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Shhh... I've got an embarrassing problem!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"What do mean how long until the next rest stop? You just went twenty miles ago!"
I apologized to my husband -- blaming it on the coffee I had brought along in the car, but I was secretly thinking that he wouldn't possibly get it. The man is a virtual camel when it comes to holding his urine!

Every kids little league game we went to, the first thing I did was scout out the Ky-bos -- you know those AWEFUL "portable pottys" that so many recreational parks have. I loathed using them fearing the terrible smell, the germs, the disgusting sight in the unflushable stool. Worst of all was the fear of accidently getting locked in one. I saw it happen to a poor woman at a park once.
One time I sat in the broiling 100 degree sun at a tournament game in a small town, not drinking anything for fear my urinary urgency would kick in and I'd have to use the Ky-bo again. The one that I saw housed a large, hairy, jumpy looking spider the first time I used it!
Little did I know at the time, that the more concentrated your urine is, the more irritating it is to the lining of the bladder and therefore the more urgency you get to use the bathroom.

I was overweight and knew that I needed to exercise, but went to an adult ed evening fitness class once and had to leave early because after one jumping jack I had -- horror of horrors:


At first I thought the dampness of my undies at the end of the day was an accumulation of "fat girl sweat". I was almost in denial until I eventually found myself throwing a box of "mini pads" in the grocery every week along with "fresh wipes" to keep the chronic faint ammonia odor in check.

I finally got up the courage to speak to one of the physicians I work with. After all, I had been a nurse in the women's health field long enough to know the signs and symptoms of urinary incontinence. He sent me to a urologist who diagnosed me with a cysto-urethrocele, uterine prolapse, and rectocele -- all $50 words for my organs had gone South - and not just for the winter! My bladder, uterus, bladder neck, and rectum had all prolapsed. Simply put - female hernias. We tend to think of hernias as only a bulge in a man's groin, but not true. Many women after childbearing and especially as we age and pack on the pounds, develop these hernias.

In my particular case, I had an extensive abdominal surgery to repair all of these defects. The recovery was difficult and involved leaving the hospital with a large catheter in for two weeks and an additional two weeks of self catherizing until I was able to go on my own. This was the mid-ninties and treatment options were limited. Although I had seen a urologist prior to surgery who performed some simple testing on me to determine bladder capacity and visualize my leaking, it was a gynecologist who performed the actual surgery as is customary.

In 1995 a new physician joined our practice right out of residency. Because I had been there so long, I was the nurse who was assigned to all the new physicians who came in so I could "teach them the ropes". This doctor was very interested in female incontinence issues and brought what is known as urodynamic testing into our office. He purchased the equipment and announced that WE would be performing these tests that were once farmed out to urologists -- right there in our office. My first thought was "What do mean WE Kimosabe?" I quickly learned that it was sink or swim. I would learn how to assist with what we called a CMG (cystometrogram) or float on...
At the time I thought that the testing was a pain in the neck. It took significant time to set up the testing equipment and as the doctor performed the test, I had to schedule an hour time slot out of his schedule -- a practically impossible task and women often waited weeks to get in for the test. Then another month to schedule surgery.
In addition to the testing, he brought the latest in innovative surgical repair procedures. Many procedures were now being done vaginally, and with minimal post operative complications. Some were even being done outpatient with the patient being consciously sedated as opposed to general anesthesia -- being "knocked out". My interest was piqued when I saw that the complications that I had experienced were becoming a rarity with the pre-operative testing, selection of the proper treatment options, as well as the newer surgical procedures.
I worked with this particular physician for 13 years as his nurse / sidekick. By this time, most of the physicians in our ever expanding group were on board with doing female incontinence work-ups. I was discovering that with the newly developed medications for urinary urgency, AND with the new trend to advertise prescription medications on television, many women were "coming out of the closet" and talking to their doctors as the commercials advised. Lots of people criticize the drug companies for spending the money on such aggressive marketing tactics, saying it drives up the costs of prescriptions, which ultimately may be true. However, I credit the "gotta go, gotta" commercials for reassuring women that incontinence is a common, valid problem that they don't have to live with because it's a part of being female.
The problem with the use of medications, however, is that many primary care physicians -- the good ol' family doctor -- are prescribing it willy nilly as a first line of therapy, without properly working up the issue. Granted, it is less invasive and if it works, well great. Trouble is the dry mouth and constipating side-effects of the medication aren't worth it if it doesn't solve the problem. Urgency isn't the most common form of incontinence.
While we continued to add new physicians to our group, I asked not be assigned to the new docs. I was finding that I really enjoyed working with the large population of incontinent patients that the physician I had been working with saw. Things began to "click" with just how everything tied together as far as symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
About 5 years ago, when I first started losing weight, we bought some new sophisticated equipment for testing and working up female incontinence. Everything was now computerized and we added components to diagnose voiding dysfunctions -- abnormal peeing as well. The testing takes an hour and the other doctors nurses didn't appreciate scheduling or assisting with the process any more than I did at first. I looked like the supreme "suck up" because I was so enthusiastic about the subject and now looked forward to setting up and assisting with the testing.
One day I had a patient who had drove 75 miles into our office for the testing and I was mortified to receive a call from the doctor saying that he was about to get into some emergency surgery and I would need to reschedule his afternoon's worth of patients. I told him that this woman had driven 75 miles and I really didn't feel like I could easily reschedule her. What could I do? Could he come when he was done with surgery and I'd stay late? He thought a moment and said why didn't I just do the test? After all I had seen him perform it hundreds of times.
Yes I could put a catheter in a woman in a coal mine at midnight wearing sunglasses, but there was so much more to the testing. My head was spinning, but for the sake of the patient I agreed to try. I was shaking so badly that first time and it was a crude report to say the least, but it essentially gave the dr. the information he needed to select the best treatment option for the patient. He began suggesting that I test other patients on a regular basis.
The idea of me performing the urodynamic testing caught on quickly and all the other physicians, anxious to free up their own schedules, began asking me to test their patients too. While I was adequate, I never like doing anything half-way. Especially when it comes to the quality of care that a patient deserves. So I formally requested to be sent to training not only in the technical aspects of the testing, but the interpretation of the testing as well. In turn I proposed that a new nurse be hired to work with the doc that spurred my interest in what is known as "urogynecology", and I would perform urodynamics for all the drs. in our group.
They readily agreed and I now perform the testing and generate reports for approximately 300 patients a year. I also work with patients on pelvic floor rehabilitation -- kegel exercises and behavior modification techniques to correct voiding dysfunction. I am hoping to expand into biofeedback as an addition to my pelvic floor therapy. I fit pessaries - a rubber donut shaped device that fits in the vagina to alieviate symptomatic prolapses in woman who are poor surgical candidates. AND I teach self catherization to the occasional patient who warrants it. Rarely post operative patients these days. It's mostly women with neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, or even common diabetic neuropathy.

I am a member of the Society of Urological Nurses and Associates - SUNA - and fairly well versed in female urinary incontinence if I do say so myself. I am in the process of studying to pass their national certification exam to obtain "official" certification. This is quite an undertaking as it encompasses not only female incontinence and voiding dysfunctions, but males with benign prostate hypertrophy - enlarged prostate issues, sexual dysfunctions, as well as pediatric incontinence issues like bedwetting.

Well dear Spark friends, I've glazed your eyes over enough with my enthusiasm for my profession -- which I fondly refer to as my "Passion for Pee"!

I am going to blog next about the more specifics of different reasons for why people lose urine or feel the urge to urinate constantly. I promise I will use the same "patient friendly" lingo that I use with my patients to put it into terms that are readily understood. I'll cover causes, symptoms, testing, and treatments available.

SOOO -- if the whole subject of wetting your pants or running to the bathroom 24/7 isn't your interest, feel free to skip it.

BUT if you are one of those "closet leakers" - and we aren't talking household pipes -- or you "know somebody" who may have this issue -- you know, a "friend of a friend"....

If you are afraid to exercise. Laugh. Sneeze. Drink the 64 ounces of daily recommended water...

If you feel like your husband or significant other is a camel compared to your number of trips to the bathroom....


