Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Have you heard about the latest trend the girls are trying to achieve? It's called a "thigh gap," and is the name for the space between your upper legs. Girls are determined to lose weight so that there will be a visible space between their upper legs. Most of us don't have much of a space there. I used to get a bad rash in that area, because my legs were so fat and rubbed together. Today I do have a gap that I am very proud of, but it's between my lower legs. I never had that before. I can say with certainty that I will never have a thigh gap, nor do I want one.
I had a cavity filled at the dentist Monday morning, and while he was working, I was watching The Doctors on TV. They had a 18-year-old young lady on the show who was 5'8" and weighed 105 lbs. She had been anorexic/bulemic since she was 12. She has been in treatment, had a food tube, and her parents are worried she is going to die. When she sees pictures of herself, she says that she thinks she is 10-15 pounds overweight. Of course there was lots of pictures of her in a bikini, and it was so sad. Her self-perception is so warped. She said, "I don't want to die, but I don't want to be fat." They showed her pictures of herself a few years ago, and she was obviously a few pounds heavier and very beautiful. She thought she looked fat in those pictures. The doctors asked her if she thought she looked happy in the old pictures. She didn't remember. Her body systems are shutting down, and if she doesn't reverse the weight loss, she could die.
It is hard for me to imagine NOT wanting to eat, for fear of getting fat. I face the grim prospect of NOT needing to eat or I'll get fat, but WANTING to eat anyway. I always WANT to eat. Like the young lady on The Doctors, I also faced the grim prospect of early death, however, for me, it was because I was TOO fat.
The things we do to ourselves.....and I blame food. WHY does it have to taste so good? Why does it have to be so available, so plentiful? Why are there great restaurants and fast food places on every corner? Why don't I have more will-power?
I read a story last night in People Magazine about a 12-year-old girl who has gone from 50 lbs. to 200 lbs. in less than two years, after brain surgery to remove a tumor near her pituitary gland. The surgery affected her hypothalmus, which controls your appetite. Now she is always hungry and her brain doesn't tell her when she is full. She is incapable of playing with friends, or even much strenuous movement due to her size. She longs to wear pretty little girl clothes, but they don't make clothes to fit her. Her parents are seeking gastric bypass surgery for their daughter, even though she is technically too young to qualify. Her mother is very thin, and says the girl's diet is low in fat and calories, and very healthy. But still she continues to gain weight.
Even though this little girl's obesity is not her fault, she is stared at when she is out in public and hears mean comments that people make about her appearance. People don't discriminate when it comes to which fat people they make fun of do they? I read the story with tears in my eyes, as I thought of all the little girls (and boys) in the world who are obese, and get teased and bullied. Even if obesity is not due to a medical condition, we all know being obese is a handicap in our world. When we are young, we are teased unmercifully, and when we grow old, the obesity adversely affects our health. Most of us don't have a brain condition that contributes to our obesity.....or do we? Isn't addiction to food a malfunction in our brains?
There definitely needs to be more research into food addiction, to help those of us who suffer from it, find ways to combat it. I know how difficult it is for me not to overeat, and I am not 12 years old. I also know what overeating did to my body and my health, and still it is hard to resist all those yummy snacks. It makes me sad that these young people have to go through what I went through as an adult, when they are just children, and don't have the maturity or capacity to understand it or fight it.
Monday, March 10, 2014
On Saturday, Du promised we could go for a walk if it was as nice as it was predicted to be on Sunday. It was!!! We headed over to Pioneer's Park, a big city park, not far from our house, and took our Bulldog Juno along, she was so excited when she saw Du grab the leash.
The Park was busy, as is normal for a 60+ degree day in March in Nebraska. We met lots of dogs being walked by their people along the trail and it was simply lovely. At one point, we met a family with a little dog who asked us if we had a Bulldog. We said yes and inquired what breed they had, their's was a French Bulldog. I joked, "Frenchie, Meet English!" Another family with three dogs came up behind us and said, "This one is an American Bulldog!" So we covered the gamut of Bulldogs in the Park yesterday.
