Happy Mother’s Day!

My posts are infrequent right now, due to the business of life. I am currently taking classes, and doing important work for the rescue I volunteer for, and I need to complete my homeschool daughter’s High School transcript this Summer. All of these are time-consuming and don’t leave much time for blogging. Plus, I am working extra hours at my nursing job to compensate for high gas and food prices eating away at our savings. So, for the next few months posts here may be sporadic, though I will try to update old posts when time permits. I also am going to be taking the updated Kidney Coach classes soon, I hope.

On this Mother’s Day, I would like you to consider a few things. I have two children, both will be adults as of tomorrow. I am almost 53 years old and have completed Menopause. My whole life I have not had to worry about my reproductive rights being infringed upon, and while I have passed the reproductive stage of my life, my daughter has not. If you are my age, then you too lived your whole reproductive life without having your rights infringed upon. You were able to decide what choices were right for you. Think about that. Whether you are pro-life, or pro-choice, you had a choice to choose which one. That choice may soon be taken away from our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, etc.

Something else to consider. I can no longer have children, my biological clock has stopped. However, a few years ago, I could have still had children. I have Kidney Disease and had this potential decision been made a few years ago I may have had to carry a child to term should I have gotten pregnant, which would have been extremely dangerous for me both because of age, and kidney disease, yet in Florida, the new law passed may have forced me to do just that as there is no longer an exception for the health of the mother. There is also no exception for rape or incest. Think about that as you approach Menopause and having a child is possibly the last thing on your mind, even if you are married or in a committed relationship.

I love my children with all of my heart and being a mom has been the greatest gift I was given. But, that doesn’t mean I think women should have their reproductive, and health choices decided for them by politicians.

Happy Mother’s Day! Remember to make your mom feel special today. Being a mom is hard work and a lifetime of work.

Menopause, Belly Fat, and Weight Gain

Hello, and welcome to another Self Care Saturday post. In the month of April, I am focusing on the topic of Menopause. If you did not see my first post, you can find it in the archives.

Menopause is a fact of life. It is part of the middle ages, and there are different aspects of it. Just like kidney disease, dementia, or really any other topic everyone’s journey will look different. But, there are some main topics that are more common to all women going through Menopause, and one of those is belly fat and weight gain.

I encourage you to watch the full video below. There are no gimmicks here, no easy, or fast ways to lose belly fat, but good sound discussion on the topic. I am not promoting the course that she is selling at the end, I have no idea if what she offers is good, or not.

There are a few things I would like you to pay particular attention to.

  1. NEAT- I have talked about this before via using a step tracker, and getting up and moving every hour. I have two dogs, and one way I increase my NEAT is to take them out every hour, when I am home, from 8 am to 8 pm, even if it is raining. They love this! My back fenced yard, around the perimeter is exactly 125 steps. When I first started this I would do 2 laps or 250 steps. I now do 6 laps every hour. It is really a habit now, and I just do it. My dogs are used to it and will remind me. We play ball and enjoy the fresh air. Sometimes, when the weather is super lovely, I do my laps and then I sit on my swing listening to all of the nature around me. It truly is a beautiful part of my day.
  2. LBT- Licks, Bites, and Tastes. You will see what she means.
  3. The amount of protein they are promoting. If you have kidney disease or may be at risk of getting kidney disease please be very careful about consuming this much protein. I have talked a lot about getting back to stage 2, and while there are many things I think have allowed my kidneys to heal, consuming a lower end, but quality, amount of protein is one of them.

All in all, I feel like this is a good video, and lines up with articles and studies I have read. They do not promote any particular kind of diet, supplement, or gimmick. They do promote weight training, and I have discussed that before and how important it is for women to do weight training. They do talk a bit about heavy weights, and I urge you to go slow, especially if you are over age 50, and especially if you are over 50 with kidney disease. Please consult with your doctor before lifting heavy weights over age 50.

Once you hit menopause, and your estrogen begins to decline and eventually disappear, the fat you carry will shift from your hips and thighs to your abdominal area. Note, that they state the abdominal area is the last place most women will lose weight. You can’t target it via abdominal work, or decreasing sugar. It is a process, and most likely you will see results in your face, and chest, long before your waist.

You also will not need as many calories as you age. This is just plain true. So, you may not even realize how much you may be over consuming what your body needs.

If you would like to work with me as your health coach to conquer your health goals, send me a message via the contact form below.

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Medical Monday: Menopause!

