Infusion Day

Infusion day! A once a month field trip to the hospital!

Many people have been asking about my disease and my treatment, so I’m going to throw it out there…

I am blessed that I am in the 85% of MS patients that have RRMS (relapsing remitting) For those of you with the Progressive form causing debilitating symptoms, I’m truly sorry.

After a year on Copaxone (an oldie) my brain scans were getting worse (more and more lesions) and I was having more symptoms. So my doc convinced me to go for the “big guns” and fight it with everything we could. I am not a medication girl, so it was a tough sell!

Well, I have been on Tysabri for about 3 years now. Aside from the $22,000/month price tag, and the possibility of getting a deadly brain virus, I am doing great on this med!🙏🏻 Exactly three years ago, I had dozens of lesions and one that was so big they thought it was a tumor on my Pons. My last MRI in September not only showed no new lesions, but it was difficult to find the large one on my Pons. Now they don’t even want another MRI until next year!

I am doing well. The med hasn’t caused any bad symptoms (that I’m aware of) and I’m praying that my neurologist will say I can get off all meds and “take my chances” with this disease by the time I’m 50! One can hope…💪🏻 Thank you to all who have reached out and who have been curious about my journey.

This disease needs a cure! So many people suffer with Multiple Sclerosis and it’s devastating affects on their bodies and brains. Here’s to the future!

Where are our coping skills?

Where are our coping skills??? Ugh! I find myself SMH (shaking my head) on a daily basis!

      What is going on in this world? Why are so many people unable to cope with life? What happened to “just put your big kid panties on and deal with it”?! Unable to deal with the pressure of school or the effects of bullying, teenagers are committing suicide at an alarming rate. And don’t even get me started on why bullies are bullies! That is a whole different blog post! People going on killing sprees because they are mad, disgruntled, ignored, or just for the sport of it. People lashing out with violence and profanity in the middle of so-called peaceful protests. And why are so many people marching about everything??? Yet another post;) Everyone fighting online. Rude people in stores and on the streets. Angry drivers in their cars making other “on edge” drivers mad and hunt them down, only to get in fights or crashes. People offended by anything and everything if it doesn’t align with their actions or opinions.
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     Liars, cheaters, and criminals seem to be all around us. Is it vaccines? GMOs? Lack of sunshine and exercise? Too much sugar? Lack of two parent households that are involved in their children’s daily lives? Why do some people seem to be able to roll with life’s punches and others seem to crack at the slightest bit of stress or trauma? It does seem like society is changing. And wow, do I ever sound old even talking about this!
     I would like to say that there is a simple answer – and I think I will say it– it is GOD! A relationship with GOD! I might get a lot of heat for saying it, but I truly believe that we can get through anything if we look to God. It doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen. It doesn’t mean tragedies and traumatic events won’t touch us. It doesn’t mean we won’t get a chronic disease or lose loved ones to terminal illness. It doesn’t mean heartbreak, depression, or mental illness won’t affect us. But, it does mean that we will always have someone walking hand-in-hand with us through life’s challenges. There’s nothing that we can’t face if we have Him. And if we all had a relationship with God, wouldn’t it seem that this vicious cycle might slow down a bit?
      Yes, I said it. It might make me unpopular. You might choose not to “follow” me or my blog. But, I will forever CHOOSE to FOLLOW God. I think that our world needs HIM more than ever. May God bless you this week and may you seek to FOLLOW HIM.
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Stealthy Workout (how to sneak in an effective little workout while stuck at home or work)

 

     Do you ever feel trapped behind your desk at work and think you have no time to workout? Do you find yourself sitting at home paying bills, reading, or cleaning, with no time to get some exercise? WRONG! You can sneak in a little workout. Just give me an hour. Gotcha! Not a full hour for the workout, just an hour when you know you are stuck at home or work and need a little “quickie” to get those endorphins going and blood flowing through your body. Then you’ll just need about 60 seconds every 10 minutes. Voila! You will have accumulated 45 push-ups and 45 squats! Enough to relieve some tension and stress, stimulate your nervous system, and feel a sense of accomplishment.
     Starting on the hour (your hour, not necessarily the clock’s hour) Warm up those legs by marching with knees high for 15 seconds, then do 15 squats or chair squats, based off your experience and strength. Wait about 10 minutes and wake up your upper body with 5 big arm circles in each direction, then do 15 push-ups. This can be against the wall for very beginner, a countertop, a desk, back of a couch, etc. Alternate between squats and push-ups approximately every 10 minutes, finishing the last set of push-ups at the top of the hour. Easy peasy! Nothing big or super difficult- just enough to get off that booty and do something good for your body and mind! There really are NO EXCUSES to not move your body!