We have made GREAT progress in housebreaking. Juno is now allowed to be out of her kennel when we leave the house and at night and so far we have had no accidents. About 10 days ago, she tried to tell me she needed to go outside, and I misinterpreted and she ended up pooping right beside me in the house. That was her last accident, and it was totally my fault. She felt so bad, I could hardly yell at her. That is when I knew we had turned a corner, she had never felt so guilty about her accidents before. It's like a light went on and she is so good now. Makes me love her even more. We have an appt. soon to get her spayed, she is already almost eight months old. Time is sure flying. I wish life would slow down, but I am grateful that Juno seems to be housebroken finally.
After the Park visit, we headed to oldest son's (Mark's) house. He was having problems with his SUV, and his Dad wanted to help. Mark is almost through his 90-day driving ban (from the seizures he suffered around Thanksgiving-time), and is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel again. The SUV is their second car and had gotten a flat tire as it sat in their garage, not being driven. So Du helped him get the tire off (for some reason the brand new jack Mark had bought did not work), and they will take it in to get it fixed. Of course I rode along to their house, I never miss a chance to see the grandkids.
Amber came out and played with me in the driveway in the beautiful Spring weather, as they worked on the car. She is so much fun. I am keeping her on Thursday, since her babysitter will be out of town. I plan to pick up Mia (the other granddaughter) from her Daycare, and we're all going to get our nails done, in preparation for the wedding. I think we will go with hot pink to match their dresses! Yesterday, Amber rode her bike, then her big wheel, and at her request, I blew bubbles, which she chased. We laughed at the pictures on my camera that Mia took last time she was at our house. Mia loves to take pictures. Usually they're not too good, but occasionally, I find one that is really fun. Most of the pictures we checked out yesterday weren't so good, and it made Amber & I giggle. So we took a selfie of the two of us.
I am always dismayed at how old I look in pictures, especially those close-up selfies. I am so wrinkled, and my wattle---well it's just so ugly. But it doesn't take away from the joy of the day.
I told Du on our way to son's house yesterday that I wished life could be like this forever. We had such a nice day, Du was able to walk with me, and more importantly felt good enough to do so, and it was a beautiful Spring day and I got to see my grandchildren, and it makes me sad that these kinds of days are so limited in our future. So I plan to enjoy every one of them I can get! And I did!!
I had an upper endoscopy done Friday, and the doctor discovered a huge ulcer. He is a little worried about the size and mentioned the slight possibility of cancer. I will be waiting by my phone for the next several days and hoping I do NOT get a call. They simply send a letter with the test results if it's NOT cancer. At last, I have an answer to my stomach problems. I am not allowed to take aspirin and will probably never take it again. I was an aspirin addict, I took it way too often, obviously, and it certainly contributed to the formation of the ulcer. I know all those aspirin weren't good for me, but for some reason, I considered it harmless. I guess all those aspirin I took so freely for every little ache and pain over the years weren't so harmless after all. On the plus side, since I quit taking aspirin and started taking Omeprazole, (which is evidently just Prilosec at a prescription strength) which the doctor prescribed for the ulcer, I haven't had a single episode of stomach cramps. Course it's only been a few days, but I am hopeful that I am on the road to wellness at last!
Oh...forgot to mention....Basketball was very good in the Cornhusker State yesterday. If you know Nebraska, you know we are NOT a powerhouse basketball state. The University of Nebraska Men's Team has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1997 I believe. Our Girl's Team has been more successful, but yesterday, for the first time, not only did the Girls University of Nebraska team win the Big 10 Tournament, but the Boys beat #9 ranked Wisconsin in the last regular season Big 10 match, to earn a bye in the first round of the Men's Big 10 Tournament this week (unheard of!), and perhaps a ticket to the Big Dance in a week or so! GO BIG RED!!!
