Category Archives: Health

GOOOOOOOAAALS

It’s January 12th, in the Year of our Lord 2018, do you know where your goals are? Some, and I hope many, are crushing it right now. The rest of us mere morals may have already faced tests. Let me know if any of these scenarios are familiar.

It’s the 1st, no one really starts today anyway. 

Is that you? If you’re off work on 1/1 you may be hungover and don’t have the head nor the stomach to do anything other than get past it. If you’re not hung over and at home you may just be feeling like a lazy snack monster and munch all day, throw in some college football and it’s a wrap on the diet tip for the day.

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It’s the 2nd, you go to the gym and it is packed!

If you are a consistent gym goer, you know the deal. All the resolution folks are there. On top of it these noobs are using “your treadmill, your leg press etc., ” so you’re out of your routine. Your attitude is now stank and the subsequent workout is trash, because you’re focused on them using “your” stuff.

The holidays are over except at your job. It’s your co-worker’s birthday, cake and ice cream are being served.

You just got back to work, ready to roll on your new program, or restart your old one and of course without fail, here comes the birthday cake.  There is always a birthday at work or some event that first week that involves food. I’m not talking about nuts and berries and salad but cake and ice cream and other sweet/salty/rich delights.  Whatchu gone do? Eat the cake/chips/enter junk food name here of course.

 

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I’m here to tell you that it will be okay. The universe is not out to get you and your love handles, this is just life. As a HUMAN we are always tempted by the stuff we are not “supposed to have.” Also as a human, you have choices and there not either or, nor punitive just be flexible. Hungover? Yeah you should probably take it easy. Noobs filling the gym? Celebrate the fact that they made a decision to get moving. Use their addition to the gym as an opportunity to do something different.  Try some different equipment.  Take your workout outside (weather permitting OR workout at home.  There are tons of videos on-line for FREE that will do you just fine.

Don’t throw in the towel folks.  Keep up the good work and if you fell off, get back up and try it again.  Being healthy and fit isn’t a one day affair, it’s a lifetime of healthy habits.  I know I’m going to keep it pushing.

Until next time, see you at the gym, the trail or somewhere else, because there ARE options.

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Photos: MsThorns
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Tis the Season to Get Sick

November 30th was a good day, it started off that way anyhow. Worked out with my fave, had breakfast and got to work on time, but it was all downhill from there. By the time he afternoon arrived that sinus pain had me jacked up so bad I couldn’t see straight. I shut it down, headed home and got in the bed, which I never do.

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After a weekend of pill popping, nose blowing, hacking and coughing I was at Kaiser on Monday like yooooooo I can’t take this anymore!!!!  I visited with a really nice NP who proceeded to tell me it was viral. Yeah those cooties were going around the office and evidently it was my turn. I was instructed to continue my regimen, added some steroids (again) and sent me packing. You can guess what ensued next,

lots of eating and NO EXERCISE WHATSOEVER.

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I eat a lot on the roids because allowing hunger to set in is the worst,  I feel sick to my stomach. So in order to not add on to the grossness that was this cold, I ate and ate and ate. Two weeks after its start I attempted to work out and was still coughing and too congested to do anything of substance. By week three, the symptoms had mostly dissipated so I hit the weights first with this young lady. Needless to say, the weakness was real and expected, however it was good because I got through without collapsing and got in two more workouts,  the week the last of which was quite comical.  Remember this? There was a guy who DID NOT MOVE.  I did  the 6 stations after him and had to improvise the rest on the floor with the regular equipment, but I digress.

Flu season is no joke, I take a flu shot every year. As an asthmatic I don’t fool around. Fortunately what I had, was the common cold. Telling the difference for me is easy, since I’ve had horrible flu before I knew this recent illness was not that.  However, in case you aren’t aware, here’s a great source for telling the difference.

The hardest thing for folks who lead an active life is shutting it down to recover. The good news for those who are not old and skittish (moi) is that you don’t have to. The rule of thumb is for above the neck symptoms moderate exercise is cool, below the neck, not so much. Your body is a wondrous piece of work, it will let you know if you’re doing too much. Also to lower your chances of getting sick in the first place, practice good hygiene, stay away from sick folk etc.

Hopefully you and yours will make it through the holidays and the remainder of winter without cold or flu. If you do get caught, this is no time to try to set a PR in anything. Focus on getting well.

Until next time see you at the gym, but if I see you sneezing, I’m going the other way.

