Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snow Fun

Aaah, Tuesday, an empty house.  People's schedules have moved around a little and that now means that I have a day at home on my own on Tuesdays.  I have loads to do of course, but I'm determined to spend some time resting today. The fire is lit and I am on the sofa with a drink and the iPad. 
I have found some really interesting ME/CFS websites recently (through my new Fitbit community) and I feel guilty sitting down reading that sort of thing while the children are around, so I'm going to look at some today.  The more I have been reading, the more I want to explore the idea that the secret to more activity/exercise for people with this condition is heart rate.  I need to read more.

I need to have a quiet day, because I'm afraid I just cannot resist snow fun.  On Friday morning I took  my little one trooping across the fields in fairly deep snow over to our favourite tobogganing slope.  Quite a walk and it was still snowing.  When we got there the snow wasn't ideal, too soft and powdery, not fast enough for our liking, so we didn't stay too long.  Then we tromped all the way home again.  I was good for nothing for the rest of the day of course.  On Saturday I resisted and Ant had all the snow fun with the kids, but on Sunday I was out there again, though was more cautious, we drove to the slope to preserve energy and I only did a couple of runs so only had to climb the slope twice.
Yesterday I managed to clock up eleven thousand steps with a trip into town and that's way above my normal daily average so today I intend to spend some time sitting and not feeling guilty about it.

The blood tests I had done at the hospital (to see if I was menopausal) have all come back "normal". My menstrual cycle has restarted today after 64 days, I guess that's my new normal.

It's Ants birthday today and amongst other things he received his very own Fitbit tracker, so he can see how sedentary, or not, he's being at work. So far he's done 2211 steps compared to my 2660.   It's going to be so hard to curb my competitive nature on this one.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Fitbit tracking

Busy day today, feels like I've been on the go all day.  The fitbit tracker has been fascinating, it seems I can clock up between two and three miles just plodding around the house in a day.  I average about 5000 steps a day, but I find most interesting the level of activity through the day.  At the end of the day I get a pie chart showing how active I have been,  how many hours sedentary, lightly active, fairly active. Or very active.  Today I have spent 11 minutes VERY active, this is a lot for me compared to other days.  I have also spent 9hours 20 minutes sedentary, which sounds really bad, I don't feel like I've sat down all day, this is because when I sit down I'm always doing something like being at a desk home educating my youngest, or eating food.  I very rarely just sit and do nothing like watching the tv.  Acording to my Fitbit, i seem to spend most of my active time LIGHTLY active (4hrs 33mins today).  Anyway, it's great to have this info now.
I went to London with my two eldest children on Monday to see the Hollywood costume exhibition at the V&A.  We had to snake slowly around the exhibits at the speed of the crowd, the pace was slow and this meant that actually I was on my feet standing for 3 hours straight.  This I found very hard, harder than walking at a normal pace.  Difficult to explain how it made me feel, it wasn't tired legs from standing, I'm wondering if it was more to do with POTS syndrome and orthastatic intolerance.  Anyway, the exhibition was good and I rested we'll when I got home and it doesn't appear to have had any knock on effects to my energy this week.

Friday, 11 January 2013

A really annoying elevated heart rate

Feeling rubbish tonight.  Haven't really to the energy to blog, should be in bed, but I want to get everything down whilst its fresh in mind.
On Tuesday afternoon my heart rate went up and was still up this morning.  Unfortunate as this afternoon I had an appointment with my heart consultant.  I was hoping he was going to sign me off today but instead he has prescribed a new drug, Ivabradine which works on the sinus node to regulate the heart rate.  I told a him I'd like to hold on to it and see if my heart rate settles in the next few days.  It has calmed a little already so I am hoping not to use it.
My heart Rate rises when my body is fatigued, but this week I couldn't connect that fatigue with any particular activity that I'd done.
Couldn't finish my blog post last night, just too exhausted.  The dilemma of being down stairs knowing you should be upstairs in bed, but it just being too much effort to get there, getting up the stairs, getting undressed, brushing your teeth and getting into bed all seems like far too much effort.  It's like those days when I come into the house and sit down and it's just too much effort to take my shoes off.  Ant has had to remove my shoes on more than one occasion.  I'm detailing this not to be negative, but because it happens so infrequently now, I need to remind myself.  I used to be like this all the time.
This morning my heart rate is still elevated, it wasn't a brilliant nights sleep, but I feel better than last night.
Going back to why this might have happenned, last week I did walk more than I have normally with no negative effects at the time, this could be an accumulative result of that I guess.  My best guess is that it's connected to my menstrual cycle.  I am now on day 54 of my cycle, haven't had a period since November 19th and these symptoms could be a build up to my next.  I think this is most likely.
Yesterday whilst at the hospital they took some bloods to test my hormone and thyroid levels again, they haven't been done for some time.  I should get the results Tuesday or Wednesday next week.
My fitbit tracker arrived on Tuesday and I had great fun watching it Tuesday and Wednesday but didn't wear it yesterday due to how I was feeling, nor will I wear it today.  Is it just coincidence that my heart rate went up the day I attached my tracker?

