Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fido's first breakfast out

              Meet Foxy

Foxy's first experience was overwhelmingly exciting. Needless to say. Was so excited that breakfast ended up not staying down very long. 

We went to Tin Shed in Portland Oregon.

Check out there menu here:

The breakfast goes to the top of fte list for sure. Incredible as well and fantastic customer service. 

Coffee is self serve and they have a dogs eat free night on Tuesday. If you buy a bandana for your pup and come back with them wearing it you get a discount on their food. Pretty stylish if I say so myself!

The best part after a big breakfast is you pup is pretty tired out or at least mine was but we will remember she was very busy with all the excitement of people, kids and food. 

Bring Fido Road trip to Napa Valley

Do you debate on weather to bring your dog on vacation or not? Most often then not my little pooch gets put in the doggie hotel. She can sometimes be quite wild. Recently I started remembering that I only have so many years with her. I am determined to enjoy the rest of it as well as have her enjoy it too. Fido = Mans best friend! 

Her favorite part of a road trip is the air conditioning! 

And yes with all parts of life she loves to be in the drivers seat.

Uh oh! Tired already?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Learning the ropes of arthritis and prolonging surgery

So after a couple years of dealing with pain and trying to diagnose what is happening in my body I have recently found out that I have basically degeneration on my right hip which is most likely the cause of the excruciating back pain I have dealt with for the past year. If you got into details it would include moderate osteoarthritis, synovial herniation, femoral head neck offset, labral tear and a cyst in my right hip. I have been told by a surgeon recently that the only thing that will take my pain away is a hip replacement. Seeing that I am only 32 years old they are not in a hurry to do that because the longer I can hold off the less surgeries I will have to have. Hips only last for so long which means there is a good possibility of having to have a revision to the hip. Each revision I believe takes away more bone and puts you at greater risk for complications. 

Even though I didn't think I was going to be having to learn about arthritis at 32 that is reality. I need to learn how to reduce inflammation. What I should and shouldn't be doing to manage my condition. Even though the journey has been challenging giving up has never been an option for me. 

What is osteoarthritis?

According to the mayo clinic: Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people around the world. Often called wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time.

This morning I went to the gym. First time in a long time. Had a great massage yesterday and I felt renewed. I have read that one of the best exercise for hips is cycling and the pool. One of the worst things you can do for arthritis I believe is stop moving. Today I tryed 20mins on the recumbent bike. Some push-ups. Started with full push-ups which I noticed was straining my lower back probably due to a weak core muscles do for now I brought it down to my knees which took a lot of ease off my back. I tryed some quad, calf and hamstring stretching as well as stretching my arms up in the air and behind me to get my back a little. The hip plays a hug part in movement which means I need to move about this progression slowly and mindfully. So far so good! 

Best Smoothie Ever!

Yesterday I started to think about how my smoothies were not turning out like the smoothies at a smoothie place. I decided to look up how to make a smoothie. 

I ran across this website:

I am well known for just winging things and not really paying attention. Sometimes that turns out ok other times it means the consistency is lacking. 

This morning I tryed to pay a little more attention to what I put into my Ninja Bender. 

Started with my base which is the liquid of the smoothie. See I am using my smoothie vocabulary now. Today I used 1 cup coconut milk. 

Next I added my filler which thickens your smoothie, helps make you fuller and more fullfilled and can make it very creamy depending on the ingredients otherwise you would end up with a slushy. Today I added 1/2 avocado and some Greek yogurt. I didn't measure it but it may have been at least 1/2 cup.

Next I added the fruits and veggies. A few spinach leaves, 1/2 bananna and some applesauce maybe 1/2 cup or so. Last but not least I added about 7 ice cubs. Oh and not to forget I threw in some frozen dark cherries.

Finishing touch was one of the best smoothies I have made for myself. With a thumbs up! :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

It's not over till it's over

For the last year my life has been completely changed by a low back injury. After losing a lot of weight a few years ago and then becoming completely obsessed with fitness and nutrition I thought this was my new life. I dove in to becoming a competitive athlete. But one day that dream was swept out from underneath me.