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIGIRLATHEART 3/29/2010 7:33PM

    Just did an SP search on "incontinence" and your blog was the first hit. It is so thoroughly informative - thank you. I am now going to read Part II.

Comment edited on: 3/29/2010 7:33:45 PM

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    Thanks for such an informative blog. My friend had the surgery and hysterectomy a few months ago and took quite a long time to heal. She is much happier now that she no longer has issues.

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G-MAMICK 3/14/2010 3:36PM

    OK -- so I read these blogs out of order, but am interested in this topic. Usually the kegals do it for me, except when I have a bad cough, and then I flood completely. I can identify with the pads and the wipes. My mom had two bladder suspensions, which were not entirely successful, and now with her stroke she needs to be catheterized once a shift. (Feast or a famine.) It was heartening to hear that there are newer procedures, with less drastic recovery issues that what my mom endured. My first baby was 9 lb 13 oz., and I think that did it for me!! I've been ignoring these symptoms for years, because of what happened to my mom, but I think I'm going to ask my family doc to send me to a urologist at my next annual physical. Thanks for the information, which is something my doctor has never taken time to explain -- both this and the following blog.

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POLARBEARSCAT 3/11/2010 8:59AM

    Thanks for this blog! My sister had the surgery, along with a hysterectomy, about 4 years ago, and had the difficult recovery you describe. It's nice to know there's a better way if I ever need that. However, she had 2 big babies, and I had none, so maybe I can escape that particular "treat" of getting older.

Now, if I could only find help for my embarrassing problem -- all my healthy food seems to be giving me gas!

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BESTSUSIEYET 3/10/2010 10:15PM

    Joanne, THANKS! Not there yet, but do have some early symptoms (jumping jacks at the gym are risky business!) You told me a few weeks ago what you were reading -- now I understand more! God bless you for being so caring for the women who come to your office -- and for being willing to go the extra mile w/ patients and staff!!

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DENRNAJ 3/4/2010 7:16PM

    You are wonderful! I loved this. I can identify with you in coalmine with the sunglasses.Only ones I have problems with now are the L+D pt's right after delivery.
You feel about pee the way I feel about skin- love caring for the pt with the abscess, love trying to figure out "gee I wonder what that rash is?" Keep us posted and thank you for taking the time not only to share, but inform!


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MBREWTON35 2/27/2010 10:51PM

    I am so proud of the nurse that you are! You are the most qualified in that whole office if you ask me, and honey I've had enough kids in that office to know! I can't wait to get into see you and get my work up. I have been wearing a poise pad ever since I pushed the fourth fourteen inch head out and I am not ashamed. Kathy told me to "just loose weight and do kegals". I love her, but it's going to take more than that! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BARBARA_G 2/27/2010 5:23PM

    Thanks so much for this blog. I'm looking forward to hearing more!

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LADYFOLDER 2/27/2010 3:44PM

I wish the technique you describe had been available for my mom. She had to go every hour on the hour and frequently twice in-between. When traveling 50 miles each way from our home to Salt Lake City for shopping, visiting friends & relatives, and for fun, it was only after she started wearing depends that we could make it all the way. I knew every public restroom along the way--we had stopped there at least once a year!!
I have noticed my control slipping--I'm not the "camel" any longer. Thanks for the info!!!

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CARRAND 2/26/2010 10:00PM

    Wonderfully informative blog. I know who to see if I ever have that problem.

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SLENDERELLA61 2/26/2010 4:12PM

    Wow! You have grown so much professionally and perform a wonderful service. Thank you for so much information. -Marsha

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LAURIE5658 2/26/2010 3:24PM

    Joanne, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! Oh the problems I have!


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JAVAJO47 2/26/2010 1:42PM

    Thanks Joanne for this very informative blog. While I don't personally suffer from this issue, I believe it's a topic that SHOULD be discussed more openly. How wonderful that you've committed to advanced certification and knowledge to equip you with the many patients that come in yearly. These medical topics, no matter how embarrassing they may be to a subject, are definitely worth discussing so future generations can openly talk to their professionals without the stigma that is sometimes associated with these types of issues. YOU my friend are an awesome part of that solution. emoticon emoticon

Jo Ann

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RUSTYSHAW1 2/26/2010 12:26PM

    I am SO glad I read you blog before heading out with my daughter today for a day of window shopping. I do have a little 'problem' resulting in a very difficult delivery of same daughter 28 years ago this month. But she seems to have some problems as well and she is so young. So we will be discussing your article. I have been telling her about Spark. She is a slender, size 6, individual but I explained that she would meet very interesting women of all walks of life especially those in professions of teaching and health. Thank you VERY much for today's blog.

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HAPPYSOUL91 2/26/2010 11:03AM

    Very informative blog, we women do have our health problems. So far I have dodged this bullet but it is only a matter of time.

LOL on those disgusting outdoor potty, believe me, I don't drink a thing during the grand kids games!

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KITTYF54 2/26/2010 10:34AM

    thanks, I have some problems, which are much worse when I drink fizzy drinks.

I've seen the ads but I'm not taking meds for something like this. I have dry mouth anyway from my allergy meds and I'm not making it any worse. LOL I just avoid the sodas. it helps a lot.

Glad to know more about the subject though. who knows there may come a time when I need that info.

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MOMOSEVEN 2/26/2010 9:29AM

    Thanks for the informative blog. You are the perfect person to see for this testing. I'm glad to hear that the doctors you work for had the wisdom to put your abilities and experience to good use. You would be understanding and compassionate for you patients having been there yourself. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

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JUSTLYLE 2/26/2010 9:18AM

    Joanne, another great blog as usual, very useful advice coming from a first hand expert.
I just started on enablex 15 mg 8 years after prostate removal. They seem to help me much.
Love to see your enthusiasm and passion.
Skeeter emoticon

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MONARCHCT 2/26/2010 8:37AM

    Do the current corrective procedures still require a two-week after surgery catheritiaztion?

I spoke with my gyn dr & although the surgery seemed simple, the after-cath was a deal-breaker for me.

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THE_SILVER_OWL 2/26/2010 1:15AM

    I am grateful to not be experiencing this problem, but found your reporting so informative. I look forward to learning more! I especially love that we got to know more about you!

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GETTINGTHINNER2 2/26/2010 12:03AM

    Excellent, informative, well written and needed! Looking forward to the next installment!

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EMMABE1 2/25/2010 11:50PM

    Thank you for bringing into the open what is such a common problem, particularly for the overweight.
Hopefully it will give some of them the courage to talk to their doctor and have something done!!

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MRSZIPPY1001 2/25/2010 11:47PM

  Joanne is the expert! Having just had the procedure done by the "pee guru" herself, I can honestly say I wasn't nervous or anxious at all and nothing hurt. She explained everything thoroughly as she went along and was very educational...she never stopped talking, (imagine that!) which was the best thing because it kept my mind off of what was really going on and made me feel at ease. The word "catheter" was a scary thought I must admit, but her promise of no pain came true. Well, I would have rather had an hour of "coffee time" and chatting rather than looking at the ceiling tiles for an hour, but all in all, I am glad I had it done and know my problem can be fixed. Taking wash clothes, towels, and extra clothes to work to keep on hand for "accidents" is not a fun way to spend the day. Worse yet, is when you don't know you have leaked on your chair and you get up in front of another co-worker only to be horrified of the big wet spot you didnt realize happened. Ohh, yes and the Febreeze...works wonders on that office chair.

Well all I can say it that no one should have to go through living like this and there is a solution to the problem along with an easy simple diagnostic test...so don't put it off any longer!

Keep up the good work Joanne - you are GREAT at what you do and you put your patients at ease along with giving them a wealth of information - shall we call it PEE PASSION 101??! Kimosabe is lucky to have his little Tonto!

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DASEEMAN 2/25/2010 11:39PM

    Thank you Joann! I can hardly wait for the next installment. I have had this for years and thought it was something I just had to learn to live with. I drink a lot and you know what happens then. However, like another sparker commented, it is lessened by drinking more fluids. I know I need to do the Kegel exercises to see if that would help but I always forget to do them.

