eyeball.

If you follow me on any social media channels you know that I’ve been fighting the worst eye infection EVER. But Sarah, how did it happen? That seems to be the most prevalent question I get asked. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Truthfully, we kind of have no idea.

One morning I woke up and went to work and my right contact was bothering me. No big deal. We had a big weather front moving in and my sinuses were full of pressure and protesting so I didn’t even think twice about my eyes. Both eyes were watering and my nose was running, all from sinus pressure. I got home that night, took out my contacts, and went to bed. I was woken in the middle of the night by pain in my eye. Searing, something-is-stuck-in-my-eye pain. I tried everything I knew to do to flush out my eye. It felt like I had a piece of glass under my top eyelid. I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night for the pain. I called my eye doc the next morning and got in that afternoon. There was nothing in my eye, but it had a pretty nasty corneal abrasion (fancy term for I cut my eye). Doc put a contact bandage on it and loaded me with antibiotic drops, as I was supposed to fly to Florida the next day for a work trip. Needless to say, it was dramatically worse by the next morning so I didn’t leave.

24 hours apart

I went back to the eye doc that next morning and you know it’s bad when they say, “Holy s*&^, it’s literally getting worse as you’ve been sitting here!” Within 24 hours my eye went from normal to zombie. There are no compound pharmacies open on the weekend, so the doc had me putting antibiotic drops in my eyes every 30 minutes – all day and all night. You got it, no sleep. They just didn’t want it to get worse. And it kept getting worse. And the PAIN. You guys I can’t even describe the pain.

By Monday they had me working with an Eye Disease & Injury Doc and a surgeon. Alternating.

I’m in week #3 of the healing process. We are in the middle of a delicate balancing act. I still have infection in my eye that we need to treat with some super-charged-cost-as-much-as-a-house antibiotics, and also dealing with my newly mangled cornea. You can’t really do both at the same time. Nobody knows yet what the fallout to my vision is going to be once we get the infection eradicated and determine scar damage on my cornea.

But Sarah, how did this happen? I seem to get two answers. I guess this type of thing is relatively common with contact wearers, although no doctor I’ve spoken to yet has found any fault in my procedures. I’ve worn contacts for probably 20 years. Second, water. Everyone keeps freaking out about water. And I flushed that eye out with water A LOT when I thought there was something stuck in it. Hey guys – don’t do that.

All that said, I’m trying really hard to make the best of it. It’s hard to have a great attitude all the time when it’s very hard to see and I feel like I look like a troll. My friends have been ah-mazing. There is no way I could have done this without my friends and family and co-workers. I have a very long list of thank-yous to write. I’m mentally and emotionally in a good place. I’m thankful that if this had to happen to me, I’m glad it happened now rather than earlier this year when I broke.

So. I’ll leave October with a kiss on the cheek and a wave. Maybe a small smack on the back of the head. GOOD-BYE. I look forward to SEEING you, November. I have good feelings about you. 🙂

TODAY I LOVE: steroid eye drops…manna from heaven
SONG OF THE DAY: “Killing you, Killing Me” by Jamestown Revival

goals, direction, and starting to see light.

Seeing the light arriving

Greetings, my friends! And Happy Sunday!

I hope everyone is having a great and relaxing weekend. It has been raining off and on yesterday and today and honestly it’s been nice to chill for a hot minute. I did quite a bit of socializing this week and was oh-so-ready for a day to be a hermit and recharge.

I do apologize that my writing has been so sporadic lately. I certainly didn’t intend for this to blog to only be used when I’m feeling down in the dumps. Now that I’ve made great strides crawling out of the dark place, I guess I’m trying to decide which direction to take this thing now.

First things first, some updates. This week will be Week 6 of my elimination diet. As I said in my last post, I’ve been adding things in and taking them out for a few weeks now. Even though I do believe now that most of my health issues are being caused by something other than food, it has been very enlightening to find out what foods do cause a reaction of any kind in my body. I *think* I’ve found out this week that dairy actually increases my heartburn. This makes me very sad, as cheese is practically one of my love languages. Anyway, the experiment continues. After that first week I’ve managed to maintain my calories at my normal level. Cravings are gone. I sleep well (for the most part). I don’t have a headache everyday. All that to say, I’m going to keep this experiment going for a while.

Beginning September I started running again. I’ve also added in yoga (in addition to strength training.) I’m really, really enjoying it. I’m not sure what finally made the switch flip in my brain, but I’m looking forward to workouts again rather than seeing them as a chore. I’m also looking forward to setting some goals for each of those areas for October. I haven’t set any kind of athletic goal in AGES! This is great mental progress for me.

So, where do I go from here? Someone told me this morning, “Every time I see you you’re always smiling! It makes me smile.” I guarantee the gal who said it had no idea how much it effected me, and probably not even for the reason that you’d imagine. I think maybe after all these months I’m finally figuring out that it really is all up to me on my perspective of things. I’m not in control of anything and I need to stop trying to grapple for it like a lifeline. I can’t control what people think of me, I can rarely control what happens to me. The one thing I can control? My perspective. If I can do that then the lows won’t be so low. The highs are even higher. And every thing isn’t nearly so dark. Life is quite a lot sweeter when you let it happen.

