Thursday, November 27, 2014
I've been meaning to do a follow up blog to my last entry for a while now, but life keeps getting in the way. So of course, there's tons to update by now, but I'll try to do the "short version" (those of you who've known me longer than five minutes are laughing now, but honest, I'll try).
When I went to the doctor on September 22nd, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure (and put on an ACE inhibitor and diuretic combination), AND was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes (my A1C was 7.3, it's supposed to be under 7). She didn't put me on any medication for the diabetes at that time, but is giving me 3 months (long enough for a new A1C - it gives you about a 3 month average of your glucose levels over time) to get things under control using diet and exercise. I'll be having labs drawn and going back to discuss progress and make a plan from there in January.
SO, I came home ready to make changes. First, I withdrew from school - there was NO WAY I was going to get ANYTHING under control in the ridiculously stressful environment of nursing school (particularly considering I was only getting about 4 hours of sleep on a GOOD day, most days of the week). And before anyone worries, I already have a plan in place and will start back with the nursing classes in May for the summer semester (though I will be optimizing my time by taking a pharmacology class over spring semester - it's one of the weak areas of our program, so I figure it can only help). It will put me back by about half a year - instead of graduating this May, I'll be graduating in January of 2016, which I can live with. I am NOT giving up, I'm just "maneuvering according to circumstances."
The eating plan has been a bit of a challenge, simply in trying to balance the fact I have to watch carbs again (and I can do Atkins-style low carb without even thinking about it) and my preference of NOT cutting out entire food groups but approaching diet with "anything in moderation" (which worked extremely well for me here on Sparkpeople). Whatever I'm doing, it's working, at least with the weightloss. My fasting blood glucose has been generally staying between 115-125 (normal is under 100, I'd like mine to at least be consistently 110 or lower), though I still have occasional spikes and I haven't been able to trace the pattern of what causes them (except for not having hot chocolate spiked with Irish Cream before bed...that will kill it every time). I'm still having trouble fitting in the exercise, mostly due to timing (and the fact that for all of my good intentions, using the "wellness center" at work after I work a full shift is doomed to failure, 'cause I'm usually too beat up to be able to face a treadmill after walking 3-4 miles a night in the course of my job). But it's happening. AND I've got my sister, niece, daughter and girlfriend all looking to start training with me in January to do the half at the Flying Pig Marathon in May, which will be fabulous motivation! VERY excited about this plan!
So, I've been quietly doing my thing, getting my ducks in order, and *WHAM* I get hit by a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). I haven't had a full blown UTI in over 20 years (since I worked at Frisch's), since usually when I start experiencing what appear as possible symptoms I double-down on hygiene, water (which I'm currently drinking like a fish anyway) and cranberry juice, and it clears up in a day or so. Not so much this time, this one's not budging. SO, I made an appointment and went to see the doc on Monday this week. Which is the first time I've been back since the diagnoses of September.
First of all, their scale agreed with mine (not the actual numbers, but the difference was the same) - when I was there in September I weighed (on their scale) 255 lbs. When they weighed me on Monday, I weighed (on their scale) 236.8 - a difference of 18.2 lbs. According to MY scale, by Monday I'd gone from 250 lbs to 232 lbs - a difference of 18 lbs. WOOT! My doc was THRILLED with 18 lbs lost already! :) My blood pressure was stellar too - 119/75.
For the record, as of this morning I'm at 229.5 lbs - I've broken through the 20 lbs lost mark (and past the 230s)!
So having this UTI, while a pain and annoyance, provided the opportunity to check in with my doc at something of a "midway point" and I got confirmation that the changes I'm making are heading me in the right direction! That, my friends, is something to be supremely thankful for!!
I leave you with a picture of something else that has me thankful every day - the most adorable grandbaby on the planet (okay, I may be biased, but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it). This was taken at the Ohio Renaissance Festival in October.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
First of all, for anyone who has sent me PMs or poked me here, thanks! There's no way I can go back and respond, because my sparkmail is packed and overwhelming (mostly with team notices that are ridiculously out of date) so I'm just going to delete everything and start over.
