Samba Fogo!

Oh my god! I did it! I’ve dreamed for years of somehow, someday, getting back in competitive dance shape – and miraculously knowing how to samba – so I could audition for Samba Fogo, our local pro Samba dance company.

A couple of months ago, a beginner’s workshop popped up in my Facebook feed, and I jumped on it. Next week is the last of the 5-wk. course, and I’m a natural! I’m up there with the Latin girls as best-in-beginner. The ladies I “compete” with are from the salsa tradition, so they struggle with falling back into that rhythm. I never had it, so I just samba! I don’t know how I know how to shake like that, but the only thing I need is time to get my speed up. (I still look plenty awkward, but it’s in me. It won’t be long!)

This weekend is the audition for “Ala,” the community performance extension of the dance company, which I knew nothing about. I’ll be out of town camping (in the snow!). Yesterday, after class, I overheard Lorin –  founder of Samba Fogo, our teacher, and winner of the 2018 Female Malandro competition at the International Samba Congress in LA – talking with another student about what to expect. I asked if she holds auditions every six months (It’s a six-month commitment), and mentioned being out of town for this one. She invited me to join without an audition!

I’m in Samba Fogo! I get everything I want!

I get half-off dance classes, and world class training. I mean, are you kidding me? What took me so long!? Why did I live halfway ’til I was halfway through? What is that?

No matter. I’ve begun. I’m so excited! My goal is to get this binge body off of me for the last time, and settle for it no more. I didn’t have it while I was biking, obviously, but I’m 30 lbs overweight since I got a car. Three years! Ridiculous!

I do count myself fortunate, inasmuch as I could be well over 200 lbs. with someone else’s metabolism. I joke that skinny was my superpower, and I lost it. But I didn’t, really. I regularly eat 4-5000 calories a day. My best friend didn’t believe me until she recorded my intake in FitDay and saw for herself. I have a freebie.

Unfortunately, I’ve used it to become skinny fat. I still struggle with diet. My cooking classes have been inconsistent, for different reasons, but I’m making slow progress. I’m getting there. I’m totally confident that I’ll get my kit down in the kitchen.

With dance back in my life, I’m reclaiming my body, my health, my joy, for good. I’m not going back. My main concern is my left big toe joint, but that’s another story (Fibro+), a bridge to cross another day. Dancing. 😉

For the next 5 years, I’m going to practice healthy, responsible maintenance, and cruise into 50 looking like that hot shit with no right to be so high and tight, and HAPPY!

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Remove My Skin!

Gahhhhh!

Months ago, I saw a homeopath. I stopped going when he revealed himself to be a Trump zealot. Like, would not shut up about what nice guy Trump “actually” is.

“I’ve met him and…” blah blah blah, he bragged. There it is. Cult of celebrity and hollow name-dropping. I imagine he attended some big event that Our National Shame lent his corrupt brand to.

“I’m sure he’s lovely,” I snarked back. “I’m sure he respects women and people of color, and everything he says to the contrary is all in good fun.”

HE WOULD NOT STOP.

“Okay! Can we get back to my health now?”

Orange-faced people aside, this homeopath was of the opinion that orange-haired people don’t metabolize sulfur. While I’ve never been successful at any diet, I did quit coffee, which is among the worst sulfur offenders. Well, Thursday, it was rainy and cold, and nothing sounded better than jammies and java. I went back on the bean.

Two days later, my skin started crawling! I cannot stop scratching!!! I’m in HELL!

I think I can say that I’ve successfully experienced elimination testing. I AM DYING! My eyeballs hurt. The insides of my ears itch! I can feel every single hair! (I had another bout of trichotillomania and tore out chunks of eyelash. Just last week, I was remarking how long my lashes were. I couldn’t recall the last time I pulled at them. Presumably, when I last drank coffee.)

Tear my flesh from my bones! It itches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally!

Once again, I’ve dropped 4 lbs. in one week. Hopefully, it doesn’t take another 8 weeks to see appreciable change. I’m interested in steady momentum. Maybe that will be reflected in my body fat percentage, which is, ahem, 36.7%.

I recall noting the number at my New Year’s weigh-in. I couldn’t remember whether it was 34 or 37-point-something, but we’ll assume it was 37 and moving in the right direction. I certainly don’t put any limits on the fat I eat, but I am trying to be watchful of over-indulgent grazing. My genome gave me a metabolism type that’s somewhat counter-intuitive as to body shape and weight-loss, indicating that fat restriction can lead to increased waist circumference. 23andme actually advised me not to opt for low-fat products. Weeeee! Good fats were advised, of course, a la Mediterranean Diet, but knowing me as you do – Skinny Was My Superpower/ I Do What I Want – well, it’s just not food if there isn’t as much butter as potato.

