Category Archives: Healthy Living

Comfort Zone Episode 1

(the cutest little breakfast place, Jo’s; Austin, TX)

The other week when I was all gung-ho about my plan to step out of my comfort zone in 2015 I really envisioned that as being a physical challenge. As in, stepping out of my comfort zone through physical activity and trying new things in the fitness world. And then I was derailed by a teeny tiny little blood clot that caused massive amounts of pain and made me walk with an odd limp and a cane.

And I’m going to be honest with you here. 1) I was pissed about the blood clot for obvious reasons, but also for really selfish reasons. First, I was afraid they were going to tell me I couldn’t get on a plane that week but fortunately I was cleared. Second, I had plans to exercise extra hard and eat extra light to feel more confident and less bloated for the photoshoot Saturday. And when that was obviously not going to happen I, third, was pissed that I probably ended up gaining weight since it took all my energy to just walk from the couch to the bathroom.

Once I got over being pissed and realized, hey, I’m alive and doing fine, I started to get annoyed that my comfort-zone-blasting-plans were already ruined and January isn’t even over yet. That’s when I had to slap myself again and realize that comfort-zone issues aren’t limited to exercise. So everyday I’ve been trying to do one simple thing that is out of the usual for me. It doesn’t necessarily make me uncomfortable, but it’s something I don’t normally do and would like to do more often.

Monday was my first day of my new work schedule where I don’t work Mondays and work half a day Tuesday. I had big plans for Monday but they were all derailed by discovering what it is like to suddenly go off birth control and experiencing the lovely parts of womanhood on a blood thinner. I had to let go of all my go-get-em plans, especially wanting to look put together for Ken and my first class. And that actually does make me extremely uncomfortable. I could have let it ruin my entire week, since most of my plans involved getting ready for the week, but I didn’t. I emailed people I have obligations to, explained the situation, and asked for leniency. And guess what? They were all more than happy to excuse me.

Tuesday I woke up at 6:30. Yes, I went potty then crawled back into bed until 7:15, but I was awake that whole time. I am constantly trying to get up earlier because I would really love to sit in the shower for a few minutes before getting out. I set my alarm everyday after for 6:30 but I didn’t get up. Lol, I’m going to keep trying!

Wednesday (and really everyday this week except Monday) I made good food choices. I have to take the blood thinner every 12 hours with food. I could easily shove some junky food in my mouth with the meds, but instead I have been reaching for fruit, nuts, nut butter, or cheese. I am a baked goods fiend so this is out of my comfort zone because baked goods give me comfort. Now I am finding comfort in the healthier decisions because nothing will scare you to eat healthier than a health scare!

Thursday I bought my own health insurance plan through The easier choice would have been to do COBRA through work but at $300/month that wasn’t sitting pretty with me. My government healthcare isn’t much cheaper but I appealed their decision to deny me a tax credit and I’m crossing my fingers I’ll receive more aid.

Friday I told you about how getting your cycle on a blood thinner isn’t fun. It’s still not fun.

This weekend I am planning on being nonstop with plans, something that causes me a lot of anxiety. And it’s not things I can really cancel. I’m just going to take it hour by hour.
PS this weekend I will be working at my Dad’s booth at the Philadelphia Home Show at the Convention Center. Come say hi!

Have you done anything out of the usual for you? Do you get uncomfortable when your plans are derailed?

Pin to Present: Spinach Salad with home made dressing

My capsule wardrobe partner, Anne, hosts a monthly link up called Pin to Present. I am all about pinspiration and was so excited the other month when I finally remembered to link up. I contributed an outfit that I recreated for my holiday week here on le blog.

I wanted to be sure to participate this month too and had grand plans of attempting my first “food shoot.” I figured with all that free time I was going to have once I was unemployed I could spend some time cooking and shooting a meal. Well, we know how that ended!

But determined I still am to make more recipes from Pinterest. In fact, it’s a goal of mine to cook one recipe from Pinterest a week on Monday’s (when I’m home all day) and prep dinner for another day in the week. Anyway, Tuesday night I made this salad to have for lunch on Wednesday. It was really easy to throw together but the dressing did take some time… I’ve never made my own dressing. But I can say I squeezed a lemon and an orange all by myself for it!

Tuesday for dinner I prepped chicken and roasted vegetables. I threw the veggies in the oven before leaving for class and when my Mom got home from work she took over by taking them out and making the chicken. I planned to grill it but she got retro and did a little shake-n-bake. No lie! It actually tasted really really good cold on my salad the next day.

Okay, my point in this whole long story is that I didn’t take fancy photos of my salad. I remembered half way through eating it at work to take a photo and this is what you get. I can tell you, however, that it is really really yummy. Don’t skimp on roasting your almonds.

pin to present spinach salad

I think next week I’ll make this soup on Monday!

