March Health and Wellness

SpringI’ve been sharing what my journey through menopause and more. Several months ago I started having some issues that I finally attributed to menopause. Body aches and pains became quite an issue along with all of the fun hormone changes involved with menopause. I was in an auto accident 18 years ago that is once again causing me issues. You can read my February report here and the January report here.

March has been a huge change from those two months.

Structural Integration

I continue to see a person who does Structural Integration.  I’m really starting to notice some huge improvements in how my body feels. I still have pain most days but it is a lot less than it was. And I some days I feel absolutely wonderful. I feel like I am starting to get my life back. The appointments are interesting. They are quite painful sometimes but as soon as it is over I feel pretty good. I do get very tired from the appointments. I had an interesting thing happen when he was working on my abdominal area. He started working in an area and I immediately had a hot flash. A really bad one.

At that point I decided I needed to start seeing my acupuncturist again to help with the hot flashes and tiredness. I had planned to wait on that due to finances. We ended up reworking our budget to find the money for me to go every 10 days or there abouts.acupuncture

Acupuncture

I had two acupuncture treatments in March and noticed a great improvement in hot flashes. I am still pretty tired but hope that will decrease.  At my acupuncturist’s urging I also started taking Wild Yam again. I had stopped sometime in January thinking it was adding to my headaches. I’m taking a half of a dropper of Wild Yam tincture two times per day without having headaches. That might be helping with the hot flashes.

Inflammation

My SI guy notices a huge amount of inflammation in my left hip. In January I mentioned that I was going to take some things that worked as a natural anti-inflammatory. I actually didn’t start that until my SI guy encouraged me. I’m now taking turmeric and ginger for inflammation along with topical magnesium oil. I also am sticking with nettle infusion. The combination of these items seem to really be helping. I notice if I don’t do one of the items that I have aches or even cramps (the mag and nettle help most with those).  My acupuncturist would also like me to have licorice root tea each day but I keep forgetting. oops.

Sleep

One of my early symptoms of menopause was sleep disturbance. I didn’t have much trouble falling asleep but I would wake up quite easily and I would have horrible night sweats where I would wake up completely soaked.   The first round of acupuncture that I had (back in August and September) made  huge difference in the night sweats. Adding in the magnesium oil and then the nettle helped with my sleep. A huge thing that helped was keeping the room dark. We used to leave a light on but once we shut that out I noticed a huge difference in how well I slept. I was waking up less often and felt much more rested in the mornings.  I do sometimes have trouble falling asleep at night but it is not too terribly bad.  I wake up most mornings, feeling quite well, at 6:30. Much better than how it used to be for me.  Several years ago (before the whole menopause stuff started) I only slept a few hours a night.  Then when my lifestyle changed (eating different, working less, etc) I was sleeping all night. So I’m feeling I’m at an in between place right now. I try to be in bed each night between 9 and 9:30. Waking up at 6:30 works perfect for my schedule.

Adrenal Fatigue

Here is something interesting. Women in menopause tend to also have adrenal fatigue. Talk about a double whammy. I suspect I am one of these women. In reality I was probably walking a tight rope regarding adrenal fatigue anyway. My lack of sleep and busy life I used to have was probably not a good thing. Funny at the time I thought it was great. I loved going, going, going all the time. I thought if I was busy I was happy. I’m sure that is information for a therapy session instead of a blog post so I won’t go into details.  A few weeks ago I was part of a spectacular digital bundle and part of that bundle included Adrenal Fatigue Solutions- 90 Day Plan to Improve Adrenal Function by Pat Robinson (it’s not yet available for individual sale but I’ll let you know when it is). I’m going to start working my way through the book next week. I’ve read most of it but have not yet put it into practice. Many of the suggestions are already a part of our lifestyle but some are new.

Cooking

For the past six months or so our meals have been rather interesting. I still make a menu plan most every week, focusing on incredibly easy to make foods, but whether the final result ends up as planned or not is anyone’s guess.

Mornings are usually pretty good for me so, provided I remembered to pull meat out of the freezer the night before, I usually shove some big hunk of meat in the crock pot. I hate to admit that on more than one occasion when dinner time rolled around that was all there was. My girls or my husband have many times cooked a simple side or made a salad and dressing to go with the meat.  Sometimes I would think ahead and cook up sides in the morning that would just need to be reheated at dinner time. One thing I started doing wasSwirl Bread cooking up all of our greens (collard, chard, mustard, etc) at one time and then reheating dinner sized amounts as needed.  And if I was really not well at meal time anyone could reheat the greens with a generous amount of butter for a great dish.

And there have been times when dinner was eggs made by Joe after he returned home from working all day. I felt pretty guilty about those days. My husband has been super wonderful about all of this and says he is happy to help and just wants me to get better.  He is pretty amazing.

Breakfasts have been very challenging. Joe is going to work earlier than usual so it’s just our little boy and me. I used to make up breakfast foods early in the week (muffins, baked oatmeal, etc) to have for few days and then do other easy things.  The making up foods just isn’t happening very often. We are having a lot more store bought things (sprouted bagels, bread, biscuit things) which are okay but not nearly as tasty as our homemade items.  I never would have thought that I’d prefer homemade over store bought! A few years ago I didn’t cook at all and now prefer the food I make. Such a change.

I recently asked my newsletter subscribers to their suggestions for putting together meals during situations of illness.

