Weekend Recap 3.18.18 …NCAA, Walks, Spring Cleaning, and a Movie Date

Hi there!!!!   How was your weekend??  I hope it was wonderful!! Did any of you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  This is probably the first year in a LONG time that I haven’t celebrated.  I went to Miami University (Miami of Ohio) and the Thursday before St. Patrick’s Day is known as Green Beer Day and it is absolute mayhem… and so much fun.  The college kids get up at the crack of dawn (think 4am …) to start the festivities that last all day and well into the night.  When we were living in Dallas, the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is near our old house and they actually closed down the street behind our house for a day full of celebrations so needless to say, we have always taken part in a lot of St. Patrick’s Day fun.  But this year was a little different since I was still recovering from the stomach flu I got last week and we also wanted to keep it low key since we had been traveling the weekend prior.  This week was so productive mixed with a lot of exercise, relaxation, and amazing weather.  It was just what I needed! 

I don’t know about you guys, but March Madness is a BIG deal in our house (not by me…).  My husband loves college basketball and can’t get enough of the NCAA tournament.  Two games happened to be in Nashville on Friday night and my husband asked me early in the week if I wanted to go.  While being under the weather I told him no, but ended up feeling fine by Friday so I told him I would go with him if he could find tickets (not in the nosebleeds :)).  We ended up with great seats, but actually made our way down even a little lower to the best seats!  I don’t like watching basketball on tv, but in person it is a different story.  I think it is so fun especially when you are so close!

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We got to see Xavier play Texas Southern and Missouri play Florida State.  We had a blast!

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Bright and early on Saturday morning, we loaded the pups in the car to drop off my husband at a tennis clinic while we met my mom at the park for an early morning walk!

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We walked and chatted and enjoyed seeing all the moss along the path. 

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So neat!

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The pups had so much fun!

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Afterwards we came home and got to work on some spring cleaning.  We opened the windows and doors and began dusting, mopping, vacuuming, organizing, cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, washing sheets and blankets, and cooking.  This little rascal enjoyed sun bathing all day. 

 

My mom surprised us with some new Easter decorations!! How cute are these bunnies?? My husband said they look mean. 😉

After our cleaning was complete and there was a break in the basketball games on tv (my husband put our tv out on the back porch so he could enjoy the weather without missing the game…), we leashed up the pups and headed to the park for a nice afternoon walk!  

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We loved seeing all the spring flowers blooming!

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I made these protein balls for a healthy morning snack for the week ahead!

We called it an early night on Saturday since we were up really early.  After we woke up on Sunday, I got in a quick workout before my friend Lissa came over to join me and the pups for another walk in the park!  It was such great girl time catching up and chatting while enjoying the nice weather.  

My husband and I got in some cuddling and more basketball watching before our evening plans.  

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This is how most of my pictures actually look before I get a good one. 😉 So many kisses!

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Obsessed with these hard-to-photograph-munchkins!

For dinner we roasted a bunch of veggies to put over rice/quinoa.  I topped mine with avocado and my husband topped his with chicken.  Easy, healthy, and delicious!

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On Sunday night we decided to see Game Night.  It was pretty funny/scary and kept me engaged the whole time.  I wouldn’t say it was amazing, but it wasn’t bad.  It was hard to tell what was real and what was fake so it definitely kept me guessing.  

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The recliner seats didn’t hurt either! 🙂 

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That about wraps up our weekend!!  I hope yours was amazing too!

Questions:

  1. Highlight of your weekend?
  2. Have you seen any good movies recently?
  3. Favorite flower?

Cancun, Mexico Couples Trip Part 1…The Pool, The Beach, and All The Activities

Good morning!!! I am so excited to share our recent trip to Cancun, Mexico with you all!  We had such a great time!  My sister and her boyfriend came with us, which made it even more fun!!

I always joke around and put Riley in my suitcase while I am packing because I hate leaving my pups, but this time he seriously did this on his own…. multiple times.  It about had me in tears, yall.  Fur babies are just the best!  

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We were all up and at ’em very early on Wednesday for our flights.  We had a short layover in Atlanta before arriving in Cancun.  Our travel was uneventful and we made it to our resort around noon, which was nice because we had the afternoon to hang out.  