Saturday, 5 January 2013

ME CFS CFIDS and activity monitoring

I've tried a couple of times recently to try tracking my activity levels in more detail.  It's quite a tedious job and if left to the end of the day doesn't tend to be to accurate.  Doing it as you go through the day requires you to be carrying something around to log all the detail with and is quite time consuming so it just hasn't been very successful really.  So, today I have purchased a new little tech gadget (always enjoy one of those).  It's called a Fitbit Ultra Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker.

As you can see from this picture, it's actually quite small and discreet.

Here's what it can do...
Track All Day Activity
Using a 3-D motion sensor, Fitbit Ultra tracks all the details about your daily activity that conventional pedometers would miss. When worn close to the body, this device tracks daily steps, number of stairs climbed, distance traveled, calories burned, and overall intensity of the activity level. Fitbit Ultra also contains an altimeter to track stairs or hills climbed. The compact design of the Tracker makes it easy to wear tucked into your pocket, clipped to a belt or bra all day.
Track Your Sleep
You can also wear the Tracker at night with the included Fitbit wristband to monitor how long and how well you sleep. Fitbit Ultra will monitor when you fall asleep and how many times you woke up throughout the night to provide a sleep efficiency index.
Achieve Real Results With Fitbit
Fitbit Ultra can help you reach your exercise, diet and overall wellness goals. In fact, Fitbit users increase their daily steps by 43 percent and have lost an average of 13 pounds.*
Wirelessly Uploads Data to Fitbit.com
To help you gauge your progress, Fitbit Ultra wirelessly uploads your fitness data to Fitbit.com automatically whenever you're within 15 feet of your computer--no need to take time out of your busy day to enter stats.
Track Your Fitness Trends and Goals Online
At Fitbit.com, you'll enjoy free online tools that show how your activity measures up over time and keep you motivated, with no monthly fee required. Your dashboard quickly shows you how close you are to achieving your weekly goals on calories burned, steps taken, and other fitness goals.
Fitbit makes fitness fun by translating your real accomplishments into real life examples. For instance, tracking that you've climbed 22 floors is the same as climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty. To keep you motivated, you can earn badges for daily and lifetime fitness activities.
Social and Community Tools For Encouragement
Invite friends through email or through Facebook to connect on Fitbit.com to build a fitness network. Set collaborative or competitive challenges together, or tap into the growing Fitbit.com community to access tips and receive encouragement. With Fitbit, it's like working out with a group of virtual friends every day.
Log Food and Workouts
You can build a complete picture of your overall fitness by logging foods and workouts. The Fitbit database has over a 100,000 specific food items for you to select from. Enter workout specifics from yoga, Pilates, elliptical workouts, boot camp, spinning, kickboxing, and even Wii games from the workout database. Fitbit's Food Goal feature shows you the range of calories you should stick to every day to reach your weight loss goals, and dynamically adjusts based on your day's activities. You can also track your weight and other health indicators like blood pressure, glucose, and heart rate.
Gui 1 Gui 1 Gui 1 Gui 1 Gui 1
Click each image to view a different Fitbit online tool
Free Mobile Tools
Much more than a pedometer. Click to see how the Fitbit compares to other fitness-tracking devices. 
With our mobile website and our free iPhone App, you'll be able to log workouts, food, water, weight, and much more, plus check your stats while on the go. Log workouts and food even when offline, so no detail gets forgotten.
Integrates with Other Apps
Fitbit can also integrate with many nutrition and fitness apps to make it easy to sync your stats with programs such as LoseIt!, RunKeeper, and Microsoft HealthVault.
The Fitbit Ultra Wireless Activity Tracker is backed by a manufacturer's limited one-year parts and labor warranty.

I'm really looking forward to trying it out and having a much more accurate log of my activity levels that I can then relate to any symptoms or just how I'm feeling on a day to day basis.  The website has a cool "trainer" feature which will encourage you to increase activity levels very gently day by day and once I get a handle on my current activity levels I hope to move on to using this.  I've been reading a book recently : Coping with Chronic Fatigue by Trudie Chandler and it talks alot about "planning a systematic programme of scheduled rest and activity".  Although I used to do this really well when I first started Pacing, I don't think I do do this so well now, I tend to just go with my current energy levels, which isn't the best way to manage your reserves.  I'm hoping the fitbit is going to help me control this a bit more.

Today I had a difficult morning.  We took down the Christmas decorations and this involved lots of bending down and back up again, it really drained me and I had to rest.  I had a Perrin treatment yesterday which wiped me out for the afternoon and evening and I think todays reaction to putting the decos away was just a continuation of that.  I forget that it used to take me three days to recover from a treatment at the start, now I just expect to carry on as normal the next day.  Sometimes I can and sometimes it has more of an effect.
I have walked down to the village and back four times this week which is a lot compared to before Christmas and yoga has resumed after the Christmas break...Hurrah!...Never thought I would ever say that about a yoga class.