Tishspiration Tuesday| Taking Action

Tishspiration Tuesday| Taking Action

This will not be my typical Tishspiration Tuesday post.

My friend and I in our masks
My friend and I in our masks Photo by Matty Watson

At least, not at the beginning. I have left my blog to be quiet for far too long again, and many, many things have happened. This will not be a short, pleasant read. I feel from the depths of my very soul that it is my duty to write this story, and I pray that it leaves my mind through my fingertips in the way I intend it to. To help. To start the necessary conversations we need to be having in our homes and with the human population. In case you are reading this in the future, and not in the present time, here are a few of the things I am referring to.

  • Corona Virus or COVID-19 the Worldwide Pandemic
  • Self Isolation or Self Quarantine
  • Essential Frontline Medical workers went to war with COVID-19
  • Essential workers became an everyday term for extraordinary people doing their jobs
  • Stock markets crashing
  • A brief drop in the price of gas
  • Deferrals on payments of things like mortgages and car loans
  • Recession
  • Working from home became mandatory
  • Unemployment Rates Skyrocket
  • Mental Illness Crisis
  • Governments struggle to grasp the enormity of shutting down the world as we knew it
  • Government handouts to help people cope in the midst of all of the above
  • Murder Hornets
  • #BlackLivesMatter

If you are needing to learn any more information about any of these topics, feel free to Google them. Make sure you search for 2020. Looking back on things, it seems like we had no warnings at all. We are here, in the midst of it, praying for things to get better. For some it has. For others, the pain goes too deep to feel like it could ever be okay again.

I listed #BlackLivesMatter last above, intentionally.

It is a movement that has come and gone numerous times, before many of us were even born, and will continue to be something that plagues us, as a different kind of pandemic, until we find the cure. I have listed it last, but please do not think that means I am listing it in a place of least importance. I am not. It is there because this is when it has affected me in 2020. This very week, not in the previous weeks and months. I may not have the list in exact chronological order because I am going from memory. Today is fresh in my mind. The last several weeks have been a blur of adjustment and trying to learn when to pay attention, and when to tune the daily news out.

Like many people around the world, I have done my best to adapt to the world I am living in today.

I don’t leave the house at the drop of a hat anymore. I plan trips to the grocery store twice a month and have limited my time outside of my home to a walk around the neighbourhood. Alone, with my music. I nod and say hello to my neighbours as we walk 2 metres or six feet apart from each other, go home, shut my door, and go about entertaining myself and keeping busy.

I have been successfully able to adapt to my husband suddenly having to work from home. We get along well; I am one of the lucky ones. Another reality is that since we are all in isolation is that violence behind closed doors is at an all time high.

I want to choose my words carefully as I write.

There is a whole lot of hurt, pain, grief, anger, rioting, and violence happening in the world this week. It has escalated past the boiling point, and can no longer be ignored. People are dying every day from the pandemic virus that is sweeping across the planet. They expect it to come in waves, and the people of our planet are struggling to cope with the losses of so many people. It does not discriminate, it just attacks.

It is the people, the people who are guilty of discrimination and targeting minorities that has finally boiled over like it has in the past. #BlackLivesMatter has been a movement under this name since hashtags became popular, but only now do I fully understand what it really means.

Sign at the rally. White Silence is Violence
Sign at the rally. White Silence is Violence

I am a white woman. So white that I almost glow in the dark.

I have led a sheltered life, which means that I have been living a life of white privilege.It doesn’t mean I am rich, or famous or haven’t had struggles in my life. It means I have not had to live in the fear of persecution, violence or death simply because of the colour of my skin.

Throughout my adult life, I continue to do my best to educate myself. I, too, was guilty of proclaiming that #AllLivesMatter, before I really knew what either term meant. I believe in equality and justice for all. Saying #BlackLivesMatter does NOT mean I am disregarding the rest of humanity. It means that this group of people, People Of Colour or POC, which is what I think is the politically correct term for the demographic, are in danger. (If this is incorrect, I am certain that it will be pointed out, and if so, I will edit after publishing).

I watch television shows. I watch for entertainment, for exposure to things I would never experience, and to learn. As a student of the internet, I constantly sign up for challenges and webinars. As a network marketer, working with social media as my virtual customer base, I have allowed many people to interact with me. Some I know, some I have met only online.

I do my best to treat everyone as equals.

