Thursday, January 16, 2014

To Whom it May Concern,

I started this itty bitty corner of the internets in 2009 with the hope of making a positive change in the way our family ate, moved and loved. I believed that what we consumed, how we live on top of a genetic pre-destiny had a direct effect on our bodies long term. I didn't realize my theory might be proven at the age of 31 and to ME!... Shit.

In February 2013, I noticed an unusual stiffness in my left knee. Nothing startling,
I am after all a hair stylist who spends approximately 12 hours a day on my feet in awful footwear choices (brilliant) After some time, my knee started to swell and retain fluid. My amazing doctor sent me to an orthopedic surgeon. Months of fluid removal, knee braces, x-rays, MRIs and blood work all pointed towards an autoimmune disease. Shit. Shit. Shit.

It wasn't until September that I really understood something wasn't right and others took notice as well. Two of my clients (both nurse practitioners, oddly enough) who had no knowledge of my issue asked how long I had been experiencing "that swelling" and how long I had "that shaking in your hands." The fatigue, memory issues, fevers, wonky heart, pleurisy, falling and spreading joint pain (now throughout my body) were coming hard and fast. I had been waiting nearly 5 months for an initial rheumatology appointment and December couldn't come quick enough.

Within moments of meeting my doctor I felt immediate relief. Rheumatologists are like crackerjack investigators, working to solve unusual mysteries as conclusively as possible.
After a thorough Q&A and examination, the doc agreed something was wrong and ordered a menu-sized blood panel and some x-rays. 3 weeks later I would have some clarity.

Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease. Basically, my body has "turned on"
this autoimmune disease. My immune system is attacking healthy tissue and eventually joints
thinking that the healthy cells are foreign. This condition will eventually present itself as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis (both lifelong conditions), so in the meantime, it gets treated with a drug my grandfather took decades ago (plaquenil) for his dibilitating RA (rheumatoid arthritis) until it branches off and needs to be treated more aggressively (i.e. biologic drug therapy).

Me and my Grandpa George, circa 1982 (a few months before his passing)

So what now? I dunno. Making necessary adjustments...learning. My current treatment could take a few more months to show some true progress. I can tell you that I'm already "over it" meaning, it's annoying as f#$ thing I know for sure (Oprah reference!) is that I am built and wired for a battle. There is no way in hell I am going to retreat from attempting to make this the best possible scenario. I've got some pretty amazing friends and family who I can count on for a good belly laugh and an occasional pick me up. Believe that.

The super-great news? I'm aight. Business as usual round these parts...just a little more discomfort and bellyaching than usual. Wife and Mommy duties are fine (check) and once I get a little more footing as far as limitations I'll be working more too (check, check). Just a little update for those of you I don't get to see or talk to as often as we'd like.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Strength has an interesting way of building itself. It takes on many forms and challenges recklessly, not necessarily stopping to ask permission or even take in mind who or what it sacrifices along the way. Strength surfaces when it wants and how it wants.
Strength building manifests itself both physically and mentally, breaking down superficial barriers and stripping humility down to it's core in order to create a more solid structure.
2013 has brought with it so many blessings as well as strength building challenges.
Humbling is living in a 31 year-old body that is rapidly turning against itself. Frustrating are the joints that are in a constant rotation of inflammation, stiffness and degeneration. Scary is the heart, inflamed and floundering that cannot maintain a steady beat. Waking up with a flu-like exhaustion, day..after day...after day. Not remembering simple tasks and living in a fog-like state with breaks in words.
Writing a simple blog entry I used to not be able to type as fast as my brain wanted me to.
Now, I lose my train of thought constantly...searching for the last thought to connect the thoughts together. I am tired. I am angry. I am weak. I am confused. I am sad for my family. I am over it.
Me, having been through a strength-building exercise or two (give or take), understands that this is just the beginning. The beginning of a lesson. A lesson in faith. A lesson in love. A lesson in resilience. A lesson of patience. I have been waiting for a specialist appointment for over 6 months. Monday is my consultation. I don't think I can fully express in words what some understanding will do for my spirit.
I have accepted God's will (whatever that may be) and I am built to take on the challenge,
but man am I ready for some answers to continue fighting without the blindfold.
Today I am reawakening Healthy Shmelthy as a way to record, reflect, and hopefully inspire
others along the way. I can't make any promises of how the journey will go, but there is a lot of freedom in turning it over and being transparent. Here I am, stripped down to my core. Ready.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Paleo Mint Chip

I'm trying to stick to a clean food diet around these parts,
and in order for the family to understand it's not all about sacrifice--
I had to compile some tasty treats in ye olde arsenal,
In walks in,
I opted for Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream as our first frosty treat.

