SEEING THE LIGHT AFTER LIVING IN DARKNESS

I’ve been going back and forth over the past few days on whether or not I should publish this post. Normally I would just record a podcast but seeing as though my voice sounds horrific now (thanks to my steroids) I’ve decided I am not going to put you through the torture of listening to me for 30 minutes. So here I am typing it all out with my right hand. I’ll fill you in on that shortly…

So, as you may or may not know I have an autoimmune disease called Neuromyelitis Optica. NMO for short. It is a disease that has no cure and one that I am getting chemo treatments for. Treatments that I will have to get until someone finds a cure. This is a disease that can (in a few minutes) leave me blind and/or paralyzed at any given moment. It is some scary shit to say the least!

I have always tried to be positive, vocal and strong when talking about this online. However, that is not always how I feel. I feel lonely, sad, depressed and anxious. I constantly question why this is happening to me. Why now? Did I do something to cause this? Questions I obviously do not have the answers to.

When talking about my disease on my podcast, a Facebook live or a YouTube video I have always said that I feel like I have this for a reason. That reason being that I am strong enough to fight (most of the time) as well as speak up for others who are afraid or don’t quite have the courage yet. I will be their cheerleader of sorts. I have the platform to do so why why not make it more aware to others? For others? Right?

I am writing this today to give you an update on what has been going on with me “behind the screen”.

Over the last two months I have had three relapses. The last one was this weekend. The time before that was a few weeks ago and ended up getting me admitted to the hospital. I am on steroids again to suppress my immune system until I meet my new NMO Specialist next week and we schedule my next chemo treatment.

I know for sure I need it as I never had my treatment in June. I pushed it because I honestly was scared to get it. I also felt healthy and thought it would be ok to wait until I lined up all my new doctors. My body however had other plans for me…

So, a few weeks ago I thought I had sprained my left wrist. The pain was so annoying so per usual I took an ibuprofen and moved on with my life. By that I mean continued to work and type with my right hand only.

Days went by and the pain got worse and started to travel up my arm. It felt bruised. It was honestly an odd feeling. As I was on my way to get a much-needed pedicure something told me not to go inside. That inner voice of mine was telling me something was wrong with my left wrist and now arm and I needed to go to ER and get it checked out ASAP.

I run my business online so typing with one hand only was getting a bit ridiculous! However, I’ll have you know that I am really good at it and surprisingly fast! lol

Long story short my left wrist that I thought was sprained ended up being inflamed nerves triggured by by NMO. They were so inflamed that it caused that bruised feeling. You could actually feel them.

While I was waiting for my nurse to come back in and fill me in on the splint I had to wear my entire left arm went numb. Then my right. Next my upper back and into my neck. Lastly, the bottom half of my left leg. This happened within 5-10 minutes. Good thing I didn’t go get my pedicure, right? Thank god I listened to that inner voice of mine and went to the ER when I did.

The ER doctor said he had to then admit me, so I could be seen by neurology team and get the very high dose of IV steroids my body needed to suppress my immune system.

I was crying hysterically. Crying because I was scared, relieved and annoyed. Again, questioning myself. Why the EFF is this happening to me?

I was immediately getting flashbacks of my last hospital stay which was nine days. There was no way in hell I was doing that again! Although, I knew it could be a possibility…

The one thing that did give me a sigh of relief was the fact I had a port this time. My last glorious trip left me bruised for about a month after being discharged. 15 IV’s and a two-hour procedure for a pic line that did not work. Hence why I now have a power port. One of the most painful procedures I’ve had to date but 150% worth it now.

I was lucky this trip to hospital. They let me out the next afternoon. I did not have to stay for a five-day IVIG treatment if I agreed to stay on steroids for weeks if discharged. The highest dose I have ever been on by the way.

The next few days were rough. I felt like I was going to literally blow up! I could barely see my eyes because I was so swollen. And the pressure headaches that come along with these drugs are unreal. I would also like to add that a side affect stated on the prescription bottle states loss of appetite! That my friends is a complete lie. It is the opposite. I know this because I cannot stop eating and I crave the strangest things all dam day.

After about five days I was feeling better. However, I still could not look at myself in the mirror. I am just feeling so huge and so awful from these drugs but know that this is the course I need to be on right now. I know it will pass because it always does, and it must because I simply cannot live like this! I don’t want to live like this! Therefore, I fight every single day!

I also have a whole month of planned video content that I no longer feel comfortable doing becasue of the way I look. There is not enough makeup or contouring that will make me feel better. I also cannot stop sweating and nobody wants to watch the hot mess express unless it’s on BRAVO! And I am not quite there. YET…

I finished my steroids last week. Two days after my doses were done I started feeling things again. My wrist started bothering me. My body was getting the electricity feelings throughout. I knew something was up.