We decided to take this trip because my sister and her boyfriend both had spring break from graduate school at this time.  (She is in her last year of law school and he is in his last year of his MBA.)  We looked at a LOT of resorts, but ultimately chose the Riu Palace Las Americas again.  My husband and I vacation here at the end of 2016 and loved it so we decided not to risk it and go with one we both loved.  It is an all-inclusive (!!!) and it is adults only.  The service is wonderful, the resort is very clean, and the food is phenomenal.   

 

 

Can we all just acknowledge how cute this hat looks on my sister? 

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And how funny it looks on me?  I think I have an oddly shaped head. 😉

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We were all just a LITTLE excited to be at the beach in the warm weather!

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This view never gets old. 

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Nothing like that beautiful blue water. 

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My husband is ALL about the competitions.  This one you had to try to throw a football through a hula hoop.  He almost won. 😉 

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And ping pong… there was lots of ping pong.  

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Jon’s cheering squad. 🙂 

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And lots of lounging…. I listened to so many podcasts.. it was amazing!

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Fun in the sun!

We joined some boys for a few games of beach volleyball.  

The boys had a blast playing water volleyball. 

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My sister and I opted to watch and sip mimosas instead. 😉 

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More hanging by the pool!

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Love these peeps!!

 

 

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The amazing resort!

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That is all I have for today friends!  I will be back soon with a more recaps of the food and the nightlife fun!  Have a great day!!

 

Just Poppin’ In!

Hey friends!!! 

Just thought I would pop in for a second to say hi since it’s been a minute since my last post!  I can’t wait to share my recap of our recent trip to Cancun, Mexico last week.  We had a BLAST!!!!  I usually would have posted a recap by now, but unfortunately I got hit with a nasty stomach bug and was out of commission for a few days this week.  Lovely, I know.  But I will be back next week to share a recap of our trip and a fun guest post!  

Until then, I will leave you with a few pictures of my caregivers the last couple days…. (not picture.. my amazing momma who rushed over to nurse me back to health and my hubby, who brought me all the goodies to help me feel better).

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They both kept me company for hours and hours on end never leaving my side.  Ahhh the sweetest!!!

Have a great weekend, yall!!! And happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

 

Friday Favorites 3.9.18

Good morning friends!!!  I am currently in Cancun, Mexico with my husband, sister, and her bf enjoying some sun and relaxation!!  I will recap our trip next week when we return to the states, but until then I thought I would leave you with some new favorites before your weekend begins!!

I recently mentioned that I am excited for Easter and Spring… well add these new Easter egg placemats to that category.  I found these in the cheap section at Target and just had to snatch them up!

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I like keeping my walls and furniture pretty neutral (greys, whites, blacks) and sprucing up my house by adding in accent pillows, throws, placemats, napkins, flowers, candles and table runners for a pop of color each season.  This way I can change the overall look of my house easily and affordably really often.  🙂

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Pulled out the 1 decorative spring hand towel I have too. 😉 

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I have been searching for a new purse for a while now and finally found one I love at Target the other day.  The one I currently use is large, but does not stand up by itself so I was really looking for a neutral one that would not fall over when I set it down.  And this baby only set me back $44 so it was a win in my book! 

I have mentioned to you all before that I highlight my own hair a couple times a year.  I used to get it professionally done, but got tired of paying the hefty price tag for it to not look very different from when I walked in the door.  I also got tired of hanging out at the salon for hours and hours.  Don’t get me wrong, it is so nice to have someone else do your hair, but to me it just makes more sense to do it myself.  This is the highlighting brand I use and I love it.  I learned how to highlight my own hair from Jessie James’ youtube video quite a few years ago and have been doing it myself ever since then.  

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Here is the final product.  Not drastically different, but just enough blonde to change things up a bit for spring and summer coming soon!

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We have been roasting a lot of veggies in our house lately.  I am especially obsessed with roasted carrots… I just love them! 

 

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I told ya’ll earlier this week that I did some baking this weekend.  I used this recipe to make flourless chocolate banana bread and both my husband and I loved it.  I used almond butter for the nut butter and dark chocolate cocoa powder instead of regular and it turned out great!  We will definitely be making it again. 

