A Health Update & a Foot Strain

Several of you have emailed and asked me for an update on my health and how I am doing with my food allergies.  If you are new here or missed it you might want to read these past posts so you know what I am talking about:

My struggle with Hypothyroidism

Multiple Food Allergy Diagnosis

It has been a little over 6 months since I discovered I was struggling with 7 major Food Allergies/Intolerances.  Needless to say, the past 6 months have been very difficult.  I went on an elimination diet at the beginning of the year and eliminated one food allergen out of my diet each week.  It took me about 8 weeks before I had eliminated the 7 Foods Gluten, Corn, Soy, Dairy, Peanuts, Tomatoes, and Baker’s Yeast)…so just a few things :)!

I am not going to lie…this was NOT an easy thing for me.  I was kind of an emotional wreck…and I was really mad.  I kind of had to pull away from the blog here and not share any personal things because I tend to be a very private person (which seems weird seeing as I am a blogger and all LOL).  It takes me a while to be able to open up about things because I prefer to wrestle with my own feelings before I feel like I can share them with others.

My body actually went through a sort of detox.  I was surprised at how sick I was during that 8 week period.  It was an eye opener to me to realize the effects these foods were having on my body without me even realizing it.  I was sick with several allergy symptoms which included the following:  hives, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, headaches, the shakes, brain fog, irritability, fatigue, swollen lips and tongue, swelling hands and feet, and severe neck pain and my left pointer finger had some serious arthritis pain and stiffness.

And then a week or so after the detox, sometime in March, I woke up feeling AMAZING!  I remember being surprised at how great I felt and realized that it had been a really LONG time since I had felt that way.  It dawned on me that I had forgotten what it felt like to feel good…and in essence that made me feel really bad.  I felt bad when I realized that I had gradually been getting sicker and sicker without realizing how sick my body had become or how rotten I was really feeling…you just get used to feeling that way.  The food I had been eating was poisoning me slowly and surely.

Now, I was not the best eater…and have always enjoyed a few treats here and there, but I always tried to do so in moderation and counteract that with exercise, running and being active outdoors.

Long story short, I made a lot of lifestyle changes and did really great eating a Paleo diet (mainly because it supported what I COULD eat).  I switched to eating mostly whole foods and my body felt GREAT!  I lost 10 pounds immediately, which was a miracle in and of itself as I have struggled to lose even ONE pound (even while training for a half marathon).  But the biggest difference I noticed was feeling like I had this layer of “puffiness” around my entire body, and feeling like it was melting away.

I am gradually making changes with the way my entire family eats…and that is proving to be a little more difficult, but we are making some good changes that they are mostly happy about ;)!  I still have days where I don’t feel great…and some days I cheat and eat something on my bad list and I almost always regret it.  But it is too hard to be perfect all the time, especially with Summer Vacations.

I still mourn some of my old favorites…like a great piece of Chocolate Cake, or an icy cold Dr. Pepper…but for the most part can deal with it.  Another thing I realized was that I am an emotional eater.  I didn’t really think that I was before this…but after not being able to eat some of my favorite foods, I realized that I had used them in the past to deal with uncomfortable feelings.  So I have had to learn how to face them in a healthier way.

My once, always inflammed, and swollen digestive system is healing now and I am beginning to notice a change in the way my body can metabolize food.  I feel like I am on a two steps forward and one step back road.  I feel better now more than I feel lousy, and that is a step in the right direction.  I feel like I have a lot more energy now too and I was really enjoying and looking forward to training for another half marathon this year.  I wanted to see how I felt this time around compared to my other half marathons now that I was eating foods that were not making me so sick.  And…I was also turning 40 this year…(which I did back on July 2 Winking smile), and I wanted to find myself at a healthier point that I did at 39 last year.

Lo and behold…life threw me another curve ball.  Just over 6 weeks ago, I slipped while walking down a really steep…like REALLY steep hill, at my daughter’s soccer game on May 31.  My left foot slipped and then folded under me and I landed with all of my weight right on top of it.  I tore several ligaments, tendons and a muscle on the top of my foot.

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If you follow me on Instagram, you were aware of this as I have shared small updates along the way.  I visited a foot specialist who was shocked at the severity of my injury.  The hill played a major part in that.  Apparently my injury is in the top 10 percent of most severe foot strains.  FANTASTIC!  I have been in a walking boot for about 5 weeks in and out.  And just two weeks ago got rid of the boot for good.

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I was so mad at myself.  LOL!  When I injured my foot, my VERY first thought was…”This is going to mess with my running!”  I had also just barely paid for the entry fee for my August 17th Half Marathon.  Go figure!  Running was also the way I had been dealing with my stress and the fact that I was unable to eat my emotions any more.  Like I said…One step forward…and two steps back (or was it two steps forward?…).  Either way, at this point…I wouldn’t be taking any steps forward…physically or figuratively (is that even a word?).

lake powell 1

Two weeks after the injury, we spent a week on a family vacation in Lake Powell boating.  I was given strict instructions by my doctor to get in the water and swim.  The cold water and swimming GREATLY strengthened and healed my foot…so much so that at the beginning, I could not move my foot and swim without horrible pain, just to be able to swim by the end of the week with little to no pain.

boating boot

I was also faithful about using my favorite doTerra oils 3 times a day.  My doctor was greatly surprised at the amount of healing that had occurred.