I started coughing again. I began to lose my voice. My system was shutting down. I knew that if I went to ER they would just give me steroids again, so I ended up getting a hold of the on-call doctor and she sent me a prescription which was amazing. It took me six hours to get a hold of the doctor, but that time spent was well worth it.

Today is Wednesday and I started on another dose of steroids on Monday. I spent almost the whole holiday weekend in bed. I was so weak. I was so depressed and so so sad. My anxiety was through the roof and I just wanted to be in darkness. And I was! My doctor told me to rest and no work. Seriously? I’m THE Happy Workaholic. I LOVE to work but knew I really had to listen this time.

So here we are today. I am typing with my right hand again because my left one has the splint back on to help with the nerve issues I am having.

I am sharing my story with you today because I know I am not the only one going through something scary in life. Something dark and depressing. I want you to know that you are not alone! There is a light at the end. I promise you that. I have seen it so many times and I know I will see it again.

If we are strong enough to fight whatever may come our way, then be the light for the next person. Shine for them so they know that they are supported and loved. If you feel confortable talking about it then do that too!

We all have shit we are dealing with. Everyone has a unique story. That is what makes us all so different yet so relatable right? We are all on a different journey but our paths do eventually cross at some point. Where the happiness and sunshine is.

We’re all in this thing called life together. It is up to you to choose your path and whether you want it to continue in the right direction. I try to do this every single day. TRY is the key word here. There are always going to be good days and bad no matter who you are, where you are and what you’re doing.

For me I know that I will get back to my happy self. I am there now it is just that I am spending more time fighting and medicating these days rather then laughing and smiling but I know I will be back there soon enough. That is a promise I have to keep. Laughter truly is the best medicine!

My appointment that I have been waiting on for months with my NMO Specialist is next week. It is then I will get my next treatment plan and can move on with my life. Literally! I’ve got a mile long to-do list to take care of! A business to continue to build, brands that are relying on me and a group of clients I am so lucky to be working with.

Am I scared for this next treatment? Absolutely! Do I have horrible nightmares that my time may be up while in the chair? Yes! However, I know that I must convince myself to not think this way as I am strong and will continue to fight every chance I have and so will you when going through “the impossible”.

You have just as much strength to get through the thoughts currently going through your head. Trust me I know those thoughts all too well. My advice to you would be to get those thoughts out in a journal and try to meditate when time allows. That is what helps me the most.

Every day when I wake up I know it is a brand-new day to start fresh, to fight, to conquer and do what I love the most which would be connecting with others online and IRL as I run my business and enjoy my life to the fullest.

I have my brand for a reason. I have my podcast for a reason. Everyone has a story to tell. And this is mine.

Well there you have it. A little life update. How I’ve been feeling in the real, raw and right handed typed out version. And in under 2,000 words! lol

I hope that by sharing my true authentic self with you today I am able to shine a litle bit more light on a disease that needs more attention towards it. One that over 4,000 others are fighting with every day in the US. I am not the only one living with an autoimmune disease that fights and battles a chronic illness on a daily basis.

If you know someone dealing with something heavy today call them. Make them smile. Make them laugh. Make them cry tears of joy and happiness that you took two minutes out of your day to make sure they knew they were loved!

Here is to living my best day today. Happy, healthy, positive and productive.

Talk soon,

Kelly

PS I’m now sharing my NMO journey on my Instagram Stories and Highlights.

Connect with me @thehappyworkaholic.

To learn more about Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) visit The Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation here!

EPISODE 68: FRIENDS THAT ARE FAMILY

In this episode of The Happy Workaholic Podcast I am getting very personal with you. I am sharing a piece of my life that I haven’t shared in a blog, a video or another show as of yet.

This topic is something that has been on my mind a lot over the last two years and I have decided to talk about it today in hopes that I can help someone else who may be struggling.

Please let me know what you think of this week’s show in The Happy Workaholic Podcast Facebook Group! That’s where I’ll be to answer any questions that you may have!

If you liked this episode please let me know by writing me a review on iTunes!  I would truly appreciate it.

Talk soon, Kelly

To learn more about the Just For Us Community click here!

PS I’m sharing a lot more on my Instagram this year. Come say hello.

You can connect with me @thehappyworkaholic.

Want to learn about me? Visit The Happy Workaholic here!

