Monday, August 20, 2012
I made a deal with myself that I would buy the new kayak I want for my birthday if I lost twenty pounds. Iíve been doing even better than I expected and Iím down about eight pounds already. I still have twelve pounds to go, but my birthday isnít for another five weeks. So how could I possibly justify backing out of my deal and buying my kayak before Iíve lost all twenty pounds and before my birthday? I canít.
But thatís exactly what I did. Cliff, my son and my biggest support system in my weight loss effort, had a talk with me last week. It went something like this:
Cliff: Mom, Iíve been watching the websites that had the Tarpon 100 on sale and they are all selling out.
Me: I know Cliff, but I havenít lost the weight yet.
Cliff: But youíre doing great, and if you wait they may be sold out and you'll have to pay a few hundred dollars more for the 2013 model of the kayak you want or youíll have to settle for something you donít really want. You really should go ahead and order it and then weíll make sure you have the rest of the weight off by your birthday.
Me: But then, Iím going back on my deal with myself. Thatís cheating!
Cliff: Iíll exercise with you and make sure you lose the weight or Iíll take it away and lock it up until you do. Besides that, if you wait until the end of September, youíre not going to get to use it much before it gets too cold. And, if you go ahead and get it we can go a lot more on your days off and youíll get even more exercise.
So, how hard do you think he had to work to talk me into it? Not very. He accomplished his mission in just over thirty minutes. My son, my support system, and my saboteur. But then thereís that thing called ďpersonal responsibilityĒ that makes me accountable for my own actions. After all, Iím an adult with my own free will and could have simply said no. Still, watching him paddle around last week in his new kayak only increased my desire to have my own. Yes, I actually did feel a little guilty as I got on the website and clicked the add to cart button, but not guilty enough to stop.
So the kayak was ordered, in the color I want, it is on its way, and is supposed to be in Greensboro tomorrow for me to pick up. We have a kayak trip planned this coming Sunday with a lot more friends this time. Weíre going back up to the New River in Virginia and Iíll be paddling my new mango color Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100. And the truth is Iíll probably be having so much fun I wonít even be thinking about the deal I broke with myself, but at least Iíll be getting a good workout and burning some extra calories.
I still feel a little guilty, but Iím also really excited about picking up my kayak tomorrow!
Cliff at the Yadkin River checking out his new kayak last week.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Today is Tommy's birthday! Because he has been a lifelong fan of Andy Griffith and the show, his sister reserved Andy's childhood home in Mt. Airy, NC for me and Tommy to spend the night in. We drove to Mt. Airy yesterday afternoon and checked in at 3:00. Tommy's sister Lisa, her husband Dale, and Tommyís parents met us there. They stayed in the Hampton Inn (who now owns Andy's old home).
After checking in we drove to the house and were delighted when we opened the door and stepped back in time. Much of the furnishings are 50's and 60's style decor and very little has been updated. The only newer appliances in the kitchen were the refrigerator, microwave and a little coffee maker. In the living room was a DVD player with the entire collection of the Andy Griffith Show.
Andy Griffith's childhood home at 711 Haymore St, Mt. Airy, NC
Me in the kitchen, but I didn't do any cooking (I should have).
Hard to believe that this little room not much larger than some walk-in closets was Andy's bedroom. A back porch has now been enclosed as a second bedroom.
While we were at the house we noticed a number of cars pulling up to stop and take pictures. Remembering how many times we've been up there and wished we could see inside, we began inviting some people to come in and check out the inside. It was fun because we talked to people from Georgia, Texas, Missouri, West Virginia, and several other places and they all seemed excited to have the opportunity to see inside.
Later we all drove to Dobson, NC (only 10 miles away) where we had dinner at a fantastic restaurant named The Depot. I didn't eat as healthy as I should have, but I did pass on the prime rib and opted for a chicken dish, some potatoes and apples instead. It could have been much worse. We then drove back to the house where we had a birthday cake in the beautiful back yard.
Tommy with his birthday cake.
Tommy and his family enjoying birthday cake (yes I had a small piece).
Later that night we went to the theater on Main Street where they had free live music. We then walked around town a little before heading back to the house for the night.
My sister woke me up with a telephone call this morning to tell me that my niece delivered a baby boy at 3:02 this morning - on Tommy's birthday!! For those of you who have been my friends here for several years, this is my same niece who lost her sweet baby Maddie to Leigh's Disease (a mitochondrial disease). Baby Maddie was buried the same day Tommy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Stephanie and Jimmy now have a sweet, healthy daughter named Abby and now little Jay. We are so thrilled for them.
After meeting Tommy's family for breakfast, we did some sightseeing around town and then went to the Andy Griffith Museum. Betty Lynn (also known as Thelma Lou on the Andy Griffith Show) was there today. We were so happy to meet her and found her to be a warm and genuine person.
Me and Tommy with Betty Lynn
Tommy gets a birthday kiss from Thelma Lou.
What a great two days. We finally made it home this evening and we are exhausted, but it was so much fun. Off to bed early tonight since I have to get back to work tomorrow.
A little souvenir we brought home with us.
