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Friday, April 08, 2011

Iíve experienced a shift in my goals and rewards this week. I had initially started weighing myself daily, averaging it over the week since my weight seems to swing by up to 5 pounds in a day. My reward for losing weight was to go out with my husband for a cappuccino on the week-end.

Somehow, that didnít seem to be very motivating. I realized it wasnít the reward that was lacking, itís the actual goal. Iím not really concerned about losing weight, and the simple number on the scale is so unreliable that it doesnít really mean anything to me anymore. So, with my husbandís collaboration, Iíve changed my goal.

My goal is now shared with him, and it is that we both exercise, together, at least six days per week. Itís a more active goal, itís got a built-in buddy, and it will allow us to spend more time together.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Now there is an emoticon goal that will get you two for the price of ONE! Both you and your hubby will benefit by being more active! emoticon

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JULIEANNCAN 4/9/2011 3:37AM


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RUTHXG 4/9/2011 12:08AM

    A great shift in perspective, & a great plan! emoticon

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KATYBUG48 4/8/2011 11:40PM


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Just about ready to make it over that fence!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Iím being assailed with self-doubt this week, after once again having a good day on the week-end (doing errands) and needing two days to recover. Am I really doing the right thing going back to work in May?

Iím just not sure I can sit at home doing nothing for much longer, and on my good days I do feel strong and capable. I think chemo brain isnít even hitting me that hard anymore. So why does it still take so much out of me to just do an afternoon of errands? Iím getting really frustrated with this lack of energy, and this ongoing fatigue/falling asleep at the drop of a hat on what Iíve come to call my ďalternate daysĒ.

I have a lot to look forward to that will help in the longer run. The biggest thing, I think, is the toe operations this month. Once those are healed, Iím registering for aqua fitness at the new health club in town. It helped so very much to do it every day when we stayed at Justynaís B&B! The health club has a salt water pool, so no chlorine problems. I may actually learn to swim properly Ė finally (Iím not sure if they teach swimming, though... something to check out).

My arm and shoulder (on the side with the 22 lymph nodes removed) had been healing so very well and I basically had my full range of motion back. Now itís starting to stiffen up, the arm hurts like a bruise every time I touch it all the way down to the wrist. I think part of it is lack of exercise, as Iíve been on the stat bike but not doing arm exercises as much. Need to get those back in the cycle!

One thing Iíve decided to look into is to find someone to do the housework once per week. My energy levels are too limited to spend my time on housework. Itís something Iíve thought of on and off for quite a while, even before the cancer, but now it seems that the benefits would definitely outweigh the costs.

Anyway, thatís my wandering brain for the past few days. Itís been encouraging, though, to read some blogs describing peopleís successes. I feel like I'm looking at you through a fence, and trying to get over it to get there. I see myself in your words, and know Iíll get there yet!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LISED58 4/6/2011 11:55AM

    Hi there! I felt so lazy and guilty the first time I gave in to needing someone help me to keep my home clean and prepare my mneals. Every couple of months I still need the support and the woman who owns her business appreciates my support and my son likes the free apple pie from M&M. I can't keep up with my girl friends' level of cleaning perfectionism anymore. It took a while but that's how I welcomed M&Ms and Farm Boy's ready-made meals into my kitchen, too. Seawave, your achievements and accomplishments are great! :) x

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    You are doing amazing and I think it's a great idea to get someone in to help with housework.

Take good care of yourself and I know you'll be over this fence in no time. You have an amazing spirit!!

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KELPIE57 4/6/2011 1:51AM

    Great idea about the help in the house, spend what energy you have wisely. and give yourself the love and benefit of the doubt that you would give to anyone else! emoticon

If I remember correctly, you are going back to work very part time? Does that mean that you can take the days off between to recover?

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RUTHXG 4/5/2011 11:39PM

    I hope just allowing yourself to have "alternate days" as long as you need them, & getting through the toe surgeries, & getting back into arm exercises (with your doc's advice), & moving gradually into regular aqua fitness will keep you getting better, slowly but surely!

Oh yes, & hiring a housecleaner! I'm going to do that soon myself. There are a few women at my church who came to the US in recent years as refugees, & they are good cleaners & can always use more work. It will be good for them as well as for me!

Healing blessings to you.

