Entyvio · Health · Motivation · Sparkle · Ulcerative Colitis · Xeljanz

5 Years and Counting (I Wish Not)

Chances are, if your reading this, you know I started this blog as a place to talk about my journey with ulcerative colitis & other autoimmune diseases. I try to go along my journey with grace & humor, hence my name SparkleWithUC. There are, however, days that make you reflect on your journey & revisit the good, the bad & the downright ugly times that brought you to today.

This is me & Mr. Wonderful a few months before life changed for what I hope is a very limited amount of time. I hold out a unicorn believers type hope that there will be a complete cure & not just a bandaid for ulcerative colitis while I’m still alive, not that I have plans to go anywhere until I’m atleast 105.

This was Christmas 2011. No hint of disease….yet. 155lbs

Less than 6 months later, May 2012. I have been treated for hpylori with 2 massive doses of antibiotics & have been diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis. 108lbs

I had to cut my hair because it was so thin & unhealthy. I would do this several times throughout the last 5 years just trying to look a little healthier than I actually was.

Prednisone puffy! The chipmunk cheeks became a cycle. I would complete a round of prednisone & flagyl with mild success. About the time the chubbo cheeks would disappear, I would be in another flair & need more prednisone.

More prednisone puff in 2013. I acted a lot like the bear snoozing between our heads in this picture. I was moody & no one dared wake me up without fear of “poking the bear”. I was in denial that there was a better treatment out there & would not ask my dr for help.

Fast forward through ups & downs & flairs & calm to 2015. Around the time of Cool Hand Luke’s 1st birthday, I was in such a bad flair that Chad pretty much dragged me to the dr. Thank God he did because I started on Entivyo 2 months later. Miracles do happen!

I look healthier & have energy! My hair is growing & I can see the division between new hair & the old stuff. My kids get more mommy time! There’s just too many positive changes to note them all!

I look like my 1st picture, except older, I mean, more distinguished. I know we grow older & we change but it’s so fabulous to change & age with time instead of prematurely because of illness & stress.

There’s always lessons to be learned from the experiences God allows us to get through or pushes us through. I want to encourage you to deal with whatever “it” is because it’s not going away. If you are facing health decisions that need to be made, don’t sit back & let dr’s dictate your future. I cruised along with my head in the sand for several years thinking that I had to do what the dr said or my earth would shake & life would be over. I felt that I was the best I was going to be despite what I showed you in the pictures above, I was obviously not healthy. I had a few people around me who could see through the front I put up. They pulled me out of my comfort zone, to ask for better treatment & I am forever greatful for showing me patience & grace.


My seester!

My sister is one of those pushers. She has crohn’s disease & has had major surgery losing close to a foot of intestines. Who better for God to knock me upside the head with but my lifetime confidant & best friend. He knew I wouldn’t listen to someone who hadn’t been through the ringer herself.

By the way, did you know that God didn’t care for my opinion on the matter & he stacked the odds in my favor despite my stubbornness, as evidenced by my continued breathing. I want to always think that I have the control at my fingertips because I am a control freak, ask Mr. Wonderful, but there are times that I reflect on my journey & realize I was never in control & he has given me plenty of life’s lessons to prove it.

So, on this, my 5th anniversary, I am oh so thankful for more than I deserve in the blessings department. One such blessing is that I have learned more about natural health in 5 years than I learned the first 29 years of my life.

Also, my hair is growing back. Note to self (& you), never take hair for granted again!!!
Oh, & despite my 1st dr telling me that we should just take my colon out at age 29 with only 2 short months of unsuccessful treatment, I have every last inch of my intestines because I’m stubborn & fought to keep them.

So to you, the fighter, keep fighting & in the words of Dory, “just keep swimming.” You can do it!!!

Exercise · Health · Motivation · Sparkle

Wreck It Ralph Arms 

After looking at a few recent pictures, I have discovered some disturbing news. I’m getting older and I didn’t even notice! No, just kidding, my knees have noticed!

 

I have actually discovered that I have Wreck It Ralph arms which is convenient since the boys favorite movie is about “old ham hands himself”! If I have confused you, get in touch with your inner child and watch Wreck It Ralph.

 

AHHHHHHHHHHHH! How can this be? I never thought in a bagillion years that putting back on the weight I lost while I was sick would look like this!

                

See the resemblance? Bwahahahahaha!

 

So what, you ask, do I propose to do about this arm issue?

 

Well, summer is coming so I’ll have extra time around the house to get active. I have already started trying to walk 3 times a week. I enjoy walking the boys to the park which is 1/3 of a mile directly to the park. To add some mileage, or steps, we take a few blocks out of the way, despite the grumbles of my crew, and it totals approximately a mile roundtrip. Calories burned, yay!

 

So back to the arm issue. I like taking pictures with my precious family but I will be hiding those Wreck It Ralph arms until they are toned. It’s strange, when your rail skinny you don’t have to worry about anything except how bony you look but when you put the weight back on, you have a different set of worries.You have to worry about exactly which part of the body the needed weight decided to pack onto and it inevitably won’t be where you really needed it like, your back or your wrists.

