Running to health, well trying to anyway.

I am not a runner. But I was born into a family of runners. Ultra-marathon runners and Iron-men athletes to be precise. My mom was a star high jumper and hurdler. I could hold my own at school in most track and field events but when it came to long distance running I would gracefully bow out and let the pros handle it. Now don’t get me wrong, I have always wanted to be able to call myself a ‘runner’ but it just never came naturally to me.

Fast forward a hundred years (ok, not quite a hundred) and I find myself once again trying to run. This time I have found support in the form of the Coach Parry website for training. Now, I could easily call on every excuse under the sun as to why I can’t or shouldn’t run. But the truth of the matter is, if you can put one foot in front of another, you can run! It may not be far or fast and it may be difficult, but being unhealthy and over weight is by far more difficult than running.

I have signed up for the couch to comrades program. I’m not signing up to actually run comrades just yet but it is great to have something to train for. And to have an actual plan, that is structured and meets me where I am – the couch, is very encouraging. And to start with 20 minutes 4 times a week is totally doable.

I’m curious to see how far I can get with this program and to see how far I can safely push myself towards optimal health and fitness.

Watch this space.

 

Ankylosing Spondylitis – The Journey

I have tried to write this article a few times before but never quite get the angle right. I want to share a journey with you. One that started when I was in my early 20s. I started to get injuries, yet I could never quite recall actually hurting myself. My flare ups were few and far between enough to justify them in some way at the time.

These attacks became more frequent and more severe as the years went on. The only way I can describe these attacks is that it is like spraining a joint really badly or braking a bone in my body, the pain lasts about 3 days or so, goes away and then comes up in another joint or bone somewhere else. This pain can get really crippling. Literally crippling. And most of the time, excruciating. There have been times where my husband has had to dress me, carry me from one place to another or nurse me with hot packs and ice packs. Over years of investigations I have heard: “it’s all in your head”, ” take these anti-depressants”, “it must be Rheumatoid Arthritis”, “you just need to exercise more”, “you just need to rest more” etc.

After 9 years of going back and forth, between I don’t know how many doctors, I was eventually diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. An autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself. Yay for my over enthusiastic immune system. I’m sure there are many people out there who would still offer up suggestions on why I don’t have it and it’s still all in my head, people can be so helpful at times, but they mean well and comment from a place of concern, I get that. However, all I can actually write about is MY truth and MY experience.

For the first 18 months post diagnosis I was prescribed Humira, an immunosuppressant, bi-weekly injection which was literally life changing for me. For the first time in years I felt like I could move again and be the mother my kids deserved. An active, physically able mother.  No more trying to explain to my small children why mommy’s hands (or knees, or feet, or back) aren’t working. I could wear shoes other than sneakers, I could even play squash again. This didn’t last though and my flare ups started to come back. After trying every diet under the sun, my last resort was to try a vegan diet. I had read the book, The China Study, and this was enough to convince me to at least give it a try before combining Humira with even more serious medications. I had nothing to lose.

Within 2 weeks my symptoms had disappeared again. And this time they weren’t coming back. And by the end of the first month the change was enough to convince me that I could never go back to my previous lifestyle. It wasn’t particularly difficult to make the change and as for all the foods I thought I couldn’t possibly give up, turns out I could. My kids and my family were all the incentive I needed to make this change.

I have been vegan now for 4 1/2 years, I have been off all my meds since April 2019. I still have the odd flare up every now and then but it’s completely manageable and not as frequent.  I would love to be able to share some of my journey with you on here which is why I wanted to give you a bit of background into my physical journey to health. I would also really like to share some of my favorite recipes on here from time to time. I know I’m not the perfect vegan or the best cook but hopefully, over time, I can get better and better and stronger and stronger.

Stay safe

la

What does our lock-down look like?

To anybody out there who is still reading this delightful blog, I’m sorry we have been rather quiet. To say there has been a lot going on is an extreme understatement.

