Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Things that made me smile today...

I've seen this before, but when I saw it on a grandniece's Facebook today it made me laugh out loud. She's 21, has a four-year old, going through a divorce, works 30 hours a week at a nursing home, and goes to nursing school full time.

After my 13-hour work day today, I can't sleep so I was watching Jay Leno (way past my normal beditme), and he mentioned this video. Very cool and very sweet.

Still hanging in there, trying my best to get through one day at a time. Work is killing me!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Love the sunshine

My two hours of working on my sister's paperwork and trying to organize her business receipts for the tax accountant for her 2011 taxes (just got her 2010 a few weeks ago)  turned in six hours! I hate paperwork!

However, I love our weather and I'm heading outside in a few minutes. I can't decide whether to get my bike down and go for a ride or go to the gym. It would my first bike ride since August 6, 2011, when I broke my scaphoid bone in my wrist and wore a cast for three months. I'm a little apprehensive about getting on a bike.

I'll let you know tomorrow if it's the gym or the bike ride. Tomorrow is definitely a picnic down by the water with my sister. I finally got the disabled parking placard last week so we should be able to find parking (I hope!).

I'm on track with the calories today and wearing my BodyMedia. It said I only slept four hours last night. That explains why I woke up exhausted this morning. Not sure how I'm ever going to fix my sleep issues.

I can't wait to go outside!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Worth the fight

I'm starting to get back in the groove, but I forgot how much time it takes to track my food. Oh my gosh! Weighing and measuring, writing stuff on pieces of paper then putting it into the computer at night. How did I do this for most of four years?

Actually, I know the answer to that last question. I wasn't the legal guardian for my sister that had a debilitating stroke six months ago. She left behind a very complicated, messy financial situation that I'm still trying to sort through and take care of things. The dust will settle eventually, but I can't wait for that day. It's that old story, if I don't take care of myself, how can I make sure she's taken care of?

Tracking my food isn't really that terrible or difficult. I use the BodyMedia software, which I highly recommend. They've even enhanced it since I used it several months ago. You can customize the table by selecting ten nutrients to dispaly from a list of 26. I love this feature.

Below is my food for today. It's certainly far from perfect, but it's an improvement over the past weeks and months. There's too much processed food, and wine for 211 calories? What was I thinking?! When I was eating the food, I thought I was being healthy. I had no idea that some of what I was eating was a really poor choice. The total calories aren't too bad, 1541, but I really need to watch the fat and sodium (processed food).

I didn't wake up early enough for the gym this morning. I only had 45 minutes to spare before I had to get ready for work. That's not enough time to get to the gym and complete a decent workout. Instead, even though it was pouring down rain, I convinced my husband to go for a walk with me. He's not a very fast walker so it wasn't my normal heart-pumping workout, but it was kind of fun. We were both drenched by the time we got home.

As I was getting ready for work I broke out in hives and my upper lip, left side, started to swell up. This is the sixth time this has happened in the past two months (sometimes it's the left side for the lip and hives, sometimes the right side). This time it didn't last long and was mostly gone by the time I got to work. It seems like each time it's less severe than the last time. Still, it's very disturbing. I feel like my body is attacking me.

On that note, I should mention the life coach/therapist I was seeing. I quit after three sessions. As much as everyone thinks I need some sort of therapy, it's just not for me. Even though I was an acquaintance with this person and really like her, I didn't feel like it was helping me. The first session I was excited and it was fun, the second session, not so much, the third session I walked out knowing I'd never go back.

I know this is going to get easier. I've been here before. Several times I've lost and gained weight. This time just seems harder than all the other times before, and I don't know why. What I do know is that it's not optional. This weight is killing me, and I'm worth the fight.

An afterthought:  I just remembered my phone has the BodyMedia app on it. I conveniently forgot. That should make tracking my food a lot easier!

Thursday, April 19, 2012



I know how it happened. I just can't believe that I let it happen. This is 100% on me. I did this to myself. There aren't any excuses for gaining almost 30 pounds in the past five months. I was 172 the beginning of November 2011, now I'm almost 200 pounds.

