Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I posted a status a couple days ago saying I'd had two ER visits in two days. Well, it got a lot worse than that very quickly. I'm not really sure where to start, so I'm going to go chronologically.
Steve (my husband) went to the ER for difficulty breathing, tingling arms, etc. about a week and a half ago when he was in San Francisco. They did a bunch of tests and decided it was stress. He came home for a day and then went back up to San Francisco. It happened again as soon as he got back up there. So he went back to the ER. They ran more tests and couldn't find anything.
He came home for a few days. That brought us to last week.
On Friday morning, David fell off his bed while bouncing on it. He landed just right and was in a lot of pain. Off to the ER with him. They X-Rayed his forearm and elbow. It was deemed an elbow fracture and they splinted him. Steve started having some symptoms again so we got him an appt with my doctor that afternoon. That doctor thought it might be asthma (which Steve does have), so he was put on asthma meds.
On Saturday morning Steve felt much better and thought it truly was Asthma. But then he started having symptoms again mid-morning. So off to the ER he went (this made trip #3 for Steve, and my 2nd ER trip that weekend). The ER decided to admit him overnight for a cardiac watch and some tests.
At home, David was in a lot of pain, his fingers and thumb were pretty swollen after I'd already loosened the wrap on his splint. And he was crying any time his shoulder or wrist were moved. Those weren't areas they had x-rayed, so I called his pediatrician to confirm I should just take him back to the ER. Yup, so off we went. This made David's trip #2 to the ER in two days, my third for the weekend, and my second just for Saturday alone. So now I had two patients in the ER at the same time.
For David, they took new X-Rays which showed no additional damage to anything but the elbow. But they re-splinted it because the original splint had been at more than a 90 degree angle, which wasn't good. So at least the trip to the ER resulted in a better splint.
For Steve, they decided the issue was gerd (which, again, Steve does have (along with acid reflux)) and they saw an esophogial (sp?) hernia (tear in his esophogus). So they put him on heavy duty gerd medication. He came home on Sunday night.
Sunday night and Monday morning were rough for Steve. He had severe symptoms again but was doing better in morning. I had a dental appt on Monday morning to fix my broken tooth. And it was an appt I just couldn't skip because I've had a broken tooth with 1/4 of one of my molars missing for over 3 weeks! So I went to my appt and our next door neighbor came over to 'babysit' Steve. I'm glad he did, because at 10am, in the middle of my dental appt, the neighbor had to take Steve back to the ER. For those counting, that made #4 for Steve and the 4th in 4 days for our family.
As soon as my tooth was done I went to the ER and stayed with Steve until the EMTs came to take him from our local hospital to the Riverside Community Hospital where the cardiologist had decided to do an angiogram just to rule out a cardiac issue. I couldn't go immediately to the new hospital with Steve because I had to go get David from preschool and take him to an appt with his pediatrician to get a referral to an orthopedic doctor.
Once I got done with that I picked up Beth from daycare and brought both kids home. I got a babysitter and took off for Riverside to go stay with Steve until visiting hours were over at 9pm. The good news is that Steve's angiogram was clean. He does not have a cardiac issue. The current theories are that it's either a pinched nerve in his neck, or a GI issue. He had a CT Scan yesterday and had an endoscopy today. I don't know the results from that yet. Hopefully he'll be getting out of the hospital today with some sense of what the issue is.
We're incredibly relieved it's not a heart attack. Not only because heart attacks are bad, but because a heart attack would have instantly ended his flying career and his Air Force career in one fell swoop. So a GI issue would be far more preferable. Even if he had to have some sort of surgery, it's unlikely it would be anything that would end his career.
In the last 5 days I've had no time to post on here. And I've had no time to exercise. I don't say those words lightly. I don't like it when people make excuses not to find the time to exercise and then claim it's not possible. I'm the queen of making time. But this time there really just was no time.
So this morning I went for a nice 60 min run. I feel much better (as I knew I would) and now I can face the rest of my day knowing I did at least one thing for myself.
David is doing well. His splint is a full arm splint with a sling. He's adjusted to it really well. Even though he's going to have to get a cast in a few days and then wear that for 5-6 weeks, I think he'll be fine with it. It will get in the way of "splash days" at preschool, and his ability to go in the pool, so I'm going to get him a waterproof cast cover so he can go swimming. Wish they'd sold those when I broke my arm as a kid!
