Weekend Reflection and Recap: Grateful

I’m sitting down on this Sunday night, just wanting to share how grateful I am for this life, by recapping my weekend. When life undoubtedly gets stressful, I can always go back to this moment just to recognize how much I have to be thankful for.

My Husband and I have been in a routine I like to call “Zen Sundays”. Basically we relax, light candles, I usually take a bath, give foot rubs, and take a zen attitude about going to work and school on Monday.

This Sunday evening I feel grateful that I have a job that I can make money at for tomorrow, a beautiful house, an amazing and kind husband, time to spend with family and friends, health, and fitness. I could keep listing, but the point is this Sunday evening is not just “Zen Sunday”, it is also “Grateful Sunday”.

Friday: I am a substitute teacher so usually I just see kids for one or two days then move on to the next classroom. I accepted somewhat of a long term sub job with first graders, which is a whole different world. 6 and 7 year olds require so much compassion and patience, so this has been a good challenge for me. I got to do Cinco de Mayo activities with them on Friday and since I will be with them next week too, I am getting them up and moving, using GoNoodle activities all them time. Feeling fulfilled in your job is priceless.

I get home on Friday, after a day commuting an hour each back and forth, feeling a bit drained but my brother is here to stay the night! If you have ever lived away from home, you may know what a gift it is to get to see your family, even for just one evening. Together we walked to Michael’s mexican restaurant in the Old Market of Omaha. We had a great evening, I took my brother and his friend past Warren Buffett’s house, which is really just a typical house. It was a fitting tourist attraction, since they were in town for the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder’s meeting.

Saturday: Speaking of the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder’s meeting, my Saturday morning started off early, 4:30 in the morning to be exact. You see I told my brother and his friend I would drive them to the meeting so that they could get in line first, to get a spot to see Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger speak. As hard as it was initially to get up, driving them to the meeting was interesting and I got to see 18,000 other people heading towards downtown with the same excitement.

I did end up getting to go back to bed for a few hours, but I woke up made a lovely breakfast later. My husband and I had agreed to help lay mulch down at our in-laws. Now I’m not going to lie, this was hard work and sucked a little bit. But it was a great chance to be outside, getting dirty and be helpful. Will and I put in three good hours of work, which we can feel today, and I officially got my first sunburn of the year.

My brother-in-law, Hector, who uses a wheelchair asked if he could spend some time at my house. I was at first reluctant, Hector is very energetic and I was in no mood to entertain after all the yard work, but agreed he could come over as long as he didn’t complain if he was bored. I have had Hector stay at my house many times, but this is the first where we had access to a van that could transport his powerchair (motorized wheelchair).

When we got home I made the salsa that I had meaning to make for the last two days. I had fresh cilantro, jalapeños, and tomatoes in the fridge that I did not want to go to waste. I also ended up making some guacamole, which turned out great. Perfect afternoon pre-run snack.

I am glad Hector came over because he motivated me to go out for a run.  I was feeling bad because I missed a run this week, and felt like I was making up excuses and losing momentum on my half marathon training. I always knew that training for a half marathon would be time consuming, and I am really starting to learn the sacrifices that need to be made in order to stay the path. It’s hard to say no to friends, or skip netflix binges, just to make time for a run, but I’m learning to prioritize.

I asked hector if he would like to follow along for a 5 or 6 mile run. Hector was very excited to go with me and agreed to be my waterboy. I wasn’t sure how well this would work as far as him keeping up with me…

…Well, this worked out great because little did I know, Hector’s powerchair can go at the speed of a 7 minute mile, which I definitely don’t pace at in my long runs! Hector is also the funniest little ball of energy, and was not shy about cheering me on going up big hills, or when I started to slow down. I have officially given him the title of my running coach.

The best part about my run was that even after I made it to 5 miles, and then 6 miles I kept going. The end of my run was at a bit of an incline, but I just kept telling myself that I was almost there and that Hector was right there with me when I reach 7 miles.

I’m back on track after the 7 miles. I had the greatest runner’s high after. In order to complete this run, I had to turn down going to a friend’s going away party, which was really hard.

When we got back to my house, Hector took a short nap. Will says I actually tired him out which is no easy feat.

My Saturday evening consisted of taking a long Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt bath, meditating, stretching out, doing a Neutrogena Light Therapy mask and going to bed early. It felt so rewarding.

Sunday: Again I made a great breakfast for Hector, Will, and I, to start the day. Having time to wake up and do this is one of my favorite parts of weekends.

Being in the midwest, the first weekend of May is also a first weekend for Farmer’s Market. Our good friends invited us to go with them to the Omaha Farmer’s Market, which was so lovely to walk around and take in the people and booths.

I ended up getting some Rhubarb, a Basil plant, a Ghost Pepper plant, and a Jalapeño Pepper Plant. Although the pepper plants may have been an ambitious undertaking, I am going to try my best and yield a crop. Besides they were only a dollar each. Expectations were low but if this is possible the peppers will eventually be a great addition to my homemade salsa.

After walking around in the most perfect, 75 degrees and sunny weather, we grabbed a coffee from Jones Bros Cupcakes, which I had never tried before, but would recommend. They even had Nitro Cold Brew coffee, which I was pretty excited about. We ended up back at our friends playing a few games of Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros (which I won!).

After that Will took his Sunday afternoon nap, which is his bliss. I went for a walk in the 80 degree weather in the city, which is my bliss.

While on my walk, I found myself listening to a great podcast conversation, Waking up with Sam Harris, Episode #74: What Should We Eat?A Conversation with Gary Taubes. If you are not familiar With Gary Taubes, he wrote the book  Good Calorie, Bad Calorie, which I have read, but this podcast was a great synopsis of the information in is book. As you may have figured out from my last post, I am obsessed with podcasts, so this is my official recommendation of the week.