I am certain that I have failed in this, more than once, because I am not perfect. To be human is to err. It is inevitable that I will say or do something that will cause someone to have hurt feelings. It is not intentional, ever. I sometimes blunder into places I should never try to go. Maybe you are thinking I am doing this as you are reading this post. I encourage you to keep reading until the end before passing judgment.

Today I attended a rally. It was the first time I have ever gone to a protest. It was peaceful and I am eternally grateful that it was.

For a few minutes this morning, I debated attending the march. I know that there have been murders and shootings in my city, just like in all cities and even smaller places all around the world. I thought, what if something bad happens? What if I get hurt? What if I get arrested? If you know me, the chances of me being arrested are slim to none, but with escalated emotions and the possibility of a mob mentality running hand in hand with protesting and rioting, it would not be completely impossible. I debated this for an hour or more, searching within to find the right answer. I already knew what it would be, but I had to say it out loud, to make it real.

If I let fear take over, then I will not overcome what so many POC face every time they leave their homes.

I would be saying the words, but not taking action. This year, with all the chaos happening around me, I drew my line in the sand. It was time to be present in something that matters to me. Because I believe in equality, I must stand up against inequality. I must take courage against my fears, and step forth to take a stand for something I believe in.

So, I told my husband, that I was going to go. The rally would be during his workday, and he would not be able to join me. I had errands to run while I was out, but I wanted him to know what I was doing, and where I was going. Just in case. COVID-19 does not discriminate, and neither do bullets. He thought I was being silly when I said I loved him before leaving, but he also took the time to watch the video which set me in action. We talked about George Floyd and the uprisings, and he had a hard time watching the unnecessary, unjustified murder of a black man by four policemen.

Whether or not he broke the law, he didn’t deserve to die that way.

Now he will not have his day in court, here on earth, like so many other victims of racism and injustice. Bearing witness to that video recording stirred something inside of me. I try to keep things positive and light as much as I can, but it is not possible after seeing what happened.

The first thing I do when I am troubled is to pray.

I started watching for ways to learn how I could help. If you do your own research, you will find there are many organizations accepting donations for various charities centered around the cause. I made the decision to show up, to be present, and to listen while participating.

After fighting with a parking meter, I made my way up the street where the #BlackLivesMatter March would start. They began before I got there, with the crowd in silence, taking a knee, or kneeling on the grounds of our City Hall. Some people held their arms in the air, others, like me, held a hand over their heart. When I got close enough, I paused and waited for this to conclude before taking out my camera. I did not bring a sign, rather I chose to bring my camera with the full intention of writing this when I got home. I wanted to be present and to bear witness.

My friend & I at the March
My friend & I at the March

You have no idea how happy I was when one of my best friends appeared. Even if I had to be there alone, because of the location of the march, and the time of day it was happening, I felt that I would be okay. It was being held in the middle of the day, downtown, on the same walking path of the Pride Parade. I looked it up online and decided I could handle the distance of the march. Having a friend there eased my anxiety, a bit.

The irony of my poor physical condition combined with wearing a face mask and needing to stop for my asthma inhaler is not lost on me.

I did not want to fall behind, I wanted to keep up with the people around me. Until that point, I pushed myself, until I realized that I was having difficulty breathing. I was able to stop long enough to take two puffs of my inhaler and could breathe easier right away. I was able to continue in the march.

George Floyd was not given the ability to breathe when three police officers knelt on top of him. He suffocated under the weight of their knees on his body. I am only aware of this because it was the start of the riots in Minneapolis, and spreading to other cities in the United States of America. The irony of the name of a country so divided on so many levels is something I am also very aware of, even if it is only occurring to me as I type. It happens all over the world, even here. Racism, hatred, segregation, violence, and murder. All over the world, right under our noses.

So much hate, violence, and murder are often overlooked because it happens so often, people grow immune to it.

Turning a blind eye to injustice is no better than rioting and looting because of it. My eyes are open. I do not know what tomorrow brings, but I am trying to do better. My purpose on earth is to bring more good into the world, every day, more than yesterday. I do admit that it is difficult on days like today, but I am doing the best I can, which is all any of us can do. Not our worst, our best.

Every. Single. Day.

