Sunday, October 24, 2010
I just got home from my youngest daughter's high school production of "A Midsummer's Night Dream." It was less than a month ago that we saw our oldest daughter's community theatre production of "Hard to Believe." In a couple of weeks, her college theatre play--whose name I am not sure I even know is playing. I was thinking about the time we spend taking our girls to play practice and all of the hours they spend there. I'm sorry that I forgot my camera tonight, but the look on Marissa's face told me that this was way important to her. You couldn't have wiped that smile off or shaken it off or well, it was a part of her after her first theatre production and I am very aware that theatre is a part of her now.
Lots of parents do sports and sporting events--we have certainly done our share over the years--lots and lots of baseball and softball (We actually had a year that we had 6 children playing ball on 5 different teams. We spent that summer in ballparks!) All of our children have played a musical instrument--or two and most of them have also been in vocal music (with several of them "shining" and qualifying for awards, state, etc...) However, it is the theatre that has become an "aha" to me. Theatre requires a large time commitment on the teenager's part. Theatre makes them want to make that commitment as well. That big smile finally helped me to get it. The satisfaction that she felt from her "job well done" hasn't quite been matched by anything else she has accomplished. I wonder if it is the time with her castmates that developed into something and their pride in helping others to enjoy their efforts that has given that special feeling to her. I guess it doesn't matter much, because the reality is that there will be another play in February. It was announced on the program, maybe to warn all of the parents. I know that she will be trying out again and I know that I now have another daughter who is excited by the world of theatre.
Move over Soccer Moms--Theatre Moms have a job that is a little more thankless and that goes on a lot longer than your sports season. (By the way, I know that "theatre" is different than "theater." I thought it was my older daughter being picky a very long time ago. The latter of the two is a building, the former is the art. That was a bit of news to me, when I received that part of my education!!)
Friday, October 22, 2010
This week has flown by and although I have been quite active, I am back to a few bad and thoughtless habits taking over. I am going to have to manage things better. My story...
We went back to work after our two week break and a big problem for me right now is shoes. I know that seems a bit silly, but after my bout of RSD and the need to replace my knee replacement, my doc and PT both told me that I should wear my athletic shoes all of the time. I went to a sporting goods store recommended by the PT and was fitted for a pair of NBs--I don't remember which number--and I wore them for quite a while. Since then, I have been wearing NBs when shoes are needed. However, they aren't quite a match for how I dress for work. I wear skirts and nice tops most of the time or dresses--and of course, I wear jeans on casual Fridays. I have another problem with my athletic shoes--I need help to put on my socks and shoes and to get them tied. Between my faulty right knee and my back, I cannot bend in a way that allows me to do this on my own. I HATE this, a lot. SO-OO-O-O, I am still wearing my summer slides most of the time. I have a couple of nice pairs that have a good support and arch. Our weather doesn't quite support these and they don't match my longer sleeves and warmer clothing, so I tried a couple of other pairs of shoes this week. Oh my, my pain level has been stinky and I think that it is the inappropriate shoes on top of the coming weather front that is my problem. Grr, I just want to look nice, that is valued where I work.
The next thing is that we had two staff birthdays and "Principal's Day/ Boss's Day" this week. There has been cake, cake and more cake in the lounge which is handily located right next to my classroom. I have been careful to only take a half of a piece or smaller when I have taken it, but I have indulged far more than I have in a long time. I have had a couple of partial pieces each day this week which is adding up to too much that I don't need. I don't know what has gotten into me, but walking by this stuff hasn't even seemed to be an option. this is destructive behavior and I will not do it again. I know what cake tastes like and I don't need this.
I am working extra hours now as well (my choice for the most part.) I am tutoring one of my little guys before school each day, using Reading Recovery to help get him the boost I believe he needs to shine. I am also working with a group of (gulp) ten first graders who aren't my students--but maybe should be if I had time on my schedule to put them in) two nights a week after school for an hour. Those days coincide with the fitness class I signed up for at the pool. I haven't quite gotten the schedule together--but tonight I tried following the class with my regular workout and then when I came home, I was pretty miserable. I don't know if it was the extra hour and a half on my work day, the shoes or the exercise that got me, but pain is pain...
