Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Starting last Saturday or Sunday, about 4 days after surgery, I was already putting weight on my foot. My husband told me my Dr. said I can put weight on it as soon as Iím able. I didnít know this! But as soon as I found it out, goodbye crutches, goodbye cart. Iíve been walking around on tiptoe for a few days now. I started to get just a bit cocky.
You know whatís coming, right? Just when you though I was safe cuz no wheelie things in my life.
I went to a brilliant meeting at lunchtime today. I learned alot, and I'm thrilled I went. I have to wear the surgery boot on my right foot, but I didnít want to wear my white and black skecher on my left foot with my nice dress, so I vainly put on my almost flat black shoe (operative word being ďalmostĒ) and off I went. The trek up hill from the parking lot was a bit challenging, but I smugly made it. Ha. I'm tuff. Down? Not so good at all. That was another matter. I got quite tired by halfway down the hill. Who woulda thought down would be so hard?
Anyway, Iím down the hill in the main part of the parking lot, and my left ankle (with the 1Ē heel on it) goes under for no gosh darned good reason except to possibly detract attention from or get revenge on my right foot. My newly operated on, still in the boot, right foot SLAMMED down on the pavement, and the pain SHOT through my leg, causing both of my legs to buckle, and down I went in the parking lot. It still makes my eyes water just telling you about it. You have no idea how bad this hurt!!!
About 3-4 car lengths back were about 20 guys. Maybe only 10, but it sure looked like about 20. They were men who had just attended the meeting. The meeting in which I was the ONLY female attendee. Oh, wait, there was one other very manly looking female there. I forgot about her when I wrote on the Scuba Diving page about this. Anyhoo, down I went in front of all these men.
No one came to my rescue. They donít know me, so it couldnít have been because they didnít like me. I'm hot now, too, thanx to SparkPeople and my Polar F11, so it couldn't have been because I was ugly or fat. Although, I'm sure my attractiveness went down several notches as I did the non-graceful fall in the parking lot.
Perhaps it was that phenomenon where if thereís only ONE person who witnesses something, he or she IMMEDIATELY comes forward to help, but if thereís a bunch of them, they all freeze like deer. After a few seconds, I noticed some of them coming forward, but by then? I was up and limping on my way, VERY slowly, biting my lip hard, and in a sh*tload of pain. I did catch sight of one guy about 5í in front of me. He was in his car, on his phone. He watched the whole show, and I donít think he stopped talking the whole time. I remember his face. Iíll remember it later, too. This will haunt him, I promise.
Tonight I took off the bandage to check it out. Falling made it bleed, but I think itís okay. I was afraid Iíd ripped something wide open, but nope, itís still sewed shut. I took another picture (someone should take my camera from me), but again, as you can see, Iím sparing you. Itís less cool today anyways. It's old news, the novelty has worn off.
Although Iím in pain tonight, I suspect by tomorrow morning, Iíll be back to relatively okay considering what I had done 7 days ago. And that's good. I need to be okay, cuz I've got some work to do.
So, on the work-to-do topic, lemme tell you what I did on Sunday. I took inventory. No, not of my shoes, or my personal hygiene drawer, nor even to make sure both exchange students are still here (remind me to tell you later what we did tonight.) Instead, I took inventory of my calorie-burning goal vs. my calorie-burning actual. And Iím behind, I am, I am.
My goal at the beginning of the year was to burn 144,000 calories off by the end of the year, in the hopes of burning 40 pounds of lard off my fat hiney.
So far, Iím at around 25 pounds, give or take a few based on whether Iíve recently had surgery or broken my back! Iíve been down as low as 146, and I suspect thatís closer to the truth when Iím not all full of protective fluid.
That means I have about 16-20 pounds left to go. And, according to my spreadsheet extravaganza, I have about 56,171 calories left. Letís round that to 56,200. Thereís 3.5 months left in the year. Without doing the math, you can tell Iím a bit behind.
Sure, I've had setbacks; legitimate, goal-altering setbacks. Who expects to have a broken back or surgery? Sux to be me, but a goal is a goal. I will be sorely disappointed if I don't accomplish this after blabbering about it for a full year to anyone with ears or eyes.
