Saturday, June 18, 2011
As some of you noticed, I reset my ticker to reflect where I really am right now, and that is squarely in Fattyville. I've been upset and frustrated for the past few months, under a lot of stress and in pain, and unable to be as active as I'm used to being. I took my eye off the prize and am ready to start trudging that weary road again.
So here it is in black and white:
current weight: 287 lbs.
waist: 54 inches
% lard: 52
I will update again at the beginning of July and own my progress - or lack of it - on the 1st of each month until I've reached my goal.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
On May 18th, I had routine gum surgery. On the 20th, I said good-bye to Beirut
and flew to the U.S. for knee surgery. It seemed so simple, and yet --
I developed a nasty infection in the gum. My cheek swelled and turned black, and the gum puffed up to twice it's width. A few days later, I started seeing things that just didn't look right, and after two weeks, I couldn't help but notice that I had nasty halitosis no matter how I tried to be diligent in my hygiene. I made an appointment with a dentist, sure that he would poo poo my concerns and reassure me that this was part of the healing process.
The cheerful dental assistant led me to the chair, settled me in, took a look, froze like a bunny in the headlights, and the next thing I knew, the ENTIRE STAFF of the clinic was gathered round. The hygienist retracted my cheek gently, they all peered in, collectively gasped, and reflexively recoiled.
So, yeah, that worried me a teensy bit.
The dentist got me an emergency appointment with a periodontist, they helped me with directions since I don't know the area very well, and off I went. The periodontal team seemed, well sanguine isn't really the word, but not terribly fussed about the condition of my mouth. The (handsome) doc cleaned things out a bit, gave me antibiotics and sent me on my way with a check up scheduled for a few days later.
Clearing up this infection mattered to me not only because I have cute teeth and would like to keep every one of them in my mouth where they belong, but because I was scheduled for knee surgery yesterday, and they won't operate when someone has a major mouth infection. It impedes healing and makes all that tubing they use problematic.
A little back story here: those of you who read my last blog know that I lost my job in Afghanistan because of my knee and will have trouble getting another one so long as my medical status is undefined. So getting the ACL rebuilt and going through rehab is super important to me. I called a surgeon from Beirut and set things up, arrived and discovered that the small town office team really didn't know what to make of me, hadn't quite grasped the situation and was not inclined to be helpful. Office Manager Sue seems to have taken a pretty strong dislike to me and was peeved when I got a June 10th surgical date, feeling that I should have been made to wait longer "for my turn".
On Wednesday, I returned to the periodontist, who cleaned a bit more, expressed concern that there was so much pus, and advised against knee surgery on Friday. I wanted to see how his little clean up played out, still hoping for a recovery.
The gums were swollen to more than twice their normal width, and the good news is that the clean-up reduced that somewhat. Instead, they swelled vertically, covering my teeth!!! I won't describe them further, except to say that it was super gross, and I was a bit unnerved. I was also sick of running a fever, after two straight weeks. For heaven's sake - on Thursday morning, I took two Tylenol, two Day-Quil, and a 5-Hour Power shot just to get out of bed!
The periodontist was adamant: I needed to come in soonest. He also insisted on personally calling the orthopedic surgeon and telling him what was going on. Yikes. It sure was nice of Periodontist office manager Ally to give me a ring and let me know that I wasn't having knee surgery on Friday, because nasty Office Manager Sue never did. In fact, the only thing she did was call my emergency contact and inform her that even though I had somehow squeaked in the first time, the surgeon wouldn't be able to book me now until JULY! (With a four - six month recovery time, so I'd really be buggered.)
So we drove back on Thursday. I don't know what I was expecting. More of the same, I guess. The periodontist and his team booked me after hours to get me in same day. (I know! Handsome AND nice!) My first inkling that I was in for a treat was when they kitted me out in surgical garb. The next thing I knew, the whole office was in the surgery with me. I have never received so much numbing agent in my entire life I tried not to think about the implications too much. The office manager held my hand. The assistant chirped encouraging platitudes, and the periodontist went at it.
And at it and at it. The surgery took almost two hours! The original surgery involved three teeth. The infection had spread to over eight teeth's worth of gum and gone into the bone. The doctor described the infection as "spectacular" and took photos. (Half of me heard that and thought "Vindication!" while the other half thought "Holy &*%$#!") He said he was surprised that I had been up and about at all, given the fever, swelling, and level of infection.
Now I'm lying low. I need this infection to heal because I need the knee surgery, and also because the doctor informed me that if this procedure doesn't heal me, the next stop would be the ER. I made a long list of things to do whilst in America, but visiting an emergency services center wasn't on the list!
In between there, I had a birthday.
I am trying to make the most of the time by visiting with folks, but I am also feeling stressed and nervous about my future. One step at a time. Heal the gums and save the teeth/jaw. Get the knee surgery and aggressively rehab. Convince would-be bosses that I'm up to the demands of the job and line something up.
And I feel sure that a Wawa hoagie is in there somewhere, too!
Thanks to everyone who has supported me through the drama and celebrated my birthday with me!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
You will never know how gratified I was to be the Motivator of the Day the other day. (Seriously? Have they run out of people?) I am such a mess right now that I don't know how I could be motivating anyone else.
