Tuesday, February 08, 2011
It is no surprise to those of you who keep up with my antics that I am pretty busy, but I have been thinking about the value of rest--not only sleep but having some good old-fashioned "down time." I am guessing that others who might read this think that this is not a worthy topic here on Spark People and I just read a daily blog by Women's Day about obesity that points out part of the issue is that people don't move enough (along with eating too much and many other issues!)
However, this week--and I knew it coming into it--is already pushing my buttons. I am awake now because my pain meds wore off at the same time that my sweet basset decided to reorganize the way she was sleeping on top of me (after somehow that crazy girl managed to turn off the heater in the family room where I sleep in my recliner.) If you know anything about the size and anatomy of a basset, my Lady is a big girl weighing in at about 58 pounds and she is long and obstinate. She likes the idea of lying on my lap and of lying on the top of my heated blanket. Anyway, when she wakes up, she walks in circles and rearranges everything and when what she is rearranging is me--well, it isn't the best experience.
However, I digress--silly girl is now pouting behind my recliner.
Sunday is usually my day "off" from my hectic world but this Sunday was very different. After church, we had a nice luncheon for the "Souper Bowl of Caring." It is a nice way to collect donations for the food pantry that our church houses--people bring cans of soup for the pantry and leave monetary donations for a so-called "light lunch." I call soup, sandwiches, all of the fixin's and a spread of homemade cookies a bit more than light. I had an awesome bowl of vegetarian chili, yummy. I love luncheons at the church because my kids can eat such a variety of things that I simply can. I went from church to the fitness center with 2 of the guys to get my pool time in. I knew what was coming on Monday, so I needed to get there. After that, I got home, organized some and got the kids to fix dinner and went to school (yes during the Super Bowl--sorry, I don't do football) to work on my National Boards writing--I was too busy Saturday to do that. I spent over 3 hours writing when I realized that I had misread the page instructions and most of what I did is too generic and needs a major overhaul. I tried.... I got home around 9:30 and got ready for Monday.
Monday was simple enough--I tutored before school, taught all day, tutored after school and had two parent education sessions at 4:15 and at 6:00, leaving work at around 8. I had written in my journal that I was going to go to the pool after all of that, but my body was crying uncle and I knew I needed to get home and have some dinner. I did get in 20, 565 steps yesterday--so I was anything but sedentary which could explain what my back pain was about.
Today, I have to leave work early to have my PET stress test at the cardiology clinic at 12:30 which will be followed by physical therapy and a doctor's appointment. I will make it to the pool tonight and I can already feel the water absorbing the pain out of my back, ahhhhhhh) Wednesday is a simple day with a teacher's meeting after school. Thursday has me at an appointment for a meeting at my son's school at 7:30 AM and arriving to work a bit late with the rest of my day all tucked in there the best that I can and then physical therapy after work. Friday is another "regular day."
My "regular days" have gotten a bit out of hand as well starting with me tutoring before school to give a child a bit of needed help above and beyond what he was getting. In the morning, I see back to back groups of six children each at 8:40, 9:20. 10:00. 10:40 (3 of those groups being first grades which I am testing daily on sight word recognition, reading independently with at least a couple of children, teaching a phonics lesson, and doing a guided reading lesson with which is a lot of work to squeeze in my allotted time.) I have a ten minute break that sometimes, if nobody needs me gives me time to check my daily email and go to the restroom before I have a 40 minute group of 5 third and fourth graders which overlaps with my 30 minute group of 3 kindergarten students. I have 20 minutes of time for lunch and prep before my afternoon gives me 3 more groups of six--3rd and 4th graders at 1:00 and two 35 minute groups of more first graders at 1:40 and 2:15. At 2:50, I have about 5 minutes to clean up before I tutor another child after school. If my ride doesn't come, I have time to do extra work after our lesson is finished--I run copies or select new reading materials or whatever it takes to keep pushing my kids ahead. My kids are all behind their same-aged classmates, so it is my job to push them to do more than other kids have to do, that is the only way to "accelerate" their progress and help them to "catch up."
As for me, I am always on "high gear." When I can get one of my sons to come to school with me to lend a hand for a project or currently to videotape lessons as I work on my National Boards renewal, it is interesting to get their feedback. Last night at 8 PM. my son who came to school around 2 yesterday commented that neither of us had sat down the entire time. That is my world.
This week is excessive and I knew it coming in. However, I am almost always doing something in some capacity as mother and teacher. I understand the gist of the article I read here at SP today, but I am thinking I could do with a bit more "down time." I don't think I need to fidget more or be more active.
I'm a bit tired yet--I start fasting for the stress test in about 45 minutes. I am wondering if I could get in a nap sometime this morning too. It might work out, but I am skeptical.
Saturday, February 05, 2011
It was my plan to go back to Weight Watchers at the beginning of the year so I could add in accountability for myself. I know it is silly to pay for someone to weight me, but I felt my motivation wavering. I went for the first week and got the program and 2 subsequent weigh-ins. However, things got crazy and them Megan was sick and now this snow.
