Wellness Wednesday: Stretches for A Stiff Neck and the Serratus Anterior

Well, as I mentioned the other day I have strained my Serratus Anterior.  A muscle I knew was there but have never felt like it had been even worked let alone strained.  Then I started doing push-ups.  As I stated I was adding one push-up per day to see how many I could do.  This was not a good idea.  But, I think it was the Diamond Push-Ups that strained the said muscle.  If you don’t know where the Serratus Anterior is located.  It is a relatively small muscle that sits under your Pecs and runs out to your side and to your armpit along the ribs.  I can assure you if you strain this muscle sneezing will feel like you died.  Pushing is not much fun either.  I think this started from an old shoulder injury that worsened since I was lifting weights, and probably had poor form due to the injury.

I mention the stiff neck and headaches because the Rhomboids are muscles at the base of your neck and upper back that help with shoulder movement.   These muscles help with shoulder movement and exercises.

As I have Kidney Disease Tylenol is the only medication recommended.  I also use peppermint oil diluted in coconut oil, or Bengay to assist with pain.  Heat helps a lot too, though some people may prefer icing the strained area.    I have a back brace that I have been wearing high up under the breast area, and this is uncomfortable but helps wonders.  The stretching, however, is what has helped the most.  The Serratus Anterior muscles have some awkward stretches so be sure and read carefully to be sure you are doing them correctly.  The Rhomboid stretches are self-explanatory.  You will find the stretches in the links below.  My ultimate point is to go slow when exercising.  Don’t rush results and give your body time to adjust to each new exercise before adding reps or weights.  Resting the area is vital to healing.




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Healthy Tips on Tuesday: My 5 Favorite Ways to Add Veggies to My Diet

Updated 3/23/2021: And you can too with these easy tricks.   You may not even notice they are in there.  It is easy to add fruits because they are sweet.  But, veggies are often crunchy and some say with little to no flavor.  After I was diagnosed with CKD I changed my diet completely.  However, I realized my husband and kids didn’t eat a lot of fruit and veggies either.  These are 5 ways I have learned to add more veggies, and one I have not tried yet but will when I remember to buy the equipment needed. Be sure and check out my Youtube video below. I will be doing a new one soon for my special for the month of April 2021. For March 2021 I am giving away 30 minute coaching sessions related to Healthier Kidneys. If you would like to learn more about that click here.

1-  Smoothies.  This is my absolute top way to add veggies to my diet.  You do not even know they are in there, though they can make your smoothies some interesting colors.  I have a small smoothie maker.  I have put carrots, spinach, parsley, kale and I keep telling myself to try beets too.  With fruit, you won’t even know the veggies are in there.  If you have CKD like me use fruits that are lower in potassium.  My small smoothie maker can not hold a lot so I don’t ever overdo it.  Berries are great options for CKD smoothies.  For veggies, green leafy veggies give the most bang for their buck but are also high in potassium.  If you take a blood thinner, greens are also high in Vitamin K which may interfere with the blood thinner.

2-  Everyone at my house loves mashed potatoes.  I have used half regular potatoes and half sweet potatoes.  Also with regular potatoes cook some cauliflower and mash it in altogether.  No one at my house even knew there was cauliflower in there.

3-  Don’t like smoothies drink V8 juice.  My husband drinks a can every morning before he goes to work.  While my kids don’t like traditional V8 juice, they do drink V8 Splash.  It isn’t as good but it is better than other things they could choose to drink.  Sometimes I even put V8 juice in my smoothies.

4-  Add extra veggies to soups and sauces.  I always add onions, peppers and sometimes mushrooms to pasta sauce.  I love straight-up vegetable soup that doesn’t even need meat.  I purchased a cauliflower alfredo sauce that everyone just loved.  You could even do this with Mac n Cheese, by adding veggies to the cheese mixture.    Even better make your own sauce using all the veggies you want.

5-  For breakfast, instead of 2 eggs I have one egg scrambled and cook up veggies to go with it.  Such as peppers, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, etc.

How do you sneak veggies into your daily diet?  Share in the comments.


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Daily Writing Topics for 2020

I am changing up the topics for 2020. Below you will see the new list of hashtag topics.  This does not mean I will post every day.  I probably will not blog daily.  Please continue to sign up for my newsletter, using the contact form below the images.  Lots of deals and freebies are provided in the newsletter.  Wednesday is New Years Day and I will be sharing my vision and goals for 2020 for this blog.  I will also evaluate the goals I set last year.  How did I do?  Did I meet them all?  Come back on Jan 1st to find out.  I will have the Chronic Illness Support Group on Facebook, the first of the year on Jan 1st, 1 PM EST.

I have been having some people leave comments about guest posts.  It is much more effective if you use the contact form to message me rather than in the comments.



