Monday, 26 May 2014

Cooking Fails

I've come to the conclusion that I CAN'T COOK. Cookies turn out dry, cupcakes are overmixed, meat is either too raw to eat or so overcooked it's not pleasant. And it sucks, because I love to cook! It's relaxing, it doesn't take too much effort, and it's a great excuse to dance around my kitchen singing along to the radio. And if I get dizzy, or headache-y I can usually just take a break before getting back into it. It would be a win win, if the food ends up decent. But usually it gets a couple of bites out of it before being tossed.

I don't understand - my dad just finished a Cordon Bleu cooking course and my mum makes restaurant quality dinners every night. How did I miss out on the cooking gene?! But I cook anyway because hell, it's still fun even if the food wouldn't get a 10 from Pete and Manu. (MKR reference, anyone?)

Is there anything you love to do even though you suck at it? Do you know any fool-proof recipes I could attempt??

Have a great day!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Symple Life

One of the hardest things for me has been to track my POTS symptoms. For about a month I carried a little notebook around with me, writing every little thing down - what I ate, when I slept, who I saw, how I was feeling, intensity of symptoms - everything. And it took so much time I found myself dreading having to write down my entire life. But the benefits of having a diary of your symptoms are so helpful when it comes to POTS, to find out what's affecting your condition negatively or what's helping. I was just hating having to write it all down.

However! A couple of days ago I found an app for my iPhone that has made it SO MUCH EASIER. It's called Symple, and it's a symptom tracker and health diary. It's amazing! I can track my symptoms everyday, write notes about my day (I typically write my salt and fluid intake) and have a list of different factors that could have affected my symptoms (e.g. seeing friends, exercising, going to school etc). It can track up to 20 symptoms at a time, and it makes it so easy to keep on top of it all. It cost $3.79 on the AppStore, but in my opinion it was totally worth it. (the journal I used to write in cost around $6, so it's more cost effective for me!)

My one complaint is that you can only record a symptom once a day, which isn't great for me seeing as my symptoms vary from morning to post exercise to night-time. But that's okay; I've just listed my symptoms as different parts of the day, like 'Headache AM' and 'Headache Post Gym'. It's a downside because it takes up more room in my 20 symptom max, but for me it works just fine, and I'm loving it!

If you want to track symptoms and factors day to day, I'd definitely recommend Symple. It's the best app I've found for keeping on top of it all!

Hope you have a great day!

Monday, 12 May 2014

School Time!

This week I'm heading back in to school! I'm so excited to be back with my friends, learning all sorts of new stuff, and really just having attainable goals. Sometimes being POTS-free can kind of seem unattainable as I know it's going to take years to do, so being able to complete a little more school than I used to is a kind of proof for me that it's working.

First off I'm just going to see how I go. I'm going to be attending for one hour a day, going in for Chemistry. It sounds like it's not a lot, but just thinking about it makes me feel tired. There's the socialising, the noise, the thinking, the sitting up and walking around - it's pretty tough for me to do those things on their own, and all together it's going to be really challenging, but worth it. If it turns out that after this first week I'm completely shattered, I'll try upping my salt and fluid, before thinking about going from four classes a week to maybe two or three. I really hope that I'm going to be able to go to chem full time though, as I've had to learn a lot that I missed last year on my own and I don't want all that hard work to be for nothing. 

A few things that I'm going to be doing to try and make sure I last the lesson are:
  • Resting right before and after. If I don't rest before, then I won't be able to function during the lesson. If I don't rest afterwards, I'm jeopardising going to class the next day.
  • Balance my salt and water. If I have an afternoon class, I'll put extra salt in my lunch. If I have a morning class, I'll put salt in my tomato juice and make sure to have a small breakfast so that my blood is circulating around my head, not my gut. 
  • Don't be too hard on myself. If I'm having a bad POTS day, then pushing myself to go to class will only make it worse, not only for the day but probably for the rest of the week. If I'm having an off day, I can always email my teacher or ask my friends what I've missed. Getting stressed about missing class because I'm ill is only going to make it harder for myself. 
So that's my plan for getting back in to school. Baby steps, and see how I go. My POTS is still much worse than it used to be because of my stomach infection last month, so I'm going to have to be strict with myself to not push it too far (as I have a tendency to do!). Is anything new or different happening for you this week?

Hope you have a great day!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

To Do Listing

I've decided to start writing to do lists every single day. There have been so many times when I've come to the end of the day and I've realised I forgot to do something that needed to be done, because I get distracted with trying to rest and look after myself. Don't get me wrong - those things are just as important, but I still like to stay on top of my life and my commitments.

Another reason I think I'll benefit from it is so that I can pace myself. There are four categories I want to tick off every day: school, home, exercise, and self. If I do something strenuous for self, like go to a movie with friends, I'll balance out everything else to make sure that I don't push myself to a point where I can't bounce back the next day. As long as I do something each day from each of those categories, no matter how small, I'll be content and happy with my day.

My To Do List for today is:
write notes on amines and carboxylic acids for Chemistry
do one hour of English folio writing
vacuum bedroom
do 1/2 hour on recumbent bike
bake almond maple granola for breakfasts

I also like the idea of being able to physically tick things off the list, so that even though some days it feels like I'm good for nothing, I can see that I'm achieving a few small things each day that add up.

Do you write to do lists? Do you think they help you stay organised and feel achievement?

Hope you have a great day!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Catching Up

Sorry that I've been MIA recently! It's been school holidays here in NZ and I've been spending as much time as I can with my boyfriend;  he goes to boarding school a two hour drive away so when he's in town I spend pretty much all my time with him.
I've been pretty bad POTS wise recently. My compression stockings have been really irritating my skin, making my legs itchy and bumpy and constantly uncomfortable. I've tried exfoliating and moisturising and all that jazz but none of it's been helping, so at the moment I'm not wearing them. Because of that I've tried to be strict about my water and salt intake, upping each a little bit. But I've been getting major headaches everyday so I might have to change it back and just slow things down a bit.
So that's been my last couple of weeks. This week I'm just doing work from home and starting to go back in to school for an hour a day next week. I'm excited to get back in a real classroom rather than my bed.
Hope you have a great day!