This Family Robinson = Team Fit for Life

This Family Robinson = Team Fit for Life

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Baby Mama's Day

So Mother's Day has come and is almost gone again.  This is my 9th year celebrating, counting the year I was pregnant with the girls.  That first year was one of the most interesting and I don't think about it as often as I used to now that the girls are older.  It was a really difficult memory for a logn time.  I had just been told that Abby wouldn't live two more weeks in utero.  I didn't feel right celebrating Mother's Day because to be honest I wasn't sure my girls were going to make it.  We were also getting ready for Matt to deploy again, so there's was just so much weighing us down at that time.  I was good at being strong during the day, but remember crying every night wondering if I should buy a crib or a tiny casket.  I felt so alone and scared, and although I should have been celebrating the fact that I could grow twins, I couldn't get my mind passed the terrible news of how high risk my pregnancy was, and the fact that it was likely to come to an end soon.                                                                                                   

My second Mother's Day was AMAZING!!!  I got to spend it with those little babies that I was told one year earlier were going to die.  I don't remember a whole lot about what we did, I just remember being thrilled.  My third Mother's Day was great as I spent the day with my almost two year old twins.  Getting ready for another deployment.  My fourth Mother's Day was spent at the Pinehurst Resort for brunch while trying to forget the fact that Abby was scheduled for a skull reconstruction in less than a month and Matt had just returned home from Iraq.  My fifth Mother's Day was spent in California wishing that Matt didn't have to work.  He showed up and surprised me with a Starbucks gift card and all was right with the world.  My girls played with their cousins and we enjoyed brunch in my mom's awesome back yard.  Little did we know, we would be in the hospital in two weeks for Abby's 14th brain surgery.  We had no idea her shunt was malfunctioning at that very moment.  My sixth Mother's Day I was given breakfast in bed and then I went to watch a movie by myself.  I love seeing movies alone because I can actually relax and get into the story line.  I went home after the movie to find that Emma had made me a cake and decorated it with help from Matt.  My seventh Mother's Day we went to my favorite beach and stayed a few nights.  I found out a week later that I was pregnant with Lincoln.  On my eighth Mother's Day I made breakfast for my mom, we went to Lowes about 1 million times to buy flowers for what was supposed to be our forever home, and I ended the night with a glass of moscato.  Little did I know the year of sickness and scariness that was ahead.                                                                                                                                                              

This year, well this year I'm just thankful.  I have three little miracles that drive me insane lol.  I never want to be without them, yet I sometimes just need a minute alone.  I know you know what I mean.  We just want to pee in peace sometimes lol.  This year I'm healthier than I've been in a long time, I have a very thoughtful Emma that made me breakfast in bed, Abby who sent time talking and yelling at me all day, and a little blonde man that has no time for anything but exploring and learning.  My version of motherhood is not always easy, taking care of a child with special needs isn't always easy for any of us.  But it's worth it, it's amazing, and there's no better job in the world.  Sometimes it's back breaking work, sometimes it's heart breaking work, and all the time it's rewarding and unlike anything you can ever understand unless you live it.  It makes us better mothers and better human beings.  There are times when I feel so overwhelmed and tired that I could burst into tears, but then I stop and think about the fact that God chose me to be their mom and that He planned all of this chaos before I was even born.  He knew every drop of sweat that would be the result of my exhausting day with three screaming kids.  There's a purpose in there somewhere and it's my job to remember that all of the time. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

What Does Bulimia Look Like?

Well that's a good question.  Bulimia isn't a one size fits all disorder.  You can be heavily overweight and struggle with an eating disorder.  You can be stick skinny and look like you have an eating disorder but really just struggle with thyroid disease.  Never judge a book by its cover.  Bulimia is ugly, stinky, and scary...but not at first.  At first it's quiet and hidden and doesn't really look like anything.  No one knows and no one could even guess what you're doing after a meal.  For all they know you're just going to the bathroom.  In all honesty, you kinda become a stealth puker and can use your muscles to keep the whole process very quiet.  There was only one person that ever had an idea that I was bulimic.  In all of the 13 years that I called bulimia my friend, only one person ever paid enough attention to my habits, and the details about my life.  I was living with my ex husband's parents when I was home alone one day and found a piece of paper with my name written on it.  It also said Bulimia Research listed the side effects in great detail.  Part of me was relieved to know that my mother in law knew, but the other part of me flew into panic mode.  I stopped throwing up for a while in hopes that I would throw her off.  It was like torture.  You see when your muscles become so used to doing the same thing over and over again, they begin to crave that action.  Whether it be good muscle movement or bad.  Like with exercise, at first it's painful and unenjoyable.  But then your body gets used to the daily movement and at times difficult challenges.  At some point in the process your muscles begin to crave movement and you find yourself with a love for working out.  You look back and think, did that happen, it seems like just yesterday that I was hating this workout.  Same with bulimia.  It comes down to choices and convenience.  Do you throw up your food today, create muscle memory in your stomach and esophagus and destroy your body, or do you build it with the knowledge and wisdom that even though exercise is far from is the only real way to create the body of your dreams.  Destroying it is not. 