I'm trying to claw my way out of this mess. It's really difficult. Everything is harder at this weight. I can't cross my legs. My clothes are all too small. I don't recognize myself in the mirror. Exercise is excruciatingly painful. The StairMaster, which was my favorite cardio machine is now a machine of torture. My knees hurt, my feet hurt, and most of all, my heart hurts. I've asked myself over and over, why?

The absolute worse part of this that on top of all the other things I have to worry about in my life, I added being fat to the list.

I'm working on it. Two days in a row at the gym, and I tracked my calories today (too high at 2,205). Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What happened to day 3, 4, 5 and 6?

My daily posting and getting back on track my exercise and dieting just went all to hell this week.

Sunday was a day with my sister, Joyce, which sucks the life right out of me. I love her, I love taking her places and doing things with her, but it's hard to be with her for a long period of time. I'm getting better with the wheelchair transfers, her odd responses to things and her constant post-stroke nonsensical chatter. I don't want to discourage her talking because sometimes I hear a word that's familiar. So I do a lot of nodding and pretending I understand when really I don't have a clue what she's talking about. It's still hard for me, and I know it's hard for her.

Then in Monday work hit me like a ton of bricks between the eyes. I still have to take a week of on-call every ten weeks. It's highly stressful. Getting called at odd hours to be told systems are down and there are flight delays and fees can't be charged to our customers is stressful.Tuesday turned out to be free checked bags day for several of our customers in several cities. It wasn't our software, but a vendor product we put into Prod that failed. Several other systems experienced slowdowns as well, unrelated to each other and it was just an all around bad Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at work. At one point I had 34 tickets assigned to me. Very unusual.

Both Monday and Tuesday mornings at 6am I was ready for the gym, grabbing my purse to head out, and the on-call phone rang. That was the end of any thoughts of the gym as I started troubleshooting and making phone calls.

My eating has been out of control too. I'm not eating candy or anything unhealthy. Just too much food. Way too much food. I often work through lunch without even a break and suddenly realize it's 5pm and I haven't eaten all day, except for a small breakfast. I know this is wrong and very unhealthy. This has been going on for weeks because all co-workers on my project do the same thing. They don't even leave their desk during lunch. Since we're all sequestered in a room to hurry up and finish the project we're on, it's very heads down coding.  Very little talk, and no breaks. Sort of reminds me of prison. I can't wait until this project is over and I can move back into my little cubicle and eat carrots without people listening to my crunching.

Today I promised myself: 1.) take a lunch 2.) get up and stretch for 5 minutes every hours 3.) only work 8 hours and 4.) the gym. (which is where I'm going right now!).

Tomorrow is day 7, and I promise I'll have a better attitude and post. 

I'm off the on-call rotation today, and I'm dressed for the gym, ready to go.No excuses.

Today will be a better day.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day two and three fourths: What a day!

I haven't had a day like this in a long time. It was a series of unfortunate events.

I worked on my sister's paperwork for two hours, from 6am -8am, trying to get the Guardianship Implementation Plan and Inventory completed for the State of Alaska Courts. It's a detailed account of her life, and it's due May 28. Remember, she had and still has a complicated life. I hate working on it, but it has to be done.

Then my husband walked into my office at about 8am and asked what I had done with the coffee pot. When I told him I gave it to Goodwill two weeks ago, he flipped out. That was the start of World War III. He hadn't used it in over a year. It was collecting dust and it was in the way. It was old and gross. I'm in a "scaling down mode", so I'm giving away a lot of stuff lately. This makes him insane. He's a hoarder. We have an ongoing battle about "stuff". I'm not into it. I hate "stuff laying around, I hate clutter and knick knacks. He's the opposite. If it was up to him, he'd never throw anything away.

In retaliation, he proceeded to remove every item from the kitchen counters and walls. EVERYTHING. I didn't argue. I didn't fight. I simply don't have the energy. Actually, I like the look, even if there is an echo in there now. I asked him if we could redecorate the rest of the house like this. I like it. It looks like no one lives here. It's a good look. I think that just made him angrier. Oh well.