*****

Yesterday was so frustrating I cried in yoga. In public. Like, fought (failed) to hold back tears, several times. It’s that constant nagging anxiety, “Am I gaining strength and flexibility or overdoing it?” I felt like I was just copping out in poses. I felt like a faker. I came home to the headache Ibuprofen can’t touch and seizing joint and muscle pain so high I couldn’t sleep. I’ve never not been able to escape through sleep, let alone rest to restore and recover. Tender points were more like screaming spots. Even my skin hurt!

I did nothing all day but complain. My poor roommate. He never gets impatient with me. I am going to try to keep it to myself a bit, though. I recognize in all the complaining not just the fear and anger of pain, but a battle with Imposter Syndrome. “I’m not faking this! I’m not just being lazy!” I have a tenacious lazy streak, too, so there’s a constant internal struggle that I’ll work out aloud on any hapless friend nearby.

He’s heard enough. He knows. He feels for me. He’s a great roommate.

A strange series of events occurred recently. My general practitioner has been wonderful. This would have been 10 years together, and she has been a remarkable companion with whom to monitor my health. Until recently. She dismisses Fibromyalgia. She’ll acknowledge it as a thing but won’t offer any advice beyond, “We really don’t know what it is and there’s no proven treatment.” The fact that conventional methods are undesirable to me has kept me loyal to her, but I’ve known for awhile that the road diverged.

I got a letter in the mail about a month ago that her office had closed. I called the clinic taking over and was informed only that they’d expanded into the space and would try to help as many patients as possible from the old practice. But where was my doctor? I Googled her. No new info. Honestly, I just wanted to send her a Thank You note. Not being able to do even that left me feeling abandoned, betrayed almost. How can you ditch people without any notice? With no guidance to other options or how they can get their records, at the very least?

I know it’s for the best. I’m looking forward to creating a new relationship for the long-term with someone who takes my pain seriously.

The second timely thing happened yesterday. The Utah Senate approved State Bill 73, allowing for medical use of cannabis oil! I can’t believe it. The last time this insufferably red state did anything I couldn’t believe was when they approved Marriage Equality. However, even Mormons have gay friends, family, children, co-workers. Even religious people can see that we’re all just folk: black, white, good, bad, gay, straight, who cares? Everyone can, if they choose to, realize at last, “Wow, this person is entitled to anything I am,” even if they disagree with who or how they are. But – gasp! – DRUGS, never.

(And, trust me, the Mormon Church tried to block the bill.* Blocked, instead, will be the pain of thousands. Well done, Utah!)

Cannabis oil is low in THC, so there’s less psychedelic effect, and high in cannabidiol, which binds to receptors all over our bodies and calms them down (or something science-y). And it’s just a freaking plant!

I think I’m going to find relief!

* If any Church uses its influence and money to further a political agenda, as the Mormons did lobbying for Prop 8 in California, IT SHOULD NOT BE TAX EXEMPT.
tax

Blogiversary the Fourth

222-2
I confess I expected a more immediate response to yoga than what I’m experiencing. I’m still in PAIN. I remind myself that I’ve made positive changes to aid my healing and better my prognosis. Secretly, I fear that this is only going to keep getting worse. It’s pretty bad.

I’m grateful it’s almost exclusively on my left. I’m right-handed. Life would be a lot harder if this insane discomfort interrupted function of my dominant side. I’ve wondered why it should be so marked a difference on one side of my body, and the only thing I can think is that the car that hit me (hard) in 2009 struck me on the left. I flew 20 feet off my bike and landed on my left, as well.

The injuries were minor, but here I am. I’m not the only person to develop Fibromyalgia after an accident. It’s also common for sufferers to come from violence and abuse. ?

It sucks. I hate Fibro. But my life is good.

I love my home. I hit the roommate jackpot. I like my job. I love drumming. I’m reading book after book, with a cat on my lap. Sixteen sun-drenched plants are bursting at the seams, in Winter! I’m excited for festivals and road trips this Summer and Fall. I’m planning on Oktoberfest in Belgium and Germany.

(I don’t have kids to put in braces, college, or therapy. I do what I want!)