Me and Tommy
Saturday, August 11, 2012
My weight loss has been kind of off and on lately, two pounds off, one pound back on . . . Not that I had been really trying all that hard. I talked a lot about it, but my actual efforts were half-hearted. I think boredom had begun to set in and I found myself exercising less and less. I love to hike, but itís been so hot and humid this summer that I havenít even done much of that.
That all changed when my son (Cliff) and I tried kayaking. I previously blogged about how much fun we had and how we were looking forward to going again. Well, last Tuesday Cliff, Jeremy (my younger son), Rosa (Jeremyís girlfriend) and I went kayaking on the very lazy, meandering, Dan River for Cliffís birthday.
We had fun, kind of, sort of. Okay, it actually went like this. Put kayaks in water, paddle, paddle, paddle. Hit rocks, scoot, scoot, scoot. Give up, step out of kayak, pull across the rocks, get back in kayak, laugh at others still stuck on rocks, paddle, paddle, paddle. Repeat. That was most of the 3.5 hours we were out there. There were a few fun spots where there was actually enough water in the river and enough riffles (very mild) to enjoy it. One spot was enough fun that we would go through it, pull the kayaks back up river and go through it again. We did that several times. Okay, we were desperate! There was also the issue of the kayaks themselves. Cliff described them best as ďbathtubs.Ē They were large and cumbersome, hard to control (even in the extremely calm water), and Jeremyís was cracked and leaked the entire way so he had to stop about every 30 minutes to drain the water out of it. The oars were very heavy also, but at least my upper body got a great workout just paddling with these weights.
On the banks of the Dan River getting ready to go.
Jeremy after coming out of a small rapid.
Cliff enjoying an area where there was actually some water.
Still we had fun and it was a good trip because I learned two important things. First, never, ever, ever go back kayaking on the Dan River, at least not in the area where we were. There just wasnít enough water. Second, I really want my own kayak, a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100. This is what I used on the New River and I absolutely loved it. Cliff ordered him a new kayak for his birthday and it is supposed to be delivered next week. Iím sure weíll be going out very soon afterwards so he can try it out. Weíre also planning to go back to the New River again in a couple of weeks.
So, thatís where one of my new goals and an additional motivation to lose weight comes in. I made a deal with myself and Cliff that when I lose twenty pounds I will order my new kayak, hopefully for my birthday in late September. Iíve been getting up early every morning and going out walking, lifting some weights every other day, tracking everything I eat, drinking at least eight glasses of water every day and also riding my exercise bike when watching TV. Iíve already lost 4.6 pounds so Iím almost one-fourth of the way there.
This is the kayak that I want for my birthday. Gotta lose that weight!!
Changing subjects, I took Thor out for a walk this morning and saw this gigantic moth laying eggs on my aloe plant. I had to run inside and get my camera to take pics to share because it was so cool looking.
Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Keep working toward your goals and together we can do this!!
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
People who know me well also know that Iím not a person who likes confrontations. Iím usually the peacekeeper, even going so far as to try to ease tensions between others at times. I prefer a peaceful home and working environment (and thatís not always easy working in a jail). However, this should not be mistaken for weakness. When pushed, I am prepared to fight for what is important to me, and thatís what Iím doing now. Iím in a fight to make everyone respect the wishes of my husband, and itís a fight that I will win. I refuse to let others take control of whatever time he has left on this Earth.
As Iíve said before, since September 2009, Tommy has had a scan every three months for his pancreatic cancer. Heís been on very harsh Folfirinox treatments since June 2011 in an attempt to stop or slow the progression of the metastatic tumors in his lungs. He told me just before this scan that he really wanted a break from the chemo, something his oncologist had also said he might want to consider. He said he was ďtired of being tiredĒ and tired of the mouth sores, the neuropathy in his hands and feet, and sleeping all the time. He said he wanted to feel good enough to go do things again and actually enjoy himself. Iíve always supported Tommyís decisions and this time could be no different. I told him if thatís what he wanted then he needed to talk to his doctor about it and he needed to make the final decision.
Unfortunately, his family doesnít seem to feel the same way. There seems to be a push from other family members that he has to ďfight, because you can beat this thing.Ē Yes, Iíve heard those very words from at least two of his family members. While I wish this was true, the fact is that he has stage IV pancreatic cancer and every expert weíve talked to says they cannot cure it and that at some point it will stop responding to any treatments. Iíve spent many hours talking to my sister who used to be a hospice nurse. She told me that she faced this same situation many times and had many meetings with families to try to explain how these statements can have a negative effect on the patient. While itís important for us all to be supportive and optimistic, she says family members, while well-intentioned, often place their loved one (at least in the patient's mind) in the impossible situation of either beating an incurable disease or failing and disappointing their family. I can't imagine the enormity of pressure this would put on someone when they should be enjoying every day.
When I told one of his family members that he wanted a chemo break, she actually looked at me and said ďWell, thatís going to depend on his scan results.Ē I couldnít believe she actually said this and immediately snapped back, ďNo, itís going to depend on what HE wants.Ē While I love my in-laws very much and I know they are afraid and they mean well, I simply will not allow them to control his medical care. I told another family member later that everyone needs to understand that this is not about what anyone else wants; not his children, not his parents, not his sibling, and not me. This is his life and we all need to support him so he can feel good about his decisions.