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Photos: MsThorns

 

Physical, Mystical very Diabetical

2004 or thereabouts  I just wasn’t feeling well, overweight, uncomfortable, sluggish not bad, but just not well.   I had taken a fasting glucose test a couple of times where they make you drink that fake nasty wannabe Fanta drink and my doctor determined I was borderline diabetic and had “insulin resistance” or some nonsense.  Well on that last fasting test I crossed on over into Type 2 Diabetes land.  My doctor gave me a prescription for Metformin, a diet book from the American Diabetes Association and sent me on my way.

Anyone diagnosed with diabetes in the early 2000s had to have gotten the book.  It was a colorful little book with pictures of fresh veggies and such and a meal plan with suggested foods. The calories were limited (I think) to about 1200-1500 per day.  Needless to say, the way I was eating at the time, I lasted all of three days on that diet. First of all it was low-carb and no sweets which are of course my favorite things. THEN this plan recommended nasty food like cottage cheese. BLEH, who eats that?  I couldn’t do it.  I went into full scale rebellion mode, eating all the food, all the snacks and drinking all the pop.  Of course doing so for the next two years only made matters worse.

I was having WILD swings in my blood glucose.  I would spike up to 280-300 and drop down into the mid 50s.  The lows were really scary because I would start sweating and shaking and being all panicky as is wasn’t helping. My diet was trash and I knew it but was it THAT trash?  I went back to the doctor, told him about the wild swings and you know what he did? He gave me some more medicine.  This time a shot that I had to administer every day right into my fat stomach. That was 2006.  The medicine worked I was still eating whatever I wanted but I wasn’t having all the wild swings anymore.  Byetta was a life saver, a least for the moment.Byetta-2

I started a new job in 2007.  I recall going into the restroom at the job, every morning, listening to make sure no one was coming so I could expose my stomach and shoot up.  I wasn’t good enough at it where I could just look down and handle my business within the confines of a stall, I needed a mirror.  I felt better but NEEDING to do this every day sucked and I very much wanted to not need it anymore.  That same year a member of the management team at my job passed away suddenly.  He was only 3 years older than me at the time. Not only did the entire office mourn is passing, but I was scared sh***ess.  I went to my new doctor at the time, an absolutely awesome lady doc who kept it 100 at all times and told her I didn’t want to take any of those meds anymore. She said getting off the medication required getting the weight off. I complied and have been Diabetes drug free since then.

That’s the long and short of how I became Type 2.  Do I do right all the time? Nope, my struggles are well documented, but I do the best I can most of the time and when things start getting out of hand, my body and my doctor of the last 4 years, Dr Diva,  let me know and I get back on track in.   Diabetes is nothing to play with, complications can be severe, however with proper management you can still live your best life.

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#thisisdiabetes

What about you?  Are you Diabetic?  Want to tell you story?  Hit me up in the comments or in the usual spaces.  I’d love to have you do a guest post here on Powered By Soul sharing how you live your best life with Diabetes.

Until next time, see you at the grocery store, where hopefully you’ll see me reaching for broccoli, instead of Tostitos.Snacks-2

Photos: Meds, Web MD; all others, MsThorns

Big Mama, Medicine Woman

I am now my mother.

Way back during the times that dinosaurs roamed the earth I was a teen living in the home of my mother and father. In one house (my fave), was a nice sized kitchen. Open, eat-in style with plenty of cabinet space and a walk in pantry. The upper cabinet closest to the pantry housed the family pharmacy. In it were all the prescription meds, otcs and vitamins. We certainly had medicine cabinets I just don’t recall medicine being in them. The kitchen was it and looking back it makes sense because the kitchen is where the beverages were and required for taking meds, unless you’re a person with snake-like tendencies swallowing pills whole without water. None of us are snakes.

I am now my mother.

Around age 37 or so the proverbial poo hit the fan. I thought I was having a heart attack, madamoiselle drama queen called the nurse advice line who told me to call an ambulance and go the hospital. Now EMTs weren’t an unusual site in my townhouse community as there were a few neighbors who were seniors. I was NOT a senior and was getting hauled off to what later became a more frequent hangout spot, Northside Hospital.

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I was a big lady, am now too but even bigger then. I tell them I’m having chest pains and can’t breathe and these fools put my big butt on a treadmill on INCLINE. They kept speeding it up until I was running. Then they looked at me crazy because I was running. I’m like, “don’t get it twisted I’m a 200 lb cardio queen.” But I digress, they finished the stress test, told me my heart was fine and that I was having an asthma attack.

Whaaaaat??