Don’t forget you can hire me on Coach.me  The price is exactly the same as my monthly plan available on this blog.

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The 5 Best Gifts to Give Someone With A Chronic Illness

Updated 11/24/2021 This list is geared towards CKD because I have CKD and can relate to it.  But, they can be adapted for anyone with any Chronic Illness.

Have you ever heard the statement you should be grateful for whatever someone gives you? While I agree with that sentiment 100%, there is nothing worse than getting a gift that someone put no thought into at all. Especially if it is from someone who knows you well, cares about you, or knows you have a condition. Or, you get invited somewhere for a holiday party or dinner, and there is nothing you can eat.  So here we go.

  1.  Most people with CKD have issues with Anemia at one time or another and are therefore colder than other people.  Gifts to help them stay warm such as hats, scarfs, mittens these are even better if handmade with love.  Handwarmers that can be reused and put in pockets, heating pads, and blankets, warm socks, and shoes. A heating pad, or blanket is also an awesome gift. I have dry eyes, and am getting Arthritis in my fingers. Warming gloves, paraffin wax treatments, and eye warmers are all wonderful gifts that have meaning.
  2. People with CKD may also suffer from chronic pain, stress, and anxiety with limited medications they can use to relieve pain.  Items like Massage, Guided Imagery, Aromatherapy, Reiki, Reflexology, Spa days, etc make wonderful gifts for someone with CKD or other chronic illnesses. I here at Health Buddy Melissa offer Distance Reiki sessions, and Guided Imagery. Be sure and send me a message if you are interested in purchasing some sessions for your loved one, or yourself, by using the contact form at the end of the post.
  3. Gift cards for whole food stores, or places that sell organic foods with fewer preservatives and chemicals. Or cooking classes to learn how to cook and make better food choices for their particular Chronic Illness. Cookbooks, cooking equipment, etc are also all great gift ideas.
  4. Carts and bags with wheels for easy shopping or that can attach to a walker or wheelchair. One of those grabby things to get things up high are great! Having their cupboards remodeled to make access easier. Maybe they need an access ramp to get into the home easier and safer.
  5. Consideration and love.  This is probably the most important.  When someone with CKD or a Chronic Illness goes to a dinner or party and there is nothing that is safe for them to eat, it is deflating.  Ask them what you can prepare for them that they can safely eat.  Christmas is about love, and kindness, don’t be selfish and not put in a little extra consideration.
  6. I have to add this one.  Save a life and donate a kidney if you can.   Learn more about kidney donation at AKF, or NKF.  If you are absolutely someone who does not feel you would do that, donate to one of those organizations, or one near you, to help save the life of someone with kidney disease. Any organ donation is a gift of life, not just kidneys. You can check off on your driver’s license that you wish to be an organ donor.

None of that is meant to make you feel bad or guilty.  It is simply to help you be more mindful of others and their conditions.  Everyone should be more Mindful, every day.  I love all of you who take the time to read what I share.  Blessings and much love to all of you!

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Do you know what’s in your sweat?

Updated 2/7/2021 OK, so I am going to keep this simple, because there is so much more to what is in sweat, and who sweats what. Some people sweat way more than other people, some without even trying hard.   However, as a basic information tool, here is a question.  Do you know what is in sweat?  I think most people assume when they sweat they are losing large amounts of Electrolytes.  This is apparently not completely true. The main purpose of sweat is to regulate our body temperatures, and therefore sweating is very important. The short video below is from a deodorant company, but it explains why we sweat in a very simple way. For a longer and more complex explanation of sweat, I promise it is interesting, see the second video. Check out my Walking Buddy Health Plan.

In a very basic way, from least to most this is what sweat is comprised of:  Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Bicarb, Ammonia, Sulfate, Lactate, Amino Acids, those are all in very , very small amounts.  Sodium, Chloride and Water are the three biggest things contained in sweat.

Now that doesn’t mean go off your Sodium restricted diet, because you sweat, but if you have CKD, like me, you can see where sweating, through moderate exercise, may help aid the kidneys in getting rid of some excess Sodium.  If  you are not having an excess of Sodium, say your blood levels of Sodium are low, than in the reverse you need to talk to your doctor about normalizing your Sodium, and Chloride levels.  Having a low blood Sodium level can be very dangerous, and should not be taken lightly.  Over exercising, or drinking too much water, can cause your Sodium levels to decrease.  That is why it is so important to be aware of your body, any unusual symptoms, and work with your Health Care provider to be sure you are getting the right amount of exercise.  Not too much, and definitely not too little.  If you have kidney disease, you should have your Labs checked at least yearly, and maybe more if needed.  I do mine every 6 months.  When I was first diagnosed I had to go every 2 weeks.  Most Americans consume way too much Sodium, even when trying to restrict the amount in their diet.  However, in other cultures, Sodium is not necessarily increased in the diet.  If you are sedentary, especially with a Chronic Illness, always talk to your doctor about exercise, before you begin.  If you are sweating a lot, you need to maintain hydration, so as not to get dehydrated.

