What is Ramsay Hunt?

Since I was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, I’ve been trying to learn all I can about what is happening to me and what the future holds. Let me share what I have learned so far — if you want a true medical explanation, this link is the best article to understanding the science behind it all.

Here is my layman’s attempt to explain what is going on.

What is Ramsay Hunt?

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is a term used to describe a group of symptoms caused by a Shingles infection in the nerves of the face and ear. It usually only causes symptoms on one side of a person’s face. Patients will usually have a palsy from their eyebrow to their chin and facial muscles, including those for the the eye, do not function. Loss of hearing, taste, touch, and balance are common with the nerve damage from Ramsay Hunt.

The Phases of Ramsay Hunt

Diagnostic Phase

This is where patients start to show outward symptoms of nerve damage — usually facial palsy is the first symptom identified. It can often take doctors weeks to diagnose the source of the problem as a Shingles infection. I was incredibly fortunate that my doctors recognized the symptoms very early, and I was put on medication as quickly as possible to minimize permanent damage.

Acute Phase

During this phase patients are given large dosages of anti-viral and steroid medications. The anti-viral medicine is used to stop the virus. The steroids are used to reduce inflammation of the nerves. It is crucial to stop the nerves from becoming inflamed. Nerves can be permanently damaged because of the inflammation caused from Shingles. If they are permanently damaged, it will result in loss of function for a lifetime.

The acute phase lasts several weeks. The medications are usually given at full strength for at least 14 days, then tapered off for another 7 days.

During the entire acute phase, there is often significant pain in both the face and the ear. Doctors may add additional medication to help with this pain.

Recovery Phase

The recovery phase for Ramsay Hunt can be weeks, months or years depending on its severity. As the swelling in the nerves reduces, patients will see symptoms decrease and function return.

How has it effected me?

I’m still in the acute phase of Ramsay Hunt. I have been tapered off the anti-virals and the steroids, but I am on Gabapentin and Tylenol to help with the pain.

One significant symptom at this point is the vertigo or loss of balance. At this point I can only walk around for about 10-15 minutes before needing to sit. It feels like I’m on a roller-coaster all of the time and I often shout “Whee!” as I turn a corner because it feels so strange. I walk around the house holding onto objects to reassure myself I’m not falling over.

Sensory overload is another difficult symptom to learn to manage. It’s like living in what I think of as a ‘house divided.’ If you draw a line right down the middle of my face, I feel completely different things on either side. I see different, hear different, touch different, taste, smell, and even breathe different. It’s like having Beethoven playing in one ear and Metallica in the other. All the time. This is exhausting for my brain to interpret all of these signals and I have sensory overload and exhaustion fairly quickly. Sitting in a quiet, dark room helps to calm everything down.

Currently I have mild hearing loss in my right ear. I can also really listen to one thing at a time. For example, if someone is talking and opening a Rice Krispie treat at the same time, I can’t hear the talking, just the crackling of the wrapper. After some experimenting, I can tell at the piano that my right ear cannot hear notes below the B seven tones above middle C. Sound location is very different between my two ears and can be disorienting.

I am very fortunate that my facial palsy is mild. I can move my mouth and cheek if I concentrate. I can talk, but my mouth does get tired and I slur words together after a bit. The more I talk, the more the facial palsy will manifest itself and my right side will show more of a drop.

My eyelid still works(it is common that eyelids won’t close in Ramsay Hunt patients) but the facial nerve has stopped signaling to my eye to make tears. Because my eyes are dry, I cannot wear contact lenses and have to put eye drops in frequently to prevent damage to the cornea. Luckily, I ordered a bunch of cute eyeglasses in December, so I’m all set there.

My sense of taste has diminished significantly and my tongue does not work the same. I can’t drink out of a can or cup — only straws for now. I had lost all sensation in my tongue completely for about a week, but I can now at least tell that I have teeth. I can’t feel cold or hot on my tongue, so when I take a drink of ice water, I don’t feel a temperature change until it hits the back of my throat. So strange!

When will I get better?

I get this question often and I wish I had a good answer. Every patient who has Ramsay Hunt recovers differently. Because I was treated so quickly, I do have every hope of recovering most functions.

What is it like living with Ramsay Hunt?

