Monday, January 2, 2017

january run+workout.

happy new year, everyone! I know that 2016 was the worst, unimaginable, horrific not the best, here's to hoping 2017 is better!

and because the #1 New Year's Resolution for most people is health/fitness based, that thought it was apropos to have 2017's first blog post be the january run+workout playlist!

as always, there's a little bit of everything. Here's the Spotify link.  

january run+workout:



Sunday, October 16, 2016

lupus and ABP

hi everyone!

i hope you're enjoying my favorite season of all: fall! There are few things I love more than crisp air, those October-blue skies, and the sudden burst of flame-colored leaves falling to the ground.

in all the autumnal glory, i thought i'd give an update. Back in February, I shared with you all (the few people who actually read this blog) that I have rheumatoid arthritis. Getting diagnosed with RA, almost a year ago, was pretty harsh news. At 24 years old, I thought my life was over.

but then, another bomb dropped.


i have lupus. Before the numb fingers and toes, swollen achey joints, hair loss, fevers, and random rashes, I had absolutely no idea what lupus was. And now almost a year later, I feel like I've barely touched the surface of how deep this disease goes.

lupus is an autoimmune disease. It's not an STD, it's not contagious, and it's technically not going to kill me. Unlike some acquired diseases, lupus is essentially an overactive immune system. My body thinks that my tissues and organs are foreign bodies, and so it attacks them and damages them beyond repair. If anything, my immune system is an over-achiever in self-defense. A for effort, I guess.

my immune system cannot decipher between the good and bad. There's no difference between the flu, and my healthy working kidneys. To my immune system, my joints are the same as the common head cold. According to my body, my 20/20 vision is just as bad as strep throat. Every living bodily cell is bad when you have lupus.

the medications and doctors visits are endless. To date, I'm on 10 daily, maintenance medications. Twice a day. On average, I see three specialists a month (with the increased insurance copay). When I'm flaring up, you can usually throw in some Prednisone or steroid titration packs into the mix, just to get me over the hump. This doesn't include the vitamins, minerals, and other supplements I take. This last week I've been living with walking-pneumonia, bronchitis, and a sinus infection. That's 3 more medications I have to take, just to manage the annual seasonal yuck.

the planning is just as endless, too. I've had to learn to "plan for the unexpected". That fun day trip to the theme-park? Not gonna happen. The weeklong beach vacation with the boyfriend? I'll  be in bed half the time. That midterm? Hope I can make it up. Even just the process of daily living is too hard, sometimes.

you never know what you have until it's gone. Not just prolific lyrics or poetry lines.

after my chest x-rays and exams this week, I came home to my mom, who was eagerly awaiting what the doctors had to say. I turned the kettle on, pulled out some tea, and told her their prognosis.

and then i sobbed. I cried; hard, hot, intense, angry. I bawled. It was the kind of gasping cry; the kind that only comes out, deep down from the depths of your heart, from pure defeat and frustration.

"i can't remember the last time i wasn't sick," i told her. 

for the last year I've spent no more than 6 weeks without a flare up of my lupus, RA, or experiencing the common bug everyone's bound to catch. Yes, some of my flare ups are stress related. And yes, I can control some of my stress. But until you experience the stress you get from stressing about your illness, it's hard to give any sort of guidance or reprieve.

so don't tell me to relax and try to de-stress myself, because Lord knows I'm trying. Don't ask me about my protein. I can promise you I'm getting enough of it.Don't ask me if I'm taking my multi-vitamin, and insinuate that I'm under-nourishing myself.  Don't tell me it could be worse, when I am fully aware of the blessings I do have. And most importantly...

don't cry for me. I am the only one who gets to cry, because this is my life and my experience. . You can cry for me when I'm gone. I don't need tears. When I'm down in my deepest depths of pain, resentment, and frustration, the only thing I need is support.

so support me when i'm my at my worst. 

tell me i'm much stronger than i ever thought i could would be. Tell me I'm beautiful when my hair is falling out and I'm too weak to care for myself. Tell me some good news, when everything I've heard that day is everything less than bleak. Tell me I'm still mildly brilliant, when my lupus fog has clouded my brain so much that I can't articulate my thoughts and feelings.