Then 5 weeks post injury, my husband and I spent my 4oth birthday in NYC.  He had a work conference there…and I tagged along.

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Manhattan is a walking city and we walked anywhere from 5-8 miles a day.  My poor little foot did amazingly well and I feel like all the walking actually did it some good.

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Anyways…that was supposed to be a long story short…but its still pretty long.  If you are still with me, I feel like I could finally give you all an update.

I don’t want you to think my life is perfect…cause heaven knows…we are far from that.  The truth is, that I just have to process my own feelings before I can type them out for the world to read.  I try to keep this little corner of my life (my blog) a positive and upbeat place, as so much on the web can be dark and/or a place to tear others down.

We are enjoying summer, but it always tends to run me a bit ragged.  I crave cleanliness, and order and having 5 kids at home…all day long…is not conducive to that…at least at my house.  I don’t like to be the cranky momma all day so I try to just deal with it and enjoy having the kids around…but I don’t always do a great job at that…but I am learning!

I hope to keep you updated more here on our family as I have several of you asking and inquiring.  I plan on sharing a bit of our two trips so far when I can.

As always, I am so grateful to those of you who are still there…in the shadows.  This blog is a big part of who I am and it is mainly in part because of you.  I thank you for your kind words and support and I truly enjoying sharing with you.

Arches National Park and Canyonlands

We just recently took a four hour drive South East from our home to Moab, Utah to spend some the weekend camping and hiking around Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

*This is a picture heavy post…I apologize in advance…unless you enjoy that sort of thing :)!

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Camping is one of our favorite things to do as a family.  I grew up backpacking in the High Uintah Mountains east of Salt Lake City and LOVED every minute of it.  So, it has been nice to keep that going in my own little family.

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It had been several years since both my husband and I had been to Arches and the kids have never been, so we knew we had to get down there before the kids started moving out (which is coming faster than I ever imagined it would.

Arches-national-park theidearoom.net  Arches

We camped in the Devil’s Garden Campground which is right in Arches National Park.  It was absolutely gorgeous here.  Probably our family’s favorite campground as far as scenery goes.  They also had really clean flush toilets…which is always a plus in my book.

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We got there about 5:00 Friday evening and had a quick bite to eat in downtown Moab and then we headed straight to our campground.  We set up camp and then spent the evening exploring the area all around our camp.

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There was even an arch right by us up on a little hillside.  My brother and his kids were able to join us (my sister-in-law, who we missed, unfortunately ended up having to go in to work at the last minute).

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We sat around the campfire and chatted while roasting marshmallows and eating smores.   One of my favorite parts of camping is the campfire time.  There is just something so relaxing and bonding about sitting around a campfire with your friends and family.

Arches 8  Arches 9

The next morning we got up and headed over to Sand Arch  so we could be there before the crowds of people.  We had it all to ourselves for quite a while.  This can tend to get a bit crowded because it is a cool arch surrounded with great sand that the kids loved playing in.

Arches 1  Arches 2

There is also a pretty easy access for getting on top of Sand Arch for anyone who dares.  A few of us were more daring than others…and I was the official photographer…so of course I had to stay down and take the picture :)!

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Arches 4  Arches 6

There were some fun narrows in this area that we spent some time climbing through and exploring.

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After thoroughly exploring Sand Arch we headed over to Delicate Arch.  Delicate Arch is one of the most breathtaking arches in the park.  It is by far my favorite must see.  It is a bit of a strenuous hike (3 miles round-trip) but up you gain some serious elevation.  But it is so worth it.

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On our way up we saw a boy in a climbing wheelchair going up to see the arch with a group of people helping him to the top.  It was an amazing site.  We also saw a cute little grandmother with  cane making her way slowly to the top with the help of her two granddaughters.

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Tired and hungry we headed back to camp for a late lunch.  We took a nice break and then headed over to go hiking in Devil’s Garden to see a few different arches.

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The scenery here was so amazing.  Blue skies as far as the eye could see and red rock formations all around us.

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The first arch we came to was Landscape Arch.

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Then we continued on to see the Double Arch.  This hike was a bit more technical in few areas and had some amazing panoramic views of the La Sal Mountains by Moab (the snow capped ones).

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If you look closely you can see there are two arches on top of one another below.

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All in all, we hiked about 7 miles on Saturday and in total over 9 miles.  The kids were such good sports.  I think it helped that they had some fun cousins with them to hike and chat with along with way.  It also helped that we brought along the child carrier backpack with us so our youngest (5 years) could ride in it when her little legs were tired.  But she ended up hiking on her own for quite a bit of it.  There is so much more of Arches we want to come back and explore that we were not able to see.

