Wednesday, April 07, 2010
In November before Thanksgiving my husband was diagnosed with Acute Mylogenous Leukemia. The worst and fastest growing leukemia.
My dh spent 3 months and two holidays in the hospital. It was his 5th Thanksgiving in the hospital and his first Christmas, yet we found many things to be thankful for in spite of the circumstances.
He very nearly died and had it not been for prayer and the grace of God he would have. His liver failed, his heart failed, and the doctors had given up on him. They said he would not be able to take chemo therapy again because if he recovered they didn't think his body would be able to withstand it. They told us t he had less than a 10 percent chance of getting good news (not to even mention remission) back from the last bone marrow biopsy they had taken to see if his treatment had worked. My dh wanted to be taken from the hospital and put on hospice so he could die at home.
I called for prayer over the phone, on the internet and especially on Spark People, and called in counselling to get my dh to agree to stay in the hospital until we could get back the results of his bone marrow biopsy. The Lord heard and answered our prayers and when the doctor came in with those results 2 days later he was smiling. He said that all the doctors in the team had been happily shocked to find that there were no cancer (blast) cells in his bone marrow. He was in remission! Praise the Lord!!!
Now after 2 more treatments he remains in remission, but we know that we live on borrowed time and are thankful for whatever time the Lord chooses to grant us, though we pray for more rather than less. We take our days one at a time, enjoy them to their fullest, and trust God with the "now" and the future.
While my dh was in the hospital, my mom had health problems and was hospitalized, too.
Under the stress and responsibilities of this winter I gained 12 pounds. Now that both are out of the hospital and my dh is home and in out patient treatment, I am back on SP starting over again at a lighter high weight of 167-8.
My goal weight again is 155. I feel like I would not have been able to have managed to keep my weight down as low as I did under the circumstances had it not been for what I learned on SP.
My heartfelt thanks goes out to every one of you on SP who has been here for me and my husband when we really needed prayer, encouragement, support, and a listening ear! Your e-cards, spark goodies, and notes of support I forwarded to my dh and they literally kept us going. The Lord,Spark People, and Christian friends have been and remain our lifeline as we continue our battle with AML.
If you are touched by our continued fight with this illness please consider donating blood or dollars to organizations who work to find a cure for this terrible form of cancer. Only through your support can a cure for this cancer which touches adults and children alike be eradicated. Thanks again for your support, love, and kindness.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
As I approach my 2 year anniversary on SP I decided to write down a few things I have learned here on Spark People. If you are new to SP the most important thing to remember is that , "You can do this!" I lost 35 pounds on SP and if you count the pounds I lost previously on a very similar regimen I have lost a total of 50 pounds I am maintaining now and still have times when I need to lose a few pounds. However, I don't let weight creep up on me anymore without doing something about it. What I have I have learned in my nearly 2 years on SP and have come to count on is:
1. My spark people teams and team members are here to help. Don't forget it. Remember to reach out to your team mates any time you need help and realize that you do not have to face this alone.
2. I have learned that food fuels the body, but over fueling adds pounds not energy. Exercise turns fat into muscle, and we want to develop a lean body based on muscle not a flabby body based on fat.
3. Spark tools that help record our food intake and exercise, when used daily over a period of time, are actually teaching us to calculate these things mentally without thinking about it. They create good eating and exercising habits, so don't try to short cut it while learning them. These tools help keep us on track.
4. If on one day I become overwhelmed and go beyond my calorie intake or don't get the exercise my body needs, I have learned this mantra: Don't give up ... don't give in...just STOP.. don't badger yourself...and start again.
5. Very important is to pay attention to the spark people recommendations. Drink 8 glasses of water daily, get 8 hours of sleep nightly, and do your math on calories and exercise (actually you don't have to be a math whiz, for those who don't like math, because SP tools do it for you! Just take the time to record it.)
6. Eat smaller meals more often 4-6 times a day and eat a balanced amount of fats, proteins, and carbs every time you eat (meal or snack) to help your body metabolize the food intake properly.
7. Systematically eliminate or significantly reducing the amount of junk foods and high calorie foods in your diet. Be careful if you keep some high calorie "treat" that you do not let portion control on these items fall by the wayside and increase as time goes on. If a food is tripping you up it could be an addiction that may have to be eliminated.
8. Avoid excessive caffeine, carbonated beverages, artificial chemicals and chemical sweeteners, and highly processed and friend foods.
9. Add whole grains, white and green tea, plenty of green leafy vegetables, unsweetened and unprocessed fruits, lean meat, chicken, and fish, good fats, olive oil, low fat dairy such as cottage cheese, yogurt, low fat cheeses, and skim or up to 2 percent milk, and unprocessed nuts, and any other healthy foods I may have forgotten to mention.
10. Visualizing is important. For me visualizing what I am putting into my mouth and what I am putting into building muscle keeps me focused and it can do the same for you. Also, visualizing myself the way I want to be has helped to keep me focused on my goal weight and image.