Here is what Gail suggested:

“Prepare meals and freeze in small portions on “feel” good days. Give myself permission to have off days and we eat fruit on cereal for suppers (blueberries are very good for anti-inflammatory situations). The 2 ideas are all I have to offer.”

We don’t eat commercial cereal but we do love this incredibly simple Almond Meal cereal which would be delicious topped with blueberries. My husband thought having this simple cereal for dinner was a great idea.

Karen C suggests simplifying:

“Choose 5 supper menus that your family enjoys.Plan the 1st one for every Monday.The 2nd one for every Tuesday, etc., etc, etc. Put a large veggie plate of raw carrots, cabbage wedges, sliced pears or apples supper. Dessert is ice cream if you need it.

We have eaten the same menu for 8 years. (Everyone knows that Thursday is Spaghetti Night.) This simplifies shopping, thinking, preparing. No baking unless you feel up to it. A 9 yo can make one recipe on the same night every week. Saturday and Sunday are variety nights.  Dad cooks one weekend night.”

My husband has taken over cooking duties for most Sunday evenings. He enjoys it (I think) and we love it. We usually have antelope or venison chicken fry but since we all love it it works well.

Thanks to everyone that sent in food suggestions and also to everyone who sent in well wishes.  It was very nice! Some of the emails brought tears to my eyes. Which in my emotional state doesn’t take much. 😉 But seriously, thank you all very much.

 

Cleaning

I hate to even admit to this… Okay. So cleaning has never been my forte and to be quite honest my standards are not super high. There have been many busy times when I’m happy to have the place not look ‘too bad’.  Over the past several months my low standards absolutely plummeted.  I used to spend an hour plus tidying and cleaning up each day.  Starting sometime in August I began to set the timer for 15 minutes. That was the full amount of cleaning done by me in a day. And sometimes I couldn’t even make the full 15 minutes! On the weekends Joe and the children would work to get things put back to rights while I would do ‘something else’ that could be done from my cushy couch position.  Now that I’m feeling a little better I still set the timer for 15 minutes but reset it if I’m doing well. Most days I’m up to 45 minutes and even had an hour and 15 minute day the other day.  I started ‘spring cleaning’ a couple of weeks ago– 15 minutes at a time.  I figure I’ll get it done sometime around October.

moneyMoney

The things I’ve been doing to feel better have not been free. It has been a challenge on our budget.  In January I spent about $500 on a chiropractor. My insurance would cover a portion of this if I had met my incredibly large deductible.  The Structural Integrity and Acupuncture are not covered by our insurance. This is taking about $600 a month (for both).

You may remember that last fall I talked about how we were working hard to stock up our pantry ‘just in case’. During that stocking time we adjusted our budget to allow for extra bulk purchasing. We were able to get our pantry to a good place (not where we wanted it) before I started really going downhill.  Turns out that our well stocked pantry was a super good thing to do. Not only do I not have to shop (much) but we have been able to take money that would go to the food budget to use for my treatments.  And since we had adjusted our budget to accommodate for bulk purchases it made things easier to adjust it for treatment.  That said, it is still A LOT of money but will be very worth it when I am once again ‘normal’.   On that note, when will I be normal is a question floating around this house.

Unknown

I think the problems stemming from the auto accident and exasperated by the menopause are now getting under control with the Structural Integrity.  SI goes on a certain schedule (usually) which involved ten appointments.  I had to have a few repeat appointments. At this point it is believed I’ll have four more appointments to complete the schedule.  In theory, I could be as good as new in a month if that is the case.  And then there is the menopause symptoms which while related are also separate.

My reading tells me women experience symptoms anywhere from six months to ten years with varying degrees of severity. Interestingly enough I’ve read that women who’ve had cesarean sections and/or partial hysterectomies often have more and stronger symptoms. I’ve had both.   While I do believe that I somewhere in menopause, I have not had the lab work to back this up (I have had medical professionals agree that my symptoms are highly suggestive of menopause).  I intended to have lab work done at the beginning of the year but when I started having the body pains I put it off. Once I finish with the SI, I’ll have the labs done (due to budget reasons).

Happy!

girl fishing on beach
I wish this was me!

I guess that’s about it. I’m really pleased with how this month went. I’m a huge fan of Structural Integration and Acupuncture (and my practitioners) at this point.  In April, I’m going to continue with the SI, acupuncture, herbs, minerals and begin the adrenal fatigue program. I also need to remember that while I am a whole lot better I am not 100%.  Right now (Thursday evening) I’m once again laid out on my couch with a very sore back. I moved something I shouldn’t have. 🙁  As soon as Joe gets home from work I’ll take a bath with Epsom salts (magnesium) added.

We’ll be going away for the long weekend (in fact, I’ve scheduled this post to go live after I’m on the road) and I’ll take it pretty easy.  I am looking forward to going fishing (we always fish when we visit Joe’s parents) and happily that is not a very strenuous activity.

 Update: Our little boy came down with a pretty bad cold, we decided not to go up and contaminate our family. We’ll spend our long weekend at home. Provided CJ feels well enough we might still go fishing. We’re treating him with Master Tonic, broth and a homemade honey cough syrup. He is much better during the day than he was overnight. Isn’t that how it usually goes?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Please share any tips that you have for helping with meals when mama isn’t feeling well. 

Photo Credits:

Snowdrop- First Flower in Spring by adamr

Silver Needle Acupuncture in Medicine Cup Stock Photo by Praisaeng on freedigitalphotos.com

Girl Fishing on Beach Stock Photo by Keerati on freedigitalphotos.com

Millie

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