There's many so called quick fixes out there - creams, pills, wraps, shakes, etc...
It's out of pure laziness that we take the easy road.  Now listen, you may not like what you're reading.  Maybe it strikes a cord with you.  Just know that I took one of the dumbest roads to convenient weight loss.  Anything that claims it will provide near instant results is a flat out lie!!!  After 10 years of bulimia I finally got the body I wanted.  I'll admit that I was proud and couldn't imagine giving it up.  But it took me 10 YEARS!!!!  Does that sound convenient or like a quick fix to you???? 

I had the body I wanted, kind of.  I have a lot of leftover skin from having twins.  When I say I have a lot of skin I mean A LOT!!!  Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to share what it looks like, but not today.  I will however share exactly what bulimia looks like.  It looks like sick and unhealthy.  It looks like dry and lifeless skin, and it looks like dehydration and exhaustion.  It looks like complete isolation, even though the person makes you think they're happy.  Here are a few pics from when I was the sickest. 

I think that this one is one of the worst.  We had ben making tamales and I remember thinking that I felt so fat that day.  I look back and think wow, I wasn't fat but I was extremely unhealthy. 

I can't ever give you a picture of what it was like looking in the mirror and seeing wrinkles at 26 from severe dehydration.  I can't explain how terrible it feels when your blood sugar crashes from throwing up your entire meal and then feeling desperate to drink an entire Coke down to boost your sugar levels.  Then feeling so guilty for allowing chemicals into your body.  It was like being stuck on a roller coaster with very few options to exit.  It slowly takes over your life and by the time you reach the point of seeing physical changes, your muscles in your throat and stomach are so used to throwing up that just bending over can trigger your to throw up.  Your throat is raw, you start to throw up blood, and then your teeth start t decay and fall out. 

Yep, that's pretty isn't it!!!  This is what happens when you make the choice to pick convenience over good old fashion hard work.  You make friends with your dentist and get comfy being there for months on end. 
Why did I feel compelled to write this?  Because I care about you!!!  Maybe I don't know you, maybe I do.  The thing is, I don't have to know you to truly care.  I want the best for you inside and out and I want you to know that I can care because I've been in the trenches of my own insecurities, body image issues, and at times truly believed it was going to be the death of me.  But I'm not there anymore and I can say to you now that you're worth so much more than whatever you struggle with.  Learning your true worth isn't necessarily easy, but it's is necessary.  If I can do it, you can do it.  Just remember when your mind tells you convenience will provide results faster, it's a lie.  It took me 13 years to find health and what it really means to work for the body you want.  It's not just physical, it's equally about the emotional journey. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Good Food Good Fuel

So I see it all the time all over social media and I hear it from moms in person too.  What the heck should I pack the kids for snacks on the go?  Well my dear I've been doing this unprocessed food thang for some time and I have to be honest.  If you start your kids on unprocessed snacks later in their childhood it's going to be a battle.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't make the switch, but just know it's not going to be easy.  However, it is a battle worth fighting.  If your kids are smaller and they start out that way it will be much easier because they'll never know the difference.  Also don't even think about trying the my kid is a picky eater crap.  If your kid runs the menu, then you need to learn to say this is what Mommy/Daddy made because it's good for your amazing body and if you're really hungry, then you'll eat it.  I started my kids out with fruits, veggies, and all unprocessed snacks, however my Emma does everything within her power to eat the crap.  We went on vacation in February and I caught her trying to sneak the sugary cereal that the kitchen was loaded with every single morning.  It's ok every now and then, but not every day.  We want to build strong bodies and immune systems
by instilling healthy habits.  Let them get in on the prep and they'll become more interested in their food.  Grow a garden so that they're invested in what goes into their bodies. 

So here's a list of healthy and tasty unprocessed on the go snacks.  These are kid tested and husband approved, so you can be sure they do taste good lol.

1.) Turkey Meatballs -
1 lb ground turkey, 3/4 cup rolled oats, 2 tsp. cumin, 1 to 2 tbsp. garlic, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 egg, 2 tbps. Worchteshire sauce.  Roll into balls and bake on 400 for 20 minutes.  Keep refrigerated

2.) Frozen Shakeology -
1 cup coconut milk or almond milk, 2 tbsp PBfit, 1 banana, ice, blend

3.) Dip It -
Carrots, cucumber, bell peppers and hummus

4.) Protein Balls -
Banana mashed, protein powder of choice, 3/4 cup rolled oats, 1 cup peanut butter

5.) Honey Dessert -
Plain greek yogurt, granola, local raw honey, PBfit.  Keep refrigerated or in a cold bag on the go.

6.) Mix It Up -
Popcorn, cranberries, and peanuts - sweet and salty

7.) Sweet Potato Fries -
You can make these quickly or you can buy the precut non gmo Alexia brand and bake them up for an easy on the go snack.  My kids like them cold too. 

8.) Apple Fry Dippers -
Sliced apples with a side of almond butter

9.) Flies on a Log (doesn't that sound good lol) -
Celery with pb spread on top and raisins on the pb.

10.) High Energy Trail Mix -
2 cups pumpkin seeds without shells, 1 cup slivered almonds, 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, 1 cup dried cranberries, 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.  Combine everything in a bowl and mix.  Place 1/2 cup mixture into 12 small resealable plastic bags for snacking.