They used to say that you “outgrow” asthma. Those famous theys lied. I’d gone 20 years without problems but the greenery of the metro and the smog had me jacked up. After painful allergy tests, allergy shots which I still get, Ct scans (just had one last week) and alllllllll the meds I’ve become my mother, the lady with the kitchen medicine cabinet except my kitchen is far less spacious and said meds are kept In a basket. Most of the basket is filled with vitamins, however meds are ever present to handle all of my various maladies. Do I like it? Nah. Are there alternatives? Yeah sure, just haven’t found anything that doesn’t cause HIVES. So for now, I do what is required in order to keep all my fluffiness upright and above ground.

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What about you? When was the moment that you became your mom/dad/grandmam? Let me know in the comments or the usual places. Until next time, see you in the vitamin aisle or the pharmacy where I’ll be trying to maintain.

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This is the Gym: Do You Read? Edition

As documented before I am a cardio queen, loathe to do strength training. However at this stage of the game, I’m thinking about doing more. They say (the doctors) that strength training, especially as you age, is good for strengthening bones and what not and may help prevent osteoporosis. I do what they say sometimes and grudgingly hit the weights, mostly at home, but occasionally at the gym. One of my fave workouts is the PF 30 at Planet Fitness. You hit all the body parts and get in a little cardio in 30 minutes. Of course I do additional cardio after that but when I hit that PF 30 circuit I’m focused, completing the circuit in the order it was created, sometimes. Why sometimes? Because PEOPLE! Lord Jesus be a fence between me and these mugs in the circuit room lifting all Willy Nilly.

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I walk in, alone, put my ear buds in, start my house music (all soulful house mixes welcome) and start the circuit. Then here comes Stretch Armstrong. He’s here to use the step to stretch before his workout. Not a problem, he’s at the last station and will be long gone before I get there. I’m cool until the entrance of the Wonder Twins. They are here to do chest and shoulders and that’s it, oh and talk to each other a lot and take too long and cause me to skip those two stations and come back. They finally leave, I double back and get back on track until I see Old Time Rock and Roll enter the room. He’s a 50 something like me and is going hard on one step, no other equipment. He has that grit on his face like he’s straining for a marathon. I’m like bruh it’s not that deep, please move.  By the time I get to his station I’m good, he’s finished the marathon.

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Believing I have left all interlopers behind me I proceed to move through the last 5 stations and wouldn’t you know, Abs of Steel shows up for the ab machine. She does, I don’t know how many sets and how many reps, and I throw in the towel. I finish my abs separately which I needed to do more than that station anyway. But, that doesn’t negate the fact that mugs came into the express room and did everything but the express circuit @$*%^+>#(%

Look I’m all about mugs going hard for their workouts. I’m happy to see people working out especially those of us who are a certain age or older but, I need y’all, use the equipment for its assigned/posted purpose and keep it moving. However, judging from this experience, some of y’all don’t read,  at least not gym signs anyway.

Until next time see you at the gym, where I hope to find you adhering to all posted signage.

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Photos: MsThorns

 

I Love It When They Call Me Big Mama

Things going on with my peepers. Not anything I haven’t seen before, but particularly noticeable and troublesome this go round. I see my doctor who sends me to the ophthalmologist who happens to be located in West Hell, I do what she says though.

The doctor tells me what I already know since I’ve had the condition several times over the years. However, instead of waiting on things to return to normal he decides to treat it more aggressively (my words) and prescribes a little white pill.

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This is prednisone and it is the devil.

I’ve been on it before for asthma and allergies but not for any period longer than two weeks and it always has been beneficial in short courses, bronchial inflammation, gone, eczema gone, etc.  I have experienced those benefits this time as well a few undesirable side effects like bruising easily, thinned skin  and unfortunately the SWOLE look I’m rocking that has nothing to do with pumping iron.  My weight, bless the LAWD, has been up and down the same 4 pounds as long as I’ve been on it, but my cheekbones? Where dey at? My stomach, already hefty, now putting all zipper, buttons and waistbands to the test.

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Now let’s be clear i’m not feeling sorry for myself, this is only a RANT.  I’m feeling better for sure, looking? Not so much and I do CARE.  Prednisone is a highly prescribed drug, used for a NUMBER of health conditions and for some it is good, it’s been good for me, it’s just the extra fluff that I can really do without.

What about you? Have you been prescribed something that didn’t have life threatening side effects, but perhaps impacted your performance, appearance or proved to be an obstacle in parts of you life?  Let me know in the  comments and the regular spots.

Until next time, see you at the gym, where maybe I’ll be back to my usual fluffy self.