I showed up and I marched with the crowd. (I did wear my face mask, bring hand sanitizer, and a bottle of water from home. The COVID-19 concerns are still very real). I yelled, I chanted the rally cries and I listened to the speeches when we got back to the city hall. It was a peaceful rally, and I don’t know how many people were there, but I do know that the organizers were thrilled with the show of support by the turnout.

One last thought before I press that publish button.

Underneath it all, in our very core, beats a heart in every living human being. Our hearts are all the same colour, as is the blood pumping in our veins. We can do better. I am trying. I hope that you will try too. Once we grow accustomed to what it means to try, then we must do better. It is not a choice anymore, it is a requirement of being human.

Don’t let the darkness of those who do wrong overtake the light. We win when we stand together, to support each other. It is something I have learned in the writing community. When we support each other, we rise together. It is time to reach out your hand to whoever needs the help. Before things get worse. If we do nothing at all, we are no better than the oppressors. Have difficult conversations. Ask awkward questions, sensitively. Find out how to help those in need. Dig as deep as you have to for your empathy. It is in there, you just have to find it. When you do, you will realize, like I do, that this is what is important, and by speaking up and speaking out, we can change the world. One conversation at a time.

  • The crowd at the rally before the March
  • People are gathering
  • Looking at the crowd
  • The crowd is gathered at City Hall
  • Starting the march
  • Marching toward the street
  • Marching around a car in the street
  • People and signs
  • Midway through the march
  • Following the crowd
  • Traffic is halted for the protest
  • Turning a corner on the 2 block route in downtown Fredericton
  • Back to City Hall for the speeches
  • My friend and I at the end of the rally

#BlackLivesMatter

Tishspiration Tuesday| Taking Action

Tishspiration Tuesday | Don’t Let Yourself Fall Between The Cracks

It has been too long since I have written in this category. It is Tuesday, right? With everything that is happening in the world right now, I felt the need to write a new blog post. The Tishspiration posts will be on my new website when it is ready.

I was a little disgruntled this morning while I listened to the local radio station. It seems that while I decided not to listen to Prime Minister Trudeau’s daily news briefing (it is a little surreal to even write that bit) he talked about trying to help more people who were falling through the cracks of the current emergency benefits program the Canadian Government is putting into place.

Great, man. Way to steal my thunder. I had this title since last week, thank you very much.

As I contemplated the idea of choosing another title, I decided to keep it. It is timely and relevant. More than I thought it was when I first began working on the concept for this post.

The Canadian Government is helping people.

They are working hard to help Canadians maneuver through the world which is very different than it was only three weeks ago. Three weeks. Has it only been three weeks since we were all told to stay home? It seems like longer to me. Maybe that is because I have spent more than a year at home, working on building my own businesses.

I had unemployment insurance until November of 2019. The government, because of many years of being a part of the workforce in Canada, offers this while people are in between jobs. I was an employee, of several different companies for most of my adult life. I am not lazy, but I have been selective in which jobs I have applied for since the pogey (unemployment insurance) ran out. When things started happening three weeks ago, our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, started holding daily press conferences on his front lawn. He said we would all be okay, and that the government was working on emergency benefits to help Canadians weather this storm called COVID-19.

I had hope. He said people who were self employed would be able to apply for this benefit, to help cover the bills while our businesses were unable to run normally at this time. I thought things were going to get better for me, at least for a short period of time.

I do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

In my business, in the last 12 months, I did not earn the minimum of $5,000, needed to qualify. While I do not expect a free ride through this crisis, I was led to believe that there was hope for me. Although I am not surprised that the Representatives of The House Of Commons added stipulations to what the Prime Minister was offering to help Canadians, I am disappointed.

I am not alone. There are people in this country who also do not qualify for what is being offered. Thankfully, my husband is still able to work at his full-time job from home, and able to continue working at his part-time job, outside of our home. I am not able to look for employment outside of our home at this time. I am a person with a chronic disease and therefore considered immunocompromised. To stay healthy, I need to stay home, and to be honest, I haven’t gotten any calls for interviews in the last month.

We made the decision to take advantage of the offers available to us while we weather this out. Deferrals do not help us in the long term, but they do help us right now, and like many other Canadians, we will take all the help we can get.

Where is the Tishspiration in this article?

It is here. With me. I am also writing to tell people to not sit quietly in anticipation of the worst possible outcome. I am my own best advocate, and you are your own best advocate. Speak up. Do so with intelligence. If you whine and complain, nobody will listen. If you look for one thing to be grateful for every day, share it. Give others hope.