I also went to an aerobics class many years ago and came away with wet pants as well. Quite embarrassing and I never went back. I wear a pad every day, all day just to make sure I don't have an accident. I have laughed too hard at a joke and was unable to have breakfast with my daughter at school because I peed my pants. I sent her flowers and explained later. I have had to leave work because I coughed to hard and buy a new pair of pants because I didn't live close enough to go home to change. I can't laugh deeply because I might have that dreaded accident. I can hardly believe I just shared all of this.

Three kids later and I thought that was all it was. Thank you!!! I might have to set up an appointment to have a check-up to see if there is something else I can do because this condition can definitely change the way you live your life. I know it has mine.

God Bless You!!!

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VXWALL1942 2/25/2010 11:29PM

    Wow! From patient to testing guru! What an awesome accomplishment. Your passion is evident in your blog. Thanks for much for sharing ... and keeping a bit of humor in something is most frequently a major embarrassmen. From she who has been there...done that!

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_MAOMAO_ 2/25/2010 11:26PM

  What neat work you do! I got to see a prolapsed uterus once, working on a memory care unit. I knew right away what it was, it was like DUH!

Don't do jj's often myself - occasionally I feel bouncing where I know I shouldn't. Don't want to help any future prolapse along!

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SNOWYOWL56 2/25/2010 11:18PM

    Thanks sincerely for the information. I think I may need to be checked out. My symptoms are not severe; yet include leaking sometimes when sneezing and giggling and getting silly with my husband. I do drink lots of water and I think the problem is less pronounced since I've become more hydrated. Please write more about this.


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MELODYSPARKLES 2/25/2010 11:12PM

    Vaginal cyctocele grad II, rectocycle...copd/athma....this subject it right up my alley...no pun intended. I don't have the nerve yet for any procedures, but I know getting some of this wt off will help. Thank you for posting such an elaborate and educational blog!

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As the Spark Turns: My Affair

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Yes. It's true, Spark friends. I had an affair.

Let me start at the beginning...

I met him at the gym soon after I joined. I was attracted to him immediately. He was friendly and... Inviting. He beckoned me. He was smooth and suave and encouraged me to be comfortable with my body. I had nothing to be ashamed of. Next thing I knew I was standing before him wearing nothing but the tiny threadbear towel that the Y provides. I was so nervous the first time. I don't know why. I felt like a loser but he made me feel like a winner.
I was orgasmic!

I quickly became obsessed. I wanted to see him every day. And everyday after my workout, I'd use the bathroom, shower off my sweat with a scented shower gel and slip up on him wearing nothing but that tiny towel...

He knew what I was thinking. I didn't even have to speak. Did I feel down?, he murmured. Why? Because, I answered, I did everything right. I watched what I ate. I exercised. I wanted to be thin for him. I thought about him all the time...

But after a while, I started slipping. I was afraid to face him. I got dressed right after my shower and didn't visit him.

He accused me of ignoring him. I DIDN'T ignore him. I ate a tenderloin with onions last night. I didn't want to offend him. He cooed -- cajoled -- tempted me. Truth or Dare. Until I agreed once again to strip and ...
I climbed on him and locked eyes. Gently holding my breath as I caressed his arm. Slowly sliding it across. Gasp! I opened my eyes and he was smiling. I was still that loser that felt like a winner. He helped me dodge a bullet.
Confident that I was THE ONE, the special one, I watched as another woman flirted with him. She tried to get that smile from him but ultimately turned away spurned and looked forlorn.
"Down?", I asked "No", she sighed. "I don't even know why I bother"! With a smirk I thought to myself I didn't know why she bothered either...

All was fine for awhile. I quietly repeated my ritual with him everyday. Ecstatic after seeing him. Riding home from the gym on a high.
But ---
It didn't last. He eventually became more and more demanding. Jealous. Possessive. He accused me of spending more time on the treadmill. Forgetting about him. I tried to reassure him that with my workout taking a little longer, I just had to hustle to get home. I didn't want my husband to get worried and suspicious. I promised that I would try and spend time with him -- at least once a week if not more.

He pouted. When I did see him he wouldn't let me lose like he always had. He groaned when I tried to take his arm and I kept having to move it further away. I felt guilty at first. I had cheated on him with some french fries after all and not even the extra time spent with treadmill compensated. I vowed to not look lustfully after ANYTHING else - ever again.
He forgave and for awhile things stayed the same.


I caught him with that other woman. She had JUST came away from him and SHE was smirking! I held my head high as I marched past her and came up to him clutching the towel that barely covered my nakedness. I had nothing to be ashamed of. Didn't he always tell me that? It was true this time. I had been perfect. Thought of him and only him. I got on with confidence. Slowly I moved his arm to my usual favorite spot. He didn't respond. I nudged it a little further. Nothing. Panic started to set in. Confusion. You don't understand ---
I WAS PERFECT!!! How could he treat me this way? I was tempted to drop my tiny towel and humiliate myself right there in the women's locker room at the Y. Falling into my old pattern I started frantically searching my mind for what I could have done wrong. Why, I asked him, Why? What did I do to deserve this?
I must have looked dejected because smirking woman looked at me and said, "Plateau?"

Huh? I was in a daze. I looked at her and she went on, "I think he gets tired of seeing less and less of us", she chuckled at her own joke.

"It's OK", I said with false bravado, "Muscle weighs more than fat".

She burst out laughing. "How can that be? A pound is a pound is a pound..."
Only it didn't sound like mirthful laughter but more like mocking cruelty. I thought about it as I slowly dressed and she departed with a cheery wave. She was right! Weight is weight. No matter what HE says. One pound weighs one pound.

I turned and looked at him and I SWEAR he was smirking...

How could I be so stupid? I asked myself as I jerked open my car door. I felt guilty. Not for cheating on HIM. For cheating on myself. For not recognizing the signs. I was obsessed. I was self-centered and as addicted as any addict.
I didn't just not recognize the signs. I ignored them. What signs? The signs I was making progress despite "his help" ---

My clothes : emoticon My arms and legs: emoticon

Instead of emoticon on the treadmill, I was emoticon

I was eating emoticon emoticon and emoticon good!

I didn't need HIM to make me feel emoticon about myself!

I got home and confessed the whole saga to my husband. My obsession. My highs. My lows. The woman reminding me that a pound weighs a pound. He stopped me right there. He dug in the closet and came out with a small compact sphere of metal. He handed it to me and it was slightly heavy. It's a one pound weight he told me -- from one of his teaching science kits. He put it on the counter and got out the two BIG 8 oz. bags of marshmallows from the pantry and laid them beside the weight. They took up a goodly portion of the counter. A pound weighs a pound he said, but look at how condensed one is compared to the other. See? Muscle can weigh the same but take up a heck of a lot less room!

So even though HE said I wasn't a loser anymore, I was still a winner because I WAS thinner!

That did it. The next day after my workout I marched past him to the shower and when he called out asking if I was going to stop and see him I gave him an icy stare and said, Not today. Not tomorrow. Maybe NEVER!

Ultimately, Spark friends. I gave in and assigned visitation rights on Monday -- at work -- fully clothed -- on his compadre Mr. Digital. He doesn't coo and cajole. He spits up a number and I loosely pay attention to it to insure that I'm not way off base. Otherwise, I watch my tracker to see if I'm staying in my calorie range. I notice the thighs of my favorite jeans -- still loose and comfy? Could I climb those stairs with the basket of laundry and not give it a second thought?

AND I made myself a pact to never stray again.

Yep. The Love Affair with

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILLOWWEAVER 3/4/2010 5:09PM

    Are you a writer? What a great blog! and perfect timing as I had not even been on a scale for a long time and gained the weight all back. Now was beginning to get on the scale and worry about the numbers. What a great reminder! thank you! emoticon

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JOESSWEEPEA 2/26/2010 4:42PM

    Absolutely loved this! It reminds me once again not to hate the words "lean muscle mass"

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_MAOMAO_ 2/25/2010 11:30PM

  I'm ROFLMAO! Oh, that is so good. I just love it, thank you!

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NEED2DROP50 2/23/2010 10:42PM

    Loved this!

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LUNADRAGON 2/21/2010 3:24PM


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NWFL59 2/16/2010 5:23PM

    emoticon Thanks for the blog, I enjoyed reading it!

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THEQUEENBEE333 2/15/2010 5:16PM

    LOL! Loved it! Make this week great!