One Year Ago Today My Life Was Changed…

One year ago today I was getting my fifth and last treatment of IV Steroids for my Autoimmune Disease Neuromyelitis Optica aka NMO. The reason why I was getting that treatment was because I denied the other MS Meds my 3rd Neurologist had given me. I needed something asap that would suppress my immune system and hopefully prevent me from becoming blind and/or parlyzed. Steroids were the only option at that time.

Something in my gut told me not to take those drugs. I could not have both MS and NMO which 3 Neurologists had been telling me. I know they were similar but I just had a very strong feeling they were all wrong. I also tested positive for a virus which would have caused a brain infection if I had taken those MS drugs. Thank god I did not as I would not be here today sharing my story.

So one year ago I opted for 3 more MRI’s (#7,8 and 9) of my brain and spine to see if there had been a change. More lesions (tumors) etc. In the meantime I was receiving the 5 days of IV Steroids.

My veins have always been invisible so on the first day it took a while for them to appear. The nurses wrapped my entire arm up so that I would only have to go through that process of poking twice as each IV can stay in for 36 hours. Besides eating for an entire family after each treatment everything went fine. I was crazy wired, sweating like I’ve never sweat before and like I said eating and eating. I knew that was part of the drill though.

Everything changed on the fifth day. Throughout my treatment (about two hours) I felt ok. It wasn’t until the last 10-15 minutes I started swelling up and felt this pressure. A few minutes later it became extremely painful. I called one of the nurses over and she took my blood pressure immediately. It was 264. They stopped the IV Drip immediately. Then a team of nurses came rushing over to me. They put me in a wheel chair and ” ran” me over to the urgent care. Thank god it was right across the hall! They said I may not have made it if it was not there.

Immediaitely I had a team of doctors and nurses surrounding me doing EKG’s, bloodwork and I don’t really remember the rest. That was until they said they were rushing me in an ambulance to the hospital with the closest Neurology team. Thank god it was two blocks away. That ride it still a big blur. I was so scared I think I just blocked it out to be honest.

The next stop was the High Risk Dept. of the ER. From there I began my lovely 9 day hospital stay. And where I met my 4th Neurology Team that saved my life! Which I am forever grateful!

Being in the hospital I had to go through every single piece of testing that I had done in the past year. So now I’m on MRI #10, 11, 12. I also got to have another Spinal Tap! Fun Times. This one though I was so drugged all I remember is the ugly peach paint in the hallway! lol

Throughout my nine day stay I received another treatment that would suppress my immune system called IVIG. Something similar to a blood transfusion. Something you need really good veins for. Long story short. I went through 14 IV’s throughout that stay as well as a 2 hour pic line procedure that did not work. Mostly due to all the steroids I was on.

Here is a funny story about the pic line procedure. They had asked me if I minded if two medical students came to watch and I said sure. Ummm…

There were ten medical students. I was crying hysterically after the blue gown was draped over me and my anxiety was through the roof! When I heard the words “local enesthesia” I should have known…

It ended up being ok because my drugs kicked in right in time and I ended up laughing with all the med students afterwords and thanking them for playing country music to calm me down from one of their phones! lol

Thank god I have a port now! I actually feel better having this then the pic line.

I think it was around my fourth day in the hospital that the Neurology team came in and told me I was right! You have NMO and only NMO! It was like I won a life long court battle trying to save my own life!

The journey of all of this started the Summer of 2015 so you can only imagine how long it really felt. LONG!

After I got discharged from the hospital last year it was then time to come up with a treatment plan. I remained on steroids for months after but was finally taken off of them last Summer! Thank god because they made me craaaazy!

At first Chemo was out of the picture which I was so excited about. However, it reentered over the Summer. In the beginning my treatments were every week, then every month and now twice a year! The last one was in December and then next one will be in June! However, there will be more if I relapse so fingers crossed!

The Chemo I am given suppresses my immune system (preventing a relapse) and that is it. I have to take medication for all of my other symptoms unfortunately.

Ironically, I had taken care of someone with cancer years ago and took her to chemo and watched her go through it. ALL of the ups and downs.

The Chemo I am on is for the rest of my life as there is currently no cure for NMO! I wish I could do a few months and be cured but that is not the case for me.

I looked at chemo as a job. Just like it was for me in the past. That was until I started to really feel the side affects and loosing hair and all of the other painful, emotional and stressful baggage that comes along with it. The day that I couldn’t move one finger in my bed without it feeling like a truck was running over me was the day I finally realized that this shit is actucally happening to ME! This drug is in me and this could kill me!

I’m trying to stay positive here so I am not going to get into all of the details but chemo just sucks:)

Over the weekend I did a lot of journaling and self-reflecting and what I came up with was this….

