Instead of…

We had been toying with a March race for a bit (either Coaster run or Catalina Island) when our pup had that lump that needed to be biopsied so we held off. By the time he (thank God) was all clear the first race had sold out. We had talked about West Coast to-do’s before our (hopeful) move and the Grand Canyon was a biggie on my list. So instead of a race weekend we decided kind of impromptu lets do it.
Planning
This really was the Thursday before we left. Something a lot of people don’t known is the Grand Canyon National Park is infact dog friendly. They’re allowed all along the South rim trail and a special road called the Shoshone that opens up to a great canyon view. But apparently it was a big weekend to head up there because all of the dog friendly hotels that had decent reviews were sold out. Then we came across the Grand Canyon Railway and hotel. The hotel itself wasn’t pet friendly but had a pet resort attached. So we wouldn’t
bewith our furry family but they could play with dogs right next us and we could take them out to breakfast in Williams before we left and walk around.

Williams
Williams is located about an hour north of the Grand Canyon. Located on historic Route 66, the town is adorable. Now for those of you with little girls who’ve watched Frozen a million and a half times, my 2 year old guy has watched Cars more. This town transports you right into Radiator Springs.

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2015/03/img_7455.jpg (top is where we ate after the Canyon, the diner is ok- good atmosphere just ok food, I’d stick with a milkshake etc here) (bottom is the Bistro 66, great Italian food beer and wine brewed locally). The people were very friendly. I was surprised how wilderness like it was. A real mountain like town, snow on the ground. I expected desert vastness…

Chu chu

My son was so excited for the train. The train takes you right from Williams to the Grand Canyon. About an hour and half ride each way. This is such a great idea for kids, makes it more than just mommy and daddy want to go on a hike trip but an adventure. We started this adventure with an old West Cowboy show at the Depot.

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After this show it was “all aboard”. The ride featured cowboy singing old country like Johnny Cash. Our train attendant Becky was great. She was so informative about the history of the train, the area but pointed out so much wildlife such as: prairie dogs, antelope, Ravens, and other animals like cows and horses. She told many a cow joke too. The ride was not just for kids as there was a cafe car that sold beer and wine and treats, there was so much to look at. It was also great for me because I could rest up for our ride.

South Rim Exploration
Seeing the Grand Canyon was on the bucket list and it more than exceeded my expectation. I’m not sure words will do it justice. It’s definitely one of God’s gifts for us to admire. Our guide warned us and I felt it, the elevation. We were at about 7,000 feet. Now where I live is not at sea level…close to 3,000 ft in areas but I felt it. But I did as the guide suggested and drank plenty of water (and Nuun). Having Lyme makes you more sensitive to high altitudes but I listened to my body and felt decent. Some highlights: snowball fight with my son, seeing a bunch of mule deer, great views and crisp air. After the rim trail and the trail of time (seeing and learning about various ages of the rocks) we did some of the Angel Loop trail into the Canyon. We didn’t go too far mainly because it was icy. If we had proper hiking boots, poles etc and didn’t have a little one it may have been possible. Plus I was getting pooped.

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After a stop in the gift shop and some snacks it was time to board the train.

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Oh no robbers!
The ride back we got more great info from Becky. We learned and saw some volcanoes (some near Williams are not extinct!). About an hour or so into the trip the train stopped and cowboy robbers got us. (It’s also the way the performers get tipped, you have small bills visible).

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2015/03/img_7508.jpg Ry got to keep a bullet from one of the cowboys😬.
The next morning we picked up our pooches and walked around Williams one last time. We had breakfast at Grand Canyon coffee. Many patios in town are pet friendly.

