"Oh The Places I have Pumped..."

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

In honor of Breast Feeding Awareness Month (who knew) and after seeing a post that made me smile: http://huff.to/1APyPud (sent to me by a friend who knows all about my obsession with breast milk) I decided to write a little blog about the book I said I was going to write 3 years ago. "Oh The Places I Have Pumped" (a la Dr. Seuss' "Oh The Places You'll Go.")

Any mother who has had the joy of pumping or nursing in odd places will enjoy this because trust me being a reporter on the streets of Miami while pumping... was quite the experience for me and the people around me... specifically my photographers!

While I was pregnant everyone asked me if I was going to breastfeed and I said yes, of course I am. Back then I thought that's what you're supposed to do, that's what my mom did. Before having your first child and trying it for the first time most or maybe even all women are completely ignorant when it comes to how difficult nursing can be.

In the hospital the nurses show you 5 different ways, your mom struggles to remember 5 other ways that worked for her. Then there are the relatives who walk in while you're exhausted and half naked in your hospital gown struggling to get it to work who say "Oh just get her some formula."
I got it to work. Almost a little too well. 

My brand new baby nursed and nursed and nursed... so well in fact, that by the time I got her home a few days later I was raw! I have never felt so much pain in my life. I consider myself tough... this I could hardly handle. I found myself squeezing her tiny little head right before she would latch on because I was so tense. I would hold my breath, count to three and get her on there. My mom kept saying it'll get better... but I didn't believe her.

Eventually breastfeeding became a breeze... it was pumping that would soon become the bane of my existence.

Here's Mia at 12 months holding "me" up with her legs crossed. I knew it was about the time to stop!

Here are some of my most memorable pumping moments: 

-Pumping in Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International airport on the bathroom floor.

-On the plane on the way to Las Vegas (that was a supportive crowd)

-In the Atlanta Airport with a male executive producer and male photographer near by (awkward)

- In a Cirque Du Soleil tent on that same work trip.

-In the dressing room, Bill Clinton had heart surgery, breaking news mid-pump... milk went everywhere... no breast pads.
(And FYI, there was no outlet in the dressing room so a not-so the discreet extension cord was necessary)

-How about walking into a 7 Eleven and filling a cup with ice and walking out to use it to keep my freshly pumped milk cold before a Noon live shot.

-Sent to Breaking news at 5am. The chair in the back of live truck was on wheels. I was plugged in and went for quite a ride!

-Or just forgetting pump during a 5 hour weekend morning show... ouch!

-Buying water bottles out of the station vending machine only to pour out the water and refill them with pumped milk when I forgot my Medela bottles.

-Milk is gold!!! Finding full 8 Oz bottles full at the bottom of the diaper bag... my husband was almost a goner!

-Pumped on the way back from a Miami Beach fire, in a Brandsmart parking lot, at a Park and Ride, at Hollywood City Hall.

-There was an explosion at Port Everglades, I was emptying out in the live truck when the Public Information Officer from a local Police Department opened the door... best part is I was using a bright orange safety best to cover up.

The truth is, my determination to nurse and pump had more to do with the guilt I felt every day from being away from my babies than it did with trying to provide the healthiest option. If I couldn't be home with them at least I was doing something for them the whole time I was away.

But let me say this, if I was able to keep up and nurse for an entire year, anybody can!

And yes, I was one of those women who did it in public. Get over it!

Everybody's Got Something

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I started this blog because my life was changed and my eyes were opened as a result of a diagnosis. Funny how that's what it took to make me realize how precious and powerful our bodies are. This blog is more about focusing on fueling our bodies the right way than it is to put the spotlight on Dermatomyositis.

Let's begin here. I'm fine.
Yes, I was diagnosed with DM. Yes my skin is a little unpredictable. But I got off easy compared to others with DM! I still jump out of bed each day ready to attack the day...okay so maybe some mornings I drag a little...but that has nothing to do w/ DM. It has everything to do with a 2am wake up call, a full time job, 2 kids 20 months apart a husband and a house to run.

I have never missed a day of work because of DM. It has kept me from NOTHING...oh except from my golden brown tan...that I do miss...a lot. But really? In the BIG picture I have nothing to complain about because after all we all have something...

I know women who can't lose weight, others who can't stand their husbands. Friends who are barely getting by. Some have parent's who are dying or they themselves are fighting cancer or another serious illness that keeps them from living life. We all have something...

I believe there's  a moment when all of us confront our something and make a critical decision: Are we going to be that something or (IF it's in our control)...kick it's ass! I went with option number 2.

You may have noticed I got away from blogging a couple of months into it. Something happened that dragged me away. I thought talking about DM openly was a bad idea. But I was wrong...
This is a part of who I am. A small part. But it has influenced my life. I'm a better and healthier person because of it...because of my something.