There are no excuses in heaven…

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     Here’s the funny thing… the original title was going to be,“There ain’t no hangovers in Heaven” Oh wow, how does my mind even think of such things? 🤔 I have absolutely no idea, but somehow during the conversation with my grandma last night, it happened! I think it originated from her saying she had two beers the other evening while watching the basketball game and playing cards with the family (go Grandma!) She was surprised at herself and said that she never does that.  And I said, “Hey, at 91, why not just go for it?? You can’t get hangovers in heaven!” It made her laugh- hard! At least I can make one person laugh😛
     Somehow it started a snowball effect of random thoughts. And somehow I landed on EXCUSES (I did tell you that I have a somewhat damaged brain, right? The 182 voices can say many different things that aren’t related in any way whatsoever!)
     Oh boy, have I been bombarded with excuses from every angle this month! Professionally and personally. And I’ve caught myself dishing out some good ones, too!
     Are you good (or bad) at giving excuses? Excuses come out of our mouths for many reasons.  Don’t get me wrong- there can most definitely be valid excuses for things. I’m not talking about those. You know the kind of excuses I’m talking about. The excuses that limit your growth and potential in every aspect of life. The excuses that keep you from reaching your goals. If you sometimes find yourself feeling like a hot mess, or know someone who can dish out excuses for anything, then please read on!  If you’re not an excuse maker, you can skip this post and pass it along to someone who needs it;)
     Many excuses are just the reasons people spout out to make themselves feel better about why they DID or DIDN’T do or say something. They are used to justify behavior or actions that DID or DIDN’T happen. Excuses are all encompassing reasons that we all give ourselves or other people when we are trying to divert fault, rationalize and blame outside influences, ignore personal responsibility, avoid doing something we don’t want to do, etc.
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     In our business we hear a lot of excuses. One common joke is that personal trainers get paid to hear excuses. But we have to encourage people and push them past those excuses, often giving them other options (sometimes it is really hard to think of how to refute an excuse!) Excuses most definitely get in people’s way of achieving their health and fitness goals, but excuses also find a way into almost every part of our lives. What are you allowing to suffer because of your excuses? Your health/exercise? Your weight? Your sleep? Spending quality time with your kids or spouse? Getting out of debt? Showing up at work on time? Excelling in a job? Finishing your education? A broken relationship? Your mental health? Fighting an addiction? Procrastination? Laziness? The way you treat others? Blaming others for your life circumstances instead of taking responsibility for change?
      Excuses can be toxic to many facets of our lives. They not only keep us from achieving a goal, but can lead to regret. We only have one life, and today might be the last day to live that life without excuses. What are you waiting for? Heaven? There are no excuses there; why not live for the here and now? Live the life you are capable of and enjoy the gift of another day given to you by God.
     The next time you catch yourself in an excuse to not do something, not change a behavior, or justify something, try giving yourself an opposite “excuse”. If you have a negative thought, try to counter it with a positive. Set attainable goals. Prioritize your daily tasks. Find someone to hold you accountable. Find a workout partner that counts on you. Set two alarms. Get up 20 minutes earlier. Research the things you don’t understand. Do not settle on an excuse. Make an effort. Challenge yourself. Take personal responsibility!!! See what happens…because you are worth it!
     And if you have someone in your life that always gives you excuses, and those excuses have turned into habitual excuses or lies, do yourself a favor- RUN!
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Contact Buff Grandma for more help on overcoming excuses. I am a Christian Life Coach and Professional Fitness Trainer. Please SHARE, FOLLOW, and LIKE BuffGrandma!

Anxiety- my devious and annoying little friend!