Instead of long hours in the gym it turned into long hours in bed. Going from one specialist to the next my response was the same. This is your new life. You will never be an athlete again and there is nothing we can do for you. Wow, I still remember hearing those words. Yesterday I was the fittest I had ever been and the next day I could barely move and that was going to be my life.

Now a year later with moments of giving up I continue to fight and push through. Finding relief from treatments that most people don't believe in such as prolotherapy.  I keep trying to find a way because giving up isn't an option. At first my weight wasn't a problem. I lost 15 lbs of muscle and was the skinniest I have ever been. But that doesn't last forever. Yesterday knowing I have gained some weight I stepped on the scale. Weighing 154.3lb puts me 10-20 lbs above my ideal body weight right now.

I have been fighting trying to find an exercise that doesn't hurt. Lately I have given up a little thinking that this is it. There isn't anything I can do. But I know it's not true. Trying to pick myself back up again I have been dialing in my diet while currently receiving vitamin B12 and dextrose injections in my back for something called subcutaneous perineural injections. This morning with a recommendation from my new naturopathic doctor I tried a workout called Barre.  I did a 9 min upper body workout. No weights and barely moving I found my muscles burning.

So far so good. The biggest part of it all is changing your thoughts on what you believe fitness looks like. Fitness for me right now is 9 min. Nothing wrong with that. Even if it was 1 min that is better then giving up. Do what you can with what you have and remember it's not over till it's over!!

"Rise and rise again until lambs become lions."

-  Robin Hood

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My college scholarship essay and Acceptance into the University of Washington

As I just got my acceptance letter to the University of Washington Tacoma Campus Bachelor in Nursing Program. It is time to apply for scholarships.

Here is my story...

Ever since graduating nursing school I have known I wanted to pursue a more advanced degree, because when I do something I want to do it to the best of my ability which requires continuing to increase my knowledge to better care for others. 

During the last 9 years working as a nurse, I have traveled around gaining vast amounts of knowledge in different specialties and experience in some of the top facilities in the country. This has helped me to see the good and bad of healthcare, what is going right, and what we can improve upon. 

While in nursing school I experienced my first anxiety attack. As I entered the profession with high hopes of advancing my degree I quickly found myself overwhelmed in a very demanding field. Through the years I was at times barely able to hold my head above water and certainty not in any condition to be able to think about going back to school. I was drowning and just trying to survive.

A couple years ago I knew I had no choice but to change my life. I lost over 60lbs, I found a job in a specialty with better hours that allowed me to take care of myself, and I learned how to manage my stress. Today I am a completely different person and through my transformation I learned taking care of myself helped me to take better care of patients. My aspirations are to help other nurses do the same. To play a part in making things better in today’s ever changing fast paced world. 

This past year, I have had the experience of being a patient myself. After injuring my back last summer, I was told I was going to be in pain for the rest of my life and that there was nothing that could be done for me. My experience as a patient was devastating and I couldn't believe what it was like. Being a go getter, I don’t take no for an answer. If there isn't a way, I keep searching until I find one. During this search for relief, I found myself almost out of a job and in the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced in my life. Today I am working and more successful then I have ever been, while only experiencing minor discomfort. I not only know what its like to be a nurse and in complete burnout, but I know what its like to be a devastated patient with no hope at all. I want to use this experience to really make a difference, to really improve quality patient care, and to improve self care among healthcare workers.

Since my back injury, the amount of hours I have been able to work are very limited, forcing me to make tremendous cut backs. Financially this has been a challenge and financial hardship since my salary is greatly relied upon in my household. I have learned to do what I can with what I have and to my surprise things always turn out ok in the end. With my husband starting school in the fall, and medical bills that have accumulated during my back injury, I know my education will be a financial challenge for sure, but a very important step in my career. 

