Monthly Archives: January 2015

ONE YEAR IN…..

I leave for Los Angeles in 6 days! I am going on a Beachbody Retreat. My awesome upline coach is taking her Diamond Coaches to stay in a big fancy house for a few days to celebrate us reaching a milestone in our business. I cannot believe how full circle it is for me. Exactly 1 year ago in February I was in Los Angeles…beginning this journey….

I work at home right next to a large calendar that is a wipe board. I can glance up and see what’s on the agenda for the week. I looked up today and saw on Feb 1st I wrote “1 Year”. It’s the one year anniversary of me signing up to be a Beachbody Coach. And for some reason it made me VERY emotional. It has been one helluva year. So many things have happened because of Beachbody. So many good things. So many changes in me.

To say I am cynical or skeptical or a glass is half empty kind of gal would be mostly correct. I have always been a bit pessimistic. Not sure why. I just got blessed with that personality…you know…the one where you are ALWAYS waiting for the other shoe to drop even when things are going great. I spent 40 years that way. I am different now. I’d say Im even a slight optimist…though that MIGHT be going out on a limb. I blame some of this annoying positivity on my friend, Stephanie R.

Stephanie & her husband lived here in Colorado when my family moved here. In fact, we bought a house not far from them. What’s funny is she lived down the road from me in Texas as well. Total coincidence that we moved to the same town in Colorado. OK- she will disagree and give some credit to the Big Guy upstairs for that “coincidence” so I will acknowledge that here.

I knew Stephanie was into this Beachbody thing but I had no idea what it was. I just figured it was some multi level marketing scam, pyramid, weird, bother your friends thing. I never asked. I didn’t give it much thought. But as time wore on and we became such good friends I watched what Stephanie did as a Beachbody Coach. As a business person. As a leader. As a successful entrepreneur. I watched. From afar. And I promise this blog is not a Stephanie worship-fest…but she is truly the catalyst that sparked my venture into Beachbody so I throw cred where its due!

First of all…I have some street smarts. I have an endless bank of knowledge about stupid tv trivia. I can name the title of almost ANY song if the first 5 seconds are played. I have an uncanny knowledge of most rap singers. I can actually quote Tupac Shakur’s “Changes”. I know A LOT about cars. But where business shit is concerned I am clueless. Or so I thought. I majored in Psychology in college because you didn’t have to take Calculus. I steered very clear of the business department or the finance classes or the marketing people. They seemed to be from another planet that actually THOUGHT things threw analytically. Made plans and spreadsheets and crap. NOT my forte. I am more of a jump now and worry later kind of girl. So becoming a “business owner” was laughable to me. I can’t own a business. I can’t run a team. I can’t sell stuff. I can’t. I don’t DO that. I don’t like the word “can’t”, though…. Kind of a challenge I suppose.

And so husband’s brain rot is not going away despite my endless attempts at “willing it” away. Brain still rotting. Colorado isn’t “curing it”. Ignoring it seems to not help either. Reality is that we don’t have a clue what our future holds. And I don’t just mean our physical future or our ability to deal with this disease. I mean our financial future. Son of a bitch I just want to curl up on the couch and feel sorry for myself…oh and him of course but holy crap I have to put on my adult drawers and deal. Like a big girl. Like a girl who needs to get her shit in order. Like a girl who has 2 kids who want to eat, and wear clothes, and go to college. And brain rot or not that crap’s not changing. So I take the “I can’t” and I say “why the hell can’t I?”. I decide to become a Beachbody Coach in February of 2014. After, of course, I drilled Stephanie with 1,000 questions about whats and wheres and hows and “Im not selling crap”, and “is this legit” and finally drove her crazy enough that she took me to California…to Beachbody Headquarters. To tour it. To see the real live people and CEO and trainers and holy crap it was legit. The skeptic in me was silenced.