Definition of anxiety

1a (1) : apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill : a state of being anxious
(2) medical : an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it
b : mentally distressing concern or interest
c : a strong desire sometimes mixed with doubt, fear, or uneasiness

     Anxiety…I’m so glad she doesn’t visit too often, and that I didn’t get to know her until my 40s, when certain life events introduced her to me. While I can’t say I have any idea how people feel who live with a daily anxiety disorder, I now know what glimpses of anxiety feel like. It sucks actually! It is a real thing that millions of people struggle with. I have a couple of friends that have dealt with it most of their teen and adult lives and have to use medication for their anxiety just to be able to function healthily in life.

     Why are so many people afraid to talk about mental illness or mental/emotional issues? Having anxiety is no different than having a cold, yet people are embarrassed to admit they have anxiety (or any other mental health illness for that matter). For instance, is being Bi-polar really any different than having cancer? It is something one GETS, DIDN’T ask for, and sometimes CAN’T control without the help of outside sources (therapists, doctors, treatments, medicine, nutrition, exercise, etc.) As a country, and as decent human beings, we need to treat those with mental health issues the same as those with physical illnesses.

 

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     We need to not only be willing to talk to people about our emotional health issues, but also feel comfortable reaching out to those that struggle with emotional/mental issues. Sometimes people are hurting and just need one person they can trust and confide in. It is hard for me to admit, especially when I’ve been the one who has helped others through anxiety issues, even trained in techniques to help. I’ve come to realize it is often out of my own control. Full disclosure: I gave in after our car accident a year and a half ago and went to the doctor to ask for an anxiety med that I could use when needed. And I hate meds and will try anything to avoid them if possible! But, something about that accident triggered random anxiety, not only when I’d get behind the wheel, also when I was just sitting and watching TV.  Increased heart rate, adrenaline soaring, the “fight or flight” response for absolutely no reason. I even got anxiety driving to the doctor to talk to him about having anxiety! Haha! And he scrutinized me like a house wife who was seeking to add to my stash of self medicating substances! I’m happy to report that even though he only gave me 20 Ativan (and said it was to last a year!) that I still have almost half left.
      I have learned that even I, the confide-in, life coach, optimistic gal, needed to open up to those I trusted, and admit that I was dealing with some stuff that I wasn’t able to control by myself. I was always the tough one-it was hard to admit it and rely on others for advice and understanding. My husband has been absolutely amazing, even though he does call me a “ruminator” (to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly). But, there is a difference between ruminating/worrying about everyday things like your loved ones, your health, finances, and the “worry” that causes physical changes, becomes obsessive thoughts that control your free time, or that you can’t get out of your head for long periods of time.
     I usually fall asleep at night praying for comfort and wisdom, while trying to quiet my mind. I wouldn’t have gotten through any of the really tough times in my life without the Lord and my faith. My friends and family are also great resources. We all need to be able to talk about our “junk” and ask for help sometimes. Sometimes we might need to see a professional for talk therapy or some type of temporary prescription. Another very helpful tool when going through times of anxiety is to pay attention to your diet. There are things that can make our hearts race even faster, like too much caffeine! Or maybe food that you are sensitive or allergic to that can trigger similar symptoms as anxiety. Exercise becomes even MORE important during times of anxiety! It gets our endorphins going which helps increase energy and relieve stress (and makes you focus on your form and breathing instead of fixating on unnecessary thoughts!)
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If you are dealing with anxiety that is affecting your life, please reach out to just one person. You don’t have to suffer alone and there are things you can do to get relief.
“Worrying is often a way we try to predict what the future has in store- a way to prevent unpleasant surprises and control the outcome.” (Helpguide.org)