Finally, make a list of these points which include positive foods you want to add to your diet and positive ways of getting exercise you want to incorporate into your new lifestyle and post them on your refrigerator door. Keep them visible and on your mind.
Most of all remember..."You can do it! And you can do it better with a little help from your spark friends!"
Saturday, March 21, 2009
There are several factors which people list most often as triggers to an eating binge. As we learn more and more about healthy eating here on SP, we also come to realize that if we don't learn what these factors are they will always be hanging around out there to give us grief. Until now, it is as if we have been playing Russian Roulette only not with a gun but with fully loaded "activators" which can set off a trigger reaction to propel us on a course of self destruction at any time. Our safety mechanism lies in know what they are, and how to second guess them.
Some of the most common activators are stress, boredom, cravings, emotions, eating out, pot lucks and parties, having to be around sweets or high calorie/ low nutrition foods, and even weather or physical illness can activate bad eating responses. Every one of us is likely to have a different combination of triggers. For example:
Stress: For me stress is not so much of a problem in itself. I seem to deal with stress fairly well. However, I have a friend who will get stressed and run for the ice cream.
Boredom: I know boredom is a problem for me, because I get up and check the refrigrigerator too often. I usually stop myself or just get one bite of something, when I catch myself, but how many times have you caught yourself getting up, wandering into the kitchen, and opening the refrigerator door only to find yourself wondering, "What am I looking for?" , or "What am I doing here?" A lot of the time I am not even hungry, but my feet have just carry there out of habit, because I am bored.
Cravings: Cravings and emotional eating seem to go hand in hand for me. It is the cravings themselves that are triggered by something else. For me it can be a suggestion. For example, someone might say they would like to have a certain food, and then I can't get it off my mind; or I may see a TV commercial about a food I used to not be able to put down once I started eating it, and then I am not satisfied until I have some. Sometimes emotions which create negativism triggers the cravings for "comfort" food, and their is no peace until we get that "comfort." What I do to combat this is plan my snacks for the evening. If I get to a place where I just can't get my mind of it and the food is available, I will eat just a little, very slowly, just a few bites, and then have lots of water or no calorie drink.
Emotions: We all have them, good or bad, happy or sad, glad or mad, joyful or sorrowful, up or down, win or lose, positive or negative. Maybe an incident during the day causes the emotion. We might have a disagreement with our best friend, be insulted by someone, be misunderstood, have someone do something that makes us feel unloved or unimportant, do or say something to someone else that hurts them and unless they accept our apology we feel helpless to right the perceived wrong. All of these and other strong negative image emotions for most of us tend to trigger our need to be comforted by food.
Unless I stay on my toes I can be blind sided by these, but if I am aware of them I can recognize them, call them what they are, and change my response to them from a food comfort reward to a different kind of comfort reward, such as a book, a favorite passed time, soothing music, bubble bath, a massage, etc.
Dining Out: I used to have a problem with eating out, but for the moment it seems to be under control. I used to think that I should clean my plate. Perhaps no matter what generation you belong to your mom told you that you had to clean your plate because children were starving in "fill in the blank." Hopefully, we will learn to stop saying this to our children and grandchildren. How many times did your Mom or Dad tell you, "I paid good money for that and you better not waste it or spill it!"
All of these phrases when applied to food that our bodies don't want to eat can come back to haunt us as adults just at the time we don't need them. I finally, got wise and figured out an answer which satisfies both statements! Bag it up and take it home. (Yeah, I know there used to be taboos about letting anybody know you were going to eat it at home, because someone might think you're poor so you invented a dog and if you had a dog it never ever saw the food!) Well, now days you can relax and get people cartons so you can eat it later. Hey I am poor, and aren't a lot of us these days? Who cares anyway, it should be a compliment to the chef that we didn't dislike it so much we threw perfectly good food in the garbage. So now we can take the food home and eat the food and not disrespect anyone who is starving, plus we can show our waste not want not values by not wasting any thing. Its the best of both worlds.
Having to Be Around Sweets: Sometimes this is unavoidable. A worker might bring in some cookies, doughnuts, or a birthday cake to share at the office. You might have someone in your house who is not cooperating with you on your diet. Maybe they insist that it is you on the diet, not them, and they want to eat what they want eat.
For me the solution depends on the sweets and also whether they are where I can see them or not. Having to look at them for a long time can sometimes get to me if the conditions are right. :) If it is a family member doing it, you might suggest that they keep their sweets out of sight. If it is a coworker, you're on your own. Try to sit where you can't see them. Get a large thermos of coffee, tea, or water so you don't have to walk past them as often. Suggest they keep the food in the cabinet so the mice don't get them...you don't have to mention that you might be the mouse, LOL.
Pot Lucks: Anyone who has read my blogs knows that pot lucks are my nemesis!!! If I go to several I handle them well, but the first one I attend in a long time has a tendency to throw me. I am like a kid left to play in a toy shop. I have to try everything I see, and often. If I don't reel myself in it can be really hard to see food and not eat it.