Follow the guidelines, but if you, like me do not qualify, don’t apply for the benefit. It wastes your time, and it takes time and energy away from people who qualify for it. Tying up the system for no good reason doesn’t help you or anyone else.

Be considerate.

I know things are wild out there. People are yelling at people about the safe distance and who should or should not be out and about. Remember that they are not intending to be ignorant, they, like you, are scared of what is happening, because they, like you, have no control over things they normally would have control over. Like going to work and getting a paycheck. Going to the mall. Seeing their friends and family.

Get creative. I know, a lot of people do not think that they have any creativity in them. We all do, to varying degrees. Ask for help if you need it, but don’t just give up when technology decides to be uncooperative. I haven’t told my husband, yet, but I am considering painting the link for this website on my living room window, to see if I can generate more followers, but even more importantly, more book sales. I wanted to paint a picture, and I think I will incorporate it into a white, fluffy cloud, so it can be easily read from the street, and snapped in a picture on a cellphone by the people in my neighbourhood who, like me, are walking more as it is something we can still do.

If you have ever considered working from home, the time is now!

Stick with me for a moment. People are at home. They need things. Network Marketing has the answer for the needs of many people, worldwide, right now. You can support someone you know by purchasing the products they sell, and they will be delivered to your door, to avoid leaving the house to get the things you need. I am currently offering makeup and books for sale, and I do make jewellery. Jewellery designing has taken a back seat for now. It is more of a hobby than a business, and I am okay with it as it is. My supplies will be there when I am ready to play with beads again, or if there is an order I need to create.

The only way I have available to me right now to earn an income is through my online businesses. I am working very hard to grow my entrepreneurial dreams, and it is a way for me to lay a plank across the path to hold myself up, to keep me from falling through the cracks. What I do isn’t going to be what everyone else should do, but I want to encourage you to be open to what your friends and family are offering, and even a stranger might have the opportunity that will help you stay on top of the path. Do your own research, like I did, before taking the leap, and jump in with both feet when you find something that you could see yourself promoting as something you love. Whatever that is for you!

To the Extroverts and to people who suffer with mental illness:

This is not an ideal situation for anyone who falls into these two categories. If you are a people person, call a friend, every day. Schedule a video chat with your family. Write a letter to someone you love. When is the last time you got a letter in the mail? It is something that ALWAYS puts a smile on my face, to open the mailbox to find something there that is from someone I know, and someone I want to get mail from.

To anyone who is suffering from mental illness, my heart goes out to you. Things were hard before COVID-19, and they are likely to get worse before they will get better. I want you to know that someone out there cares about you, even if that someone is only me, a stranger trying to spread a little hope into the world. Please reach out if you need help to get through the next second, minute, hour or day. You are not alone, the world is struggling with you. The world may not have the same struggles that you do, but we are all struggling in our own way right now.

One last thing.

Things will get better. It can and it will. It has to because every roller coaster has its ups and downs. We are in a down right now, but we will be going up, maybe even stronger than we ever have before, if we just keep on working on the things we can control, and not getting lost in the fear of what might be. Focus on what will be, and make it a reality.

Please don’t ever give up hope. It is all we have to hold on to in times like this. I am going to grab on and pull myself up out of the cracks I am falling into, and when I am on solid ground, I will reach out to see who I can help up to stand beside me.

When we support each other, we rise together. I believe this with my whole heart and soul.

#TishspirationTuesday

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 80 | Three Surprising  Weeks

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 80 | Three Surprising Weeks

This week I am going to catch you up on the last three surprising weeks I have had. To start, we will go back in time to Monday, a few weeks ago.

As a person with diabetes, I need to see specialists from time to time to properly manage the disease and to take care of myself. Three weeks ago, I had an appointment with the ophthalmologist. It happens every three to six months, and it is to make sure there are no signs of diabetes progression in my eyes. I have been going to these appointments for a few years, now.

When I went into the room this time, there was a change.

I needed laser surgery in my right eye. It is to treat a protein leak in the back of the eye. A few flashes of green light and I was on my way. My husband was scheduled to pick me up after the appointment. When he arrived, I was on a bench near the door. I had my sunglasses on, and my hood pulled down over my eyes. I kept peeking up to look for him. He told me I looked pale after I got into the car.