Thursday, March 06, 2014
I didn't make it to my goal to get back to 150 lbs. before nephew's wedding next weekend. In fact, I didn't get close. I did lose about 8-10 lbs. (depending on the day), and that is a good thing....better than watching the scale climb and climb. But I am still at least 15 pounds from my goal but as always, I am a work in progress. Some days are better than others. My worst temptation right now is nuts. I buy them for Du, they're supposed to be healthy and good for you...in limited quantities. At least that's what I hear, Dr. Oz is always talking up the NUTS. Limited quantities is my problem. But I'm working on it.
I did buy a new dress for the wedding, even though I have lots of pretty clothes in my closet that I never wear now that I'm retired. I don't have many dresses, however, and I thought this occasion called for a nice dress. I had always wanted a LBD (Little Black Dress), so found one at Kohls.com.
I'll try to get a picture of ME in the dress at the wedding and post it later.
The dress has a blousy/elasticized waist and long sleeves, which helps disguise a couple of my problem areas. I looked in the stores, but there are few long-sleeved dresses out there, most of them are sleeveless. I noticed at the Academy Awards the other night, most of the older ladies (my age...60+) wore sleeved gowns. The arms must be the first to go, of course in my case, my arms took the brunt of the weight loss, in that loose skin hangs from them, and it is hideous. In fact, this dress I got on-line, has those peek-a-boo sleeves, you know the ones that are slit, from shoulder to cuff. I tried it on, and decided I would tack the sleeve together at the elbow just to make sure I didn't expose my awful upper arms accidentally if the slits happen to fall open. I just took a couple stitches and anchored my threads well, hopefully it will hold. I did notice, from the short time I worked on the dress while sitting in my chair, it is now covered with Bulldog hair. It's amazing how that little short-haired dog can shed! WOW! I bought black undergarments, and some black panty hose to wear with my new LBD. I know hose aren't worn anymore, but with my varicose veins and loose skin, they are a necessity in my case. I'm considering wearing my very low heels, at least to the wedding ceremony. I may change to my flats for the reception. I don't walk well in any kind of heels. I found a spanx-type full-length slip at Target. It was expensive ($42--for me--that's pricy for a slip!), but I think it will do a good job of firming me up underneath my LBD.
My youngest son, Chris is an usher at his cousin's wedding and my two granddaughters are flower girls. I can't wait to see them all "dolled up" for the event, I already posted pictures of the DGD's in their dresses....they are adorable, although Amber confided in me that the dress is "kinda itchy." Hopefully they will leave them on all night. Maybe their moms can find some kind of slip to wear underneath that will protect their skin from an itchy dress.
My nephew and his fiance are a lovely couple. They have dated for years, since high school, and he is just six months older than my Chris, they are both 28, so high school was 10 years ago. My sister-in-law (my nephew's mom) is my husband's youngest sister. She was the flower girl at our wedding (she was only 6 when we got married).
Although she is mother of the groom, from what I hear from her, it sounds like she is doing a lot of the work usually done by the mother of the bride. She has five boys, so I guess it's nice that at this wedding of her (oldest) boy, she gets to be an active participant. When my two oldest sons got married, the bride and their moms did most of the planning and I just stepped back and enjoyed it all, although I did go bridal and attendant dress shopping with one of my future daughters-in-law, which was fun. I am really looking forward to sitting back and enjoying another family wedding in a week or so!
I am now the proud holder of tickets to THREE upcoming concerts. At the end of March, Du and I are going to see Bill Maher (Politically Incorrect) in concert. Du is a big fan of Bill's show on HBO, and I tolerate Bill's outrageous opinions. I know most of it is for comedic effect. Carlos Santana will be in town in June, he is touring with Rod Stewart. That should be another great concert, and it will be our first opportunity to see the new Pinnacle Arena, which we helped build with a small tax on our bill every time we go out to eat. My daughter-in-law and I are going to the Katy Perry concert at the same Pinnacle Arena in August. For a person who doesn't go to many concerts anymore (back in the day....we attended lots and lots of concerts, but not so much anymore), I am excited about the prospect of hearing some wonderful music (and outlandish opinions)! As I have spoken about here before, Du discovered a song by Santana called "Hold On," and the lyrics truly speak to our situation--we adore the music as well.
