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Trying to work out "my deal"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Life seems to have calmed down again, the radiation treatments are finally over, for real, my health is good, my friends and family members seem to have stopped dying, and throughout it all, I haven't engaged in any destructive, or even counter-productive behaviors. I more than maintained my weight during a time of significant stress. In fact, I lost ten pounds that I didn't really have to try to lose. I attended to my emotional well-being, continued to work out every day that (a) I could, and (b) I knew I should. I have increased my calorie burn per week from 4000 to 5500-6000 calories. I do some type of cardio for at least 60 minutes and strength training of some form six days a week. I eat smart, making certain that I get the necessary balance of carbs, fat, and protein. I drink lots and lots of water. I stay away from processed foods. My total cholesterol has dropped to the 140s (!!), my triglycerides are phenomenal, my resting heart rate is 53 bpm, blood pressure is around 100/55. Obviously, I am doing all of the things that I "should" be doing. And, I think my results have been fantastic. No complaints.

Here's the thing: I am not allowing myself to lose any more weight because I eat just more than the top of my calorie range per day. Part of this is due, I think, to making certain that I have physical reserves should my health head south again. And, I feel so good and my physiological indicators are so amazing, that I don't know if I SHOULD lose any more weight. My BMI indicates that I am at the top of normal weight for my height; that suggests that I could benefit from losing more weight. However, I don't know what my body fat percentage is, except in a crude way (BMI calculation, my own private pinch testing). That suggests that I should keep working toward a goal weight of 135-140. My fear keeps me where I am. I'm afraid I will become physically weak should I have to resume radiation or should I require chemo and weigh less than I do today.

I could throw caution to the wind and forge ahead, but I can't quite bring myself to do it. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the risks I already have in my life. I resigned for my job (effective at the end of the academic year), and come May, I will have no job. I currently have no prospects for a future job. I am getting ready to move away from ND and I am not positive about where I am going because I haven't yet found said job. Caution, caution, caution! That's what my soul is telling me.

Why the caution... Well, I went from healthy one minute to not healthy in the next. That is how it seemed at the end of September. Lumps. Biopsies, Surgeries. MRIs. Radiation. EEGs. Ultrasounds. Blood work. Frequent medical appointments. Nearly every day in a hospital. That was my life for more than three months. I have only very recently been "released" from 5-day-a-week radiation treatments. I thought that was supposed to end by the end of December, but two extra weeks got tacked on. I wasn't mentally or emotionally prepared for that. So, all of that signified more risk, and more caution, and the need for more prudence on my part. Good that I didn't fall apart.

I sometimes feel as though my emotional state is so fragile that I can't take one more thing. I don't feel like I am in a good cognitive place right now. I feel like I just get by in that regard. I am working through my issues. My Motivation and Emotion class is helping with some of that. In doing the same assignments that I give students in the class, I am working through some of my road blocks. And, by writing this here, I am also working through this deal.

There are various forces in my favor. First, I am an optimist through and through (Thanks, Dad!). Second, I am in a good place from a fitness standpoint. I have stamina, a solid fitness plan and routine to which I am faithful. Third, I have the resilience trait (Thanks again, Dad!). Fourth, I have a lot of gratitude. Fifth and sixth, I have a supportive father, supportive daughters, and supportive friends (Thanks everyone!). Seventh (and beyond) I am assertive, forward thinking, open-minded, and tenacious. I know who I am, and I know what I want from life. I keep my expectations in check. In short, I have the characteristics that will help me to continue to succeed. So, my plan is to keep working through my issues. I think it will all work out eventually, even if it doesn't all get worked out today.

Sign me,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NIKOBLUE 1/19/2012 7:31PM

    Your last line is absolutely the key and something I'm learning too. It really is about just taking life as it is here in this moment and embracing that. Love you lots lady!