(I’m terrified for such a long flight, twice. Last year, I flew to the Gulf and then to NYC, back to back, a total of 3 weeks travel. I was in SO MUCH PAIN in-flight. I consider that trip the marker of my new relationship with my body. I’ve never fully recovered. ‘Til then, pain was sporadic, not nearly as high on the scale, and could pretty well be counted on to go away between flares. Now I start every day assessing what hurts and wondering if today will be a bad one. For me, Fibro worsens in the afternoon. I’m glad. It would be hard to stay my upbeat self if I woke with the discomfort I go to bed with.)

I’m utterly stuck at 155 lbs., but I can see a difference in muscle tone. I think I’ll start paying attention to body fat percentage. I need some numerical satisfaction!

I’ve quit Diet Pepsi and cigarettes. I don’t drink as much. (I can’t anymore. A Fibro hangover is like a 2-day, whole-body migraine.) (And I’m bitter!) I’m thinking about quitting coffee… but then I might as well be Mormon, and that depresses me.

I think I’m middle-aged. Weird.
HappyBlogiversary

Hurts So Good

Phew!

Yoga hurt today (I took a week off), but it hurt like it’s s’posed to. My feet cramped, but only a little. I’m on the upswing. I imagine I’ll hit roadblocks again, but I will face them with more confidence that I’m gaining strength and giving my body the love it deserves!

I was so nervous driving to class, like real anxiety. I kept reminding myself that I’d already got confirmation that it was the right thing to do, but I never trust my intuition. So I pep-talk mantra’d myself – gratitude, courage, blah blah blah – and I did it!

Even my shoulders felt better. They’ve been giving me grief since November (serious enough to disrupt my sleep – a first for Fibro and me). They still hurt and I had to modify some of the poses, as usual, to give myself the gentle introduction I need, but not as often as I’ve done in previous classes.

I’m making progress that I can feel!

The backstory on confirmation that yoga is the right thing for me, and to continue through the pain, has to do with the possibility that I might go to Burning Man this year. I’d accepted that I may never return to the land of my personal awakening. I have limited funds and the rest of the planet to see with it, but a friend from high school wants to go and offered to pay for my ticket if I’ll let him join my crew. Hell yes, I will!

I knew that I wanted to make this a special burn. I’m so much more grounded and myself than I was when I joined this crazy community 8-and-a-half years ago. I decided that I would offer Tarot readings. I’ve got to study.

To that end, I’d been reading up on chakras and Astrology, when it occurs to me to get expert on Numerology. I almost laughed that I hadn’t thought of it myself. (I began to correct that – to “sooner” – but I think I got it right, as is.) It’s so obvious, my obsession with numbers. Of course I should include that knowledge in my toolkit! So I start pinning Numerology sites and perusing those. Turns out, my life path number is 33, which is apparently very rare. That was fun.

The next day, this pin was suggested: 22222222Not any of the other number combinations I see all the time (which I also love), but my favorite number, the one that started this all for me. I smiled and said hello to the angels.

(I saw a giant, glowing 222 – like, 30 ft. tall – in the middle of the desert at my first burn. Seriously. I ran to it and danced.)

Later in the day, I was considering how to continue my yoga practice after the new-student intro concludes. I can pay for classes as I go or get a membership, which is a little rich for my blood. Some things are worth it, of course, so I set about doing some comparison math. I divided the membership fee by 4, to see if it would be cheaper than paying for 2 walk-in sessions each week. It was. In fact, it came out to 22.2. 🙂

I learned a long time ago that 222 means, “You’re on the right path. Keep going.”

Now I just have to memorize all the other numbers’ meanings, and all mystical things, and then trust my intuition when I finally share it for the first time at Burning Man 2016. It’s a loving place to learn and practice, and no one will mind that I’m reading them with a Bloody Mary in my hand for breakfast.

I’m going home!!!

****

No weight loss for a second week in a row, but no weight gain either. I’m building muscle and retaining lactic acid, yet. I can see a difference in my waist. It was never tiny, but I was square as a brick there for a minute! I’d like to see the number drop eventually, of course, but I’m just not panicked about it. It will.

I’m 6 days cigarette-free.

Skinny Was My Superpower

And I ate everything!

I learned that some girls in my school had what they called “The Christie’s Thigh Diet,” because my legs didn’t “splat” when I sat down in my cheerleading outfit.

So I ate more. To show off.

Well, 40+ happens to everyone, ha! I bought a car on September 1st and gained 19 lbs. in 4 months. (9 years on a bike, and damned proud!)

