Last night I went to my first live music event since the week before COVID lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago when the prospect of a mass vaccine rollout less than a year later seemed like a very long shot...pun intended.
Last night, though, proved that when our country can actually work together and allow science...and, yes, compassion for one another to prevail...we were able to once again enjoy, and, more importantly, embrace what was a beautiful evening after a beautiful day here in Colorado where we obviously thrive on any opportunity to be outdoors. And fortunately, the venue had a gigantic pavilion where the reserved tables could be properly spaced apart to comply with our current COVID guidelines...including room to safely dance without entering another table's zone of COVID social distancing privacy.
Meanwhile, everyone at my table had already been fully vaccinated...except for me.
I became eligible several weeks ago but I had just found out I needed a minor medical procedure that had already been scheduled for this week and was advised to wait to get even the first dose until a few days after the procedure.
The concern had nothing to do with the vaccine affecting the procedure's outcome but more about the potential reaction I might have from the vaccine itself because if anyone is going to have a reaction it is me and how long it might last is the big and concerning unknown. I am, unfortunately, one of those people that tends to be highly sensitive to any medications and vaccines. The last time I got a flu shot was in 2008 and I ended up with the worst case of flu ever. It lingered for over a month with an intractable migraine for 6 months that ultimately led to being hospitalized for 2 weeks when the attempt to break up the migraine with 3 days of intense steroid infusions completely backfired.
Trust me, though, I am not an anti-vaxxer or, for that matter, anti-Western medicine.
I believe in getting the COVID vaccine not only for myself but as the socially responsible thing to do. I couldn't live with myself knowing I had been directly responsible for causing anyone to get COVID and potentially die if the vaccine will eliminate or drastically reduce that possibility.
Like many others weighing the pros and cons, I just need to carefully consider what it will mean if I have a severe reaction for me and me alone. The loss of income is always weighing heavily on my mind as the owner of a business that still primarily relies on me being able to be actively engaged every day regardless of how much I can now rely on #TeamIJS.
I don't think the government is trying to force anything on me but I do wish I could look into a crystal ball and know exactly what is going to happen once that needle goes into my arm and not what happened when it went into anyone else's. We all are going to have the experience that our own bodies are going to put us through and as much as we want to have control over everything in our lives, this isn't one of them if we choose to get the vaccine.
I have my appointment to get the first dose on Thursday but if for some reason I have any issues post procedure tomorrow it will have to be rescheduled. I anticipate no issues but still...I have prepared myself for the possibility. I want to be vaccinated sooner rather than later because I do believe herd immunity is the only way we are ever going to get past this pandemic but am I scared about how I'll react to the vaccine or I wouldn't be writing this blog.
With all of that said, I do know that beyond my cells natural defense mechanisms I know there are many things we all could have been doing to prepare for the vaccine in terms of what we eat, supplements we take, activities we partake in and amount of rest we truly give our bodies to rejuvenate. If that sounds too "woo woo" for you, I'm guessing you may lean towards a COVID denial mindset and think I have, in fact, allowed the government to take complete control of my life. That's fine, you be you, but please don't bother reading any further if you aren't going to be open-minded about the possibility that there is something to be said for practicing a much more, well, mindful existence and we can, in fact, do things to prepare for the toxins that are being injected into our systems.
And with that now all said, I will admit that living healthy and being mindful, is not easy as it should be.
And it definitely is not cheap!
But this is where being organized helps a lot. So if you were wondering what this blog has to do with being a professional organizer, there you go.
However, just because I pride myself on practicing what I preach in terms of how I maintain order in my home and general day-to-day life aka "external clutter", it doesn't mean I have always practiced properly maintaining order in my physical being aka "internal clutter". It really does take a lot of work, or at least until it just becomes part of your natural daily rhythm.
The expense of living healthy...truly healthy?
Yeah, that's a different story but unless you don't value your life then you will pay the ulitmate price in the form of poor health, illness, disease and, yes, potentially an untimely early death.
Morbid but true...sorry.
