My Body Turned on Me - 1010 Park Place
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My Body Turned on Me

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The last six months have been stressful: In addition to my monthly trips to New York, I found myself unable to do anything but watch Mother’s sad decline and her eventual death; I sold what had been my forever home; packed, moved and unpacked—twice—in 16 days. And just when I needed it most, I slacked off on my lifelong practice of stretching and yoga.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise when my body kicked me to the curb.

Everything hurt, especially my lower back. Every joint was stiff and achy, and a sharp pain radiated from my left buttock to midway down the back of my left hamstring. It’s been so painful that’s is been difficult to work at my computer all day, much less haul my luggage across country and sit on three-and-a-half-hour airplane flights. Forgive me… but this may be more than you want to know about me: I’ve also gone in and out of “surprise” diarrhea.

I’m not talking about a happy birthday “Surprise!” but a surprise that doesn’t care where I am or if there’s a nearby restroom. Three weeks ago, I’d had enough! I wanted my flexible, reliable body back. With a little TLC, some common sense, dietary research and experimentation, I’m on the road to regaining my former self.

For starters, I’ve resumed getting to the gym early enough to do my stretches and yoga poses before my workout. In addition, twice a day, I abandon my office chair for a yoga mat I keep on the floor behind my chair. For the last two weeks, I’ve also gotten trigger point massages. Who knew I’d been storing knots—the size of golf balls—behind my shoulder blades and along my hip flexors? Already I feel more like my old… younger self. That left me with the “surprise” diarrhea to conquer.

In talking with some girlfriends, I discovered they have the same problem, and are taking prescription medications and probiotics with great results. While I’ve always discussed any problems with my doctor, this time, I first wanted to see if my surprise diarrhea had any relationship with what I was eating. The more I researched, the more I believe there is a dietary link, plus I believe my digestive system has changed over time. The foods that used to work for my gut no longer seem to be my friends. After lots of research, I decided to try the Paleo diet.

While the Paleo diet is similar to what humans lived on 25 to 50 thousand years ago, modern man has modified it to include, among other things, refined grains and high fructose sugars. By following the Paleo diet—cutting out grains and eating protein, fresh fruits, veggies and nuts—my “surprise” diarrhea has ceased. I’ve always eaten food that’s as close to God made it as possible, but the Paleo diet has tweaked it even further. Together with my stretching and the massages, I feel better than I have in months. By the way, you won’t have a weight problem on this diet.

As with all things, if you’ve not been feeling well, please consult with your doctor.

Love, Brenda

51 Comments

  • Cathy Chester March 19, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Good for you, Brenda! I’ve also been dealing with huge amounts of stress and my body is paying the price. You’ve given me great inspiration to follow in your footsteps. Thanks so much. Cathy

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      Hi Cathy,
      I’d imagine you have to be especially careful about stress. Are you going to BAM?
      XOXOXO,
      Brenda

      • Cathy Chester March 21, 2016 at 7:09 am

        BAM is not in the cards this year. Enjoy and take good care of yourself! xoxo

        • 1010 Park Place March 21, 2016 at 4:41 pm

          NO?? You’re at the top of the list of women I hoped were coming! Darn, darn, darn…. xoxox

  • Renee L Stambaugh March 19, 2016 at 8:23 am

    So glad you were able to conquer all of this by yourself and with no doctor..all they want to do is prescribe a med…like the”surprise” diarrhea thing..I get that sometimes and it isn’t a fun surprise…maybe I should try paleo….thanks for sharing…

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      Renee,
      What is it about women when we reach a certain age? So many women are telling me they’ve been affected by surprise diarrhea. Most have said that even with medication and probiotics, it’s a trial and error and not always reliable. Never knowing if you’re going to be plagued by it makes you want to stick close to home.
      Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one,
      Brenda

  • Barbara March 19, 2016 at 9:05 am

    You have endured more than most anyone could in such a short time, Brenda. Take time for yourself, love yourself and heal. Xoxo b

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Thank you, friend. I’m working on it. xoxox, Brenda

  • Sue Edmonson March 19, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Good morning girlfriend, You are wonderful. I am happy for you and your self-improvement system. And I will look at the paleo program. Who knows? Maybe I will join you. I have been diagnosed with curvature of the spine and advancing arthritis. Began 6 weeks of physical therapy at Methodist Hospital here – Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30 a.m. wow. I work with Marisol twice a week and she gave me the chart of stretches to practise at home each day. I’ve been so tight – hard to believe one could get that way all of a sudden. How are Sam and Molly coming along? love to you Brenda OX

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Sweet Friend, Sue,
      Stretching… I’ve been a pretzel all my life and have thrived on stretching! Shame on me that it’s the thing I’ve cut out of my routine when I’ve been pressed for time. We’ll talk soon.
      Love,
      Brenda

      • Sue Edmonson March 21, 2016 at 6:33 am

        Good morning – Yes, I stretched each time I woke last night. Here in the living room to stretch. This is the start of week 2 with p.t. and daily stretching on my own. I will get there, sooner than later is the hope. Yes, let’s talk soon.
        love from Katherine and me

        • 1010 Park Place March 21, 2016 at 4:40 pm

          …and love from Sam & Molly.

