Night Shifts, IBS Update, Reviews

I have so many things to share since I last blogged…

My Schedule Lately

So, I’ve been a “bad, bad” blogger. I haven’t blogged in a while, but I’m not sorry for it. Let me let you in to what my life has been like lately:

Mondays-Wednesdays: School. I found out that half of the Physician Assistant schools that I want to apply to won’t accept my Bacteriology class in lou of Microbiology. So guess what I’m doing this semester? Basically, retaking the same class. The good news is, I’m going to know microbiology REALLY well for PA school. 😉 The lab is two credits, AND we are expected to go to the lab on non lab days to check on our experiments. It is a pain, but I’m determined to get an A in both the lecture and lab.

Thursdays: I switch to night mode. I wake up at 3:30am, get school work done, clean around the house, pop a sleeping pill and try to get back to sleep around 10am. I’m up by 5pm to leave for work at 6pm.

Fridays-Sundays: I come home from work in the morning, have an hour to shower, eat, etc. until I need to be in bed to get 8 hours of sleep in order to get up by 5pm again. Sundays, my husband wakes me up at 2pm so I can try to sleep that night to switch my sleep cycle over to go to school Monday through Wednesday.

So, all my spare time is literally spent with my husband (which is not much at all), studying, sleeping, eating, and working out (a couple of short runs/week with some weight lifting HIIT sessions). I’ve got to prioritize what is important to me, and right now it is sleep, healing my gut, spending time with my family, school, work (gaining clinical experience), and getting into Physician Assistant School. I’m not interested in saying yes to anymore projects besides volunteering with Girls on the Run for a few hours/month. My “old self” from last year would have tried to sign up for multiple races and more projects, but I realize this all my schedule can allow for right now without causing extreme stress, and I’m okay with that. :)

IBS Healing

Things are going wonderfully. Every single day I am thankful that I decided to take my health into my own hands and see Dr. Myers. She has truly changed my life. I’m not 100% yet, but I do feel better than I have felt in years. I realize that this healing may take a while, and that is okay.

Patience kinda leads into my next topic: Silver Maple.

Silver Maple Jewelry

Silver Maple was kind enough to send me a beautiful necklace to review. I’ve had a blogging relationship with them for a few years now. I think they are a great company helping to spread motivational messages through their jewelry. I posted a pic of this necklace on instagram, but here it is on the blog just in case you missed it.

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This necklace has not only reminded me to be patient regarding my health, but to be patient regarding my journey to becoming a physician assistant. And trust me, after 13 hours of cleaning up dirty patients and getting peed on, I need to be reminded as to why I am working as a patient care assistant some nights when it would be so easy to just go get a job in engineering and have my own office again.

Nutrient Dense Foods!!

This has been a huge focus in order to survive switching around my sleep schedule. I do NOT eat sweets on the days I work. I don’t need sugar crashes on a 13 hour shift. I need steady energy. This means lots of good fats, quality protein, and non junkie carbs –> nutrient dense foods.

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Veggies, sweet potatoes, plantains for the carb choices mainly. Along with the 17 supplements that I’m taking ordered by my doctor, I’ve also been enjoying some Energybits.

ENERGYbits® are 100% organically grown spirulina algae, a super food grown in water that we dry and press into small tablet sized “bits” that you swallow (or chew). They have the highest concentration of antioxidants and protein in the world (64%), forty nutrients and Omega 3. This powerful blend of green protein and alkaline nutrients provides a steady stream of energy without sugar, caffeine, gluten or chemicals. They also remove hunger, improve mental clarity and speed muscle recovery, all for just one calorie per tab. Not bad for something that comes straight from Mother Nature! Spirulina has been used by Olympic athletes and NASA astronauts for over 50 years. Our four year old Boston based company is the first to bring this super food to national attention as an all natural high protein, high performance fuel for athletes, runners and active consumers.”

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They are actually not that bad if you decide to chew them. I like how the energy bits don’t have any unnecessary ingredients in them. The only kinda weird thing about them is that the serving size is quite large. Like, at least 30 bits. My husband had no problem with this as he just chewed his, swished with water, and was done with it. You could swallow all of them with some water, but yikes.

I’m excited to try out some nutrient dense recipes in the new Paleo magazine that I just got delivered to my house recently as well. I paid for my own subscription to this wonderful magazine because it not only contains tasty recipes, but they also summarize current interesting nutritional studies. It feeds my foodie and scientist sides!

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Exercise

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This past weekend was the first weekend that my legs and feet haven’t been extremely sore after each shift. I think I’m getting used to being on my feet for 13 hours!!! Besides that, I’ve just been running 2-3 times a week and doing some sort of strength training for 30 minutes 2-3 times a week.

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It is still hot in the afternoons here, but the mornings have been in the low 70’s, and we are going to dip into the 60’s in the mornings this week. I can’t wait!

I haven’t worn my garmin in months, and it feels amazing!! I’ve just been running by feel and enjoying every minute of it.

Well folks, that is it!

When was the last time you ran without your garmin? Do you ever need to be reminded of your end goal?

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More Test Results Part 2

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It is amazing how much my health has changed within the last few weeks. Last time I posted about my test results, we talked about delayed onset sensitivities. This post won’t be as scientific, but I still felt it important enough to share my test results with others since there is a good chance that these issues have been overlooked by your doctor. I am only speaking from my own experiences, of course. It only took me over 7 years of pain, suffering, seeing many different doctors from all over the country (and Germany), many MANY hours of researching on my own, and finally seeing the RIGHT doctor to figure this out.…

Okay. What else did my doc find??

