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:
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
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.
Have you ever heard people saying that women hide behind their makeup like it is a mask? I remember in high school a guy said you shouldn’t wear makeup because then you will look like her. (I might have been influenced by this statement.) When I think back, I was listening to a friend talk badly about another friend. As a teenager, I did not understand what was actually happening as I experienced being a part of this conversation.
The balance of a light touch versus being heavy-handed can be very noticeable.
As an adult, I might have a thing or two to say to that guy who was expressing his opinion. For starters, he was wrong to make fun of someone for their makeup application. If he didn’t like how our classmate looked, he didn’t have to share his opinion. Secondly, the person he was being so critical of was indeed a friend of mine, and I remember that she was kind to me. I don’t know if either one of them will read this blog post, so to minimize any further damage that could be caused by remembering this conversation, I am purposefully keeping this part vague. It was about 30 years ago, and I am sure we have all grown up to be better people than we were as teenagers.
For instance, I have broadened my own thoughts exponentially since those days. I stand up to bullies; I defend myself, and I will speak up to be heard. Speaking my mind has given me confidence in my own intelligence. It has also allowed me to explore things as my sense of humour, and my writing. I am very grateful to the experiences which have led me to the person I am today.
Is Putting On Your Face Hiding Yourself Behind A Mask?
Not in my opinion. There are times and situations when this does apply, but not on the average person or day. If you are using face paint, for example, as an actor or for Halloween, it can be considered a mask.
The other way this happens is when you use a skin treatment, called a face mask. I never used them often over the years, but I am now using one or two on a weekly basis now. Why the change?
If you want your makeup to look flawless, then you need not only a good foundation in place to wear it on, but a good skincare routine to make sure it looks natural. Growing up three decades ago, I didn’t have a skincare routine. Maybe this friend of mine had been taught to apply makeup by a friend or a relative, or even worse, maybe there was nobody to teach her so she taught herself how to apply it. These days we can use Google or Youtube to learn how to do anything, but 30 years ago, we did not have these options. We had TV and magazines. Times have changed, and so have the styles. I have older habits in my own application which I am learning don’t work today. I am using new to me products and having fun while I am doing it.
Skincare is important.
The brightening mask is new to me, and really cool. You apply it, let it sit for 10-15 minutes, and then you peel it off! I have done a live video with it, but only peeling it off once. I am improving my skills with makeup, but it takes time and practice.
I pair this mask alternately with an exfoliating mask. My next mask purchase will be the hydrating mask. I look forward to trying it out.
Adventures with makeup can be a lot of fun. I do enjoy creating different looks on different days. I am also fielding questions about products, and I have even found some instructional videos for friends to help them in their adventures.
Makeup can enhance your natural beauty. When you take the time to learn about different products and techniques, you can grow in your own confidence. Learning what different brushes are for and how to use them is also something new for me. Keeping the makeup brushes clean is important, and I have gathered quite a collection. Once a week is recommended for cleaning makeup brushes, and in between cleanings I use a kleenex to remove the product from the brush bristles.
I have written before about emotional eating. I do it, and I am trying to change my relationship with food. It is not easy to change, but I am working on it, and I am making progress. Little by little, I am making changes and seeing results. Not too long ago, I wasn’t aware of how much I let food rule my world.
Living with type 2 diabetes; food is something that I can obsess about. It is easy to go for a quick and easy meal or snack when I tell myself I am stopping my blood sugars from dropping. Without testing, it is very hard to know whether the blood sugars are high or low. I know what to watch for, but it doesn’t mean that I can always tell.
I am working on taking my health more seriously this year. Since I have been testing my blood sugars more frequently, they are finally getting back to normal ranges. I am paying more attention, and my efforts are paying off. If I am going to do this, I need to remember to take my medications. It is good to be able to write that I am back on track with this.
On Being Kind To Myself
Choosing to prioritize my own health care IS being kind to myself. Making poor choices or slacking off is not. I saw the result of that over the holidays, and it was not pretty. Implementing changes like keeping track of taking my medicine or checking my sugars is a huge accomplishment.
In the fall, I bought myself some new clothes. Two new dresses, one casual and one for a special occasion. As I was in need of new dressier boots, I found a new pair and a new pair of casual shoes too. I don’t go shopping for clothes frequently, and there are times I go out and come home with nothing. When I find good sales on clothes or footwear, I usually get what I can; when the odds are in my favour.
Making a pointed effort to not go out and buy clothing regularly is telling myself that I am not worth the effort of going to shop for myself. While I can’t afford to buy new clothes every month, I should make an effort when I am in need.
How About My Dance More Goal?
I did Zumba at home 2 times last week. I have fallen behind on cleaning at home. Sometimes I switch it in when I need to get some cleaning done in place of the dancing. Recently I worked on switching the makeup area in my master suite by moving two storage shelving options around.
Dancing is the goal, but I needed to adapt it a bit to allow for any movement that is being done on purpose. Running errands, window shopping, even doing laundry and putting it away (not my favourite thing to do) is moving on purpose. Any activity is an extra activity for me now.
Being aware of the need to be more active means nothing if I am not actually making changes. It is not easy. Neither is shoveling snow, but it is necessary for the winter where I live. I also count it as an activity.
How Do I Stay Motivated?
One thing I learned a while ago when I was feeling bad about the state of my house is that if I watched the shows on TLC about Hoarders, it can inspire me to do more cleaning in my home. I am a packrat, not a hoarder. I can purge and throw things out or donate them. It isn’t always easy, but it can be done. I do need to be in the mood to tackle cleaning my home, and watching this show helps. It shows how bad things can get if you do not clean your home and consequently, it does make me feel like cleaning around here more frequently.
Some other shows I have been watching lately are My 600 Pound Life, and another one called The 1000 Pound Sisters. I am watching to learn how to help myself, with the same thought process behind it. I don’t want my weight to ever be that high. Watching the show is how I can learn about what not to do. The doctors on these shows have to be tough, and the people who are looking for the surgery have to commit to their health before they will get approved. I see their struggles, and I recognize some of the traits I have in common with the people on the show.
Emotional eating is a problem I admit to having.
Not in the same way the people on the show do, though. I have seen some really bad habits. Eating take out and going to more than one restaurant in a row, just ordering food, eating in the car, and going to the next drive-thru is something I have never done. Not for full meals. If I want things from different places to make up a meal, maybe, but this is a rarity for me.
One thing which really stood out to me is that more than one person relates their food to be their only friend. Not only does it make me sad to think that there are people out there who genuinely feel this way,l but it is something I have never had to deal with. I eat my feelings, but I do not rely on food to comfort me the way a friend would. It is not the same for me.
The good news is that some of those people succeed. It gives me hope that when I get serious with myself, I can make the changes needed to be healthier.