As for Steve... as I write this, we don't know what the official problem is. But knowing it's not a series of heart attacks or blockages is awesome news! So the stress is greatly relieved on that front. But the poor guy hasn't gotten a good night's sleep in many many days. Hopefully he'll be coming home today and can get a reasonable night's sleep tonight.
I've been off work the past couple days. I'll probably go back tomorrow depending on what happens with Steve today. Wish us luck!
Friday, June 05, 2009
So here I am in the push to my 20th HS Reunion on the 27th. I was the class of 1989 at Worthington High School in Worthington, Ohio.
In high school I weighed between 145 and 150. I was pretty athletic but wasnít happy with my weight. I wish Iíd been a kinder to myself about that. I looked fine. But hindsight is 20/20. And having a weight-obsessed mother didnít help. I got lots of messages about my being overweight from her. I wish Iíd realized reality was different from my internal dialogue and the external messages coming from my mother. Oh well.
Iím annoyed with myself right now. Iíd have really liked to have reached goal (145) by the reunion, and probably could have gotten it done, but last week I lost it food-wise (my weakness). I overate, I ate sweets (my biggest issue), etc. So I wound up gaining a few lbs. Grrr. That currently puts me 14 lbs above goal. And Iíve been struggling to get my eating back under control.
Iím a stress eater and the stress has been overwhelming lately. My job is still not stable right now. Iíve come back to my civilian job, and have a paycheck, but Iím being paid from company overhead (NOT a good place to be in the government contracting business) and I still donít have an actual position. Iím currently finding little projects to work on, but itís nothing that could become permanent. The VP who owns me is currently out of town and is focusing on other stuff right now. If I had a crystal ball and knew that Iíd get something permanent soon, I wouldnít be worried. But being on overhead puts me in a very precarious position. I donít have any sense of knowing Iíll still be employed in the near future.
Because of all this, yesterday I found myself hunting down candy and anger-eating it. I wasnít paying attention to how it tasted. I wasnít paying attention to whether I enjoyed it. I was reaching for the next bite before Iíd even come close to chewing the current bite. Thatís NOT about enjoying a treat. Thatís about angrily punishing myself for something. Itís frustrating knowing that even after all this lost weight, being so close to goal, being on the edge of a ďnormalĒ BMI, doing healthy things for so long, being generally happy with how I lookÖI can still sabotage myself, my progress, and my short-term goals.
So how did I get past it? What did I do to kick myself in the rear and get back on track? Why did I come through this to the ďother sideĒ to keep going and not back slide completely like I used to in the past? Exercise! Last night after getting the kids to bed, despite being exhausted and depressed about the candy and how it made me feel (both physically and emotionally), I put on my running clothes and hit the road. I knew intellectually that if I got myself out there that Iíd come back feeling more energized and Iíd stop being so angry with myself. Iíd know that I took charge of myself and did something healthy and positive. I knew Iíd forgive myself for the candy and be able to move on. And I did.
I only had time for about a 2 mile run before the sun set. I wish it had been longer, but 2 miles was still enough to kick me in the butt and make me feel better. The first full mile was straight up hill. So I felt I was really working.
When I got home I did a full pushup workout. I do workouts from the 100 Pushup Challenge. Last night I did Week 5, Day 2, Column 3. ( www.hundredpushups.com ) And Iíve also added chin ups recently. I can do one real chin up (which Iím extremely proud of), but Iíd like to be able to be able to do more in the future. So Iíve been doing a workout I created for myself. I start with my arms at a 135 degree angle (instead of the 180 degrees that you have when your arms are straight and youíre completely hanging), pull my chin above the bar, then hold it for a couple seconds, then lower myself slowly in a ďnegativeĒ chin up. Iíve now done two of these workouts. After the first day my muscles were screaming. Today, theyíre a bit sore, but not too bad. Yeah! Progress!
But last night I alternated the pushups with the chin ups and was really impressed that I could complete both workouts at the same time. Iím definitely stronger than I used to be. And that makes me proud of myself. Thatís another thing that will help me get past the candy-eating-incident. Well, that and the homemade vegetable soup Iím currently eating as I type this.
