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WATERMELLEN's Recent Blog Entries

Sparking for Two Months

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Reading JOPAPGH's blog reminded me: I've also been at SparkPeople for two months as of yesterday, July 10. I've used the nutrition tracker every day for every meal and only been a little less diligent on the exercise. Meaning that although I have recorded all that I've done, that exercise has been less than my pre-SparkPeople exercise routine. That's because during the past two months I've also completed radiation treatments which have slowed me down. For years I've been going to the gym 4-5 days a week, generally 40 minutes of cardio/500 calories plus abs and stretching every day; and upper body weights on alternate days with lower body weights. Treatments have slowed me down on that (fatigue plus fairly extreme skin burning) and the side effects are expected to peak about 10 days from now, then taper off over the following month or two. As energy rises, I'll be stepping up my exercise to my former levels and then beyond, I'm sure: I love that endorphin high and have had to restrain myself to accommodate the medical realities (and the chafing!).

These treatments made it the best possible time for me to embark upon Spark. During the two months, while dealing with the radiation, I've taken off 14.5 pounds of the 17 pity party pounds which had limpet-like attached themselves around my middle (mostly) after my February diagnosis. I've got 2.5 pounds to go, and even though they have been very very slow to budge they will go too: I am confident! I am determined!!

I've lost 2.5 inches around my waist and am comfortably back wearing my size eights (the 10s were getting a big snug before). Had a lot of fun "shopping in my closet" and received quite a number of compliments: the 14.5 pounds does make a difference to how I feel as well as how I look. Today I've celebrated my two month anniversary by treating myself to a StarFrite kitchen nutrition weigh scale to make absolutely sure that the 1 oz of cashews or 1 oz of cheddar I've been charging myself really has been 1 oz: and actually confirmed that my eyeballing has been pretty darn good! (It's a pretty nifty gadget and I've been wanting one for a while . . . comes programmed with a ton of foods with their calorie/protein/sodium etc and others can be added.) Also got some low-tech measuring spoons and measuring cups to reinforce the accountability..

SparkPeople: What an amazing site. I've counted calories before (of course) but the Nutrition tracker is a very handy tool. I like the "food group" feature since I tend to eat big multi-item salads every day for lunch, adding a different dressing and low-fat protein source to each one. I like the "favourites" because I do tend to eat a lot of the same foods (in rotation) over a week. I particularly like the nutrition breakdown: that I can, for example, look at what I've already eaten by mid afternoon and decide that I need to increase protein, increase fat, back off on carbs etc etc before the end of the day. Love the daily "report" feature. Love the Fitness trackers. Love the teams, the articles, the message boards, the blogs, the trivia questions (even though I am not very bright about these) -- most of all love SparkPeople: your warmth, your support, your humour, your commitment to health, energy, and engagement with life.

Thanks, everyone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMAGINE_IT 7/14/2009 4:47PM

    Love your Blog!! I have been following your progress almost from the beginning..because you found me somehow and left one of your kind and wonderful messages on my page... emoticon i may not always respond..or come by as often as i should...but i do watch you.. emoticon from afar...lol..not in a spying way of course!!! emoticon
You have been doing amazing..and it shows..and i am really proud of you..and to me you are inspiring..and motivating..and i am proud to have you as a friend emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/14/2009 4:48:09 PM

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DSHONEYC 7/13/2009 5:09PM

    Way to go! Your retrospective blog was inspiring. Keep on blogging! emoticon

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ANIMEMOM1 7/13/2009 4:23PM

    You have been a wonderful inspiration for me as well. You have done fantastic with extra barriers that would crumble so many. Above an beyond losing the weight, you have helped keep yourself healthier to help you through this and be around for all those who love you and look up to you. Keep up your good work. Congrats on your new addition. My scale was a eye-opener. I remember saying..."That is all the chicken I GET?" Thank goodness I have learned and am now pretty good at eyeing it-though I still weigh every chance I get.

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    You have done a great job - and not just with yourself but with being a motivating factor, at least for me. That's the best thing about SparkPeople - there is never a shortage of people willing to offer support and encouragement, because we ALL need it at some time or another. You've been a big source of that for me, and I am thankful for that.

I bought mysef a digital scale about a month ago and I don't know how I survived before! Well, I know how I survived before - I didn't cook and I didn't pay any attention to portion size. It's definitely nice to know exactly how much I am putting into my mouth now. Well, sometimes!

Keep up the good work - those last few pounds will disappear before you know it!

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NGALAX 7/12/2009 5:01AM

    I think you are amazing. I love your approach.Yes the Spark tools are great aren't they? Before Spark I didn't pay attention to food groups I just ate what I fancied. I wish you all the very best on your Sparkaversary and in the future! emoticon emoticon

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JOPAPGH 7/11/2009 3:37PM

    Your results after two months would be consdered great. Considering your circumstances, they are amazing. I am glad to hear the next couple of months will only get better and better.

I have been a big scale user from day one. Since I am a mega data nerd I gravitate to weighing things in grams. Makes it tough when I travel because I can't guesstimate portion sizes and weights very well.