  • cathy March 19, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Bless your heart, Brenda! I am so sorry that you have had to go through all that you have. I am right behind you! Although both my parents are still living, I can see what is coming. I am back and forth to Dallas a lot right now, trying to get my parent’s house ready to put on the market. It is like an episode of hoarders!!! We need to take extra special care of ourselves! I believe cancer is the cause of stress, and I do not ever want to go down that road again!!!! Ps…although I have removed dairy from my diet…I have learned that almond milk is not my friend either. Only sticking to coconut milk. God bless you!!!

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      Cathy,
      Stress and recurrence will always be worrisome for us. I’ve been where you are with your parent’s home… That’s a lot of work. I removed dairy a long time ago, but have been drinking almond milk. Why is it not your friend? Should I not be drinking it either, or is it just you?
      Blessings as well,
      Brenda

      • cathy March 21, 2016 at 7:12 am

        I know, and I really try to remind myself to take a breath! Almond milk is great…try to buy the kind without carrageenan. Supposedly, it’s not great for you, and there are almond milks out there without it. It too, upsets my stomach, so I am coconut milk all the way! xx

        • 1010 Park Place March 23, 2016 at 7:46 pm

          Thanks, Cathy. Checked the brand I drink and don’t think carrageenan’s in there, although it may be mascarading by another name. I drink the Original, Unsweetened, Blue Diamond Almond Milk… 30 calories. xoxo,

  • paulakiger March 19, 2016 at 9:53 am

    I appreciate your willingness to share so candidly with us! I am glad you are en route to feeling more like YOU! 🙂

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      Thank you, sweet friend. xoxox

  • [email protected] March 19, 2016 at 10:30 am

    The important lesson is that you didn’t stay down, but got up and began again! This has been the story of my life in my early 60s…each time there is a set back…I just have to make sure I start again and do not stay down.

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      Pam,
      From what I know about you, I think bouncing back is just in our nature.
      XOXOX,
      Brenda

  • janice wald March 19, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Hi Brenda,
    I am so sorry you’ve had it rough recently. I can relate to the “knots the size of golf balls”. Well put. One day at a time. I have also had lower back trouble I solve with over-the counter pain meds.
    Feel better.
    Janice

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      Janice,
      Back problems can be incapacitating, can’t they? Since I can only take Tylenol, exercise and stretching have kept me in good balance. I don’t recommend two moves in 16 days. Thanks, Brenda

  • Jan Baird Hasak March 19, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    I am so glad you are on the mend. Blessings galore, my sweet friend xoxo

    • 1010 Park Place March 19, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      Jan!
      I’m more excited to see you here than I have been about anything in a long time! Praise God! You’re the one I hope is on the mend. What an ordeal this must have been for you. You know you are loved by so many, and each one of us continues to pray for you. If only I lived nearby! Lunch, sitting on the porch and talking… Any time with you would be such a gift, my friend.
      Love,
      Brenda

      • Jan Baird Hasak March 20, 2016 at 12:12 pm

        Thank you so very much! Your spirit rejuvenates mine

        • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:29 pm

          It’s so powerful how we can be blessings for one another. xoxox

  • Tara March 19, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    So excited to read that you are trying Brenda! Dan and I have been eating paleo for about 4 years now. It’s changed our lives. Let us know if you have any questions! Hope you are feeling great soon

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      Tara, Good to know it’s made a big difference in your lives. For the most part, I’ve always eaten Paleo, but didn’t know it. It’s when I eat cheese, dairy and pasta that I get out of whack.

  • Elaine @ OMG Lifestyle Blog March 19, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    So glad you are feeling better Brenda! It’s amazing how our bodies react to stress and also just getting away from our routines. For me exercise is key to feeling flexible and good; and of course eating well. Interesting turn with the Paleo diet. I’m glad that is working for you. I didn’t realize Paleo eliminated whole grains. Stay well! xoxo

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Sometimes James would say I was “too delicate to live.” LOL! I’m a tough woman, but my system is a finely tuned machine that doesn’t like when it’s mistreated. I workout three days a week, but eating things I shouldn’t, not stretching and the golf balls have gotten me! xoxox, Brenda

  • ccassara March 20, 2016 at 8:25 am

    I like the way you seized control of the situation. Your plan sounds like a good one, and it’s effective, so that’s all that counts. Blessings to you!

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      Thank you, Carol.