Tonight Steve and I are going to go out on a ďdateĒ. I got us a great babysitter and weíre going to go do dinner and a movie. Between having a 3 yr old and 4 yr old and our insanely nutty schedules, we never get a chance to do that anymore. We really need this chance to go out and have a good time, reconnect, and not have to think about the kids. I canít tell you how much Iím looking forward to it. Weíre going to see Star Trek. Iíve heard good things about the movie from many different people.
Iíve got other things going on in my life Ė and other swirling thoughts. But this blog is already 2 pages in MS Word. Future blogs this month are going to focus more on my actual workouts and efforts toward losing more weight before the reunion. Iím planning on ramping up the workouts and doing a great variety of stuff.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
[NOTE: For added fun, and an idea of how far you can come in a year through slow and steady determination, check out my blog entry on my fears about the Fitness Test on March 12, 2008! The comparison is fascinating, and can be motivating for anyone who is just starting out and is frustrated by a lack of movement on the scale. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
And now, back to today's blog...
I just discovered something very unexpected. I have a chance at scoring 100 (the most points possible) on my next AF Fitness Test. That one has me shocked. I'm going to fully describe the test at the bottom of this blog for everyone who
a) wants to fully understand every detail of what I'm writing about in this blog
b) is generally interested in how the Air Force runs its fitness tests.
Last March, when I first joined my current unit, I would have failed the test without a question. Based on my fitness level and weight at the time, my score would have been a 67.5. (see description below for more information on the meaning of this score).
In Sept 08, I finally took the test and scored an 84.25 - a solid "Good". I was really happy with that. I had come a long way with my fitness level and my weight. I was very proud of myself for turning it around. And I set a goal of "Excellent" (90 points or more) as my 2009 goal.
Since then I've lost more weight, completed the 100 pushup challenge and would be able to max the pushups, crunches, and body composition categories for any age range - male or female. WOW!! That's an incredible statement for me! Before the challenge, I'd never done more than 27 pushups in my life. So maxing the pushups even for my own age group would be incredible. The fact that I can now say that about men's pushups even in the 25 and under category is staggering.
So (like everything, because of being half the score of the entire test) it all comes down to my run time. When I took the test last Sept I ran it in 13:15 without having done any running training before the test. I had only been doing incline walking because of a foot injury. My fastest time ever (in 1999) was an 11:09. That time was from when I was training for the Air Force marathon and was up to running 9 miles on my long runs.
In order to get 100 points for my age group, I have to be able to run it in 11:54 or less. I think that's totally doable. And that is my initial goal.
If I wanted to max the test for all women (including the under 25 age group), I'd have to run the 1.5 in 11:06. That would be a record for me. It would be pretty incredible to run a PR (personal record) in the 1.5 at the age of 37 when I've been a runner all my life. Admittedly, I've never trained for speed, so it's actually feasible that my 37 yr-old self could somehow pull it off.
Now, if I'm able to run the 1.5 in 11:54, that would also mean I could pass the men's test for 30-35 with a score of "Excellent". And I could score an "Excellent" in the men under 25 with a run time of 11:36 or less.
I don't mean to indicate that passing the men's standards would be easy. There's a huge difference between being able to pump out the 32 pushups required for my age group for women and pumping out the 62 pushups for the under 25 men - all within one minute. But it's possible.
And run times of 11:54 or 11:36 are also possible. The 11:06 is the stretch. But I'm going to start doing a speed training program to see if I can do it.
What I do know is that with these new goals, I will not only easily meet my original 2009 goal of an "Excellent" for women 35-39, I'm going to blow it out of the water at a level I couldn't have fathomed back in Sept 2008! And the fact that I'm going to do many more pushups and crunches than the Air Force gives points for in my age group is really amusing to me. Since I am a 37 yr old woman, I will be officially scored only in that category. Going above and beyond is purely for bragging rights. I'll have to plug the numbers into the fitness score calculator on my own to see what my score would have been for the various genders and age groups.
There is also a time limit on doing this exact test. The Air Force is going to change its test probably next year. I'm sure I'll be able to do well on that too, but I wouldn't be able to do an exact comparison from my 2008 results, and that's really where the difference in my fitness level can be seen.
I will come back and post a blog within the week with my new running training plan. And then I'll post blogs each week with my results and experiences.