The next morning (Sunday) we had to be out of the camp at 10:00 am.  So we ate breakfast and packed up.  Then we headed over to Canyonlands National Park which is just about 10 miles away from Arches.  We didn’t spend a lot of time here but we did hike to Mesa Arch.

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Mesa Arch is absolutely amazing.  It overlooks a HUGE canyon and you can see for miles.  This arch made my feet tingle peering over the edge.

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We hiked to a crater which could possibly have been where a meteorite hit and finally we stopped by the Green River Overlook.

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We didn’t even make a dent in seeing all the amazing things there is to do in this area.  We will be coming back for sure.

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If you are still reading along…

Have you ever been to Arches or Canyonlands?

The Color Run in Salt Lake City

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I am really excited about participating in my first Color Run.  We just signed up my immediate family including all of my kids, except for my youngest, who took one look at the video and promptly declared she did NOT want to do it.

Have you participated in The Color Run before?

If you are local or will be in the Salt Lake City area, we would love for you to join us.  The Color Run will be at 9:00 on August 24, 2013 in Downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.

If you sign up, be sure to use this special discount code for all Idea Room readers.  It will save you $5 on the registration fee.

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If you end up signing up, I would love to know who is joining us!

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color-run theidearoom.net

Clorox Ick-tionary defines everyday messes

Are you a mom? Do you spend a lot of time cleaning up messes? If you have kids, chances are you have dealt with your fair share of disgusting messes.  As a mother of five, messy children, I have cleaned up some doozies, especially when my boys were pre-schoolers.

The Makers of Clorox have come up with the Clorox Ick-tionary as a way to help parents change the way they talk about and feel about messes by creating a new vocabulary around life’s messy moments.

Clorox ick-tionary

Like the time when my son ate too many Vienna Sausages, which then worked they way back up and all over the back seat of the car and my Mother.

Or the time I discovered, too much horror, my son finger painted his crib with the contents of his dirty diaper when he was supposed to be napping.  He was a regular “Poopcasso.”

poopcasso

Or maybe the time my daughter painted my wall and piano with bright pink nail polish.

But perhaps the most memorable mess was the day my two boys age 4 and 2 decided to make soup…in the toilet.  Yep!  They dumped an entire GALLON of shampoo, along with deodorant, some toys and a whole roll of toilet paper.  The boys even stirred their “soup” with the toilet brush.

Um…gross! Talk about “Drippity-doo-dah” (“The toilet brush drip of skank that happens when you store a dirty toilet brush”–according to the Clorox Icktionary)!

Can you feel your skin crawling? My 4 year old assured me that he had everything under control…until his brother flushed the toilet.

toilet soup wm

(2002)

Imagine my delight at discovering 3 inches of sudsy “Toilet Soup” covering the entire bathroom floor and soaking into the hallway carpet.  Yep.  Good times!  We laugh about this all the time…now…but at the time, I was not a happy momma.


Share your parenting ick moment for a chance to win a $250 Spa Day from Clorox! Visit www.icktionary.com to learn the new language for ick and how Clorox® cleaning and laundry products can help you tackle the next icky situation in your home,

play games and win coupons while supplies last!Share your parenting ick moment for
a chance to win a $250 Spa Day from Clorox! Visit
www.icktionary.com to learn the new language for ick
and how Clorox® cleaning and laundry products can
help you tackle the next icky situation in your home,
play games and win coupons while supplies last!Share your parenting ick moment for
a chance to win a $250 Spa Day from Clorox! Visit
www.icktionary.com to learn the new language for ick
and how Clorox® cleaning and laundry products can
help you tackle the next icky situation in your home,
play games and win coupons while supplies last!

This post is brought to you by The Clorox Company. I have partnered with them to spread the word about Clorox’s Ick-tionary program. To share Ick-tionary terms and real life messes, visit www.icktionary.com. All opinions and stories are my own. Official Sweepstakes Rules

 

Snap Presentation—Basic Blogging Tips for Online Success

Two weeks ago I was involved in hosting the Creative Blogging Conference Snap.  I have been able to help plan and organize the conference for the last two years and have been working with some good friends to make it happen. 

speaker snap

Well this year, Tauni Everett, the founder of Snap, invited me to speak with a couple of my good friends and women that I look up to in the online community…Desirée from The 36th Avenue and Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick.

We each took turns breaking down some of the basics tips we felt helped to build and grow our sites and online communities.  Today we are sharing our presentation here if you are interested.  I was the first speaker and this is the information I covered.

Basic Blogging Tips for Online Success over at the36thavenue.com

To see the portions of the presentation that were covered by Desirée from The 36th Avenue and Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick, you can visit their respective sites here:

{Basic Blogging Tips for Online Success Part 2 of 3–Desirée from The 36th Avenue}

{Basic Blogging Tips for Online Success Part 3 of 3–Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick}

 

Basic Blogging Tips for Online Success Part 1 of 3:

If you went to Snap, I hope you had a great time and felt like you were able to learn a lot of the things you came to learn.  I was able to meet many of you and am so grateful for the connections that a Conference like Snap can help us create with others.  If you have any questions that you would like for me to try and answer, I would be happy to answer them in the comment section. 

