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Thank you fellow Sparkers!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Thanks to the encouragement of family, friends and fellow Sparkers, I feel a lot better about my decision to cut back my hours with Shirley, even with her cancer diagnosis complicating things. I am reminded that she has daughters who probably will up their involvement at this difficult time. If I step back, that helps them to get in there more. They were used to me always being there and felt they weren't needed so much. I guess I was being an enabler.

I also am grateful for motivation to keep up my exercise, which is a great stress reliever. Sometimes when I'm stressed the first thing I want to do is ditch my plan to work out. I see I've grown and learned to keep consistent. Why throw out all my hard work because of a couple weeks of stress? I deserve to take care of myself no matter what. It's great that I got the 28 day boot camp DVD just in time for the start of February. I'm motivated to keep up with the schedule and it is doing something. . .I'm sore!

Eating has generally been under control. I'm still eating things that are healthy for me. I've just had some extra sugar for part of a week. But it wasn't enough to make me go over on my carbs, though I don't count sugar grams, which would be more telling. In general I feel good about my eating.

I plan to have a good Sunday, even though I have to work 5.5 hours at Hallmark. Hallmark is a happy store to work in. People are there mostly to buy cards and gifts for loved ones they are celebrating with. . .happy thoughts are in their minds.

Have a great Sunday SparkFriends!
I appreciate you more than you'll ever know! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRANDTSGIRL 2/5/2012 12:30PM

    Happy Sabbath day:)

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_JODI404 2/5/2012 10:16AM

    Truly glad to hear that your stress is down!!

Great job on doing your boot camp and staying on plan. Life's big stress's (like this) are usually the things that can derail your efforts, and you did not let that happen!! Way to Go!!

Hope you have a great day!

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Sad News. . .

Friday, February 03, 2012

Well, Wednesday I told Shirley i was cutting the hours I'd spend with her and today she tells me she has found out she has lung cancer! I am torn between feelings of guilt and relief that I cut the hours. Guilt because now I feel she needs me more and relief because I don't think I could stand to see her steady decline. Since she's 90, they wont do surgery, but will probably do radiation. I feel like a coward because I don't want to be around during her hard times. But I am being protective of myself and my emotional wellbeing. Stress is a big trigger for eating, but more importantly it triggers depression and mania in the bipolar world I live in.

I was with Shirley today when she told her 94 year old husband (in assisted living) that she has cancer, and it was a very emotional situation. Of course she shed tears and so did I, but George, bless his heart, didn't really get the big picture. He sensed that something was terribly wrong, but he didn't grasp that she is dying. They will be married 70 years in April. Can you imagine living long enough to see your 70th anniversary??? I can't! I will have my 35th this summer, and that is exactly half of the time she's been married! Wow!

This whole week, since she fell and got the concussion till Wed when I cut my hours, till today when I hound out about her cancer, I have been drawn to sweets. I've not gone over my calories too many days and when I have, it's only been by a hundred or so. It's just that the temptations are stronger than the have been in the 6 months I've been Sparking. Christmas wasn't even this hard. I'm sure this is just another opportunity to become stronger.

I love Shirley, please pray for her. This has been a sad day

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKCHANTAL 2/4/2012 8:39AM

    all the amazing things... and stories... on this planet! you and shirley certainly belong to them. i will keep you in my prayers.

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BLUE42DOWN 2/4/2012 12:27AM


She will be in my thoughts. Seventy years together is pretty incredible. emoticon

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_JODI404 2/3/2012 10:25PM

    This is very sad news. I'm so sorry! emoticon emoticon

It is very important that you take care of yourself, and that means your mental and physical well being.

You did mention that she has other resources. Hopefully you can feel less guilt about this knowing that other resources will have to be engaged, and that she will have the support she needs... just not as many paid hours with you.

I imagine she may be ready for hospice care now? The hospice nurses were fantastic beyond words for my Mom. I will definitely place her in my prayers!

It is very hard to deny sweets during such a stressful time. You may need to work your plans so that you can have an allotted amount of dark chocolate (as an example). The over 70% cacao ones can be good for you with the right portion. That may help you, and not throw you off the track. (If you don't prefer dark chocolate... try it out, your tastes will adapt to it. I did not like it, and adapted my tastes to really like it. I have it as an occasional treat).

I have a feeling that cutting your hours came at just the right time for you. I know you care about Shirley and she is your friend, but you can support her with friendship in other ways. Acts of kindness etc.. rather than hours on the job.

Take care!

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It's really difficult to feel like you're letting a friend down when she needs you the most, but you're right, you DO need to put your own health first. As an alternative, can you help get your friend set up for home health care? Or is there a way she could join her husband at the assisted living center? What about her children? Are they in a position to help their mother?

Sending you and your friend strength to cope.

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A New Month, a Fresh Attitude

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A few great things have happened today.

When I got home from work there was a package waiting for me from Amazon. I got my Coach Nicole 28 day Boot Camp video AND my SparkPeople Cookbook! YAY! I changed clothes and tried out day one of the video and I am pleased. I couldn't have timed it better, getting it on the first of the month so I could keep track of the days easily.