This year I was elected to be the chair of the Clinical Practice Council at Multicare Health System. It is a great honor to have such an important part in a shared governance system to allow nurses to take part in decision making. My goals this year are to assist my organization in a complete restructuring of the shared governance model and redesign of the internal nursing website. In November I will be completing a yoga teacher training program, which helps me to continue moving forward in my own life transformation and health, as well as giving me the skills to assist others in theirs. I use my physical education training to volunteer to teach classes at the hospitals to assist other healthcare workers to care for themselves as well. If we are not the example of health why will the patients feel inclined or motivated to be healthy either?  I have just been accepted to start the RN-BSN program at University of Washington and after that I will be applying for a Masters in Nursing Leadership. A great leader shows the vision and brings out the best in the ones that follow. This is what I aspire to do.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The climb is the reward

As I continue to climb this mountain called life I continue to discover how incredible it is. Right in front of our very eyes is something absolutely amazing. I continue to discover my own self and find true happiness in me and complete acceptance. As we continue to climb, we reach, we slip and we reach again. That's what it's about. And it's not about reaching the top it's definitely about the journey and about never giving up. 

"Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment."

-  John O'Donohue

Monday, February 10, 2014

Prolotherapy #3

So today was my 3rd prolotherapy injections series. Prolotherapy is a regenerative treatment which pretty much stimulates the body to heal itself. Being in the medical field I had never heard of this treatment but as a patient it has changed my life. Of course I am very sore right now because let's face it sticking a bunch of needles in your back and hip region is not very comfortable. But this shall pass in a few days and then it will be exciting to see how much progress I make this time around. Basically I run the show as far as how many treatments I get based on how I am doing and what amount of pain is an ok amount of pain to live with. So of course they are not guaranteeing no pain but a lot less with the possibility if full recovery. 

I find it amazing that stuff like this isn't used more and that not many people know about it or not some of the people that it would really help. I mean think of how many people are in this same situation where the doctors told them there was no hope and that they would be in pain forever and they didn't know any better and just believed it. What a tragedy that would be. Luckily I don't take no for an answer and something inside me said to keep searching and that this was not it for me. This was not how the story was going to end. And so now after almost losing everything I have gained everything and my journey continues. 

By the way don't my socks look pretty classy with my gown?


Friday, January 31, 2014

Day 2: Couch to 5k

"Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength."

-Phil Jackson 

Today I completed my 2nd day with the active couch to 5k app on my I phone. Right now the program is 3 days a week and this week it is 20 mins rotating 1 min jog and 1 1/2 min walk. 

Each time feels a little different of course I have only done 2 days but it's not causing me pain so that it a very good thing. I feel my back at times but very slightly but it's not necessarily bad just something to notice. My stride makes a huge difference of course. I have always been very heavy on my feet so I try to work on landing very light. Technique makes a huge difference and I guarantee my back will tell me if I am doing things right or not. 

“Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.”

-John Wooden

My Journey Toward Recovery

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward."

- Vernon Law

My Journey Toward Recovery

Seven months ago I ended up with a pretty severe back injury. This injury has given me a huge insight to what it is like to be a patient. Now I haven't had a very good experience but the best experience I have had during my journey has been the support I have received from family, friends, and co-workers. My co-workers have been there for me every step of the way. As an athlete I found out quickly that the push through mentality wasn't going to get me through this one. The only thing I believe that has gotten where I am today almost fully recovered is my determination to find a way no matter what. To find hope when there wasn't any and to have everybody by my side to pick me up when I fell down. I hit some pretty low points but I didn't let myself stay there. Dealing with chronic pain is one of the hardest things I have experienced but it has also made me stronger. My experience has not only made me a better nurse but a stronger person and my life will forever be different because of it. As a patient I realized what is really important and it isn't having all the answers. Even though that would be nice. Its about hope and it's about having someone listen. That's what changes lives. Because sometimes the circumstances themselves can't be changed but supporting each other can. I want to thank everyone that has been there for me because you have forever found a place in my heart and truly changed my life.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

- Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Couch to 5k Day 1

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward."

- Vernon Law 

Tomorrow January 29th which is the 7 month anniversary of my back injury I will be attempting a couch to 5k with my goal race being March 29th in Birch Bay, WA. This is not a race for speed but toward recovery which means it's a very light jog with possibly some walking.