Then I went to my Weight Watchers meeting. They moved. Seriously, they moved and didn't tell me. I got there five minutes late, weighed in at 15 pounds heavier than my last weigh-in in December. 198.4. Ouch.

The meeting wasn't one of my favorites. We had to get in groups and talk about our most favorite possession. I don't have one so it was hard. My Kindle? People were saying their dogs or kids, which was very weird to me because I think of a "possession" as an inanimate object. It was just a strange meeting, even though it was with my favorite leader.

The leader gave us an assignment to write down on paper twenty reasons we want to lose weight (so we can use it as an anchor, which is a great idea). We're suppose to bring it with us next week. I wrote mine out immediately after the meeting. I'll share it with you in a later post. Some of things I wrote in a hurry, and when I re-read them, it made me really sad. I'll explain in a later post.

After the meeting,  I went to the gym. StairMaster thirty minutes, weights forty minutes. A really good workout (and a lot harder because I'm a lot fatter). As I was leaving the gym I got yelled at by one of the personal trainers (he's a creepy old guy that flirts with all the women - I can't stand him).

This is what happened and I'm still fuming about it. This trainer yelled across the gym, in front of everyone, "hey girl, you didn't clean up your mess!". I didn't even know what he was talking about. I asked him, "mess, what mess?". He said I left my weights on the barbell, my little 5-pound weights. I had to remove 45-pound plates from my barbell before I could use it. I often have to move 65-pound dumbbells out of my way to use the benches, or multiple plates from barbells. I really didn't even think about removing my little 5-pound plates because everyone else leaves their stuff. I've never heard one of the trainers say anything to anyone about it. We had a few unpleasant words (I can't stand him!). Then an hour later this same trainer had the nerve to call me on my cell phone and leave a message telling me had a great deal for me on some personal training sessions. Are you freaking kidding me?! 

Then I got home and in the mail there was the application for the disabled parking for my sister, signed by her doctor. I sent it to her doctor three weeks ago and she finally returned it to me. I never realized how important disabled parking is for someone in a wheelchair. Try getting someone that is completely paralyzed on one side out of the car and into a wheelchair in a normal parking spot with a car parked next to you. It doesn't work.

I rushed off to a motor vehicles office that was open until 4:30pm today to submit the application. I got there 25 minutes before they closed. I waited 20 minutes until they called me up to the counter, only to tell me the application wasn't completed properly by the doctor. I'm really annoyed with the doctor. She's specializes in geriatrics. This can't be the first disabled parking application she's completed (she only signed it, didn't fill out the section that says "to be completed by the physician").

Next up Costco. I'll make this short. I threw the 25-pound bag of cat food into the trunk of my car. It caught on a corner of the box containing the brand new coffeepot (for my husband). It split the bag open right down the middle and filled my trunk with pellets of cat food.

What do you think, do I have some negative energy going on here or what?

The only good things about today:  1.) I have a clean and spacious kitchen and 2.) I had a good workout (in spite of that creepy trainer), and 3.) I actually tracked my food today in the Weight Watchers phone app, every bite and right now as of almost 10pm I have eaten 25 Points (I get 27 now at my new, big weight).

Oh, last but not least, my only crown (on my tooth, not my head) has been hurting me all day with on and off throbbing. It was put on three years ago, taken off six months ago and "fixed" because it hurt, and now I'm feeling pain again.

Honestly God, can you cut me any slack here?

Day 2: It's Saturday! I love Saturday!

My favorite day of the week is Saturday. I like to stay at home on Saturday and do house stuff. I actually find joy in mindless household chores. My latest thing is spring cleaning.

I've been organizing my closets, bookcases and even tackling the garage, one box at a time for the garage. It's filled with 24 years of junk, including boxes that haven't been opened since we moved into this house twelve years. I'm scaling down on the stuff. I detest useless clutter, and I want it out of my life.