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SOLUCKY12 1/16/2012 8:13PM

    I think you are amazing! The fact that you have kept up with so many challenges and still are so physically fit is admirable. I wish I had your insight and such a strong sense of optimism. I also was glad to see you were back sparking again. Take care and just know your weight isn't as important as the way you physically feel. emoticonAnn

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FITNESSMONSTER8 1/16/2012 1:34PM

    It's good to have you back!!! emoticon

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GEMINIAN1 1/16/2012 12:14PM

    Dear Satisfied:
I am -so- happy to hear from you.
You are one awesome lady.
Big Bear Hugs!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PARASELENIC 1/15/2012 7:26AM

    Burning 6000 calories a week?? That's athlete status, right there. I know that you have other sound reasons for maintaining your weight even though you note it at the "top end" of the bmi scale, but really, with your calorie burn, I wouldn't be surprised if you're already at the level you need to be. NPR did a wonderful article on the problems of BMI, but this quote in particular seems to apply to you:

"[BMI] is physiologically wrong.

It makes no allowance for the relative proportions of bone, muscle and fat in the body. But bone is denser than muscle and twice as dense as fat, so a person with strong bones, good muscle tone and low fat will have a high BMI. Thus, athletes and fit, health-conscious movie stars who work out a lot tend to find themselves classified as overweight or even obese."

The rest of the article is here, if you want to read the whole list:


I'm glad that things have settled down and that the radiation went well.

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DR1939 1/14/2012 8:11PM

    There is a huge and very well-conducted literature that indicates that those who are in the slightly overweight range live longer than do those who are at normal weight. The CDC's campaign for "normal" weight was based on a single study, albeit a well-conducted one. It was followed by another, conducted by another scientist at the CDC and equally good, which indicted "overweight" was healthy. However, the CDC did not popularize this one. Studies in Scandinavia have long indicated that overweight in healthier. Scandinavian studies are considered the gold standard as the public health services have birth-to-death health records on entire populations. Top this with even the CDC agreeing that overweight people who are active live longer than normal/underweight people and you have strong support for maintaining the weight at which you are now. If you feel healthy at the top of normal for your weight and age, then you should stay there. If you want references, I will dig through my old lecture notes and give you some.

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SRHALLIN 1/14/2012 3:55PM

    My two lovely ladies! It's so good to see you're both still filled with positivity!

Evo, I've missed your beautiful and well-thought-out perspectives on so many things! And I know that things have been very difficult for you, but, please remember that you're only ever as alone as you choose to be. Your friends and family love you, and we're all here to elp you with the difficult steps.

Your strength, courage, and exceptional self-discipline are nothing short of inspiring across the board, Darlin'! Thank you so much for catching up here!


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LVMAMAW 1/14/2012 3:53PM

    So good to see you on the boards again!! I am sorry you had to go through all that, but my- you are doing GREAT!!! Keep up the strength my friend and follow your gut feeling. It is your life, your body, you know!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AURORA.BELLA 1/14/2012 3:19PM

    It's good to hear from you! I can't imagine everything you have been through, but I am glad that you are doing as well as you seem to be. You've been through so much I think that feeling fragile is perfectly understandable. I wish I had some advice or something to say to try to make you feel better.

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Life, liberty, and my recent pursuit of happiness

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The last month has been rough, rough, rough, emotionally and psychologically. Nothing to do with food and fitness and weight loss. Everything to do with health and that is frightening.

It all started with a routine colonoscopy and a routine mammogram, procedures conducted on back to back days. The colonoscopy resulted in the removal of a benign polyp (Yay!) and a severe prolapse (Boo!). So, surgery was scheduled for October 21. A big deal to me, but not so much in the scheme of things. I came through with no problems.

The mammogram... The mammogram... Required follow-up screening, with special views of both breasts, followed by ultrasound for the right breast. ultrasound views showed 2 lumps. The radiologist recommended a watch-and-wait (for six months) approach. Yeah, no. So, I see my regular physician who refers me to a surgeon (in a different city, 95 miles away) for a second opinion. The surgeon says something like, "Breast cancer is slow growing. If it's breast cancer, it'll still be there in six months and we can decide to do something then." And he walked out the door. Nice.