I am a fighter. I always have been and ALWAYS will be! I know now when it is time for my body to take a break and so I take one. I hate that I have to sometimes nap in the middle of the afternoon but it is something that comes with this disease. Chronic exhaustion and pain.

I can handle anything that comes my way. I will ALWAYS find a way to fix a problem. So having NMO is just one more to-do added to my list! You know I looove a good list! lol

Sense of humor is so important for anyone going through a life changing moment. Whatever the case may be. You need to be able to laugh and smile at the end of the day. You need to override those feelings of anxiety, depression, stress and anything negative! Really enjoy the simple things in life such as fresh air and sunshine! Two of my faves.

There are going to be friends and family that you wish could understand what you are going through. But they won’t be able to just be there and some will just drift away unfortunatley. And some you will become so close to that you never would have expected. You just need to keep your circle tight and filled with the ones that love, support and truly appreciate you. They are the ones who are going to help you get through everything!

All I know is that I would never be where I am mentally, physically or emotionally if I didn’t have “MY circle”. They are everything! You know who you are:)

If you are still here thank you for taking the time to read this very long post. I wanted to share something that has been on my mind all weekend. Hopefully I will be able to help someone else out there my sharing my story…

For more information on Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) please visit The Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation here.

Throughout my journey of finding my true diagnosis I realized that I wanted to create a happy, healthy, positive and productive space for other patients. A place for everyone to share stories and bring awareness to their diseases and illnesses through video and voice. I knew that if I was willing to share my story that there would be others out there that were feeling the same way. Others in need of learning more about what a family member or friend may be going through. Others searching for answers from patients actually living through what they have been diagnosed with.

Knowing that there is power in numbers and always hope ahead…

The place I created is called the Just For Us Community which you can become a member of here.

Well there you have it. My very long story semi-short. Yes! This is the short version of my NMO Anniversary coming up. Am I emotional? Absolutely! Will I give up? Never! And neither should you. This goes for anything and everything. Be the fighter you deserve to be. There is always a brighter light ahead. I promise:)

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Kelly

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE IN HELL AND END UP BACK ON TOP! GOODBYE 2017! I WON’T MISS YOU!

Over the last 12 months I have honest to god been through hell and back quite a few times. I have been mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted more than I could have ever managed possible! I’ve shed gallons of tears, punched multiple pillows and screamed out of pure frustration until my voice was completely gone. More times than I can even remember at this point.

You always hear people say that the man or woman above will never give you more than you can handle. And I am a firm believer of everything happens for a reason. But come on!!!

I’ve asked myself multiple times every single day this past year…Why me? Am I going to die? Is today the day that my time is up? Am I going to feel pain when it happens or will I go peacefully in my sleep? Do I share my story or keep it a secret? How am I going to be able to work if I go blind or my body becomes paralyzed?

Pretty depressing right? I blame a lot of those dark days on being on way too many medications. As of today I am happy to say that I am no longer asking myself those questions or taking the crazy amount of pills that I was on for so many months. The withdrawels were the worst by the way! OMG!

For those of you who are reading this and unfmiliar with my story I was “officially” diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called NMO which stands for Neuromyelitis Optica. It is a very scary disease and one in which you are usually misdiagnosed with having MS at first. That is what happened to me. For those of us that have NMO that is a very scary situation because some of those MS drugs can actually kill us! I was a lucky one. I didn’t take it even though it was in my fridge. I just had a feeling to go with my gut (like I always do) and wait until my 3rd round of MRI’s that my 3rd Neurologist had ordered for me.

To make my very long story short. My 3rd Neurologist said that if I didn’t want to take the drugs prescribed my only option was five days of IV Steroids which would suppress my immune system and prevent a relapse. So I said yes to that treatment.

I ate like a piggie throughout that time (as expected when you’re on steroids) and on the 5th day my blood pressure skyrocketed to 263. I was immediately rushed to the urgent care across the hall which then put me into an ambulence and rushed me to the closest hospital with a neurology team.

I then spent 9 glorious days inside four walls of my hospital room. That is where I met my 4th and final Neurology team who then ran every single test twice that I had previously done throughout the year already. That included 3 more MRI’s and a lovely little spinal tap! Sounds so fun! Right?

I went through 15 IV’s during that time because my veins are apparently invisible. Thank god I have a port now! I mean a metal device in my body for the rest of my life is much better than the anxiety and stress of someone trying to find one of my veins now. I’ll tell ya getting bloodwork done now is a piece of cake for me!

It was on my 5th day of my hospital stay that I received my “official” diagnosis of NMO! I cried tears of joy! I felt like I had just gone through a life long court battle and had come out a winner! A winner I was. And the ones who were wrong were the three previous Neurologists that were trying to tell me different.

