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My Journey #44 -- Rough Start to New Year -- 1/31/14

Friday, January 31, 2014

It's the last day of the first month of the New Year and what a rough start it has been for me. I was excited to see the New Year and had my plan of action all laid out before me, which I still intend to stick to, even though circumstances threw me a loop. One of my favorite mottos is "never give up" and that is what I hope to convey to all who read this blog. No matter what, refocus and keep on going, even if it means starting all over again. You'll have everything to gain by it and can look back a year from now and be ever so grateful that you didn't throw in the towel when the going got rough.

FYI, many of you know, I've got lupus and sjogrens, both auto-immune diseases, that I take a good deal of medicine for. Unfortunately, my immune system is not up to snuff and I easily catch things, hard as I try not to. In my little corner of South Carolina, not far from my house, a new shopping center has been created and I stayed out of the stores over Christmas to avoid the germs. But, after the Christmas rush, I begged my daughter to take me with my wheelchair and let me browse around one of the new stores that opened.

This was on a Thursday and by the weekend, (January 5), I was down sick with chills, fever, sweats, vomiting and diarrhea. I couldn't eat I was so sick but I started to feel a little better by the next Thursday and was glad because my birthday was coming up for the weekend. I turned 63 years old on Saturday, January 18th, and spent all that Friday and Saturday in bed I was once again so sick with this stomach virus. But on Saturday, I hurt so bad on my R side that I couldn't even get a shallow breath of air it was so painful.

Then Sunday morning, January 19th, around 4:00 AM, I awoke from a fitful sleep and could hardly get myself into the bathroom and back to bed. I woke my daughter and she called EMS and I went to the ER and I've been in two hospitals since the 19th, and just came home this past Monday, January 27th. One of the medications I take on a regular basis is coumadin to thin my blood because I have had a previous stroke and blood clots in both lungs. Unbeknown to me, even though I did not miss this medication, it was wreaking havoc with my body because of my lack of food. My coagulation and coumadin levels were way off and a CT scan showed a mass in my R side under my lung around my liver and fluid in my abdomen.

Both the mass and fluid turned out to be blood because I had literally "sprung a leak" and had a large spontaneous bleed. This did not become evident until Tuesday morning, January 21st, when my hemoglobin dropped overnight from 11.5 to, that was a huge drop and I was immediately blood typed and transfused with two bags of O+ blood. Sunday, the day I was admitted, I was given plasma and Vitamin K to get my coagulation and blood clotting correctly.

My hemoglobin stayed up at 7.4 and then 9.9 so I went home on Thursday, but that night the pain began again so my kids rushed me to the internist who sent me to the surgeon who immediately readmitted me to the big hospital in Greenville where I stayed until this past Monday. I'm on the mend but am feeling kind of puny still and wasted from losing so much blood. The pain is still there but is getting better everyday and will stay that way until all the blood/fluid is reabsorbed back into my body.

And so I have a stern admonition to be really careful about taking the coumadin, especially if I get sick. I had a GI bleed once in the past but nothing like this so would love to ask that you pray for me. I know I never would have made it through this one if it had not been for the many people who prayed for me, my children, my family, my church family and all my wonderful friends. God is good and I'm a testament to that. He has pulled me through so many things and I'm so grateful to Him. I love the Lord Jesus because he is there for me everyday and I thank him for His steadfastness.

So friends, this is my rough start to the New Year, but I tell you to never give up. I am home mending now and each day I feel better than the day before. Would you believe that on January 1st I weighed 293.4 pounds and today I weighed 272.8 pounds? That is a loss of 20.6 pounds for the month of January. It was a terrible way to lose weight, that much I can tell you, but as I get feeling better I'm getting back on my "plan" and maybe this will be the year I make it to Onederland by next January.

Hugs & Love to all and remember, don't ever give up. Stuff happens along the way, that's life, and a lesson that took me a long time to learn. Hang in there and thank you to all who continue to pray for me.

emoticon Happy Ground Hog's Day & emoticon Super Bowl Day

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOPEFULHIPPO 2/13/2014 12:36PM

    emoticon wow...

feel better soon!!!

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KADULAC 2/3/2014 1:02AM

    I'm glad you're okay, and on the mend. God is so good to us.

