Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Never would have made it"

July 25, 2018

“never would have made it” “ if it hadn’t been for the Lord”

I remember hearing those statements over and over in church growing up. The elders without fail, every Sunday would be up testifying, shouting loudly “if it hadn’t been for the Lord” and other sayings of deep gratitude. I always wondered “wow what have they been through” I sometimes assumed the worse of their testimony and almost felt bad for them just thinking what they could have possibly been thru to make them so thankful, so thankful that they could publicly testify and shout about their struggles without shame. I thought I could never do that! I don’t want people wondering about my life and what I ve been through” But a bigger part of me, deep down wanted to be able to do the same thing. I wanted to be so thankful and grateful that Id share my testimony one day, I wanted to be able to share of what God has brought me thru without shame, I wanted to scream and shout… but it just wasn’t in me yet.  Well lately with all that I have been through , I can say that I am changing. I am able to to dance, sing, cry in church without really worrying about what people around me are thinking. It feels good to do this, I just get so full of emotions that it comes out and it feels good. When I think about my life, especially the last few months I sometimes just cry because I realize I could have been dead, I could have been drowned in depression, I could have been without a job, I could have lost it all. But I am still here and I realize it is not my doing. Jesus saves every time! He always shows up and shows out right when you need him the most! Sometimes you don’t even have to call on him, he already is there with you, comforting you, protecting you and keeping you.

Work has been very busy and very stressful lately. It isn’t unusual, we have our seasons of “awfulness” where the hospital is full, the OR schedule is crazy, we are short staffed, and basically there is not enough room for our patients so they end up spending hours if not the night in PACU. This puts a stress on everyone involved, those of us closet to the situation ( patient, families, nurses) soak up most of the stress because we are all stuck in the pool of awfulness together, with nowhere to go! Sometimes it gets very overwhelming, I had 2 overwhelming days recently, where I almost cried and walked out of work. Not so much because the situation…. Well I guess it was the situation but more so because I could feel how the situation was stressing me and I didn’t think I could handle it. In fact, I almost had to ask for a break, I wasn’t feeling well this day. I had a really bad headache, kept feeling dizzy, and when I get overwhelmed I feel a little flustered, forgetful, and sometimes confused. All of this is overwhelming and causes me great anxiety. Whenever I feel like this, especially when I am at work I get scared and embarrassed because I think back to when I was really sick and everyone seen me crying and upset. Yet on the outside I sorta looked ok, even after hours in the ER the doctors couldn’t accurately diagnose what was wrong with me, so this made me even more embarrassed. Anyways, when I start feeling like this I get scared because I hate to make people worry about me, especially at work and especially when we are busy. So this particular day. Thank God my patient was very drowsy and stable and I was working in the back of the room in a little corner to myself because there I could handle the situation. If anyone would have came and asked me if I needed anything or checked on me I would have probably broke down. But God kept me, back in my little corner when I felt the tears burning my eyes to come out and my breathing getting faster I called on Jesus! I asked for strength and comfort. I had to because I seriously felt like I was gonna pass out, I knew my break was about an hour away so if I could just make it to my break, I would be able to collect myself and survive the rest of the shift. I also had to keep telling myself “ you are ok, you are not gonna pass out, all is well” Even though my mind kept taking me back to the ER visits, the hospital admission, the many other times where I got sick at work and had to leave, the other times when I was sick at home , I had to just keep reassuring myself that I was ok and that I can make it.

Lunch time came around, I took some Tylenol, ate,  and relaxed. When I came back from break, it was still very busy, but I could breathe easier. I didn’t feel as awful and I had a new patient to take care of so the energy was much different in my area. The rest of the day went fine. Yes I still felt unwell but not as bad as the first half of my shift. My doctor also sent me a message around the time i came back from lunch.. checking on me and following up after my visit last week. This was a comfort because I was considering messaging her to let her know I hadn’t been feeling as well as I was last week… but remember when I said Jesus is right there with you and He knows? Jesus did that! He had my doctor check on me, I mean what are the odds that she sends a message on a day where I am feeling so badly, where I felt like I needed to talk to her anyway? She couldn’t have known how I was feeling because I was perfectly fine when she seen me last week. But Jesus knew, he knew and that is why she messaged me and that is why my day got significantly better when I called on him