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    Very cute story...and a GREAT reminder!!

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TRISHP1961 2/13/2010 9:08PM

    Are you a writer by profession? This is very well done...

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KERENSALMW 2/13/2010 5:06PM

  Great story. I loved it. You really made my day. Thanks for sharing

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RUSTYSHAW1 2/13/2010 3:45AM

    What a fantastic story! You had me going for a while...then I got to thinking...no way would you write about an..."affair"...love the style in which you expressed approaching a very 'tantalizing goal'...LOL...weight loss. Well done. emoticon

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MRSZIPPY1001 2/12/2010 12:34PM

  What a first great story for me to come upon...right up my alley! I love to write and I can so relate to this story - its hilarious! Can't wait to read the rest. Love your sense of humor...and I so "get that". emoticon

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TEDYBEAR2838 2/11/2010 9:45PM

    GreatPost Thank YOU!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 2/11/2010 7:34PM

    Very cute! Thanks for taking the time to write it. You make such a good point!

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    What a clever and humorous way to describe your experience; I love it!
Congratulations on your success!

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TIFFANY_SUZANNE 2/11/2010 3:43PM

    If you aren't inspiration, I don't know what is.

Oh and have I mentioned lately how much I adore your hubby?!? emoticon

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ALESHABEE 2/11/2010 12:52PM

    OMG!!! I love this!!!!

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MEOWROWRIE 2/11/2010 12:47PM

    What a terrific post! This was really well written and very funny! I need to stop my own love affair with the numbers!

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GETTINSEXIBACK 2/11/2010 12:08PM

    great story, I think we can totally relate. I didn't lose any weight this week, but my body fat decreased by 3.4% ...dropping marshmallows getting stronger is OK with me this week.

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ANIKA34 2/11/2010 10:29AM

    GREAT Blog! Made my day just to read it! Thanks for sharing!

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FREDDY1232 2/11/2010 1:33AM

    Very good blog. You had me going until the end. Good writing Thanks for this one. emoticon

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KMPHILLIPS1988 2/10/2010 8:26PM

    Wow I had no idea where you were going with it til i saw the picture at the end! lol Very creative way to tell a story most of us have!

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SANTANDERE 2/10/2010 8:23PM

    I loved reading your blog. emoticon

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G-MAMICK 2/10/2010 4:10PM

    Wow, this captures my "affair" with the same creature exactly. Right now it's so bad that every time I get up in the middle of the night to pee I weigh myself. It's so stupid! It's a digital scale and the light turns on when I step on it, so I close the bathroom door so my husband doesn't know what's going on, because I know that this is wrong, wrong, wrong. How do you put an end to this affair? emoticon

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OPAL50 2/10/2010 1:55PM

    Best and funniest (and truest) blog I've read all day. Thanks, I'm a fan!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JASCAT0507 2/10/2010 1:13PM

    That was AWESOME!!! I have to keep that in mind daily. The scale tells me I didn't lose weight but my clothes feel better and better. Thanks for sharing, I love the way you put it.

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PTREINER 2/10/2010 12:29PM

  Funny blog! I put away my home scale, which I used like an addict every day, and made a pact to weigh once a week only at the gym. That worked out great until the scale became unbalanced - on the heavy side! So, until it gets fixed, I'm using the clothes-fitting, can-I-add-more-weight/time-to-my-wo
rkout method of weighing myself. But I hope it gets fixed soon because I like to record the numbers on my tracker and see how close I'm getting to my next reward! Thanks for the story, the humor, and your message.

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JIMENESU 2/10/2010 1:27AM

  WOW... GOOD FOR YOU emoticon

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ORANGEAID2 2/9/2010 8:38PM

    LOL! I avoid my scale like a bad ex that you never want to see again! I need to go back to attending our weekly assigned visits tho...just to make sure we address some yet unanswered questions.

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RUNNING4MEXICO 2/9/2010 8:17PM

    Oh wow, you totally put a smile on my face today.

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GRANNYS5 2/9/2010 7:51PM

    This was Fantastic!! Thank you for such entertaining reading. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUE5007 2/9/2010 7:29PM

    You are hilarious!

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SCHNEBL 2/9/2010 6:42PM

    Fabulous piece of writing! I teach creative writing and this is a lovely piece. Keep up the good work! (with your weight loss AND your writing!)

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VICD25 2/9/2010 5:32PM

    Amen to that! What a great way to put the NUMBER in perspective. Way to put "him" in his place.


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NURSEMOMMY82 2/9/2010 5:31PM

    Amazing writing!

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MINYGRL 2/9/2010 5:24PM

  Puts everything in perspective! He is so seductive, tho......

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STARLIGHT615 2/9/2010 5:07PM

    OMG that was totally awesome!!! I emoticon IT!!!

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FATMAN210 2/9/2010 3:53PM


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DUKEFAN86 2/9/2010 2:56PM

    Loved this! Many thanks for sharing!

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    Absolutely Brilliant!!! Thank you so much for this delightful and truly captivating read.

emoticon Even caused me to take a second look at my own "lover". And, thinking now, I might have to throw his *ss to the curb one day soon, too. LOL!

Comment edited on: 2/9/2010 1:06:36 PM

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MINENA1 2/9/2010 11:01AM

    This was totally emoticon
Loved it!!! emoticon

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MCFERRET 2/9/2010 10:15AM

    Thanks for posting. I can so relate! My cat has been turning the scale on in the morning and it beckons me. But, like many, my weight fluctuates on a daily basis. Alot. Perhaps my love affair should be over and we can just be friends.

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MIZZOUMAC 2/9/2010 9:53AM

    Hilarious! emoticon

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NIKKI7727 2/9/2010 9:53AM

    Great Blog! I loved it! emoticon emoticon

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KCHONEY 2/9/2010 9:34AM

    Loved your blog! That man is EVIL! sometimes...

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RAVENDONNA 2/9/2010 7:17AM

  I really enjoyed this! Great writing. AND a great reminder. Thanks

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    that was great !!!!!!

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ANNE-ELIZ 2/8/2010 10:29PM

    I really enjoyed this. It really puts the "relationship" in perspective. emoticon

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-FEMALE- 2/8/2010 10:10PM

    I just got my fiance to read your blog. We both agreed its absolutely amazing! The best blog, or thing for that matter that I have ever read. Definitely an eye opener. Thanks again for posting this!

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ANNE1123 2/8/2010 8:57PM

    That was really funny, you have a great husband too! Keep writing, you definitely made me laugh!

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Seeing Is Believing: My Vision Collage