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ORCHIDLADY56 2/1/2014 2:02PM

    emoticon emoticon

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BIBS4664 2/1/2014 12:38PM

    Happy New Year!!! Congratulations on your dedication to Our Lord.onward ...I will keep you in prayer. We can do it.

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MOLLYVD 2/1/2014 12:25PM

    I will be praying for you. I so agree with your testimony that Jesus is always with us & He is steadfast.

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From Reasons to Resolutions (Biggest Loser Book)

Monday, December 30, 2013

CREDIT: The following information is taken word for word from the book called, THE BIGGEST LOSER (The Weight-Loss Program to Transform Your Body, Health & Life - Adapted from NBC's Hit Show!) by The Biggest Loser Experts & Cast with Maggie Greenwood-Robinson, Phd, Chapter 2, Page 22.

Please be sure to give credit to the above resource if you share this with your other teams. With the New Year 2014 here, I thought this information might be of use to many of our Sparkers, especially those of us participating on the various Biggest Loser Teams.

From Reasons to Resolutions

Like the cast members of The Biggest Loser, you too may have some deeply personal reasons for losing weight. But how strong is the resolve behind those reasons to actually lose weight and get in shape? To turn those reasons into heartfelt resolutions and achievable goals, answer the following questions.

1. Why do you want to lose weight? List the most important reasons you can think of, for example, to look better, have more energy, be able to play sports, be more self-confident, improve specific aspects of your health, and so forth.

2. Next, take each of those reasons and reflect upon how your life will improve if you address them. For example: How will looking better benefit you? With more energy, what will you do that you're not doing now? How will playing sports enrich your life? Why do you want to be more confident, and how will it improve your life? What will your life be like in the absence of overweight-related health problems? How will you feel if you do all these things?

3. Finally, set some weekly, doable goals for yourself to help you move forward in a positive manner. Depending on what you wrote above, ask yourself such questions as:

What can I do this week to improve my appearance?
What can I do this week that will increase my energy?
What sports, exercise, or other physical activity can I do this week to improve my fitness? When and how often will I do it?
What can I do this week to boost my self-confidence?
What actions will I take this week to improve my health?

Spark People has so many of the tools available to us that the Biggest Loser suggests such as a food journal and calorie counter. Jillian strongly believes in food journalling and it is a known fact that people who keep food journals tend to be more successful at losing weight and keeping it off than those who don't record their intake.

Biggest Loser also writes of Bob Harper taking his teams for meditation breaks at the end of a long walk or run where they were introduced to "mantras" which are positive affirmations to get them over the hurdles they encounter along the way. For myself, I, personally, would relate my faith into my weight loss mantra repeating in my head something like....."Jesus help me", "Lord, with your help, I can stay within my calorie allowance", "All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me", One day at a time sweet Jesus". Other mantras that the Biggest Loser book uses as examples are "Keep on keeping on", "You can do it", "I have a strong, healthy body", "Just one more mile", "Just five more minutes", "Just (X number of exercises/and name of exercise) more and I'll be finished", "I'm beautiful/handsome and I feel great"......the options are limitless.

Biggest Loser book says that years down the road, when you are slim, trim and fit, you will be glad you found this plan (in our case, being part of the Spark People family). It's just want you need to transform your body, your health and your life.

It's my sincere desire that by sharing some of this information that some of these reasons to resolutions to success will be of some help in strengthening your resolve to get where you are going in 2014. Spark People has been the biggest and most successful move I ever made in terms of losing weight. It worked for me three years ago until I encountered some health problems which resulted in me gaining back what I lost. BUT, I know I will succeed again because of all the support I get from all the wonderful friends I have made on Spark People who share the same weight loss problems that I do.

I wish each and everyone of you SPARKERS who read this a wonderful, happy and most of all, a very successful New Year in 2014. Happy, Happy, Happy New Year!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JEN_BACK2BASICS 1/2/2014 11:22PM

    Great share. Happy New Year!

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KADULAC 1/1/2014 10:36PM

    That is great, and so spot on. Thank you for sharing.

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FORBANDE 1/1/2014 9:53AM

    Wow! What wonderful insight! Thanks so much for taking the time to share.

Happy New Year!!!

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WOUBBIE 12/30/2013 6:41PM

    Great blog!

Here's a piece of cool trivia for you. The word "resolution" is from Latin:

From Latin resolutio-/resolution, from resolvere, meaning "to loosen or dissolve again," which was the original meaning.