In January our gorgeous little girl was born, the Coronavirus took over and the world changed. Kuwait went into level 4 lock-down from March, April and in May went to level 5 for 3 weeks. We have since dropped back to level 4 for 3 weeks now and are eagerly awaiting the further drop to level 3 and for things to open up a little more.

So, what has your lock-down looked like?

Ours looks a little like this:

 – Husband working from make shift office at home

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– lots of e-learning

– complete lack of structure and zero bed time

– garden time

– pool time

– baby, baby and more baby

– Coronavirus news overload

– constant cooking and baking

– constant cleaning and eating

– clothes that don’t fit anymore (anyone else have kids in clothing 2 sizes too small at the moment?)

– puzzles, puzzles and more puzzles

– afternoon movies and night swimming

I would love to hear from you all, what are you doing these days to make the most of this challenging situation? As things open up in your countries, what are the first things you’re going to be doing? When Kuwait moved to level 4, 3 weeks ago, and the drive by Starbucks opened up, the queues were miles long for days on end. Today I joined one of them and had my first latte in 4 months.

Now don’t laugh, but other than painting, I actually ordered coloured felt and thread to make the kids little felt craft creations over the summer. Right now, I’m in the stage of looking up cute creations and expecting them to magically create themselves. I can’t sew you see, why on earth did I choose a sewing craft when I can’t sew? Oh, to learn a new skill apparently! Ha!

Side note: I have actually really been very thankful for this down time. We have been one of the lucky ones in all this. We have food on our table, a roof over our heads and my husband still has his wonderful, stable job. We are healthy and happy and above all, we are together. We have had more family time now than ever before. My heart and prayers go up to those who are not safe at home but rather trapped at home in abusive households and to those who have lost income and livelihoods. The overwhelming number of those starving and depressed is beyond anything I can actually comprehend and it breaks my heart. So lets be thankful and collectively look around us with open eyes to see where and how we can make a difference, no matter how big or small.

la

The mission – get dad mobile again.

My dad, Brian McCrindle, is not only my personal hero, but also a hero and father figure to many others.

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My wedding, 10 years ago. Photographer : Dror Eyal

My dad was always the first person that someone would call on when they needed help, he would always be there for someone in need at the drop of a hat. Dad is the eldest of four boys and the true patriarch of our family. He was a man who always looked after his health, ate right and exercised all throughout his life, the picture of perfect health. He was an Iron Man athlete, a veteran Comrades Marathon (89km) runner, an avid cyclist, a swimmer and an all round sportsman.

On 24 June, 2018, dad had a bicycle accident and broke his neck. Dad is now a quadriplegic. During his months in ICU where he fought for his life, his true athletic spirit really came to the foreground. Through desperate prayers, a fantastic medical team and around-the-clock care from his devoted and loving wife, Anne, dad has now reached a point where he is able to breathe by himself during the day while making use of breathing support during the night. He is still paralyzed from the shoulders down but is going for extensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation every other day, with rest days in between when his lungs need it. The most amazing thing about this human being has been his sense of humor through it all and his truly heroic, admirable spirit. Dad has the most amazing mental strength. Not once has he felt sorry for himself, not once has he asked “why me?” Not once!

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Anne has been a God send. I will never have enough thanks in me to give her for the love and care she gives my dad.

Her precious life with my father changed in a split second, but she too has not once wavered from her love and devotion to him. The life they once shared together was filled with weekly adventures and new experiences. Their days look a little different now, but side by side they remain.

My father was in ICU for almost a year. Needless to say, his medical treatments do not come cheap and private medical insurance can only take you so far. All of the ongoing monthly medical expenses pose a real challenge, as one would expect for an injury as severe as dad’s. With him needing a wheelchair for everything, everyday, their little yellow Honda Jazz isn’t quite sufficient enough to get them around very comfortably anymore.

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That above said, aside from monthly medical costs that dad still needs to cover, it is my goal to try and raise enough money to buy a wheelchair friendly vehicle for him by this coming Christmas so as to give him a bit more comfort and ease with his mobility challenges. What an amazing gift that would be. The goal is to buy a pre-owned Fiat Doblo panel van vehicle which has been kitted out with a wheel chair conversion kit which will cost R345 000 / $22 697.