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I've had lot's of downtime lately with being sick, and being eager along with the rest of the Spark community to get into Chris Downie's new phenomenal book, The Spark, I opened my copy and thought I'd breeze through it in a few days. After reading Chris' personal story, I thought, what more could I learn that I haven't already uncovered on the website?
Well let me tell you, friends. I am STILL reading the book. I read and I reread. I'm taking notes like it is a textbook! To say that it's motivating and inspiring is simply inadequate and after all, motivation and inspiration abounds on these very pages of the Spark community. Rather he sets up the formula for life transforming success based on sound mind-body principals.
Even though I have already achieved a modicum of success in taking off my weight, I have discovered that I always thought that once my weight came off and I was at goal, my life would be perfect. I was so focused for a solid year on everything that went into my mouth, it's like I had NO other goals or aspirations. All I could "see" is the number on a scale.
The trouble is once I got there, I found that I was asking myself "Now what"? Well for starters keeping the weight off, which as I've blogged about before isn't simply a matter of "I've adopted a new lifestyle now this is a piece of cake". My husband said "Yeah but don't you feel so much better now physically and feel so much better about your appearance that you'll never go back"? How could I explain to this man who has NEVER had a weight issue in his entire life, that it doesn't work that way? I didn't "see" myself as a thin person. I will forever take my shoes off, if not more, before I step on a scale. I will always look in a dressing room mirror and ask myself "Does this make me look fat- er"?
It isn't really even a self-esteem issue. I've always felt like I'm a worthy individual regardless of my weight. My sister put it so succinctly when she said, "Fat isn't a personality disorder"!
So it was, when I started reading The Spark, that it began to dawn on me that I don't truly "see" myself as a thin person. I always kind of feel like an imposter. A fat person hiding in a thin person's body. Like a costume that can be yanked off and returned to the theatrical rental store when the party is over.
I've always been a firm believer in the mind-body connection. As a nurse, I've seen many instances where people who give up, lose their will to live, and surrender to their disease often have a much poorer outcome than those who fight back. It goes back to the power of positive thinking. Negative thinking can end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.
BUT, how many of us, myself included, just give lip-service to positive thinking without REALLY believing?
Every time I look in that dressing room mirror and "see" a fat woman, I'm leaving room for negotiation with my fat cells. After reading Chris (don't you just kind of feel like you are on a first name basis with "The Spark Guy"?), I feel for perhaps the first time ever that there will be NO negotiations because I'm beginning to BELIEVE that I'm a thin, healthy, person. Period. End of story. Right?
Wait a minute!! Like all things - whether it's a new found religious conversion or a new found belief in yourself, it often begins with a precise moment of revelation that starts gung-ho only to eventually dilute until your belief is drowning under old self-talk.
Just what is a vision collage and what does it mean to us? The book covers visualizing your goals in chapter 1. Chapter 6 goes a little more in depth as to the power of imagery in shaping our beliefs. I thought of all the many religious symbols and icons that reaffirm people's faith and I felt motivated to permanently change the stuck record that had been playing in my head for years.
Maybe even more so last week when I was so sick and weak feeling. My mind started to expand the possibilities. I don't just want to be at a healthy weight. I want to be healthy.
When you have a chronic disease like asthma, especially as an adult, despair is sneaky. There are proactive measures you can do to help control the symptoms, but you realize that a cure is probably not forthcoming. My attacks generally strike in earnest about 4 times a year, resulting in pneumonia and a hospital stay several times in the last three years. Luckily, I seem to have no difficulty with exercise induced asthma like some people do. My physicians encouraged me to stay as fit as possible and thought there would be no problems with running.
There was a problem with running though -- I didn't "see" myself as a runner. I asked the Ironman dr. at work when can you call yourself "a runner". He laughed and said "When you step outside your door and start to run"! But I still get that old imposter feeling.
So with all these thoughts in mind I got out magazines, scissors, glue, and a sheet of heavy bond paper I happened to have lying around being saved for the great someday. For a brief moment I felt a little like a middle schooler about to embark on an art class project! But I also felt a passion for wanting to effect positive change in my life --
I wanted it to reflect my desire for positive health, goal weight, physical fitness, strength, self love, as well as a difficult goal of mine -- more sleep.
I brewed a steaming hot cup of green tea, put in the Yanni Tribute CD and set out to make a vision collage!
I found a picture of me when I first hit goal weight and joined my daughter in Grand Rapids, MI to participate in a 5K. It was the first one she ran. I walked. We wore team shirts in a tribute to her husband's uncle who was struck down at an early age from an aneurysm, leaving a wife and young children behind. That race was a very positive moment in my life. The race atmosphere was thrilling and the seeds of desire to run a 5k were planted that day. I felt truly healthy and happy!
The picture was a must on the page. Next I googled a picture of a healthy respiratory system. Simple not graphic. That picture was next. A little article on the benefits of yoga in lessening the symptoms of asthma to help see myself doing yoga. A sleeping woman. Affirmations of love as well as a promise to me. The words jumped out of the magazine pages as the energy flowed that afternoon. Cutting, placing, gluing, BELIEVING.

The result actually brought tears to my eyes. I must have stared at it for an hour.

The words & phrases - all positive affirmation for me and my life:

The Promise . . . . . . . Success story . . . . . . . . . . Feel the Love
Slim is Simple . . . . . Oh, Yes I can! . . . . . . . . . . Make this your fitness year!
Fitness . . . . . . . . . . . Instant Energy Surge . . . . Feel good firming
Get Strong . . . . . . . . Be Confident . . . . . . . . . . Nutrition
Get good health . . . Yoga's surefire benefits . Stay healthy for the next 25 years
Self-healing . . . . . . . Picture of health . . . . . . . Sleep! It's non-negotiable
Fix your health . . . . Calm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sleep Better
In the center of the page it says: YOU...Can do anything -- this is YOUR page!

Oh yeah -- one more for me AND the mister -- Great Sex :)

I would encourage everyone to take a little time and make YOUR page!

For more information go to: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/vision

Mine hangs on my bathroom mirror. A picture of it is on my Spark page as well as a backdrop on my blackberry.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JULIEBEAR3 3/5/2010 3:03AM

    Hey Joanne
I know we're Spark friends already, but I hadn't read this blog before and it is just wonderful that you share your thoughts so openly. You write so well too. Maybe one day you'll write a whole book that inspires others!
Keep up the good work and the willpower because believe me YOU are an inspiration:-))
Jules x

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SHELLMUNDY 2/9/2010 9:10AM

    Thank you for posting this blog. It puts into words how I feel. I've been putting off making my collage.
I appreciate you sharing about how you had to transform your way of thinking. That's one thing I'm working on right now. Just because I've lost nearly 50 pounds doesn't mean I feel 50 pounds less in my mind.
I think I'm ready to make my collage and have a bit more perspective on what I'll put on it.

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NICKEL1331 2/7/2010 12:49AM

    I just got my copy today....I am in LOVE with emoticon

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MOLLYO55 2/6/2010 9:20PM

    I'm glad I read your blog, my next step is to buy the book and do my own collage. I have read some of your other blogs and you obviously have a talent for writing! emoticon

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    I love vision boards. My husband and I created one for us as a couple.Thanks for sharing. Like yourself, I too am using SP to maintain my lifestyle. Losing is the easy part...Keeping it off is the challenge.

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HEAVYREADER 1/27/2010 10:43PM

    You have spurred me on to get my own vision collage done this weekend. emoticon

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RUSTYSHAW1 1/25/2010 11:50PM

    When I have moments wondering what I am doing, I can come to your blog and reread it. Sure the SPARK is excellent. I am learning a lot but gathering strength from the thoughts and experiences of other SPARK members is very uplifting.

I know Chris Downie shares everything he went through but personally I need to listen and hear what other Spark members have gone through, are going through and when they achieve a sense of fitness, what are they now experiencing. I appreciate you remaining on the program to share that information with us.

Thank you.

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LOVELIFEBETTER 1/21/2010 11:36PM

    That was very inspiring. I saw the vision collage mentioned on the site. Thought about doing it then, now I'm pumped. Thanks for sharing.

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    This is the first time I have heard of a Vision Board - What a wonderful idea, we all need to remember the good things about ourselves - I wrote a blog about remembering the good things just last night and resolved to go back to treating and appreciating myself in the fun way I used to. Now perhaps I'll make a Vision Board too. Thank you for sharing.


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    Love your vision collage. I bought my poster board and I've been cutting pages out of magazines when I come across something that I think "might" be a candidate for posting. I made one years ago and found out I'm a bit OCD at making them. Thus, I also bought clear contact paper to cover all the items I put up so that I can wipe off any toothpaste splatter once it has it's place of prominence in my bathroom. When I FINALLY put it together, I will post it.
Yours is

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BRATS4 1/20/2010 11:38PM

    what a cool idea

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MARCYNA 1/20/2010 8:54AM

    Wow, I like the idea, thanks for sharing!!!! emoticon

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HAPPYBASKET 1/19/2010 6:33PM

    For a new "sparker" & reading blogs for the first time, all I can say is, YOU ARE FANTASTIC. Truly an inspiration for me to do well. Thank You emoticon

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ULTRAVIOLET75 1/19/2010 4:36PM

  Thanks for sharing! I really get what you mean when you say you feel like an imposter and just don't feel thin! A couple of years ago I went on a health kick I worked out at the gym, and swam 3 times a week did 2 fitness classes and ate really healthily! The weight dropped off me within 6 months but I just couldn't accept that the person in the mirror was me! I think I simply did it too fast to appreciate how different I really was! Now I've regained all the weight I lost and more! Now I'm doing it slowly and I sincerely hope that this time when I get to my goal- I will be proud of myself and never let it creep back on! I think the vision collage is a fantastic idea and can't wait to get started on my own! P.S. I also have a thin husband! emoticon

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ISHIIGIRL 1/19/2010 12:09PM

    I loved this blog. Thanks for sharing. I have been meaning to do a new vision board for the last month or so. I will no longer put it off for the right momment. I will start today to look for what I need. I have already written my 2010 goals blog so I just need the visual reminder. You have also inspired me to read The Spark. I have been working at this for so long I just thought it would be a recap of what I've learned in this journey. I am just now discovering that there is always little tidbits that we forget or need to be reminded of along the way.