I got angry, furious in fact. Left the clinic. Returned home. Called my physician's office and discovered she was on vacation. Ten days later, I meet with her again. She refers me to a local surgeon who seemed to have some good sense. Biopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Nothing I've reported here has led to liberty or to a real sense of happiness. However, nothing here has completely derailed my efforts either. Even though I didn't engage in a lot of checking in with my SP friends, I lost 4 pounds, I think, and I didn't lose ground. My fitness efforts continued when I had medical clearance and I continued to track my calories and make good food choices. I didn't lose eight or ten pounds, as I would have liked... But, honestly? Big deal. I lost four. Good enough, considering everything.

These are some of the things I've come to better understand over the past 38 days as I've waited to hear and to know about life- and liberty-related pursuits.

First, I handled stress in productive ways, without the self-sabotage, self-punishment, and pity parties that I've thrown for myself in the past, when circumstances weren't nearly as challenging. I can nurture myself, reduce my own anxiety, and remain positive when things aren't going the way I want them to.

When we're successful at weight loss and fitness, I suspect we all eventually say or think this second thing: Slow progress is much, much better than no progress. When life throws the curve balls, you just keep going.

Third, I really like to work out and I miss it when I cannot. Notice the word, cannot. There truly were post-surgery times when I was not allowed to work out. I actually was able to nurture myself through those times, without deciding that not being able to work out means that I should not be mindful about my choices.

Fourth, my body hurts when I don't do any strength training. It's rough getting old!

Fifth, stewing in silence is a bad idea. I'm an introvert and, thus, much less likely to reach out when I need support, encouragement, or a sympathetic ear. the tape in my head tells me that I'm being overly-dramatic, that I need to put my head down and soldier on, and that I'm displaying weakness by letting any of this get to me. Nevertheless, I reached out to the friends I have in my physical environment. I made a half-hearted attempt to reach out to my SP friends. I beat myself up over that some, but I am giving myself plenty of credit for not soldiering on alone. I'm trying.

Sixth, you can have a birthday, throw yourself a party, and indulge yourself a little even when circumstances don't exactly merit a celebration! I had fun and I had my friends with me. And, for a while, I had no concerns. Ahhhhhhhh! Felt so good!

Seventh, health scares help you re-prioritize what is important. Yes, indeed.

Whatever happens next, I'll handle it. I believe it'll be good news. I hope it will be. If not, I'll deal with it; I'll tackle whatever comes my way.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAINOHIO 11/15/2011 11:05PM

    Hi Dear Friend,

I started at a new company and have not been on here much in the last few weeks. Sorry to hear about everything you had to go though. Happy birthday a little late also emoticon emoticon emoticonLinda

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GEMINIAN1 11/14/2011 12:04PM

I'm sorry that you're going through / went through all of those issues at once, let alone at all; but, it sounds like not only has your weight loss journey changed your weigh; but, it's changed you.
I'm *so* proud of you and happy for you.

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 11/13/2011 11:23PM

    What a lot of stuff you have been through! I hope that everything is on the mend. Your attitude is amazing! I really admire it.

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SRHALLIN 11/12/2011 5:45PM

    Your strength is so vibrantly strewn thoughout your words. You are brave, articulate, wise and strong. You are capable of overcoming each of these obstacles, because you are able to remain mindful of the power you *do* have, even when that power is diminished by circumstances beyond your control.

I am so utterly bowed by your gracious and courageous approach to these battles. Your continuing work to remain healthy gives you the greatest opportunity for success. Stay strong, stay vibrant, stay healthy, my friend. I'm here for you, Darlin'.

Best wishes to you, always.

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DR1939 11/7/2011 5:19PM

    emoticon Take care of yourself and keep up the good work.

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JESSICA2140 11/7/2011 3:04PM

    I can't believe you kept at the fitness training through all of that!! We're ALL always here for you...no weakness involved. We all need a little help through things. And you're not asking for help choosing a paint color, you're reaching out over the Big C...or the potential. So reach out, vent, rage, cry, whatever you need to do at that moment. Not weakness...it's being human!!