Those are our top 10 favs.  If you have any questions or want to see more of any type of recipe, leave a comment or email me at

I hope these help and give you a little idea of where to start =)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Garlicky Chicken and Veggies

This is by far one of my favorite meals!  One, because it's yummy and tastes like comfort food but is actually healthy and two, you can make so much that it lasts for days.  You can make several meals out of this depending on how many people are in your family.  Since you're cooking a whole chicken you can do what I do and split the leftovers up into lunches for everyone the next day, shred some of the chicken for salads, chicken tacos, or use it for a quick meal of chicken and veggies over quinoa. 

 So here's the recipe:

1 whole chicken (organic preferably)
6-8 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 small bag of baby carrots
6-8 red potatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
Dutch oven or big pot & casserole dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat olive oil in Dutch oven & brown chicken over medium heat
Once chicken is golden, place carrots, potatoes, & garlic in the Dutch oven
Salt & pepper the bird & veggies & then place the lid on top
Place your Dutch oven in the preheated oven & cook for 1 1/2 hours

At this point you can walk away & workout, play with your kids, or whatever
your heart desires until it's done & ready to eat in an hour and a half.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Quick & Clean Soccer Night Dinner

At our house Monday and Tuesday are pretty laid back.  We don't have a lot going on those evenings, but it seems like as soon as Wednesday rolls around everything suddenly gets busy and a tornado of confusion rolls through my house lol.  If I'm not organized, prepared, and ready for what we're doing I end up getting frustrated and annoyed.  In order to not be that way I have started planning our meals better.  Wednesday nights I leave as soon as Matt gets home from work.  I babysit our friend's baby and I'm gone from 5:45pm until around 10pm.  If I don't plan dinner and have it ready everyone will suddenly go into starvation mode and eat anything and everything in site.  You know your family does it to when you're out of the house lol.  On Thursday nights Matt typically works a little later, Emma has soccer, and Matt almost always schedules his chiropractic appointments for that evening.  I have to have dinner ready that night by around 5ish or else everything falls apart.  I can guarantee you that I would head right for the off limit foods as soon as Matt and Emma leave for soccer if I didn't plan ahead. 

Tonight we're having gluten free strawberry and hemp pancakes.  They're so good and fluffy.  We have to make gluten free these days because poor little pale skinned Lincoln is gluten intolerant and lactose intolerant.  When we have breakfast for dinner I always make the pancakes ahead of time so they're ready on time.  Plus then I don't have to stand over the hot stove while Lincoln destroys the kitchen.  So, if you're like us and your evenings are way too busy to be chopping, prepping, mixing, and cooking for hours to produce a clean meal for you and your family...I want to help you.  I've been eating clean for over 6 years and have learned a lot about how to make healthy food without having to sacrifice taste, how to eat clean on a tight budget, and how to meal prep.  Whether your goal is weight loss, healthy eating habits, gaining meal ideas, new recipes, or just knowing you're not alone as a busy exhausted're invited to come check out the meal ideas and more. 

Here's tonight's meal and recipe.  It's a very easy one!!!

Gluten Free Strawberry & Hemp Pancakes 
Live G Free Pancake Mix (clean, gluten free, dairy free, and only $1.99 from Aldi)
2 organic eggs
3 cups of almond or coconut milk
6 tbps sunflower oil
1 tbsp. hemp hearts
1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
This makes a lot of pancakes, so you'll have some left over to freeze for quick breakfasts. 
We put a little bit of almond butter on top with some fresh strawberries and organic agave.
So good and quick. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Spinning In A Nightmare

So I've mentioned a couple of times on Facebook about having teeth removed and fighting some infections.  What I haven't mentioned to anyone accept my immediate family is that I've had 14 infected teeth, and they recently found an infection in my jaw bone that had apparently been there for at least a year.  I haven't felt 100% for at least the past 2 years, but I just figured that it was the exhaustion of being a special needs parent and then my pregnancy with Lincoln.  I've had right shoulder blade pain since 2012 and my arm would often fall asleep for no real reason.  It didn't happen all of the time and when it did it was usually at night when I was asleep.  I thought it was likely due to my carpal tunnel and thought nothing more of it.

Looking back on the last year I'd say this all really started to rear it's ugly head during Lincoln's birth.  I was on the table numbed up and it took the doctors so long to get him out.  He was big and low and it felt like they were pushing my insides up into my neck.  I kept feeling like I was going to die.  I remember looking at the monitor to check my heart to make sure I was ok.  I could feel my heart leaping around like crazy and then out of nowhere it would drop real low and then spike real high.  I was scared to death and then he was born.  He wasn't breathing and the NICU team ran in.  It was like the girls birth all over again.  I started crying and asking what was going on, but no one would answer. After what felt like a million years (but was really just a few a minutes) the team said he was fine and that they were just getting ready to intubate him, but then he started breathing and crying.  As soon as I knew he was ok, I gave the ok for Matt to go out to recovery with Lincoln.  I was scared, alone, and had never felt so close to death as I did in that very moment.  I remembered that they still had to put me back together and sew me up before I could be out in recovery with my baby.  It seemed like it took sooooo long and my numbers were all over the place.