Photos: MsThorns
Video: The Notorious B.I.G., Warner Bros

Check In and Check Up

This is the 2nd week of January and I’m sure you’ve read, listened to and watched all things regarding health and fitness goals. You have set some goals for yourself and allow me to be the first or fifth person to say YAY YOU for setting those goals!!!! I’m wishing you much success and give you a gentle reminder that you’ve got to the put in the work.  While you’re working toward those goals though, I need to add just a few more things to your clean and healthy plate.  I mean you didn’t think that was all did you?

Ye olde broad is no stranger to the “doctor’s office.” I’ve been a regular since my arrival on planet earth 50 years ago.  However, some of you may not be.  In fact, some of you avoid the doctor’s office like the plague, or you consider doctors to be the plague. Whatever the case maybe, if you are insured/have means/have access get over yourself (jokingly) and don’t be afraid (seriously) to get some of the recommended screenings for your age and sex.  So what types of things are on the table?

WOMEN: we need to test ALL the things. If you want to stick around for a while, suck it up buttercup and get these recommended screenings:

Screening tests Ages 18–39 Ages 40–49 Ages 50–64 Ages 65 and older
Blood pressure test Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Bone mineral density test
(osteoporosis screening)
Discuss with your doctor or nurse if you are at risk of osteoporosis. Get this test at least once at age 65 or older.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about repeat testing.

Breast cancer screening
(mammogram)
Discuss with your doctor or nurse. Starting at age 50, get screened every 2 years. Get screened every 2 years through age 74.

Age 75 and older, ask your doctor or nurse if you need to be screened.

Cervical cancer screening
(Pap test)
Get a Pap test every 3 years if you are 21 or older and have a cervix.

If you are 30 or older, you can get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years.

Get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years if you have a cervix. Get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years if you have a cervix. Ask your doctor or nurse if you need to get a Pap test.
Chlamydia test Get tested for chlamydia yearly through age 24 if you are sexually active or pregnant.

Age 25 and older, get tested for chlamydia if you are at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant.

Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant. Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk. Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk.
Cholesterol test Starting at age 20, get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Colorectal cancer screening
(using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy)
Starting at age 50, get screened for colorectal cancer.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Get screened for colorectal cancer through age 75.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Diabetes screening Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.
Gonorrhea test Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant. Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant. Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk. Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk.
HIV test Get tested for HIV at least once.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests.

All pregnant women need to be tested for HIV.

Get tested for HIV at least once.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests.

All pregnant women need to be tested for HIV.

Get tested for HIV at least once.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests.

Get tested for HIV at least once if you are age 65 and have never been tested.

Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.

Syphilis test Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk or pregnant. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk or pregnant. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk.

Source: womenshealth.gov

Again these are recommendations and your doctor may recommend more or fewer screenings.  When you do see your provider,  (and you will see one, right?) have a thorough and truthful discussion about your health and your family history.  They are doctors, you can tell them ALL OF IT, that’s what they are there for.

MEN: you are not all of the hook.  There’s a honey do list of screenings for you as well:

Screening tests Ages 18–39 Ages 40–49 Ages 50–64 Ages 65 and older
Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening Get this one-time screening if you are age 65 to 75 and have ever smoked.
Blood pressure test Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Cholesterol test Starting at age 20 until age 35, get a cholesterol test if you are at increased risk for heart disease.

Starting at age 35 and older, get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Colorectal cancer screening
(using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy)
Starting at age 50, get screened for colorectal cancer.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Get screened for colorectal cancer through age 75.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Diabetes screening Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.
HIV test Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.

Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.

Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.

Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.

Syphilis screening Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk.
Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk.

Source: womenshealth.gov

ERRRRBODY: Get a dental and an eye exam. Your healthcare provider can give you recommendations on how often and your insurance provider (if you are insured) will tell you how often you can go and what’s covered.

Now I likely should have prefaced this entire post with a recommendation for you to see your healthcare provider before starting any diet and/or exercise program, but you already know that, right?  That said, I challenge you to take a holistic approach to your health.  Treat yourself the best way possible by shooting for a healthy lifestyle that includes preventive medical care.

Until next time, see you at the doctor’s office where I will be getting prodded, poked and weighed, like the human I am.

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Photo: MsThorns

Note: For the uninsured, there are still options.  The board of health in your county/parish/township generally provides low and no-cost healthcare services as well as free clinics in larger metropolitan areas.  Local charitable/non-profit organizations are also resources for free community health events that provide a variety of medical and dental services and referrals.