I guess I am blogging to share that some of my bad habits are seeping in and I realize that I have not arrived and I am not safe from myself. I am going to make some commitments to myself right now...
1) I will wear appropriate shoes and I will ask for help--even if they aren't pretty and stylish and even if I have to be dependent on others.
2) I will eat what I need and what is best for me on schedule--and I will walk by things I don't really need or want. Cake isn't even one of my favorite foods. I will save those calories for something that is "worth it" to me!!
3) I have enough to do and cannot take on any other activities even if they need to be done. There are others who can help out. I will admit that my early tutoring is such a wonderful and refreshing way to start my day and I am enjoying it immensely. I hope my little guy is too, he seems to be!!
On another note, we are rebuilding our kitchen--floors then painting, new cabinet doors, and the like--as we prepare for our holiday plans to have family come here this year. That is yet another task on hand, but I am saving the bulk of those jobs for the weekend, not during my work week.
Is there ever enough time, energy to do what needs to be done, or money to do things easily? Not in our house anyway!!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
I spent another hour in my classroom working on the many projects that I have going on today before going to see the eye doctor. That is always an "interesting" appointment. I went in right away and told the tech that my eyes and glasses have been driving me crazy for a while. It was hard to explain to him that I don't feel as if I need them when I am driving--but I have a restriction requiring them on my license. The tech seemed to think I was a bit off--but when the doc came in and took a quick look at my eyes (after the dilation...), he said to me "I'm betting that you are having a lot of problems with seeing and your glasses." I thought he had read it on my chart, but it turns out that the cataracts I have have changed and gotten a bit bigger with a different shape. That change has improved my vision, so I'll need new glasses. I expected to need new glasses, but the thing with the cataracts making my vision better was a bit strange to me. My doctor told me that I may need to have a couple of more changes in my glasses over the next year or two, but he didn't expect that. He also told me that he had another patient who had cataracts doing what mine are doing and they had to change this person's glasses 6 times in a year because of what the cataracts were doing. He also told me that if I started having any issues with light of any kind that make "big splatters" that interrupt my sight--and that I'd know it when it happens--it will be time to have surgery on the cataracts. However, for now, we will just live with the way they are. (I'm going to check cataracts out online tonight, lol.)
I spent the rest of my day grocery shopping and running errands. I sure miss having fresh berries and inexpensive melons at the store--and nice looking and tasting tomatoes. Oh well, I was able to shop in spite of the season and I got some nice deals on some meat packages. It takes a lot of meat for a meal around here and that is the item that I use as a basis for my meal planning. I know that there might be healthier ways to plan meals, but we DO feed an army here without the benefits of a government sized budget. Anyway, I did a good job and got a lot of chicken on sale. (To my vegan and vegetarian friends, I am glad that you have chosen your nutrition plans and that they work well for you, but even though you eat healthy and well, your choices won't work with the choices and taste preferences of my family. I do have a few meals that we have that are without meat, but it isn't enough to make a life choice like yours. I notice when I make a veggie chili or lasagna for my family that it doesn't seem to satisfy some of the big guys I feed adequately and then I am needing to complement the meals with more food, which defeats the purpose of what I've done in the first place. I am different than some of my family members, but in order to protect the family meal time and to use our time and resources wisely, we build our meals around the meat selections I have. I do believe that many people who are working on weight loss, healthy eating and weight management work within their family's needs, likes and wants.) Shopping can take a lot out of me, but I am so glad to go into stores these days and not need to use their electric carts. I use my walker and I am fortunate that it has a seat for when I have to sit down. I also know that I can walk longer and further than I could a month ago, so I am thankful for my weight loss and my daily exercise plan because they are responsible for my improved health.