My recovery wasn't too bad and the placenta capsules helped tremendously.  I felt amazing for the first few weeks.  Then we all got the norovirus in mid to late February and my immune system was completely depleted.  It was terrible and it took everything within me to somehow be there for the needs of each one of my kids.  To top it off we had just decided to homeschool Emma through the remainder of the school year.  I was certain I would bounce back and take it all on like every other challenge I've ever faced.  But by mid March I found myself still struggling.  I was okay at home, but every time I would drive I would get dizzy, and when I was sitting I had a feeling that I was about to have to run to the bathroom.  It was odd and I had no idea what to think.  To begin with I didn't have a primary care physician.  My life revolved around the 18 different specialists that follow Abby.  I have in the past tried to make appointments for myself.  I even made an appointment with a doctor in the midst of my bulimia and the doctor wanted to prescribe anti depressants.  WHAT THE CRAP!!!!  I wasn't depressed, but I can tell you that not being offered any helpful options was depressing!  I used to have a Dr./PA when I was in the Army, but after my 8 week postpartum appointment with the girls I only saw a doctor once for my yearly check up.  I always had the need to be followed by a PCP looming in the back of my mind, but as the years went by and surgeries, diagnosis, therapies, and deployments took their tool...I began to forget that human side of me.  In 2010 I had proudly overcome bulimia and was back to a healthy weight, but I knew in the back of my mind that I needed to see a dentist.  I made an appointment and was excited to go.  I hadn't been to a dentist since I was in the Army and they had done some root canals and other work.  I had a MAJOR fear of the dentist for some reason, but was ready to face whatever damage I had done to my mouth.  The morning of my appointment my nanny/respite provider that had been with us for a year came to work to basically tell me she was quitting.  I was floored and so disappointed that I forgot about my appointment.  You have no idea how many times over this last year that I've wished I would have remembered and gone to my appointment with the girls in tow anyway.  But you can't change the past, just learn from it.

Over the last few years I have often thought to myself that I should make an appointment, but the longer I waited the more embarrassed of my mouth I became.  I did finally make another appointment, but something with Matt or the girls ALWAYS came up and I'd have to reschedule.  I never got to go and then I found out I was pregnant with Lincoln.  Fast forward to March 2014 and I'm driving down the road alone heading home from a consignment sale.  I was excited to be out alone, but something just wasn't right.  My right arm suddenly went completely numb and my heart started jumping.  I quickly pulled off the busy road I was on and turned into a neighborhood.  I called Matt and told him what had happened.  I told him that I would just eat a protein bar that I had in the glove compartment and maybe I'd be okay to make it home.  I ate the bar and headed out of the neighborhood.  I made it about 5 miles down the road when my right arm and right leg went numb again.  I couldn't feel the steering wheel or gas pedal and I felt dizzy, light headed, and thought I was going to go the bathroom in my pants.  I pulled off the road again into a Firestone parking lot.  I called Matt again and was trying desperately to explain to him what was happening.  My speech was slurring, I couldn't stand up, and I was scared to death.  I didn't know what to do so I forced myself to walk into the Firestone.  I called 911 because I wasn't sure if I was having a stroke, a heart attack, or if maybe my c section incision was infected.  I told the staff so that they wouldn't be alarmed, but of course everyone in the store was suddenly freaking out.  I tried to sit and wait patiently for the ambulance to arrive, but things got so bad that I could no longer sit or stand and I had to lay on the floor.  The room was spinning and when the paramedics got there I thought for sure I was going to throw up and go to the bathroom at the same time.  My heart was racing, I could hardly breath and I was sooooo scared!  The put me on the stretcher and took me into the ambulance.  They did an EKG, ran several other tests, gave me oxygen, and I had stickers and leads everywhere.  They checked my incision and everything looked beautiful  Nothing appeared to be wrong.  How in the world was all the happening, but nothing was wrong with me?  I was told that I was having an anxiety attack from the demands of my life and that I needed to take some time for me.  That's what I was trying to do while I was shopping by myself!!!!
*The Ambulance Day* 

Months passed and the dizziness and weird feeling of needing to go to the bathroom just kept getting worse, but I had no other symptoms.  EXCEPT, one night I did have SEVERE chills suddenly after putting my pajamas on.  I got so cold that Matt had to put a sweater on me (I was shivering so hard that I couldn't get the sweater to go over my head), lay me in the bed, cover me with 2 blankets, and then lay on me until I warmed up.  My mom came upstairs to my room and urged me to go to the ER because she thought I might have an infection in my incision.  I couldn't really justify leaving my babies when I knew that my incision was healing well and I had no other symptoms.  As the summer rolled around I began to wonder why it was taking me so long to lose all of the baby weight.  I had been doing Insanity, running, and doing a few other workouts, so really I should have shred every ounce and then some.  I had lost most of it, but there was still some just lingering and I knew there was something off about me physically, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

In June I started getting REALLY TIRED!!!! Tired to the point where I couldn't wake up in the mornings to feed the kids.  Matt was having to call in to work to help me more than he should have, and I could not longer get up with Lincoln in the middle of the night.  I would regularly wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I was going to throw up and I couldn't go to sleep without first feeling like my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  I started trying to figure out what type of doctor I needed to see, but my symptoms were all over the board and I didn't know where to start.