After I told him that I had the treatment for the first time, he understood my reaction. This concerned me because my eye felt like there was sand in it. I was in mild shock because it happened so fast and without a lot of information.

I did not ask enough questions at the appointment. That was my fault. The doctor didn’t ask me if I had any, which was their bad. When something catches me off guard, it scares me. I acted like I was fine, but I wasn’t.

The next day I called the office.

The ophthalmologist called me back and answered all of my questions. I felt much better after we spoke on the phone. The following day they called again and asked if I could go back to the hospital, where the clinic is, to get a second look at my, to make sure everything was okay.

In the meantime, the doctor prescribed an ointment for my eye, as a precaution. It is fine, and the issue only lasted for about two days. I also have another hydrating gel to use when my eyes get dry, now. Although I feel like the doctor was taking very good care of my eyes, and did the follow up after I asked, I did not feel like they took good care of me on the day of the appointment. However, they are not the only ones to blame, as I am my own best advocate, and I should have asked more questions before leaving the clinic that day.

On Wednesday, in that same week, I was back at the treadmill for the medical study I signed up for. It started with another surprise. I was really not feeling it, but I had to do it to keep participating. They hooked me up to the machine that measures my oxygen, for a reassessment. It was only for the first five minutes of the walk, so it wasn’t too bad, but it caught me off guard. The good news is that the reassessment told them I was using oxygen better, and that I was going to have a lower threshold for my heart rate when on the treadmill. The next morning, I was told to bump it up. I almost called the person working with me a liar.

In week 6, I had my lung test.

It took about an hour. It was determined that I do not have asthma. I was previously diagnosed with environmental asthma. I do wheeze sometimes when I am exercising. When I asked if I should continue taking the Ventolin puffer during the study, I was advised to try without it, and use it if I need to.

The very next day, I had a milder attack. I didn’t use the inhaler before the treadmill, but I needed to after I was done, like the other time. Thankfully, it was not as bad of an attack, and I recovered much quicker. The next day, I woke up feeling ill. I was experiencing a blood sugar low. The exercise was finally making my body need less insulin, again. This is not a pleasant feeling, but it is good news. My body is responding to the increase in my activity.

I took that day off.

When someone misses a day, the minutes need to be made up. The last surprise I was given in week 6 was on the scale. I am finally losing weight. It thrilled me to see the change on the scale.

When we got to this week, week seven, things changed, but not just for me. For the whole world. I was on the treadmill on Monday, and then the study was postponed. They had increased the cleaning, and we were to wash our hands before and after the workouts, but it wasn’t enough. As I write, the world is holding its breath as we try to navigate through the most stressful staycation we have ever experienced.

I was really having a hard time on Monday after the news came out about the study being postponed. You see, I am willing to walk on the treadmill for science, and to help other people, but I was not convinced I would be willing to do it for my own health. I reached out to a friend through a chat.

I am so glad I did.

We have decided to become activity accountability buddies for each other, and I have walked 3 days this week. I share pics after my walks on the days since the study was postponed. I have not walked much yesterday or today, but I know I need to, and I know someone is counting on me to do it.

In accordance with the current guidelines, I am able to go out for fresh air and go for a walk. I am walking outside, around my mini home park. It is about 2km/lap, and I am walking for 2 laps right now. I was walking for 30 minutes on the treadmill. It takes me an hour a lap outside. As I turn on the treadmill tunes in my Spotify account, which is downloaded to work with no wi-fi, I go. I am not pushing myself, but I am using my tricks to get my heart rate up. I guess you will have to wait until next week to read all about what that means. For now, I am grateful for the support of my friend, and for those who are encouraging me on social media.

If you won’t do what you need to do for yourself, do it for someone else until you feel like you want to do it for yourself. Ask for help. Get the people who want to see you do well involved.

One last thing. I am changing the words in my head. Instead of saying:

I am strong; I am capable.

I changed these words to:

I can and I will.

I am walking with a purpose.

#TrustYourGut

Makeup Monday | More Than Just A Pretty Face

Makeup Monday | More Than Just A Pretty Face

Hello Beautiful Friends! This week I want to write a little about the business side of makeup. I started selling as an independent presenter. What does that mean? It means that I am able to order makeup from Younique for myself, and for my customers. This means a little more than just that, to me, though.