You can review Health Buddy Melissa’s Mission Statement, here.


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Updated Basic Health Buddy Plan

From here on out, unless I revise this again, this is the page that potential clients will be referred to when asking about plans.  Each plan will now have it’s own individual page, and a contract will be written up after the free Meet and Greet is completed, and the client agrees to purchase this plan.

The Basic Health Buddy Plan is a 30 day plan, with two 30 minute sessions each week, via email.  There are other methods of communication that can be used, and they are called Extras, which can be purchased separately.  You will find an updated Extras page soon.

All clients must do a Free Meet and Greet, via email, before the basic plan can be purchased.  The Meet and Greet is done via email at an agreed to date and time.  All Meet and Greets are in English, and follow Eastern Standard Time Zones.  The Meet and Greet is meant to learn a little about each other, and what kinds of goals you may have.  I will provide you with basic questions that you will need to answer.  These are not fancy, no need to print, fax, etc.  I just ask a question, and you answer, as honestly as you can.  The Meet and Greet may go on for a day.  I allot this much time to be sure all info is gathered.

After the Meet and Greet you decide if you want to purchase another plan to continue to work on the stated goals in your questionnaire.  Please always read my updated Disclaimer provided below, before making a decision.

If you decide to purchase the 30 day Basic Health Buddy Plan, we will meet at pre-arranged dates and times, twice a week, via email to discuss your goals, any progress you have or have not made, and how to overcome any hurdles you are experiencing.  I will provide you with encouragement, tips, educational info, things to research, support, ideas, opinions, etc.  Examples of goals are:  stress reduction, sleep issues,  weight loss, chronic disease issues, blood pressure, education, social life, parenting, home work balance, learn to cook, exercise, de-clutter etc.  There are so many more.  Those are just examples that pop into my head.  Once you have told me you are interested in meeting goals, and using me as your Health Coach, a contract with a Paypal address to pay, will be emailed to you.  You must print the contract, sign it, and email it back to me.  Once I have told you I received the signed contract, you can pay for the Basic plan.  There will be a privacy form, and any medical releases that your doctor may need to address, also.  Not everyone will need the medical release form.  The privacy form must be returned with the contract, before you and I can start to work together.  I am only accepting up to 5 clients at a time.  So, be sure and keep that in mind.

All payments must be made via Paypal, and in US dollars. My Paypal account is an account I have had for many years, like 20.  It is verified, and in my husband’s name.  Do not let that bother you, he never uses the account, and I have used it for all kinds of online business.   I only speak, write, and understand English.  So, please keep that in mind as well.

With the writing of this post, this plan is now active, and ready to accept new clients.

Please use the contact form below to message me, if you are interested in a free Meet and Greet.  Another change I have made is that I will no longer post a calendar.  Dates, and times will be discussed in the free Meet and Greet session.

Updated Disclaimer 



Memory Care Monday: How Memories are Made

Happy Memory Care Monday! I hope everyone had an amazing weekend. I worked all weekend, and I am still deciding if these 12 hour shifts are going to work well for me.

The video below is very interesting, and explains how our brains make memories.  It is not that long, about 10 minutes, so give yourself some new knowledge, and let me know if you remember the name at the beginning of the video.

If you have a goal of improving your memory skills, and would like to work with me to reach that goal, use the contact form below to message me.


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The Boring Stuff!

So, all blogs need something boring, and for me it is all the legal mumbo jumbo.  But, it is necessary, so I shall do it.  This page, along with my Hello page, and available packages will be linked to every post.

Privacy Policy:  These will update as needed.  Right now I have the free version of WordPress, so you may see ads.  Once I upgrade, I will have to decide if I want paid ads on this site.  Right now I am leaning towards no.  WordPress may use cookies, or other ways of tracking when this blog is visited.  I personally will always respect your privacy.  Any discussions between me, and a client are private, period, and kept in a secure way.  All records will be kept for 2 years after our work together has ended.  I do not currently have an email list, or a newsletter.  Again, not sure if I want those, but if I decide I need them, I will update.

Terms and Conditions:  This is a Health Coaching Blog.  I expect anyone who leaves comments to me, or any other participant to be respectful in the manner they speak.  Anyone who does not can be blocked.  Do not contact participants unsolicited.  If you leave a comment, with or without a link, that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, your comment will not be approved.  Please use the contact button, in the top right corner, to contact me.