Resolvc means determination, but it also means promise, as well as solution. A VERY positive word to start the New Year on!

All the best, Ginger! Hope all your problems resolve this year!

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1HAPPYSPIRIT 12/30/2013 3:17PM

    Thanks for sharing, Ginger!

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My Journey #43 - Good Things Happening!!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

God is Good, God is Awesome and I thank Him for the good things that are beginning to happen since my last blog.

First, my weight finally dropped below 300 pounds, something that was really getting me down.

Second, yesterday (9/30/13) I had some GOOD news regarding my back problems.

I'll start with the first thing that happened, my weight finally dropping below the 300 pound mark. Today I weighed 299.7 which was two pounds heavier than yesterday, but still below 300. To condense, to have all my abdomen surgery last February 29, 2012, I had to lose down 50 pounds "at least" from the 320 I weighed when I saw the new surgeons who would be operating. I not only lost the 50 pounds which would have taken me down to 270 pounds, but I lost down to 246 pounds and had high hopes of getting to "Onederland" by the end of 2012.

That dream was dashed and I didn't make it because as soon as I was released by the surgeons and home health at the end of June 2012 at 246 pounds, I was hit with the sciatica pain and back problems in July 2012. I have had NO injury to cause this this, it is all from the osteo-arthritis, spinal stenosis and osteo-penia that I have in my back. From then, until 8/9/13, I gained back up to 324.1 pounds.......TOTALLY regained the weight I worked so hard to lose because I have been almost totally incapacitated because of the pain and inactivity due to the sciatica nerve and lower back, and my SI joints which have gotten worse.

I have been trying hard to get the ball rolling again, and while much of the weight gain has been due to swelling and inflammation, I have lost a great deal of it with the lasix that the doctor has me taking everyday. It has really affected me the weight gain, including my breathing so I am very grateful that the first 25 pounds is now gone and I can start working on the next 25 pounds to get down to 275 and then hopefully after Christmas and going into Spring, I can get back down to my lowest around 250 pounds. One thing's for sure, I have no intentions of giving up. I did it once before and I CAN DO IT AGAIN.

Secondly, and most importantly, God has continued to show his goodness towards me after my visit with the neuro-surgeon early last month. He referred me to a new pain management doctor who he personally highly recommends because he helped his son when he was in so much pain. My daughter and I saw him last week and were greatly impressed with him both in his knowledge and his compassion and his likeability (his "bedside manner", so to speak). He was very kind and had much empathy for the pain that I have had and did not speak "down to me" as I've experienced from some doctors. He also acknowledged my daughter and my friend who went with me because I have a hard time remembering everything and comprehending some things because of the stroke I had in 2001 which affected my memory.

This doctor said that first he wanted to get my pain under better control so he prescribed a new pain patch. I asked if it was those lidoderm matches because I have had them before with no relief. He said no, that it was a Fentanyl pain patch which is usually used in cancer patients for pain, and that he would start me out at a lower dose, not the lowest which I think is 12.5 mcg/hr but at 25 mcg/hr. He also told me take my other pain medication if needed but to take a half dose if the patch didn't entirely work. He said he could always increase the strength of the pain patch if the 25 did not work.

The other thing was that he agreed with me is that I needed some intensive physical therapy to help with the physical problems. He wants me to go into a "rehab hospital" if they approve me. An RH (rehab hospital) in the next city over, about a 45 minute drive, called me yesterday and interviewed me over the phone after they received the doctor's notes. The woman who talked to me is going to present the doctor's notes along with her notes to the doctor at the hospital and if he feels like I can be helped, I'll be put on their admission list when they have an opening. Right now they don't have any open beds, but feel like they will soon.

Will keep you all posted on what happens next. Thank you all for your prayers because they are very much appreciated.


emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEELIXNKES 10/5/2013 7:15PM

    emoticon for breaking out of the 300's.

I hope the new pain protocol works for you!

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LISA01605 10/3/2013 7:51PM

    So glad to hear things might be turning around!

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KADULAC 10/3/2013 5:12PM

    That is great. I'm glad you found a doctor that is helping. I pray you get into the rehab. God is definitely good. emoticon

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ORCHIDLADY56 10/1/2013 9:15PM

    Definitely good news Ginger! Hoping that the patch and rehab will do the trick to help you!