Welcome back to another month of new Medical Monday topics. If you read here often, you know this blog is focused a lot on health coaching, and help topics, plus CKD. But, I like to talk about other topics as well and Menopause is definitely a medical and a wellness topic. Chances are very good that you are either a woman, or you know a woman. I am sure you have heard all of the stereotypes about hysterical women and Menopause. This month I will discuss Menopause and how it can affect everyone’s wellness, not just a woman.

I watched a ton of videos on Menopause last night until I found one that explains it in a sensible but educated way. The video, a TED Talk, is just a basic introduction to the topic of Menopause. Watch for future posts and how Menopause affects women and their wellbeing.

If there is a subtopic related to Menopause that you would like me to talk about, leave me a comment, and I will consider it.

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Fun Friday: St. George Island Florida

On Wednesday, so I guess that would make this a Wellness Wednesday post, lol, we visited St. George Island for the second time. We had family visiting from out of state that we have not been able to see since Covid began. I love St. George Island, and as much as I adore St. Augustine, St. George might be my new favorite.

It was extremely windy, a little chilly, and the surf was rough. We did not swim, but kind of got our ankles and knees wet. It was a great day to walk the beach, sit on the beach, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Gulf of Mexico. There were maybe 10 people on the beach, and it is a huge beach. It is actually a state park, so it was only 6 dollars for the whole car to enter the park. I told my husband we really need to visit this park more often, like once a month.

Enjoy my beautiful picks and I will write again, Monday. Have an awesome weekend! We are in for some nasty weather again, tomorrow. Please respect the property of my images.

The Biggest Kidney Development In 20 Years!

Hello! It is still National Kidney Month, and I meant to talk about this topic weeks ago, but I got busy with other things and it didn’t happen.

I am not going to go into all the mumbo jumbo of a clinical trial, there is a video for that, lol. The video below will talk about the clinical trials for Farxiga and the results. I will keep it simple and state it met all of their standards with flying colors! The FDA has now approved Farxiga for the treatment and prevention of kidney decline in CKD patients with or without Diabetes. This is huge!

Now, before you get too excited there are some caveats. It is for stages CKD 2-4, and you can not be on hemodialysis. You can read the drug information here, but if you are on a low sodium diet, and which person with CKD is not on a low sodium diet, then you need to proceed with caution as Farxiga can cause you to be dehydrated, and cause volume loss. Make sure you discuss all aspects of this drug if you decide to ask your doctor about using it. The people in the clinical trials were on ACE Inhibitors, or ARBS, most likely to control blood pressure. So, I would be curious to know how Farxiga would work for those of us who do not take those medications. Not all of us do, though it is a typical standard of care for most people with CKD. Also, and most important in my mind, is that Farxiga can cause a type of genital infection, that can lead to gangrene, in the genitals. Yes, you read that correctly. You would need to pay extra attention to this very sensitive part of your body for any signs of infection. You also can not have Polycystic Kidney Disease or autoimmune kidney disease to take Farxiga. There are other drugs in this class of medication, but only Farxiga has been FDA approved for the treatment of CKD. Farxiga is made by Astrazeneca.

Now, my thoughts on Farxiga. Would I take it to slow the progression of my CKD? Absolutely, if what I was currently doing did not already have me back hovering at stage 2. I also do not take Ace inhibitors or ARBS, so I probably would be disqualified from using it. I do not want to be on hemodialysis, ever, and so this would be something I would consider. I would request my doctor make adjustments in my plan of care, such as sodium restrictions, and I would request closer monitoring for side effects.

Be sure and watch the videos, read the links, and educate yourself before talking to your doctor about taking Farxiga.

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Kidney Class: Week 11

Welcome back to another week in the American Kidney Fund, Kidney Education Class. This is week 11, and I will be sharing slide 11, with comments from my personal experience with CKD, and my experience as a nurse.

In week 10 I discussed how the number one cause of Kidney Failure is Diabetes. This week I will discuss the #2 cause which is Hypertension, sometimes referred to as HTN, or High Blood Pressure. They all mean the same thing.

There is a short video below that explains how HTN damages the kidneys and can lead to Kidney Failure. There is no sound on this particular video. My thoughts and comments are under the slide that is the property of the AKF and provided to me as a Kidney Coach.

I encourage, you, my readers to leave me comments and or questions. That is the best way for this program to work. I do not accept spam, so please do not waste my time. If you would rather not post a public question or comment, you can email me at healthbuddymelissa@yahoo.com

As you can see in the slide HTN causes 25% of kidney failure cases. This is a large amount. Keeping your blood pressure in good control through healthy lifestyle changes, exercise, diet, and medications when needed are all vitally important. As someone with CKD, and as a nurse, I understand the importance of keeping my blood pressure under control, and so far I have been successful. However, CKD in and of itself can lead to high blood pressure. So, keeping your CKD well managed is also very important.