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Overall great trip. The hotel was nice but not too fancy you worried about having a little one with you. The only issue we had was rude neighbors. They woke us up 11:30pm the first night and then had their kids playing in the hallway at 6:30 am. Had I known they weren’t checking out I would have moved rooms. But other than that adding the Williams stay made it perfect for the little one and for me with a chronic illness it gave me a chance to rest before and after the hike. I think the gentle train ride helped eased motion sicknesses too I would of felt in a car. Im glad we did an “instead of”
Next up:
Finish up my heart monitor, and a MRI this weekend kicks off my marathon amount of appointments before we leave. I’m getting nervous. Until next time…💚

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Hikes and Happenings

The ticking down of the weeks of leaving the desert is very exciting but stressful trying to squeeze in appointments that are no less than two hours away-some four. As of yesterday I booked most of them: heart follow up TBD (waiting on monitor to arrive first so we know how long it will take to get results), MRI 3/22, EEG 4/6 (although waiting on March cancellation), Neuro follow up 4/17 and rescheduled my last Lyme doc appointment for the same day as my tattoo: 4/27. Whew…..
While waiting for our physical orders to peace out of here we enjoyed some hikes. It’s something we did last winter as well. The freedom of time (not signing up for half marathons) has afforded this. During the week I’ve taken my pack to some local trails. We’ve had a crazy amount of rain (for here) and that’s made this place blessed with so much green and wild flowers.

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Over the weekend we went to Short Canyon. About a 20 minute drive north. I tend to find things listed as “short easy hikes” and they end up totally not so. We ended up deep into the canyons. My vertigo was a little nutty for a bit but some yogic breathing solved this. We went much further than expected and although the waterfall wasn’t exactly as advertised (hubby found it on the way down) we found much more.

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What else? We held off on signing up for the Coaster run as of now: first because we were deciding between that and doing race at Catalina Island and then because we found out our lab, Chester has a tumor on his tail. We should find out by the end of the week what it is. Prayers please, he’s an amazing part of our family. We’re still in the planning process for our Disneyland trip/son’s bday/family visit. I also completed the #forloveandyoga Instagram challenge. It was the first I’ve been able to do! Single digit weeks here for me, lots to do…. Until next time 💚

Happenings 2/22

Well, this will be my first post at age 35. While things aren’t the easiest right now, I’m happy to be here. More on my birthday later.
I had my cardiologist follow up a little over a week ago. Now mind you I mentioned nothing about running, my primary reason to go there was to go over my 30 day event monitor. We walk in and he says “so sorry about running, I know you were mad” (see do no harm post from early fall/late summer). “Running is bad for you. Healthy guys they go run marathons and die. Bad for knees. (Picture this in thick Japanese accent). Jogging ok 5k maybe 10k but anymore more for Olympians ok”. Ok man we aren’t even here for that. I jog/walk/run 5ks when I can during treatment and I have no urge to discuss my post Lyme remission running plans with this guy. Ok so he asks about my erratic heart rate. I tell him still while I sleep. “So maybe we get 30 day monitor”. Hello that’s why we’re here. We tell him we did this and it’s like him pulling teeth to find results. After he does it just shows more sinus arrhythmia which is normal for my age. Long story short I will be getting a different monitor and I just finished up the at home sleep study he ordered. That was a pain in the tush.
Next up on the doctor front. Need to schedule EEG and MRI for neuro. It finally was approved by insurance but we’re running out of time here and trying to squeeze all this in while hubby is going through a busy work period is proving difficult. Then I’ll have a cardio follow up, a neuro follow up and one last Lyme doc visit in April.
How have I been feeling? Well after my ER visit I was doing really bad. The fatigue was unbearable and the nausea even worse. I also developed some canker sores including one on my tongue that made eating near impossible. Thank God for the extra long weekend because I couldn’t get off the couch really from Thursday-Monday when I felt a little better. Why was this? Who knows? Stress, not going out of town in a month, who knows. Finally on Presidents’ Day the nausea let up a bit and I said ok let’s do something. So I put on my seabands and we went to a festival up in Kernville.

