Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Back in the day when the television show "ER" first came out, I was talking to my father and he asked me in all seriousness:
"Have you watched that new show err yet"?
Now I've always had a love/hate relationship with that show. The acting was great and the personal stories were interesting, but the nurse in me just used to cringe at some of the unreality that the show portrayed. An ER physician doing a c-section in the ER? Hardly! AND the frequency that RARE conditions used to turn up and be diagnosed by the all knowing residents. Uh-huh!
Well lately I feel like a walking "err" patient. I got through the asthma flare-up, survived the severe allergic reactions to TWO antibiotics. I seemed to breeze through sinus surgery. Only to find new symptoms...
The weird swelling in my left ankle actually started last November. No foot pain or injury. No calf pain - but one of the drs. that I worked for had me get a doppler ultrasound to make sure that there wasn't a blood clot. There wasn't. To add to the weirdness, my sister has the same thing but we always thought that was because her left ankle was ran over by a bus when she was a teenager (don't ask...) Around the time the swelling started, my right hip and knee began hurting. I was running so I looked up sports injuries and diagnosed myself with ITB - ileotibal band syndrome - sort of like tendonitis in the tendons that run from the hip to the knee. Maybe my gait was off and THAT was making the ankle swell.
So I backed off from the running and got on with life.
Fast forward to three weeks ago....
I woke up one morning with excruciating pain behind my right eye. It felt like someone was trying to push it out of the socket with a hot fork. The inner corner of the eyelid seemed a little swollen, but the eye itself seemed fine. It definitely was coming from behind the eye. I took 800 mg of ibuprofen that I had on hand for when the hip barked too loudly, and the pain eased up. Maybe some sort of strange migraine I thought. I had the day off so I made an appointment to see the family dr. to discuss the eye and while there I'd corner her about the ankle and the hip and knee.
She encouraged me to see my optometrist to get the pressure in my eye checked and rule out rapid onset glaucoma although she said that is usually so painful and sensitive to light that those folks can't usually open their eyes and they have acute disruption in vision when they do. My vision was fine. She was mildly concerned about the ankle. She thought that I should see a vascular surgeon to rule out and venous insufficiency and/or groin masses or tumors.
Physical therapy for the correctly diagnosed ITB syndrome.
I got right in to the optometrist who dilated the eye and could find nothing obvious. She said if the pain persisted, that I should call the family dr. and have her order an MRI of the brain and eye socket.
Five days later I was still gulping the Ibuprofen to keep the pain at bay so I called for the MRI.
Now if you've ever had an MRI of the brain you will know where of I speak when I say it is miserable. An hour keeping your head frozen straight in a claustrophobic tunnel while you listen to LOUD jackhammer sounds. Before the last 15 minutes they come in and inject dye into your vein. Upon hearing that I burst into tears and sobbed how an allergic reaction to oral medication almost killed me and I couldn't take a venous injection without my husband with me. The very nice tech explained calmly that they needed to make sure that I didn't have a tumor or bulging aneurysm...
She promised to inject very slowly and she was true to her word. I was praying so hard I hardly heard her say that she was done. Not just done with the injection, but done with the MRI. I hadn't even noticed the last 15 minutes of jack hammer noises. Of course no report until the next day.
Well the next day I opened my eyes to the pain as usual which had the pattern of always being worse upon waking. I always assumed that the Ibuprofen had just worn off.
But this morning was different. This morning I had the pain AND everything was double. Nauseatingly doubled and trying to look up was an exercise in futility.
CRAP!! I felt panicky and knew that I needed to get to a bona fide ophthalmologist asap. Except for my load of patients scheduled that day...
My husband came walking back from the bathroom and asked how my eye was. In my attempt to temper the panic I tried a little levity. Looking at two of him standing there in his/their nakedness I smiled and replied, "Well you don't even know it but you just fulfilled a fantasy"...