I am 5’6(-)” and 159.6 lbs! I think 5 lbs/mo. is healthy weightloss. I’d like to reach 130 by Summer, and stay there this time.

When I got home from Spain last year I was 129 lbs. But, you know, being held captive and fed once a day will do that to you. I told my best friend that “The Brian and Chrissy [forced] Diet” was more effective than the one those girls named after me in high school, and at least one good thing had come from the trip.

But my visit triggered dormant PTSD, which triggered a loooong binge, and I ate everything. I finally got it under control after 6 months or so and held steady at 140-145, not minding if I did or didn’t lose weight.

So that’s what I’m doing this New Year’s. Diet and exercise, like everyone else. I don’t mind being average. 🙂

And quit smoking. (For good! 20 YEARS in May! Unacceptable.)

I quit Diet Pepsi in October! Hey!

I expect Salt Lake Power Yoga to bring me back to my athletic body and relieve the newly unremitting pain of Fibromyalgia. (Since Spring, 2015 was spent in constant pain, with a week to 10 days off here and there. It was aching, exhausting, and extremely challenging to retain my signature enthusiasm. Before this year, I never considered medication. Now I’m studying.) (It seems awful. I really hope to keep it natural, and controlled.)

I have to say, I hide weight well. It’s pretty evenly distributed. It’s like everything just puffed. I got as much back fat as I did boobs but they fill an A cup now, so there’s that.

Oh, guess what else happened in 2015? Psoriasis. *sigh*

Coconut oil seems to help, but I’m still finding new patches every so often (since November). I’m hoping to avoid steroids or immune suppressors.

I’ll continue djembe lessons and drum for dance classes. I’m joining a guitar class on the 13th. I’m anxious. That’s what began my journey with Fibro 4 years ago. Refamiliarizing myself with chords and frets, I developed pain in my left wrist until it seized up to the point of requiring a cortisone injection to move freely again without screaming agony that woke me up nights. Other joints joined in, but only the left big toe needed cortisone. None of those joints is 100% now, and that wrist is particularly moody, but not unbearable.

I have to try. I want to play and sing! I want to write shitty music.

Life is strange. I would have thought it untenable, my reality. My body hurts. I’m tired and lack endurance. Aching like I do – worse and worse, in ever-new muscles and junctions, then finding scaly patches of goddamned skin that spread and won’t go away – is very frustrating. And I like my life. Huh. tough

Everyone has something. Some people have lots of somethings.

Okay.

Hope you’re rollin’ with it and having a good time, too.
Blessings in 2016.blessing

My Cat Needs Surgery and I Have Cancer

Well, it’s a grabby headline, anyway.

My poor kitty. Her ear has swollen even more since yesterday. Any more, and it will pop on its own. Maybe that would be cheaper. I feel so sad for her. It’s been one thing or another with her since she was 4 weeks old, from the innocuous to the terrifying. I’m always amazed at the next new thing. “Seriously? It never ends for you!”

I’ve decided she has a compromised immune system that makes her vulnerable to attacks of this, that, and everything. “Well, it’s obvious you’re my children,” I tell them. “One of you never stops talking and the other has auto-immune disease. We’re family!”

How I love them. =^..^=pen and crick

And the medical information I had to worry about all night? Well, I didn’t worry. I felt comforted, by my mom and my cheerleaders on high. I spoke with the nurse first thing this morning, and my biopsy came back positive for squamous cell skin cancer. No biggie. I’ll wait for the site to finish healing, and in a month I go back in to start freezing it to death.

When I mapped my genome 2 years ago, it revealed a higher than average risk of squamous and basal cell carcinomas. Both are relatively harmless and very common among fair-skinned people. I’m a redhead in the desert, and I’m a cyclist. Though my hands didn’t burn in the last decade, I confess I didn’t always wear sunscreen. Sheer bike gloves afforded some protection, but I knew better. It’s begun. (I was comforted to learn that I have only average risk for melanoma, the more deadly skin cancer.)

Yesterday, mom told me she got a cream from her dermy to put on her face for a couple of weeks to seek out the bad patches and burn them. She said she looks like she has acne on every square inch of skin. “Poor mom!” I laughed. “I’m sorry you’re ugly!”

Hopefully, it’s like a chemical peel and takes age spots, too, because ALL of my freckles have morphed these days and I, no doubt, will be getting that treatment myself one day.

Mid-life was never supposed to happen to me!