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PAT3ONTHEBACK 4/5/2011 11:39PM

    Very strange arm pain. I hope you get it figured out and back in use before your toes get their surgery. I only worked part time before cancer, took off one semester and then worked part time after. Now it is less than 10 hours a week for one of my commitments and the other is sporadic. Not full-time by any means. Everybody's jobs are different and abilities and histories. It seems very individualized. Hopefully you will have some flexibility in your May return-to-work date.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JULIEANNCAN 4/5/2011 8:41PM

    I can really relate to your fatigue and falling asleep. Any day that I do any sort of exercise or a lot of errands, I just fall asleep even if I don't want to. I know it's a side effect of Tamoxifen (fatigue that is), but it's hard to tell what's going on. I will also be working some this summer at an internship. Just take things one step at a time. I think we can do it!

I'm sorry to hear about your arm/shoulder. Have you talked to your doctor about it? It sounds like you might want to.

Just keep doing what you're doing and try to build up that energy! emoticon

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CARLYG8 4/5/2011 7:07PM

    I am so sorry about your shoulder pain and I wanted to mention something to you. My niece has stage 4 colon cancer, and she follows a blog that I read from time to time from a lady that has had breast cancer and a mastectomy. She started experiencing the same thing, pain and stiffness, and it kept getting worse. Her doctor kept dismissing it, but she found someone who told her about a condition that alot of breast/mastectomy patients seem to develop. It is called frozen shoulder syndrome, or something like that. Ask your doc about it. If you like, I can send you the blog that she has that tells about it, and you may be able to contact her through it. She has had some improvement with some different treatments. It may not be the same thing, but I thought of this when I read your blog. Good luck, and let me know if you want her blog address. I will keep you in my prayers

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Looking back at March, and forward to April

Thursday, March 31, 2011

This is it... the countdown to my return to work after having been off for cancer treatments/recovery for 1.5 years. Itís a little intimidating, and Iím trying to not be overwhelmed by the ďmeĒ I wanted to be by now. I had such great hopes to get fully back in shape (strength, flexibility and endurance) as well as get tons of stuff done in the house while I was off work. Needless to say, Iím nowhere near having accomplished any of that.

On the other hand, in March I had a wonderfully cleansing bawl-my-eyes-out cry, I learned a few tricks and developed a few mantras that work for me. My reclining bike is set up in the living room (after having been relegated to the basement for Xmas), and spring weather is here so that means more time outside. In other words, Iím well on the road to getting back in shape.

I expect April to be a busy month as I prepare to return to work and deal with various other things.

ē I get a root canal on April 6th, followed by a crown
ē My toenail problems will be addressed. (You may recall that the toenail problems are side-effects of last yearís chemo.) Once the toes are healed, I will finally feel like Iím Ďoverí the cancer treatments. Weíre doing the two feet on separate days, April 11th and on April 27th.
ē In between that, weíre going to celebrate my father-in-lawís 80th birthday Easter week-end.
ē Iím participating in a gene study re: cancer; my first interview is in early April, but Iím unsure what (if anything) else will be involved.
ē My DH is taking a week off (because heís running around with me to so many appointments anyway LOL!). Weíre hoping to get a few things done around the house while heís here.
ē Iíll probably go to a hair stylist to get some advice on what to do with this weird re-growth is curly in some areas, not in others, and still short all over. I think Iíll feel better returning to work knowing Iím at least trying to look good LOL!
ē Return to work will be Tuesdays and Fridays, starting May 3rd., working up to going full time. I may be walking a bit funny until my toes heal, but Iíll be there!

I also need to remember to use my one-day-per-page agenda to list my priorities and goals for the day and be more realistic with those! As Iíve mentioned, planning is invaluable to me. But I also want to re-acquaint myself with the habit of using an agenda before I return to work because I know the adjustment will be overwhelming at first.

Daily goals include for April:
Reclining bike every day
8 glasses of water every day
Eat about 1500 calories per day
Go for a walk with DH every evening after supper
Doing one thing that advances my return to work (checking clothes, snack ideas, etc.)

ETA I've just joined the "Official Healthy Cooking Challenge", which will support me in improving my routines regarding food preparation and eating in general. WooHoo!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALISWALKER 4/4/2011 10:12AM

    Good move to put the reclining bike back where you will use it. When I am making a major change to my routine I put just 3 things on my to do list. I wish you all the best!