That said, starting over is something of the theme here, as something has to change. It's bad enough I've gained 26 lbs since my last blog entry in January. That was in the very beginning of what turned out to be a BEAST of a semester - we lost nearly half our numbers (my clinical group alone dropped by 4 on the last week to withdraw - happily they are all back and doing their second attempt at Nursing 102 this semester). I learned to cope with getting Bs that semester - I felt lucky to have survived and passed at all. Nursing 103 was just as intense, though it almost felt easy compared to the previous semester. Well, if I thought that was hard I hadn't seen hard yet - the classwork is going fine so far in Nursing 201 (our last semester with clinicals - next semester we work with a preceptor), and my maternity rotation is wonderful (yeah, it's where I want to end up), but the med-surg clinical is kicking my butt, mostly because I have an instructor who does everything by the book (including making us use the paperwork forms the rest of my instructors have altered, because whoever put them together has NO computer savvy and you have to reformat the durn things any time you type something), and has us all terrified. She's incredibly intimidating, it's like being in a skills test (remember the comment about being thrilled I'd passed without throwing up on the instructor's shoes?) for 8 hours straight. We're in week 5 now, and it's not getting any better (at least not for me, I've got two black marks on my record regarding the paperwork, and she's asked to meet with me during her office hours...I have a bad feeling no matter how many As I get in lecture, I'm going to end up unsatisfactory in clinical and have to do this over). All of which leads to what really has me scared...
The other night, as the mate and I were doing our usual "stupid TV and getting tipsy" routine, I started getting really shaky, had chills, and just generally felt crummy all of a sudden, and decided I needed to get to bed ASAP. I'd been drinking one of those frozen alcohol thingies (the pouches they sell at Kroger, I think this one was a peach daiquiri) and it almost felt like a sugar crash (except a crash makes no sense since I was pretty jacked up on sugar considering what I'd been drinking). Whatever it was, it was kind of scary. Yesterday at work, I decided to check my blood pressure. I tried again with a different size pressure cuff (which didn't work, I thought maybe the large was too large...it wasn't), and then took it again because I had a hard time believing what I'd seen the first time. Nope, my blood pressure really was 176/101. Now, this is at the end of a busy night, but I didn't feel particularly stressed or anything. Still...not good. This morning I decided to break out the self-blood-pressure kit I picked up in January for practice - I'd used it to practice on the mate, but had never tried to take my own blood pressure with it - and see what my resting blood pressure was before I got up (considering I've been waking UP stressed out, I figured it wouldn't be good). For those unaware of how blood pressures are taken, you pump up the cuff until you can't hear the heartbeat in the stethoscope, and then start releasing pressure - the moment you hear a heartbeat is when you take the top number, and when the heartbeat is no longer audible again you take that reading for the bottom number. Well, it's too small (even though it's a large, it's a "commercial" large - there are bigger ones in medical facilities), and I wasn't able to pump it up enough to get my top number. The highest I was able to pump the cuff without it coming off was to 140...and I could still hear my heartbeat (which is still not good, but that means it was *higher* than 140 - I'd like to know how much higher). As I released pressure, my heartbeat went away at 100. So at BEST my blood pressure was 140/100 - definitely not good. And I hadn't gotten out of bed yet!
