Feeling more like myself

For the last few months, I've haven't felt well. I didn't know what was wrong, but I was always tired and borderline unhappy. Not depressed, just not really happy. In fact, I didn't feel like I was feeling anything. It was weird and not at all like how I usually feel. I was not normal, mentally or physically.

I blamed it on my weight gain of 40 pounds in the past seven months. I'm sure that was part of it, but yesterday I realized something else that changed about two months ago.

A quick recap of the past nine months:

August 2011 - Broke my wrist while bicycling and was in a fingertip to elbow cast for three months (first month was a fingertip to shoulder cast). Told would most likely have surgery. Missed a ton of work since I couldn't type (I'm a software developer). Fortunately it all healed and no surgery, but a stressful period.

Sept 2011 - My sister had a catastrophic stroke that left her completely paralyzed on her right side, unable to speak intelligibly, read or write. Previously a very active woman and now she's in a wheelchair.

Nov 2011 - After a battle with her eldest daughter, my niece, whom I no longer speak to (she is seriously crazy), I was appointed my sister's legal guardian by the State of Alaska.

Dec 2011 - Found out from my sister she'd been abused when I visited her at her assisted living in Fairbanks, Alaska. I live in Seattle. I can't tell you the horror of her trying to explain to me about the "bad" person. The only word she could say, "bad", over and over and point to her window. And her unending tears as she tried to tell me who had hurt her and what had happened, both of which I'll never know for sure because I can't understand her.

Jan 2012 - Moved my sister to Seattle to live close to me in a wonderful adult family home.

Feb 2012 - Filed a Vulnerable Adult Order of Protection with the state to keep my crazy niece away from my sister for the next five years.

Mar 2012 - Started a high-pressure, intense project at work with a very tight, unrealistic, but government-imposed deadline. Very much outside my comfort zone on this project.

Apr 2012 - Started breaking out in horrible hives, first a couple times a week, then every day. Huge red welts would appear for no apparent reason and itch like crazy, on different parts of my body on different days. And of course, let's not forget the lip swelling that happened randomly and made me look like a freak-a-zoid. It was misery.

Late Apr 2012 - On the advice of a nurse, I started taking a 24-hour Claritin on a daily basis. The hives and lip swelling immediately stopped. It had happened three times the day before. I was about ready to go to the emergency room.

Late Apr 2012 - June 28, 2012 - felt out of sorts. Extremely tired all the time. Eating out of control. Exercise almost non-existent. Often would get up early, get dressed to go to the gym, but wouldn't go. Too tired.

June 29, 2012 - yesterday - I got up, started to take the Claritin as I have every day for two months and although I have been hive free for that entire time, I decided to not take it. The pressure has lifted at work, my sister stuff has settled into a comfortable routine. I haven't spoken to the crazy niece since February and doubt I will ever speak to her again. Did I really need to continue taking the Claritin? I decided no, it was time to stop it.

Within only a few  hours, I felt different. I felt like myself. It was very weird. I was sitting at my desk yesterday and thought, why do I feel so different? What changed? I feel happy. I feel excited about my plans for July 4th. Life isn't bad.

I hadn't felt that feeling for months. Then it hit me, I stopped taking a pill I'd been taking every day for two months. Even though they claim Claritin has little to no side effects, I really noticed a difference in myself when I stopped taking it. I also slept better last night than I have in a long time. Like a rock. I didn't wake up once all night which is unusual. 

I feel ready to get back on the wagon. My wagon of choice this time around is the Paleo diet. Thanks to Lyn's post ( and this one) regarding the Whole 30, I thought this is a good time to figure out what foods make me feel good and the ones that make me feel lousy. If that tiny little Claritin pill has such a huge impact on my body, I know all the junk I'm dumping into my body must really be playing havoc with my physical and mental health.

I've got the book, It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways, downloaded to my Kindle. I've skimmed it but will do some serious reading today and get the right food in the house (and the wrong food out of the house).

Today's plan:
Gym
Reading (the book referenced above)
Grocery shopping (including the Farmer's Market)
House cleaning - yuk
Take my sister for a color/cut and maybe a movie if she's up to it see a movie. Magic Mike - don't laugh - she loves that kind of stuff. I think she'll get a kick out of it. Rottentomatoes.com gave it an 80% rating (okay, I'll admit it, I love Matthew McConaughey).

Tomorrow - I will try to mow our lawn if it dries out a little. I have never mowed our lawn or even tried to start the lawn mower. We've lived her 14 years but it's my husband's thing. It hasn't been mowed in five weeks. I've never seen it this tall. My husband is usually a freak about the lawn, , always working on it trying to make it the nicest lawn in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, he's in Denver again this weekend. Fifth time in the last six weeks (and he just started a new job five weeks ago).

His dad was taken to ER again on Thursday but is back at the nursing home today. His dad is complaining he can't breath. He's on oxygen, but he can't get enough. It's the emphysema. Damned smoking for the past 50 years. I wish the Federal government would make cigarette sales illegal and put the tobacco companies out of business.

The tobacco industry is something I will never understand. I understand the whole financial aspect of it, the big business, the jobs that would be lost, the taxes the state and federal governments would lose, the revenue for the Indian tribes (we have an Indian Smoke shop on almost every corner here), but I just don't get it. Cigarettes are poison. They kill people. Slowly and painfully. Yes, I know it's a choice but it doesn't make any sense that it's okay to sell cigarettes. Okay, stepping off my soapbox. This is a weight loss blog, not an anti-smoking blog. Still, it just makes me crazy!

Okay, until tomorrow. I plan to be back to daily posting now that I'm myself again. :)

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