Ouch, Gas Prices!

This is a different kind of Healthy Tip on Tuesday post, but it is just as important for your overall health as any other tip, because it can cause financial stress and other stress-related issues that can affect your health and wellbeing.

If you live in the USA, then you know that the government just announced bans on Russian energy imports. Before that announcement was made, here where I live gas prices were already $4.20/gallon. Now, I am not going to go into the politics of climate consequences of oil and gas. But, you could certainly vote in favor of those topics this fall.

You are most likely going to have to conserve gas, especially if you drive a large vehicle. I think my gas tank is like 10 gallons, which means to fill my tank it would be 42 dollars. That is a huge jump from just six months ago. Since we live in a very rural area, and we have to drive at least 30 minutes to get to anything we want, you can see how expensive this could really get.

How can you conserve gas? Some of these will be related to more rural folks, than people who live in the city.

  1. Don’t drive. This is the most obvious way to conserve gas, though it is not that practical especially if you live in rural areas, but work in the city. If you can walk, or bike to work, that is an option. Car pooling when you can is another great option. We have two cars and while we both work in the same city, our schedules are no where near the same. So, that won’t work.
  2. Drive less. This will be my most obvious choice. I will try to shop in town, though their prices are high and I am not always happy with the quality of food options. I surely do not want to be buying food from Family Dollar and Dollar General. With CKD that would be a disaster for me. I will not be picking up extra shifts either, as the only thing that extra money will go for is gas. I will pray my husband does not have to return to the office for a little longer, too. Which is a good point in itself, work from home if you can.
  3. Combine your trips. I already do this, but I may have to be even more thoughtful of this. My doctor is 30 minutes away, both of them, and they may have to be more willing to do telemedicine since they don’t want to do it anymore with the pandemic winding down. I think this is totally dumb by the way, unless I need an actual physical exam.
  4. We may have to consider moving to the city sooner than we wanted to, if it persists for a very long time. The city has public transportation that we absolutely do not have access to in rural areas.
  5. Buy a smaller vehicle, EV, or only have one vehicle. First off I would love an EV, except I refuse to pay the price for one. The most affordable, the Nissan Leaf is almost 30,000 dollars. Sorry, I have never paid that for a car, nor will I. I already drive a smaller Kia, and my husband’s is not too much bigger. We used to own only one vehicle, back when it was feasible. That option really is no longer feasible, unless I was willing to leave my job and get a more local job, which I really do not want to do, but, again if it persists for a super long time, getting a job closer to home is a good option.
  6. Drive slower. Now I heard a politician suggest that on the news this morning, that going 6 to 7 mph slower would save gas. Now that is only really true if you drive at like 57 mph. Because, gas efficiency peaks at like 50mph. I looked that up. I know I am super smart, but I did not know that, lol. So, drive much slower than you are probably used to and save gas.
  7. Don’t be an aggressive driver. This just simply wastes gas on a whole.
  8. Ease into stops slower. This is something I already do, but my husband does these abrubt stops that I hate. Don’t be abrupt, it is rude, and wastes gas.
  9. Maintain your car with routine maintenance.
  10. Make sure your tires have the proper amount of pressure and rotate them.
  11. I know this one is hard, but keep windows, sun roofs, convertible tops, and moon roofs closed when you are driving at high speeds like on the freeway.
  12. Don’t let your car idle. I know I am sorry to all my northern friends who warm their cars each morning. Or, even here where we like to cool it off in the heat of the afternoon. If you are stuck in traffic for more than a minute or two, turn your car off, and then turn it back on when you are ready to move.
  13. For all of my camping friends, or people who carry lots of tools, lightening up the load saves a ton of gas. Pulling, towing, or packing up your vehicle with heavy items uses a lot more gas than if you lighten the load.

I hope this list helps you. If you have any other great tips please share them in the comments. I do not approve of spam, so don’t bother.

Stay safe and healthy!

Simple Sunday Quote!

I will leave you to ponder what this quote may mean to you. Leave me a comment and let me know. I suggest it will be different for everyone, the thought of what matters.