One thing I found was a glitch in our scales and my doctor's scales vs. their scale. I have been weighing myself here before I went there and keeping track. Anyway, after all of this time, I am still losing (2.7 pounds today on top of a nice loss every week but the one I didn't weigh in) and I am down 14 pounds since the beginning of the year.
I just looked at my "Feed" page and I also had a milestone for Spark Points and for fitness minutes. I am thinking that my weight loss combined with those items is not a coincidence. I will try to get back to Weight Watchers in the next week or so, but the one thing I know is that as long as I eat properly--and tracking helps me to do that--and I get my activity in, I am going to lose weight. It just works. I know this seems kind of simple, but it is working for me on a regular basis.
On one of my teams, there was a question posed about what we are doing for our heart since February is the month that we "go red for heart." I think the answer to that question is to do the Spark People plan. My cholesterol is in a healthy range and I am sure that eating well combined with activity is the answer.
Finally, the thing I am realizing today is that if you do the plan and stick with it--day after day drink your water,
start out with walking (if you don't really have a fitness plan in place,) and log in to SP and track your goals, get information and ideas and recipes and simply starting with a few small changes on that you will be successful. There is power in building these streaks around here and celebrating them as they grow. Not only that, but I have become a regular at the fitness center--and there is no way ever that I would have thought that would be my hobby!! As we start out around here, we just get better, almost magically.
The results are big--uh er small in another way of thinking, Another side benefit is all of the very awesome people "Spark Friends" that you get to meet around here.
Gentle and thanks to my spark friends!!
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
There is plenty of snow here today--so much that they cannot accurately determine if we have anywhere from 15 to 18 inches on the ground because it is blowing hard. We have a predicted 4 more hours of snowfall too. My school district is closed today as is everything in the entire region and we never close for snow anymore. It has been a few years since we had a snow day, so I am reveling in the possibilities of the day--everything from writing to cleaning a closet to spending the day playing games with the kids. I have lots of choices and I am sure the activity of choice for the kids will involve their favorite electronic devices. I'm pretty sure I won't allow that choice! It is a pretty weird groundhog's day when I don't think any of them will be able to find their way out and I don't think any of them are dumb enough to come out in this weather.
I had a tough time with the neurosurgeon yesterday, and am pretty sad. They started with painful x-rays, lying flat on a hard x-ray table is tough for someone who has to sleep in a chair and the other positions were even worse. The x-ray technician asked about the apparatus in my back and was astounded to learn that he had done that because she had "never seen an apparatus like that ever before." Anyway, the pain set up my ability to deal with the doc as he whooshed into my room smiling and announcing in an excited voice that my back has "really and totally fused." Then he asked why I was there and I answered because my back hurts and he gave me his standard answer "There is nothing surgical I can do for you." I quickly asked him what I could do for myself then and tossed in that I'd like to walk 8 steps down the hall without pain or holding on my walker to keep myself upright. His mood sobered up and he told me that he understood I was frustrated and he suggested pain management. I reminded him that I already have a pain doc and then he said that he could do a test to make sure that they weren't missing something in my pelvis and he walked out of the room before I could ask about physical therapy or injections or any of the other things people do to be stronger when they have a chronic back issue. I waited (in tears) in the exam room for just under 10 minutes when a nurse brought me in an order for lab work and told me their office would be in touch with me for a bone scan. I went to check out and he hadn't even cleared me to leave so the people at the office didn't know if I needed another appointment. I looked at her and told her that I thought he was done with me.
What do I do next with this? I think I must definitely do the tests, but I think they were his way of ignoring the fact that I have other issues and that I don't want surgery. (Been there, done that and I can attest that back surgery is some of the most miserable of all surgeries to deal with.) I want to be better. I have done everything under the sun to help myself and I would like to fix the part that messes with every aspect of my life every day. For example, try helping 6 first graders around a table full of laptops who are learning to navigate a mouse like that are on MacBooks when they are clicking all kinds of stuff and it is hard to bend over and it is hard to stay on your feet for more than 8 steps. Try taking a turn to read scripture at church when I have to walk to the alter from my pew and climb 3 gentle stairs in front of everyone to get to the lectern. Try shopping or hurrying down the hallway to the restroom between groups of kids--or hurrying anywhere. I am definitely frustrated.
I don't mean to whine and am grateful for everything, but I just think my back should be better. I also think that this doctor who has operated on my back twice and knows my anatomy and the "apparatus" he put in my back should be the one to lend a hand. I have done everything I know to help myself and I need some guidance as to what I should do next and his comments about surgery isn't what I need. I will call my pain doc again, although my last visit there was the gift of the tens unit and I take strong enough pain meds. He will at least talk to me about the PT or injections as a possibility. I can also call my ortho back and let him know what was said to me, but given the fact that they are in the same office, I don't know if he can refer me to anyone who would dare say anything else or to anyone out of their office. I don't know if I can do a self-referral to the University of IA or Mayo or somewhere else or not. I don't know what is possible--but that may be my special job on this snow day.