So I jumped in with both feet and have not looked back. I could not be prouder of the company I represent. They give to charities that are important to me. They truly believe in people. They believe in me. As a coach. As a person that represents them. They crank out crazy, awesome workout programs for every fitness level that WORK, that are SAFE, that get RESULTS. And this damn Shake. Ive tried to find a fault. I can’t. Its just a giant super vitamin in a shake. That actually tastes good. I couldn’t, wouldn’t sell something I didn’t believe in or use myself. And my pediatrician loves this shake for my kids. Completely natural, soy-free, awesomeness in a drink. Really. Look at the ingredients.

Being a Beachbody Coach is a lot of things. And I swear to you if I can do this ANYONE can. This company is successful because the products WORK. There is no magic pill. There is no secret weight loss guide. Its all about empowering YOU with great workouts and products and guiding you through the process of literally WORKING YOUR ASS OFF. I feel and look better than I have in years.

Selfishly, the thing I am most grateful for is my SPARK returning. Being someone’s wife and someone’s Mom is amazing and purposeful and mostly pretty damn cool. But there once was a Jennifer Ellis who was just Jennifer Ellis. And it’s been pretty cool to see her again.

And just a big giant thank you to Stephanie for allowing a girl that’s a bit “rough around the edges” to join her team 🙂

I am grateful for this past year. What a ride its been. And I am looking forward to what is in store for me…I don’t have a spreadsheet, or any clue what’s going to happen this year…and I kinda like it that way!

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SILVER LININGS, COOL DOCTORS AND HOPE

Silver Linings: A Short Brain Rot Update

The definition of a silver lining:
silver lining. Use the term silver lining when you want to emphasize the hopeful side of a situation that might seem gloomy on the surface. The common expression “every cloud has a silver lining” means that even the worst events or situations have some positive aspect.

Staying “hopeful” can be hard for people with a rare disease and no known treatment. For two and a half years my husband has been tested for every disease known to man kind. He is absolutely healthy. Perfect cholesterol, perfect blood pressure, low body fat, perfect weight, great heart, no Parkinson’s, No MS, No ALS, no cancer. He is the healthiest person on Earth who’s brain is shrinking. Very frustrating! FIVE neurologists have had his case. Some in Dallas and some in Denver. They all were old. OK not to insult but they were all over 60…older not OLD. They all wore white lab coats and had ZERO sense of humor. I was beginning to think Neurologists were born without personalities. Not ONE of them found my use of the term BRAIN ROT funny…until now.

I fired all 5 of them and got a new Neurologist recently in Denver. She is 40 years old. And cute. And wears cute clothes- no lab coat. And cusses. And laughs at my jokes and stole my term for Spinocerebellar Ataxia and now says “brain rot” to us. She ROCKS! She runs the Ataxia Clinic in Denver. RUNS IT! And not ONCE in our initial 3 hour meeting did she make us feel hopeless. In fact it was the exact opposite. She is all about fixing this. She made it very clear we are going to keep looking until we find out WHY and then HOW to treat it. I like her. So when she ordered a spinal tap last month to test my husband’s spinal fluid I understood why Patrick said “no”. He’s been poked and prodded and through a bajillion tests that were QUITE painful with no results. All clear. Every test he takes reveals that he’s perfectly healthy….only he’s not. So I knew he would not be gung-ho about a SPINAL TAP! SHIT…who would?

But our new Dr. Cool Lady explained some very rare disorders than can lead to Ataxia that she has come across in her research and she had a “hunch” she wanted to follow. So I of course was all “oh ya- let’s stab a needle into your spine and suck fluid out”. FUN STUFF!

So we did it. Well….he did it. I watched. I didn’t want to watch but I sort of felt like it was the least I could do. The results were shipped off to The Mayo Clinic and we were to sit and wait. Sort of used to that by now. Patrick was not the least bit optimistic- who can blame him. I sort of was. And for a “glass is half empty” kind of gal that was surprising.