I still can't believe I'm about to go for this! Holy cow!
DESCRIPTION OF THE AF FITNESS TEST
The AF Fitness test is a series of components that add up to a combined total score of 100. 75 or more points is passing. Anything below 75 is failure and you are entered into a heavily scrutinized program to improve your weight and/or fitness (this is a bad thing). A score of 75-79 is "Marginal" (and requires you to test again within 90 days), 80-89 is "Good", and 90 and above is "Excellent".
The components of the test are: A 1.5 mile run (50 points), Waist measurement or BMI (30 points), pushups (10 points), and crunches (10 points). As you can see, body composition and the run are the biggest determinants of whether you pass or fail this test.
The time or # of reps for the various components varies by the age and gender of the AF member. So a 25 yr old man will have to do more pushups and situps and run faster than a 40 yr old woman for a similar score, and that concept is universal across all armed services and always has been. At the age of 37, my category is women age 35-39.
**1.5 Mile Run (50 points) **
For the women 35-39 age group, you get the full 50 points when you run it in 11:54 or faster. You can't pass the test at all if you run it slower than 18:13.
For the women under 25, you get 50 points when you run it in 11:06 or faster. And like the 35-39 age group, you can't pass the test at all if you run it slower than 18:13.
** Abdominal Circumference or BMI (body composition) (30 points) **
If your BMI is under 25, you get the full 30 points for this category. If it is 25 or above, you are scored by your waist size. This category has no difference beetween the age groups for scoring. 29.5" gets you the full 30 points. If your waist is 38" or larger, you can't pass the test no matter how well you score on the other categories.
** Pushups (10 points) **
These are regular pushups, not modified. No one in the military does knee pushups for their PT tests. This test is for how many pushups can you do in one minute.
For women 35-39, the maximum # of pushups is 32.
For women under 25 the maximum # of pushups is 42.
Men 35-39, the max is 46.
Men under 25, the max is 62.
** Crunches (10 points) **
How many crunches can you do in one minute? These are really a hybrid between crunches and situps. The rule on this one is that your hands are crossed and placed on your collar bone. Both your elbows must touch any part of your thighs when you come up. You can't rest in the down position, or the test is over.
For women 35-39, maximum points is 40 crunches. For women under 25, max is 51. For men 35-39, max is 49. For men under 25, max is 55.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
A few people have expressed interest (or asked questions) about what Iím doing on a daily basis while working at my Air Force base and living with my kids in the hotel. So this update will answer some of those questions.
We got to Los Angeles on Sunday evening - the 10th. Weíre staying at a Residence Inn near the base, so I have a fold-out couch for the kids to share, a full kitchen so I can feed the kids dinner each night, and breakfast is provided by the hotel. The hotel also hosts dinner/snacks in the evenings, but itís usually pretty fattening, so we rarely get anything from it. Thatís where I love having that full kitchen (and the Ziplock steamer bags for the veggies.) I also have to provide lunch for both kids during the day. Have I mentioned I love having the full kitchen for that?
So I get the kids up around 6:30 and get them dressed. We go down for breakfast and then I drive the kids to school. Itís only a few miles west of the hotel, so I donít have to get on any Los Angeles freeways! I usually drop them off around 7:30am. Then I drive back to the hotel to drop off my car. The base has a severe lack of parking, and I donít get a parking permit as a reservist. So my option is to park at a nearby contractor facility and get a shuttle to the base. Iíve done it before, but itís annoying to stand around waiting for a shuttle bus when the building I work in is only 5 blocks from the hotel. And the hotel is right across the street from the contractor complex. So I walk the 5 blocks which takes about 12 mins.
I work in a desk job with a computer. So physical activity is not part of what I do. A lot of people assume that since Iím doing military duty Iím out there hiking around with a backpack on my back, wading through swamps, and climbing over obstacles. Nope. The only difference between my normal desk job and this one is that Iím wearing a uniform while I do this one. The big difference, though, is that while my civilian job doesnít care if I stay in shape, the Air Force does. So I get to use work time to go run. And there is a cushy Ĺ mile running track around the base that I go run on. So on a typical day Iíll go run around the track at lunch, shower at the gym across the street, and then go grab lunch and take it back to my desk.
