Sunday, December 01, 2013
My "Project Me" is multifacited.
It started with the Number One Priority: good internal health.
These days the quality of what goes into my kitchen is vastly improved, and I'm now almost always eating enought... so the food part's doing pretty nicely.
Exercise keeps hitting snags, and I keep developing strategies to keep moving... so that ongoing challenge is rolling well along its rollercoaster path.
This fall, for six weeks I went through a nutrition and exercise lifestyle/wellness program (at the cancer center, so it was SOLIDly in line with my needs) that is totally in sync with all I've done here at SP and with my dieticians and my physical therapy; I am on track and still workng, still improving. And in 2 weeks I'll have my second monthly meeting with the hospital's dietician, who is helping me continue to tweak this and that of my challenges.
In other words: the turtle is still moving forward. Ok, so all the other turtles are ahead of me, but... I have not lost sight of my goals or path.
This December is above ALL other things geared toward organization and planning.
Sure, nutrition and exercise are goals, but they are ongoing ones.
Here's how my goals line up for December:
1. Since the cold weather and distant travel are hard now, I have to forego traveling to the warm pool for exercise,to revise my winter-months exercise plans...
Here's the plan/goal:
...a. Use hospital's wellness center 2 times a week.
...b. Walk 5,000 steps a day. Or more.
...c. Maintain daily stretch and exercise program... never less than 30 minutes/day.
Continue 1200-1500 calorie range,
with 1/2 plate being low-cal, nutrient-dense veggies.
EXPENSES and RECORD-KEEPING:
December is as usual a month for me to ditch old records, and this year I've already started to scale down which records to keep.
My goal to have my expense records take up less physical space.. is actually the summation of many purposes/reasons/goals in terms of physical environment and financial planning.
In one year my income will be drastically reduced for a period of one year (2015), so this December is all about planning 2014 for surviving the constraints of 2015. All this is because S.S. 'full eligibility' has been changed from age 65 to age 66... but my secondary disability income will end on my 65th birthday... Learning the the disability income will not coordinate with S.S. retirement age change was quite a shock, but I am grateful that I have this year to somehow create a plan.
By the end of December:
1. I will have lost 10 pounds,
2. I will be walking more than 5,000 steps/day, and
3. I will have established financial plans for both 2014 AND 2015.
That's it: my end of 2013 Projects.
Friday, November 22, 2013
This will be the first Thanksgiving I have shared with my son stateside since November 2000. He was last here for a holiday Christmas 2006, but I was ill from one surgery and about to have a second one (12/28/06). The first surgery was just after Thanksgiving and I barely remember seeing Mike because I was ill. Thankfully, I am a survivor. And my son and his wife are now both out of the Army, living relatively near me, not states or an ocean away. So you see: This Thanksgiving meal HAS to be special. My parents and I will go to my elder son's home for Thanksgiving. They have had no holidays with Mike for over 10 years (he was here one Christmas).
This will be my DIL's first-ever real 'traditional' family Thanksgiving dinner by standards many of us know: she is an Eskimo who while growing up never had the turkey-and-trimmings type of Thanksgiving that was Mike's heritage. She is still learning to cook in non-Eskimo ways. (We don't have whale meat, which is what she ate growing up... with few veggies. Veggies were ALWAYS frozen or canned, since the tundra on her island is not fertile and the temperatures never go above 55 degrees - not good for growing food.)
Trying to be healthy WHILE we give my son the long-missed feeling of a true holiday family gathering AND show my DIL what my son remembers... is tricky! So we are making the meal a versatile one, having all the things he loves plus enough 'healthy' foods that I can enjoy my meal too.
Son Mike is roasting the turkey and his wife will supply mashed potatoes and (Mike's favorite) green bean casserole. My mom is making sweet potato casserole with marshmallows (another of Mike's favorites). I'm bringing a veggie platter with hummus dip (instead of crackers and cheeses and my Swedish meatballs...), crinkle-wedge cut carrots in orange sauce, pickled beets, low-fat, lowered calorie 'creamed' onions, and a lite version of homemade apple crisp (instead of 3 pies!).
I'll have 2-3 ounes of the turkey, some sweet potatoes but none of the marshmallows, and lots of the veggies I bring but no mashed potatoes. I'll fill half the plate with veggies (as always) instead of just adding a spoon of veggies here and there 'to taste'. But everyone can decide on their own proportions. And who can argue with a tasty hot apple crisp?? Ut oh. Hopefully, no one???
Even though dinner will be at my son's house, my meal will stay fully in line with my new way of eating. And be so special... because I am grateful he is out of harm's way, safely back from war. He's learning to live with hearing loss and the damaged spine and even coping well with the PTSD. I am grateful.
Thanksgiving has purpose this year.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Due to a nonfunctioning monitor I was offline for about 1.5 weeks until yesterday afternoon. Being without my link to family who live at a distance, to SP, and to personal business sites was frustrating! But a strange and perhaps positive outcome rode along with that frustration: I found that my pedometer accumulated more steps each computerless day and that I accomplished more little projects each day!