2011 opened with a disappointing trip to Walt Disneyworld - not completing a race for the first time ever, followed by pneumonia, strep throat, a stress fracture, and now a torn meniscus and a torn ACL. Sheesh! It's only April!
So I'm now hobbling around in the nifty contraption pictured above. It isn't pretty; I look like a morbidly obese transformer and move like a constipated Godzilla. I call it my "man magnet" because it's attracting them like Winnie the Pooh to "hunny". They all approach me, stare at it a while, and then ask me about the injury. And you should see the look on their faces when I tell them that I did it doing the meringue at Arthur Murray! It's almost worth it!
Ok, no it's not. Still, it's weird that men never used to chat me up the way they do now.
Anyway, here's the part that's making this stressful: I am supposed to change jobs next month. I'm a project manager, currently working in Lebanon, and I'm headed for Afghanistan. The Afghanistan job requires me to wear 40 lbs. of body armour, travel by helicopter, jump off the back of trucks, etc. Take another peek at the contraption up above. Sooo not going to happen.
The company shirts want me to just wear the brace and tough things out, because surgery would mess with my transfer timing. It's been weeks now, and I'm tired of being in pain all the time. Also, I can barely move and can't really exercise, which is not a good long term plan. And forget my passion for racing - that will never happen in the current circumstances.
Surgery ... I'd like to do it here in Beirut. It's going to be tricky to finish the assignment, but at least I won't have to use up everything I've banked. I could go to the U.S. but surgery there is more expensive, and I'd have to leave right away. It's awkward, because I'm not done working and there would be lots of hectic loose ends to tie up. London is also an option. It's where I had my last surgery, but it's the priciest way to go.
I also have to figure out what to do with MacDuff. I won't be able to care for him for a couple of weeks afterwards. I live three floors up, and I don't know how I'll get up there after surgery, but I hope I can impose on friends for MacDuff, and I'm being extra special nice to cranky chap who lives on the ground floor and has a guest room ....
I *think* the plan is that I'm going to have surgery in Beirut as soon as I can, tough out the aftermath, start physio, and then try to continue it when I'm in training in America so that I can get to Afghanistan on schedule, or near to it. There are a lot of variables in that plan. I don't even know if the Afghan job will take me in this condition, but I can't stand having my whole life up in the air. I am a slow healer, but living in pain all the time isn't a good long-term plan.
So to recap: I need to move in a few weeks, but I don't know where, because I'm not sure I still have that job, but I can't remain here, and I'm going to try to take care of my knee on three different continents because I can't stay anywhere for more than a few weeks.
What's anchoring me? I am determined - absolutely determined - to lose weight this year, and I need to rehab this knee to do that. I appreciate my sparkfriends' support. I keep reminding myself to keep my perspective. This is stressful, but it's temporary. Sooner or later, I will know for sure where I'm headed and what I will be doing to earn MacDuff's kibbles. And at least I have knees to fuss over. And best of all? Getting this squared away, means I get to race again!
Wish me luck!
Thursday, April 07, 2011
I've been in pain for a while. Five weeks ago, an x-ray showed a stress fracture. So I've been taking it easy, waiting for it to heal. but the knee is still really swollen and painful, so I got an MRI. The surgeon called.
Bad news. I have a ruptured ACL. I'm supposed to fly to North Carolina tonight for the Flying Pirate. When the surgeon first told me I had "damage" on the phone, i asked him if I could walk. He said yes.
We misunderstood each other. He meant that I could go from "here to there" but he freaked when he realized what I had in mind. I'm bummed, but if I'm honest, my leg hurts a lot, and 13 miles was going to take some doing. I feel so strong inside, but my body is betraying me more day by day. After the debacle in January, followed by this, my confidence is really shaken, and I wonder if my racing days are over.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I am determined to lose weight this year. I am so sick of being stared at on the street, wondering if a chair will support me, and sitting on sidelines, watching life pass me by because I'm too tired to participate.
I started Atkins almost two weeks ago and have been doing well -- I am down 12 lbs, which is amazing for me. I had a weak moment in the grocery store today and wanted carbs so badly, but I want to be slender even more, so I didn't give in.
I often talk about my obesity as though it just happened, and I think that's because I almost have reverse anorexia. I still remember clearly what I looked and felt like before I got fat, but I just realized that I've been 200+ for over 10 years now. Sometimes, I accidentally see myself in a mirror, and I'm horrified at what I've become.
So in the next few weeks, I'm going to lose 5% of my weight. It's the point of the challenge, but it's a special number for me. When I hit that goal, I'll be at the magic deuce and a half. Why happy about being enormous still? Until I was 250, I led a fairly normal life, but it was a tipping point when I crossed it. Hypertension, cholesterol, breathing issues, problems sleeping, edema, joint problems, etc. Even losing these 12 lbs. has made a huge difference. I've lost 3" off of my waist and another 3" off of my "belly roll". That's translated into a full dress size. I can put on my socks and tie my shoes without effort now! I wish I were kidding. It's these small quality of life issues that have had me feeling blue for so long.
I'm a goal-oriented person who loves to set ambitious targets. I'm going to resist that inclination for the time being and focus instead on the process: eating on the Atkins Induction plan, exercising regularly, and getting enough rest. I'm determined, and I'm not letting anyone or anything distract me from doing what I need to do to get to where I want to go, whether I get there quickly or challenge the Slowest Loser for the title.
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