I am leaving out a lot of details of the pain and suffering throughout because I just wanted to share my story and somehow still keep it light! I hope I’m doing a good job!

Over the last year I have had to get 12 MRI’s, 3 spinal taps, more than 25 labs (some were 37 viles at a time), 5 days of IV Steroids (mentioned above) and 5 days of IVIG Treatment while I was in the hospital. I’ve had to go through months of physical therapy and now Chemotherapy. This right here would explain my lovely weight gain. However, I am happy to announce I’m finally down 10 pounds now:)

Cut to now. 12-29-17…

I had my last Chemo of 2017 yesterday which is why I’ve been able to work on my computer 12 hours today. The first day I’m usually wired and then I crash a few days later. It was my 9th treatment in only a few months and with my port I feel like a pro! I’m just praying I don’t have the week of bedrest like last month. Praying. Praying because that was the worst pain I have actually felt throughout this entire year or in my life!

I am saving every ounce of energy I have to ring in the new year with the biggest glass of champagne I can find because I dam well deserve it and so do my friends that have stuck by my side throughout this past year! I don’t even have words for how thankful I am for them. That also goes for my doctors and nurses who have completely saved my life!

Sitting in bed watching tv one minute. The next you cannot feel your arms or legs. Feelings of electricity running up and down your spine and body. Seeing white lights and then nothing as your best friend is rushing you to the hospital. That deserves a glass of something right? And my best friend a bottle!

That is just another glimpse into NMO…

I wanted to share my story tonight because it feels good to get a lot of this out. It feels good to know that I have a 150% correct diagnoses and treatment plan after fighting for my life for more than one year. I have a team of doctors that I fought like hell to get. A team that is familiar with this disease and knows how to treat it correctly. NMO is extremely rare and only 4,000 patients in the US have it.

I want to share my journey with you (trust me it’s a lot longer) because you need to be your own advocate. You must speak up for yourself because nobody else will! If you need a second opinion get it! If you need a 3rd or 4th get it! I did! And look where it got me! Back on top and starting to finally feel like myself again.

It doesn’t matter what you are going through in life. We all have our stories. The only thing you need to keep telling yourself is that you are going to make it through. If your family and friends slowly drift away because they don’t understand or for some other reason it is ok. You know who you need on your team to keep your spirits up, your laugh in tact and a smile on your face. You may laugh and cry at the same time. You may sink into a depression and be filled with a rediculous amount of anxiety but I promise you…

You will make it through because I did! And if you don’t have a team I will be your biggest cheerleader!

I hope that by sharing my story with you tonight you will open your eyes to what is possible. You fight hard enough you will win. This goes for everything in life! I’ve always been a fighter. This year I just decided to take it to a whole other level. Not by choice of course but I feel like now I can do anything I want!

You have to give yourself the permission to cry and seek help when you need it. You have to know when you are wrong and apologize. You have to always know that everything does happen for a reason and mine is this. To spread awareness of NMO especially for those who do not have the strength as I hold it for them.

Not every day but most of the time…

As of today my Chemo treatments will be every six months. That is wonderful news for me. I started off going every week, then once a month and now just twice a year but for the rest of my life. Sounds awful but it could always be worse.

I’ve lost enough hair from this drug and the stress added on top. Just FYI if you see my blonde locks again it will be my fabulous new wig as my Dr’s told me to stop dying my hair. If you know me well enough you know that I did not listen! I’ve been through enough shit this year just let me get rid of my dam roots so I can smile in the morning! lol

So to sum up this very very very long post…

Please know that wherever you are and whatever you may be going through you have a friend and supporter right here! We only have one life and we need to make the most of it! With a smile and a sense of humor.

Find your tribe and be the best you can everyday and know that they will always be there to support you just like you will for them!

I think that’s all I have in me tonight!

Sorry. One more thing. The most important!!! Me forgetting. Yup! That’s called Chemo brain and I am definitely suffereing from it right now.

There is currently no cure for NMO! Please take a moment to learn more about this disease below. And if you have an extra five bucks to donate to help find a cure that would be incredibe and I thank you in advance.

Visit The Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation here!

Last but not least. Thank you for making it this far. I think now I owe you a drink! LOL.

I wanted to let you know that I will have two new shows up on The Happy Workaholic Podcast tomorrow. This will make it an even number of 40 shows thus far.

I will be sharing some very exciting news on those shows that you will not be able to find anywhere else so you are going to want to tune in.

You can listen to The Happy Workaholic Podcast right here on iTunes!

Not on iTunes? No worries. You can listen to all the episodes on my blog right here!