Maybe seeing the 73 years of stuff at my sister's 3,800 square foot house triggered something in me, or maybe a few of those Hoarders shows, of maybe it's because I feel like it's the only thing in my life where I have control.Regardless of what caused this sudden "I've got to get rid of this stuff", it makes me feel better about my surroundings.

I started with the bathroom closet last weekend. I got rid of at least 50 bottles of hair products, and three hot roller sets, along with a truckload of other stuff (lotions, old makeup, and just stuff). I mean honestly, who needs four hot roller sets, three curling irons, two flat irons, and about 50 of those Velcro rollers (that I don't even use anymore). Now I only have one hot roller set, one flat iron and one curling iron. The stuff I kept (about 1/4 of what was in the closet) are in containers with drawers, and there are labels on the drawers. I love it! I can find anything in seconds.

I'm reading a great book that's  really helping me with the de-cluttering process. I bought it at the Half-price bookstore a few years ago, but it's still available on Amazon. "30 Days To A Simpler Life" by Connie Cox & Cris Evatt. I highly recommend this book if you are feeling overwhelmed by clutter, and if you've ever watched a Hoarder show and thought, "hmmm, if I don't do something that could become me!".

Usually on Saturday I have a list of at least 15 chores that I think must be completed by the end of the day. I never get through the list.

Today, things will be different. Five must do's on my list:

1. Update my Guardian activity log for my sister. I keep a notebook and write down every penny spent,  every phone conversation about my sister, and every chore or activity involving my sister Usually I transfer that information into an Excel spreadsheet at the end of the week. It's for the Alaska court system for when they complete a review on me at the end of the year. I normally do this once a week. I haven't done it for a month. A must do.

2. The gym for a minimum of a one-hour workout. A must do.

3. Weight Watchers meeting, 10:30am. A must do.

4. Clean out under the bathroom sinks in the master bathroom (huge vanity with lots of junk under the sinks). I don't even know what's under there, other than a few rolls of toilet paper. The goal is to clean it out, throw away as much as possible possible.

5. Work on the guardianship implementation plan and inventory for my sister. It's twelve pages of detailed information on her life. It's due by the Alaska Courts by May 28. I've been working on it, but I'd really like to complete it soon. One of those things that's hanging over my head.

Not a lot of fun stuff on the list, other than cleaning out underneath the cabinets under the bathroom sinks. That probably sounds sick and twisted, but I love getting rid of stuff. It makes my heart feel lighter.

Tomorrow is sister day, Titanic in 3D. I can't wait to see how that goes. She was an avid about going to the movies once a week before the stroke. I'm curious how she'll respond tomorrow. Hopefully, she'll understand what's going on. At least she'll be out of the house, which she seems to enjoy. I'll let you know how it goes.

Okay, back to my list.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Making a comeback

I'm stealing this idea from Tony. Good ideas are worth stealing, right?

I've been gone for far too long. I've been immersed with post-stroke sister issues and job pressures and marital problems. Somewhere along the line, I lost myself. Everyone and everything else in my life has been more important than me. I miss me. I know that sounds silly, but honestly, I often feel surreal, like I'm watching my life go by, standing on the sidelines, but I'm not in my life. Does that make any sense? Re-reading that sentence makes me sound a tad bit crazy. Perhaps I am.

I want my life back and the only way I know to do it is to take it back. Go back to doing the things I enjoy, back to doing things that are good for me. Perhaps that makes me selfish and self-centered, but I want to enjoy life. As far as I know, this is the only life I'll have on this earth. I don't want to waste it with worry and stress and misery. I want to laugh, to be happy, and to enjoy every minute.

What makes me happy? One thing is that I like blogging. I like reading other blogs about people like me, that struggle with their weight, and figure out ways to fight it. I like leaving little comments on their blogs. Therefore, taking the idea from Tony, I'm committing to 90 days of blogging. This is day one.

I wish I'd weighed this morning, but I didn't. So I'll go with yesterday's weight. 195.6. It's scary close to 200 pounds. I could be there by Monday if I don't do something drastic.