I had two parasites, an H. pylori infection (bacterial), and an intestinal fungal infection. Sounds like fun, eh? So, even though I had cut out almost every offending food from my diet (FODMAPS, grains, legumes, dairy, etc.), I was still having digestive issues, fatigue, etc. because of this. You can’t heal your gut if you have infections that are constantly reeking havoc on your body. You need to take care of these things before you can start to heal.

Why did I have all these infections? Since, I was eating foods that were causing my body to attack itself for pretty much my entire life, it left my digestive system open for infection. And inflammation. And therefore more damage.

Also, the standard stool testing for these infections is flawed. The normal tests that are performed take a sample from your stool, and look at it under the microscope. If they didn’t happen to grab a section that contained the actual parasite, you may get a false negative result. The testing that I had done, tests for DNA so it is much more accurate.

My ANA levels were very high possibly indicating an autoimmune disorder. I still don’t know what autoimmune disorder. I still have MANY questions regarding this test that happened to come to me after my last visit with my doc. All I know is that my body is attacking itself instead of invaders. More testing is needed, but this definitely somewhat explains why my inflammatory markers were incredibly high.

My amino acids and neurotransmitters were VERY low. I had been telling my doctors for years that I was suffering from anxiety and some mild depression. The only thing they wanted to do for me was prescribe an anti-anxiety drug or anti-depressant. I didn’t want to be medicated, so I stopped mentioning it. I always knew SOMETHING was off with my body, and the drugs seemed like they would be just “treating the symptoms.” The way Dr. Myers described her thoughts on this was: If someone has ADHD, they are not Ritalin deficient. They are not missing Ritalin in their brain, and therefore they need to take Ritalin. I believe she nailed it right on the head there.

Dr. Myers looked at my lab results regarding my amino acids and neurotransmitter levels, and told me that she sees these values in people who are vegans (and I’m guessing she meant vegans who don’t know how to get their protein in), and she was not surprised at all that I was having anxiety and depression issues. Not only do amino acids contribute to muscle growth (just in case you didn’t know, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins), but they also contribute to formation of neurotransmitters which are responsible for mood, concentrating, memory, and many other important functions within the body.  The testing that I had done came back with very specific amino acid deficiencies.

I’m currently taking a custom amino acid blend, and I feel like a completely different person. The smile that I used to have all the time is back, my energy levels are getting much better, and I’m actually leaning out to my old body.  I honestly thought that I was going crazy, and it turns out that my body wasn’t able to break down the proteins that I was eating. I didn’t need Prozac. haha. This probably could open up a conundrum for all of you to ponder now concerning antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

This also may explain why I was having such a hard time building muscle especially within the last year. Everyone just kept saying that I was getting older, but something just didn’t seem right!! I know that I keep saying that, but the older I get, the more I just need to listen to my own judgement!

So, what was causing my amino acids and neurotransmitters to be low? I have no idea. It could be my leaky gut that is preventing me from breaking down protein into amino acids and absorbing them. We aren’t sure right now. Currently, we are focusing on taking care of the infections, healing my gut, then we will retest to see what is up.

Our immune system is so complex!  My Immunology professor shared with us that probably 1/4 of what was in our text books last semester was not known 5 years ago.  What does that mean for you?  If you think something is going on healthwise, and you aren’t getting the response you think you should from the doc, change doctors or start doing your research!  Doctors work so much that it is impossible for them to keep up with all the new studies that are coming out.

Anyway, those were the majority of my test results.  Interesting stuff for sure.  Let me know what you think.

Have you had testing like this before?? 

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That Perfect Run

You know that illusive run where everything just feels right? I had one of those this morning. I haven’t had a run like that in SO LONG!! It felt amazing.

It took a while for me to get out of bed initially just because Kai has been crawling into bed with us at night. Picture an 80 pound dog with long legs hyperextended in a queen size bed. Obviously, this is not ideal.

Anyway, by the time I got outside, the temperature had started rising. My glasses fogged the moment I stepped out of my house. I thought to myself: I need to get up earlier!! The dogs were excited, and I couldn’t say no to their little faces! Could you?

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We walked down to the end of the street for a warm-up, and then we were off! I have to admit, I was a little worried about the heat this morning, but I may be acclimatizing to it! It felt hot, but my breathing was steady. My legs moved effortlessly. It seemed like I had hand-picked every single song playing on Pandora like this one:

Or this one:

I turned up the music and kept running. A slight breeze felt cool against my skin, and the dogs seemed to be feeling the good running vibes too. Our paces were in sync.

We stopped at the halfway mark for water. I didn’t need Kai to lie down in anymore yards! I have taught them to let me squirt the water into their mouths from my camelback.

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We headed back home and hit a few hills on the way. My legs were burning, but it was okay. My stomach didn’t hurt this morning. I had energy. My legs were up for the challenge. I felt so light on my feet, almost like I was running on clouds. We were keeping a pretty good pace except towards the very last quarter mile of the run. The pups were losing some steam, and I kept saying, “Come on! Let’s go!!” Their pace increased to a sprint, and that is how we ended our run. I have no idea how fast we were going. I haven’t worn my garmin in a month. Of course, I want to wear it again at some point, but lately it has been fun to JUST run. No pressure. No worry about splits, times, etc.

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I was signed up for an 8 miler in September, but I’ve decided to just do the 5K. My body needs this time to heal, and you know what? For the first time in a long time, I’m okay with that. I’m an adult, and I need to make decisions that will help me in the long term rather than satisfy me short term (i.e. longer or more races). Having my IBS get so bad this year, and it forcing me to actually do something about it has taught me that I need patience!  I’m going to get back to my old self eventually. 😉

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I’m currently working on a post that describes the rest of my test results for next week. I will tell you that I tested positive for an autoimmune disorder in addition to various other things. I’m sorry about the delay. I had to put out some fires this week, but all is good now.

How often do you have that illusive “perfect run”?

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