Carlos Santana is a gifted guitarist/musician, and I can't wait to hear what he has to offer to his Lincoln audience next June. Rod Stewart ain't bad either!!
Katy Perry became a favorite when I discovered her song, "Firework." In fact, when NBC asked if I had a tune I would like used when they introduced me on the Today Show in Nov. 2012, I picked "Firework," Granddaughter Amber calls that song, "Grandma's song," to this day. They have my TV appearance saved on their DVR, and my son tells me that they watch it quite often, even after more than a year. Have I mentioned lately how much I adore my grandchildren??? http://www.today.com/video/today/49886372/
It's shaping up to b a wonderful year, now if I can just keep Du healthy long enough to enjoy all these upcoming events. We have put off our trip planning, however, until we go back to the Cancer Treatment Center in April. Scans there will tell us how Du is doing. We may have to postpone trips, if other treatment is called for or if there are other circumstances. I can see a perceptible down-turn in Du's health, even though it is very gradual. Walking and getting up from a seated position is getting harder, and he has little energy. Of course he is still working full-time and I understand how that saps his energy so that he has little left when he gets home. He suffers from being so cold, especially after he eats dinner at night, that he literally shakes. He has to run from the kitchen table into the family room, where he covers up with a new very warm blanket I got him for Christmas and tries to warm up. His latest UTI seems to be clearing up thanks to the antibiotics the ER prescribed, but I know it will just come flaring back very soon. It makes me so sad to see this slow, inevitable march into illness. I have dreaded it for so long and it scares me to see it happening. I want to delay it for as long as possible.
I am headed to the GI Dr. this afternoon. I hope he can give me some answers to these stomach cramps that continue to bother me. It is a mystery, but it sure hurts. Right now, and for the last few days, I have felt great. This always makes me think that I am finally well, and then I get another bout with the debilitating cramps. Hopefully I can find some answers somewhere.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
I found Sean Anderson through the Internet several years ago. He is an amazing man...whose journey to health is chronicled in his blog "The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser" http://losingweighteveryday.blogspot.com/
Sean started at over 500 lbs., and in a little over two years, lost 275 lbs., hitting his goal in November 2010. Like all of us, he discovered maintenance is not easy. He did manage to maintain his loss for 1.5 years (I maintained for over 2 years, before my regain), but then spent the next year and a half regaining 143 pounds.
It's an old, sad story. We work so hard, and get the weight off, even keep the weight off....for a time. Old habits are hard to kick. Addictions are impossible to kick. We will always be addicts, our only hope is to be able to control our addictions. And that takes constant vigilance, it gets tiresome, we grow weary of the constant deprivation, we want to eat what we want to eat, and the pounds quickly pile back on.
Sean even wrote a book about his journey, called "Transformation Road." You can buy it on his website: http://www.transformationroad.com/505store
When I was losing weight originally, I found reading autobiographies and blogs of others who were also losing weight, very motivational. Sean's book is good, but as an eternal romantic, I was a bit disappointed when, towards the end, he told about his divorce. Still his journey to lose weight kept me motivated on my own journey, and I loved his book.
Sean is not giving in to the inevitable regain, however. He is once again "back on the wagon," back to blogging often, and he also posts on Facebook a lot. Today he wrote:
"When the restrictions of morbid obesity are stripped away, you're free to go places you once could only dream about. Oh the places you'll go! Without ever physically going anywhere...You'll travel to places within, you may not have known existed. The physical freedom is great, the mental freedom is beyond description."