tell me you love me, when I least deserve it. 

because your support and strength is the only thing i can count on. 

lupus research is in it's infancy. There are a few trials currently being conducted, in order to mange the disease. The key word is manage. The general consensus is that lupus is genetic; and being adopted only complicates the process. I'm open to any thoughts, ideas, or recommendations because... This is my life on the line. Again, lupus won't kill me. It'll probably be pneumonia, the flu, or something of the sort. But I'll be sticking around for the long term. Because as my mom once said...

"If you don't keep moving forward, then what's the point?"

a million thanks, and even more love. 



Sunday, February 28, 2016

RA and ABP.

my name is adrienne. and I have rheumatoid arthritis. 

over the last 8 months I've been struggling with constant pain in most of my joints. In hindsight, I've made the slow progression through levels of pain for the last 18 months, but the intensity peaked in August of 2015. The pain started in my pinkies in the fall/winter of 2014. At first I thought it was from constant txting (could be), and then I thought it was because of the constant cold (probably). The pain would come on early in the morning and late in the evening, so it wasn't enough to notice... in the beginning.

as the months progressed, and the weather warmed, my joint pain gradually increased. I was running around constantly with work, traveling with friends, and training for another half marathon. Again, I contributed the pinky pain to txting and being on the go. But then I started having pain in my toes. Somewhat naively, I thought I kept spraining my big toes in yoga (which I've totally done, multiple times). I thought my other toes ached from the 30-40mile training I was doing weekly. It didn't faze me for a while.

that was until the swelling set in. Towards the end of July and early part of August, my hands had ballooned. My finger pain had spread to all of my digitals, and the pain in my toes spread to my feet and ankles. But the swelling was the worst. My size 8.5 Asics were so tight that my circulation was being cut off. It too was painful to type on the key board. I couldn't wear any rings or watches. Opening jars and turning round door handles was almost impossible. Dicing and mincing veggies and herbs was out of the question. I broke 3 glasses in one week.

the pain, swelling, and inability to manage simple daily tasks wasn't what brought me into the doctor's office. It was my asthma. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 14; up until that point I had had 5 years of controlled asthma under my belt, with the latter 2 living without the need for a daily corticosteroidal inhaler. All of a sudden, though, I couldn't breath. I was waking myself up wheezing and coughing every night, and couldn't run a half mile without needing my rescue inhaler. So straight to the pulmonologist I went. After explaining my breathing issues, and the physical exam, my physician asked me if I had any other aches and pains that needed to be addressed. I told him about my joint pain and swelling, and he ordered some blood work. Thank goodness he did.

about 5 days later, my doctor calls. He said my rheumatoid factor was double what it should be... for a 50 year old. He sent off my labs to my GP, who referred me to a rheumatologist.

after seeing the rheumatologist, and doing more blood work and x-rays, I finally had a concrete diagnosis. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA for short). As soon as I was diagnosed, I was immediately started on RA protocol.

having a tangible, albeit unexpected, diagnosis to my months pain made me feel exponentially better. But I'd be lying to say I'm alright.

it sucks. It really sucks. Having RA at 25 years old, is almost soul crushing. I haven't been able to do so many of the things I love to do: run, bike, practice yoga, knit, ski, blog. These things that I love, my favorite things, make up so much of who I am. Not being able to do them has made me feel like I've lost so much of my identity. All because of this disease. I never know how I will feel, day to day. On my best days, I have deep but dampened pain in my fingers and toes. On my worst days, getting out of bed is too much.

seeing the glass half full is a constant struggle. RA is not a death sentence; it is not cancer, it is not paralyzing, it is not world-ending but... Being optimistic sometimes feels impossible. I'm my toughest critic and my biggest hater, so staying positive is a constant battle between my self, my reality, and acknowledging any silver lining.

the struggle has been real.

but there are so many things to be grateful and thankful for. 