A couple times Iíve skipped the run and had lunch with my SparkFriend Karen (KSGROTHE) who works in the area. Thatís been great. We got to meet in person at the convention, but one-on-one lunches have been much more informative. Weíre going to try to get in two more before my military duty is over next week.
One of the things Iíve discovered about being in shape is that I can take advantage of last-minute opportunities when I want to. An example of this is that when I got in yesterday, I discovered the base was doing a fitness expo at the gym and that they were doing a 5K fun run at noon. I had my workout clothes with me and had planned on running anyway, so I did the fun run. I was pretty pleased with my time. I had expected to do it in about 31 mins. Instead, I did it in 27:22! Yeah! Another sub-10 min/mile in a race! And this one was a 9 min/mile! Yeah me!!! Iím really back to my old running shape from college and before. This is awesome! Iím actually looking forward to my next Physical Fitness test. This next one will be an Excellent without a question.
I leave work around 4, walk back to the hotel, get in the car and go get the kids. Then we come back to the hotel and have dinner and do homework (yes, my 4 yr old gets homework at the local preschool). Then itís time for baths, and bedtime. My kids donít fall asleep very well sleeping in the same bed. They giggle, pester each other, whine, shriek, etc. So I put my daughter to bed in my bed, and my son out on the couch bed. Then I go sit in the hallway with a magazine and my cell phone. I wish I could take my computer with me. I sit out there reading until my kids are both asleep. Then I go back in, move my daughter to the couch bed and go to my room for TV and reading.
Weíve been going back home on weekends because my son has soccer practice on Saturday mornings and I like being able to go to my gym on Sundays for the Spinning/strength class and the yoga class.
Tomorrow is a non-working day for the military folks on the base. (NICE!) so weíre going home tomorrow morning. I have a dental appt at noon to assess a broken tooth. I broke an all-porcelain partial crown and the tooth surrounding it last Sunday. So right now ľ of one of my molars is gone and the Air Force dentist I had look at it on Monday told me thereís an additional crack in the tooth as well. Amazingly, it doesnít hurt. Not sure why not, but Iím not going to question it. The tooth wonít be fully fixed tomorrow. Itís probably going to require a root canal and a full crown. This time Iím not going to opt for all porcelain. I learned my lesson. Iíll go for the metal covered with porcelain option instead. Thatís stronger and safer for a molar. Wish Iíd realized that a year ago.
On Saturday Iím going to go to a SparkSanDiego group meetup. Itís a potluck and walk in a park. Iíll be taking my kids with me and doing the good olí double-wide stroller routine. Iím really looking forward to it.
Steve comes home from his military exercise on Saturday evening. So weíll have Sunday and Monday together as a family. Thatíll be nice. Iíll have to see if my town is planning any kind of Memorial Day celebration.
Then on Monday night Iíll leave Steve with the kids for the week and Iíll head back to the base for my last week of military duty.
At the moment I still donít have an answer on my civilian job. Do I have one, or not? The VP is planning to call me sometime today to discuss options (I hope). I donít like having that question up in the air right now.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Most of my blogs lately have been updates on my life. This time I've decided to go philisophical and reflective for a bit.
Anyone who has been following my blogs knows that I'm in an insanely busy and stressful time right now. Moreso than usual for me. And I've never lived a dull or uneventful life.
For years, every Christmas, my husband and I would write our Christmas/New Years letter about what we had done that year, and then feel exhausted at the end of it as we realized everything we'd dealt with. And every year we closed with the same sentiment... hopefully next year will calm down... hopefully next year will be boring.