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MAGNOLIA416 1/19/2010 11:40AM

    Great stuff! I'm a believe in vision boards, too!

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JOYINKY 1/19/2010 9:06AM

    Thanks for sharing. You are a gifted writer!

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SEVENKITTY 1/19/2010 12:27AM

  Great blog...thanks :)

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MARYLKN 1/18/2010 7:43PM

    I love your blog post. I am new here. I just signed up today. I have always like doing collages but am just learing about vision boards etc. Your blog inspires me to work on my vision collage soon too. I have many pictures and words cut out already so I will be doing my starting vision collage soon. Thank you for your inspiration!!!

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CHEYKIZOXIE 1/18/2010 6:30PM

    I really appreciate getting to see an example of a visual motivation board. I really like it!


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JOMOMMY 1/18/2010 6:06PM

    Your post really spoke to me as well. I'm at the very beginning of my journey, and I'm taking careful first steps. I'm going to start my vision collage this afternoon!

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CHANGEDIN09 1/18/2010 5:29PM

    OK I am going to make my collage. Months ato I cut everything out and it's in a file. I am going to make one...I just read the book also and it's FANTASTIC. Love your post

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LAURALIANA 1/18/2010 5:14PM

    this blog really spoke to me. i totally get what your saying. I made my collage and i have it at my desk at work and i also have 2 big ones in my room at home and they really help me stay motivated and think clearly.

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    I also haven't been interested in doing a collage...but your words have inspired me to rethink the idea! emoticon

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ANNE1123 1/18/2010 3:30PM



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BRENFALL09 1/18/2010 3:18PM

    I completed a coolage when I joined SP in Oct. but I think you're right in that I wasn't taking in the big picture of MY wants and goals.
Thanks for sharing!

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SONIAMG 1/18/2010 2:18PM

    Great board!
Love the idea of using a picture of it as the background on the Blackberry screen!

I finally started working on mine yesterday and hope to get it done this week.

Thanks for sharing yours!

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ISOS23 1/18/2010 2:08PM

    After reading your post I decided that I could make better use of my time off today making my own collage than lurking on Sparkpeople. I think I am going to try to capture on paper the feelings of joy and euphoria that I felt after my run this morning. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and inspiring all of us!

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SALLYSEAGULL1 1/18/2010 2:01PM

    Thank you. I do hope the book gets to the UK soon: I have 2 on order and cannot wait!

Your collage is fab!

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TXRMOM 1/18/2010 1:16PM

    You are so right about the a-ha moment of conversion slowly sliding away as real life intrudes. What a great idea to make a vision collage and to put it where you will see it throughout your day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your strategy; I'm going to make my own vision collage to help me stay focused.

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TSCHLAG 1/18/2010 12:41PM

    Thanks for your words!

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GAIRECARA 1/18/2010 12:38PM


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JOURNEYOF3 1/18/2010 11:48AM

    Thank you for taking the time to write. It really shows what making little changes or looking at something differently can do to change an outcome.

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NORTHERNMEM 1/18/2010 11:21AM

    I have not been to keen on making a collage but I think after reading your blog it is a must do this week!

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EDELWEISS33 1/18/2010 9:14AM

    wow, great perspective!

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DARKKAT 1/18/2010 3:16AM

    Where are my scissors and glue! Thank you for sharing.

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KAYBEE37 1/17/2010 8:16PM

    Wow, what a great blog. I really appreciated hearing your thoughts on how you really felt after losing weight. And thanks for the reminder about the visual collage. I know it's important, I know it, but I somehow never seem to get around to it. I know that I need to. I get very inspired by pictures, so I need to make that work for me.

Best of luck with your continued success. emoticon

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JWBRIGHTEYES 1/17/2010 6:51PM

    Today is the day I finally decided to get started on mine. Your blog is just the additional inspiration I needed!

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WANDA2010 1/17/2010 6:33PM

  Thanks for sharing.

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CAWESTY 1/17/2010 6:21PM

    What a wonderful blog! Thanks so much for the inspiration. I don't have the book yet, so this idea is new to me! I can't wait to make mine. I wish the very best to you in everything!


Carol in Idaho

Comment edited on: 1/17/2010 6:22:33 PM

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    The chapter in The Spark definitely got me going and I finally did mine too, just finished yesterday. I had five little frames that matched and I did five little collages representing; self (healthy living and a pix from last time I was at goal), home life, work, roller derby reffing (which I just started) and travel plans.

I love the ideas of taking pix of them to put on my phone or at work so that I can keep it in mind in different places.

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NWFL59 1/17/2010 5:24PM

    emoticon Excellent blog; thanks for sharing your success and your vision. I did one a little while ago but I think I'll redo and see if I can improve it.

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JULIAGULIA162 1/17/2010 4:19PM

    I made a lifeboard awhile back, similar. I should take a picture of it and post it. I used to have it on the wall but since it doesnt quite math my room i took it down.

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DFWM01 1/17/2010 3:51PM

  I have been clipping and saving things off and on for the last 2 years to make a vision quest page. Thanks for reminding me of the power it can have in my life.

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MARYELF 1/17/2010 3:08PM

  I have been wanting to do this for years and finally overcame my resistance!

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IOWADEB 1/17/2010 3:08PM

You did a fine job! Now I will do mine.
Thanks for sharing.IowaDeb

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CHERIBENEDICT 1/17/2010 2:26PM

  Odd, that I would come across your blog today! I just printed out the instructions for the visual last night and now I am very inspired to create my own!

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BPELLER 1/17/2010 1:48PM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing.

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    There is power in positive thinking!

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Random thoughts: Google, SparkPeople, and God...

Friday, January 08, 2010

You know sometimes you just have to acknowledge divine intervention.
Five and a half months ago, frustrated that I had gained 15 pounds of my hard earned weight loss back, I googled "Nutrition Tracker" thinking maybe if I started keeping track of my daily food intake, I'd discover where I was failing. Ever fearful that I'd slip back into old habits that I thought I'd abandoned for good, I wanted to halt any of those habits from creeping back into my life. I even prayed about it. Yes, God can work through Google. He keeps up with the times...

First thing that popped up on Google: SparkPeople.com

What the heck? What is SparkPeople?

The question really should have been - Who are SparkPeople? Because that's exactly what this website is all about. THE PEOPLE. The many motivating, inspirational friends that root for each other, send encouragements, offer advice as to what works for them, shares recipes, shares laughs. A lifeline out of that River of Denial that I was treading water in.

A gift from God.

Oh, and the nutrition tracker IS awesome...

I've had a terrible time with my asthma this week. One little cold can throw me into wheezing AND panic. What should have been rest and fluids for a few days has turned into steroids, nebulizer treatments, antibiotics, and almost daily contact with my dear family doctors.

That being said, here are a few random thoughts I'll ask you to take to heart:

1. It's true that we take for granted the things we CAN do until we CAN'T do them:
I'd give anything to be on a treadmill right now breathing with ease running two

2. While I was in the waiting room at the urgent care struggling to take a breath,
this thought popped into my mind: Why did I EVER think that passing up the
doughnut in the breakroom at work was SUCH a big challenge?

3. True friends love you not "because of" -- but "In spite of". I've made many
TRUE friends here on SparkPeople --

Yep -- you are a gift from God!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEGGYMATT 2/15/2010 4:34PM

    keep the faith

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RACHELDZ 2/13/2010 12:22PM

    I feel the exact same way! I turned to Google for some weight loss support, and I found SparkPeople, just as you did. I'm very sorry you don't feel well. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

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ANN7771 2/11/2010 4:43PM

  great blog emoticon

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MARCYNA 2/11/2010 12:54PM

    Hey Joanne, this is so inspiring and I agree with you, SP's a gift from heaven. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MIZZOUMAC 2/9/2010 10:01AM

    So nice to hear someone else who understands how challenging getting fit can be with asthma. My husband just doesn't get it. Spring allergies, fall allergies, congestion may be an inconvenience to some.. but my challenge is always avoiding the complication of triggering my asthma by not "letting it get to my chest" and derailing my whole progress. So frustrating!