first, my friends. They have let me whine, cry, scream, and yell my frustrations about my situation and diagnosis way past being blue in the face. They have called me from Florida, txted me from Chicago, wrote me from New Jersey, and visited me from down the street. They've made the time and effort to reach out and make sure I'm okay. I've said it before, but I have the best friends in the world. And for that, I'm thankful.

second, my coworkers. When you work in the medical field, your job is to take care of your patients. Never did I expect to be taken care of by my coworkers. Every day the techs, nurses, clinicians, and physicians check in on me to see how I'm doing. They always ask how I'm feeling, if I need help, and how they can help. If I can't lift a patient on my own, they're always there to help bear the weight. If I'm exhausted and feeling down, they're always there with a cup of tea and encouraging words. Having such a loving and caring work family makes all the difference when you're aching to the core. And for that, I'm grateful. 

third, and most importantly, my family. The amount of work my parents have put in to finding answers, accommodating, and encouraging me is insurmountable. They help in any and all ways they can; driving me to doctors appointments, making my bed in the morning, packing lunches, bringing me water to take my meds, giving me a little bit of extra love when I need it. Being a parent is the hardest job in the entire world, so the fact that they have gone over and beyond their basic duties is something I will forever be indebted to them for. And for that, I'm thankful.

the last year has been one of the hardest of my life. It has been full of pain, frustration, and questioning. It's bent my faith, and dulled my self-esteem.

but it hasn't broken me. I am far from broken.

my experience with rheumatoid arthritis has changed me. 

rheumatoid arthritis has made me patient.

rheumatoid arthritis has made me resilient.

rheumatoid arthritis has made me stronger than I ever could have been. 

and for that, I'm grateful. 



Friday, January 1, 2016

january run+workout.

january run+workout playlist; 1 hour, 28 minutes.

happy new year everyone!

after a few months of not being able to do much of anything besides work and rest, I'm finally back at it.

and as so many of us commit to a "new year, new me" i thought I'd start off the resolutions right...

with the very first run+workout playlist of 2016!

as always, there's a little bit of everything for everyone. Hope you enjoy!

  1. cake by the ocean, DNCE
  2. flux, Bloc Party
  3. power, Kanye West
  4. you, Galantis
  5. as long as you love me, Justin Bieber
  6. something big, Shawn Mendes
  7. me & my girls, Fifth Harmony
  8. something in the way you move, Ellie Goulding
  9. send it up, Kanye West
  10. sorry, Justin Bieber
  11. tied up, Casey Veggies
  12. try me, Jason Derulo
  13. transmission, Zedd
  14. love you right, Matoma
  15. a sky full of stars, Coldplay
  16. levels, Nick Jonas
  17. roses, The Chainsmokers
  18. same old love, Selena Gomez
  19. love myself, Hailee Seinfeld
  20. the fix, Nelly
  21. waiting for you, Demi Lovato
  22. magnets, Disclosure
  23. pay my rent, DNCE
  24. keep on dancin', Ellie Goulding
  25. 679, Fetty Wap

Thursday, October 15, 2015

kayla itsine & a new routine.

recently i've been going through some health issues. And it's barred me from working out for the last 2.5 months.

it's really starting to get to me. Working out is very cathartic for me; it's my release, my therapy, my me-time. Not being able to work out is hard, but not being able to run is brutal.

i'm not as strong as I used to be. Physically and mentally. And I'm not ok with that.

luckily, things are changing. The meds I'm on are slowing and blunting the negatives, and I'm finally starting to feel myself again and feeling positive. So upwards and onwards!

and on to new things! I've been searching for a different workout regimen that will give me a little more of a challenge, and all everyone can talk about is this BBG.

that's the Bikini Body Guide, to all of us out of the know! It was designed by this awesome Aussie trainer Kayla Itsines. She designed the programs specifically for the female body and all of our trouble zones: bum, tum, and legs.

source: kayla itsines.

after stalking her and her cult following on insta, i've been blown away by all of the BBG users' journeys and progress. Unlike a lot of the workouts and lifestyles out there, Kayla's breeds lean and healthy results. Check out the #bbg hashtag here!

source: kayla itsines.

so far, I'm sold!!! 

have any of you tried it? What are your thoughts?!

stay tuned, lovelies! 