I’m looking forward to this week. I’m going home this weekend for our fall festival. I haven’t been back to it in probably 15+ years. This would normally probably cause me anxiety…but it’s going to be ok. I’m going to choose to look at is as an opportunity to enjoy some folks I haven’t seen in quite some time. Plus the parade! Band nerds unite! What are you looking forward to this week?

TODAY I LOVE: dry shampoo (seriously gals, am I right?!)
SONG OF THE DAY: “Alice from Dallas” by Foy Vance

heartburn.

I changed my hair color this week. I needed change. I am obsessed with it. Red!

Hello all. I know I’ve been MIA the last several weeks and I’m sorry for that. Life has been happening.

Lots of life has been happening. Real life with hard emotions, big decisions, love, loss, and forging forward. And with all that stuff, I just needed to turn inward and work through it. I’m still working through it and that’s ok. At any rate, I don’t want to talk about it, but it all leads me to where I am this day.

The anxiety/stress/emotional drain of all the things made all my symptoms (acid, nausea, etc.) return. Therefore, as food as been constantly the same with no changes in 4 weeks, I think it is safe to say my issues are something else (not entirely food related.) So, although this extreme diet didn’t give me the results I was ultimately looking for (solving my health issues), it DID help me know that with that variable constant, it is something else in my body that is wrong.

I’ve slowly started adding some food back into the rotation. I cannot tell you how very wonderful that first cup of coffee tasted. Best cuppa ever. It does, however, give me heartburn. It has been fascinating adding food back in and monitoring what it does to me. For instance, either gluten OR sugar make my sinuses stuff right up and make it hard to breathe. I ate at cookie and within an hour my sinuses were swollen. WEIRD. I haven’t had another one to test it again.

My next steps on my health journey will be to get back in touch with my doctor and see what’s up. Ulcer? Overactive hiatal hernia? Yeah, I don’t know. I do know this: I have GOT to get my stress/anxiety under control and managed.

I added yoga into the mix this week. I’ve never really given yoga fair shake and I kinda feel bad about that. I found an app that has yoga “classes” and I’m hoping by adding this at the end of my day and focusing on the breathing and the mindset, it will help me mentally just as much as physically. I’m about as flexible as a concrete pole, so we shall see how this goes. 😀 I’ve been practicing this habit for a week now and I can definitely say it has helped me mentally. I do it right when I get home from work, consciously trying to let out the bad and in the good and LET. THINGS. GO.

Thanks for hanging with me. I still have the note “Not Today” taped to one of my computer monitors at work. I’ve been staring at it a lot this week, remembering why I put it there in the first place. Not Today. Not Today. Today I will not give into all the feelings that brought me to the bottom.

TODAY I LOVE: savasana (corpse pose in yoga)…I can do this one.
SONG OF THE DAY: “God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise” by Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs

changing my perspective

Just me…starting to find clarity in the fog

There are so many different directions I thought about writing this post. It has been a week of so many different reflections and observations. Which do I pick?

Last week I told you all how I was beginning an Elimination Diet this week. Well, I did started it. Y’all…it’s not easy. There are more things that you CAN’T eat versus what you can. It makes business lunches and social lives very difficult. I wouldn’t be surprised if I refuse to eat ground turkey for YEARS after this is all over.

The point of this post is not the diet, but I do want to give a few physical things that have happened over the course of these last 7 days. I’ve still been measuring and tracking what I’m eating, not to control (diet) but to make sure I’m getting enough calories. It is a lot tougher than you think trying to get enough calories when all you can eat (for the most part) is veggies, fruits, and turkey. I’ve ranged between 1,300-1,600 calories each day. My one 1,600 calorie day was a huge achievement. I was pleased. 🙂 So, things I’ve noticed so far…I sleep very well. Sound. My legs haven’t ached. I haven’t taken an allergy pill all week. No Pepto and I’ve been able to lessen the antacid to just 1 pill a day most days. No bloating. The downside: major, major, excruciating headaches. I think I’m going on day 4 of the headache from hell. I’m sweating more than usual. It’s weird and GROSS. Working out was hard. Very hard. Honestly, it’s all been hard. And I don’t foresee it being easier next week. Or the week after that.

It’s only been one week, but I already have things I’m learning about myself and the people I surround myself with, and I’m not talking physical things. I’m learning who is really with me and who isn’t. I’m learning that I am very strong and when I set my mind to something, I have the discipline to do it 100%.

This morning in church the message was on perspective. I’m not going to go into the religious side of things, because that’s not really what this blog is about, but the overarching topic of “perspective” is definitely going to be something I use as a tool for this coming week. I can continue to look at all the things I cannot do or cannot eat or how very miserable I am, OR I can try to look at it differently.

