Friday, January 22, 2016

Back In The Saddle Again--Diet and Exercise

Me in all my post-workout, un-showered glory

Three years ago I started the process of getting healthy.  I lost 45 lbs in 6 months and never felt better.  Then life happened.  I stopped eating the way I knew I needed to eat.  Just one cheat here, and another there, until I gained back 35 lbs.

Over the Christmas holiday, I decided that it was time to get serious again.  My weight was slowly creeping up, I was feeling sluggish, and my clothes were getting tight.  Not cool.

I recommitted to eating the Trim Healthy Mama way and joined the YMCA.  Yes, I need to drop some weight, but I also need to improve my overall fitness.  Build up my endurance.  I'm not going for marathon-runner or anything, because I actually hate to run.  I just want to be able to do a few flights of stairs without getting winded.

My first day to the gym was last week, just after I was feeling better from pneumonia.  My goal was 20 minutes of walking on the treadmill.  After 16 minutes I started to feel really bad.  Like dizzy-gonna-pass-out-I-need-sugar-right-now bad.  I immediately regretted my toast with just a teaspoon of butter breakfast.  I stumbled off the treadmill and made my way to the locker room for my stuff.  I somehow made it to my car where I downed a granola bar and waited in the parking lot for my sugar to come back up before driving home to eat breakfast.  Lesson learned.  Must eat a real breakfast before attempting to work out.  (Yes, I have hypoglycemia that likes to surface at the most inopportune times)

I should mention that I have accountability partners to keep me going--aka Mom and Dad.  They joined first and I asked if I could join through their account and pay a lot less money.  The Y said yes, so woohoo!  I now have a gym membership for $22/month.  Of course, my Mom kicks my butt every time we're both there because she is an aerobic machine.

My second day at the gym (after eating a good protein-rich breakfast of course), I found my mom on the elliptical machine.  I got on the one next to her so we could talk.  She'd already gone 20 minutes, which is the longest I ever choose to go on an aerobic machine.  So I asked if she was about done, that she didn't need to stay on just to keep me company.

"Oh no," she says.  "I go as long as I can before my knee starts to hurt.  I aim for an hour."

An HOUR!!!??!?!?!!!  Kill me now.  I lasted 10 minutes and left her to her "fun."

This week I only got to the gym twice due to Joy being home sick, again.  Thankfully this time it was just a viral cough and not pneumonia.  I took her to urgent care for a chest x-ray just to be sure.

Yesterday I did 10 minutes on the elliptical-on-steroids (It felt more stair climbing ish) and 20 minutes of weights.

Today I tried the normal elliptical, but my legs said no thank you.  Apparently they were sore from yesterday.  So I did weights and then 20 minutes on the treadmill.  Good enough.

Yes, I am out of shape.  No, I am not an exercise machine.  Sure, it's a little embarrassing that my mom is in way better shape than I am, but everyone has to start somewhere.  And this is my starting point.  I can only get better, right?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Blessings In The Midst Of Suffering

Taking her temperature while playing with Christmas presents

My kids have been school "going" kids since September.  And the truth is that I miss them a lot.  Almost every day.  I say almost because sometimes they drive me crazy and I am all too happy to send them off to school.  But for the rest of the time, it is quiet and lonely around the house.  Grocery shopping, while faster, isn't as fun.  I have no one to take to the library.  No one to do projects with.  Or go on nature hikes with.  Which is why I was really looking forward to Christmas break.  Two weeks with my kids with time to do lots of fun things.  

Two days into break, Sunday, Joy came down with a fever and sore throat.  Monday Lizzy had a fever and sore throat.  I took the girls to the doctor's office for a swab test and sure enough, they both had strep.  Antibiotics and 24 hours of no fun.  But they would be fine by Christmas so all was well.

Wednesday Lizzy started coughing a lot.  And her fever came back.  I did my usual internet doctor thing and looked up her symptoms--they just didn't fit with strep.  Apparently she had something else as well.  So I called Dr. Grandpa and asked (begged) him to come listen to Lizzy's lungs to just rule out pneumonia, because surely it couldn't be pneumonia because we've never had pneumonia in our family.  And...she had pneumonia.  I sent Hubby to the store to pick up her new medicine and prayed her cough would go away within the next 24 hours so she wouldn't have to miss any of the Christmas festivities.  

I also prayed, and asked everyone I knew to pray, that David wouldn't get pneumonia because he has asthma.  And pneumonia + asthma = a really bad thing.  

Lizzy was remarkably improved after just one dose of the new medicine, but she was still coughing.  Hubby's family agreed she could come over for the family Christmas Eve party as long as she didn't cough around the babies or great grandpa.  

Christmas day at my family party was a no go due to my very delicate grandma and my immune-compromised aunt.  So we skipped Christmas dinner, but they agreed she could come for presents as long as she sat far away from grandma and auntie.  Yes, Lizzy was pretty upset and sad about missing out on Christmas fun, but we ended up having a good Christmas anyway.

When no one else started coughing, I was relieved that we had dodged that bullet.  So I made plans to have fun with friends and we managed to get a few things into the second week of break.

And then Wednesday morning I got the call that Grandma passed away.  All plans were put on hold, Hubby came home from work to be with the kids, and I spent most of the day helping clean out Grandma's assisted living room because she was only paid up through the end of the month, which happened to be the next day.  If the room wasn't cleaned out by the next day, we would be charged $5000.  