I will NEVER forget the night I woke up in a panic because I couldn't stop shivering, I had gripping stomach pains, and I could barely breath.  I could hardly get my shoes on and walk to the car I was so dizzy and weak.  Matt was taking me to the ER and my mom was coming over to watch the kids.  Luckily the ER was right outside our neighborhood, but the drive there felt like a cross country trip with miles and miles of car sickness.  Long story short, the ER doctor did an x ray of my stomach and told me that I have gastritis.  He sent me home with anti nausea meds, and proton pump inhibitors.  The next day I pushed myself to go shopping at Costco and the mall.  At one point I must have had a fever because I became delusional in Costco and couldn't remember why I was there.  Later at the mall I was losing my ability to walk and kept having to brace myself on walls and railings.  On our way home my right arm went completely numb and the right bottom side of my skull started shooting pains through to the top of my head.  Matt called our chiropractor and he met us at his office on a Sunday.  He adjusted my atlas and said that it was off.  If you've ever had your atlas adjusted then you know it aint no joke!!!!  It's a crazy feeling, but I did feel better after he did it.

*The day at the mall*

The next week my mom prompted me to make a dentist appointment, not really thinking that it had anything to do with how I'd been feeling, but rather she knew I needed to see a dentist in general.  There happened to be a dentist office in my neighborhood, so I figured that I'd make one there and to my surprise they got me in within a day.  One look at my mouth and the dentist immediately said I had 6 infected teeth and 2 were abscessed.  He prescribed amoxicillin for a week and suggested that I make an appointment with an oral surgeon to have all 8 extracted.  I didn't feel comfortable being put to sleep with all that was going on with me.  My heart felt so weak and it scared me to think of putting anesthesia in my body.  I made an appointment with the dentist to have him remove them in his office.  During the 2 weeks between starting antibiotics and having the 8 pulled I ended up in the ER 4 times with a multitude of tests run on every part of my body.  I was scared that the infection had spread and I was right in fearing that because it was spreading rapidly even while on amoxicillin.  Apparently my body hates anything from the penicillin family.  I had never had to take antibiotics for anything other than the little I'd had in my iv during my c sections.  During the first 7 days on amoxicillin I had crazy outbursts of anger in the car toward Matt.  I had several terrible fevers, my lymph nodes were swelling in my neck to the point of having a hard time breathing, and I couldn't drive anymore.  I would try with all of my might to drive Emma to school, but every time I would head out I would be quickly overtaken by vertigo, nausea, and my heart often felt like it was about to stop.  My eye sight started to go and the pressure behind my eyes was so bad that I couldn't focus anymore.  Before I stopped driving I would drive a few miles and have to stop to pray and ask God to help me drive a few more miles so that I could get my babies home.        

*The day I blacked out driving through an intersection*

Once we realized the first antibiotic wasn't working I forced my dentist to call in a stronger one.  He put me on clindamycin and that started to work.  I didn't feel better until a few days after having the 8 teeth taken out.  It was traumatic and my dentist flat out sucked!!  He was horrible at extractions and by that point my anxiety was beyond control.  After he took the teeth he had to give me oxygen and was prepped to give me blood pressure meds.  It took me over an hour to relax enough to get up and walk out.  I could hardly walk because the pain, nausea, and anxiety was so bad.

*The day I had 8 teeth extracted*

Ok, so you would think this would be the end of the story and everything would get better from here on out. too!!!  BUT it didn' got better and then it got scary again.  In September I ended up with candida throughout my body, oral thrush, yeast infection, and I was severely dehydrated.  Like iv upon iv dehydrated.
*The day I found out I had candida, thrush, yeast infection, and was severely dehydrated*

In mid September my right ear started to ache and I figured I had an ear infection.  I went to urgent care to have it checked out and to my surprise they didn't see anything but a little clear fluid.  October came and the ear pain was only getting worse.  By this time I had started seeing a family doctor and LOVE her!!  One day I was on my way home from Walmart when my gums started to hurt below an extraction site.  I looked in my mouth to find a fistula on the gum beside the extraction site.  So this tooth was one of the abscessed that was taken and the gum hadn't completely closed up.  I called the dentist and he called in amoxicillin for me.  WHAT WAS I THINKING WHEN I OKAYED THE AMOX??????  I picked it up, started it, and hoped we could get to the bottom of this at my next appointment with him the following week.  Well, apparently he had left the abscessed root tip in my gums and didn't have any plans to remove it.  That's when I found a new dentist.  I had the root tip removed and was shocked when the dentist informed me that I actually have another infected tooth that the original dentist should have removed.  I left with 2 less teeth and thought for sure this nightmare was finally over.  The hope lasted only a few ear started hurting again.

Let me just pause in this terrible mood killer of a story and ask...are you even still reading?  If you are, bless you!!!