He popped a cork when he heard about my double vision and even more so when I told him that I planned to drive into work so I could personally reschedule my patients and I'd go to the ophthalmologist as soon as they could get me in. I'd get my MRI results too. He said that he would call in to work but I figured out that if I patched my right eye I could see OK out of the left. I hadn't been wearing my contacts and I had been living almost a week with the pain. What was one more morning?
Driving was a little more complicated than I expected - not being able to check my right side blind spot with the right eye patched, but I got there and asked one of the drs. to get my MRI report. He lit a fire under the radiologist to read it quickly and he called and got me into an ophthalmologist BEFORE he chewed my butt for coming into work. My patients rescheduled without my assistance.
"Hmm..." The eye doctor murmured as he looked deep into my eye close enough to make me wish that I had a breath mint. "Very interesting -- I haven't seen a case like this in years"!
By now, I knew that my brain was normal without tumors or aneurysms on the brink of rupture. But there was severe inflammatory changes and swelling.
"Trochleitis". He spelled it out for the nurse. He patiently explained that it is a little muscular ring -- pulley-- that the muscles that move the eye up and down was inflamed and swollen, dragging the mobility of the eye. I could only slightly move the eye, thus the double vision when they eyes didn't track together. The treatment would be steroids. Sometimes long term, depending on the response. The side effects are sleeplessness, increased appetite, and irritability.
Yeah, yeah I know the drill. I've been a tired, hungry bitch before...
Thankfully, a week later the steroids are working. I worried a little when he said that if it didn't respond, the eye muscle could irreparably weaken, but the double vision is all but gone. The eye is moving better now and the pain is slight when the Ibuprofen wears off. I am sleeping well, have lost a pound, and I THINK I'm cheerful. Who wouldn't be? It could have been a lot more serious. I'll be on anti-inflammatory medication for a while but that's ok.
I saw the vascular surgeon and had an extensive ultrasound of the veins from the groin down the entire leg. No clots present.
"Hmm" she replied as she studied my now swollen lower leg...
A condition where the lymph cells are interrupted or damaged and they don't drain appropriately so fluid can accumulate in a limb. Sometimes the whole limb swells to huge proportions. It is more common in people who have had cancer surgeries or radiation to the lymph area. It can rarely be a hereditary condition due to some kind of gene mutation. She says that might be the case since my sister has it too. It could be that we have both had abdominal surgeries and if genetically our left groin nodes are already altered that might have prompted the symptoms later in life. Fortunately so far it's mild. It can progress if not treated. I have to be cautious not to get infection in the lower leg or foot because it might not heal well. No wonder that blister on my left foot from those cute but tight shoes that I bought, won't heal up.
I am now wearing compression hose that give me an aerobic workout just putting them on. I really only need them on the left, but particular as I am, if I can't make a fashion statement, I at least have to match. I can take the hose off in the evening and try to elevate the leg as much as possible. Don't sit or stand too long. Keep running. With the hose on if possible. Exercise is probably what has kept the symptoms in check thus far.
Massage can help. Now you're talking...
Physical therapy for -- oh yeah that pesky hip pain that persists like the literal thorn in the side despite the steroids and enough Ibuprofen to eat the lining of my stomach right out -- starts Thursday!
Geez! This hypochondriac gig is tiresome! I'm ready for a break. In the meantime I'm doing everything the drs. say to do and taking vitamins including extra C & D and fish oils capsules.
I called my 96 year old dad to try and explain why I haven't been to see him for a while at the Veteran's Home where he resides. He doesn't really remember anyway, but I feel bad. Real cheerful like he replied "That's ok, Kaye (my sister) you just get better"! Then he tells me:
"By the way, I watched the best gospel music on the 'bet' channel"....
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I can remember 34+ years ago standing at the back of the church sanctuary on my father's arm looking down the aisle at my husband to be and thinking for a brief instant -- do you know what the hell you are doing?? But the thought was fleeting and I walked down the aisle and said my I do's without regretting it.
How did I know that our love was true and I wanted to commit to this man for the rest of my life?
