Monday, July 11, 2011
This is gonna be a long blog, but I can't even say good morning in less than 500 words, and besides, I have so many victories to talk about this week.
My first one is a scale victory:
Oh how I love Spark Honeymoons! You know, that first week back when you can lose a pound a day and don't even feel like you are working at it. I've lost 7 pounds my first week and even though I know it's not 7 pounds of fat and I realize that I only lost that large of an amount because of the Spark Honeymoon, I don't care. It's still nice and it lets me know that I have, indeed, made some changes.
My first nonscale victory of the week - I have actually had meals with members of my family. You see, although we own a kitchen table, we apparently have forgotten that it can be used during meal times. Normally it holds a few days worth of junk mail, some cat treats, at least one article of clothing, something that needs to be returned to some store, a handful of CDs, the packing materials from our latest ebay purchase, and a ball of something quite unidentifiable that seemed to involve dryer lint, a gum wrapper, and some pine needles. Unless you count the little pile of soy sauce packets from the Thai take out place, our table hasn't seen food in quite a while.
Well this week that changed. This week we reclaimed our table for the noble purpose of gathering around, in person, in order to eat a meal together. We did it several times and it wasn't even a holiday.
My second nonscale victory is that my treadmill and I survived the week without destroying one another. Oh it was close at times, but we managed to pull through. For some reason, my right hamstring is giving me fits and I am taking a very long time to recover from a jog. Because of that hamstring, I didn't make any of my jogging goals for the week, but I'm all for focusing on what I did do and not what I didn't do, so the victory is mine because I'm not giving up. I just jog when I can, stretch, use ice, and be patient until I am able to jog again. I'm hoping that in time, this nonsense will stop and I can go back to jogging as I used to do.
I actually am using the map idea that I mentioned in a previous blog. I've got a map hanging behind my treadmill and each time I jog I apply my distance to that map. I'm headed out of town now. According to my map, I'm on the outskirts of Port Townsend and headed south. I'm not sure where I'll go, but I'll get there eventually. I think I might head toward California. At my current pace, I'll make it there just before Christmas...Christmas of 2016, that is, but I'll get there just the same.
I keep thinking that I could just "jog" to Seattle and take a plane, but that wouldn't do me any more good than my bright idea about the bus did.
My third nonscale victory is that I have made more new Spark Friends and I've gotten to reunite with my previous Spark Friends. You all are so inspiring and you make me want to achieve more. Thanks everyone.
My fifth victory of the week is a philosophical one. Let me tell you about the day I got my treadmill. As I said before, I found it on Freecycle. I answered an ad and didn't hear anything back for about a week. Then I get an email explaining that the owner of the treadmill had planned to give it to someone else, but that someone hadn't arrived to pick it up and so now I had a shot at it. Let me tell you, I can move fast if I have to and I was in my van 10 minutes later headed to Port Hadlock to get a treadmill.
The woman who owned it said that she hated to get rid of it, but it was taking up too much room in her house and it just had to go. On the way to her home, I imagined that I would find a stick figure of a woman, 30 something, life long runner, probably has a local marathon or two named after her. She would weight almost 100 pounds and 98 of that would be muscle.
I thought that she would answer the door in size negative 2 jogging shorts, an athletic shirt, and maybe a super hero red cape. She probably runs a mile in 2 minutes as a warm up for something more challenging. She'll look at me and wonder what on earth I would do with a treadmill. She'll wonder if her beloved machine can even withstand the untrained lumberings of such an blubbery, overweight, hulking peasant. She may see me and not even answer the door. I thought she might look down her nose at me, she might even detest me.
Then I got there and met the woman. She was much larger than myself. No athletic clothes in her entire wardrobe, no wonder woman cape. She was very cordial and happy to see me. As much as she hated to get rid of her treadmill, she was very kind, and very normal. She looked and acted like someone's grandmother. I liked her and she had no problem with me.
When I later told my son about what I had expected and what I had seen, he said to me, "People are often much more human than we give them credit for."
Wow. He's right. The only person that judged me that day was me and too often I find myself imagining that others are so much better than me. How many times have I imagined that the guy jogging by must be in better shape than I am, have more time than I have, be stronger than I am? How many times have I imagined that successful athletes are more disciplined than I am, that other Sparkers are more dedicated than I am, that people who reach their goals are more enthusiastic than I am? How many people do I look at and imagine that s/he is just plain better than I am?