What it means is that I am learning what it feels like to have an actual makeup application technique, and I can practice. This is good because there are occasions when I want to put my best look forward, for interviews, and at other times when I want to look good for social events. It had been so long since I had tried to put on makeup that my skills were a bit rusty, but over time, I am gaining confidence in my abilities.

I can and will earn a commission for makeup sales. Building a team will also help me to reach my goals. We can grow the business together and have fun while doing it. I have sponsored a new presenter, and she loves the products as I do! It is so great to find a friend to share the love of these products with!

Skin Care is essential

Did you know that the state of your skin affects your makeup application? I didn’t. I have seen changes in my skin, and in my makeup looks after applying makeup. If I use the exfoliating mask, it helps to let the makeup application be smoother. If I follow my new routine, my skin is more hydrated. Skin is the largest organ on your body, so it deserves a little TLC whenever you can fit it in.

I am learning all of the time, the different techniques and products which will help me to look better with my makeup on. I look beautiful without makeup, which is my normal look. But something happens after I put makeup on. I feel like I look better, more confident. There is no price tag on this feeling, it is priceless.

Having the tools to work with makes things even better. Whether it is makeup brushes or skin cleansing products, having the right tools for the task at hand makes it more enjoyable, because you can attempt the look on a Youtube video, and have a chance to nail it for real.

Makeup is changing my life.

I am making new friends and expanding my network. The potential for earnings is lucrative, but feeling good about myself and what I look like is just as important to me. I think of it as a creative expression of how I want others to see me. If I need a day off, I take it, and I let people know that I need to rest. I need to keep working hard, though, because I can use the commission to pay my bills, and that is extremely important to me.

When it starts to become a reliable source of income for me (when not if) I will feel like it is okay to spend more time writing, because there is an income to support my household while I am writing. It is a wonderful revenue stream, and it brings me such joy to know that I am working towards my long term goals.

For now, I am aiming for pink status. It is a pay raise status, and it comes with a breakdown of 92 mascara sales per month. It might seem like a lofty goal, but I am going to apply myself to get there. I am training in groups to learn how to run my makeup business better, and it will pay off. Consistency is the key, just like it is with writing. It will come, as long as I keep showing up.

One final thought…

Have you ever found yourself wandering in your local drug store or a department store after going in for one thing, and finding deals in things you didn’t plan to buy? You just went in for milk and there was such a great deal on this lipstick… and the money you spent supported a chain store and a large company, right? Consider this, if you will. Planning your makeup purchases with an independent consultant like myself allows you to have one on one customer service, tailored to your specific needs, and supports someone who will be a trusted friend for life. Who do you want to support when you buy makeup? I made my choice, and I encourage you to give this some thought. Why support strangers when you can help your friend by buying the same products you are already buying elsewhere?

As always, I am only a message away. Stay beautiful, friends! #makeuphappens

#MakeupMonday

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 80 | Three Surprising  Weeks

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 79 | Medical Study Progress Report

In Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 79 | Medical Study Progress Report I am going to review how the first month of the medical study went. If you missed it, you can find it here. I did the testing for the study in January. The study started 4 weeks ago. I have had some things happen which I will write about, but please understand, I am also participating with the blessings of my doctor. It wasn’t required, but my doctor is aware of it, and yesterday, she told me how proud she was of me for taking this step. She also said that she wished more people would do more to be proactive in their own health care.

Yes, you read that correctly. I saw my doctor yesterday.

When you start any new physical activity, it is always the right thing to do. I saw her before I started, and I saw her again yesterday to discuss something that happened this past week. Before I get into this, I want to review my thoughts on the whole month. I will get back to the reason for the doctor’s appointment and the result of it in a bit.

I agree with her statements. It is a lot for me to just show up. Let’s explore this in more detail.

To understand how hard this is for me, you need to know that I weigh over 300 lbs. 318.9 as of this morning if you want to get specific. I have not seen a huge weight loss in one month of the study. This is not the most encouraging thing to think about at the moment, but I KNOW I NEED TO DO THIS. If I keep showing up, I might just save my own life.

There is no payment for this study.

It is completely voluntary. They are measuring the effects on people with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes (which if we are being honest, doesn’t exist) who exercise. They are checking my body muscle and fat density, taking oxygen measurements, and my blood sugars. The study will compare the H1AC (the 3-month average) blood sugar levels while it is happening. I signed up for 7 months. What was I thinking?