As of today, I can tell you where I am, and what my daily life has become. My main goals have been reduced to the following:

  • Get my kids off to school in their normal routine
  • Accomplish one to two other things daily. Depending on how much effort, I can usually take on one or two small projects like cook a meal, laundry, drive to the store
  • Walk 2,000 steps daily — this is essentially my physical therapy for the vertigo, and I will start trying to increase activity slowly over time

Other than that, right now I sit in a chair and either read, rest or watch tv. My body just simply can’t take much more, it gets too woozy when I move around. I am incredibly tired, so I sleep often. However, I am noticing that each day I am slightly more stable, and I try to push just a little more when I can accomplish.

Throughout the last three weeks I have seen incredible blessings in action as I have started my journey with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.

Despite my hearing loss, balance loss, and slight facial palsy, I am so lucky to be as functional as I am — most Ramsay Hunt patients are either hospitalized with surgeries or completely bed-ridden at this point in their Ramsay Hunt experience.

I can drive, I can move, I can talk, I can be a mom to my kids. I am incredibly blessed to be able to do this. Fortunately, I also know that this is likely as bad as it’s going to get and things should get better from here. Recovery is going to take a while — I’m going to have to fight my way back to where I was before this started, but right now I have all the hope that I can get there.

An illness that’s getting on my nerves…

I love a good plan. I love spreadsheets, timelines and maps. Order brings me peace and comfort. However, real life is chaos, unplanned and unmapped. Right now, I’m living an unplanned moment of my life’s journey.

 It all started two weeks ago when my right ear started to swell and was incredibly painful  and itchy. We were on vacation at the time, so I called my brother-in-law, an amazing ear, nose and throat surgeon and asked if I should worry, or just let it go. He gave me a couple of things to look for that might indicate something significant, but to just keep it comfortable with cortisone cream for the moment.

Three days later, I noticed the more serious symptoms had begun. Sunday night I called the doctor again for help. My sweet brother-in-law got me the needed medication from across the country as quickly as he could.

I started the medication Sunday night, both of us hoping we were just being abundantly over reactive, and that it would turn out to be nothing.
For the next few days, my symptoms increased and I experienced extreme pain in both my right ear and on the right side of my face. Each day was progressively worse. By Thursday night, one week after my symptoms started, I was able to see the first signs of paralysis in my right cheek and lips.

These were the final symptoms that confirmed a diagnosis of Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Ramsay Hunt is essentially swelling of the nerves in the face from Shingles.

It’s because I had chicken pox as kid that I am experiencing these symptoms today. I’m not contagious to anyone else in any way — just an unlucky side effect of the virus over 30 years later. Please, oh please, vaccinate your children so they don’t have to deal with things like this!

Shingles caused my cranial nerves to swell and they are now pinched inside small openings as they pass through my skull. Nerves don’t like to be pinched. They actually throw quite a fit. They over-react by shutting down function and wait for the swelling to stop. Loss of cranial nerve function has caused mild facial paralysis, mild hearing loss, loss of taste and loss of balance.

I’m incredibly fortunate to have a mild case of Ramsay Hunt and I have every reason to believe that because we stopped the inflammation so early, I shouldn’t have any permanent damage, however recovery may take weeks or months. I’m very hopeful and actually really quite calm about the whole thing. I have always felt that I am one of the most blessed people to have had great medical help whenever I have needed it.

Life is hard, and we all face challenges, but this challenge is manageable. Honestly, I know how blessed I am, and it’s impossible to put into words how grateful I am for those blessings.

P.S. All the anti-inflammatory drugs for my face are helping with my knee, so maybe by the time my face is working again, I will have had time to fix my knee too. Here’s hoping!

Half-Marathon Training Plan

IMG_0259.JPGA year ago, I convinced some of my family to join me in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. We all worked hard to get ready and thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience this last January. It is one I will never forget!

Coming up I have scheduled two more half-marathons. One of them, the American Fork Canyon Half Marathon I plan to do with my brother and my sister. We formed a team named after our old street — team “Snowball Express.”
That naturally led to inviting our old neighborhood along. Now, we have several friends that have joined in our crazy. I thought I would put together a training schedule to help, since I’m the one that started the party 🙂

As you complete each practice it is not important how fast you go, merely that you build up strength and endurance as preparation for your half marathon. Most of us plan to walk the half-marathon, so speed isn’t necessarily our main purpose.