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I continued to improve after that finally able to get back out on my walks. That’s another thing that may of set me off, I was trying to walk every day instead of every other. I was able to do chores and enjoy my birthday.
We decided to head up to Kennedy Meadows area to find a little hike. I packed my knee brace, some snacks and NUUN and we went off. On the way we stopped at a small general store, pet a couple puppies talked to a fellow Pats fan and spoke withy the owner of the store. She told us we could find the Pacific Crest Trail off of the campground. Having just read Wild by Cheryl Strayed I was excited. As we set off I was reminded I have a long way to go to regain my physical fitness that Lyme disease has hindered. I listened to my body, took sips of NUUN and rested when I had to. I’ll get back some day to the hiking that I used to enjoy… Strenuous jaunts that included trails where hands were needed or if it seemed to easy I’d jog… Anyway the reward at the end of trail was a beautiful footbridge. I love being outdoors with the family.

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Next up running wise? We’re still debating doing the Coaster Run at Knottsberry farm. But first I plan on signing up for Team Sparkle Run for Rhett virtual 5k. Rhett syndrome is a a disorder (not genetic) that mainly affects young girls. It’s a neurological disorder that severely impacts the way they can speak, walk, eat etc. I have no idea what these young ladies go through but having neuro Lyme I know a bit sometimes how it is to feel trapped in your own body. Registration ends tomorrow (2/24) so I urge you to sign up. You can run, walk, roll this whenever until mid April.

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Last up: and the winner is: Nicole Cepaitis. Please email: info@newportskinnytea.com do claim your prize. Just reference Valerie @flowingthroughthefight.com

Until next time💚

Happenings 2/12

I wasn’t going to update until after my cardiologist appointment on Friday but there’s been a ton going on with my fight including my horrible day yesterday so here goes…
Backing up first to my Lyme doc appointment last week. For the first time at a visit I felt better. I actually had some good news to report. He was pleased. I had been still having some issues with racing heart at night but had done some research on the incidence on Lyme and sleep apnea and it seemed like maybe that could be what’s happening. He gave me the card of a holistic sleep specialist in San Diego. Before getting in touch with her I would see what my cardio had to say and see if maybe they could order an at home sleep study themselves. Anyway we just decided to increase my antibiotics: first the omnicef to twice a day and then the plaquinol to twice a day. We still aren’t covering the intercellular form of the Lyme bacteria but the drugs to cover those mostly have the ability to effect the electrical stuff of the heart and we have my cardio follow up to hear from first. Kind of frustrating but it is what it is.
A few days following the visit I started feeling cold crummy: a little chest congestion , sore throat etc. So I decided yesterday to just rest. I ordered a kids movie on demand and laid down my son. When all of a sudden I had this intense crushing pain in my chest. It felt somewhere in between someone stabbing me and punching me, maybe both. I tried to sit up and do slow breaths and it didn’t relent. I tried to contact my husband, nothing. I took my blood pressure and it was like 166/95. Then I took my heart rate: 144. I called my cardiologist to see what they had to say. This conversation became a blur as the pain escalated. They told me based on my symptoms i was to go to the ER ASAP and if I couldn’t get a hold of my husband to call 911.
I tried to contact him again and nothing so I had to call for my first ride in the square limo. When the paramedics arrived my BP was still around 135/something. Finally as they did an EKG a here he arrived and I could head to the hospital.
After a series of tests, they found nothing. If you have Lyme this isn’t an uncommon occurrence..I hope I dodged the croupy kids in there. After returning home a couple hours later I spoke with my Lyme doctor. He said that Lyme patients have an increased amount of cytokines and that increases even more when sick with a cold on top of it thus making us even sicker. Also I increased my Meds yesterday so it could of been a bad herx reaction. So yesterday I was to take no medications and then today start back on 1 a day of the Meds and when my colds over split the capsules in half and try 1 1/2.
Feeling like I was hit by a Mack truck I laid on the couch with my son last night he snuggled into me. It was a needed reminder that he is why I fight. It doesn’t matter if others don’t believe me, or in me, or my disease. I fight for him, I breath for him. I won’t stop.
Onto some good news. We found out several days ago we’re moving where we wanted to (without going into specifics on a public blog) those of you who know us know where this is. It won’t be next to family but we can drive. I’ve been starting some yoga via an Instagram challenge. (val142821). Haven’t made it to a class yet but weekend classes here are too early and at night it’s after I detox bath so we’ll keep trying. So long for now. Keep up whatever battle your in, those of you with illness. Find a reason to fight.