Embracing aging…

     So…it’s my birthday. I am sitting on the plane for the 2 hour leg of my flights back home. I started passing the time by talking with my “neighbor” about getting older. A friendly man about my age from a nearby city. Not sure how age came up. Maybe it was his comment about falling asleep and possibly drooling on me, or maybe it was me saying that I was already motion sick from my first flight and that I hoped he wouldn’t have to see me throw up! And that I only seem to get worse motion sickness with age.
     Here I am, coming from a great and relaxing long weekend in Austin with a couple of my closest friends, and thinking about getting old. One friend had seen some hard times financially and decided to move back to Texas, and one friend sold her house, bought an RV, and has been toodling around the country the past 5 months. They are 12 years older than I am. I have always joked that I keep them around as friends just to make me look younger! Good thing they love me or they might not have put up with my verbal abuse the past 18 years!😉 All three of us lost a parent way too young. We agreed that it’s much better to get older than face the alternative! As much as I trust I will someday live an eternal life, I’m definitely not ready to leave this earth yet! Only God knows. But, now that my 40s are sliding downhill to 50, I seem to be re-examining my life quite often: where I’ve been and what is to come.
      I had an epiphany recently. I realized that I don’t mind getting older. I actually embrace it. The wisdom and experience that come with aging is immeasurable. I have noticed that my 40s have brought me so much peace about who I truly am. I have learned to be more assertive (my M.O. was usually passive-aggressive!) I have learned that some things are better left unsaid. And that some things need to be said. I have learned to embrace my quirks and accept that everyone else might not embrace them the same way. I have learned to not sweat the small stuff…most of the time!
     What I don’t like is looking older! Ugh, the “vanity”! Don’t judge me- I come by it naturally with a long line of women who care about their health and appearance🤣 and I don’t really think it’s vain to care about taking care of ourselves, inside and out. It’s ok to care about our appearances, as long as we have a healthy and realistic outlook. Not the outlook that magazines with photoshopped models, or movie stars with endless makeup artists and money, portray. But if we can take care of our bodies, inside and out, with a healthy diet and exercise, isn’t it ok to try to look and feel good while doing it? And if we have a healthy state of mind towards aging gracefully (maybe not always “naturally” for some😉) then I believe it’s ok to work on being the best self we can be.
     Being on a trip for a few days, I also realized how many people I deal with professionally and personally, really have a tough time letting themselves “live a little”.  People who won’t go a day without a rest from their intense workouts, or who won’t let themselves splurge on a dessert occasionally.
     Although we walked about 12 miles in two days, I didn’t feel the need to find a gym and workout. It is good for our bodies to take a bit of a rest. I did make sure I did a lot of stretching though! My hips and back ain’t like they used to be! And my boots weren’t made for walking!

     And yes, I ate a donut! And a cupcake! I have always liked the yummy stuff that isn’t so good for me, but as I age, I’ve had to learn how to let myself enjoy these things in moderation once in a while. And work hard and eat clean the rest of time. It doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” life as many people so often think. I paid my dues years ago and now I like to have some “fun” by eating my goodies and giving my body a break.

     “Age is cruel!” exclaimed Winston Churchill in The Crown. He didn’t like the artist’s representation of him in his commissioned painting. He struggled to admit he was aging, unhealthy, and losing his ability to lead as prime minister. Aging can often be a struggle. Especially when it takes us a little bit longer to stand up straight when we get out of bed in the morning (or when we walk around exploring a new city on a trip and our backs or feet hurt quicker than they use to).Or when we look in the mirror and see those “crows feet” or sagging necks staring back at us. Or when we notice the first gray hair pop out of nowhere. Ha, ha! Making you feel old yet?
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     Why is it so hard for so many people to accept getting older? Or even just admit their age or feel the need to lie about it? If one isn’t ready to meet their maker, then isn’t getting older the better and only choice? Maybe we need to start thinking about aging differently?
     Let me tell ya that I have three clients in their 80s! One has been with me almost 19 years, and the other two have only been around a few months. It’s NEVER too late to take control of your body and health! Remember, getting older is a blessing. Another year to be the best person you can be, inside and out. Live life to the fullest, take care of yourself, and love others to the absolute best of your ability. God’s speed…

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Amen”
Margot Benary-Isbert

Just had to share this little gem, too…
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What are you training for?

Proper English…”For what are you training?”

Proper Yoda…”Training for what, you are?”

Are you going for the gold emotionally, spiritually, AND physically? Or have you found that you’ve become complacent or stuck in a rut?