Finishing is our main goal — keep that in mind as you train.

Here is the Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday schedule:
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
03/01/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles
03/08/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 4 miles
03/15/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 5 miles
03/22/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles
03/29/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 6 miles
04/05/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles
04/12/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 7 miles
04/19/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles
04/26/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 8 miles
05/03/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles
05/10/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 9 miles
05/17/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles
05/24/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 10 miles
05/31/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles
06/07/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 11 miles
06/14/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles
06/21/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest Half-Marathon
06/28/15 Rest Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles

For those of you that would prefer a Monday/Wednesday/Friday half-marathon plan, here it is:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
03/01/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles Rest
03/08/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 4 miles Rest
03/15/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 5 miles Rest
03/22/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles Rest
03/29/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 6 miles Rest
04/05/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles Rest
04/12/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 7 miles Rest
04/19/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles Rest
04/26/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 8 miles Rest
05/03/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles Rest
05/10/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 9 miles Rest
05/17/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles Rest
05/24/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 10 miles Rest
05/31/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles Rest
06/07/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 11 miles Rest
06/14/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles Rest
06/21/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest Half-Marathon Rest
06/28/15 Rest 30 min Rest 30 min Rest 3 miles Rest

I will keep posting ideas and training helps during the future months, but I am no expert! If you have thoughts, please feel free to share!

How Do You Get Your Fitbit Steps?

“How do you get so many fitbit steps?”

It’s a question I get almost every week from fellow fitbit users. I’m not going to lie — it’s work getting 20,000 steps (9 miles) almost every day, but there are few simple things you can do to help yourself succeed.

First — Set a goal. Make it realistic for you — it took me almost a year to work up to 20,000 steps a day. At first I could only do several thousand. My first month walking 10,000 steps a day was a very challenging goal for me. I increased my daily steps at a reasonable pace each week to prevent injury. It isn’t a race, it’s a journey! Make sure to enjoy it! An increase of 10% a week should let your body adjust and gain strength at a reasonable rate.


This picture is for an 18,750 step day. I have several that I use depending on my goal for the day

Second — Make a plan. I like to have a chart on my fridge that tracks my steps by the hour. That way I can stay on track. If it gets to the end of the day and I have too far to go, I will just give up. My goal right now is to walk roughly 15 minutes every hour. That translates into 1,500 steps per hour give or take.

I love crossing off each hour as I progress — it’s motivating as well as rewarding, so I use a plastic sleeve and dry erase markers so that I can reuse the chart. As you plan your day, it’s important to know if you will have large chunks of down time and try to get ahead of those if possible. For example, if I know I’m going to be sitting in a chair teaching piano for three hours in a row, I’ll try to finish those steps before I even begin teaching. That way I don’t have to catch up at the end of the day.

fitbit steps

Third — Find a place. You may laugh, but most of my miles are logged around my kitchen/living room area. I have a circle that I walk. My family call it ‘The Path’ and everyone knows to stay out of The Path or you get in serious trouble. You can see that we move the furniture around so that nothing impedes my progress around the path. We move it back when company comes, but by now most of our friends know exactly why it’s out of the way and I walk the path while we talk too.fitbit steps

I have a treadmill and I use it sometimes, I just find walking in the kitchen easier to keep my life moving forward while I get my steps in — I can wash some dishes, do a few laps, get a drink for the kids, make a quick snack, get a few more laps, you get the idea.

fitbit steps

Fourth — Find Entertainment. Sometimes I use my ipad to read, watch tv or catch up on social media.

I like to play a game that my family and I made up called ‘Odds’. You walk The Path as quickly as you can. When the oven on the clock has an odd number at the end, you have to run up the stairs to the second floor as fast as you can. This keeps my heart rate up and the kids love to try to beat me. I’m also meeting my flights of stairs goal for the day too!

Talking on the phone is a great way to get your steps in for the day. Most of my family live far away, so I spend many hours on the phone with them. The treadmill is just too noisy to use on the phone, so I walk The Path.

