Rabbit statue in a garden

Inflammation, Aches and Lethargy: Autoimmune Flares, Even When “Well”

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Hello, friends, it’s been a while and I hope this finds you safe and well. We’re all several months into the coronavirus crisis and I won’t even get into that except to say that so far, we’ve managed to avoid it and I hope that you and yours have, too.

Still, I think the enormous stresses of the last two years of mom care and of the last six months, in particular, have caught up with me. For the past couple of months or so, nearly every joint in my body is aching and/or rusted tight, with my left hip and right shoulder particularly bad, to the point where they sometimes wake me up during the night. I have very low energy. My color is sallow. The bits of hair I have are barely hanging on. My body is filled with inflammation, the kind that I’m familiar with from the worst of my autoimmune flareups.

And still, there are reasons for optimism.

First, so far family and friends have managed to stay well, as best we know (given the lack of symptoms and the lack of available coronavirus testing). And although mom’s been in and out of the hospital and a rehab stint again, she keeps bouncing back and amazes me every time. On top of all that, I have the luxury, physically and emotionally, to choose how to move forward and for that I’m grateful.

We’re all generally hanging on and some, like my Scott, are doing incredibly well — he’s adjusted to work-from-home life and has managed to make our living room into productive office, social (via Zoom) and gym spaces. He thrives on routines and commitments, too, as well as healthy competition, so a daily workout has been helped along because one of his best friends is doing them, too. (On his friend’s prodding, Scott’s doing Fitness Blender videos several times each week and in just a few weeks, he’s shed pounds and probably four inches from his waist. And he doesn’t even really like the workouts, although there’s no denying that they’re effective.)

As for me, I haven’t fared as well, so far, but I’m not giving up. I just need to make some major changes to try and get my health back on track because pain sucks, yes?

All that said, I really need to aim for some sort of daily routine. Before I get into the workouts that are desperately needed to increase my cardiovascular strength and muscle tone, though, I need to ease in and overcome some of the sciatica and shoulder pains that are dogging me now. Sugar’s crept back into the picture, too, and I know that’s toxic to my joints and gut health, so that’s got to be vastly reduced.

So, here’s what I’m aiming for, given the realities of also spending a few hours a day with/on mom care, as well as work, Ella walks, showers, meals and other miscellaneous chores and limited attempts at socializing from a distance.

I basically need to budget my 24-hour days like so:

Mom care: 3 hours
Ella walks/care: 2 hours
Writing/work: 6.5 hours
Showers/meals: 2 hours
Errands/misc: 2 hours
Sleep: 7.5 hours
Yoga: .5 hours
Other exercise: .5 hours

It doesn’t leave much room for flexibility or spontaneity, so I’m aiming for this 5-6 days/week, with one or two days left for gardening, cleaning, wandering.

As for what to eat, you know I love my supercharged yogurt, but there hasn’t been much time to make it, because even spending just a couple of hours on it every 10 days or so feels overwhelming right now. But, I am going to try to do it tonight, because I do feel so much better when I’m on it regularly.

That said, if I don’t get it made, I’m going to take a BioGaia Gastrus tablet once a day. I’m also still drinking a Vegan Smart shake most days and will aim to have one a day, especially since 1) I finally got the organic formulas, so I feel even better about it and 2) I take three Garden of Life Women 50+ capsules in it when I make it, which means I get even more benefits.

Importantly, too, as of today, I’m starting Nutrafol, which is a hair supplement that seems to combine the things I like (in theory, at least) about Viviscal and what I like about the probiotics I take. Since I’m new to it, I’ll take two a day for four days, then go to the recommended dosage of four a day (all at once, with a meal). I’ll give it a while, since I know hair change is slow. I’d also read about a few people who thought they had autoimmune aggravation from it, so I’ll keep an eye out for that or any other negative impacts (I certainly don’t need more of that).

Outside of those supplement-based things, I’ll just try for more green veggies, more grapefruit, less junk food, much less sugar and carby stuff.

I’m also aiming to get 30 minutes of yoga in daily to soothe my mind and joints and reset my spirit. Yoga with Adriene is always my favorite for that and her videos for sciatica and shoulder relief help immensely. My body is so tight right now that it’s difficult to bend, to lift my right arm, to hold my body weight. But if I go slowly and gently back into it, I know yoga will help, it always, always does.

It looks like we’re housebound for another month, maybe two, maybe more, so I’ll try to stick to a good routine and hopefully, whenever and wherever we all reemerge, it’s in better health and good spirits, certainly less creaky and stiff than I am right now.

Between now and then, best wishes for safety and health, be well, take care.

Photo: Mike at Pexels.com, thank you!

{Note: These are my own experiences with holistic healing and a whole slew of self-experiments and aren’t meant as medical advice for anyone else. But, I know a lot of friends and family members are grappling with a huge variety of autoimmune issues and other ailments, so I’m happy to share my experiences. And if this is your first visit and you’d like to follow chronologically, click here. Otherwise, enjoy!}

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