Paleo Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
makes a pint. 
triple for a family of 4, yo.

1 can coconut milk (16oz.)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg yolks
1 tsp peppermint oil
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I opted to chop up some 85% cacao instead)

1.) Combine everything but chocolate in a sauce pan.
2.) Bring to a low boil while whisking.
3.) Remove from heat, let cool.
4.) Strain mixture into a medium bowl, cover w/ plastic wrap.
5.) Chill mixture in refrigerator for 2 hours.
6.) Place mixture in ice cream maker, pour in chocolate, run until desired consistency is reached 
(mine took about 30 minutes--need a machine as frivolous as an ice cream maker?
 Here is mine in case you're in the market)

This was very yummy. 
Even a picky eater would lick the bowl clean.
I'm hoping to add a few more flavors to our repertoire,
I'll keep ya posted. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

New Project

I launched a new project!


You should check it out.
All the cool kids are doing it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Resolution? Update

juicin' it up

Some things I've resolved to make better in 2012:

1.) Watch less TV-yep.
2.) Make more time for my marriage. Daily and date nights (holler) eh. does on the calendar count? 
3.) Make more time for myself getting there.
4.) Move my body more Check and check. I'm re-obsessed with Spin.
5.) Nourish my children's spirits yep.
6.) Be a better friend I'm reaaaalllly trying. Where can I improve ladies?
7.) Drink more water Fo sho.
8.) Embrace daily tasks with gusto I am.
9.) Be more thankful for daily blessings uh huh.

Not too bad!
Can I be honest?
I am feeling so much better!
I have a renewed sense of purpose and a clear head.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ample time. Ample blessings.

Things don't often come as quickly as we would like in this life,
but in reality, time flies. 
Recently, I have struggled with a healthy imbalance of worrying about
the swollen image in the mirror that stares back at me.
An all-consuming, vicious, catty chatter constantly barking in my ear that I am not 
worth the skin I once inhabited. 
I will no longer graciously accept this week's quick trick
as gospel.
I will no longer take this or that to make my broken spirit
My heart was heavy, but now I understand how important it is to let go.
I feel better already.
Thanks for the advice Mom.
I needed that.


This year's healthy resolutions are as follows (in no particular order):
1.) Watch less TV
2.) Make more time for my marriage. Daily and date nights (holler)
3.) Make more time for myself
4.) Move my body more
5.) Nourish my children's spirits
6.) Be a better friend
7.) Drink more water
8.) Embrace daily tasks with gusto
9.) Be more thankful for daily blessings

How are your resolutions going?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Y'all've been Mobbed

All photos courtesy of Grandma Brock's Country Farm

Crop Mob.
Ever heard of it?
Anyhow, there's a brand spankin' new mob here in Athens, GA and on Sunday I got to take part in the first event.
So the idea is young farmers helping other young farmers.
Or in my case, wanna-be farmer helping young farmer.
more specifically, me working while asking said farmer a million questions...
So when did you plant these?
What variety are these?
How impossible is it to maintain all of this?
What's your Mother's maiden name?
Is she pretty?
Real pretty?
Ever had anyone ask you so many questions?
No, really, am I annoying you?
Are you sure?
What are your thoughts on raised beds?...

Pretty sure we're weeding strawberry plants

About once a month,
A mob gathers to knock out a ton of work in about four hours.
This mob was held at Roots Farm in nearby Winterville, Georgia.
After the mob, a meal is shared on the farm.
The lovelies at Earthfare-Athens and P.L.A.C.E. (promoting local agriculture & cultural experience) seded us with some tasty viddles.
It was a super cool experience.

Plucking carrots straight from the Earth is uber gratifying.

Mark. Farmer, U.S. Veteran and fellow dill lover.


Hot Cider is good. Tiffany agrees.

But bonfires are better.

Learn more about Crop Mob Georgia