Okay so in November on my second day at my new job I started to feel feverish and totally out of it.  I lost feeling on the right side of my face around my sinuses.  My ear was aching like crazy and it kept turning bright red and burning.  I made it to the end of the day and when I got in my car to drive home I was scared to death.  I was so dizzy that I had a really hard time driving the very busy highway.  Later that night I went to the ER.  Again they told me I didn't have an infection and that it was possible I may have MS.  By this point I'd had several doctors tell me it sounds like I have MS and refer me to a neurologist for an MRI.  The next day I went to my family doctor and she thought it was pretty clear that I had an infection above the last tooth I'd had extracted.  I went on another round of antibiotic and this time it was Bactrim.  Bactrim is my enemy!!!  It works, but it kills my liver and gallbladder.  While I was fighting that infection my right eye starting twitching constantly and my ear pain never went away.  After the course of antibiotics I saw an ENT and he diagnosed me with arthritis in my jaw joint and a deviated septum. Ok well, nothing seems to helps to treat those and my symptoms just continue to get worse, however I'd been reassured by several doctors that I didn't have any infections.  What a relief right?  NOT!

Of course I started to feel sick again in all the ways that had become normal by now.  It was 2 weeks before Christmas and I went in to see the dentist only to find out that I had another infected tooth that needed a root canal.  By this point I had used all of my dental coverage for the year and had to pay the insane amount out of pocket if I wanted to get through yet another infection.  I was so mad and asked the dentist if this one was new.  Apparently in the beginning  of all of this I had A LOT of teeth that were infected, but they wanted to save most of them via root canal.  Had I known this in the very beginning I would have opted to have every single one taken out.  I don't like root canals and don't trust them, especially with my dental history, but I went ahead because I trust my dentist.  After the root canal a week before Christmas I was still having weird neurological pain and piercing ear pain.  I sat down with my dentist and looked at the ct of my mouth.  We didn't see a clear view of an infection in my gums that were causing pain down my neck, but together we decided that we would do exploratory surgery in the gums that once housed an abscess and the infected root tip.  Well, true to form my body didn't cooperate and out of nowhere my lymph nodes started to swell all over my body.  My neck was so swollen it ached and hurt to breath.  I went into the dentist on January 8th and informed him that he would be taking my two molars on the bottom row of my teeth that day.  I had a hard time coming to this decision because I lovingly referred to those teeth as my chewing teeth.  They worked together well with my top molars and allowed me to eat a wider variety of food.  Unfortunately I've become quite the pro at spotting infections and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my bottom molars were indeed infected.  The dentist successfully extracted my right molar and when he did he discovered the severity of the situation that's been keeping me in this terrible nightmare.  I noticed that things quickly became emergent between he and the hygienist.  He sliced my gum next to it (the one that had been abscessed and had the root tip left in it and extracted) and low and behold there was my jaw bone...infected and gummy.  It's no wonder my ear ached and my neck and shoulder hurt constantly.  That little stupid piece of crap was literally the pain in my neck...and everywhere else.  All I heard was scraping on both side of my bone.  It hurt even though I was numb.  It took at the very least 20 shots to somewhat numb me.  I never got fully numb due to the infection changing the ph balance.  I had to suck it up because I knew it had to be done or else I would eventually lose my life due to this life sucking turd stuck in my jaw.  As I laid in the chair listening to the scraping, flashes of the past year flooded my memory.  I started crying and although the physical pain wasn't my favorite feeling, the emotional pain of what I've been through was just too much anymore.  I've been scared I was going to die every single day for nearly a year.  The hygienist held my head, rubbed my shoulder, and told me that it was finally going to be ok.  For the first time in a long time I had hope and I believed her.  Keri if you're reading this, thank you sooooooo much for being there for me.  You truly made Better Dental live up to its name that day.  I've never had a hygienist care one bit if I felt anything physically, let alone emotionally.

 *The weekend after my jaw bone was scraped and 2 teeth extracted*
*Today!  Yes I look terrible, but honestly I'm EXHAUSTED beyond belief*

So I'm healing well now and my extraction sites are closing nicely.  My ear pain has gone down A LOT, however it's still there to a degree.  I still have pain in my sinuses and I discovered last Thursday that I have 3 more teeth that need root canals.  Essentially they are infected and I saw it again while viewing my ct.  WHY was I not made aware that these were problem teeth all along?  I have to make this statement because I'm sure you're thinking how in the world can someone get that many infections?  Well ladies and gentleman it may come as a surprise but I do in fact brush my teeth, floss, and gargle with mouth wash (I've recently been gargling with essential oils it's WAY BETTER).  The problem is that the years of bulimia decayed my teeth to the point of no return.  Top that with a vegan diet and I was all kinds of nutrient deficient.  I may have won the bulimia battle, but I unknowingly continued to do harm to my teeth as the years went on.  I'll touch on oral health and nutrition in another blog because this one's quickly becoming a book and aint nobody got time for that.