  • Karen C L Anderson March 20, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Stress can do the craziest things! Years ago I was dealing with a lot of stress (and didn’t realize it) and half my face (including half my tongue) went numb! I ended up having an MRI and they couldn’t find a thing…in the end, stress. Looking back I can totally see it, but in the moment I was blind to it.

    Glad you’re on your way back to you.

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      That must have been really scary, Karen. Thanks for sharing what stress can do. Brenda

  • Stacia Friedman March 20, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Give yourself – and your body – some credit! Experiencing the loss of a parent and a major move is extremely stressful. Nothing loosens bowls like stress! Why do you think prisoners on Death Row experience bowel incontinence as they are marched to their execution? Before jumping to conclusions about your diet, I’d invest in a conversation with your primary care physician and get a referral to a nutritionist and/or therapist. Your body is telling you to get some balance back in your life. Not to go on a radical diet.

    • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      Thanks for the wisdom Stacia! I’ve had lots of conversations with my family physicia-and counselor–about stress. I’m back on my regular meditating and yoga program and the massages are helping. I’ve always eaten a very “clean diet,” as close to God made it as possible. It’s when I vary from that diet my system gets in trouble, like the noodles in the Pad Thai dish or the corn chips and cheese at the Mexican restaurant. My mother had a very sensitive digestive system as well. You probably know this, but the Paleo diet is protein, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds. The only thing it’s missing is carbs, and now that I’ve gotten this IBS bout under control, I’ve added some good carbs back into my diet. It’s hardly a radical diet. Thanks, Brenda

  • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    Ann,
    Good article. Thank you! As long as I stay away from baguettes and cheese–Oh, Mon Dieu!–I should be fine.
    XOXOX,
    Brenda

  • 1010 Park Place March 20, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Dear Friend,
    It’s comforting to know you’ve reclaimed your body! Things change as we get older; things no one told us about. Your grandfather introduced you to yoga? That’s amazing! He was ahead of his time. What drew him to yoga in the first place?
    XOXOX,
    Brenda

  • Jen Lawrence March 21, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    I’m so glad you are giving yourself some much needed TLC after an arduous time. I have a couple of friends on Paleo and they swear by it. I have to work out and do yoga both physically and mentally. Everyone around me can tell when I’ve not been able to get to the gym: something along the lines of Holly Golightly’s Mean Reds… I hope you have some calm after so much storm. xo

    • 1010 Park Place March 21, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Since James is no longer here, there’s no one to tell me when I’m off track. Sam and Molly continue to stare adoringly at me, but I know they’re hoping for some love, a scratch behind the ears and dinner… xoxox, Brenda

  • Patty Buccellato March 22, 2016 at 9:38 am

    My sincere condolences, Brenda, on the loss of your mom. Those times of overwhelm and grief tend to send all our best intentions for self care right out the window. Glad you are reclaiming your own time and attention. May your recovery be swift and easy!

    • 1010 Park Place March 22, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      Wonderful to see you here, Patty. Getting back to my regular routine has been one of the best things I could have done for myself. A little TLC. Thank you, Brenda

  • Regina L. L. Wells March 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    So sorry about your Mom’s illness and passing, Brenda. I understand. I am happy to hear that you have turned things around again with your health. Stress will do terrible things to the body, too. #ThursdayFavoriteThings

    • 1010 Park Place March 25, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Hi Regina, Love your background and your blog! Thanks so much for stopping by, girlfriend. Brenda

      • Regina L. L. Wells March 30, 2016 at 9:36 am

        Thank you, Brenda! That is so sweet!

        • 1010 Park Place March 31, 2016 at 9:12 pm

          XOXOXO, B

  • Mamavalveeta03 March 27, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    That’s fascinating, Joyce! You must have had one heck of a grandfather.

  • Mamavalveeta03 March 27, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Brenda, you’ve certainly run the gauntlet of stress. No surprise that you are feeling its effects. I’m glad you’ve got a handle on it, plus, it’s a good reminder to all of us women to care for ourselves in a loving and pro-active way.

    And being in “Mom Mode” as I usually am, I want to remind all of you bright and busy women to make sure you schedule necessary appointments for things like colonoscopies! Don’t ignore symptoms, please. I say this as one who has lost a mother-in-law to cancer. Now, I’m going to schedule a yoga class! XOX

    • 1010 Park Place March 31, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      Val,
      Very wise:) I have a consultation this Monday. Want to make sure I check everything.
      XOXOXO,
      Brenda

      • Mamavalveeta03 April 6, 2016 at 7:09 pm

        Good! <3

  • MaryAnn April 7, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    I agree that your body needs a different mix of foods as you age. I have reluctantly gone to paleo also. The weight is dropping off and the cravings are gone. Dropping the sugars and starches seems to be the real key for me right now.

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