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    You are a true inspiration! Your courage and determination shines in this blog! You have so much to be proud of and I feel so very fortunate to have you as a SP Friend!

May April be the beginning of your new beginnings! You are BLOOMING in every way!!

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COMPUCATHY 4/3/2011 9:32AM

    Congratulations! Don't let the list of things not accomplished be your focus and bring you down. Just keep focusing on what you CAN do...and be happy with what you accomplish. It's a much brighter path to follow. Hope you have a great Sunday and a great week! Spark on! emoticon

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LJR4HEALTH 4/1/2011 6:49PM

    Does sound like you will be extremely busy in April but in most ways a "good way". March sounded like it was a good month for you as well Glad you will be getting back to work soon During this crazy busy month take time for YOU!


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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 4/1/2011 1:52PM

    Busy month... hope you can find some time to relax before going back to work. And good luck with the dentist AND your toes :)

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PAT3ONTHEBACK 4/1/2011 9:19AM

    When my hair was re-growing, I went to a stylist to make sure my hair was still too short to "do anything" with! I was sooo impatient to get my hair back. She pretended to trim it here and there and made me feel better. It was worth it just to hear someone say something was going right!

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JULIEANNCAN 4/1/2011 7:02AM

    It sounds like you're doing emoticon and have lots of plans!!! I hear you about the hair. Mine is wavy in places it never was before and why is the back growing faster than the front? Ugh. I am hoping to get a haircut soon too! You have some great goals! Keep up the good work! emoticon

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KELPIE57 4/1/2011 4:02AM

    OK, for what it's worth, as well as the haircut, which is a MUST, why don't you have a makeover, change makeup etc, and then you are showing yourself how much you love you every morning.. cos it's to make you feel better!

As for the rest, you rock, and inspire! emoticon emoticon emoticon

And take it at the speed that your body, not your mind/ego want to go at!

And me too, my goal for April is to use my diary properly to plan! Thanks for putting it in front of me.

Comment edited on: 4/1/2011 4:03:15 AM

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KASEYCOFF 4/1/2011 3:57AM

    Great outline - you've really done some thinking on this! And you're right about cultivating the habit for things like your agenda calendar. (Note to self: take a page from Seawave's book--!)

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ACROSONIC 3/31/2011 10:04PM

    Sounds like you have great plans for April. emoticon

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LISED58 3/31/2011 8:33PM

    I'm so happy for you that you're going back to work. It'll be great to be back with your colleagues I bet. Keep up your spirit1!!. :)

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Small Things That Work For Me

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I havenít had any amazing successes or anything yet, but I have found some small things that seem to work for me. I figured, rather than waiting until Iíve lost the weight, etc., I would share them now. This serves two purposes: (1) to remind myself that I am learning and (2) to share with my SparkFamily in case any of them work for you! In no particular order...

A clear water bottle
It seems silly, but I have a plastic glass with a straw that I used to use for my water. I would drink, but it was always a chore to remember and I would realize after a couple of hours that I hadnít even had a sip. With my clear bottle (a glass milk bottle), I can see the amount of water Iíve had (or not had) and it encourages me to sip regularly instead of sporadically. Also, the fact that itís glass instead of plastic... somehow the water tastes fresher.

My mantras
I realized Iíve been using these for different purposes than I expected. I thought Iíd be pushing myself through exercise, and sometimes I do. But I also drown out the Bad Food Gnome calling me from the kitchen, and the whiny Boredom Baby that can hit at anytime. ďStronger. Leaner. Further. Fierce.Ē is especially helpful to me at these points, and usually also pushes me to exercise as a bonus! ďMigraines hurt moreĒ pushes me to exercise over those painful joint side effects from Tamoxifen. Not that I recommend ignoring pain, but once my oncologist confirmed it was the Tamoxifen and that I wasnít doing myself any harm, I needed something to push through the pain anyway.

Canít say it enough. When Iíve planned my food and identified priorities for the day, I have something to refer to when Iím undecided about what to do next, and itís a natural serving size regulator since I hardly ever plan for bad food. I also accomplish twice as much as I would otherwise.