Blogging-tips-class

Blogging-help

Blogging-passion

Blogging-authenticity

Blogging-quote

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Blogging-ethics

Blogging-ethics 2

blogging-community

blogging-community 2

Blogging-growth

Blogging-Consistency

Blogging-consistency 2

Blogging-Time Management

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Blogging-quote 3

Basic Blogging Tips for Online Success over at the36thavenue.com

Health Update & doTerra Essential Oils

It has been a little while since I have shared a health update with you so I thought I would take the time today to do so.  I have been amazed at just how many emails and messages I have since received from woman all over the country who are suffering with a lot of the same symptoms, frustrations and lack of answers.  It would seem that many women are not being heard and being dismissed by the medical community or worse, being prescribed medications to treat their symptoms rather than determining the cause of the symptoms.

I want you to know, I can totally relate to your frustration.  If you find yourself in this situation.  I have learned that you MUST continue to search and be your own advocate.  Share your stories and get the help that you need so you don’t suffer a day longer than necessary.

It took me almost 2 years before I could get a Medical Professional to take my health concerns seriously.  In the fall of 2011 we discovered I have hypothyroidism.   I am currently taking Armour Thyroid and feel like my hypothyroid symptoms have mostly subsided.  Sometimes I still have a bad day or two…but for the most part feel like my old self again.

I have discovered that many doctors will NOT prescribe Armour Thyroid (and some pharmacies will not sell it) and will only prescribe Synthroid.  I have since discovered that there are some woman who are not finding sufficient symptom relief with Synthroid, but have fared a lot better when making the switch to Armour.   {You can do a lot more research on this if you are interested, but I will just briefly mention it as it might help some of you out there}.

In December of 2012, I was diagnosed with seven major food allergies/intolerances.  I have had to cut all wheat, corn, soy, tomatoes, peanuts, yeast and milk from my diet in the past few months. It was one of the hardest things I have done.  I am not perfect either.  I still have slip ups or accidental exposure due to the fact that these are pretty much in EVERYTHING.  So…needless to say…I was chronically ill and my whole body was in crisis mode.  My intestines and body tissues were inflammed with thryoid symptoms and allergic reactions.

If you are new here you can read more about my food allergy issues here.

I have been eating whole foods and trying out many Paleo recipes.  I still have some digestive issues, and miss a lot of my favorite foods but am learning to live with this new lifestyle.

And…Since discovering my food allergies and my diet change, I have lost 5 pounds.  Now, that may not seem like a lot…but I have not been able to lose a single pound after three years of working hard (training for a couple half marathons) and eating right.  I finally feel like my body is beginning to heal and is on the road to recovery.

I also want to share with you something that I feel very strongly about.  I am not being paid for this post! I just want to share with you these doTerra oils which I feel have been helping me on my road to a healthier me.

I first heard about these oils a couple of years ago from a friend who was selling them.    Now, I don’t know about you…but I tend to be pretty skeptical about these sorts of things.  I assumed this was one of these new age movements for people that are all natural…which is so NOT me.  haha!  I mean…have you seen my Rainbow Cake and Rainbow Pancakes?  :)

But it seemed like everyone around me was using doTerra, people whose opinions I trusted and valued.  And, with my health in shambles, I was ready to try just about anything.  I began using Peppermint and Lemongrass oils to treat my hypothyroidism (along with my Armour Thyroid).

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I have LOVED having the oils in my home.  I keep finding all sorts of ways to use them.  Essential Oils have been around for centuries and many of our Modern medicines are based on these early uses for Essential Oils.

With my food allergies and sensitivities, I have to be really careful about the things that I put into and on my body.  Many of the Modern Medicines have fillers and supplements that I can not ingest or put on my skin.  So, with doTerra oils, I have on hand, all natural healing remedies that don’t cause me any allergy symptoms.

We have been using the oils more and more in our home for all sorts of ailments like coughs, headaches, sore muscles, and infected finger (on a child who bites her fingernails down to nothing), an ear ache, acne (for me…I mean my teenager), shin splints, arthritis, digestion issues, thyroid, congestion, a toothache, bug bites…and so on.

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I have been amazed with how well the essential oils work.  I am totally sold on them.  I still believe in Modern Medicine and recognize the importance of going to a doctor for more major ailments and health concerns, but I LOVE having easy access to the oils to care for my family in a more natural manner with these amazing oils.

I haven’t even begun to use my oils in the depth that I could be and am still learning all of the useful benefits of the oils.  I do love to diffuse the oils in my home in the air.  My favorite scents right now are:

Peppermint–As an essential oil it is useful for ease breathing and as a digestive aid. Other uses: headaches, pain, alertness, hot flashes, morning sickness, memory, colic, fever.

Lime–With it’s sharp, citrus smell, Lime is one more essential oil to add to your favorites! Lime’s stimulating and refreshing and can help with mood. Other uses: blood pressure, clarity, energy, cleansing digestive system.