Do you ever wonder what you are supposed to be doing? Do you ever think you could/should be doing more? Do you ever think your life is a bit like the movie Groundhog Day? The same thing day in and day out? Wash, rinse, repeat. Wash, rinse, repeat…
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This can pertain to your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical life. Watching the Olympics lately has got me thinking about training. Not only physical, but any kind of life training. As far as the Olympics, the amazing athletes have put a tremendous amount of hard work, time, and specific training in to get to the biggest sporting stage in the World. Some athletes have been going nonstop since they were just toddlers! The amount of work that goes into competing at that level is truly inspiring!
Then there’s me…I tend to be a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal unless I have a goal. The voices in my head say, “You’re healthy enough, you’re at a healthy weight, your heart is healthy, so you don’t need to be doing anything else physically. Just go sit and watch Netflix and chill…” I don’t want to work too hard if I don’t have to! HA!
And then there is this…more voices telling me, “You’re already a good enough person, you are nice to others, you don’t lie, cheat, or steal. So you don’t need to challenge yourself mentally or spiritually. God knows you love Him. Your friends and family know you care”, etc., etc…
That kind of thinking doesn’t get me too far. I get really lazy. I start eating way too much “junk food” that I know will only make me feel crappy or increase inflammation (which isn’t good with MS). I start ruminating on the negative things in life. Or make up stuff to worry about in the future. Do you see where I’m going with this? It isn’t where any of us are supposed to be. I believe we are supposed to challenge ourselves to be better, stronger, more mature people. Without any challenges, we would never know just how strong, emotionally or physically, we can really be. I know life can throw us some huge challenges without seeking them out, but sometimes we still might find ourselves stuck and stagnant, and in need of some good training.
20 years ago, I was exercising “just enough”, eating just “healthy enough”, and doing just enough to get by and look a certain way. It dawned on me that with my personality, I needed to set a goal, and tell people about the commitment, or I would never push myself beyond “good enough”. For some crazy reason doing a bodybuilding competition seemed like the best goal for me. It forced me to look at my diet and exercise in a completely different way. My life revolved around my little family, my home, and getting my personal training business up and running. My bodybuilding goal required 16 weeks of focus, specific training, and huge changes in my eating habits. No more cookies for breakfast or stealing all of the french fries from my daughter’s Happy Meal (Yeah, I was a bad mom, and bad trainer, for ever letting my kiddo eat that stuff!)
Several years after that, I realized something was lacking in my spiritual life. My relationship with the Lord wasn’t as close as I felt like it needed to be. I just wasn’t one of those people who would sit in prayer every morning or read my Bible every night. My mom was sick with a terminal illness and life was stressful. I needed some training. So I committed to joining a Bible study group and had my friend hold me accountable to show up and do my homework every week. Sometimes we all need a challenge to get us to not only develop new habits, but to push us to be a little bit better at something.
After my MS diagnosis, I went into a bit of a funk. I’m not sure if I would call it full on depression, but I definitely had a hard time feeling like my happy, optimistic self, and not focusing on how bleak my future “could” be. My future might mean huge declines in my physical or mental health. It’s very easy to get caught up in our own heads and our own disappointments. Once again I needed something to “train for”. I decided to volunteer at our local hospice unit at the hospital. We are all terminal if you think about it. It wouldn’t be such a scary place. I knew this be a great way for me to stop focusing on myself. My self pity and self absorption flew out those hospice windows whenever I was there!
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Now I’m in a mode of training again. I challenge myself just by writing this blog. I’m not a private person by any means, but it is scary putting “me” out into the World! Fear of rejection and not being good enough is definitely a part of this journey. But it is good training for me to be a stronger me. To grow more as the creative person I know still hides inside of me and screams to get out. Training for that book I’ve wanted to write for over 20 years.
My husband also recently challenged me to train for something physical. Maybe y’all can help me out? I don’t love running long distances, so a marathon is NOT my calling. I know I can climb 14-ers without much training. So I’m looking for an event to train for that I’ve never done before. Maybe an MS event? If you know of some fun, challenging events coming up in Colorado, I’d love for you to share! Please comment with your ideas.
What training is out there waiting for you? Remember, we only change, mature, and get stronger by going through the challenges, no matter what they are. Go for the gold! You deserve it!
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