One other thought came to me from my PT yesterday. (She watches me struggle to do my shoulder exercises, not because of my shoulder which is healing way ahead of schedule, but because I have trouble finishing my exercises because I cannot stay standing long enough.) I have lost a lot of weight and she is curious if the loose skin around my tummy area is pulling on my back and causing some of the pain that I deal with. I don't know if this is a viable consideration or not and I do not which of my doctors need to hear that question. I am not sure what can be done with that because I cannot do anymore exercise than I do and it is part of me. I do thank heavens for the pool because it is the one place I can walk and move freely in. Maybe I do have a few avenues to explore and do not have to accept that there is nothing surgical that this guy can do for me as an answer to my back issues.
I expect some of you to weigh in on what you'd do if you were in my shoes with this back issue. I think I am too much of an optimist to accept this as being as good as it can get.
Thanks in advance for your suggestions and support. I know that I can count on my Spark Family for honest and helpful suggestions.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Good morning friends!!
I cannot believe it is already Tuesday and that I am up now, writing my blog. However, things will fall into place quite soon as I tell my story of the past couple of days.
Sunday was our annual meeting at church and it was quite long. Our church is in pretty good shape given the size of our active congregation and the average age of people who attend regularly. However, I worry and wonder what we are going to do to keep everything in that magnificent building in tip top shape as things like tuck pointing are becoming needed. That is a big, expensive job. I trust that we can take care of things as did generations before us and the people who sacrificed to build something that beautiful during their own tough financial times.
I got to get to the pool for the first time since Megan became sick on Sunday and my body found it to be heaven even though my pleasure was diminished by all of the kids there doing a bit of everything with the regular less than active Sunday lifeguard int he place. That girl really bugs me because she doesn't even put on the facade of doing her job anymore. Repeated talks with management haven't gotten me anywhere either, so I know it is time to put some of it in writing. I'll add that to my list of things to do in my "spare time."
Monday was my first full day back at work and I logged over 18,000 steps on my pedometer. I was all over the place getting in good lessons with all ofmy kids and a lot of work on the computers. I also had two parent activities last night and in spite of the weather, I had one family show up for the early one and one family for the late one. I left work around 7:15 and the snow was pretty tough to drive in at that point in time.
The alarming thing was what started happening on the way home. My lower back on the right side--not the left as usual, started in with these frequent spasms that made it hurt to breathe. I tried to eat dinner when I got home but the pain was too sickening for eating. I took my pain meds and finally they put me to sleep. I feel concerned to have something different going on than I am used to. It is a good thing that I have that appointment with my back doctor today, maybe he will have something to say. If not, I will find a new doctor this afternoon. My appointment with him will be followed by physical therapy on my shoulder and then another doctor's appointment. My therapist was booked solid for the entire month, so he added in some time slots late int he day for me. That is a thoughtful guy, especially since I am muddling through so much right now.
Finally, we have some word back on Megan and I now have some more to consider. My doctor was very good with her and is doing her follow up care. Her INR was up to 2.8 yesterday, yay!! That means she no longer has to take the injections and now she can get into the routine of taking the Coumadin and having her bi-weekly labs done. The scary news is that the report from the geneticist is back and it turns out that this was caused by a marker on an alele (on one of her chromasomes.) The report indicates that all of our other children have a 1 in 2 chance of carrying the same condition and that Megan may have difficulties during the third trimester if she were to become pregnant. I have to follow up on all of this and have the other kids tested and it is particularly a worry for Marissa as well. I don't know if anything preventative can be done about it, but it is a tough bit of medicine to swallow right now as I figure out what needs to be done next. All I can do is give thanks that Megan got medical care at the right time and that all of the other pieces fell into place. A true tragedy was averted and the rest of this is going to fall into place as well. That genetics report was a bit of strange reading, apparently 3-5% of the population carries this genetic issue and it is typically found in Caucasians of Scandinavian descent.
With the snow that came down and was coming down when I fell asleep and out forecast of up to 16 inches the last I heard, the real Tuesday could be very different than I am thinking it will be like. the bulk of this snow isn't supposed to come until this afternoon, so I hope my appointments will not be lost. I have one more to make--my darling 12 year old son got a referral at school yesterday for giving someone the finger (another student.) I know it is wrong and have handled it as such--but given the fact that he has never done such a thing and has 7 older brothers and sisters to share such naughty behavior with him, I'm thinking it is the least of my worries. However, the principal needs to talk to me and talk we shall. I'm thinking that this must go into the "boys will be boys" and even more the "adolescents will be adolescents" category and as soon as the conversation is over and he does a little pennace around here, it is over.
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