Cinnamon–Cinnamon Bark is mostly known for its extensive use as a spice for flavoring food. It strong properties help with cleansing, aches and pains. Other uses: cold, flu, constipation, cough, diarrhea, stomach ache, insect bites.

Lemon–It is known as a powerful aromatic topical and internal cleanser that can be used to complement many other oils. Diffuse in a room to cleanse the air and lift the mood. Other uses: heartburn, intestinal parasites, rheumatism, throat infection, gout, water purification, varicose veins, removes gum, grease spots.

Citrus Bliss–Citrus Bliss has wild orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, tangerine and clementine with a hint of vanilla. With benefits that help with mood and reducing stress.

OnGuard–On Guard is a unique blend formulated to support the immune function. It is also a wonderful blend to help cleanse surfaces. Other uses: kills VIRUSES, bacteria,infections, mold, cold, flu,sore throat,cleanses the air.

Deep Blue–Deep Blue helps ease achy joints and muscles. Its effects are deep and penetrating with sustained results. Once you rub the oil into the affected area you will feel immediate relieve. Helps with inflammation.

DigestZen–DigestZen has been recognized through research as powerful agents to help restore normal balance in the digestive system. Other uses: food poisoning, constipation, motion sickness, colic, nausea, sinus infection, if pregnant use only a drop massage on the outer ear for morning sickness.

I have even been using some of the oils in various projects which I have shared.  For Example: Lemon Sugar Scrub, Peppermint Candy Cane Sugar Scrub, Lavender Soap, Cinnamon Chocolate Bread (most of the oils are safe for consumption), and Bath Salts.

All in all, I feel like my health has taken a huge upswing from where it was a year ago…even 6 months ago and that makes me super happy.  I feel like I finally have some hope.  I know that my thyroid symptoms will continue to be up and down,  adjusted over and over… And as far as the food allergies go, I am learning to adjust to them and am feeling consigned to making a new lifestyle for me and for my family.

There is no possible way for me to even begin to explain doTerra’s oils.  There are so many of them and so many amazing uses for them.  I am just a newbie at all of this but I have a great resource in my friend.  I can’t tell you how many times I have texted or emailed her with a new complaint or health issue and she has been so good to respond with some instructions and specific oils to use.

I feel like the oils have played a role in helping me get some relief from my health problems.  I am still learning and rely on my friend Julie Crowell and the book Modern Essentials, to research what the oils can and should be used for.

If I had the extra time and energy, I would love to share these with others…but I am already stretched to my limits at times with family and work.  So I have teamed up with Julie Crowell, an Independent doTerra Consultant and friend.  If any of you are interested in learning more or purchasing your own doTerra oils Julie would love to get you set up with some or answer any questions.

She is so knowledgeable and well…pretty amazing!    Feel free to contact her via her Website: Drops For Life or her FB Page: Drops For Life.

I am also happy to answer or talk with anyone who is struggling with similar health issues.  I know how frustrating and isolating it can be to be dealing with these “hidden disabilities”.

*This is NOT a sponsored post with doTerra.  All opinions and statements are 100 % mine.  Julie Crowell and I could possibly earn a commission on any oils that may be purchased through these links.

Laces For Love

I don’t normally post about personal fundraisers or adoption on my site for many different reasons…but I have put that all aside in this special case for one of my dear friends.  I have had the privilege of knowing this amazing family for several years and have found my life and my children’s lives, interweaving with their entire extended family. 

My friends, David and Amanda Wilkinson, are looking to adopt two children via a domestic adoption.  After struggling with some infertility issues and the tragic loss of their 19 month old son, the Wilkinson’s have created Laces For Love.

Laces For Love was created as a way to raise funds for the adoption process as they try to add a couple of beautiful children to their family.  To learn more about Laces for Love and to see how you can help, they are looking for the following:

laces for love

There have been several people who have stepped up and helped out the Wilkinson family.  There are also several drop off sites for shoes if you have any that you would be willing to donate.  For participating cities you can check here.  Also, the Burt Brothers Tire Stores in Utah are offering collection bins through the end of March.  To see the locations of their stores see here.

Have any questions for the Wilkinson’s?  You can leave a comment on their site, Laces For Love, and they will be happy to get back to you.   Any help you could offer or shares would be much appreciated.  As Amanda says, "You de-clutter, we earn much needed adoption money AND the shoes go to Third World Countries. WIN, WIN and WIN!!!"

So Apparently I have some issues…

Have you ever struggled with something for a really long time? Something that you deal with on a daily basis but never really talk about to others outside of your innermost circle of confidantes?  Today I want to discuss my hypothyroid symptoms and my new found health issues.

Since giving birth to my 5th child just over 5 years ago, I have been struggling with feeling like something was “just not right”.  After the births of my other children, I remember feeling like I got “my body back”.  Do you guys know what I am talking about?  It took longer after each pregnancy, but I always felt “back to normal” again.