I know it will help me with my own health issues. However, if you have been reading these blogs all along, you know that I have issues with showing up for myself and have been wavering since I stopped going to Zumba class twice a week. It is a decision I made for my own reasons, and I love Zumba. I have tried it at home a bit this year, and I will continue whenever that mythical energy is here to stay. I have seen improvements in my energy levels, but they aren’t consistent, yet.

No, really, what was I thinking?

I was thinking that I need to move on purpose this year. I needed a reason to do something. Some days I feel strong, and others I can barely manage to keep the heart rate up to where they need it to be for the study.

They make us wear heart monitors every day. It can pinpoint if something happens, and most of the time they tell me I need to pick it up a bit. Which sucks. I did sign up for it, and I am doing my best to show up and do what they need me to do. It is not a leisurely stroll on the treadmill I am taking.

In the first week, I had to walk for 80 minutes.

We broke it down to 20 minutes a day for 4 days. I got to have Wednesday off, as a rest day. Did I ever need that rest day! I was so happy to be able to sleep in. Being unemployed for over a year has affected my sleeping habits, I had been in the pattern of staying up too late and sleeping in every morning. I am not excited about being on a treadmill at 8 am 4 or 5 days a week, but I am still showing up.

The schedule is flexible, so if I should happen to get a job, they will accommodate a different schedule if I need it. I picked 8 am so that I would be able to drive my husband to work, and then hit the treadmill, on weeks when he needs the car. He shares driving with a co-worker, so every 2 weeks he drives, and if I want the car, I have to be in the car to take it from his work and pick them up after work.

The one issue I had in the first week was sore calves. Did they ever express their unhappiness out loud to me in that first week. The first day was the worst for the calves. I wear compression stockings, and they help improve circulation in my calves. They did not like the change in my routine, at all. I kept going, and I got through the first week okay.

Setting My Own Goals

In week 2, I walked for 100 minutes, so the daily minutes increased to 25 minutes a day. I still had Wednesday off, and I started testing my body to see what worked to get my heart rate up. I also took the time to create a list on Spotify, called Treadmill Tunes. It is great on shuffle, and today I almost laughed out loud when this played in my ears…Mustard! There are 311 songs on that list… I have a hard time narrowing it down, okay? I haven’t heard all of the songs in a month. Variety helps me to stay motivated and change my pace to, “Bump it up!” as they keep telling me when my heart rate is too low for their study.

Sometimes I skip through a few songs to find the beat I need for that moment, but shuffle usually does a good job.

By the start of week 3, my calves weren’t the issue I had on my mind. My nerve pain in my right thigh sometimes kicks in. It is related to my hip flexors, and I have had this issue for years. All I can do is stretch it and work through the pain. I know it won’t last forever, and I have to push through it. By the end of week 2, I was using my Zumba stretches after walking on the treadmill, to make sure I didn’t get sore after going home.

My goals are to increase the intensity when I can, and keep the heart rate up high enough so I am not having to bump it up every day. I am working on this; I have good days and bad days.

There was a new concern in week 3.

I performed a very entertaining Bambi on Ice routine, where I slipped but managed to recover and stay on my feet. My hip flexor muscles on the left side were pulled as a result, and I was very concerned about how it would affect my time on the treadmill. I take painkillers when it is sore, and try to rest. It is worse after sitting in my computer chair for long amounts of time. It doesn’t hurt on the treadmill, which I was a relief.

Week 3 time increased to 120 minutes. I was walking for 30 minutes, four days a week. Dealing with the issues above, and starting to challenge myself with increasing the incline for longer times every day. I play with the speed, as I move with my whole body for some songs, and for parts of songs on a lower speed so I can get my groove on without face-planting.

It hasn’t happened yet but on a treadmill, the fear is real.

On Friday, last week, I noticed that my left knee was trying to bend the wrong way. I pay attention to my body because I need to know how to manage all the curveballs it throws at me. I checked with a friend who works in the fitness industry, and she advised me to take things easy on the weekend, which I was already planning to do; and to pay attention to what was happening. Later that day I felt like my hip was going to go out, and my knee did its funky thing shortly after this. I was cautious all weekend and rested as much as I could.

As the weekend progressed, week 4 was approaching.