I actually have been struggling with severe insomnia since the end of last year, something I have openly discussed in a previous blog I originally published on my Medium.com page at the beginning of January before this website was launched. Insomnia doesn't necessarily affect my energy level because I have never been a great sleeper and have survived most of my life on less than 4 hours a night of restful sleep. But it definitely still affected my physical and, yes, mental health at times through the years, and tried as I did to figure out how to overcome my inability to sleep, nothing has ever worked consistently.
This latest round, though, has been the worst I think I've ever experienced. And since December I have seen several practitioners with an emphasis on both Eastern and Western medicine and I'm just going to say that Eastern medicine is winning way ahead in my race for a cure for my insomnia as well as my overall health and well-being.
I know there is definitely a need for a lot of what modern Western medicine offers in our world. But the only thing it has offered me over the past 4 months is a lot of attempts to balance a prescription for ADHD with a prescription for sleep...and it wasn't working. And after getting a referral for a sleep study, only to have the doctor patronize me throughout a two-hour consult, I knew I needed to seek out alternatives where I am not being labeled as just another "hysterical woman" because that is exactly how most women are treated, especially by male doctors, when we are looking for answers to certain issues. I promise you, the inequalities between men and women in our society go well beyond how much less we make doing the same job as a man. If a man presents with insomnia the dialogue is very different I promise but that is clearly a whole other topic for discussion.
Anyway, at the same time I was dealing with the insomnia issue I was having a "female" issue which is the reason for my procedure tomorrow. It will all be fine...been here, done this before, but still something I have to deal with at this juncture. Combine it, though, with a loss of appetite because when I don't sleep I get migraines...
and when I get migraines I get nauseous...
and when I get nauseous I can't eat...
and when I can't eat the migraines get exacerbated...
and when migraines get exacerbated I sleep even less...
and so on and so on.
I was ready for real solutions and no more proverbial "band-aids".
But as if all of that wasn't enough, I've had some chronic hip pain over the past year that no amount of yoga or other exercise was alleviating. And an MRI plus lots of blood work didn't reveal anything for any doctor to say, "Ok, now we know something and will treat it accordingly."
As long as I wasn't sitting or laying down it felt fine so moving about helping clients the way I do or hiking as much as I possibly can actually alleviated the pain. Therefore, if someone can tell me how I can do those type of movements and sleep standing up I will nominate you for Time Magazine's Person of The Year !
So the time had come by the beginning of March...I needed to engage a wellness coach with a strong foundation in a more functional medicine approach. And it just so happens I knew exactly who to call, Mitten Lowe, founder of Journey To Wellness .
I was so fortunate to meet Mitten when I came to Colorado to work at Camp Inc. for the summer of 2016. She was the Communications Director for the Boulder JCC at that time and since Camp Inc. was affiliated with the JCC, we worked literally side by side many days up in Steamboat when it was still operating as an overnight summer camp program. Mitten often had to force me to break away from the intensity of any given day and do a 7-minute workout outside our office on the second-floor of the lodge where we spent sometimes up to 16 hours working through whatever tasks needed to get done. She was also the "first responder" of sorts especially when I managed to bang my head on a shelf one day and offered up some of her magic potions to rub on the large contusion that quickly formed.
Mitten was genuinely worried about me then and has remained a very compassionate and caring voice of reason for me when I have stumbled and fallen both literally and figuratively while following my bliss and creating a new life for myself here in Colorado since that very magical summer.
Yes, Camp Inc. was magical but not in the sense that it was driven by mysterious or supernatural forces. And I am not implying there is anything mysterious or supernatural about what Mitten does as a wellness coach but she is definitely using some sort of power over me to influence my health and well-being. After an initial consult back in March she recommended several supplements as well as a blend of different "magical" natural herbs to create a tea that I now drink several times a day.