I like to make all those pesky customer service phone calls while walking The Path too — it’s multi-tasking at it’s best! I get all the billing questions cleared up and get my fitbit steps in at the same time! Last August I refinanced our house while walking the path. The conversations took several hours. During one phone call, the representative asked if my washer was on the fritz. I laughed and told him I was walking back and forth from carpet to tile flooring and that it was my squeaky shoes he could hear. 🙂

Fifth — Take Breaks. This sounds a little counter-intuitive, but without breaks, I just couldn’t walk 20,000 steps, or roughly 9 miles a day without causing injury. I have plantar fascia and tarsal tunnel. This causes great pain if I don’t elevate my feet periodically. No problem, I keep a blue cup with cold water on the counter at all times and I rest once in a while for at least 10 minutes and drink my water at the same time. Elevating my legs helps the fluid drain from my feet and lets my body relax so that I can go walk again. I always try to accomplish my ‘sit down’ tasks during that time, so that when I’m ready to walk again I don’t feel like I have something looming over my head.

Sixth — Recognize Achievement. At the end of every day, when you sync your fitbit, enjoy the moment. Watch those little smiley faces and celebrate your “Hooray!” I can’t lie, I often make my family come and shout with the green smileys when I have a really good day. It makes me feel good, and they see that I have reached my goals. It’s a great endorphin rush and helps me to be motivated to get my fitbit steps in the next morning when I wake up.

Hopefully these ideas will help you as you try to work on your daily fitbit step goals — I’d love to hear any other suggestions you may have too!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you make a purchase through these links.

Healing sunshine

Bring a friend

It’s been a rough February. Between all of the the snow and family illness, I’ve about had it. The snow is piled up everywhere and its been icy, bitter and blah.

But today the sun was shining and it was a balmy 48 degrees outside. I took the opportunity to walk this afternoon with a friend near our town beach. You can see the sand is completely covered with snow.

It was still beautiful, even with the snow.


We took a washed out selfie that makes me laugh every time I see it — the sun was so bright we couldn’t keep our eyes open.

We talked and walked and I realized just how much I needed to spend some time out of doors in the sun. It rejuvenates the soul and heals the heart. I love the feeling that you get when the warmth hits your face and helps take away some of the sadness and illnesses that winter brings.

photo (2)

photo (1)

I’ve always heard that sunshine is healing and felt that way myself, but I started doing some research to see if there is anything to it. The National Institutes of Health has an interesting article using scientific research to point out that sunshine has potential to help:

  • Vitamin D absorption
  • Reduce cancer
  • Reduce metabolic syndromes such as diabetes
  • Reduce cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure
  • You get a better night’s sleep

Not to mention, it’s much easier to reach your fitness goals when you spend some time walking with a friend enjoying the beautiful day. The time passes so quickly! We walked for almost an hour and it felt like nothing. Thanks to the sun, I’ve been able to get 25,000 steps in today — almost 11 miles. That’s about 5,000 steps over my goal for the day. Yehaw!

Finding a Family Compromise

20140219-093705.jpgI had great plans for today, but the day ended up being a family compromise situation.

I was a little sore from my big walking day yesterday, but I wanted to get my 20,000 steps and clean my kitchen cupboards.

Well, I was railroaded by a child’s illness yet again. It’s been a very rough two weeks for my little boy! I spent all day making sure my son was ok. After spending the day at the doctors office, we have proven that he is indeed going to be fine and life has moved on.

I was able to get in about 16,000 steps by walking all evening. It is always going to be a struggle balancing all of the things in life. Some days you just have to figure out how to compromise your own goals with the needs of your family. Today was one of those days. I got in my 16,000 steps which gave me a calorie burn of about 2,900. I try to have a calorie deficit of at least 1,200 calories. So I ate around 1,400 calories to make sure I was going to meet my daily goal.

My compromise was to eat less today, thus making my day balance out overall. It was not a great day for muscle strength increase, but I also didn’t let it go to waste.

I loved my boy and took care of myself at the same time.

Celebrating My Fitbit Anniversary

Today is my one year anniversary owning a fitbit. If I had known how fitbit would change my life, I would have never hesitated to purchase one. Because I’m such a cheapskate, it took me almost a year of looking, lusting and reviewing accelerometers before I settled on the Fitbit One and shelled out the $100. That was one year ago today.