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FITNESSMONSTER8 11/7/2011 11:18AM

    You have been through so much and have come out stronger than ever. You are handling the things you are going through in a healthy way and taking care of yourself. I'm glad to see you are back you have been missed!!! emoticon

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NIKOBLUE 11/7/2011 9:49AM

    Oh, my dear. My heart is with you. Your strength is a reminder to me of what I want to feel in myself. I am so edified to read your update and so glad you posted.

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KAKIPOPUP 11/7/2011 3:07AM


Glad to see you back - you have a lot on your plate, but congratulations on the way you are handling it - you are doing what you need to do, and listening to yourself, and that is a victory far greater than the weight/diet/exercise triad.

You're Number One!

Take care, be well - and know that you are loved -

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KOFFEENUT 11/6/2011 11:22PM

    Bravo to you - not only have you risen to the challenge of the last 38 days, you have proven yourself to be an overcomer. Regardless what happens you're a strong woman who will take care of herself, advocate for herself, and reach out for support when she needs it. Now THAT'S healthy living!

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LVMAMAW 11/6/2011 10:42PM

    I have missed you and you were there soldiering on, you are one amazing woman!! I am proud to call you friend!!
So sorry you are having to go thru all this, but it appears you are handling it quite well. I wish I could do something more for you.
I am delighted to hear your demands from the doctors! It is, after all, YOUR body and you definitely have rights!! Good Girl!! (this is a lesson I have tried to drive home to both of my girls)

Congrats on the 4 lb loss and for continuing despite the circumstances! emoticon

So glad to see you back! You are in our prayers and will continue to be.....know I am here, we all are if you need us.

Hugs and more hugs,
Elaine emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LODESTONE 11/6/2011 8:27PM

    Good for you being so proactive in your own health care. I guess I can believe a surgeon said it'll still be there in 6 months.... like all you have to do is sit around and wonder what the situation is for the same 6 months. Glad you are getting a biopsy. At least you'll KNOW!

Hurrah for making good choices and being in charge of your life. All works together, doesn't it? And 4 lbs is 4 lbs. Nothing to sneeze at.

I'm off to sync my ipad for tomorrows class.
Take care.

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AURORA.BELLA 11/6/2011 8:08PM

    Wow, you have had a rough time. I'm glad you are able to stay positive and have a good attitude about everything. It sounds like you are doing well despite all this going on. It's good to hear from you. I can't believe these dr.s all wanted you to wait and see for 6 months. I thought early detection was the best hope for breast cancer how can they detect it early if they want to wait it out? I don't much about it but that seems ludicrous to me. Glad you went to someone else.

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POOKASLUAGH 11/6/2011 7:53PM

    It sounds like you're handling this all very well, and you're right - slow progress is good progress. You're headed in the right direction, and not just on the scale. It's the lifestyle I'm talking about. I do hope the biopsy goes well and you find out this is not cancer, and if it does happen to be cancer, that you've caught it very early. I can't believe what that one surgeon said to you about the six months thing! That's insane.

I've spent the last six days being completely sedentary, and I just want to say that it's not just getting older - my back is KILLING me because I haven't been doing my ST. I took this week very light on purpose, and I cant' wait to get back to exercise in this coming week. So I definitely feel you on that.

Keep going, you're doing fantastic.

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A funny thing happened on the way to...

Friday, September 30, 2011

... my mammogram appointment today.

I decided to walk because the weather was perfect for a brisk walk. I left extra early so that I could get in at least 30 minutes of walking on the way to the clinic. I arrived about 8 minutes early and thought I was golden. Upon my check-in attempt I was told that the clinic no longer does mammograms... What's this you say?

"Nope, sorry. All mammograms are now done at the hospital."

And, I'd walked to the clinic. So...

I grabbed the cell and phoned the hospital. Asked if I should even bother with the run home to get my vehicle so I could drive the five miles to the hospital, or if I should reschedule...

"No problem, Mary. Come on out."

So, I ran, RAN, all the way home. And, sweaty mess that I was, jumped in my rig and drove to the hospital, leaving my driver's license and purse at home. Fortunately, though, my insurance card and my bank card were in my fanny pack and I did have those with me. I arrived 20 minutes late. Apologized all over myself a couple hundred times, went through the registration process and all the rest. Twenty minutes later, I was on my way out the door.