And ONE MONTH LATER…the results. For the first time in well over 2 years a test came back abnormal. Do you know how weird it is to be ELATED about an abnormal test?

So I won’t go into detail but she immediately put him on a medication that has worked for one of her previous Ataxia patients. It has only been 3 days. But I am hopeful. She talks to us as if there’s no gloom and doom. As if there’s no reason to expect Patrick doesn’t have a long future ahead of him. God damn it he’s gonna have to live with me a LOOOOONG time. Poor guy. At least we think so. Who really knows how long they have. Life is short and making the most of everyday is a MUST!!

I want to thank Dr. Cool Lady for being the greatest doctor we could ask of. For being hopeful. For being positive. For looking in places no one else thought to. For going above and beyond. For making me smile. Oh- and Patrick too of course but we all know this is about me ;). Here’s to HOPE….

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A SLOW MOURNING…MOUNTAINS AND BANDAIDS

I have posted a few times on my fitness page that I have a goal to hike up Pike’s Peak this coming summer. It’s 13 miles up a twisty, turny, technical Barr Trail to the summit of the Peak at 14,114 feet. I can do it. Mentally Im good and if my knees will hold out I think I can do it. Im in “training” now working on building my endurance. I casually mentioned to my husband that I was going to hike it alone and he flipped out.

Apparently it’s “not safe”. Honestly there should be other hikers on the trail especially if its good weather. Ill file a plan, carry bear mace and not talk to strangers but he insists that some crazy mountain man might drag me away so I need a partner. So I TOLD my friend Susie this past Saturday that she’d be hiking it with me. Without flinching she said “I’d be honored”. I love her for doing this for me.

You know what sucks…as much as I love Susie I wish it were Patrick. I wish my husband could hike with me. It was never even an option. His fucking brain rot makes his balance very off and maneuvering such a technical climb is not possible for him anymore. And that sucks big fat ass. There was a time not long ago we wouldn’t have flinched. We would have already hiked that sucker by now. Patrick was a triathlete. Biking, climbing, swimming, running…many miles at a time. When someone dies suddenly and tragically you mourn so instantly. Its like a sledge hammer hits your chest and a knife stabs your heart. You scream and writhe in pain and hurt so badly so deeply and so quickly its like being struck by lightening. I feel as if brain rot must be like cancer or other long term illnesses…you mourn for so long. And its like every little thing that slips away is a new sledge hammer to the chest. Its exhausting.

It’s not quick. Its very gradual. Slowly and steadily and methodically the physical body starts to fail. And it’s day after day after day of mourning and being sad about yet another small loss. Most of the time we are fine. Some days I am pissed. Maybe today I am pissed. Pissed that instead of ripping the bandaid off quickly and efficiently so the pain is intense but hits you fast, the bandaid is so so slowly being peeled off against his will that you have to suffer through each hair it pulls on. And why the fuck did he have to have a band aid pulled off in the first place.

Tomorrow I will feel better. He won’t. I am finding strength as this disease creeps on. I am finding strength in me as a woman and mother and wife. More than I EVER thought I was capable of. It’s a necessary strength. But there’s a guilt that comes with a gaining of my own strength. For I can climb a mountain. I can run. I can speak clearly. I can do anything. And I should. I should do everything for those that cannot. I have no excuse NOT to. I know many who would never attempt to climb Pikes Peak. I mean whats the point? Why? It will never cross their minds. But they CAN. If they want to. Patrick cannot. Someone who ACTUALLY wants to cannot. So I will. And Susie will. And like no other human on Earth she knows me and why I need her to go. She has suffered great loss.

And like my friend Steph says “sometimes we step in for others when they cannot do for themselves”. I’ve had a LOT of friends step in and step up for me. I am eternally grateful. And I will push play on this stupid fucking INSANITY MAX workout that nearly kills me everyday because I CAN. Because I have no excuse not to. And I will climb that Peak this summer. For myself, for Patrick, for those who cannot.

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