Pregnancy can cause a lot of unpleasant changes in your body and for the most part I would get back to my normal “pre-pregnancy” state (well…other than wider hips and saggy belly skin, mommy brain, wider feet, stretch marks, etc…).  haha

For some reason I NEVER felt like I got my mojo back after my last baby.  I still felt pregnant even though I clearly was not.  I was tired all the time, I had no energy, and suffered from constipation.

But…I was a mom to 5 busy kids, age 9 to newborn.  My husband had a busy job that took him out of town for up to 3 weeks at a time.  And I liked to keep myself busy with my projects.  So, I just assumed I felt this way because I had a lot going on.

(March 2010—Puffy face)

I thought that when my kids got older things would get better…but it was slowly getting worse.  Then 2.5 years ago my hair started falling out in clumps. I was developing some pretty serious carpal tunnel in my wrists and elbows, which I attributed to typing on the computer and my home projects (remember my painting addiction?).

I also developed arthritis in my left pointer finger joints.  On top of that, I was freezing…all of the time, like so cold that I would get grumpy if I had to go outside in the cold.  Ha!  I even slept with a heating pad in the summer.  But I had been running at night, so I assumed it was because my body was cold because of the sweating.

I also began to develop some serious anxiety.  I couldn’t ride in the car with someone else driving because I was seriously anxious about their driving skills.  I mean, I was fine on the outside…but on the inside I was a tangled wreck of nerves.  I was also getting pretty irritable.  I also suffered from muscle aches and pains.  My immune system was terrible.  I never used to be sick.  And suddenly I was catching every little cold out there.   My memory was horrible and I was beginning to forget all sorts of things like picking up my children, appointments and deadlines.  Something needed to change and my life and kids were suffering.

family 2012

(August 2012—Non puffy face)

I was pretty good at looking like everything was okay on the outside.  Because really…who wants to hear about how lousy you feel…all the time? I didn’t want to be “that” person.  But in the back of my mind I knew I was not “normal”.  Or at least I was not “my normal” self.  I felt crazy!  But every symptom could practically be assigned to being a busy wife, a mother and a wanna-be runner.

So 2.5 years ago I went to see a couple of different doctors.  I got the “your getting older and need to eat right and exercise” dismissal talk.  One doctor even told me my thyroid was abnormally enlarged but then dismissed all my symptoms (which were classic hypothyroid symptoms).  What??  He then and sent me on my way telling me I was just a normal middle-age woman who needed to get some exercise and eat right.

Gah!!! I was so frustrated!  Maybe I was just getting older.

By this point, I was waking up tired and was not be able to get through my day without needing to take a nap.  I have NEVER been a nap person.  I usually lay there thinking of everything I should be doing.  On Sundays, I began taking a 3 hour nap and and still be able to fall asleep for the night at 11 pm. I was ALWAYS tired!

After giving birth to my 5th I was able to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight.    But I was slowly gaining weight and gained back 25 pounds.  In spite of all my running and efforts to eat right, I couldn’t stop gaining weight.

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So we prayed and my husband and I searched the internet looking at reviews trying to find a great doctor that would LISTEN to me.  Someone who could help me figure out what was wrong with me.  I found an amazing doctor, who I believe I was meant to have.  He is not a thyroid specialist but is actually an allergist (which ended up being a huge blessing in disguise).  I decided to meet with him since he had some great reviews online from patients who had trouble getting diagnosed with hypothyroidism who claimed to be having great success with his treatment.  So in December of last year I finally was able to meet with him.

He listened to everything I had to say and spent a lot of time talking with me and asking me more questions.  He ordered all sorts of tests instead of the normal thyroid tests and actually tested my thyroid hormones instead of just my TSH levels, which is all my other doctors had ever done. He wanted to see what was actually going on with my thyroid because of all the symptoms I did have.

Well, it turns out that I was on the high end of “normal” and that…yes indeed my thyroid was not functioning properly.  He immediately diagnosed me with hypothyroidism and told me I also was suffering from a severe vitamin D deficiency.  He immediately started me on Armor Thyroid.  I shared more about that initial diagnosis with you in an earlier post about my hypothroidism here.

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(before Thyroid medication)

Well, my diagnosis and taking the Armour Thyroid, of my hypothyroid symptoms have gotten so much better.  I haven’t taken a nap since last January! My hair stopped falling out and I felt like I was getting back to normal…Finally!  We have made several adjustments got me on a dosage that seemed to be the right amount.  It took about 6 months.

However, I hadn’t lost a single pound but I haven’t gained any weight either.  I was waiting for my body to regain it’s balance and expected that I would start being able to drop weight again when my body caught up.

But I started to have people ask me if I had lost weight.  After looking at pictures of myself before and after the medication, I realized that it my face was loosing it puffiness.  My face was most definitely thinner and therefore I looked like I had lost weight.