I got in some good cardio, what with my terror-stricken response to being late (which I really hate!) and all the walking and RUNNING (which I am also not too fond of).

So, how did it happen that I didn't know where to go for my mammo? Well, there's a brand-spanking-new hospital in town. My clinic was recently merged with Essentia Health, and another clinic was recently bought out by Sanford Health. With all the acquisitions and the new hospital, apparently there has been a conservation of resources, perhaps to save money? To reduce costs to patients? Yeah. THAT'S the ticket! Lol!

Whatever the case, I now know where to go for a mammogram now. Too bad I won't be living here when I need to get my next one!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GONE2014 10/3/2011 2:11PM

    Good for you to think of walking in the first place! And even better to have run home!

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NMMAMA2011 10/3/2011 11:13AM

    I am so glad you had your mammo, no matter how hard it was to get it. Now that you are a runner, we can train for that virtual race together! emoticon

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TRENTDREAMER 10/2/2011 7:45AM

    "With all the acquisitions and the new hospital, apparently there has been a conservation of resources, perhaps to save money? To reduce costs to patients? Yeah. THAT'S the ticket! Lol! "
* :D

ive had those days. they're far easier to look at and laugh at in hindsight.

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DR1939 10/1/2011 9:23AM

    I'm thinking about "no deodorant before a mammogram." emoticon I would have been dripping on the x-ray plate! Good for you for following through.

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BEFIT014 10/1/2011 5:42AM


But you ran for a good cause-SAVE THE TATAS!

Have a wonderful day!

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KAKIPOPUP 10/1/2011 5:16AM

    Good for you to do the mammogram - "they" tried to give you all kinds of excuses not to -

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MISSLISA1973 10/1/2011 1:15AM

    SAVE THE TATAS! emoticon

Great way to get your cardio in today! emoticon

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GEMINIAN1 10/1/2011 12:36AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I was getting an adrenaline rush just reading this!
You're so cute!

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SRHALLIN 9/30/2011 11:00PM

    You realize that you didn't just run, you RAN! That's a sign that all of your cardio has been building a kind of endurance that is still largely hypothetical for me. I'm so proud of you, Darlin'!

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VHALKYRIE 9/30/2011 10:50PM

    Oh no! Well at least exercise was off your to-do list early in the day!

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POOKASLUAGH 9/30/2011 10:21PM

    You know what this reminds me of? Back when we first met, you talked about how you just wanted to be able to run and run and run, and even if it was panic-induced (I totally get you on being late!!! I hate that too), YOU DID IT! :D

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A clear liquid diet and other food (for thought)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tomorrow morning, I am having an out-patient surgical procedure. Getting ready for it is the pits.

On the menu today? Nothing except clear liquids. It's the living through this part of the journey to tomorrow that I don't like. Living through discomfort, unpleasantness, things that are different from what I want.

As I sit here thinking about this, I realize that I am lucky enough to be able to eat well every other day. Others don't have that luxury. I am lucky enough to be able to have medical procedures conducted in a sanitary environment, with the use of pain killers, sedatives, and anesthesia. Others don't. I am lucky enough to have medical insurance that others don't have. I am lucky enough to have people who care about me and my safety. Not everyone has that sort of support system.

I can complain about my clear liquid diet today, but instead, I'll consider myself lucky to have clear liquids to choose from. I'll consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to reflect on what this kind of hunger feels like. I'll count myself lucky that I am aware that this is temporary and lucky that I will never have to live, day after day after day, wondering when I'll have my next meal.

Yep. I am awfully lucky for my clear liquids, my current circumstances, and plenty of food for thought.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSLISA1973 9/29/2011 6:20PM

    emoticon Thanks for this great reminder that it's always a matter of perspective. Gratitude is a beautiful thing.

I'm sure your body is glad you have been eating so well lately. Can you imagine how yucky you would feel going through the clear liquid diet if all you'd eaten for the last week is the junk so prevalent in American diets today?