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SEVENKITTY 2/8/2010 8:36PM

  Great blog...thanks!

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RUSTYSHAW1 1/25/2010 11:58PM

    I regret to read that you became very ill. I did not understand the full ramifications of asthma until I spent the entire night sitting with a patient who was experiencing a severe case of asthma. It was frightening for me to watch my friend in absolute agony. My sympathy goes out to you. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KARENLEE271 1/16/2010 7:28PM

    Joann I can truly relate to what you are going through. I hope you are doing better now. I have been on oxygen for the last 7 years. I do the tread mill but not at all with ease. 7 years ago I could do a lot more and at a higher rate of speed. Now 1.6 is my highest rate of speed but not for very long. I cut down to 1.3 and try to go as long as possible. At least I'm still moving. This week I was above 30 min 3 days in a row. yesterday and today I haven't been able to even get on it. I've only been on this webb site for 2 weeks but like you I am in awe of the love and support and the wealth of information and inspiration. I'd never been in a chat room before this. You keep up the good work. You also are an inspiration emoticon

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BESTSUSIEYET 1/16/2010 11:24AM

    Hope you're feeling much better now -- sorry I didn't Spark much this week and missed that you were down with an asthma attack! Take care, my friend!

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BUGLET- 1/15/2010 12:09PM

heck this out for science benefits. One of my team members has cured herself of Asthma doing this way of eating. Drop by our team and see what you think. It will help you. Mary (Goldenangelfish) is the one who had Astma.

Here's our team site:


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WEIGHTWATCHER72 1/15/2010 11:34AM

    Take Care! I hope you are feeling better!!


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FYRESHAMEN 1/15/2010 9:43AM

    Hope you're feeling better soon!!


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LORIZIM 1/11/2010 10:15PM

    I hope you are feeling better soon. As always your advice was great. I don't often read the blogs but when I do I always find inspiration in yours. Thanks for doing what you CAN!

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THEQUEENBEE333 1/10/2010 12:01PM

    Thanks for sharing! Have a great Sunday!

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MADDE3333 1/9/2010 6:07PM

    Joanne, hope you are feeling better. Yes, it is very true SPARK has a great group of people there to encourage and travel the road to health together.

Paul Sorvino, the actor, had very bad asthma and apparently he started doing yoga and had very good success with it. I think he wrote a book about his experience.

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IMDENISE 1/9/2010 12:59PM

    Another awesome blog! I love when I find you in my in box. I hope you are back on that treadmill soon. emoticon

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LADYFOLDER 1/9/2010 12:36PM

Take care and watch that air!!
I have asthma, too, and I know it can be so easy to just not think about what you do, and wind up with a medical visit.
Best wishes to feel better soon.

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DASEEMAN 1/9/2010 1:34AM

    As you are a gift from God too!

Sometimes I believe we need the tough times to make us appreciate what we truly have. When we have these times it makes us open our eyes wide and take in all the good things in our life, especially when we are sick. Once we start to feeling better the whole world looks better. Here to hoping your world starts brightening very soon! Take very good care of yourself, especially since the weather is so crummy right now. Bring on spring!!!!


Comment edited on: 1/9/2010 1:37:17 AM

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LIGHTHOUSE23 1/8/2010 10:48PM

    I'm sorry, I had no idea it was this serious. Not being able to breathe is very frightening. I do hope and pray that you will be feeling a lot better, very very soon.

My daughter has asthma. She didn't have it before she went into the Air Force. She spent nine years in. Now, if she gets a bad cold, it usually means a trip to the Dr.'s office.

I know you are going to be fine, Joanne. You are your father's daughter. Good and strong.
emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 1/8/2010 10:21PM

    It's been a joy knowing YOU and SO many others here at SparkPeople! You are SO right...our SparkFamily makes this place so special! Paying it forward, looking out for each other...there are few (perhaps NONE?) online communities that can come CLOSE to the spirit of goodwill and humanity we share here at SparkPeople!

Your trials and tribs remind me to be more appreciative of my fairly low maintenance body...especially considering all the ABUSE I've put it through during the "bad 0ld days!"


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NEED2DROP50 1/8/2010 7:58PM

    Feel better girly! This hit home with me because Ill be darned if I don't complain about running on a treadmill. In reality I could not have the option or the ability. I should count myself lucky. I do believe that we take things for granted all too often. I hope that this ailment passes soon and you're up and running again.

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Hope you are feeling better soon. Your blog reminded me of a time when God led us to just the right church at the right time. I will write a blog about it later.

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TRINITY4001 1/8/2010 4:31PM

    Hopefully with the right meds, you will be quick to respond and get your old game back! I'm rootin' for you!
Sue emoticon

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VXWALL1942 1/8/2010 4:13PM

    Yes, our God is an awesome God. And its sometimes amazing what steps He takes to be sure we are still on track. Not appreciating what we have is one of the most common errors we humans make. The beauty of the world...and the people; the inspiration of the universe; the motivation of the 'little train that could'. That's where I want to be.

So sorry to hear your asthma has thwacked you in the head and chest. Please take care of yourself and you'll be on the mend very soon. I know, 'cause I prayed for you! Run for me when you get back on the treadmill (since I can't do that) and breathe deep cleansing breaths.

love ya, vicki

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HAPPYSOUL91 1/8/2010 3:57PM

    back at you Joanne, you are an inspiration and gift to us

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KITTYF54 1/8/2010 3:30PM

    I'm praying Joanne, Hope you're already feeling better.

My grandma used to have asthma. She was sensitive to almost all antibiotics and had weak (partially undeveloped) lungs which were susceptible to infection as well. I grew up helping to take care of her. She lived to be 85. You should do so well. LOL kitty

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ANUT4DISNEY 1/8/2010 2:34PM

    Just stopping by to say hi and hope that you are feeling much better.

I have asthma but thank heavens it's not chronic, for the most part as long as I carry my inhaler it works pretty good for me. It helps that I know what triggers mine, smoke (wood stove's, grills) and if I get to playing around too much and laughing too much (this is the one that usually gets me started, I love to laugh).

My thoughts are with you and I hope that you are doing much better.


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JAVAJO47 1/8/2010 2:03PM

    Aww Joanne....I'm so sorry to hear about the flare up in your asthma. There is nothing scarier than not being able to breath. Last February I ended up in emergency with a major attack after trying to battle a cold. It's amazing how those little colds can wreak so much havoc for an asthmatic person. I hope you are feeling much better soon and can get off those nasty steroids in a few days. Those things make me hungry 24/7!!

Lots of hugs your way~
Jo Ann

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DAYHIKER 1/8/2010 2:02PM

    You have really been SICK, Joanne! I didn't realize just how sick until this blog, though I did think it was taking you a long time to get better! Asthma is a very scary thing!
Love & prayers,

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JUSTLYLE 1/8/2010 1:37PM

    Another great blog Joanne. You so right about not realizing how good we have it until we no longer have it. I thank the Lord daily for my health, so happy to be able to do things without pain or suffering. So many my age or younger do not always have this luxury. True friends are priceless, that's what it's all about. Sure hope you feel better soon.
Skeeter emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/8/2010 1:38:24 PM

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/8/2010 1:18PM

    Sorry to hear of your respiratory challenges. I can relate fully. In the 90's, I had tons of trouble like this. Not recently though. Please take care.

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BARBARAROSE54 1/8/2010 1:05PM

    Sending get well prayers your way !

Great blog

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    I hope you're back on that treadmill really soon!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAMMYSWEETPEA 1/8/2010 12:53PM

    My mom always says the Lord works in mysterious ways... so why not Google too? emoticon

Thank you for sharing your donut story. I will keep it tucked in the back of my mind for the next time I'm facing a craving. I'm a paramedic-in-training and I know how much of a struggle it is for asthma patients to breathe. It certainly puts cravings into perspective!

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PEG2430 1/8/2010 12:40PM

    Joanne praying for a speeding recovery!

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The Verdict...