Thank you again for allowing me to share my story with you. It truly means the world!

Wishing you all a wonderful, happy and healthy New Year! 2018 is our year!

XOXO AND CHEERS!

Kelly

PS To learn about the Just For Us Community I started visit www.justforuscommunity.org here!

***The  Just For Us Community was created for anyone going through a tough time in general. Health, heartache or just in need of some happiness. It is a safe place for you to share your feelings, find a few friends and most importantly know that you are not alone!

HOW TO STAY HEALTHY WITH AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE

The Universe works in such a crazy way sometimes. Ironically this blog post had already been scheduled as the How To Series post for the day. If you saw my Instagram post earlier today then you will understand how I am feeling right now and why I am talking about the Universe. I have less Chemo so it is time to get back on track with my healthy eating. I started my morning off with some Bulletproof Coffee and a Thanksgiving Stir Fry (leftovers) and feeling great so far!

You can listen to my latest podcast show here which explains it all…

As you may or may not know I was originally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis lat year and now know that I do not have MS. I actually have an extremely rare autoimmune disease called NMO aka Neuromyelitis Optica.

You can learn more about it here…

Since then my personal and professional life has had to completely change. One thing I refuse to change is my positive attitude. Yes, I have those days that I cry and I am curled up in a ball in bed. But you will never see me posting a negative comment about it on Facebook. I just don’t want to bring negative energy or comments into my life!

My advice to anyone with a medical condition is to surround yourself with the most positive group of people. That includes your Doctors! Seriously even them! You have to be strong for yourself in order to get better and stay healthy. My mantra which you’ve probably seen me post before is Positive, Productive, Happy and Healthy. And this is how I choose to live my life…

The first thing I did when I found out I was sick was search for other patients online. I needed more information. I needed to speak with others that knew exactly how I was feeling. I was just thrown into a world of unknown and needed to find answers and others going through the same experience. And that is what I continue to do every day. Now I use my voice to help spread awareness about all of my recent diagnosis in the JUST FOR US COMMUNITY.

There are so many people out there that think they are alone. But they are not! They just need to want to find others out there. They need to be extremely proactive and want to do it. That is a must! Trust me it’s a full time zero paying job being your own advocate. I know my voice matters and can help others if I use it. I realized this when I started posting videos about my chronic illnesses. I’ve received hundreds of messages and emails from others wanting more info as well as providing me with info that I am so grateful for and messages thanking me because I made the video in the first place. That part is and still is crazy because I was just doing it for me! I needed an outlet…

I remember the day I got diagnosed. I cried my eyes out. My friends hugged me and told me I was going to be OK! There is no way I could hide this! I needed everyone to know so I could find others that were going through the same thing. I needed help and answers as this was the one thing I just could not fix or change. I was so frustrated but thank god for social media because that is where I found everything and everyone I needed to know! Part of me didn’t want to post because of clients finding out. But then I thought if they think I couldn’t handle their workload then they didn’t really know me. Everyone knows I am a Happy Workaholic and always have been. And they know my personality, which is I NEVER EVER give up!!!

And being healthy has a lot to do with how you feel. I personally feel that the less gluten, dairy and sugar are best. I’ve read up and researched a lot of “diets” and feel that everything in moderation is also the key to feeling your best. Everybody’s body is also very different. So go with what makes you feel your best. I go back and forth with eating meat. Some weeks I eat it every day and then I will go weeks without it. So you really just need to listen to what your body is craving in at the moment. What you do is up to you so just make the choices that will help you more in the long run.

Two very important things I would like to suggest you do are meditate and journal. Being around positive friends is one thing but you really need to be and feel comfortable in your alone time. Find a great book filled with blank ages and write your thoughts away. Trust me you will feel so good after a little “brain dump” session. As far as meditation I love using apps like Insight Timer and Relax Melodies. If you have an autoimmune disease you most likely will have some stress and anxiety that goes along with it. These apps will help you in that department. Try a few out the first week to see which ones work the best and then switch to one in the morning and one at night and use them consistently. I think even a quick five minute meditation will help you as you are just starting off!

I even love a good bubble bath filled with essential oils. Lavender and Eucalyptus work the best for me. If you want to learn more about essential oils feel free to check out my Doterra site here…

I would love to know if there are certain meals you love cooking. Please leave them in the comments. I post a lot of mine on my Pinterest as well as Instagram. I will leave those links for you below…

Pinterest

Instagram

Wishing you all a wonderful Monday!

KAG

Episode 23: FEAR OF LETTING GO!

In this Episode I discuss why I needed to take a break from social media as well as my fear of letting go of a few things and what I am currently working on for the future.