So what if Wonder Woman Super Olympic World Recorder Holder had answered the door that day. She might have been the sweetest woman in the world. She might be very excited at the thought of her treadmill being an instrument of change in a rookie runner's life. Instead of thinking that she must look at me like I'm some kind of pig, I could have thought to myself that I was meeting a wonderful source of information and inspiration - not someone who is better than me, but someone who may help me to be my best.
I've been looked down at by various people all my life because of my weight, and now I find myself expecting it. Well it's time to change my thinking on this. Sure there are going to be those who look down on fat people, but this isn't junior high anymore and I'm really cheating myself and others when I expect everyone to be and / or think that they are better than me.
People are often more human than I think.
It will serve me well to remember that.
Wow, five victories in one week! That was awesome!
I can't wait to see what the coming week brings.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
That's right. I'm eating cake...and by gum I deserve it, too. It's a $550 cake so I'm gonna take my time and enjoy the heck out of it...
...and just so all my Spark Friends can have a chance to make their own, I'll be glad to give the directions right here in my blog so that, one day, if you were so inclined to eat cake, you'll know just how to make this type of cake happen.
Should I be giving directions for cake making in a blog on an exercise and fitness site? No. No way. Not just no, but h311 no. Certainly not...
...but this wouldn't be the first time today that I did something on the irresponsible side, so why not?
First, start with a really crappy day. Have an argument with your spouse, tick off your boss, get a flat tire, let the nearest dog bite you, and have a large pimple come up on your non-teen aged face. Now your off to a great start.
Next, get all engrossed in your work, your email, your garden, yourself - get a real big head and let all good judgment and common sense leave you.
Then allow your teenager to take your scooter to the store. After all, it's only a 49 cc scooter, not a Harley, not a race car, not a limo, a semi truck, a city bus, or the space shuttle. It's is scooter for goodness sakes, barely more than a toy and he's 15 and a half and very responsible and knows all the laws because he is studying for his driver's permit, and the store is only 6 or 8 blocks away anyway.
He loves to bake and he knows you've had a bad day and he just wants to get a cake mix to bake and try to make you feel better.
You can probably see where this is going...
The ticket my son received for driving without a license is $550.
I'm eating cake.
Monday, July 04, 2011
I got on Freecycle recently. Freecycle, in case you haven't heard of it, is a Yahoo group where you can find cool stuff for free and get rid of old crap you don't want anymore.
Freecycle is awesome. You got an old couch and you don't know how to get rid of it? Post it up and some poor soul will come and get it. Looking for some BeeGees albums to round out that disco collection? Post your desires and someone will probably have just what you need.
Well, I saw a post from someone giving away a treadmill and I responded right away. Now I have a working treadmill right here in my office.
Now this treadmill is awesome. It has so many speeds. It ranges from Warm Up (very slow) to Performance Sprint (Speedy Gonzales on Meth in a Formula 1 race car). Well, when I am at a full run, I'm still in the Warm Up range! For me, the range shouldn't be from Warm Up to Performance Sprint. It should be from Coma to Snail. That would suit me well. Heck, I aspire to someday make it up to Snail!
Oh, but I have faith. I know I can do it. I'm mentally preparing for the day when I can get on that treadmill and go full tilt boogie.
In fact I have a question for my mathematically gifted Spark Friends. If a treadmill flings me off and my flailing body is traveling at the speed of sound in a southerly direction, will my family members in the northern part of the house be able to hear my screams?
Once was a time when my daily routine included a unicycle and an hour of Tae Bo. Now my routine includes 5 bottles of prescription pills and a CPAP machine. Oh you just haven't lived until you've had a sleep study done, but that's a subject for another blog. Right now I'm just going to write about my treadmill and it's amazing capacity for shredding my dignity.
A friend of mine heard that I got a treadmill and she suggested that I do something to make workouts more interesting and easier to do. She said that I could pretend to be traveling across town and she gave me a map of my neighborhood. It was a map produced by Jefferson Transit, the public transportation authority, so it was a bus route map. I agreed to try her idea, so I hung that map on the wall behind the treadmill and planned my route. Then I sat in my office chair and pretended to take the bus. She was right, that was much easier.