 

I found this workout on Femnique.com.

 

30 Day Arm Challenge, Arm Fat Workout at Home Without Weights - Do this 30 arm fat challenge workout to lose arm fat for for good!

Welcome to your new challenge! Give it your best shot and if you miss a day, pick right up where you left off. The best exercise routines are full of trial and terror, I mean error. Workouts don’t have to be your enemy so strap up your laces and bring your sparkle back.

Health · Motivation

Water Logged

I do not drink enough water. That is all!

Image result for keep calm and drink your water
Jk, you know me better than that! I don’t drink enough water but I’m trying because I know I need it. I have Sjögren’s disease. My main symptom is extreme dry eye. So extreme that I had to stop wearing contacts when the eye dr told me that my blood vessels were started for tears and would grow over the edges of my contacts causing my eye’s to be irritated and red pretty much all the time. Even the contacts for super dry eyes did nothing to help so I became a full time classes wearer. I like to think it makes me look smarter!

 

Drinking plenty of water is by no means the quick fix for my eyes but I can tell a definite difference between them when I’m getting plenty of water and when I’ve been slacking. The proper amount of water depends on your weight.

 

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Courtesy of Journey to a Fit Mom

You and I have learned since we were knee high to a grass hopper that water is healthy but here’s a few reasons why:

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I have tried various different challenges to try to find my way in the water drinking world. The best that I have found comes from 30 Day Challenges Online.

30 Days of Water

As you know, I am a teacher, and finding the time to stop and guzzle water is not always a luxury I experience. Come to think of it, its actually not the guzzling that is the problem, its finding a second to run to the restroom!

 

A good schedule that has been working for me:

20 oz (or one Dasani bottle) when I am getting ready in the morning. I try to drink it all before my first sip of coffee because after that, it’s a struggle from there.

 

Some days, that bottle is all that I can count on but other days, when I truly focus on the bottle…no, not that bottle…get your mind right! When I truly focus throughout the day on that little bottle of goodness, I can fit it all in.

 

My next water session is just before lunch because, by then, my coffee well has run dry. (insert sad face 🙁

 

I drink approximately, depending on which bottle I refilled that morning, 11 oz atleast 30 mins before lunch. My favorite bottle to reuse is a large Fiji bottle because I only need two full Fiji’s a day and it makes me think of the beach and bikins’ and then it reminds me to drink water. Weird, I know!

 

I know some of you may be judging because plastic isn’t supposed to be reused because of whatever toxins they claim come out of the plastic. Here’s the deal, I get plenty of toxins walking outside, talking on my phone, using my microwave. I’m pretty sure they’ll get me before the bottle toxins will. Just sayin’!

 

During lunch with my crazy co-workers, I drink another 1/3 of my Fiji bottle which is another 11 oz. At this point, in my day, I am halfway through my prescribed water intake. Yay me!!!

 

Image result for go me!

 

So, the rest of the day can be smooth sailing or crash and burn depending on if I make a stop at Toot N Totum on the way home. I usually can fight the urge for a tea or coke, mainly because I don’t have cash on me. I get mad at myself when I use my debit card to buy a drink, just one drink, for $1.88 so I try to resist. When I am successful at resisting the devil, I consume the rest of my Fiji bottle, 11 oz, on my way to pick up the little one’s up from school.

 

Yay, so by now I have had 53ish oz of water. It’s time to cook supper and sip on, you guessed it, more water! I refill my Dasani bottle for this one and then drink it with supper. When that bottle is finally gone, I have consumed 73 oz of water, just a little less than half my body weight.

 

I do try to take into account that I need more water if I have caffeine throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is 8 for 8. If I drink 8 oz of anything other than water, I try to consume an additional 8 oz of water, almost like flushing the system.

 

On days that I don’t get close to my goal, I can tell. My eyes are itchy, my skin feels scratchy and my throat will hurt. I think there’s hidden body responses to tell you that your not acting right and I’m trying to learn to be still and listen. After you’ve gone through severe gut problems, learning to listen to your body is the absolute best healing factor I have found.

 

After you have listened to your body, DRINK MORE WATER!

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Exercise · Health · Motivation · Sparkle

I ❤️ Fitbit Challenge Diamonds

When I am working my way through a Fitbit challenge in Yosimete or NYC, I love to pick up & screenshot all the diamonds along the way. If you don’t have a clue what the crazy sparkle lady is talking about, you have to get a Fitbit……today! They’re awesome!!!!!

Here’s a few diamonds I found on my phone….

Exercise · Health · Motivation · Sparkle

Bring Sally Up Thigh Toning Workout

Fun inner thigh workout, more affectionately known as a squat, sounds like you also might enjoy a root canal without numbing meds! I mean, who actually likes the feeling (or lack of feeling) after you’ve done enough squats to feel like your legs might truly be done working for, well, EVER.

 

I am just not a pain hungry person so when I get all wobbly from squats and then I eventually have to stand up again sometime to feed tiny humans or give baths, I regret my decision to try to “reduce those thunder thighs”. Ugh, squatting down to give baths is when you discover how young you are not and how all those squats you used to do in high school didn’t get you in shape for old age at 34.