And now I will have a few more hours freed up to read and use the cookbook, because I reduced my hours I will be working with Shirley. ( the 90 year old woman I am companion to.) I was just getting too stressed out by the job. She took it pretty well, though I'm sure she'll challenge me about it in the near future, once it sinks in that I won't be there three times a week but only 1. She has other resources and I've been with her off and on for 5 years, and I've just had enough. She treats me like family and we will always stay in touch, even if I quit completely.

I feel the stress just melting away. . .

Today, I stopped by to drop off a birthday gift for a friend. She had hosted a baby shower last weekend and had made the most amazing cut-out cookies. Winnie the Pooh, train engines and dinosaurs, all iced and drawn on with icing. I have a real weakness for sugar cookies like these and though she gave me 4 to take home, and though I tore into one on my way home, I stopped at just one. I had started opening a second one--they were individually wrapped with a satin ribbon tied on to hold them closed--but talked myself out of continuing. It was ok to have one, it was my snack, but in the last two days I've just gotten my motivation back. Starting fresh for the new month. SO I resisted and in the end it wasn't that hard to ignore the cookies sitting on the seat next to me. But Oh are they good, just like i like them.

Today I decided to take the time to go back and analyze the data from my first 6 months. Calories eaten and calories burned and rate of weight loss. It looks like no matter what I've done, I keep losing at the rate of 5 pounds per 2 month period. I can eat less and exercise more, or eat more and exercise the same, or exercise less and eat more. . .any way I've tried, I just lose those 5 lbs in 2 months. I am thankful for every 1/2 pound I lose, so I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing right now. I've fallen into a groove. I'm sure I'll have to increase time of my exercise as I go along, but I'm doing things in a sustainable fashion.

I have a good feeling about this month of February! It's my birthday month and I am going to treat myself well!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 2/1/2012 9:10PM

    So glad that you are feeling so much less stress!! High levels of stress can just throw everything else you have going on off balance. Good for you taking action to reduce your stress! You'll enjoy that extra time for cooking new meals etc.

There is nothing wrong with your weight loss rate! I think slow and steady wins the race! You aren't too far from goal, so that pace will work out fine for you. Seems like you will attain so long as you just do what you are already doing, which is great to know!

I hope February will rock for you!! You definitely deserve to treat yourself well, always! But for your birthday month... extra special for sure!

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SHERIO5 2/1/2012 7:56PM

    Oh, I'd have had a difficult time resisting sugar cookies as well! They are my favorite, with icing!! Though I haven't yet met a cookie I didn't like!

Good work on starting your Bootcamp DVD! I'm interested in how you like it... I'm planning to pick one-up next time I'm at Target. I have Fit, Firm and Fired Up, and the Cardio one and use them pretty regularly. My husband uses them daily!!

I'm impressed with your steady weight loss...you are doing emoticon

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LIMASTAR 2/1/2012 7:06PM

  Congrats on staying the course. I love homemade cookies as well. I don't chuck them out, but put them in the freezer to reduce temptation. I will eat one on occasion as a treat or a reward for work well done.

Enjoy life.

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Trying day.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I am stressed out being at Shirley's today. I'm here for 5 hours. She has a concussion from her fall the other day. When you're 90, healing takes longer. Pray if you will for her to have a speedy recovery. I'm worried that she'll fall while I'm here, since she is so dizzy. I don't want to be here. She is resting and all I have to do here is read a book or Spark on my iPhone.

I'm so hungry and I have to wait to dig in to my lunch till she eats, too. Otherwise I won't have anything to do while she eats. We sit and read while we eat. I know that's not advisable, to read while you eat, but that's what she does and she wants me to read too so she doesn't feel like she has to have conversation.

I had two of her hershey kisses. I didn't crave any more, but I did want to EAT SOMETHING!
I was in tears from the stress and really hungry. I drank a couple glasses of water.

That was all earlier.

Now, the day with Shirley is done, though I'm still worrying about her. I left before her other help came. I could've stayed longer, but I was eager to get out of there. I know I should feel sorry for her. Instead I feel burdened and stressed. I have no nursing training. I'm just her companion. As she ages it will be harder for me to be with her. But we've become friends and It is more than a business arrangement. When I left she kept saying she was afraid to be alone. She is quite dizzy and could easily fall. It's just been 48 hours since her fall.

I feel guilty for leaving her. But in 45 minutes I have to go to my other job. One time I tried to work closer to the time I had to go to Hallmark, but I was frazzled at Hallmark and had a hard time shifting gears from one job to the next. I didn't want that to happen today, so I left Shirley's at 3. Though my usual hours are 10-2, I stayed extra for obvious reasons.I just couldn't bring myself to stay with shirley till 4. I work at 5 at hallmark. So I've been sitting in a coffee shop with my journal and computer. Trying to get some things done that I'll be too tired to do when I get home at 9:30.

I'm proud of myself that, though I was sure I wouldn't get a workout in today, I biked for 20 minutes before work this morning. Yay. I didn't get to exercise yesterday, so I didn't want to go two days in a row without doing something for my body.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 1/28/2012 11:15PM


This sounds so stressful. I understand how you feel, you care about her, but it's a lot of responsibility to be her companion when there are health concerns like this. I hope that she will be OK and is healing well.