The key thing to note above is the word attempting. I am not too proud to stop this endeavor if my back isn't happy with it. Now I am coming back from an injury so that makes my situation and attempt a little different. 

I will be using the couch to 5k active app on my i-phone. What I liked about this app was that it encouraged you to listen to your body and if you need to rest then rest and if you need to repeat a week vs. moving forward in the plan then do that. Now of course there are times to push your body and times to listen when to back off. Your job is to distinguish the difference and not just give up because you don't feel like it or because it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's getting familiar with injury pain and muscle soreness and knowing the difference. 

My first day is a brisk 5 min walk. Then alternating 1 min jogging and 1 1/2 of walking for a total of 20 mins. 

The training will be 3 days a week. 

Wish me luck! :)

Hmmm...I do see a trend in all my old running pictures of me having coconut water in my hand. Yes I do have a coconut water obsession. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Back to Gym Day 2

So today was my 2nd day back at the gym since my back injury. My goal is to take it slow but to start testing the waters and start strengthening again. Being strong enough to support your back is very important to preventing re-injury. Of course not overdoing it and listening to your body are also key factors. 

My workout today consisted of:

10 air squats (full depth)

10 modified pull-ups (150lbs)

- Rotating x3 sets

10 strict push-ups x 3 sets


6 laps without legs

6 laps with legs

(Lap meaning down and back in the pool)

This was pretty similar to my first workout but not as modified and felt even better then my first attempt. There was no pain in my back but lots of burning in my lungs. Hmmm....someone must be out of shape. I take each movement very slow while listening to my body to be sure that is a good idea. So far I continue to get more and more surprised. My back just continues to get better and better. I feel so close to being completely normal but not close enough to forget my back isn't what it used to be. I have enough discomfort to make me take full precautions but not enough to even call painful. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rebuilding and Reprocessing

Of course it's easy to be happy and continue moving forward when you see results and kinda see the end in site. A place where things are not as unknown. But the only way to get to this point from my experience is to have hope through the worst part of any process. To continue moving one step in front of the other even when you don't want to. Especially when you don't want to. That is usually the point you have to really dig deep and find something. Anything that will get you moving again.

Since I have been getting injections in my back called prolotherapy I can feel the rebuilding. Of course when the body rebuilds the mind does as well. Seems funny huh? When things your life are going the way you want. When things are positive then you are positive. Or at least I can say its much easier to be positive. I went into this therapy with a very small chance that it may help me since nothing else had proven to be effective with my injury. The things that would normally work for someone else didn't work for me. Talk about discouraging. First of all the injury kinda seemed to come out of nowhere and then people just kind eventually washed their hands of me. Kinda like I don't know what's going on with you so I'm out.

Now my pain after 7 months of dealing with some very excruciating pain is very minimal. Its there but it doesn't bother me. Or at least not very often and definitely not like it did. I can deal with this sort of discomfort but I couldn't deal with what I had before. The key is finding a way no matter what. I tried everything throughout my recovery. And when it didn't work. I kept trying. I believe in my heart that is the only reason I am where I am today.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

First day back at gym

So today was my first day attempting to go to the gym to do a little strengthening in 7 months. I tend to be one of those people that usually goes too fast I have learned a lot from my injury including the fact that I don't want to be injured and in pain anymore which means yes that I have to be very very careful. 

The whole time at the gym I was kinda having a conversation with myself. Ok so not out loud that would seem rediculous. But after a little work I would feel some discomfort and be like are you ok can I continue then it would go away. Then it would come back and so I just played with it trying to figure out if what I was doing was ok with my back. 

I have no choice recently but to form a sort bond with my body. I really have to listen and feel what is going on so I make sure my next step is the step toward full recovery. 

1st step was the cross trainer. Now I haven't been doing anything like this and even though I went slower then a turtle I am telling you one thing though I could definitely feel my legs after 15 mins. 