The goal is still attainable with a bit of work. Hereís what itís gonna take.
I have to burn 16,057 calories per month for the next 3.5 months. That means the last half of this month, I need to burn 8030 calories. This seems a bit unrealistic, considering my current condition, but Iím gonna give it a go. I have to burn 670 calories off per workout, and I have to do 12 workouts by the end of the month to make this lofty goal. I started this on Sunday. Now that I can WALK, why not get on the spinning bike, right? Why settle for that stupid cateye arm swirlie machine? So, if you read my last blog, you'll know that on Sunday, I burned off 700 calories on that bike, and it felt miraculous to work out that hard.
Afterwards, I wanted to puke at the dinner table. So, okay, I overdid it a little. But my mojo will come back. I trust it now. I trust my body.
I was going to work out tonight. But one of my students wasnít feeling good, and the other one just didnít want to work out. As I was in a pile of pain from my little parking lot field trip today, I opted out as well. So that means I now have to work out Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat., and Sun. to make my goal this week. Iíll be reporting back here to keep myself on track. That will give me the first 6 of 12 I need by the end of September. Wish me LUCK!
Hereís what I did instead of working out OR working tonight. We all made dinner together Ė pasta with ham, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, mushrooms, corn, dill and some butter. It was a big hit. We ate this outside in the absolutely perfect, slightly crisp air, on the back upstairs deck of our house, which is built on the side of a hill on 5 acres. After a gorgeous sun set, I saw a glow of orange in the other direction. It turned out to be the most spectacular moon rise Iíve seen in awhile. The clouds streaked across it, it went in and out of bigger clouds. It was fantastic. We sat back there and talked to Silia and Sofia about a million different topics.
Hereís just one of them. Silia was telling me about whatís happening to her head with all the languages floating around. Silia is the German girl. She goes to lunch, then goes to English 3, followed by French 3, followed by Spanish 3. She said she can feel which language she's thinking in switch in her head from one to another as sheís walking in between those classes.
In the morning, sheís getting confused, too. Her alarm makes her think in German because it's her German alarm, but then she wakes up after dreaming in English, and she canít remember what language to think in.
Sheís switched over to thinking in English for the most part, but because she doesnít have enough words in her English vocabulary yet, and the German is no longer natural right now, sheís running into big blanks in her head where she canít retrieve the German word to go looking for the English word fast enough.
Can you imagine?
She said she gets frustrated that she canít hang onto the German to help her English, and she's started to wonder whatís the matter with her brain that she canít tell it what to think.
All I have to say about that last part, the part where she said "What's the matter with my brain that I can't tell it what to think" is ďOut of the mouths of babes!"
That sentence right there is a whole SparkPeople blog; in fact, that might be a book title! Some other day.
I was going to work tonight; I was going to workout tonight. But instead, I spent my night like this. This is one of those nights Iíll remember when Iím 70, and Iím glad I had the foresight not to waste it on work. Itís also one of those nights when all the troubles of the world slip quietly away, and Iím left to simply appreciate being alive. Sometimes being completely present in the moment is what it takes, especially when Iím gearing up to move forward on what I have in front of me Ė a very challenging few months. Starting tomorrow, I have to start doing what it takes.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I have a book called ďQuiet Mind Ė One Minute Retreats for a Busy WorldĒ by David Kundtz. I pick it up when I go to the bathroom (I know, too much information), and read something from it. His format is that he starts with a quote, then writes about the quote, then makes a suggestion. Today, I picked it up and found this:
QUOTE : Our body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care. --Jack Kornfield
No one would deny that we spend huge amounts of time, effort and money trying to make our bodies more attractive.
I would make a suggestion for an additional effort: that we spend time seeing that the body we have right now is already beautiful, awesome and a wonder to behold.
But what about those twenty extra pounds, you might say, or my horrible hair, or my lack of hair or the bags under my eyes? On and on we can go, focusing on all the things that make our bodies less than they should be.
