Thursday Thoughts: April 23

This past week has been a busy one! Last Saturday, I drove to Atchison for a Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra class. It was an experience like I’ve never had before; I enjoyed it quite a bit. You can read more about my experience here After Yoga in Atchison, I went to Skin Illustrations Tattoo and added to the tattoo on my foot. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, and on the drive back from Atchison I decided to see if the tattoo shop had an availability. 

I was able to get in right away, and the artist hand drew and tattooed a lotus flower on my foot to go with the Om that I got with Mom years ago. I’m really happy with how it turned out!   I’m super excited to run with the Groupies tonight. After the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon, I really came down with a bad cold and bronchitis. This week, I had an appointment with an Allergist and I will begin allergy shots next week. Because of my bronchitis and cold and allergies, I have only gone running 3 times since Rock the Parkway! I wish I could say I’ve enjoyed my little break from running, but I am aching to get back out there!    I will run the Trolley Run 4 Miler this weekend with Mom; I can’t wait to spend the weekend with her. I will use the Trolley Run to kick off my half marathon training for the Scout Strong Challenge Half Marathon and Hospital Hill Half Marathon. I’m determined to get my endurance built up!

With only a week left in my April Fitness Challenge, I’ll share my progress so far! Before any push-ups, squats, and sit ups today, I am currently at 700 of 1000 push ups, 1350 of 2000 squats, and 2300 of 3000 sit ups. How’s your Challenge coming along?   

 

I’m Allergic to All the Things

This afternoon, I had my appointment with an allergist at Allergy and Asthma Care in Overland Park.    For the past several years, I’ve noticed my seasonal allergies become worse, and after moving to KC last summer, it seems they took off and have been out of control.

After my last bout with a sinus infection and bronchitis, after the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon, I decided to call and see about visiting with an Allergist.  I was seen today by Dr. Tran at Allergy and Asthma Care, and now I have some answers!

I started off with a Pulmonary Function Test, as she was concerned about my many bouts of bronchitis.  Then I took an albuterol breathing treatment (if you’ve ever done that, by the way, WHOA boy, I was shaky afterwards!), and repeated the Pulmonary Function Test, and my scores increased across the board.  Dr. Tran told me that because my scores increased so much after the breathing treatment, I have asthma, which is likely exacerbated by seasonal allergies.

So, I have asthma.  Great.

Next, my back was pricked with many allergens, and I had to wait 15 minutes to see if my skin reacted.  I developed welts on a few of the allergens, especially dust mites and a few grasses.  After that, my arms were tested with a small shot of the allergens.  The allergens they put into my arms went under the skin, rather than just on top of the skin, like on my back.  I again had to wait 15 minutes, and watched welts develop in many of the areas.

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All in all, I’m very allergic to dust mites, grass pollens, molds, weeds, and tree pollens. I’m also allergic to cat dander, and mildly allergic to dogs and ragweed.

Great.  I’m allergic to all the things that grow, basically.

So what does this mean? Next week, I begin allergy shots, or immunotherapy, to build up my resistance to what I am allergic to.  The doctor said I will have to have shots weekly (or twice a week) for 6-8 months, followed by a maintenance phase of shots every 2 weeks (or up to a month between shots) for up to 3-5 years.  The idea being that my body will build up immunity to the allergens I am most allergic to, and my allergy symptoms will decrease, or in some cases, disappear.  You can read up on allergen immunotherapy here.

My hope is that I will begin the shots and begin building up my tolerance for the allergies I have, and I will get fewer sinus infections and cases of bronchitis.  I certainly feel the photo below is true, it really feels like I’ve barely done any running this spring, my colds have had me down.

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When the appointment was finished, Dr. Tran gave me an antihistamine so the welts would subside, and now that it’s been a couple hours, I barely have any bumps left on my arms, and the welts no longer itch or sting.   She also gave me an inhaler to use for my asthma and changed my allergy medications, so hopefully the new cocktail will lessen my symptoms for the remainder of the allergy season.

I read up on some of the information Dr. Tran sent home with me, and one of the tips for dealing with cat dander allergies is to bathe the cat every 2 weeks. BWAHAHHA, if you could only imagine.  I will just try to start brushing him again, there is NO way he will be subjected to a bath.

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All in all, I’m pleased at how the appointment went.  I did not expect to be diagnosed with asthma, but was kind of figuring I would be allergic to a lot of things.  Mom is currently receiving allergy shots, and dad did when he was a child, and I know allergies are at least somewhat hereditary.  I am not really looking forward to getting shots every week, but I know how well immunotherapy works, I’ve heard many success stories from friends and family.  If it helps my allergies be less annoying and helps me not to succumb to bronchitis and sinus infections as much, I’m happy to try!

Yoga Nidra Experience

Yesterday morning, I drove up to the big town of Atchison to attend a Spring Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra class. I learned about the class through my regular Wednesday night yoga class, taught by Maylo Anderson.  First of all, the drive up to Atchison from Overland Park is gorgeous! I had never been north past Leavenworth before, and the drive was pretty.

The yoga class was held at the Muchnic Art Gallery.  If you are ever in Atchison, you shouldn’t miss this mansion, it is a beautiful building, and having a restorative yoga class there, paired with the rain outside, was so peaceful.

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The class began with Maylo teaching an hour or so of restorative yoga.  This was a series of long, slow stretches and breathing, meant to refresh and open the body.  It was amazingly relaxing.  After Maylo’s instruction, another instructor, Sami Aaron led us in about an hour of Yoga Nidra.

I had never attended a Yoga Nidra class before, and thoughI generally knew what to expect, it’s difficult to put into words what it felt like.  Yoga Nidra means Yogic Sleeping, and the class is a guided meditation that “explores the physical body, the breath, emotions, intellect, intuition, and the connection to a higher self” (Taken from Sami Aaron’s Yoga Nidra website).

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For the Yoga Nidra portion of the class, we began with a seated meditation, followed by laying down in a supported position, slowing the breathing, and listening and visualizing with Sami’s guidance.  During this time, the mind brings awareness to separate parts of the body, and is taken to a deep meditative state of consciousness.  I felt it ebb and flow, and sometimes I was aware of what Sami was saying, and other times it felt as if I was not really aware of where I was or what was happening, though I never truly fell asleep.  It was kind of like I was consciously aware that I was sleeping.

It’s very difficult to explain how it felt, but it was very peaceful.  Sami talked through the entire Yoga Nidra class, and though it was about an hour, once we were finished, it felt like it had been 5 or 10 minutes.  To finish the class, we came back into a seated position and brought our awareness back into the room.

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Between the Restorative Yoga and the Yoga Nidra, I felt refreshed, relaxed, calm, and at peace.  Sami and Maylo had some resources available after class, and I was able to walk through the Muchnic Art Gallery and see not only the art upstairs, but enjoy the antique home.  It was gently raining during my drive back home, and it was a great way to spend the morning.

I’m very thankful to Maylo and Sami, and for the Muchnic Art Gallery for holding this event.  It was an amazing way to try out Yoga Nidra, and learn something new about myself.

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