Rewarding behaviour, not only weight loss
Since Iím changing my lifestyle, I am trying to focus most of my attention on behavioural changes instead of weight loss. Thatís not to say that losing the weight isnít important, and I do weigh myself daily and average my weight over the week (more accurate for me because of huge weight fluctuations day-to-day). But I also want to reward behaviours like exercising daily, and decluttering the house, and being able to touch my toes (eventually!).

Distraction as a strategy
I distract myself from calls from the pantry and from negativity by doing something thatís positive for myself. If Iíve done my exercise for the day, itís time to move on to something else! Depending on how much time I have, massage cuticle cream into my nails, take a bubble bath, pluck my eyebrows, try to figure out how to style my re-growing hair, declutter my desk, give myself a facial, ... something that moves me forward on my path to looking and especially feeling better!

So there they are... a few little things that are helping me along. Do you have any small things that have made a difference?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTYNA7 3/31/2011 11:15AM

    Just joining the list of people saying , wow, great ideas. I also liked your tractor analogy from the last blog. When I did physio the rule was 10%. When I could do a set of exercises 3 times in a row and no longer felt the burn, I could increase by 10%. Which means if I was doing ten minutes only increasing by 1 minute. It shocked me how little ten percent is. But as I say this I also mention again doing the base amount three times in a row BEFORE increasing. Impatience is a great sabatoger. I really am a person who wants to bite off more than I can chew. I have difficulty realizing that if I increase one thing it means I can't increase anything else. I'm a little kid trying to grab up as much as I can carry and leaving a trail of goodies behind as I toddle away. Not very efficient. It will come. For both of us.

Thank you for the ongoing support. Terrible few weeks and at last it is coming back into focus. Life. It's good. Lillian is doing much better so thank you so much for your prayers. Next step is for her to sleep through the night. I am sure that will make a big difference. I'm taking a bit of time to separate myself and concentrate on myself and my life for a bit before getting back involved again. We have been talking about her coming here for a while to use the pool and give Mike and Diane a bit of a break so I need to prepare myself. Decide what limits I need to set. I am amazed how some things are falling into place. I have a group coming this weekend for a funeral so have some preparation to do. I am beginning to imagine walking the Rideau again and that's exciting. I need a plan that I can do without biting off more than I can chew. Your blog was timely.

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CARLYG8 3/31/2011 9:00AM

    Thanks for sharing your great ideas! emoticon

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GO-LOEW 3/30/2011 10:03PM

    Very useful information. So glad that you are finding ways to reward yourself. I will use some of your ideas to distract myself on those occasions when I need to.

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LJR4HEALTH 3/30/2011 9:17PM

    So true its the small things that add up to big results good list of things working for you keep up the awesome work

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GATOR12 3/30/2011 1:11PM

    Good blog & good ideas. Especially when they work for YOU!

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BEATLETOT 3/30/2011 11:11AM

    This blog IS a big help! I need to work on planning, at least for the day. When I tried to make weekly plans like AmyLonghorn, I got really frustrated. Maybe she can teach me how!

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AMYLONGHORN 3/30/2011 11:08AM

    I wrote a blog about this EXACT same topic a couple of weeks ago! Drinking more water, having yogurt instead of Poptarts for breakfast at work (for me and the hubs), and getting my butt off the couch to work out are small changes I have made that will hopefully make a BIG difference!! I love your planning idea, too...I am a HUGE planner and have been planning out my dinners for the week on Sundays. I love making lists and marking them off, so that definitely is a help for me. GREAT blog and keep up the AWESOME work!!

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KELPIE57 3/30/2011 2:46AM

    Thanks for all the ideas, as always, you are an inspiration!

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JMCADE 3/29/2011 11:05PM

    Thanks for all the ides. I think I will copy this into my spredsheet where i post things from other sparkers that I will want to go back nd revisit. Thanks again.

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LISED58 3/29/2011 10:12PM

    Hi Seawave. Great blog. I like the rewarding behavioural changes rather than diet. I'm on no diet either. If I change my behaviour, everything seems to fall into place. I with I had your discipline when it came to exercise, though. You rock! :)

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SEATTLESIMS 3/29/2011 6:11PM

    great ideas! especially ones that help you focus on yourself, those are nice distractions.
Planning is a Major help. i have been trying to pack my lunch the night before so it is ready to grab and go out the door in the morning!
Good work on the Mantras, those help keep us focused.
Thanks for sharing!!