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

the best (vegan) applesauce you've ever had.

one of the best perks about living in michigan: apple season!!

growing up, we had a few apple trees on our property. I can remember picking an apple to nosh on my way to school, making apple jam and butter with my Nana, and falling out of the branches one too many times.

but enough reminiscing.

one of my favorite things to make in the fall is homemade apple sauce. I can't eat raw apples anymore (God decided to bless me with a severe allergy to them, but we'll save that story for another day), so I get my apple fix via some good old sauce. 

this is probably one of my favorites. 

it's also gluten-free, vegan, and easy as pie (horrible, dad-level, pun intended).

here's what you need:

  • a whole bunch of apples (fuji apples are my favorite), 3lbs oughtta do it. 
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. instant espresso
  • 1 vanilla bean (curds)
  • crockpot
  • knife
  • fruit peeler
  • cutting board

and here's what you do:

1. peel the apples, and then rinse them off with cold water. While you're peeling all of the apples, place the ones you've already peeled in a bowl of cold water. This helps them stay fresh and crisp.
2. core 'em, slice 'em, dice 'em. 

3. throw those bad boys into your crockpot, set on high. If you're lucky enough to use your parents' avocado green crockpot from 1970s, that's probably not up to                                                                                         code, use that one.
4. top your diced apples with the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, instant espresso, and vanilla bean curds.
5. stir, cover, and wait while those apples cook down to soft mushy goodness. This usually takes about 4 hours. Don't forget to stir occasionally!
smash them if you want a chunkier sauce. If you want a smoother one, stick them in a blender and blend until smooth. 

6. if it's not sweet enough, add maple syrup to taste.
now put that deliciousness into some cute, hella basic mason jars and pat yourself on the back. You did it! Store them in your fridge, and pull them out when you need a good fix. Enjoy! 

get to cooking, my PSL friends.



Friday, September 25, 2015

sometimes things don't go your way.

... and when they don't, it's hard not to feel defeated. 

what's worse than that: when these things are completely outside of your control. Having control over our bodies, our actions, and our environments gives us peace; knowing the general outcome of events allots us predictability. And predictability breeds comfort.

losing that peace and warmth, though, will rock you to your core. Especially when you know you've done everything right, up to this very moment, in order to prevent something like this from happening.

but you find yourself in this free fall where, just like the Rabbit Hole, you don't know where or when you'll land. All you know is you are not where you are supposed to be, not where you ever thought you would be in your wildest dreams.

and then you hit the bottom. Just like an actual fall, you get hit with the heaviness that you know is coming but is still shocking, nonetheless. You stay there for a moment, allowing the impact to register. And that's when you feel everything shatter.

it starts as one tiny fraying sliver of yourself, but before you know it, you're in a million pieces. Some pieces are bigger than others, but you fear never being able to find those small but significant fragments again.

you see these pieces lying shattered and sprawled out in front of you. And with all of the predictability, control, and love of self... you still don't know where to begin.

or how to begin.

or when to begin. 

but you know you have to. You have to pick up the shards of you, all of them, and put yourself together again. Unlike the nursery rhyme, though, you don't have all the kings horses nor all the kings men to come to your aid and swiftly put you back together again.

you do, however, have purpose. Because there's no way the universe would hit you with such damaging offense without a reason.

and that reason is to share your story. 

by sharing your story, you are sharing your strength.

you are sharing all of the big pieces of yourself that make you who you are.

you are sharing the strain you endured through your journey of not knowing if you're putting the correct pieces in the right places.

you're sharing the energy you had to put out in the face of possible defeat.

you're sharing the scars you'll bare, but will eventually heal all by yourself.

you're sharing the faith you have that those tiny shards of yourself you lost will be replaced by even stronger, smarter, and significant ones.

you're sharing who you truly are. And after fighting this battle, who you actually are now is a hundred times better than who you used to be.

because you are a survivor.