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Beanie buddies and granddaughter cuddles

If you find that it is within your means to help raise this money to get Brian mobile again after everything he has been through, and constantly goes through each day, then please do consider supporting this initiative, and please help spread the word.

Simply click on the link below:

https://clickndonate.com/get-brian-mobile-again-goal-r-345-000/

Please select the PayFast option for the simplest means of transfer.

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Note: The maximum limit per single PayFast payment is R10,000

From the bottom of my heart – thank you!

Lindy-Ann

An open letter to my readers, and a little surprise on the side.

I know very well that over the last year I have been quiet online. Those of you who know me well, will know why.

When I write, I write from the heart, and when my heart is open, that becomes easy, but when it is broken, then it becomes a lot harder.

Over the next few posts I will tell you the stories of what has kept me from opening up and why things are turning around. I will cover the family tragedy briefly and I will tell you all about the disease I live with and how I do my best to manage it. But one lovely little treat I can leave you with is the main reason for my heart opening up again –

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No, this is not simply additional holiday weight (although there’s a fair share of that in there too), our family has been gifted baby number four. Thankfully, the shock is abating now and I’m starting to enjoy this crazy, magical ride, one last time.

Cheers

la

A morning at Egaila Beach

I must have jinxed myself in my New Years resolution post where I set a goal to be super healthy and reduce my medication. I have had a really tough 6 weeks with my health and it overflows into other areas of the life. I’m tired. So very tired.

As I find my way back to good health, I am so thankful for the encouragement of friends. Jillian suggested that we head out to Egaila beach, here in Kuwait, for an early morning photography exploration walkabout and it was just what the doctor ordered.

Here is a little video clip and a few photos of the morning out. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me, and I encourage you to get out and explore your surroundings too. Sometimes all we need to get us up and on our feet again is a little love and encouragement and I hope this post can be that for you.

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Cheers.

la

11 years in the desert

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It was 11 years ago today that I landed in this desert land. It has been an absolute whirlwind of an experience. It has been the best and the hardest season of my life. I came here at the tender age of 25 years. I left my family, friends and my little dog Gizmo to take on, what I thought at the time to be, a two year adventure in the Middle East. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be sitting here 11 years later writing this post, on a blog that I started with my dear American friend who now lives in Tel Aviv. Wow, what a mouth full. I thought it would be fun to share some of my very first Kuwait memories with you, so here goes:

This was my first apartment –

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I will never forget the day that I came home from Ikea (my first experience with Ikea at that) and I started to build my very basic essential furniture. I was very proudly using my pink screwdriver that I had bought earlier from the local supermarket when I reached a point in assembling my wardrobe where I need to “get a friend to hold one side while you bla bla bla the other”. I remember the sense of helplessness that I felt when I fell to the floor in tears thinking “well, that would be great if only I had one!”

It’s tough adulting I tell you!

Those who know me will also know that I’m a little shy in nature. The fact that I jumped from my comfort zone of home and landed in this strange land to begin with is nothing short of a miraculous leap of Faith. But jump I did. I slowly grew braver and through the advertising agency I was working for at the time and a few good flat mates, I started to make some friends, got out and did things I that would ultimately change the very core of my being. I grew up, FAST!

My first trip out to the quad bikes in the desert –

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During my time here I lost my mom and more recently my grandfather, and I had to shelve my preconceived ideas of what the ‘right’ career path was for me. I got married, and had three very cool little people. And since then I have been able to reinvent myself, reignite my love for art and art history.  I explored my photography interests and became accredited through the NYIP (New York Institute of Photography) in the United States. I’m now also studying Interior Design. I have been Blessed with abundant travel opportunities. When I was working, I got to film TV commercials in Romania, Beirut, Dubai, Barcelona and Kuwait. I got to watch the Grand Prix in Bahrain. I went to Cannes, France for the Cannes Advertising Awards. I went to romantic Paris, and loved travelling the Rome and Florence with my better half.  I got diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (Google it – better yet, don’t Google it. Scary). I went vegan. We had our first family holiday to Portugal, Lisbon and Madeira. I learnt a new Language. I found God.