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Newport Cocoa Tea Review and Giveaway

I finally got a chance to try Newport Skinny Tea’s latest (as I told you about a few weeks ago). Well my son was going to have a small dessert (a Girl Scout cookie that’s a no no on my crazy Lyme diet) and I had a cup of this tea. No lie, it’s a great sub to satisfy the sweet tooth. The first thing that hit me was the cinnamony taste, and then the chocolate on the second note. I can definitely see having this as a snack tea. I brewed mine in a disposable tea bag, it is also suggested that you can use an infuser as well.
If you want to try it check out http://www.newportskinnytea.com and ..or enter this giveaway. All you have to do is click like on this post and you’re entered! I’ll have my little helper choose a name by Valentines!!

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Rock and Roll Arizona Race Recap

We arrived in Arizona Friday evening and went to the expo in Phoenix. This race was set up a bit different. The 5k was on Saturday in Tempe along with a second expo day. On Sunday was the marathon, half marathon, 10k and relay. So something for everyone and those bling junkies could do a race a day for a “remix challenge”. The marathon started in Phoenix, went though Scottsdale and finished in Tempe.
We parked in the lot in downtown Phoenix and walked to the expo . I have to admit I was a bit giddy seeing all the super bowl signs hanging around with my Patriots in the AFC championship that weekend. The expo was well set up and stocked. My iPhone had finally crashed one too many times so A new phone meant I needed a new Spibelt. I prefere running with a tune band for my small arm but I didn’t have time to order one and I like my little pouch for walks and hikes. Finally found that at a little pop up shop called runners den. Next up was looking for NUUN. I needed a new bottle to run with and they always have great expo deals. I wasn’t sure if I packed my knee brace so I wanted to pick up some KT tape just in case. Hubby also picked up some socks and body glide. There was also some cool races to sign up for but we still don’t know where will be living next year….

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My 5k started in Tempe beach park. This is a gorgeous area with paths, playgrounds and more overlooking the beautiful Tempe Town Lake. Now sometimes the smaller race just an after thought but that was not the case here at all. We had our own bag check which was nice because it was a chilly morning. I kept my clothes on until the last possible moment and headed to the back of the corrals. After the national anthem we were off. With all my gear on (see previous post) I felt pretty good. The course was fairly flat save a few overpasses one that was more substantial than others that I actually chose to gun up. We had a lot to look at running by the lake and some cool mountain/rock views. There was a band on course at the other end of a tunnel so it really amplified the sound and pumped you up as we ran though it. We also had a dj towards the end of the run. ( see the little 5k was not forgotten about;). I finished faster than my previous runs since undergoing my Lyme treatment. I felt pretty strong too…maybe I can run a little more?

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Finish Festival. After collecting my medal (not bad guitar pick) and grub I met up with my family and went to the finish festival. It was pretty warm now and we sat in the sun and watched Desert Dixie, the post race band, play some country music. I had my free mich ultra. I never drink anymore with my Lyme but I earned it. They also had a kid run for grades k-12. My son is too young but because of this they had awesome inflatables to play on that he LOVED (5 dollars I’m sure for insurance and a signature). We had great fun in the sun.

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Back at the hotel. My husband had scored a great deal as a military rate at the Marriott in downtown Tempe. It was a quick (less than ten minute walk for Tempe beach park) which was the hub really for race weekend. *a bit of advice ask to stay at no road side of building, it was a bit loud if you’re a light sleeper like me*. I rested for awhile and then we walked to PF Changs (race sponsor). Yummy food for my crazy diet. More rest after and then I took my son out exploring. (If you cut through garage even quicker walk to the shops). We found a cute candy shop and mini park with bunnies while my hubby kept his feet up in prep for the marathon.