Monday, January 04, 2010

It started last Thursday evening. The sore throat. Slight fever. Stuffy nose. By Friday morning I thought "Great, here comes a cold to start the new years off with"!
But this didn't seem like an ordinary cold. My throat really hurt and I had the "I think I've been run over by a Mac truck" feeling.
By Saturday I would have welcomed the Mac truck to put me out of my misery. Certainly it couldn't be the flu - H1N1 - or otherwise. As a nurse, I've been vaccinated against the whole trifecta - seasonal, H1N1, and pneumonia.
I asked my husband if he would look in my throat with a flashlight. Sure he said.
I sat down and dutifully opened wide.
He peered in with the shining flashlight and looked for what seemed like an eternity.
Hmm... Oh... He murmured.
"Ott"? I questioned as I could feel the saliva running down my throat.
"What am I looking for"? he queried.
Snatching the flashlight out of his hands, I closed my mouth in resignation, sighed, and went back to bed.
To his credit, other than not knowing a red throat from a hole in the wall, he is wonderful when I'm sick. He came home from the store armed with cough drops, mentholated rub (ever hopeful, I did have to tell him no thanks to his offer to rub my chest and, lest you all condemn me, gave him a raincheck!), AND he made chicken soup.
As a reward for all his efforts, I got laryngitis and lost my voice...

Funny thing about people in the medical profession. We all love to self diagnose. I have asthma even and should know better, but I had stubbornly refused to join the masses of people I see daily who run to the doctor wanting antibiotics for a sniffle. Rest, fluids, more rest, more fluids. Good advice, if I hadn't been using my rescue inhaler 3 times a day so I could take a deep breath.
So this morning I called in to work and when the boss had to ask who I was, thought maybe I should actually go and see my family doctor. I'm so used to hitting up one of the docs I work for in the hallway for a "drive-by" consult on minor stuff, I had to dig up the family drs. phone number.
Anyhow, final verdict: Strep pharyngitis, bronchitis, sinusitis.
I did get to weigh in on a Monday -- a la my goal. The post holiday number wasn't so pretty but was consistent with my estimate of needing to lose 7 lbs.

Speaking of goals, I really appreciate the comments and feed back on my goal list. Oddly enough many people worried about the exercise agenda. I already have the steady habit of working out 6 days a week so really assigning cardio vs. strength training is more of a formality.
The sleep and more water and less diet soda and coffee will be a greater challenge.
While I've been bedridden, I've been reading through "The Spark". It's a great book and I've been learning so much. I realize now that although it's good to have lots of goals, including long range goals, to succeed you need to focus on accomplishing some smaller goals to build up to the bigger ones. So with that in mind and the input from many of the Spark community, I have decided I'd rather start small and create habits that last and build rather than tackle so many that I end up doing "mostly". Which was how I made it to my present weight, but probably why I still struggle to stay there.
So my focus is on the sleep and the water, and the food tracking.

Before I sign off -- Thank you to all my fabulous friends who "hit my page" with a toast to me being fabulous as well. Sorry I had to break the chain by being too sick to participate. You really are all fabulous!
Funny, but the punishment for not forwarding the message on was to be ugly for a while. I looked at myself in the mirror this morning before going to the dr. and there I was hair frizzed everywhere, pale unmade up face, shadows under the eyes, a nose that rivaled Rudolph and I scared myself! My first thought -- OMG it's true!

Not to worry, though, I'll be back and sparking fabulous in no time --

I clean up real good ! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIGHTHOUSE23 1/8/2010 10:27PM

    Lady, even when you are sick, your sense of humor is awesome!

Feel better, soon.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Ugh. Laryngitis is so yucky. Got a bad case of it for the first time last winter. And developed a smaller case of it this past December! Feel better soon!

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DASEEMAN 1/6/2010 10:21PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Hope you feel better soon!


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GO-SARA-GO 1/6/2010 9:29PM

    I hope you are feeling better! I have had the "crud" for about a week and a half now, no fun. I don't think I have tonsilitis or anything, but maybe on the verge. We'll see...

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LADYFOLDER 1/5/2010 4:54PM

    I hope your recovery is quicker than mine--my 4 year old great nephew planted a big smooch on my lips, backed up and sneezed--one of those that raise the roof--and I wound up 3 days later with a cold so bad I was in bed for the New Years. Missed all the celebrations.
I am finally feeling halfway human--just can't seem to lose the cough & sneeze.
Thanks once again for your blogs. I love your sense of humor!!

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HAPPYSOUL91 1/5/2010 12:23PM

    Sending you healing vibes, glad you went to bed!


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SLIMMERJESSE 1/5/2010 11:11AM

    Wishing you a speedy recovery. Big hug.

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BARBARA_G 1/5/2010 11:00AM

    That last part of your blog gave me a good laugh. I'm glad to see that your illness did not destroy your sense of humor. I bet you'll be better in no time at all now that you have the proper medication! Your husband sounds like a gem.

Good luck on your goal!

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BARBARA_G 1/5/2010 11:00AM

    That last part of your blog gave me a good laugh. I'm glad to see that your illness did not destroy your sense of humor. I bet you'll be better in no time at all now that you have the proper medication! Your husband sounds like a gem.

Good luck on your goal!

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THEQUEENBEE333 1/5/2010 10:23AM


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RAINTHIEF 1/4/2010 11:12PM

    Aw, hope you finally start feeling better!

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CHAIMANN 1/4/2010 9:23PM

    Take care of yourself, and feel better soon.

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LAURIE5658 1/4/2010 8:45PM

    Joanne, as a former family practice nurse who worked in a big, busy family practice clinic, I know exactly what you refer to with the drive by consults and self diagnosis. Our daughter had strep so often that I had the swabs at home and as soon as I just knew she had strep, I would swab her throat before going to work. Yep, every single time it as and I would grab the appointed antibiotics and head home. Bad, I know.

You did well for yourself by going in to see the old doc and getting the proper care. Before long, you will be back with the living!!!

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DAYHIKER 1/4/2010 7:40PM

    See, I love that even when you are practically at death's door you still have a great sense of humor! I'm glad you are at least feeling well enough to blog and entertain the rest of us...so selfless of you!! emoticon

It is funny, but I came to the same conclusion yesterday in my reading of emoticon
I need to work on those small streaks that add up to momentum for the bigger things. I maintained for several years then all of a sudden it got to be a big chore the last maybe 3 years. I don't wanna do this losing thing again so I am pretty much starting over with the basics until they sink into my fat cranium. Sounds like I'll be in good company emoticon

Sparky Cindy who has survived two whole days of Boot Camp emoticon

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JUSTLYLE 1/4/2010 6:56PM

    So sorry to hear about the sickness, that can take it's toll on you. I suppose you didn't get a picture of" Rudolph " to add to your photo gallery? emoticon

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DDOORN 1/4/2010 6:32PM

    Ugh! So sorry to hear of your strep!

Sounds like you are SPARKING your best nonetheless...hoping it doesn't take TOO long to bounce back...I get frustrated when my body lets me down...fortunately it doesn't happen often...!


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KITTYF54 1/4/2010 6:18PM

    Hope you're feeling better already, if not, tomorrow for sure. LOL get well before you start exercising again. I should know I know how hard those itis' hit you in the stamina.

I've been up to using the rescue inhaler six times in a day when I was sick, boy was that scary.

Good going on the goals.

I'm scared to make goals. teehee, kitty

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VXWALL1942 1/4/2010 5:54PM

    If its got " -itis" on the end its got my name on it. I have been fighting all of the expected maladies of the season too, felt the dr had better things to do than tell me what I already knew. Oops - really had 5 of "itis" family at once. Antibiotics are great.

I know you clean up good. And you're funny before that even. Sure my husband also offered to rub the junk on my chest. LOL

Be well - stay well.

vicki emoticon

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TRINITY4001 1/4/2010 5:45PM

    Glad that you are back on Sparkin'! Welcome to the sinus world...I have it and so does my son-in-law...thank goodness for medications!

Feel better soon! emoticon

PS. I, too, began working on water intake yesterday. Got my full 64 oz. in and am about 1 0z. away from meeting it for today!!!

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RUSTY61 1/4/2010 5:37PM

    I sure hope you feel better soon!

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