I saw several doctors during my break. My rheumatologist is a wonderful, gifted man who gives quality patient-care. I see him every 6 months unless something comes up in between, and he always gives a complete physical at each visit. My fibromyalgia is a messy business because it generally is at a high level of flare. I have worked with several meds--not Lyrica because that side effect of weight gain and water retention will not help my other health needs and issues. I went off of everything, but when I returned to work, I found that I couldn't work all day without treatment. He prescribed two of the meds that had helped me in the past, but it turned out that my new body couldn't handle the meds I used to take. We talked about my weight loss--he was so happy for me--and we cut the dose of one med. He noticed a new issue with my right hip and thought that I would be having surgery on it. I was surprised to realize that my range of motion is so limited in that hip. I walk with so much difficulty from my back and some restrictions due to the RSD that interfered with my right knee replacement that I simply didn't notice any issues with my hip. I do believe that since it isn't giving me any unmanageable pain that I am not planning to bring it up with my orthopedist. I think I can work on strengthening it and increasing the range of motion through exercise in the pool. I am going to contact my physical therapist about some updates to my program and if that doesn't give me what I need--I may have to have a new prescription for her help--I may try working with the physical trainer at the fitness center. I also think it is time to add some work on the stationary bike to my routine. I signed up for my first fitness class earlier this evening, it is in the pool and this one happens to be free. I think it is a good way to add some new activities to my exercise plan and to maintain my body, preventing my arthritis from doing even more damage to my remaining joints. It is exciting for me to sign up for a fitness class. Remember that I have always been obese and inactive. This is something that I want to do and believe I am capable of. This is also in the pool and I am comfortable enough with my body to join a class that requires me to wear my swimsuit around others. This is a tremendous shift in a lifetime of being the fat, incapable person for me and I am feeling good about who I have become. I have found out that there is a big problem in the shoulder that I have whined so much about for the past two months. After the trials of the MRI, it turns out that there is thickening of the tendons that go over and around my shoulder and there is at least one tear--I couldn't hear if she said tear or tears. I am going to see my wonderful orthopedist rather than just any of the possible docs or the lady I have been seeing about this. She told me that I have already had the conservative treatments and something more is needed. I am a bit bugged by all I have went through to get this point across. I have several friends with OA, RA, EDS and other ailments who all have a similar story to tell about having a problem and having to go through a lot of people, expensive testing and ineffective measures to finally get someone's help with a problem that they were well aware of from the beginning. It really bugs me that patients have to "prove" their needs at such a level. I don't know if this is because some people don't know or fib or whatever, but it seems like a backwards way of doing some things especially with a patient with a chronic health condition who knows their body and its responses. I also don't know the role of the insurance companies and the doctors balancing potential malpractice concerns in this, but it sure makes getting help for a problem so difficult for a patient who wants to live with a decent quality of life. ****OK, I'll end that rant!!
On the same note, I got the result of my recent mammogram repeat. This is another of my ranting. I am a big baby with a mammo, but I sure understand their importance. I have excessive pain with a mammo for several reasons. First of all is the obvious--standing for the length of time needed sets my back off and it gets increasingly worse. Secondly, I have a nice scar on the right side from my gall bladder surgery that is exactly in the place that the mammo machine hits me when I have to hug it. Thirdly, I believe that my fibromyalgia makes this touching and squeezing more uncomfortable for me than someone without this--or a similar condition. Finally, with my background with this, I have naturally "fibrous" tissue that seems to cause issues with this process. I have had problems surface one time after the next that has resulted in me having a previous biopsy, surgery to remove a lumpy area, a needle biopsy, and repeated mammograms annually that often land me on a table for ultrasound evaluations. This is not something that we talk about in the faculty room and I don't know for sure, but I am assuming I really HATE mammograms and it takes me forcing myself to go. It is far worse to get the call or report that I have to go back to have another picture or whatever and to have to go back for a repeat session. They hurt--and I resent the technicians who have told me that they don't hurt other women. (I find that hard to believe, but it does not change my personal issues to hear or know that.) I can actually feel the pain in my right side from the mammo machine by thinking about it, I have experienced it enough. I believe that this is a serious issue--and after seeing all of the products in the store today that have jumped on the breast cancer bandwagon, I know that the world is taking this seriously. I do wish I could understand why we just don't simply go to an ultrasound for my annual test at this point. I don't understand why my tissue is "fibrous" and other women don't seem to be blessed with that. I also don't know why my tissue is even more fibrous with my weight loss, but I know the weight loss is still a good thing. If anyone could enlighten me on any of this, I would appreciate it. I think that there has to be a way to check on this without all of the discomfort I go through. I hate feeling like a baby or a whiner or whatever, but this is my reality. I also wonder if the need to repeat this so frequently is really necessary for someone in my position who has been tested and tested and tested again. Am I at more risk of a problem? I guess I really just want to find a way that isn't so stressful to do this while staying responsible and keeping focused both on why we need mammograms and on the potential tragedy for not being screened as needed. ****END of another rant, but my request for info is sincere, please let me know if you can answer any of my questions!