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During my walk in the park this past weekend, I saw these guys playing soccer with a twist.  They were all in these inflatable balls running into each other and it looked like so much fun!  #canIplay?

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That is all I have for you guys today!!!  I am off to enjoy some time at the pool and the beach!!!  I hope you all have a great weekend!!!!

Questions:

  1. What do you have planned for this weekend?
  2. Favorite banana bread recipe? 
  3. Favorite veggie to roast?

Weekend Recap 3.4.18 … Birthdays, Walks in the Park, Family & Friend Time

Hey friends!!!!! How are you all doing?  How was your weekend?  I hope it was a good one!  Today is actually my Friday as my husband, sister, and her bf head out of town tomorrow until early next week for a much needed R&R.  I cannot wait!!!

Before I go I wanted to pop in with my usual weekend recap because this weekend was an especially wonderful one.  Nothing too crazy, but lots of time with friends and family, which just makes my heart SO happy.  The weather in Nashville was also amazing so that was the icing on the cake for a perfect weekend!  

 These pups were super spoiled last week with lots of time at work with daddy.  They both LOVE to go and get SOOO excited when he takes them in the mornings.  Callie and Riley both have a fan club at my husband’s office and they look forward to seeing their favorite people each time they get to go to the office.  The young girls in the office even took Riley for a lunchtime walk on Friday so he was so tired when he got home. 🙂 

Friday night my husband grabbed a drink with a friend and I got in a treadmill incline walk before making some quinoa and veggies for dinner and calling it an early night.  My husband and I used to watch tv in our living room or basement each night after dinner, but lately we have been going straight to bed after dinner.  We do watch a little tv in bed before falling asleep, but I feel like such a grandma going straight to bed… usually in the 8 o’clock hour.  😉

When I give my dogs dentalife’s to chew on for their teeth they know they aren’t allowed to chew them on my rugs so they both run with their treats to the dog bed so I won’t take them away from them.  This is as close as we will get to them actually cuddling. 😉 

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Saturday morning started bright and early with a workout followed by some baking with my momma!  My mom hosted book club at her house on Sunday so I helped her do some baking and she helped me bake a birthday cake for my little brother’s birthday dinner on Sunday night.  Here is the start of it.  Funfetti dyed 4 different colors (yellow, green, red, and blue). 

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While my husband was out playing golf with a friend, I headed to the park with the pups to get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful weather!

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There were so many people and pups out enjoying the nice weather too!

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We spotted lots of turtles soaking up the sun. 

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We stopped along the way to play a little fetch and Riley was loving life!

Once my husband got back from playing golf, we headed over to watch my little brother’s hockey game.  They won!!! 

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After the game we went home to get ready for our friends to come over for a quick drink before we headed to the Gulch for dinner.  Riley didn’t waste any time making himself comfortable on our friend, Eric’s lap. 🙂  (The pups got haircuts this weekend so Riley is looking quite hilarious…)

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We went to Bar Louie for dinner to celebrate our friend, Jason’s birthday.  I got the pear and blue cheese salad with grilled salmon. yum!!

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Happy Birthday Jason!!!!!

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After dinner we walked on over to the Thompson Hotel and took the elevator up to the rooftop bar, L.A. Jackson, to meet up with more friends.  Love this guy!

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My sweet bestie, Rachael, and I on the rooftop. 🙂

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On Sunday we slept in then enjoyed some time on our front porch while the pups ran around.  

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This guy LOVES the sun and hates when we make him come inside. 🙂

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My husband and I took the dogs on a walk to the park after breakfast to enjoy the beautiful weather. 

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My husband had plans to take his little brother (from Big Brothers Big Sisters) to a movie on Sunday afternoon so the pups and I did some baking, cleaning and organizing around the house before heading back to the park for another walk.  What can I say… we all love the park on nice days! 

Once my husband got home, we got ready to head to dinner with my dad, his girlfriend, and my little brother to celebrate my little brother’s 11 birthday!  He chose Carrabbas for his birthday dinner, which is one of my favorites too!  Why is he growing up SO fast?? Time needs to SLOW down!  