When you take a moment to consider, you see those objections are based on a cultural projection. Many cultures, past and present, consider what we call too fat to be very appealing; what we call too thin to be provocative and attractive; what we call frumpy to be stylish. In present-day Western culture, only a narrowly defined type of human body is touted by the style-makers as attractive.
Somehow we ignore that only about one-fourth of 1 percent of people actually have that kind of body and they spend practically their whole lives keeping it that way so they can be photographed for the rest of us to feel bad about.
Crazy, right? But it takes time Ė quiet, reflective, contemplative time Ė to see the truth of this. The cultural forces telling you the opposite are strong. Today, be gentle and loving with your body.
SUGGESTION: A suggestion to remember today: My body is beautiful just the way it is.
Yes, I still need to lose about 15 pounds. Yes, I have a roll of fat on my stomach Iím not happy with. Yes, I wish I had straighter teeth, bigger breasts, different hair, and on and on. But I donít wish this very often. Iím not obsessed with this like I used to be. I will admit, though, to being a little frustrated with the things that are breaking down while I'm trying to get in shape.
But right now, today, I will admit, Iím in flat out awe of my very own body, and it was nice to be reminded to stop and think about this.
As you know, I broke my back on July 4th. 4 broken vertebrae, broken all the way across, 2 crushed pretty badly, very lucky I escaped nerve damage. This broken back is no small thing. It was one of the most painful experiences I have ever suffered through, and it is taking a long, long time to get over. But the beautiful thing is that gradually, little by little, I am recovering.
Then? Just last Wed., I had surgery on my foot to take care of a problem that has hobbled me for way too long. And yesterday? Yesterday, I found out I could put weight on my foot. My husband knew this all along, but didnít realize that I didnít know it! The nurse had told me no weight on it for a week; the Dr. told him different. But now that I know, I started walking on it, 4 days after surgery. No more crutches and cute little cart (so those of you worried about me wiping out on it can stop).
Yesterday afternoon, I figured out how many calories I need to make my end of year goal (more about this in my next blog), and fueled with that new incentive, I went to the gym, and decided that boring Cateye arm bicycle swirlie thing was not for me. Instead, I got on the spinning cycle, and I burned off 700 calories! After all, if I can walk, why canít I bike??
Last night, after working out, I thought I was going to be in BIG trouble when I took off my little surgery sockie and shoe. I thought for SURE my foot would be swollen. I thought for SURE I was going to be in pain and not be able to sleep last night. But no, no, and no. No swelling.
I changed the dressing (I have a picture of the incision, but as youíve noticed, Iím sparing you! I think itís cool, but Iím guessing that view wouldnít be shared by too many others.) Itís clean, itís healing wonderfully.
I went to bed last night with no ice, no drugs, and no pain to really speak of other than what youíd expect.
And I slept like a baby.
I try to always remember, when Iím whining about something to do with my body or my life, that someone probably very close to me has it worse. I remind myself to be grateful.
What an incredible thing that my body can heal. That alone is incredible. But besides that, how amazing that I can change what I put in my body, and what I do with my body, and I can see results from that effort. How wonderful that I truly am not trapped in my current situation. I have a choice, and if I take action, my body will change.
So today, Iím crazy grateful for what the author of that book calls my Precious Body.
(My doggie's precious, too, as you can see from the above photo. :)
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Sofia had a four hour orientation with her exchange agency today, and Silia was NOT invited. They do a good job of talking to these kids about do's and don'ts, but you know, we're the Fockers, not the Byrnes (remember The Fockers?), so we were giggling about it tonight. She kept bringing up all these scenarios they were telling her. I think they damaged her! Scenarios like what if the math teacher made a pass at her, and what if some boy from history raped her in the woods. (She said "History's hard enough without that!" which made me HOWL.) They explained what "horny" was, and told her she could ask for protection.
(Before you think I don't take what they're telling these kids seriously, stop yourself. I do. They know I care, and they know they can tell me ANYTHING. But in the meantime, it's kinda funny how naive they assume these beautiful girls are.)