Keep that laser beam focus on your goals,


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Friday, July 10, 2009

Glorious evening on the golf course -- just the right temperature, beautiful blue skies and interesting clouds, not too many bugs, wonderful golf companions, purple liatris and yellow daylilies coming into bloom in the flower beds, the second crop of young robins chirrupping and adolescent crows squawking at their harried parents to be fed; and me with just about enough energy to get through nine holes.

Not playing well, of course -- but well enough to enjoy myself. Until I landed in the sand on the ninth and despite three mighty swipes, was unable to blast my way out. No big deal: I picked up, watched the others putt out and headed for the club house.

A lovely start to the weekend.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLOWINGWATER 7/11/2009 10:45AM

    Sounds like a wonderful evening out with friends and enjoying nature. What could be better?

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A Daily Walk Around the Garden

Thursday, July 02, 2009

It's amazing how much pleasure there is to be had in a little walk around the garden at the house where I've now lived more than 22 years. Every day there is something new in bloom: right now, I'm especially enjoying my floppy pale pink antique rose, which smells so good although each blossom last little more than a day. The mock orange is another with a wonderful scent -- and I've brought in a bouquet of the two mixed together for the kitchen table.

My few little plantings of annuals -- white cosmos, bright red geraniums, a few snapdragons, some portulaca -- those are all pretty consistently colourful and I would not want to be without them. But what I like most is making a point of noticing as each of the old perennial friends predictably steps forward and takes its turn from spring to fall: snowdrops, crocus, hyacinths, anemone, daffodils, tulips, iris, lily of the valley, lilac, columbine, poppies, peonies, Dame's rocket all pretty much past with lemon drop and evening primrose sharing star billing with the roses and mock orange right now. I've got another yellow kitchen bouquet of those with a late deep red peony! And there will be lots more perennials -- sidalcea soon, liatris, sweet peas, lilies (Asiatic and daylily types) asters, golden rod, sedum, Rose of Sharon, trumpet vine, chrysanthemums, fall crocus. Plus flowers from my annual seeds -- nasturtium, morning glories -- still to come between now and fall.

Every day new, each flower never to be repeated. But every flower deeply familiar from all the years I've lived here and seen them bloom in sequence. And something new: I'm wondering if my just-planted Pink Fantasy clematis is going to oblige in its first season with a bloom or two!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANIMEMOM1 7/10/2009 6:00PM

    I miss having a garden. When I did, I had very little money to put into it so I had mostly a fruit and veggie garden. I had very few flowers/bushes so I had a lot of fun planting things that would naturalize or that I could split later and increase my count. I had a really pretty yard going. If I could have a whole perimeter of lilacs I would. My favorite smelling flower. I shall live precariously through your garden. emoticon

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SUZY6281 7/6/2009 4:01PM

    My husband and I love to vacation in Canada- British Columbia. And one of the things that I find so wonderful about Canada is the abundance of beautiful flowers.

Your garden sounds fabulous.


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DSHONEYC 7/3/2009 11:40AM

    Oh, to wander around your garden would be a delight to all the senses. Wishing I was there, though I can imagine it. To wander around something so familiar (have been in my own home nearly 19 years) and see something "new" takes my breath away. I have a small floral disaster to contend with today, but it will open up space for something else to stretch out or perhaps replace it. Disasters can be opportunities, and health can be restored. Have a wonderful Friday in Canada, my SparkFriend.

P.S. I did enjoy your Canada Day commentary. My neighbor and former Canadian became a US citizen right before the 2008 4th of July. Funny, but she was infected with American zeal. Are we Americans "too proud"?


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KIZIDOG 7/2/2009 7:44PM

    Isn't it wonderful to see all our hard work bloom and bring us such joy. It is the same with our journey to health and wellness. The hard work will pay off and we will have joy along the way as well as at the end. Star

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Uncharacteristic patriotism for Canada Day, eh?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tomorrow is July 1st. What we Canadians used to call Dominion Day. And now call Canada's birthday (it's our 142nd, if you're asking) or Canada Day, or whatever. The failure to be prescriptive about the name is in itself pretty typical of Canadian anti-patriotism; we don't tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves when it comes to love of country.

At our golf club, there is generally a Canada Day event. Everyone wears red and white golf clothes. You put a Canadian flag on your golf cart and carry it around the course -- quite a colourful sight. And then, when you've used up your allotted strokes (based on current handicap) you're supposed to plant your flag on the course at that spot. Which means that there are a few flags generally beginning about the 16h green or up the 17th fairway for people doing worse than usual. A few more at the 17th green. Yet more on either side of the 18th fairway, and clustered before the 18th green. If you get to put your flag on the clubhouse side of the 18th green, you've made it around under your handicap: which has never happened for me! And then there's a BBQ, maybe some live music, lots of friends -- a laid back celebration of "Canadianness".

This year I probably won't get to play -- the treatment-related fatigue factor. Or: maybe I'll just play a few holes. If not, I'll be sitting on my verandah looking up at my Canadian flag .