Likewise, I feel the magic of Noah Goldstein of Heartseed Health who Mitten recommended to me for acupuncture treatments and additional herbal remedies, thus further influencing my health and well-being. Within seconds of the acupuncture needles being strategically inserted into various points to help my specific needs I feel a "whoosh" sensation and let my body melt into the table for the next 30-45 minutes. And in case you don't know me well, laying still is not something I do well but if you want to see me completely relaxed that is the place especially if I get to watch the clouds roll by as I stare up at through the ceiling sun light window. Sorry, no photo of that because I am supposed to be relaxing, not thinking about opportunities for blog photos but I promise it exists and I take full advantage of allowing it to take me away from the thoughts that are usually racing through my brain from one minute to the next.
I have always maintained a pretty healthy lifestyle but I fully admit that I had not been paying close enough attention to what was going on for several months. I was pushing myself to get It's Just Stuff to a different level, one that I knew would be much more sustainable long term but at a big cost short term which if not nipped in the bud would become really long term and then working as hard as I did would have been completely wasted.
Six weeks later I can tell you that I feel everything I've implemented with Noah and Mitten's guidance really helping. Giving up gluten and dairy has been the hardest thing for me because I have never been a fan of most gluten free products.
Well, let's just say cheese is my religion.
I kid you not.
But I gave up alcohol as well and since a glass of wine completes the bread and cheese experience in my mind, I decided I might as well let the memories of every delicious bite and sip fade...or at least for now.
I am still not sleeping great but it is definitely getting better, my focus is gradually improving and my hip pain is pretty much non-existent. And my appetite? This is one of those be careful what you wish for things because it is back and then some. I truly feel hungry all the time. Some of that is a result of one of the current Western medications I am taking that does stimulant my appetite, but as things continue to improve I fully anticipate I will not be needing it moving forward and my appetite will level out, hopefully before I gain the 10 pounds everyone else complained they gained during our pandemic life.
I will, however, remain vigilant about everything I am doing with Mitten and Noah. But it does require planning and organizing everything from...
...making enough tea to take with me when I leave my house for the day and won't have access to make it on the go
...taking all of the supplements religiously
...keeping the wellness check-in appointments at all costs with Mitten and acupuncture appointments with Noah because I have in the past justified rescheduling things like that when I get a last minute request from a client to help with a project or, very recently escape a major snowstorm and head to Santa Fe for almost a week even though that week was probably worth 1000 acupuncture appointments in terms of rest and relaxation
As far as my preparation for the vaccine is concerned, I am following Mitthen and Noah's guidance for that as well including adding..
a Vitamin C supplement to my regime for at least the week before the first dose and a week or two after the second one
a high quality green powder to add to my already high "greens" diet (I actually crave greens)
and, last, but certainly not least, a vaccine detox tincture like this one from Liddell Laboratories
There are no guarantees any of this will work but I won't know unless I try. I want more experiences back in my life like I had last night so I will do anything organically possible to get beyond the actual vaccinations.
And if you haven't been vaccinated yet, by all means, take whatever recommendations I am embracing because, seriously, what do you have to lose? Some money and time purchasing a few things? Far be it for me to judge anyone's choices when it comes to getting vaccinated or spending money on anything but I am happy to be the conduit that could change even one person's mind about getting vaccinated if doing any of the above puts their mind to rest.
One last thing, my son unexpectedly came to Boulder last night. He lives in Telluride but has been on a road trip to other ski resorts this past week and thought he was going to be able to stay with a friend in Breckenridge for a few days but the friend wasn't feeling well after his vaccine so I guess my son decided I was the better option for the night. Unfortunately for him I was at the previously mentioned concert and couldn't meet him for dinner.
Fortunately for him I had given him a key to my apartment several months ago. At the time, I believe his response was something like, "Why do I need this?" Clearly, this was one of those parenting moments as well as another #organizersneverstoporganizing moments too.
We did get to go out to breakfast before he headed "back up the hill" to Breckenridge and right there on the table with my tofu scramble and gluten free bread was my tea infuser bottle (which I highly recommend if you love tea) with my herbal tea "magic potion".
Mitten and Noah will be so proud.
Be well...be safe...be kind...and I really hope you will all be vaccinated by summer,