So while Sofia was absorbing enough material for us to giggle about for a week, my husband and I were showing Silia around downtown. Poor girl, she's seen Brady, TX (Goat Cook-Off), and Arlington (Red Sox/Rangers baseball game) and San Antonio (River Walk), but she still hadn't seen downtown Austin! So while we were enjoying a good stiff breeze WITH NO RAIN, IKE WHY DID YOU BLOW US OFF? THAT'S RIGHT, NO RAIN, WHICH I'M INCIDENTLY VERY RESENTFUL ABOUT...whew, I need more cardio. Anyway, me and two others I love tooled around downtown on 6th Street with all the homeless and touristas for about an hour and a half on my little "scooter". I'm getting quite fast on it, to the chagrin of my husband, and probably about half of you Sparkers. I'm guessing I'll be wiping out sooner or later. Me, wheels, and slow, don't go in the same sentence. I was hauling. This thing is cool. I can move faster now than I've been able to move for MONTHS, I tell you MONTHS. (No, I'm not high on Darvocet right now, thank you.)
Anyhoo, if you think tooling around on that scooter for that long is an easy task, you are sorely mistaken! In about 3-4 weeks, Imma have THE biggest quads in Austin. And nasty red knees. Who runs around with red knees anyways?
Then, after we picked up the newly damaged, paranoid Sofia from her orientation, we all went to the gym. That's right, yes, I had surgery on Wed., and yes, I went to the gym today, Saturday. And I looked and looked for some cardio machine I could get on, cuz I needed to work off my fury at being blown off by Ike, and gosh darn if I didn't find one. It's called a Cateye. I dunno who named it that for what reason. It's a ridiculous name for it. It's a bicycle for arms, and you gotta go like crazy to get your heart rate above 110. But I did it, I did, I did. While watching Fake Hurricane Photography (because any REAL hurricane woulda DROPPED SOME RAIN ON AUSTIN!), I furiously pedaled that bike around with my arms, while my feet were dutifully propped up according to the Drs. instructions. After about 40 minutes, I was bored out of my mind with it, so I got on my little scooter to see what other trouble I could cause...just stay with me, here...I'm getting to the point. I'll tell you what you want to know, just quit pushin.
Well, ya know. I can't get the incision wet yet, so no swimming, and I can't put weight on my foot, so that's 99.9999% of the cardio machines. I did try out the bicycle with the big flat feet on it, but that hurt a bit, and I've grown an intense aversion to any more pain of any kind this week than I'm already dealing with, so I got off that...and I'd already done the Cateye thing, and the rowing machine is a no-no, because you have to push with your feet, and for Pete's sake, I'm in the gym, all dressed up in my gym clothes, needing to work out, I gotta do SOMETHING.
Gosh, darn, so I wandered around a little bit more, and then, frick. I realized there wasn't one other single thing to do in that stupid gym, except LIFT WEIGHTS! I HATE lifting weights, I do. But gosh darn it, betches, that's exactly what I did. I lifted weights. I did it, you all win. I did 10 different machines, that's right. And I did them all twice. I lifted a decent amount of weight, I worked abs, and back, and did lats, and rows, and obliques, and shoulders, and chest, and biceps and triceps.
I discovered that my back has healed quite a bit (or maybe it was the Darvocet I took right before doing all this.)
I lifted weights, OKAY???? Are ya happy? I cannot tell you how much I hate lifting weights, there are no words for it. I hate it one notch less than food deprivation, but today, I just couldn't stand it! I had to do S.O.M.E.T.H.I.N.G. I couldn't just stand in the gym like an idiot doing N.O.T.H.I.N.G., and I was bored with that Cateye machine.
Okay, and it wasn't TOO bad, but I did NOT admit that here. No, ma'am. That was someone else makin' that up.
Then? I figured out how to put my foot in a plastic bag and I TOOK A SHOWER in the GYM LOCKER ROOM!! WOOHOO, I'm smellin' fine tonight! Best I've smelled since Wednesday. MmmmHHmmmm...
And gurlzzz, by time I got home tonight, I was absolutely exhausted. I rolled in the house, literally rolled off the scooter, and face-planted on the couch.
I watched The Fockers with my two beautiful students, and tomorrow, yes, okay, fine, I'm going to the gym, and lifting dang weights again. I am going to put reward stickers all over this entire day's calendar entry, because I deserve it.