 

I know last months target area was getting rid of flabby thighs so it’s time to move on but I was introduced to a new, fun way, to do those horrible, torturous, thigh melting squats that we all love to hate!

Moby’s song Flower (aka, Bring Sally up) reminds me of Gone in 60 Seconds, the first DVD I bought after I won a DVD player my senior year. I love the beat of that song but never would have used it to workout. Someone genius took it & made a squat challenge out of it.

On The Running Bug, you will find all the instruction & even a instructional video to help get the squat challenge started off right.

Below is the Week 1 schedule:

Saturday & Sunday are rest days as well as Wednesday.

 

Word to the wise, don’t try to squat the whole song on the first day. You might walk away with jello-ey legs & the desire to not ever do it again!

 

Do t you ever forget, working out doesn’t have to be boring to work. Find something you enjoy & get it done!

 

Entyvio · Exercise · Family · Health · Motivation · Sparkle · Stress Relief · Ulcerative Colitis · Xeljanz

Did you survive?

How did you do? Last weeks workout was pretty intense and not very time conducive to this busy momma. So, it was back to the drawing board for another workout that is more my speed. But first, pull out those tape measures and see if you lost any inches. Yay for you if you did!!!! If you didn’t, keep working!

 

Image result for you didn't put it on in a day, it won't come off in a day

 

Workout courtesy of blogilates.com.

 

Image result for thigh workout challenge

 

Now go squeeze those thighs and lose some inches!!!!!

 

Courtesy of The Workout Princess!

Colitis · Entyvio · Exercise · Family · Health · Motivation · Sparkle · Xeljanz

#11

Today is not so much about Entivyo infusion #11 going in but about the small successes in my health.

My blood dr showed me the various different iron reports that I’ve had since July 2016. I started with a 72 & it has steadily increased since my 2 Injectifer iron infusions last July. My current iron level is 88 which, according to doc, is absolutely perfect!

2 things that number means. 

1. My gut has healed dramatically since Entivyo infusion #1 on my birthday in October 2015. When a colitis patient is flairing, they lose blood, sometimes in small traces & sometimes in large amounts. In my case, it was a combination of trace & large amounts over an extended period of time. 
When I do something, I do it big!!!!! 
Over time the blood cells shrank & my iron production dropped. Once the iron infusions kicked in, the circumference of my blood cells grew increasing my iron levels to the perfect level it is today!

2. Iron makes all the difference in my world. 

* I have energy to play with my boys that I didn’t have at this time last year. 

* I have reached (& exceeded) the amount of weight I needed to put back on after my year long flair. 

* I don’t feel like I need a morning & afternoon nap everyday, just on the weekends & only because I like snoozing with the baby man & not because I’m falling down exhausted. 

*We just finished basketball season & im ready for track without feeling like I need a break. 

*I feel like exercising again & I try to do something active daily. 
I could go on & on about how I have drastically improved but I’ll let pictures do some talking.

January 2016

January 2017

 

My face is fuller! My skin has color to it, without being out in the sun! I see more energy in my eyes or maybe a twinkle of orneriness! I just look (& feel) so much more human!

I didn’t get sick over night. Well, actually, the HPylori that brought out the colitis was fast acting but the disease itself has been ongoing since 2012. To think realistically, it has taken more time to heal than it did to hit the bottom. I remember Chad asking me one day when I was weak & bone skinny if I was dying & he was very serious. Slowly over time, I have healed & this phrase rings true. 

It may not happen as fast as we want but God’s timing is always fabulous! I like to think I can sparkle even in the dark times but God is the one who makes the sparkle shine in the dark.

Family · Motivation · Sparkle

Nothing Says Coffee…

coffee-lorelei-gmg

Today is an in-service day but tomorrow, spring semester starts. The next 8 days will be busy busy busy! Momming and wifing, 2 basketball games and 1 basketball tournament, lesson planning, teaching, starting a weight loss challenge, preparing for spring semester and my next 6 hours towards my masters.

Pretty sure I forgot to mention my fall semester 4.0!!! That is 12 hours down and 24 hours to go. By then end of spring semester, I will be half way finished. Who knows what I will do next!

So I may have binge watched the new episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix over Christmas break so you can expect my favorite GMG quotes popping up in the near future.

Have a fabulous Monday & don’t forget to sparkle!

sparkle-and-shine-darling

Motivation

Are you the diamond or the coal?

I am the diamond, shaped & molded by life but coming out stronger in the end. Some days though, you just feel like the coal. On those days you need a reminder that your destined to shine!

I know what your thinking, do I have to shine all the time? Nope & if you do, you might be a tad bit fake or a lot a bit fake but atleast your trying to shine.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of starting your day out right. Whether it’s a cup of coffee made just right or hitting the green lights all the way to work, let the positive drive your mood.

If it is one of those days that make you want to crawl back in bed & ask for a mulligan, Keep Calm, check your ‘tude & adjust. I promise, it can’t stay bad for long if you have the right mindset. 

In fact, you’ll undoubtably learn to be a diamond in the rough. 

And just because I love chocolate cake…