My scary story

This post is a little out of the ordinary here on justjacq but I really feel the need to share it with you. Let me start with a story.

Saturday, January 3, I woke up a sore calf. I didn’t think much of it and went about my day. It got worse as the day went on and was really tight but I figured it was just sore from my getting buff earlier that week when I did do calf exercises. I went to Ken’s like I normally do and I tossed and turned all night because of my leg. I’d get comfortable, then it would start aching, and I’d move only to repeat the process. I had signed up for a hot yoga class that morning and I was really excited because I figured it would help work my tight leg out. It did feel pretty good in class but by the end of Sunday I am not exaggerating when I say I could barely walk. I thought I was being a big baby, and I’m sure Ken and my friends thought so too. We went grocery shopping to make dinner and I used every ounce of patience in me while Ken would walk away to look for something and I’d stand there and wait for him. He really wasn’t even gone that long, but I could barely stand. I drove home that night holding back tears because even driving was nearly impossible. It hurt to flex my foot enough to move it from pedal to pedal.

I woke up Monday and went to work as usual. I told my boss that if it wasn’t my second to last day (back when I thought it was) I wouldn’t have come in. I hobbled around the office and kept a heating pad wrapped around my leg. I went home, attempted to sit in the living room and finally gave up and went to bed where I tossed and turned again. I went to work Tuesday because I had my normal physical therapy appointment for my left hip and because I was going to be talking to my boss about my new part time work schedule.

When I went to my PT appointment they saw me walking funny and asked what happened. My therapist looked at my leg and called over one of the physician’s assistants (the PT is in the same office as an orthopedist) to take a look. They insisted I go get an ultrasound just to be sure it wasn’t something more serious and made me an appointment for after work at 6. Why the precaution?

Women on birth control are at a risk of about 1 in 1000 of developing a blood clot and I was showing the symptoms: tender, swollen (I couldn’t see it was but their trained eyes could), difficulty flexing ankle. Other symptoms include warm to the touch and discoloration.

So I went to the hospital after work for an outpatient scan thinking it was just a pulled muscle (I actually went to the ER about 10 years ago for the same reason and was told it was a really intense charley horse! ha embarrassing). The technician and I were chatting away the whole time. After he asked me to turn on my side so he could do the back of my leg I jumped when he pressed right below my knee. He asked was that really sore there and then he got quiet. That’s when I figured something was wrong. When he finished he said “you aren’t going to like me, but I have to walk you down to the ER you tested positive for a DVT (deep vein thrombosis).”

Uh, scuse me? I actually remained weirdly calm, which everyone commented on, because during the scan I asked him what they do to treat blood clots and learned you do not get surgery. I think if it was surgery I would have been freaking out. I waited to call my parents and Ken until I was all set up in triage and they were more freaked out than I was. Because I was in an ER about 45 minutes from home (near work) I told everyone to stay put. I was told by the doctor that I would be in and out and could drive myself home. Within 2 hours I was out of the ER and on my way home with a prescription for blood thinners. It wasn’t until I got to my car that all the adrenaline released and I sat there and cried for about 5 minutes.

Talk about scary! This is Tuesday, I had been feeling pain since Saturday, and was getting on a plane for Austin in Friday! You know what airplanes do to blood clots? Not good. I was assured by everyone that I was fine to fly and, in fact, was the safest person on the plane since I was on blood thinners.

I saw my primary doctor Thursday who gave me a prescription for strong Tylenol because you all, the pain is intense. I had to hold back tears every time I needed to get up and walk. And you need to get up and walk frequently with blood clots! I was so nervous about getting through the airports with this pain so the strong Tylenol was welcomed and consumed. The physical therapist had also given me a can which helped so much I can’t even tell you.

And that’s my story of how at 28 in really good health I developed a blood clot. Everyone suspects it was the birth control (I use NuvaRing) but who really knows? I go for blood tests in February to try and find out if it was the birth control or not.

Let me be clear, this is not a story of how you shouldn’t take birth control. You need to do your research, which I have done for myself since this happened, and decide what is best for you. Your risk of developing a blood clot is HIGHER during pregnancy than it is on birth control, plus now you’ve got a kid. And for those of us who were originally put on BC for reasons other than preventing pregnancy, well, you need to decide for yourself what to do.

I thought I’d end by sharing this graphic I found on all places, Pinterest, which comes from this website on blood clots. My point in sharing my story is to encourage you to learn the signs of a blood clot. Honestly, I knew the signs and I wasn’t planning on getting my leg checked out. I really thought it was a pulled muscle. Had my physical therapist not insisted, I most likely would not have gone and I would have gotten on a plane with an existing blood clot that would have traveled right up to my lungs. Very scary. On that note, here is the graphic! Go hug someone today.

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