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Marathon day. My husband’s run started at 7:50, not too early. He said public transportation was super easy to get to the start.The course, he mentioned as fairly flat and had it not been for the unseasonable warmth (near 80 at finish) he probably would of PR’d. He’s fast too (3 1/2 average) so I can’t imagine being out there longer… Again it was easy for us to walk to the finish. We found our spot. (Marathon and 10k on one side 1/2 and relay peeps on the other). We cheered on the first female and waited for “daddy”.

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Finish festival. It was pretty easy meeting up with my eight time marathoner at the baggage area. We chilled by the lake while he caught his breath and then picked up his finisher jacket (free brooks swag). Then it was time to hit the beer garden (children allowed in unlike some other races). The tent provided some good shade as I ate a fruit bowl and they shared a pizza. Entertainment was great with Wallflowers started and then OKgo.

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Overall. It was a really fun weekend. A lot to do in the area. We cheered on the Pats at a Buffalo Wild Wings that night. I had really wanted to do a hike the next day but someone was sore so we hit a dunkies instead. The race was very organized, a lot going on, easy to spectate and something for everyone. A+ (just one plus nothing will beat the Bears).

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Tips for running/exercising with Chronic health issues

So I thought before I posted my race recap for Rock N Roll Arizona I’d write about some tips on how I was able to do it. I post these recaps with huge smiles on my face, but it takes more than just a smile for me to get there. I’ll be talking mostly in terms of the race but this goes for other workouts too, even walks with the dogs.
First off Prep If going to work out to the point of a sweat, even a light one I make sure that the day before I REST. This worked out well because we had a long ride the day before so I made sure to pack plenty of snacks for car ride, hydrate with NUUN (yummy electrolyte and/or vitamin drink tabs)and wear a pair of compression socks. More on those later.

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As far as goodies/aids:
As pictured above, I like a 1. comfortable to carry water bottle and water or NUUN .
I love Nuun’s material, it’s light weight I hardly notice it. I would have never carried water for short runs pre Lyme but this helps to give me energy and also to cool me off if I over heat.

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2. Peppermint essential oil. I had developed some back pain after the drive down, whether it was from Lyme or just driving who knows… I had some oil in my roller ball so I rolled some on my pain spot to sooth pre start. I also use this at the base of my skull if I feel warm or of its hot out to cool down.
3. Shades. A lot of us with Lyme have light sensitivity. It hasn’t been bothering me lately but wearing sunglasses helps with the floater I often have in my left eye and of course it’s good to protect your eyes anyway.
4. Sea bands. These little wrist bands are placed on a certain spot on your wrist and using acupressure help alleviate nausea. I didn’t use these in Arizona but I have used them on many-a walks, hikes and even normal activities: they work!
5. KT tape. I used this for post run shin pain for walking around Tempe. I’ve had on/off shin pain for about a year or so. Most likely due to Lyme and co-infections. This helps pull everything in so to speak. I’m no scientist. Lol
6. SPIbelt. Aka spiffy runners fanny pack. I use these to carry my phone and doggy bags on walks but for the run since I had gotten a new phone I used this in place of an armband. I also put little things I may need to get me through the run such as ginger chews or in an emergency; aspirin.
7. Knee Strap: I have had patella tendinitis pre Lyme due to years of figure skating, dancing and then hurdling. Now with Lyme my joint pain tends to flare a bit. This makes me pain level virtually zero.
8. Compression Socks. These are key. I used to just use them for long runs but now I’ll even wear them around the house. They are a must for my 5k’s. The compression increases circulation and helps pain in my achy legs. Since beginning treatment I’ve had some leg pain. I think in part due to inactivity but also just Lyme itself.
9. A watch with a heart rate monitor. I used my holter event monitor for the latest race but will use my heart rate monitor on my Garmin for normal runs just to make sure I’m taking it easy.
10. Road ID. I forgot to label it because it’s hidden under my KT…oops;). This bracelet has all of your emergency contacts on the wrist and a profile with all medical info and Meds. Just a must.
Lastly, post run be sure to rest, stretch and refuel. By rest I mean definitely put your feet up for some time. I took my son’s nap time to sit on the couch and watch my HGTV.
I hope this helps someone. We do have limitations but by making adaptations some things are really possible. More than we think.