Without a doubt it was the first time that I visited his apartment and we had made popcorn. I tipped the bowl a little and spilled a few kernels on the floor. He quickly PRODUCED A BROOM AND SAID "MAN! I JUST WASHED THIS FLOOR"!
Despite my youth and raging lust hormones, wisely I recognized that there was more to life than making out, and that any man that owned a broom and a mop AND knew how to use them, was a viable candidate for my lifetime mate!
I haven't been disappointed all these years. To this day, he pulls his share of the housework.
BUT -- I can remember the first time we argued about anything after we were married. No, I can't recall what it was about, but I can remember that I was mortified. The only thing we even remotely argued about before getting married was jokingly who loved who the most!
My parents rarely argued, but my husband's parents were divorced and couldn't stand to be in the same room together. At our wedding instead of asking friends of the bride or friends of the groom in order to be seated on one side of the pews or the other , the ushers asked friends of Veta or friends of Russ?
Not really but you might as well have - there are NO pictures of his parents with us together.
So our frames of reference for marital arguments were skewed. My parents had a long, happy marriage with rare arguments. His parents had bitter arguments for years and ended up divorced and loathing each other. We had to learn that disagreements were a normal part of a healthy marriage. You have them, resolve them, and move on. Despite them, you can still love and be committed to your spouse.
Plus, like those of us who have been married for many years have learned - those petty spats get less and less over the years. They aren't worth the energy!
So what's the point of telling you all this?
Well it hit me this weekend that committing to a healthy lifestyle was a lot like committing to a marriage.
I've blogged before about my long history of yo-yo "dieting". I'd start off with great enthusiasm, much like I started my marriage wildly in love. I'd go great guns following whatever diet I happened to be following at the moment, UNTIL I "cheated" that first time. Just like I thought that an argument in marriage meant that you were headed to divorce, I thought that slipping up once and over eating or eating the wrong thing was like a nail in the diet divorce coffin. Isn't that why they call it cheating?
Unforgivable. Divorce the diet. Just another excuse to give up and gain the weight back...
I just had a wonderful weekend at a hotel/casino/spa with my dear husband. Of course they had good restaurants - including a HUGE buffet with the usual prime rib and a dessert bar longer than my house. I did well with my selections for the most part, but didn't obsess since it was a special occasion.
Plus I worked out for 45 minutes in the state of the art gym that the hotel provided for guests, so I don't think that the scale will be too punishing.
34 years ago I made a commitment to my husband and I've never regretted it. We have our occasional arguments but they just clear the air and never last and I never stop loving him.
5 years ago I made a commitment to myself to lose 70 pounds and I've never regretted it. I have my occasional caloric indulgence, but it's NOT cheating - it just "clears the air" and it never lasts, and I never stop loving how I feel when I eat healthy and exercise.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
I’ve always said that my husband was a man ahead of his time. When I met him 35 years ago, he was wearing those short sleeved knit golf shirts with the little crown on the pocket that he got out of the “old men’s” section of the Sears catalog . This was long before Izod put a little alligator on the same pocket and
set the whole world crazy! I remember thinking that once the ring was securely on my finger, I’d change his wardrobe.
Long before organic became a buzz word, he refused to eat or drink artificial ANYTHING! I grew up on products like Tang. Remember that sickeningly sweet, artificially flavored, artificially colored faux orange drink? We didn’t have a lot of soda, but when we did it was full of cyclamates - you know the one the FDA pulled after mice started getting cancer and their babies were born with five limbs? My mother was diabetic so when we did get any soda pop it was pretty much that or nothing. I’ve never drank anything that wasn’t “diet”.
Not the husband.
Does that mean he ‘s always been a healthy eater? Noooo…
Not hardly. It just means NO FAKE GREASE for him! He loves Little Debbie because she is pure --
Yeah. Pure sugar. Plenty of sweet but no innocence!
So I figured out early on in my “dieting” days that our meals were going to be a real challenge. AND that changing my husband's diet was going to be about as easy as changing his wardrobe...
I didn’t want to be fixing two dinners. I didn’t want tempting “real” snacks in the house.