Top 11 things I have learned in these 11 year. 

1 – Life is short.

2 – If you can’t find the joy in life, BE the joy in life.

3 – Practise tolerance, the world is made up of so many different cultures and beliefs.

4 – If you’re not happy, make a change. If you stay in your unhappiness you will only bring people down with you.

5 – Tell people you love, that you love them. You never know when will be the last time you speak to them.

6 – If you’re toying with the idea of going from 2 kids to 3, go for 3.

7 – The food that you put inside your body REALLY does effect the way you feel.

8 – Listen to your body. It speaks to you.

9 – Love those who are difficult to love, that is when you can really make a difference.

10 – Write letters.

11 – Pray – there will always be an answer. It may not always be the answer you’re looking for, but there will be one nonetheless.

I have no idea where the next 11 years will take me. I may very well still be here and will report back then with another recap.

I have met so many very interesting people here, and from each person I have met, I have taken something, and learned something new about myself in the process. I have also learned to look back at my beloved home country with fresh perspective and new appreciation.

Cheers

la

Note: These photo were taken 11yrs ago on a very basic camera.

‘There’s an oil for that’

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These were the words my cousin Cacey in Australia put out there on Facebook when she discovered doTerra essential oils, and that’s what stuck with me. After following her enthusiasm and passion for these little essential oil filled glass containers, I became curious.

Especially since before the summer my number 2 developed an extremely heightened sensitivity to smells.

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She sent me this amazing starter kit with 10 essential oils, a larger bottle of fractionated coconut oil as well as the Petal Defuser and tons of reading materials and suggestions on when and how to best use the oils for individual use as well as for the whole family.

Being new to this I naturally had a few questions:

What on earth is an essential oil?

  • ‘Essential oils are naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of the plants. When the oils are extracted form the plants, they can be used as single oils or in oil blends to increase emotional and physical wellness. If properly extracted, essential oils have the unique ability to benefit people in all areas of life, whether in food preparation, beauty treatment, or healthcare practices. You will be amazed with the diverse ways essential oils can help you fulfil your and your families health.’ – exert from doTerra living naturally guide book.

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How do I use this?

  • Each essential oil can be used in one or all of three ways:

1 – Aromatic – Some oils can be very stimulating while others can be quite calming, and ‘OnGaurd’ for example can help to clean the air, great when you live in a sandy environment like the desert. Simply add a few drops of your favourite oils into the petal defuser (in my case) filled with fresh clean water and set the time. Enjoy your home or office as the natural fragrance filled the air. My favourite combination to use just before bedtime with the kids has got to be OnGaurd, lavender and peppermint.

2 – Internal – essential oils can be invested to help support many health factors in the body, one being the immune system, and if you’re on board the autoimmune disease train like I am, this brings great relief. Even if you perhaps just have the little GI issues. This is a great option. I use one drop of lemon with one drop of DigestZen in a really large bottle of cold water to get me through my mornings and it is has become such a great way to start the day.

3 – Topical – You can add these essential oils to your favourite lotions, face creams or coconut oils to be applied topically. The reading material provided has some amazing suggested combinations and suggested uses for each one of them, it really is amazing.

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And of course,

  • How can I get more?

doTerra has reps in most countries and if you did a quick Facebook search for one in your area I have no doubt that someone close by can help you. Having said that they also have an excellent mailing system in place and I received my oils here in Kuwait in just over a week via my US Aramax box from Cacey in Australia, who can also be contacted via her Facebook page Garden of Eden Oils. Thanks Cuz!

There is even an app called the doTerra Daily Drop to offer up any extra info and advice should you need it.

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Needless to say within about an hour of receiving my package, I was obsessed. This has very quickly become a daily habit in my home as I am truly discovering for myself that yes…

…there is indeed an oil for that! 

Cheers

la