For these situations I made up the 4-5 item rule. I can look over everything there and choose 4 or 5 items that look good and are healthy to eat. I load them on my plate in moderation. I get one item that has been a no-no if I want it, like a high calorie, high octane, dessert. I must eat it only after I have finished my 4-5 healthy items and then in moderation. I follow this small indulgence with water (never go anywhere without your water), and I drink a whole 16 ounces of water. After that I usually can't even think about getting anything else down me.
Other: I have included a place for "other" because we all have that one quirk that is different from most other people. It is the one thing that is not listed anywhere and you have to figure out what to do about that alone. For me, it is a fact that I eat more in the winter than in the summer. Looking at my calorie intake I see that in the summer it has stayed down around 1200, but in the winter it goes up to between 1350-1500. I have also noticed that I eat more when my body is cold or I have been cold for an extended period of time.
My solution has been to dress in layers to solve the problem, exercise more, and do all I can to keep from getting cold. Maybe my body thinks I need fuel to warm it up. Maybe it is something I do to forget that I'm cold. I don't know. I guess I may not ever know why, but I can do something about it and did do something about it this winter. I think that finding a solution allowed me to actually lose weight in the winter, when I normally put on 5 pounds in the winter time.
So now I am looking at Spring and I am glad I took the time to identify those triggers that have activated bad eating habits all these years. I am not immune to them by far. I have good days and bad days like everyone else. Its just that now those bad days aren't terrible days anymore, all because I have practiced identifying the triggers that activate my unhealthy eating, and I have taken action to disarm them with a "safety" mechanism.
Healthy eating to all and happy Spring!!!
Friday, March 06, 2009
On one of our FM teams someone asked the question of what we did for the pain? I thought I would include my answer in my blog today. There are probably more things that I do if I think about it but these are some of the things that work for me.
What I do for pain is :
1) Keep moving--even if it is minimal exercise it is better than nothing and it does seem reduce the duration of FM flares.
2) I use my full chair massager with heat (best money ever spent and it was only $20.)
3) Sometimes I use a tens machine,
4)For leg, hand, and foot cramps, thanks to Jadzea I now use the soap trick (bar of soap beneath your feet in bed), but I also stick them inside my socks and that seems to work, too.
5) Take medication when I need it...your doctor can usually find one that works at least a little bit for you and does not cause weight gain if you insist on that as a criteria.
6) Extra strength pain relievers can sometimes do the trick.
7) Yoga meditation and relaxation techniques often relaxes the tension in those aching muscles.
8) Drink plenty of fluids!!! Those of us with FM sometimes require more than other folk...sometimes 8 glasses isn't enough for us to keep the muscle cramps at bay.
9) Calcium --I take 2,000 mgs a day of a balanced calcium, D, magnesium capsule and that usually will keep muscle spasms from occurring. It also desensitizes to pain.
10) I don't eat gluten or wheat products and avoid anything else that fans my allergies as best I can as allergies and intolerances do seem to interfere with FM.
11)Avoid breathing, ingesting or absorbing chemicals.
12)Avoid stress and worrying over things.
13. Think positive...it doesn't help to think negative so why expend that energy?
14) Smile! Smiling does seem to make me feel better. It is almost like a smile is contagious and a mood changer which does affect how one perceives pain.
15. Talk to a friend, spouse, family member, God. Just sharing what you are feeling with someone who understands makes a big difference and even if the pain does not go away the support often takes the edge off and makes things easier.
Hope everyone has a blessed and pain free day.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Today was a busy day and turned out very cloudy and cold. When we left our house this afternoon it was so cloudy I knew that tonight I would not be able to see a single star. That means I will likely not get to see any more of comet Lulin than the little fuzz ball I saw in my binoculars at the first of the week. I had so wanted to see it in the big telescope but the weather has not cooperated at all. To make things look even more bleak for the comet watch, we are suppose to get between and inch and two and a half inches of snow tonight and tomorrow. For this I am so disappointed!
I decided to make the best of things. We went to my mom's house and tried to get her to go out with us tonight, but she wasn't feeling well. We got her some things at the grocery and visited a while. She enjoyed our visit and that made me happy .
Afterward, my husband took me out to eat tonight at TGIF's. He was trying to cheer me up for not getting to see the comet. However, when we drove all that way to get there we found a long line and waiting list. We were supposed to have an hour and a half wait, but I showed them my "Give Me More Stripes" card and we got a seat in 20 minutes. That made me feel smart.
We had great food and great night. I enoyed my date with my husband and enjoyed looking good and getting out. I stayed within my calories and that made me feel both wise and in control.
Best news?? Another 2 pounds lost. Woohoo!! My BMI says I am in the healthy range! This is the first time I have been there in at least 10 years. Anything else lost now is just in case I might gain a pound or two. I knew something was up when I lost weight in my hands and feet.
That made my day, my weekend, and maybe even my spring!
On that note, I will just say, "Have a great week end..everyone!!!"
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