What was I going to do? Like all things in marriage -- communicate and compromise. I told him that I needed his support and, as I blogged before, he did agree to try. Just one request:
“No fake crap!”.
I readily agreed and then -- served him a Bocca Burger…
The ensuing gagging, hawking, and coughing performance was Oscar worthy, let me tell you.
When he asked what the heck THAT was I insisted:
“It is a REAL all vegetable soy protein patty and I like it!” Well, at least the first part was true…
The truth is that I, myself, love nothing more than a greasy burger dripping with cheese, hot crispy fries, and an ice cold beer.
My waistline, however, decidedly DOES NOT. Not to mention my arteries.
I tried limiting such indulgences to only when eating out, but found the calorie overload just too depressing to see in black and white when I tracked it.
So what to do? Forever give up foods I love like burgers, pizza, spaghetti? After all, over time I have learned to enjoy many new healthier foods.
But what about my husband? Watch him eat a juicy burger dripping with cheese while I spear my fork in fat free dressing while eating my garden salad without croutons?
I would try to make “lite” versions at home, but what about my husbands no fake crap rule? Therein lay my challenge.
Could I make tasty, lighter versions of some of our favorites and “sneak” them past my husband’s taste buds?
Take a look at a few of the items:
It tracked like this side by side with a similar restaurant version:
Hamburger made with 3 oz. extra lean ground beef - 199 calories
Kraft Free American cheese - 1 slice - 31 calories
Village hearth Light Italian bun - 80 calories
Dill pickles and onions - 10 calories
Lays Kettle Cooked Reduced Fat potato chips - 140 calories
Crunchy cole slaw made with olive oil and cider vinegar - 43 calories
Michelob ULTRA beer - 95 calories
Total: 598 calories
Compare that to an Applebees cheeseburger, cole slaw, and potato chips
WITHOUT beer - 1282 calories
Needless to say it passed my husband's taste test - despite me sneaking in a few
less than "real" ingredients. I told him that I call it my "reasonable facsimile" meal.
That meal is still a calorie indulgence for me but, for the occasional yearning, it satisfies without totally breaking the calorie bank.
The other day I debuted a new lower cut shirt that I had bought and when paired with one of my Victoria's Secret floatation device bras - I changed my normal flat chested appearance to one with a little more oomph!
I gushed to my husband, "What do you think? Do I look like I have LADIES now??"
He grinned a sly grin and said "I'd call 'em a reasonable facsimile"...
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Didn't Joni Mitchell sing that once? Well I had a front row seat to that lecture this week, only I'm willing to bet Joni wasn't chirping about sinus surgery...
I have spent this weekend eating naughty, naughty, naughty and today it finally hit me why.
My nausea and dizziness are gone, but while in the throes I naturally ate less. Making up for lost time?
It dawned on me when the hubby brought home a pretty bouquet of which I'll grant you don't usually have a BIG fragrance but...
With my nose full of disolvable packing, I still can't smell a thing. AND when you can't smell, you can't taste much. Real salty. Real sweet. Everything else is like munching on cardboard.
I've been eating more of the two things I can taste and LOT'S of them to "feel" like I've eaten something.
Reminded me of all the times I used to inhale my food. I still have to remind myself to SLOW DOWN at the dinner table.
If we don't take time to savor the flavors, we'll just keep eating more and more.
Like the time my sister tried weeping softly in the next room after a silly argument with her husband early in their marriage. He called out through the wall "If you want those tears to be more effective, you're going to have to turn them up a little"! Realizing the futility of the effort, she gave it up.
Back in the day, I'd have been the sister that would have sprang back through that door and manipulatively sobbed LOUDER right next to his ear...
However, like 34 years of marriage, 5 years of eating healthy has taught me a few things and recognizing the futility of eating more to try and compensate, made me give up the effort.
It isn't just the feeling of saity that stops us from eating. It's that sensual enjoyment that you get from the taste, texture, and colors of our food. I think I've gained a whole new appreciation for and
Any packing still left in my nose by next Thursday will be taken out by the doctor (lovely thought!)