I walked out of work that day thinking “ if it hadn’t been for the Lord” and had to listen to Marvin Sapps “never would have made it” On the way home. I now know what the church elders would sing and shout about. There is no way I could handle all of this on my own. IF this lupus is gonna cause me to feel so badly that I literally have to call on Jesus every minute of every day, I can handle it. Because it teaches me that I can do NOTHING without Jesus! But with HIM I can handle anything life throws at me. Like seriously, He is showing me every day how real he is, how much he loves us, how close he is to us (if we let him). I am thankful, and like I said if lupus is causing me to be this close and dependent on the Lord I will not complain about it. Its hard and it sucks and sometimes makes me feel crazy, but it also makes me lean on Jesus like never before and when I do this I feel so peaceful, I feel so strong and encouraged and then my little issues seem not so bad at all.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Yoga for palpitations

I just had the sweetest yoga practice inspired by class yesterday and feeling not so well this morning. Yesterday I think I did a little too much activity and since it was a sunny day it triggered a little lupus activity. This morning I didn’t feel too great and by 10am the heart palpitations, burning skin, muscles aches, and fatigue were getting to me. Normally when this happens I get up and walk, or find a light activity to do to keep my mind from feeding too much into the symptoms. Today I decided to do yoga! within 10 minutes of practice the palpitations stopped and I started to feel much better.

I started my practice with a short 5 minute meditation,  during  this time my heart was pounding like crazy, making me feel a little short of breath and very uneasy. I almost stopped the meditation but I decided to meditate on scripture or at least my paraphrased version “ you Lord, are the keeper of my heart”, before I knew it my timer beeped and the five minutes was up! I was still experiencing palpitations but already had my next posture planned - Baddha Konasana I practiced this reclined using a rolled up  blanket to support my rib cage, my robe belt as a strap, and a couple decorative pillows to support my thighs .This felt heavenly!  I set my timer for 5 minutes and when the five minutes was over I noticed my breathing was smooth, my heart was calm and no longer pounding, so I decided to go for another 5 minutes.

I completed a few other postures that we practiced in class yesterday and  almost skipped headstand,  but decided to go ahead and do it since ultimately I want to be able to practice it without the wall and hold it for at least five minutes. I don’t like shoulder stand ,  but since it’s traditionally taught following headstand   and its good for the immune system  and overcoming major illnesses ,  so I did it. I think most people find headstand more challenging than shoulderstand,  but for me it’s the opposite. At this point in my practice I don’t like it! It feels uncomfortable and awkward and it leaves my neck feeling too “awake” not pain or anything but I can just feel that the muscles have been working and I suppose I am just not used to it. But like with anything else, I love a challenge, love to grow so I will continue to practice shoulderstand . During class yesterday the teacher quoted what she learned from Geeta Iyengar-  “Shoulderstand  should be beautiful” . I am patiently waiting to be able to say that and mean it 🀣

Finally savasana, it was bliss. I did ten minutes and did not want to get up! During savasana, I felt this weird almost uncomfortable creepy sensation. It felt like something was being pulled out of and off of me, almost like if you had a blanket wrapped over you, and someone gently and slowly pulled it off. It was a creepy sensation however I didn’t want it to end. I imagined that sensation was my body ridding itself of toxins, so I was cool with it.

Here’s a little bonus! remember the palpitations? well Iv been measuring my heart rate variability (HRV) and decided to see if there was a difference before and after my practice. well....

Proof is in the heart rate variability. When my heart was misbehaving and I wasn’t feeling well my variability was 15, after yoga it’s 60!  I am still study HRV, but from what I learned so far higher numbers tend to reflect better health " HRV is an interesting and noninvasive way to identify these ANS imbalances. If a person’s system is in more of a fight-or-flight mode, the variation between subsequent heartbeats is low. If one is in a more relaxed state, the variation between beats is high. In other words, the healthier the ANS the faster you are able to switch gears, showing more resilience and flexibility." Dr. Marcelo Campos"  Read more about it here https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/heart-rate-variability-new-way-track-well-2017112212789
One more resource- a study on the validity of the Apple Watch HRV measurement

Today’s sequence  30-45minutes
Buddha Konasana
supta padangusthasana 
Wide forward bend prasarita padottanasana
salamba Sirsasana 
salamba sarvangasana


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Kale Cranberry Salad

Saturday we attended a baby shower in DC, it was held at a pub and the food was great! So great I had to copy their kale cranberry salad. It’s very simple and I’ve certainly made a variation of it before but this place served it with a citrus vingeratte that was amazing.