In those 365 days, I have accomplished the following:

  • Lost 40 pounds
  • Walked 5,225,027 steps
  • Climbed 5,461 floors
  • Travelled 2282.83 miles
  • Removed my risk of fatty liver disease
  • Decreased my risk of diabetes type 2
  • Lowered my cholesterol to safe levels

Most importantly I have changed the way I live my life every single day. When I wake up in the morning, I now have a fitness goal. I know how far to push myself and I know that my body is stronger and healthier every time I work at improving my daily step count.

In 2012, I was walking about 3,000 steps a day because of a foot injury. The injury turned into a lazy way of living. Fitbit turned that around. With a way to measure my daily effort, it is easy to judge if I am putting in my full effort every day to be healthy and strong.

When I first purchased fitbit, I was walking about 3,000 steps a day. Over the last year I have increased that to roughly 17,000 to 20,000 steps a day.

In honor of my former 3,000 a day step habit, I thought today I would set a goal to walk 30,000 steps — a ten-fold increase of my daily effort last year. I made sure to get in about 7,000 steps first thing in the morning so that I was off to a good start. My kids knew that I was working hard for this goal and really let me devote time to walking today. I tried to walk about 15 minutes every hour to keep a steady pace so that I wouldn’t tax my feet too much.

fitbit anniversary

At around 6:00 PM, I was at 26,000 steps and my feet started to get tired and achy. I took a picture to motivate me not to give up — I was not letting go when I was so close to the 30,000 mark. Walking my path around the living room and kitchen, I chatted with my family, read a book and tried to keep pushing on for the last forty minutes of walking.

Then a funny thing happened without even noticing — I was at 31,000 steps. I had passed my goal! I was so excited! I did a dance of joy and made everyone in the family cheer for me. My husband was composing an important email, and he likes to read his drafts out loud while I walk for me to help edit as necessary. So, he kept talking and I kept walking. And walking. And walking. There was no way on earth I was going to go to bed tonight without hitting the 35,000 step mark since I had already made it to 31,000.

At 35,000 I would get a badge. I wanted that badge. It’s just a dumb little image on your dashboard, but I really wanted to wake up tomorrow and see it there!

Here is my dashboard at 10:00 tonight — please note the 35,000 step badge. It’s mine — I earned it!

fitbit anniversary2

I am so proud of myself it’s ridiculous. In one year of working, pushing and forcing myself to move beyond my boundaries, today I achieved more than I ever have in the past. I really put the effort into achieving this goal.

In the long run, I know that today is not going to make the difference between being healthy or unhealthy. But I do know that my work day after day to increase my step count and get strong enough so that I can push for things like a 35,000 step day are going to make the difference. This is just one day in the last 365 that I continued to improve.

Man, I love seeing all my goals turn green on the Fitbit  dashboard. That means I did it! I met my goal!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you make a purchase through these links.

Shoveling snow is a great winter workout!

Last week we had two snow storms right in a row. After shoveling my driveway in the first storm, I noticed that I was sore as if from a good workout.

When the next snow storm came, I was curious to see how heavy the snow was, so I had my daughter bring the scale outside and see how much a shovel full of snow would weigh.


This is a reasonable, non-packed shovel. It wasn’t staged in any way. We just took one quick pass at the snow until the shovel was full and then weighed it — 24 pounds! The snow that day was about five inches deep — an average snow storm for us.

I was shocked! No wonder I feel sore after shoveling! Since that day I have now come to the conclusion that shoveling is a great winter workout, even if it is a little hard to plan into your schedule.

My driveway is roughly sixty feet long. If you figure that it takes four shovel fulls to clear a foot all the way across the driveway, it takes me roughly 240 shovel fulls of snow to clear my driveway.

It takes me about 60-90 minutes if I’m working on it by myself or about 45 minutes if my husband and I work as a team. After looking on calorie-burn charts, that’s about 300-500 calories per storm. Not bad for a little cardio and strength training regimen.

We have been getting roughly two storms per week for that last little while — that makes for two opportunities to get in my newly found winter workout each week.

