Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I'm on a Spark break, but I miss everyone and still check in whenever I have time. My knee is doing much better following this latest surgery -- I did a slow 8 miles today! My eye infection is clearing up although I don't see that well yet. Soon, I hope!
Although I am not online often right now, I love hearing from people and was saddened to learn that Casia-Anne has deleted her account. I don't know why but hope she'll come back one day soon!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
One hundred days ago, I blogged about 800 days on Spark, covering what I think I've done well and what I need to do to turn my dreams into goals.
So after 100 more days, where am I?
1. Finances. Make a budget. Done. The credit card debt has been trickier. I injured my knees and am in fact undergoing surgery today. I'm cruising through money like I have it, and I have not paid down my debt like I'd wanted.
2. My home. Done. I unpacked all but once tricky set of boxes, decluttered a lot, and I'm turning my four walls and roof into a lovely little home. It makes a big difference in how I feel.
3. Complete the Tower of Terror race. Done! I'm especially proud of this one.
4. Health: I wanted to lose 20 lbs. I lost 10, but with not being able to exercise and walking with a cane, I still think it's a good accomplishment. I log what I eat, even when I'm not proud of it, and I have been serious in my commitment to getting enough rest and sleep.
4. Professional: I haven't done anything towards getting my test resat, and I need to, but I have taken a good hard look at my image and office situation and been proactive in managing my relationships so that I'm in a strong position in my office. My supervisors love me, and my subordinates are happy, and I feel that i'm doing a good job. So I'll give myself a provisional "atta girl" for this one.
5. Emotional: I have been focusing a bit more on my needs. I'm trying to learn to set boundaries and be a bit selfish. If I don't look after myself, who will?
The next 100 days:
1. HEALTH: I'm having surgery today. I hope to be up and around soon and have already mapped a fitness plan for myself. However, I do need to pay more attention to what I eat. I eat well for a few days and then go off the wagon for a few days, undoing my earlier success. I need to understand my body better and make choices that I can implement consistently.
2. FINANCES: These medical bills are killing me, but I need to ride that wave, and figure out a plan to allow me to mange my debt.
3. PROFESSIONAL: I will set up a study schedule to resit the exam by June.
4. EMOTIONAL: Being here in London right now, I realise how much I miss going to church and will find ways to nourish my soul more. In Beirut, Christians are Catholics, Orthodox, or Maronite, and their services never feel comfortable for me. Even if it's reading the Bible and quiet contemplation, I need more God in my life.
Thank you to everyone on Sparkpeople who has supported me, offered advice, and been a friend. You really are wonderful! I am looking forward to blogging about 1000 days and sharing my successes!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Here's the background:
A meniscus is a disk-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber inside a joint. Each knee has one lateral meniscus under the outer knob of the thighbone and one medial meniscus under the inner knob of the thighbone. Each meniscus acts as a natural cushion between the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia). The two cushions prevent excess wear and tear inside the knee joint by keeping the ends of the two bones from rubbing together. Each meniscus also absorbs much of the shock of jumps and landings and helps to distribute joint fluid evenly to lubricate and nourish the knee.
In the United States, a torn meniscus is the most common reason for knee surgery; approximately 850,000 operations for meniscal tears are performed in the U.S. each year.
The symptoms of a torn meniscus can include: Knee pain, usually on one side of your knee, tenderness at the side of the joint, knee swelling within the first 12 hours after injury, a "locked" knee that can't be bent, a knee that catches during movement, or can't be fully straightened, a click, pop or grinding inside your knee when you move it, a knee that buckles, gives way or feels generally weak.
Yep. That's been my situation for about six months now. Last week, the knee locked, during a cardio challenge for Hogwarts no less, and made my life really uncomfortable. I've been hobbling around with a cane, earning me a lot of ribbing from my colleagues. Then yesterday, while walking around in my home, I heard a wet popping noise, and I went down. Hard.