I worried about week 4. This past week added 30 minutes to my walk time, which means I am now walking for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, for a total of 150 minutes a week. The good news is, there are no more time increases for me to worry about. The difficulty comes when I am needing to bump it up.

On Monday, I paid close attention to my knee, and my hip, both on the left side. The right side has eased off, and I don’t have the nerve pain every day, or for very long when it happens, now. I realized that my left knee is over-compensating for the hip muscles. This means I was able to correct it before things got worse, and I am feeling stronger by the end of week 4.

I started wearing my knee brace to walk, to support the knee, and it is helping. I only wear it on the treadmill, and I think just even knowing I have it on helps a lot. Monday and Tuesday were tough.

For me, it is all a head game.

I need to talk myself through it every day. Getting up, showing up, pushing through and relaxing when they tell me I can cool down. It’s my favourite part, actually, because I am done for the day. Whatever gets me through it.

I watch the timer. I watch the heart rate. It can be affected by the other people in the room, so I can’t trust the heart rate, but it gives me a general idea if I am working hard enough or not, most of the time. I tell myself, only so many more minutes to cool down, or I had the incline to 3.0 for a whole minute longer than I did yesterday. Woo-hoo! I have to be my own cheerleader, constantly.

On Wednesday, I fell apart.

I pushed real hard on Wednesday. Keeping the incline at 3.0 as long as I could and held it at 2.5 for another record-beating time. I was feeling like I was going to be able to keep pushing for week 4.

And then, it happened. My left hip made a twinge. This one little smidge of pain unravelled me.

I started to panic. I thought I would have to quit the study. My biggest fear is injuring myself and having to quit. If this happens, I would be letting myself down. I faltered and was told to bump it up.

When I bump it up, I can also bump it down when I arrive at the correct heart rate, as long as it doesn’t drop. I play with the speed and the incline while I am working out, as needed. I bumped it way down after I got to where I needed, and the panic running through my veins kept the heart rate high enough to not have to increase it any further at that moment.

Exercise-Induced Asthma is something I have been diagnosed with.

I have carried a Ventolin puffer around with me for years. I have wheezed when I push myself, and to allow me to complete the walks every day without needing to stop, I decided to take 2 puffs, preventatively before getting on the treadmill in the first week. It is helping me to breathe better while working out.

Wednesday was no different, I took 2 puffs before getting on the treadmill. Due to scheduling conflicts, it was a 4 pm walk that afternoon. I had coffee in my system when normally I just have water and my protein shake before the workout. My protein shake is made by mixing a scoop of chocolate protein powder into my unsweetened cashew with vanilla milk. I drink it before I leave the house if I am just driving myself, or in the car if Roy is driving himself to work.

The time of day was off, and my mental game was off. I had a complete panic attack by the time I stepped off the treadmill. What made it worse was I COULD NOT BREATHE! I went to the chair to rest, like I always do, and found my puffer.

Usually, I will sit after the walk and drink my water, do my stretches and head home.

On Wednesday, I had to get into my head and play hardball. It was very hard to talk myself down from the panic attack. It was so scary; I thought they would need to call 911 and rush me to the hospital. Not for the panic attack, but because I could not catch my breath.

When I took the puffer, it was just like you see others do with bad asthma. Inhaling the puff was loud, and it was hard to hold my breath while holding the medicine in my lungs. Breathe it in, count for 10, exhale. I had to do this twice, and all the while, I could not breathe.

Once I got the puffer into me, I worked on calming myself down. It took about 45 minutes before I felt good enough to go home. I did not stretch, and I forgot my hoodie. I was not feeling like myself at all, and when I change a routine, I am more likely to forget things.

Thursday morning, I talked about what happened with the students who are recording the data from the study. I was a little upset, still, and it helped to talk about it. I made an appointment to see my doctor as soon as I got home.

One good thing about a blizzard is that you can get a cancellation appointment easily.

The doctor’s office is not far from where I live, so I went to see her. She is sending me for tests on my lungs but agrees with me that the main issue was the panic attack. Fast forward to Friday.

I did it for a month, successfully! I am proud of myself. Today, I realized at about 8 minutes in that I forgot to take the puffer. It was okay, although it was a little harder for me to keep my heart rate up today. It does make a difference, and it does help, but I can do it without the puffer. I will have to skip it on the day of the appointment, and now I know what to expect.

#TrustYourGut