Whole Foods Whore

Saturday, August 2, 2014

If you follow me on Twitter you probably already know I have a slight obsession with Whole Foods. Ok, so maybe it's a large obsession. I LOVE THAT STORE! The first time I entered a Whole Foods I was totally overwhelmed and in awe. All I would ever get those first few trips was something at the salad bar and some bottled water in a cool looking plastic bottle that made me feel fancy. And during those trips I cringed at the register every time I got my total. I'm not about $20 lunches! (Yes my salad was that heavy...I like to eat)!

My trips now to the grocery gem are much different. I'm now usually dragging two kids around with me. And now I actually know what I'm buying. I have my mental checklist and stick to it. I like to shop there because I find foods like coconut butter, almond cheese,  and kombucha tea...just to name a few. The stuff you can't find many other places. The bill still makes me do a double take though!

What I don't buy there regularly is my meat, eggs, milk and a majority of my veggies. For that I go to the farm. Scooby's Farm.

Once a week I drive down a short dirt road. Get mud on my shoes and pick up the most natural (truly natural) and delicious foods. 

I always get one whole chicken. Fresh birds raised on this farm, free to roam, and fed an organic diet. Then there are the eggs. Always different colors depending on which hen laid them. 

The veggie box is always fun because you never know what you're going to get, and there are vegtables inside you may never normally find/buy at your regular grocery store... like purple carrots and golden beets. (Can't wait to juice those)

And then there's the milk. Raw goat milk. I don't do dairy. I feel better without it. But my oldest daughter and my husband are addicted to this stuff! I've tasted it. Delish!

Driving around to different places is time consuming. But if there's one thing I am willing to donate time and money to it's the food I feed my family. After all, we are what we eat. 

Swimming In The Rain

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I went swimming in the rain last week. And no, not in a drizzle, when it was really raining. My girls and I were holed up in the house during a typical South Florida summertime storm when suddenly I  noticed the thunder and lightning had stopped.

"Girls let's go swimming." They looked at me like I had lost my mind, and then their shocked looks changed to wide eyes and jaws dropped!

We were outside and in our pool in minutes. Yes this was fun because it took me back to being a kid, but it was also fun because I just put on my suit and jumped in! No long sleeved swim shirt, no baseball cap and gasp... No sunscreen. It was liberating. I know you can still get UV exposure...sometimes more on a cloudy day...but it was raining hard, the skies were dark so I took a chance, and I'm so glad I did.

Without a baseball cap I swam under the water. We played mermaids and Olympics. We jumped in and did piggyback rides. I wasn't hiding my hands under the water or sticking to one side of the pool to stay out of the sun. I wasn't  checking my hands every few minutes to see if I was flaring. I just played. Carefree. I had fun. So much fun. And there's nothing my kids (and I think all kids) love more than TRULY playing with their parents. I wasn't just in the pool or outside with them, I was playing with them. And it was awesome.

Captain Caaaaaveman (or woman)

Friday, May 23, 2014

"Mommy is that organic?"

OK now say it in your best 4 year old voice and it's much funnier!

 My kids know we eat a certain way at our house. Sometimes they like it, sometimes they don't. It's not like they can taste the difference between clean foods and processed ones (even though I totally can), but already at their young age they have associated healthy eating with boring eating. It truly is sad and unfortunate. They think the Cheetos and Lunchables in their friends' lunch boxes are way cooler than what they get to bring to school.
They do love these Ginny Bakes cookies! 
My 6 year old always says "Mommy if there were only 2 things to eat in the whole wide world...Lunchables or McDonald's what would you choose?" I'd starve!

No...I don't tell her that, but that's what I always think to myself! (But I do give McDonald's some credit for putting healthier options on the menu these days) I guess you can call me a food snob...but not in the "it has to be more expensive to be good way  "..it just has to be clean for my family and Paleo for me.

I first learned about going Paleo from my CrossFit Coaches. I remember they handed out a list of foods you could and could not eat... and I was terrified! This is the girl who used to eat a box of Wheat Thins on the way to work and call it lunch! And we won't even talk about the days of Skittles and Diet Coke for breakfast! No bread...are you kidding me?!

It's so funny...because now it comes so easily. I don't even think twice about it! Originally going Paleo was for shallow, aesthetic reasons. I was training hard and I wanted to lean out...and bam...a couple of weeks in and I started to see results. That was more than 3 years ago and I still eat that way!
This my friends is the "corn bread"...sans corn... I made for my Paleo Stuffing on Easter. It tastes like pound cake! It was  amazing and the stuffing turned out great. The bread is my new go-to side when I make soups.

When I was diagnosed with DM and started to read about how to eat right to stay healthy with an auto immune disease there was so much information about the benefits of a Paleo lifestyle. Lucky for me I already had a huge head start...thank you very much Coach Scott and Coach Dave! Anti-inflammatory foods are the key. I'm not a perfect Paleo-er...but I'm pretty darn good.