Next up was the assisted pull-up machine. Ok so I know I can do regular pull-ups all day long. Well maybe exaggerating a little but you get my point but 2014 is all about smarter not harder so I am starting slow. I set it too 135lbs which is actually almost my body weight but gives me a little extra support along the way. 

Next up was air squats. These may have been the trickiest. I decided after trying a squat to go only to parallel for now. Moving very slow and monitoring how I was feeling I did 3 sets of 10 reps. 

My last movement was push-ups. I decided to start with modified push-ups on my knees. Now this was actually much harder then I expected. Fitness wise I feel pretty out of shape but thinking about it I am hanging in there pretty good after being down for 7 months. 

I am finally starting to see progress. My recovery period is faster and faster and the pain is less and less. It is amazing when the pain decreases you are automatically happier but when the pain is worse you struggle to find peace. Pain is certainitly a challenge. But my determination has gotten me to a place the doctors said I would never be. 

The recovery continues...

Biggest Loser Makeovers

Now normally I don’t get emotional but last night watching the contestants of the biggest losers be so happy with themselves and reunited with their families was amazing! I had tears flowing down my face like a river. Maybe it hits me harder because I know how good that transformation feels and I know that feeling of finally being happy with yourself. Wow, Amazing!

Ok so the first picture is me of course and no I was on the biggest loser last night. But this was where I connected with that feeling. This was the first day of the rest of my life. This was my makeover. Fake eyelashes, someone helped me with my hair and I walked out in a bikini for the first time. Confident and completely happy.

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These were just a couple of the amazing transformations last night. Both of these contestants are not just physically strong but mentally strong as well. They have a fire inside and determination to never give up. They believe deep down inside that they can go all the way. Who do you think will win? or will we be surprised?

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Must see video below on David Brown's Transformation.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

In the Zone

‘It’s a very strange feeling. It’s as if time slows down and you see everything so clearly. You just know that everything about your technique is spot on. It just feels so effortless; it’s almost as if you’re floating across the track. Every muscle, every fibre, every sinew is working in complete harmony and the end product is that you run fantastically well.’ 
- Extract from ‘Mind Games,’ Grout and Perrin, 2006.

Being in the zone, also considered flow. Is a mental state in which you are fully immersed in a state of complete absorption in what one does.

This is how I felt tonight in yoga. I have had this feeling before in weightlifting where I was completely focused and in the moment. A state where all thoughts stop. Where movement flows. A state of complete peace. 

Tonight I started moving very slowly and carefully expecting the usual discomfort I have felt in most of my yoga classes recently. But it wasn't there. I was so focused on feeling every movement and making sure I did it right when finally realizing I didn't feel anything at all. I tried not to get to excited or push too far. When I wanted to go further I sat with it. Then I tested it. Inch by inch and moving slower then slow. At other moments I sat with the wanting to go further and gathered acceptance in staying just where I was. 

We get there by not trying to get there.

Today I know that I cannot control the ocean tides.  I can only go with the flow. . . . When I struggle and try to organize the Atlantic to my specifications, I sink.  If I flail and thrash and growl and grumble, I go under.  But, if I let go and float, I am borne aloft."

-  Marie Stilkind

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Smarter not harder

“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” 

-  Tori Amos

Slowly but surely I find myself being able to do more and more. I have devoted this year to living smarter not harder. Meaning less tearing my body up and more putting my body back together. More focus on being healthy and happy and less focus on being the best. Less work more play. Even though I have a lot of work to do this year I am going to focus more time on the little things. I have always wanted to see a field of wildflowers but spent too much time in the gym. Don't get me wrong I have no regrets but seeing as I accomplished so much in the gym it's time to get outside more. Travel and be with nature. Do things I want to do and seeing things I want to see. Life is too short to put things off. 

Today I went for my first hike since my back injury. Only one week after my second prolotherapy treatment and I am feeling fantastic. The pain I experience is so minor that it's not worth mentioning but important enough for me to not get too carried away and continue being very mindful about what I do and staying present with how I feel. As much as I am trying to hold myself back I am very excited to see such improvement. I am excited not to be in excruciating pain everyday. 

I feel this year shows a lot of promise! :)