We went last week to get the results of his latest scan and, while still there, the nodules in his lungs are a bit smaller. The response to the treatments over the last three months did not seem as remarkable as with his three previous scans. The concern is whether or not the treatments are beginning to lose their effectiveness against this disease (something we have been told would eventually happen). But at least there was some decrease in the size of the nodules, so for that we are grateful.
Tommy was pleased and I was so proud of him when he spoke up and told his doctor he wanted three months off. She agreed and even said it would probably be good for him to take the break. So we are planning to do some camping in September and October when the weather cools a little and weíre hoping he gets enough energy back to enjoy some bike riding again.
He told me he doesnít know if he made the right decision, but itís what he wants. I reassured him that if itís what HE wants, then itís the right decision for him. Heíll have another scan in late October and then meet with his doctor to decide how to proceed at that time.
None of us know what tomorrow holds, but right now weíre having fun. We just spent three night in the mountains and took a friend of mine and his cousin with us. We all had a great time and we're looking forward to going back again, soon!
Tommy and his cousin in Whitetop, Virginia.
Hope everyone is having a great week!
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
My oldest son, Cliff, and I have always wanted to go kayaking. Iíve been canoeing, tubing and rafting, but had never been on a kayak. When I say I wanted to go kayaking, I meant on a nice, calm, meandering river, not the wild white water stuff. But itís always been something we just talked about, never actually acting on our desires. Until today.
Last week we decided we wanted to go ahead and just do it. We researched areas close by and decided on a place up in Virginia on the New River. This particular section of the river sounded perfect for two beginners who had no idea what they were doing. And so, we called last week and reserved our two kayaks and shuttle. I explained to the man we spoke with that we had never kayaked before, and he assured us they would put us on a safe section of the river. We spent the last several days watching youtube videos from REI about proper paddling, safety, etc. We were finally going to do something weíve been talking about for a long time and we were excited.
We got up early this morning and to the sound of hard rain outside, we got ready, loaded up our water shoes, hats, dry clothes (for after the paddle), bottled water, and everything else we could think of that we could possibly need. I even brought a rain poncho for each of us! Not sure what I was thinking when I packed rain gear; we were going kayaking so we were going to be getting wet! Oh wait, I still thought we were going to be on a calm, meandering river. Anyway, it rained on us all the way to the outfitters, but we were determined to make this happen.
When we reached the outfitters we got our vests and they loaded our kayaks onto their trailer. We were the only two kayaking, and there was a family of three that had rented one large raft. We were driven to our launch location and given a map; a PAPER map showing the river and all of the obstacles we would encounter along the way. Did he say obstacles? Our driver began to carefully point out on the map where we would encounter various rapids and the best way through them, where to avoid the ďbig waveĒ and where weíd go over the ďdeceptive ledges.Ē Iím not sure what all he said after that because I was still stuck on the ďbig waveĒ and the ďdeceptive ledgesĒ and wondering what Iíd just gotten myself into. This wasnít sounding like the calm, meandering river Iíd envisioned. Still, I kept my mouth shut, and when he finished we grabbed our maps, secured our belongings on our kayaks and shoved off.
Cliff with our kayaks getting ready to launch.
Nice calm water. This was what I was hoping for the entire way.
Okay, this place looked good. The rain stopped right after we got on the river and the water looked calm. The paddling was easier then I expected. We were on our way, just the two of us, having left the family in the raft far behind. It was so calm I could even take pictures with my camera hanging around my neck. Then we rounded a bend and I suddenly heard water; lots of rushing water! I sat upright straining to see down river and, sure enough, I could see some white water ahead. I admit there were a few moments (okay, a lot of moments) of panic because I was heading for some rapids and had no idea what I was doing. I learned that you CAN paddle in reverse, but eventually you just have to go for it. Iím pleased to say that even though there was a few seconds in this section where I really thought I was coming out of that kayak, I managed to hang on.
Me following Cliff
It stayed cloudy all day, but at least it didn't rain on us. The scenery was beautiful.
There were a number of these areas along the way, and we learned what a ďdeceptive ledgeĒ is; the name is appropriate. We got better as the day went on and began to recognize the best places to paddle straight into the rapids. It was a good thing because the paper maps he gave us were wet and in pieces after the first two sets of rapids. By the way, we were also soaked from head to toe and I had to laugh thinking about my little rain ponchos I had brought. By the third set of rapids, we were having a great time (still a little scary though). Also, as for the ďbig waveĒ we were told to avoid, because our maps were destroyed we had no idea where it was and guess who went right through it - both of us! Still, we managed to stay upright and in the kayaks. It took us 2 hours and 40 minutes to get to our take out location. We were so excited because we had just completed our first kayak trip and it was much more than we ever expected. And, we didnít fall out of our kayaks. It was so much fun.
Tonight I am sore, but it was a great day. Weíre planning on doing this again!
My kayak after we had finished.
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