I’m able to do this; I have healthy wholesome food at my disposal. I’m taking my health in my own hands. This type of fast is really helping me zero in on WHO and WHAT matters. The things that make me happy are all the more sweeter.

Week 2, here I come.

TODAY I LOVE: fresh peaches from the farmer’s market
SONG OF THE DAY: “Burden” by Foy Vance

you’ve been eliminated

Yo! Does anyone remember that show from back in the 00’s called “The Weakest Link?” I loved it. It was so stressful but her catchphrase was so awesome. You just waited for the clipped “goodbye” at the end. (Go watch Youtube. You’ll thank me later for the nostalgia.)

Ok. Anyway. I don’t know if any of you recall this post from back in June. I had mentioned I was feeling like crap but trying some things to see if it made me feel better. Guess what? It hasn’t worked.

For the last several months I’ve been walking ball of nausea. (Before any of you smarties try to ask me if I’m pregnant – NO. Not funny and not possible.) I have heartburn that could probably burn down the Rocky Mountain National Forest. I should start investing in Zantac, and Tums, and Pepto Bismol. It is horrible. I feel horrible almost 24/7. Something has to change because I can’t keep living like this. When I was in Colorado last week I went through 2.5 BOTTLES of Pepto. I was gone 5 days. I’m fairly certain if you cut me open my blood would be a viscous candy pink a la Pepto.

I have decided, with my doctor’s approval, that I’m going to take the drastic step of an elimination diet for my next step. Sure, I could probably skip this and go right to all the medical tests but I have reasons for wanting to do this first. I’ll explain why in a bit.

The diet itself consists of 3 weeks of very strict food restrictions. No dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, VERY little meat (only turkey or wild game), veggies (but no nightshade vegetables), fruits (but no citrus fruits), no wheat/oats/grains/rice/gluten. The only oils allowed are coconut oil and cold-pressed olive oil. No spices other than salt and black pepper.

After the 3 weeks I can add one food group (example dairy) for a day. After that day is up, I have to follow it up with 2 days of the “control” (elimination) diet to monitor for symptoms and reactions. On day 4, I try another group for a day. Repeat. This whole experiment will take me 6-8 weeks to complete.

Why am I doing this? I mean, it’s going to suck so bad. For one, I’d like to not pay for what I’m sure would be expensive medical tests if I can take care of it myself. If this tells me what I need to know without the $1,000+ price tag, well yay me. If this experiment doesn’t give me answers THEN I will get the tests. But at least then I can say I tried all I could. Secondly, what if it gives me clues to other things too? Headaches, bloating, sinus issues? I could just have a food trigger that I know nothing about.

I’m not even remotely excited about this. I’m going to be a very grumpy hermit (at least initially.) I am excited, however, to think about not wanting to barf all day long. Most people have no idea that as they are talking to me I’m just trying not to puke. That is no way to live. Taking Pepto with me on the trails in the Colorado mountains last week – no way to live.

I’ll try not to obsessively write about it here, but I will periodically keep you updated on how it’s going. I’m making my body my very own science experiment. Come on discipline and willpower, I need you now.

If you’ve done this before and have any tips or tricks – SEND THEM TO ME NOW. Pleaseandthankyou.

TODAY I LOVE: bread. I’m eating bread before I can’t.
SONG OF THE DAY: “Eagle When She Flies” by Dolly Parton

I am not skinny … but …

I have worked so hard these last couple of weeks in the gym. I’m pushing myself in my lifts and I’ve added “bonus” cardio everyday. And guess what? My weight hasn’t changed. I’ve gone up and down the same 3lbs for almost 3 weeks now. I’ve stayed within my macros and I’ve turned down cupcakes and donuts and Chick-fil-a. (WHOA.) I’ve vacillated between being depressed about it all and being ok.

This morning while I was in the gym I was thinking about it all. Today was a “heavy” lift day. And as I was standing there, continuing to add plates to the bar, and looking at myself in the mirror, I was content?

Here’s why: I might not be skinny and I might very well be considered overweight. BUT

I took this after the gym this morning. I added the flare to disguise the dirty mirror. 🙂 It’s not an awesome picture; it isn’t flattering. But this is the body I have today, and it is strong.
  • Today I leg-pressed 495lbs (11 plates) and probably could have kept going.
  • Last week I was able to squat 215 pounds for four reps on my sixth set! That’s been my heaviest on squats in months and months.
  • I held a plank for *almost* 2 minutes today. That’s huge for me!
  • This body has allowed me to conquer the stair machine over and over this week. Hundreds of floors climbed.
  • This body is well enough to tend my own yard (mowing and trimming) without any help.

This body might not be skinny, and it might very well be overweight, but it is strong. It is able. It is healthy. And I’m doing my best to love it. To love what it is now and not what I think it needs to be. To love what it can DO.

That’s where I am today. I might be sad again tomorrow that my skinny jeans are still tight, but I’m writing this post to remind me of how I feel TODAY. I need more todays.

TODAY I LOVE: Alo Yoga capris
SONG OF THE DAY: “Redesigning Women” by The HighWomen