Ingredients are simply kale, cranberry, and feta cheese for the salad. For the vinaigrette I used a recipe found here https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/citrus-vinaigrette-51140430

Finished product is below!
Oh the baby shower theme was Hollywood complete with a red carpet backdrop for photos. The cake display table was so pretty I had to capture itπŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

Iyengar Yoga Day 1

Just to think this return to iyengar yoga came from a silent drive to work last friday.  I am quite proud that I actually listened to that inner voice and made my return so soon. By soon I mean since friday, because if we are being honest I started practicing Iyengar yoga back in 2013 but fell off the wagon. Thats another story for a different day.

Today I returned to Practice Yoga Studio , this was where I took my first class in 2013.  The instructor was wonderful, same teacher I had before. We started class seated crossed legged and just breathed. I really enjoyed the fact that she didn't talk or give us any instruction during this time, she simply said " sit, close your eyes, and breathe" there was no fluff and I think thats what I love most about iyengar yoga, no need to fill the silence with cliche sayings and quotes. I always felt weird when I taught yoga classes and felt like I needed to do that, it just didn't feel natural for me.

Next we moved onto a few postures lying on our backs with bolsters, blankets, and straps. I kept thinking " Im gonna buy me a bolster and strap as soon as i leave class" The bolster was amazing! I felt fine in the reclining poses, could certainly feel the tightness in my muscles but nothing hurt so I went on with it.

Standing poses followed starting with my favorite Uhhitia Trikonasa. This has been my favorite pose from the very beginning. It looks and feels absolutely beautiful when done correctly, and this was my go to pose for my sciatica and digestive issues. After when finished our standing poses, the teacher casually says "Ok lets do headstand" I got nervous because i haven't practiced headstand in quite a while, but with her instruction and my ignoring the annoying voice in my head telling me I couldn't do it, I did it anyway and felt quite fabulous! Shoulderstand was next and then savasana. I wished savasana was longer but I can do that on my own time at home. I really enjoyed the class and cant wait to go back!

baddha konasana
supta padangusthasana (sciatica removes stiffness in hip joints)
uttihita Trikonasana 
 prasarita padottanasana
salamba Sirsasana 
 salamba sarvangasana

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Back to Iyengar Yoga

My first love - Iyengar Yoga. 8 years ago when I started practicing yoga, it was Iyengar Yoga that stole my heart, it was this style of yoga that inspired me to teach yoga. However life happened and I never pursued it.

Lately however, once again it’s issues that make you change... I have been experiencing the old familiar GI issues but this time it’s worse. In addition to nausea, vomiting, chest pain, heartburn, gas and bloating I’ve also having issues with constipation and diarrhea. I’ve noticed my stomach is very sensitive to how I am feeling emotionally, for instance whenever we travel even if it’s for a fun vacation, I have issues. These digestive issues start the morning of the trip and usually linger the entire time I am away taking several days if no weeks for me to get back to normal. Currently I am still trying to get back to normal after a Disney trip during Easter break!

Anyways, it’s not just with traveling but it’s also If I am nervous. I can remember plenty of mornings where I am feeling anxious and my stomach is all upset and whacked out, delaying me from leaving the house on time. This is the part that’s different from before, when I had GI issues years ago it was all  upper GI- nausea, heartburn, vomiting. But now the issues are traveling south 🀣

So what does one do? Sure I’ve worried that perhaps this is lupus causing problems, or my meds, or so,e other condition but honestly I don’t have the time nor am I interested in more test,  ore appointments,  more medications, and certainly not another diagnosis so I am returning to yoga.

I never stopped yoga completely but haven’t practiced regularly like I used to in years. I mean consistently, years ago I used to practice daily even if it was only 5 minutes. But my practice became almost nonexistent when I was sick and then since I’ve been well I’ve been too frustrated to practice because a part of me is still a little angry that I still have limitations even though my health is much better than it has been in years.