I ended up finding a quiet green space where I sat for a bit, and then my mom happened to call. Again, keeping in touch with family from states away is important to me so having a long phone call where we recapped our weekends was so great.

After a little meal prep and hanging out with my pet rabbit, Diablo on my balcony, I am here. Waiting for laundry to be done, eating rhubarb crisp and writing a blog post. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Plus I have this week to look forward to. I am going to Chance the Rapper’s concert, his musically is undeniably positive and puts me in a good mood. I will see some old friends at the concert. And Joanna Jedrzejczyk fights at UFC 211, and she is one of my favorite fighters! And such a beast!

One thing I am going to try and improve on this week is my sleep. Sleep, is the time that you make “gains”, so I must not neglect it as I have this past week.

As you can see I have lots to be grateful for and looking forward to, enjoy your “Grateful Sunday”.

 

 

Your Biggest Advocate in the American Health Care System

We always take health for granted when we have the luxury of not having to think about it. Personally I’ve really lucked out on my health. I didn’t take the best care of myself when I was younger, health is a top priority for me now. I’ve definitely adopted the mentality of making sacrifices and paying to be in good health now, rather than paying for health in the future i.e. disease, health care costs, and poor quality of life. This was one of the biggest shifts in my perspective that I have experienced in my 23 years of life.

 

Making health a top priority is not always easy, for me it took my husband being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes to realize how important health is. I constantly mention this in my blog posts, but I keep coming back to how central this is to my mindset. In order to keep the momentum of a healthy lifestyle going, I have to find enjoyment in it. Nobody really likes going home everyday and eating steamed broccoli, and brown rice, and logging 60 minutes on the boring treadmill. This is why we jazz things up and find passion in keeping our bodies healthy.

 

We all know, no matter how hard we try, things happen and humans are incredibly fragile. Doctors hold a wealth of knowledge but at the end of the day we have to take charge in our own health. When faced by crisis, we are our best advocate in the healthcare system. Sure our families are here to advocate for us when we physically can’t, and thank goodness they are. It really is the hardest thing in the world to see someone you are close to in pain or sick, no matter how minor. It can make the strongest people feel helpless.

 

When we are sick we go to the doctor, and sometimes the hospital. When I see that someone has to go to the hospital, even if I do not know them well, I immediately feel empathy. I want to disclaim that I don’t have anything against modern medicine. I really am just trying to advocate that we need to be involved 100% in our own health care, diagnoses, and treatment. In addition we do the same for our loved ones in their most vulnerable state.

According to a John Hopkins Study, medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States each year. In this study, medical error included “diagnostic errors, medical mistakes, and the absence of safety nets (that) could result in someone’s death”.

This study alone is alarming and urging to make sure you keep yourself knowledgeable about your health and your loved ones’ health. In addition, I could tell you personal anecdotes of being skeptical of doctor recommendations. One huge red flag to me was going to my husbands endocrinologist appointment. When the endocrinologist was inquiring about my husband’s blood sugar numbers and making suggestions, she did not ask one question about his diet. While diet isn’t a defining factor of blood sugar, it is undeniably a huge factor that cannot be ignored in this conversation. My mind was blown, and it made it really easy to dismiss everything she was saying. I really am a holistic person I guess when it comes to managing health.

Again I am forever listening to my mom, the RN, never leave anyone alone in a hospital.

Going back to my ever changing perspective on health and the healthcare system, another huge lesson is to never ignore a problem, or tell anyone they’re being a hypochondriac. I’ve regretfully done this before. Untreated problems get worse, and while there are hypochondriacs in this world, it’s not my place to tell anyone how they feel or should feel. This is a lesson I have learned, and if people really want to wasted their time and energy going to the doctor for a paper cut, power to ya!

I wish I had time to study the healthcare system, learn how to deal with insurance companies most effectively and how to find the most qualified doctors. I might be able to solve some of the biggest problems in America right now if I did.

One of my biggest fears in life is worrying about my loved ones health if it were to go wrong. I am really a natural caregiver and constantly worry about those around me. My husband relies on insulin to survive and I often feel helpless and at the mercy to the healthcare system in order to get the care and resources he needs. (FYI insulin is the 6th most expensive liquid in the world). Often one prescription requires multiple calls to the doctor, insurance company, and pharmacy.

I hope that over time I get better at navigating this system and I can pass some wisdom onto others that feel this same helplessness. When that time comes I promise to write about it on my blog!

Until then, let’s be the most involved person in our healthcare.

 

A Journey to Wellness

I’ve sat down several times to write about my wellness journey. I don’t want to bore you with all the details. For me this journey started with a weight loss resolution in January of 2015. This weight loss shifted from vanity to health, when the one I loved the most was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune disease type not the lifestyle induced (don’t get it twisted). Mostly I want to give a preview of what I want to share in this corner of mine.

 

Wellness to me is…

Eating your greens

Taking time for hobbies

Worrying about blood sugar

 type 1 diabetes

Meditation

Juicing

Putting work into relationships

Making time for a workout

Going for long, long walks

Weight loss

Goal setting

Resolutions

Cooking new dishes

Yoga

Having an open mind to try new healthy things

Routines

Holistic approaches

Playing with animals

Volunteering

Hiking

Keeping everyone around me healthy

Seeing new places

Reading new research

Making my Fitbit goal

 

As you can see my definition of wellness is very broad. This gives a glimpse into my wellness journey so far and I am excited to share what is to come in my wellness journey.

 

Your health is your wealth,