Due to this new root canal information, after much prayer and research I have come to the decision to have the last 3 teeth extracted.  I've chosen to have a partial denture made and I have to tell you I AM ECSTATIC about it!!!  I know most people are probably embarrassed, but not me! After all I've been through I deserve to wear a beautiful smile.  At the end of this (which is right over the horizon) I may have lost 14 teeth, but I'm gaining my life back...and a beautiful healthy smile that will never cause the problems I've been through.  Slowly but surely I will eat real food again, I will leave the antibiotics behind, I will smile with the teeth I always dreamed of, and I don't care who knows they're fake.  You know why?  Because if by telling my terrible story I can help someone, then it's worth it.

Moral of the story:

Don't throw up your's gross, causes terrible health problems in the long run, and if you decide may want to make sure you have enough money set aside to save your life at any given moment.

Second piece of advice:

PLEASE teach your kids how important oral health is.  How it really is easier than we think to get an abscess, it's not all that rare for it to spread to the heart and or brain (look it up), and that it's just as easy to take care of your pearly whites as it is to destroy them.

If you are here...congratulations!  I can't believe you stuck with the post this long, but I'm honored that you did =)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Only The Lonely Or Not...

All of my life I've wondered what I was going to be when I grew up.  As a young kidlet I wanted to be many things.  What I wanted the most was to be a singer.  As early as first grade I would gather my friends during recess and choreograph a dance that we would perform while singing a laundry list of songs I made them practice.  In case you're wondering we had the best rockstar band name EVER!!!  We were called the Teddy Bears and you can just imagine how awesome our following was lol.
My teacher Mrs. Korea was gracious enough to allow us to perform for the rest of the class.  I'm pretty sure they thought we were pretty ridiculous, but at the time I thought they rocked the classroom with us.

I actually did go on to sing in more musicals than I can remember, auditioned for Star Search *insert hysterical laughing and memories of watching Star Search with your family*, and sang in a praise and worship band as a young adult.  We traveled, did outdoor concerts, and I loved singing with them every Saturday night.  Those years are some of the best of my life.  I thought I would go on to have a singing career because that's all I had ever wanted...ever since those days with the Teddy Bears lol. doesn't always work out the way you thought it would.  I don't have to tell you that, it happens to every one at least once in their life.  Before I knew it I was engaged to my first husband who was leaving for Basic Training.  I was pumped to be an Army wife...whatever that meant.  I was living in Tn and doing a whole lot of nothing.  I mean, I was an assistant manager at Claire's and was pretty proud of that, but it's not like I was going on to make it a career.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, I just knew it was temporary while I waited for my then fiance to finish training and then get stationed somewhere.  I didn't even give much thought to what I wanted to be anymore, I guess i just figured I would make a good housewife and mom one day.

In 2003 I moved from Tn. to Fort Bragg Nc. where my ex husband was stationed.  We had gotten married a few months prior and my life revolved around that.  It's crazy because within the first 2 weeks of being at Fort Bragg, I knew I was meant to go in the Army.  It had NEVER been a thought in my mind until I saw a girl in BDU's (battle dress uniform or what some call fatigues).  It awoke a drive and motivation in me I didn't know existed.  I was so excited and couldn't wait to do it.  I did however wait an entire year before I left for Basic because I was 40 lbs. over weight and needed to get in shape.  I started running and thus began my love affair with the sport.  Some days I would get up at 5 am to run before work & then run after work from 6-7 pm.  I was obsessed!!

A few months before I left for basic training my ex husband had surgery on his left ankle and heel.  He had been injured jumping out of a plane (airborne op), and the surgery was supposed to fix things for good.  It didn't, it made the injury worse.  He was given pain meds to take while he was recovering at home during his 30 day convalescent leave.  Unfortunately he became highly addicted to the meds and became a totally different person.  He was unhappy with life, unhappy with everything, played Playstation and ignored me.  Until one evening after work.  We got in an argument (over something petty I'm sure) and I was going to go to the Library for a little while to give us both time to get over it.  He wouldn't let me leave and barricaded himself in front of the front door.  I tried to get through, but there was no way I could.  I was so tired of the way things were going that I offered to go visit my family in Ca for a while.  He told me that no one wanted me, my family didn't love me, and that I was useless.  That night was the first time he hit me, and it didn't stop until after I came back from airborne school and one of his friends watched him punch me in the face so hard that I flew into my dining room wall, then slid down and hit the floor.  That was the day it ended, because I wasn't the same person anymore.  I heard his friend say "I told you not to hit her" and when I completely came to I stood up, walked towards him and picked him up.  I walked into the bedroom with him and threw him on the bed, ran out, and stuck a chair under the door handle to lock him in.  Then I left and filed for divorce not long after.

The entire reason I went into the Army was because I had a gut feeling that I needed to learn to be independent.  I needed to become who God had intended me to be, and that there was a part of me that was sleeping and needed to wake up.  I can say with full confidence that it was absolutely true!

While I was in the Army I LOVED every second of it.  I was good at it and it made me realize my full potential in this life.  I didn't settle for mediocre anymore and realized it's completely okay to reach for what may seem unattainable.  I had every intention to make it a career.  Matt and I both did.  But, yet again life doesn't always work out the way you thought it would.  I had the girls and for the first 6 months of their life I felt like I had completely lost my identity.  When they were 4 months old I went to the recruiter to go back on active duty.  I ultimately realized that that phase of my life was over and that I was okay with it.  It wasn't easy, especially when we had family members asking when I was going back to work, or what I was going to do now.  Matt always had the best answer "She already has a full time job, she's a mom to premature twins...isn't that enough".  I did still feel lost though when it came to my career, work, outside life, etc...  All of my friends had been in the military.  I lost EVERY. SINGLE. FRIEND when they realized how much my life had changed.  It was depressing, but a good lesson in the long run.  I learned who my friends were...or rather that I truly had none.