Because -- I am feeling particularly grateful this year to be Canadian. And especially for the Canadian medical system which has taken such good care of me worry-free. The whole six month treatment programme has cost me nothing more than parking fees at the hospital -- and even the parking has been discounted for the daily clinic visits. But the quality of the care has been amazing too -- professional, kindly, humorous, tactful. I'd be appreciative of that quality of human interaction at any price.

So even though most Canadians don't make a big deal about July 1st, I'll be feeling particularly Canadian tomorrow. Very glad to be so -- and glad to be getting healthier day by day.

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And thankful too for the support of all the SparkPeople friends who've helped me with the weight loss part of getting healthier. Some Canadians --some from other parts of the world; and most the wonderfully warm and outgoing Americans. I do hope you Americans enjoy your July 4th celebration coming up with all the hoopla and hands on heart that Canadians don't do -- but some of us can just about imagine. Because just occasionally we let ourselves feel patriotic, too!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOPAPGH 6/30/2009 9:45PM

    So for Canada Day do you get freebies at Tim Horton's?

If there is one thing Pittsburgh likes it is fireworks. We probably have 10 displays a year. I think this is because one of the biggest fireworks companies in the world, Zambelli Fireworks, is based just up the river. They did the fireworks display for the Staue of Liberty celebration.

There will be a three day celebration here, the Three Rivers Regatta, with water races, stunt demonstrations, live music, food (that I will make a healthy, concious decision not to eat) and of course a kick@ss fireworks show.

Enjoy your holiday,


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A Little Fatigue . . . Having Faith

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I am sustaining my cheerful mood and feeling grateful for the excellent treatment I'm getting (reducing my statistical chance of recurrence from about 25% to maybe 2-3%) but: the cumulative effect of the series of treatments is making me somewhat fatigued, just as I was told to expect. And: some redness/skin reaction, also as I was told to expect. Which will culminate about 2 weeks after the last treatment (there are 6 to go).

So I'm not feeling able to get to the gym for my usual vigorous workouts every day, will have to take it easier, do what I can, keep on the programme from a nutrition-tracking perspective (not too hard, since appetite is also quite a bit reduced) and just have faith that I WILL do what exercise I can and get back into the full exercise routine (as I always have) when it's possible to do so.

This isn't a race, there is no deadline, I'm only 3 pounds from goal: and it will happen.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DSHONEYC 6/30/2009 2:52PM

    Hi there, too busy to blog? The more I get to know you the more I think we are kindred spirits in many ways.
Happy Dominion Day! emoticon

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DSHONEYC 6/29/2009 1:00PM

    Hello again, thanks for the message on my last blog. I look forward to hearing from you. Hope you didn't overdo with the gardening! I know I put in several hours Saturday, and needed a nap (which I didn't get) afterwards. Being tired is the worst thing in the world compared to the others I see when I go into treatment every morning. I can tell (plus they told me) that they have had chemo, too, and that is scary. Putting the "poison" into your body knowing it will make you sick and lose your hair and perhaps burn your insides....we have got it easy I think, huh? The end is in site and the garden will be there for us......


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WACHSC 6/27/2009 6:13PM

    I am sure that you are feeling worn out from the treatments. After all you are fighting a battle and that takes a lot of energy. Don't worry so much about how much you work out when you are feeling fatigued. Number 1 priority is to allow your body to heal. You have such a wonderful outlook.
Thanks, by the way for the comment on my blog. Always nice to get a little encouragement. Know that my prayers are with you. May God grant you a full recovery!
In Him,

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DARLENA3 6/26/2009 11:08PM

    You know my thoughts are with you. You must rest rest and take care of you. You will get to your goal when it is the right time. Healthy and happier!!

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DSHONEYC 6/25/2009 11:36PM

    Hi there, thanks for the nice comments on my blog of Wednesday I think. Yes, after 11 radiation treaments (25 to go!) I am starting to feel tired, as the they advised. Hits me in the afternoon. Today I worked a long day, but tomorrow I am leaving a little early as I have a dinner dance to go to. No redness to speak of, but I am faithfully using aloe vera 3-4 times a day. Finally got my time set for 8:45 am every morning from now on (unless I need to reschedule). Its not so bad geting it done first thing in the morning and less disruptive to my schedule.

I like the people at the clinic, they are very nice and its pretty easy to keep a cheerful face. There are so many other people there with worse burdens to bear.
emoticon I am soooooooooo blessed.

emoticon on only 6 more treatments and 4 pounds to your goal! I am so impressed!

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JOPAPGH 6/25/2009 10:01PM

    Keep your head down and just focus on what you need to. You have the positive attitude to succeed. You are blessed to have a supportive family around you.

Looking forward to maintaining with you some time in the future. I'm here if you need me.

All the best,


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MRSWIGGLY6 6/25/2009 9:48PM

    You know you are such a fighter. Yes you will make it to goal as you have so much strength inside of you even though your body doesn't right now. Once you do I will be shouting on the roof tops with you girl. emoticon

This is no race and your correct about that. This is a lifestyle change for all of us. The only race I might be doing is racing towards the bathroom from all the water. emoticon

Thanks for being you!


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