I'm sorry I didn't see this yesterday to wish you good luck today, so I guess I'll just have to say I hope things went well. Enjoy eating again!

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GEMINIAN1 9/29/2011 2:37PM

    I hope your procedure went great and that you're okay my friend.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LVMAMAW 9/28/2011 6:35PM

    With that positive attitude, you will come thru all this with flying colors!! Praying for a successful surgery and a complete and quick recovery! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AFITONE 9/28/2011 6:10PM

    Sorry you are having to go through this...I hope all goes well. You are certainly finding the silver lining :)

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FITNESSMONSTER8 9/28/2011 3:20PM

    You have such a great attitude!!! Good luck with your surgery I will be thinking of you. emoticon

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PSVZUM 9/28/2011 2:27PM

    Just think of how delicious those graham crackers and ginger ale is going to taste once you wake up!

Wonderful attitude. You'll be in my thoughts tomorrow.

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SRHALLIN 9/28/2011 2:19PM

    You'll be fine, Darlin'. You've got feisty to spare. And your head is on very straight. Even in the midst of discomfort, you are blessed with so many wonderful gifts which elude others. I'm very proud of you for having a heart large enough to see the opportunities that are before you. You're a positive inspiration for me, and for countless others. Well done, Darlin'!

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SHOOPETTE 9/28/2011 1:59PM

    it's good that you see this way, I would be whinning et all :)

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POOKASLUAGH 9/28/2011 1:15PM

    Good luck through today. Lucky or not, I know it'll be tough, but you can make it! And good luck with tomorrow's surgery.

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GRACEOMALLEY 9/28/2011 1:09PM

    You are so right! Be grateful for the options we have and our ability to make choices. Hope all goes superbly for you!
emoticon emoticon

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NIKOBLUE 9/28/2011 1:00PM

    You are awesome and an amazing, humbling example! I'll be keeping you in my thoughts for a successful surgery and a fast, painless recovery!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Quotes about Believing in Yourself

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I searched for these quotes today so that I will have them ready for when I really need them. I want to continue to believe in myself. I am making it so.

“A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.” ~ Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)

"Don't be afraid to be amazing." (Andy Offutt Irwin)

“It is the small doubts of timid souls that accomplish their ruin. It is the narrow vision, the fear and trembling hesitation, that constitute defeat.” ~ Alice Foote MacDougall (1867-1945)

“To succeed, we must first believe that we can.” ~ Michael Korda

“How many of us have enough trust, strength, and faith to believe that we could do the impossible?” ~Rachel Joy Scott (1981-1999)

“One of the greatest moments in anybody's developing experience is when he no longer tries to hide from himself but determines to get acquainted with himself as he really is. ” ~Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993)

“Put all excuses aside and remember this: YOU are capable.” ~Zig Ziglar

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift of life is yours; it is an amazing journey; and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. ” ~Dan Zadra

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DR1939 9/28/2011 9:26AM

    Thanks for sharing.

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JESSICA2140 9/26/2011 9:32PM

    LOVE IT!! There is no such thing as too many positive quotes!!

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NIKOBLUE 9/26/2011 7:20PM

    When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you. ~African Proverb

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GEMINIAN1 9/26/2011 3:27PM

    You are the best!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FITNESSMONSTER8 9/26/2011 11:54AM

    Thank you I really needed these today.

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MISSLISA1973 9/26/2011 6:36AM

    Great quotes! Thanks for sharing!

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KAKIPOPUP 9/26/2011 5:38AM

    Thank you! I need to hear these -

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    Nice quotes! Thank you for sharing.

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SRHALLIN 9/25/2011 10:34PM

    "“How many of us have enough trust, strength, and faith to believe that we could do the impossible?” ~Rachel Joy Scott (1981-1999)"

- Raises her hand with an impish grin.

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AFITONE 9/25/2011 10:07PM

    These are inspiring...I have one to add to your list: "What-is has no bearing on what is coming unless you are continually regurgitating the story of what-is." Abe Lincoln. Happy Monday! Andrea

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LVMAMAW 9/25/2011 9:54PM

    Good Blog!! Thanks for sharing, very uplifting! emoticon

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