Today, I saw the orthopedist. He says I pushed through the pain of the torn meniscus, creating the "edema" I thought I was dealing with, which was actually a growing cyst -- that - you guessed it - burst yesterday. He shot it up with cortisone, gave me some strong pain killers, and I'm scheduled for the custom brace fitting tomorrow. More time with the cane, then the MRI to see what kind of surgery will be needed.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
I've been Sparking for 800 days. In that time, I've completed a 5K and two half marathons. I've lived in four countries, moving three times. I've made wonderful friends, and have even met a few of them in real life. I started Hogwarts, one of my joys in life.
What I haven't done a lot of is losing weight.
Just as I've decided that losing 100 lbs. is too daunting to be attempted but losing 10 lbs. ten times is perfectly achievable, I've decided that I need to look at my life and break it down into achievable goals, because to be honest, there is no area of my life that is going especially well right now.
Immediate priority goals
1. Finances. Make a budget. My medical bills are sinking me, and I need to pare down other parts of my life to accommodate that fact.
2. My home. My things arrived in September but I've been so busy that I have yet to unpack anything. The clutter and mess literally drain me. It just needs to be cleaned up and put away.
3. Complete the Tower of Terror race. I am super excited about running a night time race in Disney World, and I love this bling! However, I took a nasty tumble on Wednesday and have been laid out on my sofa ever since. I badly bruised my tail bone and injured my back. I don't know if I can do the Beirut - Frankfurt - Toronto - Orlando flight in cattle class, and the doctors think it would be a bad idea for me to try to run. ... Of course, they told me not to run the Princess Half, too, and thank goodness I chose not to listen!
Just as I'm breaking down my weight loss, I'm going to specify my timelines.
The Next 100 Days
1. FINANCIAL: Pay off Citicard. Consumer debt is a tool of the Devil!
2. HEALTH: A) Lose 20 lbs. B) Log absolutely everything I eat. C) I have had trouble sleeping and often operate on 3-4 hours of sleep. I'm going to make a real effort to get at least 7 hours a night.
3. PROFESSIONAL: I need to re-sit an exam if I want to advance professionally. There were a lot of politics with my last go-around, and I got shafted. I'm in a different work group, and it's time to re-focus and pass that exam. I will devote at least 10 hours a week to preparing.
4. EMOTIONAL: I spend a lot of time looking after other people, and I think I need to focus more on myself if I want to succeed in making these changes and achieving my goals. (BONNIE, remember our deal: pinkies!)
Right. I00 days. Making changes. Working towards my ultimate goals.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I love it when a plan comes together.
Last weekend, a number of Disney Distance sparkers came together in Disneyland for the race weekend. It wasn't always fun, but it was memorable!
MAPLELEAFMOM, IZZYBUBBLES, DANIMITE2 and I had dinner in a restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It was a lovely way to begin the festivities.
Of course, as much as we enjoyed the food, it was the bling that was the weekend's real motivation, and DANI was ready!
Unfortunately, the Beirut - Frankfurt - Boston - Washington - Charlotte - Los Angeles routing over a few days had left me stiff and gimpy. My injured knee was acting stroppy and giving me doubts. At the Expo, I discovered an ace bandage wrap that was soaked in lineament or something equally stinky. DANI almost passed out from the sinus-clearing smell, but it really did wonders for the knee.
Saturday - the 5K
We warmed up with a gentle 5K. Unlike the congenial atmosphere of the Princess race in March, there was loads of pushing, shoving, elbows, and uncouth language, even though it was billed as a "family fun run". Dani and Della could have jetted off and been done in five minutes, but they stayed with me as I tested my knee and worked out the kinks. We enjoyed company and conversation and finished in 51 minutes, or about a 16:30/mile pace.
A long time friend and her mother had visited me in Tunis earlier this year. I was surprised to learn that my friend had been inspired by my running and had run four marathons. "Mom" got all excited while she was visiting and decided to do the Disneyland 5K. She did great, and we all went out for a fun-filled character breakfast afterwards.
Two old friends of ours who live in LA also joined us. Neither of them is much interested in anything that requires physical exertion, but being good sports they oohed and ahhed over the cute little 5K medals. Mila announced that a half MARATHON was simply out of the question - she was going to invent the Half MILE race. We'd run around her block, she'd give us medals, and then we could all have a BBQ.