You did so well with eating only 2 kisses and drinking water. I don't think I could do so well myself! Glad you were able to get the bike done in the AM! I'm sure that helped you feel better on such a trying day.

Hope you are able to relax some this weekend. Put on some nice relaxation music and de-stress.

Take care!

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Comment edited on: 1/28/2012 11:15:38 PM

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SHERIO5 1/28/2012 12:15PM

    I'm with everyone else, very difficult day, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have stopped with 2 kisses! Good job!

You are a very compassionate person, so be sure to take care of yourself during your "off" time, or make some time for you...you really do need to take care so you don't have "secondary stress" from caring for your friend....that's just as real.


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MISSLISA1973 1/27/2012 7:44PM

    emoticon There was a lot of stress today. No wonder you felt like crying. I can totally relate to you being hungry. I'm not sure I can relate to stopping after just two kisses when hungry. That is amazing!

emoticonHugs to you as you go through this with your friend.

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MARTHASPARKS 1/27/2012 4:42PM

    That was a tough day and the kind that is hard to shake off. Hope you are feeling better now.

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ANGELA482 1/27/2012 4:37PM

    Things got tough but, it sounds like you are getting it done... I know that stress is a really hard thing to deal with. I've lost that battle many times. I am still learning to deal with it myself. But, some situations can't be helped.. You just have to learn how to get through..And, it sounds to me like you did just that!... You even stayed later than you were required too.. You did a great job.. Just hang in there..

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An adrenaline pumping kind of day. . .

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Strange day today.

On my way to work I got thinking that I may have forgotten to take my medicine this morning. I got to work and told the woman who I am companion to that I had forgotten to take my medicine. She encouraged me to go home. That's 1/2 hour round trip. We have a flexible arrangement so I didn't feel too bed doing just that. I got home and found out that I had taken it after all. Oh, well!

Then I took her to the nail salon. She's 90 and can't cut her toenails, so she likes to go get a pedicure so they will cut them for her. After she got done drying her nails, she put on her socks and shoes. I turned my back just for a second and she tried to stand from the chair, which was a chair on wheels, that also swivels. The chair flew out from underneath her and she screamed and went down, also bumping her head on another chair. She sat up ok but was really shaken up. She took her pulse (without looking at the time, she apparently can judge how fast it's going without a watch) and at first it was rapid and it settled down ok after that. She can't get off the floor and I couldn't help her because of my bad back. She had me call her daughter who lives nearby. Then she said her chest hurt and I was concerned about her heart. I asked her several times if she wanted me to call 911. Eventually, before her daughter arrived, she had me call 911. The rescue people got there shortly after Margey did. I took Shirley's car to her house and picked up my car and went on to the hospital. I was a little shaken as well.

At the hospital, I hung around long enough to be sure everyone got the clear picture of what I saw happen. They wanted to be sure she didn't have a mini stroke or get a concussion, since she was acting confused. It was 1:00 by the time I left the hospital, leaving Shirley there with her daughter and son-in-law. It's 5:00 now and I have no idea how she's doing. Probably fine.

When I left, (my lunch bag got left at Shirley's) I was hungry. I stopped for a bathroom break at a coffee shop I frequent. Got myself a cup of iced coffee (it is in the 60's today) and was tempted by and bought a Krispy Bar. Scarfed that down in the car and headed home. When I got home my adrenaline was still running high and I wanted to eat sweets. I'm sure the krispy bar triggered a hankering for more sugar. I looked in the fridge and saw the fudgey chocolate cake slice I'd bought my husband the night before. I said NO to myself and opened up the freezer, thinking I might have a vegetarian corn dog. But better yet, i spotted a chicken fried rice by Lean Cuisine and decided on that. It was only 260 calories. It satisfied me and I broke that craving for sweets.

I started the day with a 45 minute walk outside. 40 degrees at the time. At the hospital, I got lost trying to find my way back to my car. I don't know how to get around that hospital very well. I've only been there a few times and it's a maze. I must've walked another 15 minutes just trying to find my car!

I hope I have a nice quiet evening. . . .

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CALICO_CHLOE 1/26/2012 5:51PM

    You had an amazing day. You helped an old lady and got in your exercise in more ways than you planned. Strange things seem to happen for a reason Keep up the good job on those good choices

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_JODI404 1/25/2012 9:13PM

    Sounds like a crazy day! I hope that Shirley will be OK. Falls can be surprisingly hard to recoup from at that age.

Congrats on making a healthy choice instead of stress/emotional eating!!! I'm proud of you, way to go!

Hope you are able to relax and unwind tonight.

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BLUE42DOWN 1/25/2012 7:42PM

    Hope everything winds up okay for the woman you're a companion for.

emoticon overcoming those cravings in a healthy way!

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SHERIO5 1/25/2012 6:08PM


No wonder you are wound up! What a day!

Yes, wishing you a calm, relaxing, healthy evening! Good for you making a good lunch choice!

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