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My friend, Rachael, sent me this picture that popped up on her timehop on Facebook last week.  This was us with my little brother at his 1st birthday party 10 (!!!!!) years ago. 😦

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I got the Johnny Rocco salad with grilled shrimp and scallops and devoured the entire thing.  SO tasty!

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After we ate, the waitress brought out the cake I made for my little bro while we sang Happy Birthday to him. 

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We LOVE this kiddo!!!! 

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I follow a lot of cupcake shops and bakeries on instagram so I decided to take a stab at a rainbow cake filled with sprinkles in the middle and it turned out so well!  My little brother loved it!  🙂 #favoritesister #atleastforonenight

Eating cake and opening presents!

A new video game and a $1,000,000 candy bar! 🙂 

We had such a great weekend celebrating two amazing guys’ birthdays, enjoying the outdoors, and getting caught up and ready for another week!  I hope your weekend was fabulous too!!

Questions:

  1. Did you enjoy good weather this weekend?
  2. What was your favorite thing you did this weekend?
  3. Any trips coming up?

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday, friends!!!  Who else is a little excited for the weekend to be here?  We have a few plans scattered throughout the weekend that I am looking forward to, but I also hope to have some down time so I can start a new book my momma recommended.  I get all of my book recommendations from her. 🙂 . She reads at least a book a week, but usually more.  

Today is just going to be a compilation of things I am loving lately so be prepared for a scatter-brained post. 😉 Here we go… 

SOUP!  I have been on the biggest soup kick ever.  I have been making a huge weekly batch to have throughout the week and if we happen to have any leftover (this rarely happens since we eat it for lunch and dinner A LOT), I just freeze it for an easy meal in the future.  I have been making a vegetable soup for a couple months now and I think I have finally nailed down the recipe (fresh herbs make all the difference) and my favorite add-ins so be on the lookout for a recipe coming your way very soon!! PS this soup is husband approved too! 🙂 

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Have I told you all how much I love Wayfair?  We have ordered A LOT of furniture from their site over the years and I just can’t get over it.  It is very inexpensive and nice, quality stuff.  We have been searching around for 2 chairs for the end of our homemade dining room table for the past few months without much success.  A couple weeks ago we found these chairs on sale and decided to just go for it and they ended up being perfect for our table!

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They are a soft, faux-leather material that are stylish and comfortable, but also functional and very easy to clean (which is so important to me).  

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While I love the benches, we wanted to add chairs for guests that have a hard time sitting on a bench for a while (and for my bad back).  Riley approves too. 😉 

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We also snatched up this cute little bench for underneath the window in our living room.  I like it, but it is a bit small for the space so I am going to switch it out with the bench at the foot of the bed in the master bedroom and see what that one looks like in this space.  

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I’m ready for Easter and spring!!!  Who’s with me?  With the nice weather that has been teasing us lately, it has made me more ready for spring/summer than ever before.  I am so ready for nice, long, evening walks with my pups, beautiful days at the pool with my mom, long weekends at our families lake houses, fresh produce from my mom and stepdad’s garden, the list goes on and on.  I found some easter grass and eggs at the store the other day and decided to fill up a couple of vases to add some spring decor to our house.  🙂 

On Wednesday night, my husband and I met up with my dad for dinner at Green Hills Grille (one of my favorites) to discuss some possible business ventures in the near future (I will keep you posted!!).  I had the spinach and goat cheese salad with grilled salmon and it was SO good!

My dad surprised us with this beautiful, framed picture he took a couple years ago when he and my brother took a trip to Oregon.  Now I am on the hunt for a place to hang it!

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Only two days of work next week then a long weekend trip with my sister, her boyfriend, and my husband!  I can’t wait!!  I hope you all have an amazing weekend!!!! 

Questions: 

  1. Any fun things planned for the weekend? 
  2. Favorite place to shop for furniture?
  3. Have you guys seen any good movies lately? 

Neck and Back Pain Update

Good morning!!!!

If you have been following my blog for a while, you have heard me talk about my back and neck pain before.  It is unexplained pain that I have been dealing with for the last 4 and a half years (yes, I am counting).  It all started back when I was in grad school, but there was no major incident that occurred to cause the intense pain so doctors have been at a loss over the years about what to do since that can’t pinpoint the cause.   I haven’t done an update in quite a while so I decided today is the day.  

