Monthly Archives: December 2016

Lost Dutchman State Park

My boyfriend and I camped a night at Lost Dutchman State Park- it rained overnight and all the next morning. Between that and the air mattress and the cold….. ow. I enjoyed it a ton mentally,  no regrets. 

It’s dog friendly and there are a few trail options, including a pretty flat one that goes around. There’s some minor incline, but overall pretty doable. If you don’t like or can’t manage the whole circuit, you can always do part and turn back around. 


My Christmas 

Well, my Christmas involved a three hour nap/coma. I was O-U-T. Otherwise, perfectly magical.

The two days leading up to Christmas were jam-packed, and I did not take care of myself…. at all. I ran around getting gifts, cleaning to have people over, and visiting family. I was spent. I ended up missing a huge family gathering because I’d expended all my energy already. It was a bummer, and a sharp reminder that while yes, I’m perfectly capable of intense activity and my energy endurance will hold up for a while, there are consequences.

Remember to take care of yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup.

Handling Holiday Stress

holiday-stressAs someone with chronic conditions, this time of year can become quite stressful. Sure there is the “normal” stress of gifts, visiting family, and decorating/cooking, etc. – but add to it changing weather, new smells (stores and homes add “holiday” smells and aromatic products), and simply more crowds everywhere – and things get touch-and-go.

How to handle stress for the holidays – my five tips:

Focus on the real meaning of the holiday. Our holidays, with a few exceptions, are not built on commercialization. They are founded on a true reason and generally that is completely aside from the stress. If you ignore the commercialization and focus on the true meaning, there should be minimal cashflow and lots of quality time and emotion. If you have a budget, stick to it – it’s not about money. It’s about the real meaning.

Schedule downtime. With everything else on the calendar, make sure you set aside time for you. And this may mean time to do the normal things, like laundry or it may mean sitting in a quiet spot, meditating, reading, taking a long bath, whatever you need to de-stress for a half hour.

Space out the stressors. If typical holiday craziness makes you crazy, space it out. Go shopping early in the season or shop from home. Meet friends for a breakfast rather than happy hour. Don’t do three meals in a day with friends – schedule time after the holidays to catch up.  Do certain people stress you out? Perhaps you can skip seeing that person or put boundaries or preparations in place. There is no reason to be in the frenzy. Space it out.

Listen to your body. If you are tired, get some rest. If the meal is too much to make, cut some of it out – buy some pre-made. If there is too much to do, delegate. If you are hurt, stop – take care of the pain. If you are stressed, relax. Listen to yourself, acknowledge your emotions. Reach out for help. If you need meds, go see the doctors – don’t wait until it’s far past the right time.

Don’t blow your healthy habits. Whether you are just starting or you’ve been on a good streak, keep to it. Okay, maybe plan some small treats so you don’t feel like you are completely losing out on the special holiday goodies. And rope in your friends and family to help. Ask them to make healthy selections for the food. Bake healthier goodies. Avoid the worst offenders. Take the family out for a walk. If you completely blow the progress you’ve made, you will feel worse and things escalate from there. Be strong. Be realistic. And have a fall back plan.

Do you have secret weapons you use to successfully make it through the holidays without going into a flare? Share with us!


Having the Right Partners: Fitness

dave-holly-s01-wp-prt-009-150x150When living with disabilities, it is critical to have the right people in your life as partners. In this, most people first think of spouses/significant others and doctors. These are critical partners(and Lord knows I could not function without my husband), but there are others perhaps less obvious ones.

Today, let’s discuss my personal trainer (yes, I am that Scottsdale woman that people mock)… Who’d’ve ever thunk I would have a personal trainer? I started with him this past March with a groupon (yea Groupon!) with a goal to lose twenty pounds. Now Dave wasn’t sure what to think when he met me and heard all the health challenges (Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Sjogrens, Hashimoto’s thyroid, Celiac, osteoporosis, etc. etc. etc.), but he was game. The first session took me sitting in his office for the next hour to get my blood pressure and heart back to normal! After that, he gave me his WiFi password and I simply worked there after each workout until I could walk steady and not pass out. And yes, I have passed out during workouts.

But here’s the thing – he listens to me. He cannot watch me for the typical signals, because I am completely not typical. We disagree sometimes, but we respect each other’s knowledge and expertise – him with physical fitness, me with my body. And it works. We work. I may not be able to get in twice a week, but like today, I was in for the first time in a month and he sent me away with homework and would not schedule me for next week until we saw what repercussions I would have for today.

Beyond that – he fixed tendinitis in my right arm where PT could not do it for over 6 months.

Find the right partner. It is invaluable.

Handicap parking

A coworker walked me to my car and said “lucky!”, referring to my handicap parking spot.

I laughed it off instead of stabbing him like I wanted to.

Deep breaths….. I am a mature adult who doesn’t want to go to prison, I am a mature adult who doesn’t want to go to prison…. 


This is what inflammation looks like. My friend Jen called it “water knee”. This is moderate, even low level for me- this is me just a little tired, but otherwise doing errands and cleaning like a regular person. My right knee is the worse one, as you can see. Yay for physical, visual evidence of issues?
My boyfriend’s normal knees for scale:

Such definition.


- How much do you know?

at the Heart of Privacy

K Royal (@heartofprivacy)