I am so much happier now that I left my job doing 12-hour shifts every weekend, to 8-hour shifts, 2 days a week. I can come home and cook dinner for my family, exercise, do a blog post, etc. Not just come home and go to bed because I am exhausted to just do it again the next day. This matters to me, money does not. If I had to work more, I don’t know that I would. I would much rather learn to live within my means as we spend money on stuff that is really not necessary. When I was diagnosed with CKD I decided life is too short to work my life away, and I meant it. I know people will scoff at that. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who supported me in staying home to raise my kids because that matters to me. Some will scoff at that and say you are lucky. I wouldn’t call it luck, marriage is hard work and there is no luck involved. We both have had to work hard to make each other happy, and that matters. Reading, learning, training my dog, being with family and friends, gardening, relaxing in my pool, bird watching, photography, these things all matter to me, and I make space in my life for them. I do not enjoy entertaining, and I generally don’t even like company. But, I will meet my friends elsewhere to have friend time. I have always been that way and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

Since my second child will be graduating this Summer, and I will be finishing up my classes, I may decide to work more hours, or I may not. I may get a work-from-home job. I have not decided yet, but I do know I am paying for these classes so I expect I will use them.

Don’t forget to leave me a comment about what you think of the quote for today.

Simple Self Care Saturday #1

Welcome to Saturday! The weather is beautiful here in Florida today, and I hope wherever you are it is too. Now that I am no longer working every Saturday, nor doing 12-hour shifts, I am starting a new self-care series of posts. I totally believe in self-care that is simple, easy to do, affordable, easy to understand, and uncomplicated. Self-care is something you intentionally do for yourself. Keeping it simple will aid you with making self-care a habit. What is one type of self-care that I have made into a habit? Getting up and taking at least 250 steps every hour, while awake. Now that it is a habit I feel sad if I can’t do it. For example, this week I started my new job and it was all done on a computer, in an office. I could not get up and move every hour, or I guess I didn’t think to ask to do it, and I felt so lazy by the end of the day. Not all types of self-care will meet everyone’s definition of my time. For example, having my nails and hair done is not for me, but some people find it very relaxing and self-loving.

For this first simple self-care Saturday I would like to talk about Tai Chi. I am not a certified Tai Chi instructor, and I only dabble in it as a form of energy balance. I actually love Tai Chi and I like to incorporate it with my Reiki. I am trained in Reiki. Both are types of energy healing but Tai Chi is also more of a type of exercise or intentional movement. It can improve your balance, muscle strength, all while focusing on your breathing. The movements are very slow, so you focus on the movement and the breathing. The video below is 11 minutes long, but the Tai Chi session is only 5 minutes in length and it is perfect for a Simple Saturday, or any day of the week. I try to do this routine daily, but it is not yet a habit, so I often do it a few times a week. I find it is a great cool-down routine after exercise, or after a stressful day at work to relax. Once you learn her easy routine you won’t need the video, though you may want to play some soft music, or nature sounds once you have it memorized. Try it if you are in pain, anxious, worried, etc. Once you master this first video you may wish to try some more of her Tai Chi routines, or just stick with this simple one.

Leave me a comment if you try this. What is your favorite way to practice self-care? There are so many, but you need at least one, and then do it. If you would like to learn more about my Distance Reiki sessions, click the highlighted link above, or use the contact form below to send me an email for a free consultation.

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Is Your 401K A Scam?

Welcome back to another Thinking on Thursday topic. As I continue my research on topics related to retiring and elder years, this one came up a lot, and of course, is one I and lots of others can relate to. A scam is probably not completely accurate, but many people do not truly understand their 401K and actually end up losing a lot of their earnings long before they retire.

Most places don’t even offer a 401K option to their employees, and if they do you probably have to work full time to participate. I really am not sure I understand why because my research shows all of the burdens is on the investor, that’s you, not the company offering it to their employee. So, right off the bat, I call BS. At the end of last year, I pulled out of having any more money taken from my check and put into my 401k. Why?

For several reasons.

  1. I did not see any stability in the company I was working for and figured the would be rolling over the business to another healthcare managing company in a couple of years, just like the many previous ones before them. Rolling over a 401k is a pain, and I can’t cash it in without huge penalties, and I wasn’t vested so it didn’t even matter. Most companies don’t have you vested until at least 5 years working for that company. The new job I am starting at next week is 6 years to be vested.
  2. I have about 10 years to retirement, and while they can put my money into less risky portfolios, not all of them are set up that way. I really do not know enough about investing to take any kind of high risk with my money.
  3. The fees these companies charge are ridiculous.

If you don’t know about these things and your 401K I suggest that you learn about them. I urge you to watch the video below and if you do have a 401K start looking into what amount of fees you are paying, where your money is actually invested in, etc.

Index funds may be a much safer place to invest your hard-earned money. They have way less risk and are easy to manage so the fees are nominal at best. Read more about index funds here, and there is a short video that he ranked as the top 5, after the longer video. I do not know that they will make you rich, his title is his title.

I am not an investing coach or money coach. I am a health coach, and retirement issues are a huge part of health.

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