In 2009 I enrolled back into school for Sports Medicine and Kinesiology at AMU.  I worked hard as a full time student and a mom to twins while Matt was deployed.  I did school work while Abby was in surgery after surgery that year, because my goal was to go to Medical School next.  I finished at AMU in 2011 and realized I didn't want to be an MD, but I didn't want to just be Mom, wife, house keeper, laundry folder, nurse to Abby, etc...  There's absolutely nothing wrong with being all of those things...those are all admirable things and more than enough for a lifetime, but I still needed something of my very own.  Something that didn't have anything to do with feeding tubes, therapy, surgeries, cleaning, mothering, or folding laundry.  I knew that I didn't want to put my kids in day care.  Again, there's nothing wrong with that.  Every one's life is different and for some that's a necessity and the kids love it.  For me, I just wanted to be with my kids all of the time.  I really like those turds!!!

I stumbled across the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and their philosophy made sense to me and paralleled mine.  I enrolled and then graduated a year later as a Board Certified Practitioner and Health Coach.  I started my practice in the middle of my school year and boy was it rocky the first 6 months.  It wasn't until 2013 that things started to get busy and I really began to see the fruits of my labor.  Doing what I do is fun and fulfilling, but it's also A LOT of hard work.  Doctors have the luxury of computer systems that help them review their patients health history.  There's nothing like that for my practice.  Doctors also have the luxury of not focusing on the whole person (that's not really a luxury though now is it.  I believe that's more like convenience on their part), so they never have to dig deep, research, and help the patient truly figure out why they're having this issue or that issue.  My job is to help prevent, heal naturally, and encourage positive and sustainable change by helping the patient find what their body needs.  It's not always easy and I've had some cases that were very difficult and the individual struggled through the program.

I personally have struggled over the last year when it came to my professional life.  I didn't know if this was all for me.  I was pregnant the majority of 2013 and didn't always want to get up and work.  I actually was glad when I went on maternity leave because I could take a real break for as long as I wanted.  After I got back into the groove of my new normal being a mom of now 3 kidlets, I realized that yes...I do still want to help people heal naturally, and that my passion for truly helping people is still there.  I NEVER wanted to do something for the money aspect, I always wanted to do whatever I was meant to do because I was passionate about it.  However I still haven't felt like I'm 100% where I'm supposed to be.  I've prayed and asked God if I should go back to school.  After much prayer and consideration I start at Campbell in August to finish up some pre requisites I need for possible future programs.  Even though that would seem like enough, I still felt lacking in my practice.  I've wanted more ways to help people reach their goals and fullest potential, just like so many have done for me along the way.

I've had a lot of people tell me that it would be great if I had a list of recommended clean products and recommended workouts.  That's the one thing I can't offer those that I work with.  I have had people go through my health coaching programs, lose the weight, stop smoking, kick soda, get off of medication for mood disorders, recover from leaky gut syndrome from gluten intolerance, control their ADHD naturally, etc...  What I have come to a stand still with is what workouts to offer them.  I want to be able to provide a  well rounded wellness experience.  What I realized was that if I'm not constantly progressing, than I become stagnant quickly.  Maybe that's why I work out so hard and love cardio.  If I'm not on a path to do better than I did before, then I become stagnant.  That's just me and my personality.  Due to the request for supplements, body care, etc... I became an Arbonne consultant because I believe in the integrity in their products.

So, I've been a Beach Body Coach for 3 years and LOVE every program I've ever done. I've done P90X, Yoga Booty Ballet, Hip Hop Abs, Insanity, and will soon have T25 going.  Has anyone done Turbo Fire or Les Mills Combat?  I really want to do both.

When my first marriage ended, I decided that I never wanted to be in a position where I couldn't provide for myself.  When I got out of the Army, I knew I needed something that was mine, while also affording me the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives.  It took me a really long time to get here, but I learned a lot about who I am.  I set a lot of really big goals & you know what...I've reached them all!!!  Through my time in the Army, my practice, and Beach Body I've been able to provide for my kids in ways I never thought I could.  I love to look back on where I came from (I grew up part of my life on welfare and vividly remember standing in line for government cheese and peanut butter).  My mom did what she had to to provide for us, and for that I'm forever grateful.  When I think of the person I was when I was an assistant manager at Claire's, I get confused.  I have no clue who that person was.  When I think of who I was when I was allowing my ex husband to hit me for all of that time, I thank God that He had a plan for me.  Anyone can pull themselves out of any situation, achieve success, and become whatever they want to be.  If I could go through all of that (and more there's just not enough room and I'm so ready for bed) so can you!!!  If you're a stay at home mom and need something that's your's, you can do it!  There are so many options, it just takes the belief that you can, and the ability to lead with you heart!