I have seen over 30 doctors, have had multiple MRI’s and xrays and blood tests… most of which have come back with no answers at all to explain the kind of pain I am in.  That is, until the last six months.  Back in December, I was prescribed a steroid pack (and antibiotics) for a never ending ear infection and the steroids actually helped my back pain quite a bit.  Once I informed my doctor, she immediately wanted to run some blood tests to test for inflammatory diseases.  All of the tests were normal expect one that showed a positive result for an inflammatory disease.  More in depth testing has to be done because apparently there are a lot of false positives with this testing.  So, I am still waiting to hear back from further testing to figure out how to proceed with this lead.  

In the mean time, I started seeing a specialist to get injections to help with the pain.  There are a ton of different options out there so he wanted me to get an updated MRI so we could decide which injection would hopefully best help my pain levels.  My last MRI was about 3 years ago and it showed nothing… no issues at all that would contribute to the pain I was feeling.  Well this time around was a little bit different.  My MRI showed that a couple of my discs were degenerating, I have a lack of a curve in my neck, I have a narrowing of discs, which could be pushing on my nerves.  Oh and then he informed me that I have thoracic scoliosis.  Awesome.  

After this news I was pretty bummed out.  I was grateful to have received some answers to what could be causing my pain, but unfortunately there is not too much that can be done in terms of correcting these problems.  My doctor suggested an Epidural Steroid Injection to block the spinal nerve root and reduce inflammation around the nerve root to hopefully relieve some of the pain.  I have had a little success with trigger point injections and have had a facet injection in the past that helped for a little while so I was down to try anything at this point.  At this time my pain was at an all time high so I was eager to try something new that could possibly help.  

I got the injection on February 13th and have been feeling a little better.  The procedure itself was easy and quick.  They give you a shot to numb the area so I didn’t feel much at all.  I was even able to go into work right afterwards with no issues so that was nice.  After the numbing medication wore off, the pain was back since the steroid can take a couple weeks to kick in.  I started noticing some relief a few days ago and my back pain has not been near as intense as it usually is since receiving the injection.  It is hard to tell exactly what is making my back feel better because I am on a low dosage of an oral steroid too and I just started a new medication that helps to block nerve pain.  It could be a combination of all of the new things or it could be just one of them.  I am just hoping that the injection provides pain relief for at least a few months because the last major injection I received (facet injection) only provided me with pain relief for a week.  Although it was so nice to be out of pain for a week, it is way too expensive to repeat for only a week of relief.  I am able to get up to 3 epidural spinal injections per year so I am hoping to repeat this procedure in a couple of months if the relief lasts.  

I just wanted to update you all on where my back and neck pain stands since I get questions about it all the time.  I really appreciate all of the concern and sweet comments.  Living in constant pain is something I never thought I would have to deal with, especially at such a young age.  I think I have come to manage my pain pretty well and still remain positive despite how frustrating it can be every day.  I refuse to let my pain control my life, but I can easily see how chronic pain can take over your life (social life, relationships, work, etc.).  I think being proactive is the most important thing you can do when in constant pain.  All the tests, doctor visits, and medication trials can get overwhelming and exhausting, but it is so important not to give up and keep trying to get to the bottom of it.  I have been stretching daily, being very active, and taking epsom salt baths a few times a week to help my muscles and to help relax.  Stress definitely makes the pain worse so I have been very conscious about reducing my stress and making sure I incorporate stress relieving activities into my daily life.  

I will continue to keep on keeping on and I know I will get to the bottom of the pain eventually.  Just know that if you are struggling with chronic pain, I completely get it and I am hear to listen if you need to talk.  Chronic pain can be such an isolating experience that others don’t fully understand, but having a support system is key.  I am very fortunate to have the most amazing and supportive husband (and family), but I know there are many others that do not have that support.  

Make today a great one!!!

Questions:

  1. Have you ever/do you currently deal with chronic pain?
  2. Ever have a health issue that you couldn’t get to the bottom of?
  3. What are some ways you take care of your health daily?