Heads Up! There are some tears in this one! I couldn’t help it! And I don’t believe in editing so I hope you don’t mind!

Let me know what you think of today’s show in The Happy Workaholic Podcast Facebook Group! That’s where I’ll be to answer any questions that you may have!

Talk soon, Kelly

Join THWP FB Group here: bit.ly/thwgroup

STAYING HEALTHY WITH AN ILLNESS

The Universe works in such a crazy way sometimes. Ironically this blog post had already been scheduled as the How To Series Refresh post for the day. If you saw my Instagram post earlier today then you will understand how I am feeling right now and why I am talking about the Universe.

As you may or may not know I was originally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in August and now know that I do not have MS. I actually have an extremely rare autoimmune disease called NMO aka Neuromyelitis Optica.

You can learn more about it here…

Since then my personal and professional life has had to completely change. One thing I refuse to change is my positive attitude. Yes, I have those days that I cry and I am curled up in a ball in bed. But you will never see me posting a negative comment about it on Facebook. I just don’t want to bring negative energy or comments into my life! Although today I am human and was definitely heading in that direction…

My advice to anyone with a medical condition is to surround yourself with the most positive group of people. That includes your Doctors! Seriously even them! You have to be strong for yourself in order to get better and stay healthy. My mantra which you’ve probably seen me post before is Positive, Productive, Happy and Healthy. And this is how I choose to live my life…

The first thing I did when I found out I was sick was search for other patients online. I needed more information. I needed to speak with others that knew exactly how I was feeling. I was just thrown into a world of unknown and needed to find answers and others going through the same experience. And that is what I continue to do every day. Now I use my voice to help spread awareness about all of my recent diagnosis in the JUST FOR US COMMUNITY.

There are so many people out there that think they are alone. But they are not! They just need to want to find others out there. They need to be extremely proactive and want to do it. That is a must! Trust me it’s a full time zero paying job being your own advocate. I know my voice matters and can help others if I use it. I realized this when I started posting videos about my chronic illnesses. I’ve received hundreds of messages and emails from others wanting more info as well as providing me with info that I am so grateful for and messages thanking me because I made the video in the first place. That part is and still is crazy because I was just doing it for me! I needed an outlet…

I remember the day I got diagnosed. I cried my eyes out. My friends hugged me and told me I was going to be OK! I called my family and then posted on Facebook for the world to know. There is no way I could hide this! I needed everyone to know so I could find others that were going through the same thing. I needed help and answers as this was the one thing I just could not fix or change. I was so frustrated but thank god for social media because that is where I found everything and everyone I needed to know! Part of me didn’t want to post because of clients finding out. But then I thought if they think I couldn’t handle their workload then they didn’t really know me. Everyone knows I am a Happy Workaholic and always have been. And they know my personality, which is I NEVER EVER give up!!!

After my post on Facebook I went to Instagram. I began to search every hashtag looking for friends, a community and more answers. That is how I found my friend Jennifer Finney. She caught my attention right away! She had a spunk and positive energy about her that I know I could relate to! There was no “Negative Nancy” vibes about her which I loved. Everything in her feed was positive so of course I introduced myself and followed her. I then decided we needed to be friends on Facebook! Thank god she accepted! lol

I mean if she were in Las Vegas I’m pretty sure we would be besties by now! Although I think we are online…

Right Jennifer? lol

We’ve messaged each other all positive notes and she always answers my questions. We both also love to cook delicious healthy meals. I mean obviously I was sold! lol.

Thanks Jennifer for always being there for me especially when I needed it the most!

I am so lucky to have found you.

FYI…If you are one of those people that cannot understand or comprehend how you build relationships with others online this right here is a prime example. Contact and engagement!

When I started putting together the ideas and concept of my How To Series I created lists of friends and clients who were amazing at their job, career, achievements and those who inspired me!  A list of friends that I wanted my readers to learn and know about! Jennifer was the first one I added on the Health and Wellness list.

I asked Jennifer to share her story as it is truly remarkable. I also asked her to share her tips on being healthy and fit while having Multiple Sclerosis.

These tips go for anyone going through a health situation so please know that it is not just for MS patients.

Also we are not doctors. We are just two women sharing our story and journey with you today.

Here is Jennifer Finney’s story…

I wasn’t always fit and healthy. In fact, most of my life, I was obese. Until a few years ago, exercise and eating a healthy diet were way down on my list of desires and priorities.

I often used MS as an excuse to NOT take a walk with girlfriends or learn to cook healthy meals.

But four years ago, that all changed when I decided to overcome my excuses and just see what would happen if I changed my diet and started exercising again, in spite of my MS.