The Disney Distance Spark team met on Saturday for pre-race food and laughs. IZZY and Della (MAPLE) made light of their height difference.
Yeah, we were all smiles then. Little did I know ...
Sunday - Race Day
DANI and I goofed off before the race. My knee was feeling better, and I was feeling pumped for the race. We lined up in the front of Corral D because there is a pace requirement for Disney races, and I didn't want to risk getting taken off the course.
The race began well enough. I ran the first two miles at a 14:30 pace. Then the problems began.
Mile 3 - blisters. By the end of the race, I had a blood blister on one toe, blisters across the bottoms of my feet, and along the outsides. When I later went to see a doctor, he was surprised at how deep they went, much to my discomfort. I didn't quit, but I stopped running and just tried to walk fast enough to keep ahead of the pacers.
Mile 6 - I saw the pacers for the first time. They assured me that I was still ahead of pace -- but not by much. I redoubled my efforts and limped faster.
Mile 8 - The pacers told me I was now behind pace. However, they did not remove me from the course, so I kept going.
We ran through the Magic Kingdom early in the race and were then out on the streets of Anaheim. The local people came out and livened things up with marching bands, cheer squads, funny signs, a mariachi band, and even Polynesian dancers! (I thought of you, HELEN!) The volunteers were incredibly encouraging and friendly and kept me on the course when my body was begging to quit. In fact, truth be told, I was hurting so much by mile 8 that I was secretly hoping the pacers would take me off the course. I was too proud to quit, but I really didn't want to keep going.
In Mile 9, we ran through the big baseball stadium. (Is that Honda Stadium?) They packed it with thousands of boy scouts, etc. When we entered the arena, they announced our names and fun facts about us, and we ran the field, our pictures were on the jumbotron, and the crowd cheered and screamed like we were winning. I got a huge cheer, but I think it's because I entered with a 73-year old man ... who later passed me! Energized by the crowds, I tried picking up the pace -- and my left calf promptly began to spasm. The right soon joined.
Both calves spasmed through the rest of the race. I hobbled onwards. in Mile 10, the pacers told me that they needed to open up the road, and did I want to come off the course? I looked from them to the two police officers blocking the road and took off across the street, with the cops both screaming, "That's right! you go, girl!" The pacers sighed and made a point of slowly tying their shoes and other things to delay catching up to me.
I cried and trudged through a couple more miles. In Mile 12, the pacers came up to me and asked if I could finish. I simply hadn't come all that way to fail and asked to stay on the course. They let me.
I was hurting so much that I completed that final mile at a 27-minute mile pace. I couldn't even run across the finish line. I was so exhausted and in such pain that I seriously wondered how I was going to manage to get back to my room.
Imagine my surprise when I saw IZZY, DANI, and MAPLE waiting for me! They'd finished ages earlier but had kindly hung around, waiting for me! The medics iced the more problematic leg, the ladies guided me to the medals, and I tried to stop crying long enough to pose.
I honestly don't know what I would have done without them.
Just one of the many
Once I'd decided that I would, in fact, live, it was time to celebrate. DANi and I went out for a fancy dinner. I'd burned over 3200 calories on the course, so I felt entitled to eat pretty much anything I wanted to. (But I didn't eat dessert!)
Here I am, celebrating by trying to turn the "Cal" in "California" into "Cat"!
I wasn't done having fun with Sparkfriends yet! I flew from Los Angeles to Washington because Hogwarts friend BEXTRESS was getting married on 09/09/09.
JUSTKIMBERLY and I conspired to crash her wedding. JKIM met me at the metro, and we GPSed our way to the right courthouse. We had some trouble finding the correct building and room, but we made it, and boy was BEXY surprised! When we strolled in and announced ourselves (by Sparkname, of course), she looked utterly gobsmacked!
Look at that beautiful bride with the cute dimples! That's our BEXY! Then JKIM, BEXY, her new DH and I all went out to breakfast.
This trip was really hard in some ways, but it was also tremendous fun to see IZZY, DANI, and Della (MAPLE) again, as well as meet JKIM and BEX and the Disney Distancers in person. I consider myself lucky to know so many terrific Sparkers in real life now, and I've already begun scheming as to how to meet others!
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