I've known for a while that this was getting to me - any time I think about clinicals (with the med-surg instructor, not my maternity clinical) my heart starts racing and I feel sick to my stomach (part of the problem with the paperwork, it's tough to make myself sit down and get it done, and it's taking most of us an average of 7 hours on a good day). I have school EVERY day during the week - lecture Monday and Tuesday, clinical Wednesday and Thursday, and the paperwork from Wednesday is due Friday by noon, so I'm up early on Fridays dealing with that. Which doesn't even take into account the homework, the ATI practice tests we have to take and do remediation on during our own time, or studying for tests. I live in a constant state of feeling slightly panicked, like I'm forgetting something. During the week, I'm averaging 3-4 hours of sleep a night (and I know the two days of 8 hours on weekends don't begin to make up for it). And I also know at mid term we have a 3 hour session in the SIM lab looming, which panics me whenever I think about it (it's not the fact the mannequins breathe...that's actually kind of cool, but having the instructors set up a scenario and then watch if you handle it the way they want you too is beyond crazy stress-making for me, it makes clinicals look like a casual walk in the park).
I'm a wreck. Seriously. I'm stress eating, living on caffeine, drinking every night just to relax enough to get to sleep, and feel like I'm in a constant state of "fight or flight" (and flight sounds pretty good - I'm at the point I just want to dig a hole in the ground and hide). I vacillate on clinical days between "I'm gonna have a great day, I can do this!" and wondering if I'm going to be able to get out of my car and force myself to walk into the hospital. And now I'm not only an emotional basket case, but my body is starting to show signs of breaking down. Things can't keep going like this - I'm not even half-way through the semester yet.
So, I weighed myself when I got up (less than 10 lbs from my highest weight *sighs*), and I just spun the Spark wheel. I'm making a grocery list, and I'm going to increase the veggie content and maybe start picking up stuff for some of the healthier meals I used to make - lately, whatever is quick and makes leftovers is all I have bandwidth for caring about in terms of cooking, and I tend to simply eat at the cafeteria and snack on junk at home. I'm going to start drinking water again (I've really fallen hard off that wagon) and decrease the caffeine. I keep saying I need to find time to exercise, because I really miss it...but realistically I need to hold off on thinking about that for a minute (because finding time for that on top of everything else is just one more thing to stress out about, and that's the last thing I need at the moment).
Baby steps. TEENY TINY baby steps that won't stress me out. But still, I need to start taking them.
Keep me in your thoughts, friends. Because I'm not kidding.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
So, I'm in week 4 of Nursing 102 - which means I've mostly made it through "Boot Camp" (they warned us in Nursing 101 that the first 3 weeks were the make-or-break period). And wow, they weren't kidding - I can't remember ever living with such sustained astronomical stress levels. The first week or so, the mate had to put me back together on nearly a daily basis as I panicked over assignments and impending skills assessments (none of which was helped by multiple classes being cancelled due to weather but still being expected to do the work and know the material on our own). I went through daily periods of "I don't know if I can do this!" (and tentatively planning alternate educational pathways should I fall flat on my face).
But I'm still here. I passed my first "skills demonstration test" without throwing up on the instructor's shoes (I was that freaked out and terrified, it was a distinct possibility). I've been through my first test in lab (which I didn't do nearly as well on as I'd expected - BUT I didn't melt down over it, and I think I have a better study plan in place going forward). We have our first test in lecture tomorrow (a test for which we have to rely on our reading, the power points they gave us, and the miniscule amount of notes we managed to take in the one and only lecture period we've actually had so far, thanks to the weather) - and I'm feeling fairly prepared. And this week, we will step foot onto our actual clinical sites (for me, Drake Hospital) for the first time.
In the meantime, life now totally revolves around school and work (because against advice, I'm still working full time - next semester I know I'll have to pull back, but until I have a plan to replace the insurance I'll lose when I shift to part time status, I really have no choice, as I HAVE to have insurance to attend clinicals). I'm making food that makes leftovers, because the mate and I just don't have any time for regular meals (he can't eat when he first gets up, and I shouldn't eat a huge meal as the last act of the day), so I'm making stuff with leftovers that are easy to heat up, stuff he can prep himself, and I'm mostly surviving on comfort foods myself.
And I'm up to 225.5 lbs as of this morning.