When I shovel, I try to use as many muscles as possible to make it a full body workout (and protect my back). So, I shovel, then do a squat and lift to pick it up, then I squeeze my abs and do a bicep curl to throw it to the side. This helps to use as many major muscle groups as I can figure out — making it a full body workout. That makes for roughly 240 squats and 240 bicep curls.

In addition to just moving the snow out of the way, as winter progresses, the snow on the sides of the driveway gets higher. The snow now has to be lifted up and over the piles to get it out of the way. Today we had to lift it about two to three feet. It definitely adds to the upper body workout!

So, next time you’re feeling frustrated that you have to get out and shovel, just think of it as a muscle building endeavor. Maybe it will help to motivate you out the door. Maybe.

P.S. — Thanks everyone for all your positive encouragement — I’m feeling better today, at least better enough to shovel snow 🙂

Rest is Recovery

In thinking about my goals for the day, I only have one: to get better.

I finally had a good night of sleep, but I am still sick. I tried walking this morning and I got in about 5,000 steps. However, when I finished I just stood in my front room and tried to listen to my body. If I heard it right it said, “You are a fool. Eat good food and rest. Stop walking.”

That’s what I’m going to work on today — resting. It is so hard for me to consider rest as important as work, especially when I’m sick. In my mind I so often equate rest with weakness. It’s something I’m trying to figure out and conquer. Intellectually I understand that rest is recovery, it’s just hard to put into practice when I’m usually motivating myself to move in order to get healthier. I worry that resting too much is what made me out of shape in the first place.

Rest. Recover. Rest. Recover. I’m going to keep telling myself that all day.


I’m going to drink lots of orange juice, smoothies and eat as many vegetables as I have in the house to try to help my body recover. I can’t lie — chocolate and ice cream might be a part of my recovery as well. Once I’m recovered, then I can conquer the fitness goals I outlined a couple of days ago.

Until then, I just need to get better. Here is how you will find me today — sitting in the rocking chair with the heating pad on my head to drain my sinuses and snuggled up in the crazy Cambodian blanket to keep me warm and sleepy. I look a little goofy, but I’m nice and toasty warm.

What do you eat when you’re sick?

photo (2)I have a wicked head cold. I thought it would go away after a day or so, but I’m really fighting it. It’s taking all my energy and strength. Most of all it’s taking my will-power. I just don’t have the strength to eat well when I don’t feel good.

I think it’s because I’m seeking any kind of comfort and my easiest comfort is food. So, I turn to my comfort foods. I’m trying hard to make my old favorites as healthy as I can, but it’s not easy. The last few days, all I want to eat is cheese and pepperoni. To at least take care of some of the fat, I put the pepperoni on a paper towel and microwave them for a minute. Then I put another paper towel on top and try to get as much fat off as possible. It isn’t going to turn it into a vegetable, but it does at least get rid of some of the fat.

I’ve added olives to at least fight a little of the cholesterol collecting in my arteries.photo (1)

I want pepperoni and cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It may be in part because I can actually smell and taste both of them. A salad doesn’t have enough flavor to combat my stuffy nose.

In between meals I have been snacking on these golden tomatoes. I figure they have vitamins and my body needs the nourishment.

I’m trying to keep up my walking, but even that is a struggle. Over the weekend I got about 5,000 steps a day compared to my normal 20,000. It’s just not enough to make up for the calories I’ve been eating. Monday I got in 16,000 steps. I’m walking so much slower due to the exhaustion so it’s taking longer.

This presents a second dilemma — do you rest or fight through the illness. I waffle. If I have any energy I think I should get up and walk. When I get exhausted, I rest. I have no idea how long I’m going to be sick and I don’t want to loose muscle strength while I’m down. I don’t have enough to do any weight lifting or Jillian DVDs. My rule for those is that I have to be able to sleep through the night before I take on a serious exercise plan. It triggers asthma attacks and I’m just asking for a bigger setback in the end.


Today I was able to drink a smoothie for breakfast. It’s packed with nutrients to help me get better — yogurt, spinach, orange juice, berries and cinnamon. All the ice makes me cold, but I figure it’s worth it to get in the things I need. Especially the spinach — you know its a super food after all 🙂

What do you hunger for and how do you deal with being sick? Do you still exercise?