Here are some of my favorite Paleo approved ingredients I knew nothing about before:

Almond or Coconut flour.
I use these to cook and bake. For a traditional recipe that calls for breadcrumbs for instance... I'll use  these flours instead. I am a HORRIBLE baker...but when I venture out I will use them too. I just found a new kind of Paleo cookie recently from a Miami based company, Paleo Bakehouse, and they are really good. Mom and kid approved!

Almond Cheese
There are mozzarella and cheddar versions.

And Coconut EVERYTHING! (But especially butter and oil)

My Medicine

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Here, take this. It's used to treat Malaria and it can make you go blind."

Ok, so maybe that's not how my Doc said it, but that's what I heard. For a year I was put on a medication to help clear up my skin. It is also an anti inflammatory. And it worked. My skin definitely improved (though it was never totally clear) and the pain in my hands did go away.

Even though DM traditionally attacks your muscles too I have been very fortunate that my muscles are in the clear. I have blood drawn every few months and so far my levels are right where they should be. If not there's a chance I'd have to take a steroid. So considering that, my prescription was mild believe it or not.

But still every time I took those pills, twice a day, I cringed. I know my diagnosis. I accept it. But I can't accept putting something that I consider so potent in my body, whether it helps or not. 

I gave it a year. One year. I played by the "rules" and took my medicine. But now I'm done. I took my last dose March 25. It's May now and guess what, my skin still looks pretty good. I still flair from time to time but that's nothing new and I know my triggers and try to stay away from them. 

Now, the pain and numbness in one of my hands is back. At first it scared me. But now I realize that the medicine I was taking was masking my pain, not curing it. And that just makes me angry.

I mentioned my triggers. Besides the sun, I know what they are thanks to an incredible nutritionist and dietician I've been working with since shortly after my DM diagnosis. I'll detail more about what I eat and don't eat in a later blog, but bottom line is eat clean!

I eat well. Sometimes too much :). I exercise all the time. I go to a chiropractor and I recently started acupuncture. 

I just started acupuncture again to help ease the pain and numbness in my hand. Don't mind the old hole in my belly button from an old piercing! If your teenager is considering it show them this to change their mind!

And for now...(and hopefully from here on out)... I'm not on any meds. I want to be clear. I do believe in medicine. And I think there are amazing doctors out there. But I also think our bodies, all on their own, are pretty amazing too!

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Friday, May 2, 2014

What I Miss Most: The Sun!

Rule number 1 with Dermatomyositis or DM (it's waaay too long to type), is to stay out of the sun! Yes my skin can get super red, but as long as I stay out of the sun and stay healthy, it should stay under control.

Here's the problem, I LOVE the sun. Like really LOVE the sun. I am one of those people...pre-children of course...who could lay out all day long. I love how it feels. It gives me a natural high. The hot summers down here don't bother me. I used to run outside in the middle of the day and LOVE every minute of it. The beach, the pool, you name it, any reason to be outside I was all about it. A tan just looks healthy and refreshed. And now... the sun is my biggest enemy, it's just downright dangerous.
My first time at the beach post diagnosis. It was my sister's wedding weekend. I was more self conscious than I had ever been at the beach. I remember feeling like everyone was staring! Then my mom says "You're sexy!" Haha, gotta love mom.

My husband doesn't understand why I miss it so much. He hates the sun. But man, for me this is hard. And I'll even be a little shallow here and admit I miss wearing bikinis! Most women dread them, I never did, and genuinely miss them. Now I wear SPF shirts if I'm outside for long periods of time or in the pool/beach...They're super HOT! (enter my sarcastic tone here, I'm not talking temperature)

I did discover Coolibar. And I honestly love their SPF clothing.

I know in the big scheme of things this probably sounds like something minor, but it's something I LOVE. It's long sleeves and a baseball cap for me by the pool from here on out. If my legs are too exposed I have some sexy SPF pants too! Tents and the shade are my best friends.

Not that I have a choice now, but I guess it will be better for me in the long run... and push back my need for Botox even farther, no more wrinkles, no Botox needed. :)

What I've Gained: My Health!

Sounds crazy right? My body's attacking itself yet I feel like I am healthier now than ever! Before my DM diagnosis we had pretty much gone all organic in our house. But as I quickly learned that's not enough. Each one of us is so different. And our bodies react to foods, even good foods, in different ways. The wrong foods have the power to destroy our bodies, just like the right foods have the power to heal them. Overall I feel healthier now than I ever have. I wake up at 2am, yet feel more energized throughout the day than I did when I worked 9-6. I credit what I eat and the vitamins I take.

DM changed my life, in a lot of really bad ways. Bottom line it sucks. But I also credit this crazy disease with forcing me to learn about the body...my body...what works and what doesn't.

And for that reason... in a really weird and twisted way...I'm thankful it happened.
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