My basic health is awesome--the chronic stuff is just a part of who I am. It was so good to have a physical with the kind of reports that I have had--ongoing and continued weight loss, great blood pressure without medication any more, wonderful level of LDL cholesterol (110 when less than 130 is desired--YAY, that's my best ever!!) and a great level of HDL cholesterol as well (It was 39 when 40 or above is desired--I am working on that with more omega 3's in my diet.) I hope that i haven't messed up my cholesterol types again, I think of the bad as LDL with the L referring to Lousy for the bad stuff, tee hee. I never thought I would be getting handshakes and congratulations from doctors on such stuff in my entire life. I have not quite arrived, but I am sure on my way.
It has been a busy two week break for me--ten medical appointments really kept me hopping. I have learned a lot about myself physically and emotionally. I am now ready to reflect on my goals after all of this data. I need to keep working on weight loss in order to get my body at its best performance potential. I need to keep exercising daily and I expect to do most of that work at the pool with my arthritis issues, however I also recognize that I need to continue tweaking things regularly and that I am ready to add some out of pool activities to my routines. This is another big milestone for me. I also know that I need to really stay focused on the quality of the foods I eat because I need far fewer calories at my current weight that is over 110 pounds where I started and I have less "wiggle room" within my daily plan. I am taking 6000 units of Vitamin D daily and a monthly Vitamin b12 injection per doctor's orders along with a multi-vitamin, but I would like my diet to meet my natural needs. I think I am smart enough to do this and will continue to work on quality of what I eat. I do not believe 5 servings of fruits and veggies is enough and I constantly work to have more each day. I eat very little bread, rice, pasta--so getting in those nice carbs is tricky. I only buy whole grain breads when I buy them and I am working on converting my family.
I am on the right track, but I am also a "work in progress." I count SP as one of my many blessings because I do not know where I would be now if I hadn't made all of these changes. I know that the holiday season is upon us (after my shopping experiences yesterday and all of the displays) and after our two days of conferences that turned our faculty room into the most dangerous grazing area in the world, I also recognize that I need to stay focused and I need all of the help and support I get here at SP. I also expect that my work on my National boards renewal will restrict my time here even more. I am working on building a schedule for my writing time and coordinating it with my work schedule and my exercise time--leaving time for my family in all of this. It will be quite a balancing act, but I know that I can do all of this if I am organized. As always, stick with me as this unfolds and please remind me to stay away from the food that will start showing up with Halloween and will be non-stop until after the new year is upon us.
Thanks for letting me ponder and sort through what I have learned about my body from the medical people who care for me. I believe that it is really important that we manage the data we are given and we use it to make the changes that make us more healthy. This information is only valuable if it drives our decision making and helps us to become even better than we were. With your help, SP and my family--along with God and my abundant blessings--I will be at my best possible condition. I recognize that I am in this for life and am so glad to have all of you and this information and support to get me there.
This is how I once was--note the back brace as well as the wheel chair--this was the "small" brace without the bars attached to my left leg.
These are photos of the beauty of fall here in the Midwest this past week!
These final photos are of our little pug Frankie at our camping trip last weekend. He is such a loving little doll and loves to be with people, no matter what we might be up to!!
(I forgot to mention how much he enjoys sleeping, didn't I? This last photo surprised all of us because he didn't even have his bed and he didn't wake up while my son was capturing this image!)
Gentle hugs and happy fall to each of you!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
My kids are out in the car waiting for me, but I wanted to reflect on the pun involved with the word "can." It came up at church today because our annua church stewardship drive is built around the idea that "We can help God." Our church choir members did a song that used bells and actual cans to kick this off. It was funny and sweet at the same time.
When I go to the store and look at canned goods, I think I will always see them as motivational tools now.
My daughter just came int o retrieve me and is a bit grumpy about waiting, so I will say--
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