After making regular exercise and eating a diet centered on whole, unprocessed foods a priority, I’m happy to report that I’ve lost weight, gained energy and stamina I didn’t even realize I could have, and gained more mental strength than I ever dreamed possible.

Of course, having MS definitely has its challenges when it comes to exercise. For myself, I typically have a numb right leg and foot, I struggle with stamina in heat, and my bladder has a mind of its own.

But, as the experts say, exercise is vital to our overall health and well-being, so I’ve figured out how to “do it anyway.”

Remember, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. But most doctors will tell you that the benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks of getting hurt. So if you’ve got the clear, and you’re ready to get started, here are a few tips for you that I’ve learned over the years and apply on the regular for myself and my clients.

Tip #1: Know your body and don’t be afraid of it.

It’s okay to push yourself beyond what you think you can actually do. I started exercising by walking on the treadmill, later moving on to the elliptical when I built up enough leg strength and cardio vascular stamina.

I did as much as I could in the gym until my bladder problems and wonky right leg started making it difficult. So I switched to the lap pool where I could pee with abandon and it didn’t matter if my leg was numb. When I injured my shoulder I had to find another way to work my body and my heart.

That’s when I found spinning. Tough as nails, spinning strengthened my legs and my cardio vascular endurance by leaps and bounds. Plus, I was able to lock my feet into place so again; wonky leg was not an issue. Yay!

I’ve since moved on to doing many different at-home workouts, being mindful of my body.

Working out at home is a great solution for me, because I can control the climate and my bathroom is seconds away. I also try to incorporate stretching and some sort of yoga practice, which has helped a ton with balance and flexibility.

Tip #2: Listen to your body.

It’s important to be mindful of what your body is telling you during and after, exercise.

If you’re in the middle of exercising and you feel pain or feel like you need a break, it’s totally okay to take one! Stop what you’re doing, wait 10 minutes to recover and then start up again if you can.

I try to be very aware of the signals my body is giving me all the time, not just during exercise.

If I have muscle soreness, I take an Epsom salt bath. If I am exhausted after several days in a row of strenuous exercise, I take a day off to rest. If I need a nap, you guessed it, I take one!

Tip #3: Have fun!

If exercise is something you dread, then you’re doing the wrong thing. Try different types of exercise until you find the one that really is your sweet spot.

For example, you may need to get off the treadmill and call your girlfriend to go for a walk in the neighborhood. Or try the elliptical machine or swim laps the pool.

Switching up your routine isn’t just good for your body, but your mind, as doing the same thing all the time gets boring and your body gets used to it.

Also, put together a playlist full of your fave pump-you-up tunes, or listen to a podcast while you workout.

I used to LOVE listening to a Comedy radio station in the gym and found myself LOL’ing and getting the “what are you laughing at” look by other gym goers more than once. haha! Which made everything even more hilarious!

The important thing is, do what you love! If you don’t love it or enjoy it, then it’s time to do something else.

In the end, the most important thing to remember, no matter what, is that you just can’t quit altogether. The way I see it, the day I quit taking care of my body, with how I exercise it and how I choose to nourish it, is the day I decide I’m not worth it.

It’s the day I decide to let MS win.  And I’m not about to let that happen as long as I can help it.

So to recap, know your body and don’t be afraid of it, it’s capable of a lot more than you think. Tune in to your body and do what it’s telling you. If you need a break, take a break! And finally, have fun! You’ll be much more apt to keep going if it’s something you enjoy, not something you dread.

And, of course, whatever you do, DON’T QUIT!

You CAN totally do it!!!

About Jennifer Finney…

Jennifer Finney has had MS for 12 years. After losing over 100 pounds by changing her diet and exercising, she now coaches women who desperately want to lose weight without dieting.  She gives them the tools they need to jump off the diet roller coaster once and for all and live a life they truly love.

When she’s not busy helping women transform their lives, you can find her indulging her inner rock star on a Sunday morning singing with the church band, enjoying a movie night with the fam or savoring a grande soy latte, no whip. And of course, chocolate will forever and always be her love language. ❤

Find Jennifer on her pages below and be sure to tell her I sent you…

Website

Facebook

Instagram

As always if you have a question or something inspirational to share please let us know in the comments below or on our social media pages.

Until tomorrow…

KAG

PS If you are someone who is looking for a few friends online I have started a community called JUST FOR US.

The JUST FOR US Community has been created for anyone going through a tough time. Health, heartache or just in need of some happiness. This is a safe place for you to share your feelings, find a few friends and most importantly know that you are not alone!

For more on my health journey visit my page here.