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(after Thyroid medication and same weight)

There was one symptom that I couldn’t seem to get any relief from.  My constipation actually started to get worse.  Much worse.  And then I started having a little bit of night-time bloating.  It continued to get worse despite my best eating efforts.  I felt swollen everywhere.  Gah!  I kept saying to my mom and husband, that my abdomen felt puffy and swollen.  It was different than weight gain and it was only around my mid-section.  At night I looked like I was 8 months pregnant.  Not. even. kidding.  I was trying to eat so great.  I had cut out most sugar and running a ton and I still could not lose ONE single pound.  Not one!

This was right at the same time that I was training for my 2nd half marathon this past summer.  Was I overdoing it?  Was I stretched too thin?  Was it stress?  I didn’t feel like it was.  Running actually made me feel better and helped relieve some of my symptoms. But I knew something else was wrong this time.  It was different than my thyroid symptoms.  I was so frustrated because I was FINALLY feeling like I was getting back to my normal self.

(August 2012)

So, I shared my new concerns with my awesome doctor (who is a trained allergist) and he decided he wanted to do some food allergy tests.  I went in on December 21, 2012 and was tested for 17 of the most common food allergies.  I was SHOCKED to find out that I had 7 major food allergies/food intolerances.  The normally 3-hour test took over 4 hours because they had to keep neutralizing my reactions.

I had the greatest reaction to corn and tomatoes, and also found allergies to soy, wheat, yeast, peanuts and milk.  Say what???  SHOCKED!!

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But…at the same time…I felt vindicated.  So many explanations for all my crazy symptoms.  And?  I wasn’t crazy.  Maybe, just maybe there is an answer and a solution now.  So…I am currently embarking on a HUGE elimination diet.

I was really overwhelmed as I began the diet.  How was I going to do this?  Pretty much everything I was eating I was allergic too.  This was going to be an entire lifestyle change.

As the year was ending, I began going through some major food withdrawl, which I had been told to expect. I was so sick and couldn’t sleep. And I was angry. I spent over two hours searching the aisles of the grocery store for something I COULD eat and there wasn’t much.

So I started to think about what I could eat.  I can eat chicken, meat, fish, fruits and veggies (except for tomatoes), rice and oats.  I had several people suggest looking into the Paleo diet since it was pretty similar to what I needed to be eating with a few personal adjustments.  But everything I eat has to be clean.  No sauces, or packaged foods or prepared foods.  It is time to get to the basics.  I can’t eat gluten free items because they are usually filled with corn and soy to replace the wheat.

So we are in a lifestyle change here.  I am currently still making healthy meals for my family like I normally would and then making something for me on the side.  I have been eating about 5-6 small meals during the day instead of eating 3 large meals.  I have found this works best to keep me feeling more full.

I am not going to lie.  At first I was simply overwhelmed and in shock.  I felt really sad, but also felt a bit vindicated.  But as the holidays set in with the food and the parties I was angry.  Haha!  I couldn’t eat my Grandma’s Fudge (which I did sneak a little bit).  Our culture is so tied into food and I was beginning to realize just how difficult this new lifestyle was going to be.  It was going to be a life changing event for me and my family.

But, I feel like I am at the point where I can actually talk about it and be okay with it.  I can see now what a blessing in disquise this is going to be.  I never ate terribly unhealthy and I have always been a runner.  But I can already feel a difference in my body.  My bloating has gone way down.  I actually look like I have a waist again.  And I feel less puffy.  My jeans even feel different on the last three days!  I had a few days last week where I felt so great that I noticed it.  And then it made me realize just how yucky I have been feeling.  It happened so gradually that I didn’t realize just how sick I really was.

So the plan is to go off all the no no foods completely.  Let my intestines heal from a state of chronic inflammation which could take from several months to a year or two.  Then I can start to add foods back into my life one at a time and see how my body reacts.  Right now I am not thinking about the adding them back.  I am trying to embrace my new lifestyle.  I am optimistic and am looking forward to feeling better and maybe finally getting my life back.  I have taken a little break from running which I do each year at this time but am ready to get back into it with some new found energy!

I just felt like I needed to share this with you since I have met so many women who are dealing with similar issues.  Get checked!  And be sure to keep looking for answers.  And I would love some awesome new recipes if any of you have any that fit my needs!  I am dying for some yummy food again! xoxo

p.s.  Let’s not be repinning my puffy face pictures :)…just kidding! haha!!

My Thoughts…

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*image used with permission from Mique at ThirtyHandmadeDays (if you would like to pin or use this image please do so from ThirtyHandmadeDays)

I have written this post in my mind countless times.  Searching for the perfect words…but the reality is that there are no words that I can find that truly capture how I am feeling.  I don’t share much of my personal life here on The Idea Room.  I try to keep many of my feelings,  trials and struggles (which we all have) behind the scenes.  Not as a way to pretend that they don’t exist, because they do, but I do it because I want The Idea Room to be a place of light.  I want to have a place of happiness and creativity where I can share some of the things that bring me joy with others.  A place of sharing and of giving back.