For a long time I really thought that life was doing all of this stuff to me. Not in a bad way. I like my life for the most part (I mean no one likes everything, but generally I live a good life) but it has always been extremely hectic and full of unexpected adventures (for example - getting activated in 2001 after thinking I was no longer in the Air Force. Then being involuntarily extended another year in 2002. SURPRISE! :-) )
Something a friend of mine's mother asked her years ago kind of hit me and got me thinking. Here's the story there... I had been out of touch with one of my high school friends, and when we got back in touch she mentioned it to her mom. Her mother promptly asked her if my life was as jam packed as it had been in high school. At first I thought, "Huh? I was busy, but not ridiculously so." And then I remembered that wasn't quite true. There were definitely times I loaded my schedule too far. Like when I did both Lacrosse and pit orchestra for the high school musical. They overlapped by about 15 mins every day, especially on days we had games since they could sometimes go longer than a predictable practice. So I'd play a game, and then as soon as it was over I'd race off the field with my gear and run straight for the auditorium for musical rehearsal. I'd toss my stick, mouth guard, and goggles on a seat, pick up the clarinet my friend had strategically pre-positioned for me, and then pick my way (wearing my game shirt, cleats, and pleated lacrosse skirt) from one end of the tightly packed pit to the other where the clarinetists sat. I'd quickly put my clarinet together and jump in on my part as soon as the mouth piece went on. Once I even got the clarinet together just as my solo was starting! LOL! I got a round of applause on that one from rest of the musicians just for making it in the nick of time. It was pretty funny. Once I found out Iíd been voted MVP for a lacrosse game only when I returned to practice the next day because I was already in rehearsal when it was announced.
Another time I eliminated my lunch period so that I could take Spanish, French, and also a particular double-period Social Studies/English class. Eliminating lunch was the only way to get all three classes into my schedule and I wasn't willing to bypass any of the classes. So I'd run from one side of campus to another with my brown bag lunch, eating it on my way to my next class.
There are many other examples all through my life. And yes, it continues as an adult. I work a high-stress/high-responsibility job; we have a 2 yr old and 4 yr old; I'm an Air Force reservist; my husband is gone most of the time due to his job as a pilot and reservist himself; I have a 2 hour daily commute to the civilian job; when I do reserve duty I have to stay in a hotel because the Los Angeles commute is impossible; and to get my reserve days in I have to juggle my job, my husbandís job, my husbandís Air Force reserve schedule, and the kidsí schedules. I juggle life to an almost ridiculous level - espcially lately. And it felt like life was once again "doing it to me." But I began to realize... even though I feel like I'm overloaded and I have no choice, I do have a choice. And the choice I'm making is to live an overloaded life.
I have prioritized a lot of things, and I've decided what I won't do without. And I don't drop them. I'm a reservist, but I don't have to be. Yes, I'm just 5 years from retirement, and a lot of people would agree with me that it would be silly to throw that away. But getting to 20 years of service and retirement is not mandatory. It's just something I've decided is worth the hassle of juggling life. The same goes with my job. That one, more than any other thing, feels like a 'have to', but even that is something that could be worked around if I really didn't want to do it anymore. We could make it work somehow if I stopped working there. There are other, lower-stress, options even if I don't know what they all are right now.
There are parts of my life right now that really are happening to me without any input or influence by me. My step motherís stage IV lung cancer (recently matastasized to her brain), and my daughterís still-undiagnosed digestive condition are both certainly examples of things I havenít brought on myself. But everything else is something Iíve chosen in one way or another.
One of these days I will throttle back and de-complicate my life. But at the moment, Iím not willing to cut anything out yet. But recognizing my own hand in it and accepting that all these things I ďhaveĒ to do, arenít necessarily ďhave tosĒ helps me keep going.
The same concepts extend over into living an unhealthy lifeÖ you are what you choose. When I was seriously overweight and thinking I was trying to lose it, I wasnít really; not on a daily basis. I was living the life of a fat person Ė not enough exercise, too much food, and too often the wrong kinds of food. My body reflected the choices I was making for who I was.
Once I made up my mind to get healthy, I immediately started living the life of someone who weighs a healthy weight. I started exercising frequently and eating good food in the right amounts. During the weeks where the scale wasnít budging I made up my mind not to get discouraged and binge. I decided that continuing to make healthy decisions made me a healthier person even without results on the scale. And I was right. Inevitably, by continuing to make healthy decisions, the scale did move. The same thing also went for how I responded to occasional days where what I ate wasnít the best, or I ate too much that day. Instead of punishing myself with more binging and going off plan, I just let go of the day before and picked up with my plan and moved forward. I didnít try to starve myself to make up for the day before (that usually backfires). I just went back to eating the right stuff in the right amounts, and Iíd go exercise to jump-start feeling better about myself. And it worked. I lived the life of the person I wanted to be. And now Iím that person. It took time. But I never lost sight of who I wanted to be.
In all respects - both good and bad - I am what I chose.
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