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FLUFFYSUE1 10/1/2013 4:01PM

    Glad your getting help hope life throws you some good fortune soon.

god bless!

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My Journey #42 - Back problems

Friday, September 13, 2013

This weeek I saw a surgeon (best one in my area) and after looking at my MRI and reading what the doctor said who read it, he said that surgery is NOT an option for my back because my problems are so extensive plus he said with all my health problems he would not touch me.

He put it to me like the doctor's first oath, he promises not to do any harm. My doctor said that the possibility of infection would be too great with the rods and srcews that would have to be put in my back, especially with the lupus so he said he just could not commit himself to doing surgery on me. I asked if I lost the weight I put on this last year and get back to the 240's would he consider it and he said no because the health problems would still be there. He also said the same exact thing the other surgeon said.......I could either end up paralyzed and in a wheelchair the rest of my life or I could end up dead. At least they were honest.

l was very upset about it and cried a bucket and then cried myself to sleep Tuesday night but now I'm o.k. I had asked God to make this surgery possible and I got my answer. No. It's too dangerous so I'm going to have to adjust to this and do what I can to lose the weight I gained back this last year since having all the back problems.

I am in a wheelchair when I do go out (to doctors,etc.) because I am not able to stand long enough to walk very far. I'm fortunate to be able to walk around my house with my walker. I am upset however that my daughter has to push me. I would like to get one of those motorized chairs like they advertise on TV. And I will someday!

That's all folks!



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BIBS4664 2/1/2014 12:44PM

    Ginger, you are in my prayers. God will show you and lead you. "He walks with me, and He talks to me, and He tells me I am His own"" Listen to what He says. You are not alone. I use a rollator to walk. I call it my SP... Safety

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KADULAC 9/18/2013 1:58AM

    Praying a solution to your pain is found, even if surgery isn't possible. emoticon

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RUNNER4LIFE08 9/16/2013 2:29PM

    emoticon emoticon We are all here for you Ginger!

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FORBANDE 9/14/2013 10:10AM

    Oh no. So sorry!! Like you said - God gave you the answer. He must have big plans for you overcoming and working through this. Keep asking for guidance and do what you can. God knows you are strong enough. Now it's your turn to believe it.

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OKBACK2ME 9/13/2013 8:13PM

    I'm sorry to hear that Ginger. Be the best you can be with what you got and maybe with a healthy diet and some exercise (nothing wrong with chair yoga) you can get stronger and lesson the pain. I have a 85 year old client that was in a car accident when she was 21 and she had 3 of the top Doctors tell her she would never walk again. She told me when they said that I thought "I have a 9 week old baby and I will walk again!" She not only walked, but hiked up mountains. What I am saying is not even specialists can be 100% sure about your future. You can make your own future! emoticon

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LJCANNON 9/13/2013 3:42PM

    emoticon You will be in My Prayers for Healing and Relief of Pain. Whatever you CAN Do as far as Movement and Exercise, Treasure it and Do It Every Day whether you "Feel Like It" or not. Be Patient and Have Faith that We are all Walking with You through this Journey.

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JEAN111766 9/13/2013 2:27PM

    oh bummer :( so sorry about your back problems!!! but so happy the surgeon was honest with you!
many {{hugs}} !!!

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CLEARNIGHTSKY 9/13/2013 1:10PM

    Hang in there, Miss Ginger. I am rooting for you.


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TKOVACH1 9/13/2013 12:05PM

    I am so sorry, Ginger, that back surgery is not an option for you. Be thankful the surgeons were honest with you even if it's not the answer you were looking for. You are in my prayers.

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My Journey #42 -- Update - 6/9/13 -- BEFORE pictures

Sunday, June 09, 2013

I can't believe this is the THIRD time I've started this blog with before pictures of me. I had a nice message and had all my pictures with captions and I hit a button and lost everything that I had done. What an idiot I am. I am not computer savy like some of you young gals on here!!! But, I"ll try to download or upload or whatever, the pictures AGAIN.

First, my son's little beagle. Love her. Name is LuLu. I have a picture on my Spark Page of my German Shepherd/Malamute who is my big baby. She weighs 120 pounds!!!

This is me standing up. I'm 62 years old and not walking so good anymore so have two canes most of the time. I hope that losing some of this weight will help me to walk better than I am doing right now.