And I'm not bitter, so don't be a hater. Stupid osteopenia, stupid menopause, stupid weights, stupid foot, stupid back. Okay. I feel better now. I'll do it again tomorrow. Sofia hates lifting weights, too, but she did it with me. Me and her are gonna be "Buff"aloes. Dang it.
Now, I'm going to bed, taking Darvocet (um, eat fiber when you're on this stuff!!!!!!!), and gettin' some sleep.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Crista, the nurse, made me take off my toenail polish. I said "I thought YOU were going to do that." She asked if I wanted her to make the bed wiggle, too, so we can all pretend we're in a salon. Heehee.
Mary, another nurse, scrubbed my foot and leg forever. Over and over. It's clean already!
Sanjay, the anesthesia Dr. was nice until he found out I'd had three swallows of water since midnight. He didn't like that. I told him we were doing their website (which is true), so he better not kill me cuz I won't be able to finish it.
I walked into the operating room and laid down on something they loosely refer to as a pillow. They had to put pillows under my legs cuz I can't lay on my back yet without pain.
They put an oxygen mask on.
Then, someone was giving me pills. I said "Is that to relax me before the surgery?" She looked confused. Then she realized....
She said "No, you're already done."
I said "Nuh-uh, you're lying."
She lifted the covers to show me the bandages.
BTW, I did NOT puke from the anesthesia.
I was out of there by 9:30am.
My husband drove around and picked some things up.
* Einstein's bagels - ate a power bagel.
* A Roll-A-Bout, because I can't use crutches. My back's not healed enough for that really.
* Two herb medications that were in Prevention Magazine last month. I'm not a homeopathic person, but I figured it can't hurt to try these two. One is arnica, the other is staphysagria (or something like that). They reduce swelling and promote post-surgical healing.
* Another bagel. I'm hungry. I didn't get breakfast.
* Went to a few places to find a cast bag so I can take a shower. No luck on that score yet, but everyone hopes I find one soon.
* Jamba Juice - Orange Dream Machine smoothie.
We went to work because I'm not allowed to be by myself for 24 hours. NO, I wasn't working. I was sleeping on the bed in my office, and hanging out in the lawn chair we brought in.
Since I got back here, I've been sleeping and wandering around on my Roll-A-Bout. I don't know how wise it is for me to have another thing with wheels at my disposal.
My husband's determined to keep me stoked on Darvocet as much as possible. He is Johnny on the Spot every four hours with drugs and food. Hm. What's up with that?
Half my foot is numb - can't feel the little toe, and the toe next to it. On-Call Dr. said there's two big nerves that run through your foot. They shot a local anesthetic in there besides the general you're under. Must have gotten that medicine right straight in that nerve. Said I'll have my foot back tomorrow.
With all this Darvocet in me, my back doesn't hurt so I slept pretty well.
Right quad is sore from using it to help the cart around. That's embarrassing.
I've gained 5 pounds overnight. Too many crackers with my Darvocet? I'm guessing not. I'm guessing swelling or that small dish of ice cream I had after dinner last night. One of those two.
Good thing I'm too stoned to care about the 5 pounds, eh?
I'm at work this morning, but I use "at work" lightly. "At work" means in my office. So far what I've done is sleep and pee.
I talked to Mary, the nurse from yesterday. She called to see how I was. I asked her when the worst days of pain were going to be. She said yesterday and today. Really?? My foot doesn't even hurt as much as it did before the surgery! Although it is a bit tight. I've started doing the wiggly exercises.
I'm itchy absolutely everywhere. No one knows why.
Now I'm up and about to work on a proposal that needs doing. I'm in a good mood. Maybe I'll give the farm away. One never knows. I'm sick of cows anyway. And pigs.
I bet this blog isn't nearly as exciting as the colonoscopy blog, but it's all I have to offer.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
The picture above is my beautiful exchange students in some great new baseball caps. They said THANK YOU, LL, and think it was very big of you to get them hats from the other team.