In light of recent events in our Nation, and all over our world, I struggle with feelings of fear, anger, compassion, confusion, sadness, and empathy.  My heart breaks and mourns for all those affected by these horrible evil acts of violence.  So many questions.  So much political debate and sensationalism in the news.  It is all too much.

I want to remember the sweet and innocent children, their families and their brave and heroic teachers.  I want them to be the ones we focus on.  How can we heal them?  How can we ease their pain?  What do we do as a society to heal us all?  What is our role in this?  What can we do to make a change?

I don’t believe the answer is in more politics or gun control.  An evil person will find a way to carry out their selfish acts.  No one can control someone who is intent on evil.  There has been evil from the beginnings of our history.  The solution in part, I believe, is to increase our forces for good.  We need to be the solution.  We need to be the change.

We need to be kinder.  We need to show more love.  We need to show more compassion.  We need to care more for one another and less for ourselves.  We can only win the war with evil if we are combating it with love and kindness.

One day recently I was taking my bed-ridden friend into a Target to get some much needed pain pills.  She can barely walk or stand for more than a few minutes without being in terrible and excruciating pain.  She and I were walking slowly, with careful and determined steps, across the CROSSWALK in front of Target.  She was leaning on me for support and my 5 year old daughter was clinging onto my other hand as we crossed the road.

A woman in a SUV “slowed down” and was impatiently waiting for us to cross while talking on her cell phone.  Before we had barely cleared the front of her car she gunned her car and raced around us (inches from my daughter) while shouting out her unrolled car window… “If you would stop talking you could cross the street faster!”

I was shocked!  If that woman had taken 30 seconds to survey her surroundings and get off her phone and pay attention to DRIVING…she might have noticed the intense pain written all over my friend’s face  and which she carried throughout her entire body.  In the wake of the recent events, I realize that experience has no comparison.  But, I do feel it is a good measure of our society in general.

I have no doubt that we have all been “this person” at some point.  The truth is, our society is losing our respect for others.  We are all so caught up in our own lives and our own needs, that we need to slow down and pay attention!  Pay attention to OTHER  people.

Be kinder.  Be more understanding.  Be LOVING.  Be compassionate.  Look for the good in others.  Find a way to give back and do more in your community.  Yes, we all have differences.  Different religions, political beliefs, economic status, etc…., but we have so much more in common.  We all have a need to be loved and to be treated with kindness and respect.

And it should start with our families.  Love them.  Spend quality time with them.  ADORE them.  Cherish them.  Be there for them.  If there has been a falling out with a loved one, please try to reach out and make amends with them.  You never know what tomorrow brings.  People and their relationships, not things or schedules, are what matters in the end.

I choose to give back.  I choose to share and be a positive force in my little corner of the universe.  I choose people.  I choose LOVE!

I will remember those who lost their lives.  I will pray for their families.  I will pray for the parents whose aching arms are now empty.  I will also be praying for those children who have special needs and mental challenges.  I will pray for their parents.  I will pray for them to get the help they so desperately deserve and need in our schools and institutions.  I have spent years working with some of these sweet children.  I have dear, dear friends who are raising these amazing children, who love and struggle day in and day out to provide them with what they need.  They need not only our prayers, but support and help too.

And although I believe in the power of prayer, I also believe in action.  We need to do!  We need to be a positive force.  If we want change, we have the be the ones who make the change.  We can not sit back and wait for someone else to do it.  I chose to post today so that I could do something.  I know this is not the direct and immediate answer but it is a start.  It is going to take some serious discussion and change in our nation and the way we are currently doing things, but I believe it is a part that all of us need to do to get us headed in the right direction.

Start in your circle of influence.  Find ways to share and be more loving and kind. Then if you are able to…move beyond that circle.  Be the individual who is making a difference.  Be THE difference this world needs.  I, for one and making a concerted effort today, and from here on out, to DO more and BE more.   Who is with me?

 

GNO with Poppy Seed Projects and The Idea Room

As part of The Idea Room Fall Festival, I am excited to be able to share a fun evening I have coming up for YOU!  If you are local and are interested in attending a Girl’s Night Out Craft night, then you might want to check this out.  I am teaming up with the fabulous ladies over at Poppy Seed Projects who are hosting a fun night of crafting, chatting, treats and some fun giveaways and prizes!

I would love for you to come!  Due to space the number of spots available are limited.  So be sure to sign up quickly.  Registration is $5 which will cover the cost of all the supplies.  For complete details and instructions you can read more here.

Click Here to Register

If you are not local you can still join in on the fun.  Poppy Seed Projects is offering all of The Idea Room Readers a 10% discount on any of their craft kits.  Just use the code IDEAROOM.

I am also giving away one free spot which comes with a $30 gift certificate which can be used towards purchasing some kits to work on that night/and or take home with you.  Poppy Seed Crafts also has some fun finished projects that are available for purchase.  Here are just a few pictures of some of the fun things Poppy Seed Crafts has to offer!

To enter the giveaway for the$30 gift certficate simply leave a comment here on this post!

I hope to be able to meet some of you and be able to enjoy a fun Girls Night Out!

Click Here to Register