NONE of my scrub pants fit (even the new ones I just got for clinicals are already tighter than when I'd tried stuff on and ordered them). I keep a pair of white pants (that I don't normally wear because of ink stains on the pocket) in my locker at work as emergency back up, in case I actually split my pants (hasn't happened yet, but it's a distinct possibility at any moment). I've been in denial, trying to make it work because I keep telling myself I can't afford new ones (but the real reason has more to do with not wanting to actually buy anything in a larger size, I've already gone up to buying XL instead of the L I bought when I first did my STNA training, right after the Flying Pig when I was at my smallest).
This can't continue.
As far as exercise, I'm still getting a handle on things regarding the schedule and trying to add anything else in threatens to topple the tentative balance I have going...so I'm not going to stress about it. It may come in a few more weeks, once I've started the real clinical schedule (on campus clinicals are at a different time than when we'll be at Drake). Or it may not come until I go part time next semester. I have to give myself a little slack there.
But...I can get a better handle on food NOW, and I think I'm past the total spazzed out stress-case point, to where I think maybe I can be a little more reasonable than I've been so far.
SO, today I spun the wheel. And, I'm going to start tracking again. January 1st was far too ambitious, not having ANY idea how life was going to change once the semester started. But now that I'm in the thick of it, I can start paying attention a little better.
I have to.
If I have a stroke or a heart attack at this point, none of my plans are going to work out anyway, right? If I'm not taking care of myself, I can't take care of anybody else effectively.
So...things have to change.
I can do this.
Monday, June 10, 2013
I've got a far longer blog percolating regarding my impetus to start working on being healthy again, and news of various sorts...but THIS blog is due for points within the next 20 minutes. So you'll have to wait for the rest. :)
For this round (BLC22) my goal is to get back in ONEderland again. Since I started back to sparking a few weeks ago, I've gone from 216 to 209, which makes me supremely happy. My basic goal is to lose 10 lbs in the next 12 weeks - which should be totally doable.
How am I going to get there?
Tracking like crazy and making good food choices - and I was doing REALLY well on that too, until this weekend took a detour to Hoffbrau House (I had a date and he picked the restaurant...I really did want to try and find something healthy, honest, and actually went to their website before heading out to his place in hopes of finding a nutrition counter, and after glancing down the menu for about a minute realized I was in serious trouble, and I'd better just take it as a "planned cheat" day and make up for it later, 'cause there was nothing that didn't involve crazy rich sauces, and fried stuff...and OMG it was so good). It's been tough to get back to it since, and I've had a couple of slip ups at the vending machine at work, but I'm working on it.
Hitting the gym at school every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (since I'm done with class at 9:50 AM, and the gym opens at 10:00 AM - I seriously have no excuse). Last week was the first time in MONTHS that I actually hit my 90 fitness minutes per week goal, and I'm well on my way for this week too. So on THAT score, I'm doing great!
Doing the various challenges on my team - I'm a "Midnight Mustang" this round, and it seems to be a GREAT bunch of people (with a few familiar faces from my former wolf den), and they have a good schedule set up for various things. Unfortunately it's going to be hard to get many "Last Chance Workout" minutes on Tuesdays since my later class is on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and there's not a lot of time between school and work on those days. But I can at LEAST do the 100 Pushups Challenge I've been talking about doing for months - that'll be something. I can do our TNT (tighten and tone - basically strength training focused) on Wednesdays, and then the weekend challenges (which this blog is part of this week). Hopefully the need to rack up points for my team will help keep me moving.
Okay...here are a couple of before pictures, so I've got them for posterity (took these earlier in the week):
Oh, and for a recent more *flattering* pic, here is one that my date (aka Robert Downey Junior Junior - seriously, dude is a dead ringer) took of me at the evil (OMG it was SO GOOD) Hoffbrau House:
What, you don't believe me? Here ya go - the picture I took at Hoffbrau House of Robert Downey Junior Junior (points if you get what comedy album that's a reference to):
And the two of us together on the observation deck at the top of the Carew Tower:
Okay, more profundity later - right now I've got a date with my mate, the DVR, and The Voice.
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