There are large portions of my life, in fact MOST parts of my life, that are demanding a great deal of courage right now, when my courage capacity is spread a bit thin. I've needed courage for losing weight, creating and implementing a business plan, finding a way through a tough economy as a small business owner in a market crowded with competitors, and acting on my passion for writing and speaking. It feels like my heart is always pounding about something, my sleep is frequently troubled with worry.
Today's Worry = Tomorrow's Surgery.
My exercise helps a great deal with my worrying. I'm having surgery to fix a problem that's been interfering with my exercise for a long time. Ironic, I'd be so worried about doing something to help myself stop worrying, don't you think?
I'm having surgery tomorrow morning at around 7am to remove a bone chip in my heel that's been there for awhile, and to fix whatever damage that bone chip has done. I won't lie; I'm pretty scared. Here's what I'm scared of:
1) I won't wake back up (super, duper, major, top of the heap worry, compounded by the recent loss of my SparkBuddy, Pat, a seemingly healthy person just about my age)
2) It won't be fixed after going through all that. (major, major worry)
3) It will hurt worse than my broken back hurt when I wake back up (major worry)
4) I'll have a scar that permanently rubs against the inside of my shoes and bugs me (minor worry)
Last night, I worked out. I did part of the workout on the trusty elliptical. The rest of the workout, I did walking around the outside track. I was trying to "see" if maybe my foot would decide to stop hurting after hurting solid for about 2 years, every single step. You never know, right? I thought maybe the Murphy's Mechanical Law would kick in. You know the one...you take the car, which sounds like it's grinding or squealing non-stop, to the mechanic and it stops making any noises it was previously making. In fact, it runs smoother than it has in years...until you get it back home with no repairs.
So I thought maybe, just maybe, that would happen to me. That's what I truly hoped for. To no avail.
Then, I tried to step on my foot all kinds of different ways, hoping for some angle that, when I stepped on it that particular way, the pain was permanently tolerable, OR completely gone. That didn't happen either.
Then, I got mad. I don't WANT to have surgery! I don't WANT to be messed up again while I'm still recovering from my broken back! I can't even use crutches. I have to get some little thing called a Roll-a-Bout so I can put my knee on it and scooter around. It does cross my mind that this is one more thing with wheels. I haven't had good luck with wheelie things.
Then, I tried to back out just because I didn't want to do this. Yes, very short-sighted. But my husband threatened me. He said if I didn't go through with it now, but went through with it at some later date, he wasn't going to take care of me at that later date. Of course, you and I all know this is a lie - he'll take care of me whenever, but he helped me realize I was being short-sighted.
And last, you know, the "present value of the surgery" crossed my mind. I don't know if you know what present value of money is. Basically, money now is worth more than the exact same amount of money later. So, the present value of the surgery means that the sooner I have the surgery, the sooner I can reap the benefits, the longer I'll enjoy the value that (I hope) will come. Because, the bottom line is that the surgery really isn't optional. Maybe WHEN I have the surgery is optional, but fixing this isn't.
When I realized there just really wasn't a choice here, I made myself go back to my Fear Mantra, reminding myself of my base beliefs about fear.
Here's my base belief.....I've noticed that people take action when they're mad, they take action when they're sad, they take action when they're inspired and happy, too. But for some reason, people let fear stop them. It's just another emotion, but I guess it has some evolutionary basis - fear is our warning system that something might go wrong. The others are usually emotions that happen because something else has happened.
If we can reframe our thinking and act in our best interests, regardless of the fear, we'll grow, we'll learn, we'll move forward, usually more than we can ever imagine while we're staring at the fear.
I've been saying to myself for years "It is perfectly okay to be scared AND to take action at the same time."
About a week ago, I ran across a quote by John Wayne, and it's PERFECT for me. It's my new favorite quote. It says what I've been saying above for years in a much more elegant way.
"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway."
Today and tomorrow morning, I will be exercising my courage muscle big time. As soon as I'm awake and able, and probably stoned on who-knows-what this time, I'll login to let you know how I am.
Want to tell me a story? Tell me about having surgery, but ONLY success stories please.
Time for me to go work on the courage thing, while trying to get 8 million things done before tomorrow.
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