Sunday morning on the last day of break, Joy and Hubby spiked a fever.  Then the cough set in.  Dr. Grandpa was called in for a lung check, but Joy sounded fine.  Sick,but not pneumonia.  Monday I called Dr. Grandpa again for a lung check--she sounded fine.  Tuesday I asked for a chest x-ray because her fever was still over 102 and she sounded awful.  The chest x-ray showed pneumonia.  So Joy and Hubby (who was also still sick) went on meds.  Joy missed the whole week of school, and any activity exhausted her and required a nap.

Wednesday night David spiked a 102 fever and had a tiny cough.  Oh no!  Please don't get bad.  Please don't get bad.  I prayed; we all prayed.  Dr. Grandpa called me this time and told me to get David on meds ASAP so that his pneumonia didn't have a chance to set in.  God sure heard our prayers because David never got that sick.  I made him stay home from school Thursday because of the fever Wednesday night and he needed to be on meds for 24 hours, but he probably could have gone to school.  No fever on Thursday, just the small cough.  He went to school on Friday and was running around like normal.  That was a complete blessing from the Lord that David didn't get that sick.

Which brings us to today.  With everyone off to school and work, and me at home.  Sick.  With pneumonia.  I started feeling bad Sunday morning, and today I called the doctor.  But it's okay for me to be sick now because the rest of my family is fine.  Because that's how it works.  

So the blessings.  We only missed a little bit of Christmas.  We were all well for a few days so we could do fun things over break.  We got to see Grandma one last time at Christmas.  The tech who took Joy's x-ray "strongly suggested" we go upstairs to our doctor's office to have the doctor read the x-ray report and get Joy meds.  But he could neither confirm nor deny that she had pneumonia.  I just laughed and blessed him for doing that because it got Joy meds that day instead of having to wait until the morning (and by this point she was really bad and I was concerned I may need to take her to the ER).  David didn't get that sick, and he never had any trouble with his asthma.  I didn't get sick until everyone else was better.  My extended family was unable to have Grandma's memorial service until later this month, which means my family will be able to go because we will all be healthy by then (I pray).  And we got to spend LOTS of time together at home since, you know, we couldn't go anywhere.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

God Gives the Best Presents

Last January I started to have tailbone pain.  It came and went, and then came and stayed.  Sitting became excruciatingly painful.  Sitting through church required a lot of wiggling around trying to find a position that didn't cause pain.  Driving short distances hurt.  Driving long distances required pain killers and it still hurt.  Sitting in my recliner to read a book was replaced with laying in bed because even a comfy chair was no longer comfy.

In May I decided to see the doctor.  She ordered an xray which showed lucency of my sacrum and the radiologist recommended a ct scan for clarity.  Being the internet doctor that I am, I looked that up.  And everything I found looked bad.  Cancer bad.  Bad, bad, bad.  I had the ct scan and then sweated bullets for three days waiting for the results to come back.  I have cancer.  Of course I don't have cancer.  I am going to die.  I am going to be fine.  

Finally the nurse called me with the results.  They found nothing on my ct scan.  Nothing.  I was so relieved that it wasn't cancer that I decided I could live with not being able to sit for a while longer.  

By fall I decided to try again.  This time I was referred to an osteopathic manipulation doctor.  She twisted and pressed and finagled my spine into proper alignment--and it did nothing.  My tailbone still hurt.  I went back three more times before deciding that this just wasn't helping.  I asked my doctor for an MRI thinking maybe the ct scan and xray missed something.  My doctor referred me to a spine doctor instead.

I went to that appointment thinking, "Yes!  A specialist!  He will fix me."  He was a jerk. He was the all-knowing doctor and I was the ignorant peasant.  In the end he offered me steroid shots as the only solution, and they may or may not work.  I said no thank you.  

This is where I hit the lowest of the lows.  I got into my car and cried.  No one in the whole world could help me.  I had tried every doctor that could possibly help me and no one could.  I cried out to God in supplication: God, I can't fix this.  The doctors don't seem to be able to fix this.  Unless You do something, I am going to live in pain for the rest of my life.  Please fix me.  You are my only hope. 

There was one last avenue that my doctor had left on the list.  She referred me to a pelvic floor physical therapist.  It was a long shot, but I was desperate.  I didn't have much hope, but I had nothing to lose.

I met Karen on December 2.  Tailbones weren't exactly her specialty, but she'd dealt with them a few times before and had helped the women get out of pain.  Suddenly I was hopeful.  She quickly ascertained that my tailbone was stuck in the "I am standing up" position.  When I went to sit down, my tailbone wasn't curling under like it was supposed to, so I was literally sitting on my tailbone.  Ouch.  Karen worked her magic, told me I would be in pain for a few days, but then it would go away.  I nodded, didn't really believe her, and left.

I should have believed her.  Oh my!  I hurt way worse for two days.  I wanted to cry because it didn't work!  

On day three, I sat down to eat breakfast and noticed something strange.  I wiggled around a little in my chair just to be sure, but the pain was gone.  My constant companion for almost a year was just gone.  I didn't know what to think.  

For the next week I tested it out.  I sat on chairs I would never have sat on before; nope, no pain.  I sat on the floor to fold laundry, which always caused pain before.  Not anymore.  Driving?  Nope.  Church?  Nope.  Well, huh.  She really fixed it.  She really fixed it.  She really fixed it!!!

I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and went from appointment to appointment trying to find someone who could take the pain away.  And finally, I was healed.  

I had my birthday in December.  Out of all the presents that I received between both my birthday and Christmas, the ability to sit without pain was hands down the best present.  God gives the best presents.