Friday, July 01, 2011
So there I was, sailing along through my fitness plans and using Spark daily. Then I did what I do sometimes: I started focusing on other things and not taking time to myself. What time I did have for myself I sure didn't use for healthy purposes.
I made some unhealthy choices.
Those choices caused me to gain some weight.
The weight caused me to develop sleep apnea.
The sleep apnea and weight worked together to bring my IH out of remission.
The IH landed me in the hospital and required me to take a lots of medicine.
The IH and the side effects of the medicine make everything I do so much more challenging.
...and now I am back at the bottom of my fitness heap.
In a matter of months, I went from sailing to sinking. That's what happens when good health isn't a priority - one poor decision can lead to another and another and another, and that can lead to a health issue that can lead to another health issue. It all begins with some poor choices.
If I can begin a downward spiral by making choices, I can begin an upward spiral in the same way. I dug out my copy of the Spark and read it again - especially the part about upward spirals - and I read some blogs here at the website, and that helped me to get focused again.
So, I'm back and basically starting again - starting again, not starting over. Every time I have to restart I come back a little wiser and mentally stronger, so I know what to do and how to do it and I don't feel like I am starting completely over. I've still got my TRX, my TaeBo DVDs, my Spark Family, and a lot of knowledge I didn't have before. That chin up bar still taunts me and I never truly mastered the unicycle, but I'm not done yet either.
Here's to second chances and do overs!
Friday, May 06, 2011
Okay, I'm gonna live!
I had my 15th or 16th some odd spinal tap this week and began much higher med doses so I'm getting back up and around.
IH is the only illness I know of that will have a person begging for a spinal tap. Getting that pressure off makes a huge difference. The radiologists in Bremerton are the BEST! Dr. Rolfing, that was the easiest spinal tap I've had so far.
My vision is still pretty challenging and I'm fairly weak, but at least the major pain is over and I'm no where near as miserable as I was last time I wrote.
Here's an irony... and what's life without it, huh? The irony is that it was only a month ago that I filled out my yearly questionnaire for the IH Research Foundation (Yes, Kathy I am a member!) and I bragged on that form about how I haven't had any symptoms and I was in full remission. Well, there is the pride before the fall.
At any rate, I am on the mend....and on my way back to Spark. I'm gonna be starting out slow, got no choice about that one - I can't even drive right now, let alone go unicycling, but I've got great support and a great health care team who are doing some amazing things in order to get me through this.
There is a neuro-opthamologist in Seattle, Dr. May, that is booked solid clear into August, so what did he do? He came to work early and saw me before office hours started. There was an emergency room staff in Port Townsend that actually understood my condition and did everything they could do to try to keep me comfortable. I was in too much pain / too drugged up to know their names. They are real heroes. An optometrist, Dr. Mayor, and my family doc, Dr. Janssen, worked together to get me into a neurologist in record time. That neurologist, Dr. Bright, and the neuro-opthamologist pulled some sort of strings to get me into another specialist that is booked through till hell freezes. My team has been great.
The key player on my team has been my (sometimes ex and sometimes not so ex) wife. She heard about what was happening and flew in immediately to take care of me. She dropped what she was doing in her own life and flew to Washington to clean my messy house, wash my laundry, run me to appointments, pick up my meds, take care of my critters, and generally comfort me. She hit the door running about a week ago and hasn't stopped yet. You've heard the saying that a friend will let you get away with murder, but a real friend will help you hide the body? Well, Jess set a new bar - she gets up at 4 a.m. to drive me to a 7:30 appointment in downtown Seattle. I'm sure that if you asked her, hiding bodies would be easier! HA! Thanks Jess.
I have had people all over town pulling for me. Emails pour in wishing me well. Everyone from Buddhist to Baptist is praying for me. Spark folks welcome me no matter how long I have ignored them in the past. I'm really a lucky guy with a ton of support and some sort of get-in-to-see-the-specialist blessing.
I actually made it through the grocery store today and got some really healthy food. I'll be back in black and too cool for school in no time ...
thanks to everyone who has been so wonderful and supporting to me.
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