What does this mean?
It means that being computerless made me accutely aware that I need to manage my time better. My work-days are history. Ok, ancient history at that. But my non-worklife time does seem to be full of time-draining, energy-zapping activities. And when I use the computer - inefficiently?! - the time I use online does eat into time that should be spend on my own needs. Being without a computer for that 1.5 weeks gave me back time for myself.
So in answer to the above question:
I will be limiting my computer time more than previously.
Better Time Management has now entered my list of goals.
Life has been much more relaxed and productive without the stress of daily fulfilling my 'obligations' that are only on the computer, so it's time to set limits.
Over the years here I've read so many posts that have a similar theme; how we spend our time is integral to healthy lifestyle. Therefore, I think each of us should at some point in a journey look at how we spend the hours of our day. How much of that time is meeting other people's demands and expectations? How much meets our own daily survival needs? And how much time to we give our own needs that go beyond mere survial to reach for the goals we want so very much??
An example of my own poor time management?
This may seem to be a prioritization issue, but it is really about how I value MY time!
I reserved Wednesdays to be the days I would drive to the therapy pool and exercise for 2 hours before the 1-hour drive home. Ok, a good plan, yes? Well, twice now a woman who lives near me wanted to go but could not go on Wednesday. Since this involves 2 hours of driving and she is uncertain about doing the driving AND the exercise, I changed my day both times. And guess what she did both times? That is right. She decided -after Wednesdays of course- that she 'just couldn't spare the time'! I gave up the one day of the week that is best for ME to accommodate someone else?!? Here note that I had to adjust everything else in my schedule to be able to plan to go on a Thursday one time, a Friday another. The shift of schedule had a ripple effect of other commitments that was stressful and left me totally exhausted. Beyond putting my needs on lowered priority, THAT is poor time management!
Generally we apply "time managagement" as a term or concept to our workplace or to the tasks or obligations of maintaining our homes and families. For me and hopefully others, "time management" is a concept that could smooth the pathway on personal journey too.
My goal atop the other lifestyle goals?
Consider strategies to pace the activities of my life, so that the goals I most want are always before the goals (not necessarily urgent needs) of others.
If you are not sure how time management links to what you do here, consider the general suggestions on the below time management site:
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
I have been disabled with low back pain, fibromyalgia and a few other details since 11/20/1992 though officially since March of 1993. My focus on a healthy lifestyle has gone through many phases during the years, and the definitions of what I can and canNOT do varies with flares and other unavoidable hurdles. Oneof my favorite mantras is "this too shall pass". And one way or another, 'it' does! ;)
SP's health news addresses a long-known fact in this article:
"Brain Scans Show Fibromyalgia Patients Process Pain Differently
....Activity in certain regions suggests why
......they're less able to p
......repare for pain or respond to pain relief"
.................By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay Reporter
Fibromyalia needs more clinical diagnostic criteria; it is my hope, ok my dream!, that someday definitive bloodwork or MRI or some other clinical evidence will explain the 'why' of this syndrome. A syndrome differs from an illness in that it is merely (?!) a collection of reatively subjective symptoms while an illness can be determined through the proof shown on clinical tests. Once such findings exist, there is hope for cure. Increasing percentages of the population are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, yet many people get the diagnosis from a GP without training. Anyone with such a diagnoses should be seen by a rheumatologist, because it is a syndrome within that specialty.
The syndrome existed for decades by many names but was officially recognized as "Fibromyalgia" in 1991 when the College of Rheumatolgy established diagnostic criteria. Researches continue to search for explanations. Meanwhile, many people have been given the 'diagnosis' by doctors who have not further investigated other explanations for the symptoms presented.
I urge anyone whose GP says "oh, it's fibromyalgia" to ask for a referral to a rheumatologist. Get ALL tests that rule out mimicing maladies. Get the ANA test and if it is positive be sure the doctor rules out things like Lupus or "merely" (that's a joke!) arthritis.
And because of personal experience I urge people to let their doctors know when a flare is more intense than usual and/or lasts more than a few months. After all, I did 'cope' with cancer pain until a gall bladder attack led a doctor to suspect cancer. Balancing coping with complaining is very tricky stuff, folks. No one has patience with those of us who live with pain. "Deal with it" is the common attitude even when people pretend they understand. So being one's one advocate in a realistic, logical manner is essential for the person with fibrmyalgia who wants to be heard by doctors and taken seriously when complaining.
So.. yes... I've know for many years that "brain scans show fms patients process pain differently" from the way that others process it. But the pain is REAL, folks. What we must do is learn to understand how different pains FEEL so that we do recognize a 'different type' of pain when we have it. The question lurking behind my cancer experience and within the above article is:
CAN people with fibromyalgia really be sure when pain signifies more than a bad or ongoing flare?
At one time, I would have said 'yes, of course'.
Not any more.
Since 2007 I'm accutely aware that perception of pain is one confusing issue.
And I sure do hope that someday the research helps find many answers.
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