Until then I have made out menus for every bite I put in my mouth next week. Every bite has been pre-tracked and I will be eating healthy, healthy, healthy - right off the tracker. I may not taste much and certainly won't smell it but thankfully it is temporary. Like an astronaut floating in space eating dehydrated goo...
But when I get my tastebuds back in full swing, I'm going to concentrate on new textures and flavors. Try some new spices. Slow down and savor each and every bite!
'Cause you really don't what you've got till it's gone...
Friday, April 16, 2010
So I've laid around now for three days enduring all the discomforts that surgery of any kind can bring -- feeling weak, dizzy, nauseated. I didn't know what to expect after sinus surgery but have discovered that it isn't the breeze that I thought it would be. Imagine having THE supreme sinus headache and all the accompanying agony. Watery eyes, stuffed head. Throw in the extreme dry mouth from mouth breathing and the stiff neck from sleeping on the recommended two big pillows. Don't bend over, don't sneeze, don't blow...
Yousa! That's a lot of whining!
Thankfully, I figured out that getting off the narcotic pain meds helped with the dizziness, weakness, and nausea. Not that I'm against pain meds. They helped me sleep pain free all day, day one, but plain Tylenol is working just fine now.
I actually turned the TV on today and found that I haven't missed much by not watching daily.
I've been reading and thinking. Lots of thinking...
One of the things I've been thinking about is spark points. I know, right? Of all the things I could lay around and think about -- why on earth spark points?
You see I never have paid much attention to the whole spark point thing. I've read blogs from friends that basically said they didn't have any thing to say, however they wanted the points for blogging. I was mildly amused and didn't mind reading them, but still couldn't see the point.
The little rebel in me -- the one that came out when I got a tattoo at age 50 -- said "I do what I feel like doing, when I feel like doing it and I could care less whether I get points or not"!
It's that same little rebel that whispers in my ear that one doughnut hole won't impact my healthy eating that much...
When my good spark friend, JIMDAB, posted a similar blog, I paid a little more attention. He's a pretty rational guy who usually writes a lot of common sense.
Thanks, JIMDAB, for setting my wheels in motion:
Spark points mean that you are participating. Every article that you read, blog that you comment on, recipe that you try only contributes to your success. When I have found myself searching lately for where I might be lacking in my weight loss efforts (notice I said weight loss and not maintaining...), this is one area where I'm lacking. Not taking the time to track calories. Not keeping in touch with my teams in a daily huddle, not journeling. I can blame it on a lot of things. I'm just as busy as the rest of the world. Between work and working out it seems as though I don't have time for anything else.
Well let me tell you, seven pounds snuck on me somehow and I'm willing to bet it was by finding the time to put something in my mouth. Especially something that wasn't thought out.
Spark points serve another purpose. They make us feel successful. We all know that eating right and exercising just for one day isn't going to make a huge impact on the scale the next morning. Because we don't get that instant reward, it's tempting to say why bother? I'm just as impatient as the rest of humanity. I want to see my efforts paying off sooner. What better way then seeing those spark points go up? If my points are going up, it's because I'm spending my time in a pursuit that only furthers my efforts to acheiving my health and fitness goals. You won't lose weight watching TV -- until we get Spark TV, huh?
One of my worst health habits used to be eating in front of the TV set. I only eat at the table now. I even staggered out to the dining table the day after surgery and ate my pudding.
I always laugh and say I can't eat and type at the same time so I don't eat at the computer. After ruining my beloved Mac by spilling tea on it, I won't be drinking anything but bottled water over it either!
Voracious reader that I am, I went looking for articles about sinus surgery and low and behold, found some great information right here on SP AND --
I got points for reading it!
Wow!! Points for doing something I would have done elsewhere on the web for nothing! I'm liking this!! I'm going to go to my points page today and look for every way I can rack up those points and know that the benefits will be more than just a trophy on my page!
Now if you could just get points for emptying the dishwasher!
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