My plan for the weekend is a visit to Weight Watchers, and the gym Saturday and Sunday. Of course there's a sister visit in there too, probably on Sunday. I promised to take her to a movie, I'm thinking Titanic in 3D, but I'm not sure. I remember that movie made me cry my eyes out at the end, but it was/is a good movie. And I'm sort of in love with the new 3D stuff.

I received the May issue of the Weight Watcher magazine in the mail last night. I forgot I'd sent in for my free subscription. I had purchased a Weight Watcher cookbook  in 2010, and it came with a coupon for a free year of the Weight Watcher magazine. I sent it out in the mail two weeks before it expired back in December. Getting it in the mail last night triggered a feeling of "I've got to do something about my weight, and do it right now!".

So I'm back, and I'm making a comeback too. I'll be back every day for the next 90 days (probably more), come rain or shine, come stress on top of stress, no excuses, I'll be here. I'll be reading your blogs again. I'll even leave comments! I already feel happier.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I should have done this a long time ago

Therapy. I should have done therapy a long time ago. I tried a few times, but never liked the therapist. In the past twenty years I've seen three therapists, one session each. They all gave me books to read and lots of homework. I often thought, I'm paying you, you should have read the books and then give me the Cliff notes.

The therapist I'm seeing now is also called a "life coach" and specializes in helping people deal with stress and anger. I've known her for about ten years through Toastmasters (which I haven't attended in over two years). I've always liked her and enjoyed her company. It turns out she's an amazing therapist, and better yet, she sees me on weekends so I don't have to leave work for a "doctor" appointment every week.

After only two sessions, I'm already developing the tools to deal with my life. I feel so much better. No hives last week for the first time in five weeks. Although I did have what I guess would be called an anxiety attack on Thursday night.

I was at the gym at 6pm. I had experienced a terrible visit with my sister on Wednesday afternoon, when I visited her during her physical therapy session. I don't want to relive it, but she was filled with anger and frustration. It was awful and I left in tears. I've heard of this behavior from her before, but I had never witnessed it. To see my sweet, beautiful sister act like a bratty two-year old was more than I could handle.

The anxiety attack started while I was on the elliptical, thinking about what had happened the day before with my sister. Suddenly, I couldn't breathe. I was determined to get in at least thirty minutes on the elliptical, but my breathing got progressively worse. I realized I was in trouble. It was like an asthma attack, which I haven't had in over 20 years. It was a feeling of impending death, of my own death. And the unreasonable fear that I couldn't explain or define. I was scared, but I didn't know why. Death? I don't know. The two were intertwined.

I quickly left the gym and sat in my car for thirty minutes, practicing breathing techniques for relaxation and trying to calm down. I didn't know if I should call 911 or my husband or just drive myself to the nearest emergency room. I had my heart rate monitor on, and usually after a workout my pulse will go from 145 to 56 in a couple of minutes. Even though I was sitting still, my heart rate stayed at a steady 100 or more for a full half hour. Finally, I calmed down, started breathing normally and my heart rate returned to normal. It was a very scary experience. Although I will say, I still had my sense of humor about my life. As I drove away, I thought, "well, guess the night workouts don't really work for me!". Followed by a lot of laughter (my therapist said I'm definitely not depressed...I should be, but I'm not).

Today, during therapy, we decided I should take the weekend off from my sister. I still feel wounded from Wednesday. As the therapist explained, this is not my sister as I knew her. My sister before the stoke would never scream at me and slap my hand as I tried to help her. This is my sister with brain damage. I have to accept that I will  never have my sister back the way she was before the stroke. As heartbreaking as that is to say, I know it's true. We can't communicate, she doesn't really even know what's going on most of the time. I am in the process of accepting her for who she is now, and love her the best I can. I have to stop criticizing myself for not doing enough. I've done everything I can to help her, and I've given her everything I can give. I have to tend to me, to my needs, to myself. 

Weight this morning, 195.6. Workouts this past week: 3. My tribute to this being a weight-loss blog.