Disclaimer:  I am a nurse, that is true, but in this business I am a Health Coach.  I am not working under my license.  I am working as an Independent Contractor, with health experience, to help coach clients to a better self.  I will not give medical advice, or mental health counseling.  I am not responsible if you misuse any information I provide to you.  It is your responsibility to take the info, and resources I provide to you, to your health care provider.  Some things obviously will not fall under this such as stress relief, organization skills, mindfulness, memory care, etc.  I will work with any prescribed plans given to you to help you manage, and cope with them such as already made exercise, diet, and medication regimes.

Disclosure of Paid Content:  I love to share products, and services that I personally use and love.  They are unpaid, and just things I love.  If I do a paid post, it will only be after the product is personally tested, and I can give an honest review.  These type of posts will always be disclosed.  All of my resources will always be identified at the end of every blog post if needed.

Copyright of Written or Art Works:  Please do not copy any of my written, or art work, without written consent.  Use the contact button in the right hand corner to message me.

Paid Services:  This is a business, as such I expect to be paid.  All payments are USD, and through my verified Paypal account.  I file as an Independent Contractor for tax purposes, 1099 form, at the end of each year.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.


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My Top 5 Tips For Staying Stress Free During the Holidays

Updated 1/6/2022: This is a great Thow Back Thursday post, and it doesn’t have to be just for holidays it can relate to any stressful situation.

LOL!  Who doesn’t love Grumpy Cat?  5 days until Christmas, and the seasonal stress is on the rise.  The holidays can be especially stressful for people with chronic diseases, like me.  I have CKD, and while I do not have high blood pressure, the stress of course can make my blood pressure rise.  That can affect my kidney function, and I don’t want that.  Not all stress is bad for you.  It motivates me and inspires me.  My kids scoff at me when I say that, but it is true.  I love a good challenge.  But stress that is just time-consuming, painful, or limits you, is bad stress.  So what are my top 5 tips for staying stress-free during the holidays?  Keep reading.

  1.  Know Your Limits.  What do I mean by that?  I mean know your strengths, weaknesses, what will annoy you, or stress you out.  For example I don’t do lots of people, or really loud noises.  Unless it is something very important to someone I care about, then I will make every effort to talk myself into it.  I sit on the outskirts of a crowd, never in the middle, and if it is going to be really loud I wear ear plugs.  We went to an Ed Sheeran concert recently, and even though we were outdoors it was still so loud.  If you know something is going to push your stress limits, like a Christmas party, for whatever the reason, just politely say you can not attend.  Shop on non busy hours, or shop online, if crowds or standing in line drives you nuts.  Traffic, family, friends so many things can be stressful, but it can be managed if you set some limits for yourself.  Don’t take on more than you can handle.
  2. Make A List:  What do you have to do, need to do, and want to do? I love lists I make a newst every single week.  Somethings I don’t get to, others I have to get to, and then there are things I want to do.  This helps me stay organized, and focused.  When I work, I keep notes, no personal info, just important things that happen in the day.  It is kept in a private notebook, and I can refer back to it when needed.  I only work 2 days outside the home, at an ALF, and trust me it is a lot to remember, especially when I have 3 days off until the next work day.  A notebook, or journal is a great way to keep your thoughts organized, and use for reflection.
  3. Stay Within Your Budget:  There is nothing more stressful than money issues.  There have been years when we spent so much on Christmas that we spent the next year paying for it.  This made no sense to me, and if you read my post from last week, then you know we have a 3 gift rule.  My husband did not stick to that rule this year, and while I am not letting it stress me out, I am not absolutely thrilled either.  If you have not made a budget for Christmas, be sure and do it next year, or any time of the year.  Living within  your means will relieve a lot of stress.
  4. Volunteer:  Helping others is a great stress reliever.  We volunteer for a local pet shelter, and the food pantry.  We also do a lot of things with our church.  Volunteering can be time consuming, so be sure and pace yourself, so the good thing doesn’t become a stress issue.
  5. Give It To God:  What do I mean by that?  I have been a Christian for many years, but still let the negative effects of stress bring me down.  Then I learned to give it to God.  You don’t have to be a Christian to do this.  Whatever your faith, or religion is, use it to your advantage.  God is a great resource, so use Him.

I hope everyone can have a peaceful, stress-free holiday season.  Be positive, kind, and remember why we celebrate Christmas.  Don’t forget next Thursday is the big reveal.  My price list, calendar, and available packages will be posted.  I have worked very hard on this, and I think potential clients will be pleased.  I will only be coaching up to 4 clients at a time.  Why?  Because, what kind of Health Coach would I be if I bit off more than I could handle.  Have a very Merry Christmas!


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Be Kind To One Another

Updated 9/18/2021 This is the shortest post I have ever done, lol. I love this quote from Mother Teresa.


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