So off track this was supposed to be about Iyengar Yoga so let’s wrap it up. Tonight I practiced triangle pose, this was the pose that healed my sciatica and helped with digestive issues before. I always loved this pose, but I’d been avoiding because when  my Lupus was active I would get very dizzy from this pose, so up until now I had been afraid to try it. Well it worked out just fine tonight and I am excited to continue the practice and start actual Iyengar classes soon. I can’t help but wonder where I would be now if I had stuck to my original plans and pursed Iyengar Yoga? But I am  not worried because God promises to restore the years the locust ate Joel 2:25 ( in my case lupus and other distractions and No God didn’t cause me to have lupus, he allowed because he works all things together for my good ) like Job I am looking forward to Gods promise To make my latter days greater than my former. (Job 42:12)

Thursday, May 2, 2019

"Spirit informs mind that body is well"

Its Lupus awareness month and as someone diagnosed and affected daily by lupus I feel its only right to share my thoughts.

I have to admit there are times when lupus gets the best of me, when I want to focus on what I see and feel, what I read, what Ive been told by my doctors.

But the spirit in me , the God I serve is and always will be greater than lupus. which is why I cant make this post about how bad lupus is, instead I want to talk about how Great our God is!

Yes I take medicine for lupus, yes I wear sunscreen and see my doctors regularly and get my labs drawn faithfully. Not because of fear, it is out of wisdom. God has provided all those resources to turn what was meant for evil around for my good. So it would be almost disrespectful to not treat this disease accordingly. But my faith is not in those things that I can see ( medications, lab values, doctors report, etc) I know God is my healer. In fact I am already healed! It is a promise from God a gift of salvation so I cant focus on the evils of lupus. Instead I "set my mind on things above" because when I do I am more than able to withstand any battle that comes against me.

The title of this post is a quote that came to my mind whenI was having a bad spell. It was during my first few months of diagnosis and while my labs improved i was still feeling a lot of physical symptoms. I was convinced lupus would leave me feeling horrible every single day. I spent a lot of time on online support groups because I didn't understand what was going on in my body, I couldn't understand how my labs could be fine yet I still was tired, weak, with achy stiff joints, chest pain, rashes, and hair loss. The support group was good a place for me to chat with others who were experiencing similar things and at that time I needed that support. However as time went on and I felt worse and worse, I started having serious issues with anxiety, I was completely consumed by lupus and whether or not it was getting worse and thinking I was developing other diseases because of lupus.

Finally during yoga or one of my quiet moments "spirit informs mind that body is well" came to me. I realized I had to stop focusing on what i was feeling, I had to stop putting so much negativity into my head, I had to step away from the message board, step away from the physical and spend more time in prayer, reading my bible, and yoga. I had to do something about the anxiety, because honestly looking back I believe a lot of what i was feeling was anxiety... or at least it was intensified by anxiety.

I stopped using the online support group and instead turned to the word. reading what God says about me. Whenever i felt my mind feeding too much into symptoms , i referenced a scripture. Mostly " For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the ruler, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms" Ephesians 6:12 as well as " set your mind on things above, not on earthly things" Colossians 3:2
These scriptures reminded me that I was in spiritual warfare, that this was not a time to lay around and feed into what I could see (aches, pains, kidney inflammation, etc) because when I was fixated on this I wasn't focused on Jesus, the only one who could bring me peace.  Eventually, i started to feel better. My symptoms didn't completely go away, I still experience symptoms daily! But they no longer consume me.   Because I had finally learned  to allow my spirit to influence my mind which in turn influenced my body.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Book Review: Sick of Me

I had to take my time with this one! This was a reality check, this women preached throughout this book and many times I had to take breaks from reading it because it was just too real for me!

When I seen the title I knew immediately this was something I needed to read, however I was expecting the fluffy self help type of book and this turned out to be the exact opposite, but it was sooooo what I needed.

Whitney gets into the topic of sanctification  and  the problem of self help in this book. “Self help focuses on Me , sanctification points to Jesus”She gets real about the common “Me” problem we all have and teaches you through the scriptures and her own stories how to get beyond transparency (admitting our sins) to transformation and sanctification. Whitney makes it very clear that it is not enough to just admit your sins, but we are to go further and take action towards sanctification. otherwise our lives are just pointing to us and not the cross.

“ Sick of me”available for purchase from the publishers website as well as amazon.

* I received this book in exchange for my honest review as part of the BH/Lifeway blogger program.

"Never would have made it"

July 25, 2018 “never would have made it” “ if it hadn’t been for the Lord” I remember hearing those statements over and over in chu...