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I am a tractor!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Iíve got the will... I havenít found the way yet! I know how important it is to be consistent, but Iíve been sabotaging myself. As soon (and that means the second) I start feeling better, I push myself to exercise more, get more things done, be more active. Then I collapse. No more energy, no more get up and go... two, three, four days to recover. Iíve realized Ė or re-realized, since Iím sure this isnít the first time this particular lightbulb goes off LOL! Ė that consistency means doing something every day for a period of time before trying to do more. I need to develop that patience, to pause and appreciate the more that I am doing instead of always pushing, pushing, pushing to do what I canít yet.

I am sooo impatient with this, but I have to keep my eyes on the longer term goal: stronger, faster, longer, fiercer! I need to stop looking at all those others who are doing more than me and being dissatisfied with my recovery. I have to find my own recovery speed, and go at that speed, even if that speed is very much slower than I would like.

So, I am in full retreat and falling back to the basics - again. That means really, really paying attention to my food (measure and record what I eat, how I feel after eating), using the reclining bike (whether or not Iím hurting, because it can only help), drinking 8 glasses of water per day (this has been going pretty well lately), trying to get 8 hours of sleep every night (this has never worked for me more than two days in a row).

I am a farm tractor chugging along on a superhighway of sportscars and SUVs. Youíre all very impressive and shiny and nice, but I have to find the happiness in being a tractor right now, and quit fighting against myself. Iíll catch up in due time!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEATTLESIMS 3/28/2011 4:39PM

    Tractors are slow and steady, but they will mow down any obstacles in the way!! keep at it, little at a time!
You can do it!!

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KJNLDE 3/27/2011 8:08PM

    You are doing SUCH a great job... keep it up! One day at a time, ya know? Tractor, SUV, eh... we're all cars, right?! You are such an amazing inspiration to so many people!!Big hugs!!

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KAREN_NY 3/27/2011 7:38PM

    SUV's are topheavy, and sports cars can't handle rough roads, lol! You'll be fine - give yourself permission to do YOUR thing... and to do it better and better each day!

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LISED58 3/27/2011 6:36PM

    Hey you! What's this I read from the lady who inspires me so darn much. Wthout slow, consistent tractors the world wouldn't have any of the real, delicious and nutritious food enjoyed every single day. Add up all of your successes - take your time - (hee hee). I bet you didn't race through all of them. And when you did, where there any you had to take a second stab at 'cause you pooped yourself out the first time. The shinny and new one wants to zooom, zooom, zooom and runs out of gas way before the dependable tractor ever does. Ah, you can do this Seawave! YOU are a WINNER!!!

From one of your many number 1 fans, emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MEZZOJO 3/27/2011 6:11PM

    What a great way to think about things! I also watch others who seem to be able to do so much more, so much faster than me, and now I will just remember - "I'm a tractor!"

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PAT3ONTHEBACK 3/27/2011 1:52PM

    Tractors are unbelievably strong these days. They are flexible, bending in the middle, they are smart with huge amount of computer technology. They have GPS to keep their rows straight and so they always know where they are. And they can pull, push, dig, and travel over anything. You are amazing!

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CO-CREATOR 3/27/2011 8:36AM

    Great blog. Best wishes for your success!

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KELPIE57 3/27/2011 4:05AM

    And just think how useful tractors are! emoticon

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RUTHXG 3/27/2011 12:16AM

    I feel like a tractor too! Great analogy. And I don't see you as being in full retreat, just finding your proper pace. emoticon

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JMCADE 3/26/2011 9:47PM

    Great analogy. Don't watch the other cars on the rfreeway so close and run your tractor at its best speed. You will get there if you work for you alone and not what you think everyone else is doing.

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JULIEANNCAN 3/26/2011 8:39PM

    Great blog! I think I'm learning and re-learning this lesson myself. emoticon

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CARLYG8 3/26/2011 7:36PM

    Love this blog...and as a fellow tractor, we may not get there quite as fast, BUT we will get there!

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LADYJAKE1 3/26/2011 7:08PM

    Nice blog, I need to be more mindful of my foods as well. I seem to stop when I start to feel tired, I don't like feeling fatigue, funny my son is a sergeant in the Marine Corps and he is the epitome of fitness, he has no excuses and says fight through the pain....I raised that kid, LOL.

I have been sick and have gotten slack with eating and stopped working out, tomorrow is my new start date.

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