This is a side view of me. Ugh. How about looking at all my pretty geraniums instead. I love to container garden in the summer/fall since I am not able to get into the garden anymore because my balance is so bad from a previous stroke in 2001.

And this is me in my favorite spot on my little front porch where I watch my two dogs when I let them out.

I have one of those electric fences underground so I can sit out there and enjoy my flowers, my dogs and my pretty trees in my yard. And my dogs won't go any further than the edge of the yard because they hear the beep in their collar which tells them they are getting close......they've got it down pat!!

Well folks, "that's all for now".

Oh my, I forgot a very important photo for all my Diamond friends!

Ignore my swelled feet and notice my diamond studded sandals! How about that?

See youall in the chat room!

emoticon to everyone



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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUTHIEBEAR 6/15/2013 9:25AM

    I love seeing your photos. We are all struggling with things. I am so proud of you for being part of our Diamond team!!! Love those diamond sandals! Keep up the positive attitude. emoticon emoticon

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WOUBBIE 6/15/2013 5:46AM

    "Even the longest journey begins with a single step." And if you need a cane to help you take that step, so be it!

Keep fighting! I'm glad to see you're still in the game! And always smiling!


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WILDKAT781 6/12/2013 7:56PM

    love your garden and your shoes!!!! you can do this!!!!


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CIERAPOET 6/12/2013 12:00AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon Happy Tuesday Ginger!

Love the blog! GREAT pictures! I told you before but I'm saying it again! You are beautiful! And look at you strutting those diamond studded sandals! emoticon
I won't even wear sandals with my bear feet! lol AND like someone else said don't be hard on yourself. You look beautiful! You yard looks like a Botanical Garden too. I thought that's where you are when I first saw the photos last week. Congratulations for moving forward no matter how long it may take. Sometimes this journey can be longer than we like. Most of the time it's the right time anyway! Thanks for Sparking by! I always love to hear from you. It makes me Smile! emoticon
Enjoy a GREAT week!
Love & Blessings!

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XENATHOMAS 6/11/2013 5:33PM

    Love the slippers

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FORBANDE 6/11/2013 6:41AM

    Awesome blog! I know it's hard to look at ourselves from all angles but sometimes it is the nudge we need. Be proud of posting of them. :)

Your doggies, geraniums and porch are simply lovely!

Take it slow and just stick with it. Consistency is the key to success.

Let's ROCK this challenge!

PS - LOVE the flip flops! emoticon

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KADULAC 6/11/2013 3:00AM

    That looks like a perfectly lovely spot to watch your dogs play.

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OSTERA15 6/10/2013 11:59AM

    Beautiful doggies! You got this! We diamonds are going to shine so bright that we blind!

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SASSYLJB 6/10/2013 7:36AM

    Great Blog Ginger! Dont be so hard on yourself! We are all on this journey together! One day at a time! What beautiful gardens you have and I love the Flip flops! with those bright red toes you dazzle diamond girl! You are a true diamond and will shine bright this summer! Lets sizzle!

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TKOVACH1 6/10/2013 7:15AM

    I love your blog and am glad your are on your journey with the Diamond team. I see Gracie peeking out during your photo shoot and wondering why she can't come out too. I love the flip flops! Your yard looks like a peaceful retreat.

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ANNMACP0212 6/10/2013 12:20AM

    Love love love the flip flops! So glad to have you along on the journey!

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OKBACK2ME 6/9/2013 11:24PM

    Great blog and I would be very surprised it you don't move better after losing the weight, which you will do. Then knees will feel so much better. I heard somewhere that 10 pounds of extra weight but 50 pounds extra pressure on them while walking. My incentive to slim down. The toeless stockings must be so much more comfortable than the ones with toes. emoticon emoticon

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JESSICAWALKS 6/9/2013 10:06PM

    Here we go Diamond! Love the flip flops! Your front porch looks like a peaceful retreat. We are going to have a dazzling summer!

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WILDFLOWERR_ 6/9/2013 9:41PM

    I see your doggie peeking out the front door! emoticon
Love the flower too! emoticon

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JEAN111766 6/9/2013 9:36PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CASTIRONLADY 6/9/2013 9:27PM

    God bless you on this journey. You are a braver soul than I as I don't post pictures of me. Keep up the good work. emoticon

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1HAPPYSPIRIT 6/9/2013 8:50PM

    emoticon blog, Ginger! Best wishes to you on meeting your goals!

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