He is a very good writer and his words often really hit me where I live, as his words today did. Even though I have a "before" picture of myself on my fridge, and every night on my way upstairs to bed, I pass the family picture taken at my middle son's wedding in 2006, where I am morbidly obese, It has become too easy to ignore the fact that I could be there again, quite easily. I have to constantly remember all that I have gained from this weight loss, and how awful it was to be so cut off from the world because of how limited my mobility was.
Today, I have plans to go to a Katy Perry concert in August, Bill Maher in March, and Santana and Rod Stewart in June. We are also considering taking a bus tour/trip, to NYC (again--we LOVED that town!), or North Carolina, or Colorado or any of a myriad of places sometime this year. I would never have considered this before. Not only did I not fit very well in those narrow seats, just getting down the aisle of the arena or the bus was difficult. Besides I couldn't walk very far, so how could I take part in all the tours? How could I even walk from the parking lot to the arena? Today I want to go everywhere and experience everything, no longer confined by my obesity. As Sean said, not only is the physical freedom amazing, the mental freedom is even better than the physical.
Yesterday....I got the oil changed in my car. The waiting area had those very cheap, narrow chairs with arms. I used to hate those. Yesterday, I thought about it for a moment before I sat down, relishing the realization that I didn't have to worry about fitting into a chair anymore. And most importantly, I have the mobility I need to do what needs to be done now for my wonderful Du, and will be able to take good care of him when he becomes ill.
So Iím following Seanís journey avidly, trying to share in his motivation and determination as I work on dropping the pounds I have gained. We are all, indeed, works in progress. Itís important to never never never never never give up. Sean and I are still in there tryingÖ..how about you?
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
A high school classmate of mine recently died. Beverly was 62, about to turn 63, and there was no cause of death in her obituary. No survivors or anything about her was listed in the obituary either. I was not a close friend of hers, but in our class of 60-something, we knew everyone else, and I am saddened by her loss. Many of my classmates have passed away over the years since we graduated in 1969. We even lost one boy in a traffic accident the Fall of 1968. I see his grave every time I visit my parents, they are in the same cemetery. Others have passed away from cancer and heart attacks, and I think when someone your age dies, it bothers you more. But as I get older, I need to learn to expect this and accept these losses as part of life.
I guess the part of Beverly's death that bothers me is the lack of personal information in her obituary. I know she never married, and contracted a disease (Guillain-Barre syndrome?) that left her unable to walk and in a wheelchair. I used to run into her occasionally after graduation, since she worked for a time at the County/City building, where you renew your license plates. But since that is done through the mail or on-line now, I hadn't seen her in years. I'm guessing she was no longer working anyway, due to her disability. I know some people recover from that syndrome, but not sure that Beverly ever did. I remember hearing that years later, she was still in that wheelchair. I am trying to remember if she had any siblings, but for the life of me I cannot. I'm guessing her parents preceded her in death, and it makes me so very sad that there may be no family or even close friends left to mourn her loss.
So today I am mourning the loss of an old classmate, who probably led a very quiet, and maybe lonely life. I know that could have been my life. Beverly was a little heavy in high school, like I was, but she had her own group of friends. I never dated in high school, until my junior/senior prom at the very end of my senior year, when my Du called and invited me to go with him. That first date led to a relationship, a wedding, three children, grandchildren, and a wonderful, joyful life for the last 45 years. Du stuck by me even when I gained an enormous amount of weight and never made me feel unattractive. He is a jewel. Du has been my touchstone. How he feels is how I feel. And how I feel is how he feels. We are truly soulmates. His mood dictates my own, and for the most part we have been sublimely happy and never lonely. I dread the loneliness that I know is in my future, but I am so very grateful for having had the love of my life by my side for all these years. Today our love is deep, and more meaningful than I ever thought possible, probably because we both realize how precious it is, and how limited our time together is. Happiness is possible even without a husband or family, I am well aware of that, but an obituary that lists nothing except the date a person was born and the date a person died, just seems so sad. Rest in Peace Beverly.
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