MARCIAC10's SparkPeople Blog MARCIAC10's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Visit to Rheumatologist and other odds and ends Went to Shreveport Tuesday to see the Rheumatologist. He discussed my arthritis issues and the possibilities of me having to go back on a biologic meds despite me telling him I can never take those again due to my history with histoplasmosis. My GI doctor had brought up putting me back on this stuff, too. Thank goodness my internist listens to me, as my Infectious Disease Specialist (who I no longer see) had told me firmly that I could never go back on those meds. <BR> <BR> Anyway, he x... Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:20:33 EST Fall 5% Challenge: Sign Up Now!! <link><BR>ndividual.asp?gid=63518 </link> <BR> <BR> Fall 5% Challenge: a challenge where we aim to lose 5% of our weight during the 8 weeks of the Challenge. <BR> <BR> Do you like team work? <BR> Can you log your exercise minutes every day on your team's Challenge thread? <BR> Can you also log your Living The Good Life points every day on the same thread? (These LTGL's change each week, more in a bit about them). <BR> Can you weigh in each week and po... Sun, 17 Aug 2014 18:06:54 EST Summer 5% Challenge Wrap Up It's been an interesting challenge for me! I rejoined the 5% Challenge in the Spring after a bit of a break (almost a year, half of which I was either seriously ill or recovering). In the midst of the Spring 5% Challenge we moved out of state. In fact the week it started was the week before the move. I found it very challenging to work out during that challenge as the move set off a major arthritis flare up and my back went out. I ended up just over a pound higher than I started. <BR> ... Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:54:08 EST Travels in Croatia: The End We drove the two hours to Zagreb and located a parking garage about a 10 minute walk from the Flower Square in the city where the apartment we rented for the night was located. Airbnb, you are so good! A two bedroom apartment in the heart of the city, with everything close enough to walk to, I mean right outside the door, and yet set just off the square so a bit quiet, for the price of one hotel room! And the hostess let my DD leave her luggage with her the next day as I had an early fligh... Mon, 4 Aug 2014 19:52:15 EST Travels in Croatia: Plivicka Jezera National Park We drove the 5 hour drive from Dubrovnik to Plivicka. This time the border crossings went faster, due to us leaving in the morning before the roads became too busy. One note on the roads in Croatia: they are in much better shape than the roads in America! Even the two lane highways are in good shape. When not on the two lane highways we took the toll road, four lanes, like an interstate highway. Drivers in Croatia are very courteous, like drivers in Germany. On four lane roads you drive i... Fri, 1 Aug 2014 16:26:01 EST Travels in Croatia: Dubrovnik We left for Dubrovnik, about a 3 hour drive if I remember correctly, mainly along a winding two lane highway on the coastline with beautiful views of the mountains and of the sea. We had to cross the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina, which took a little time, then after a short drive, crossed back into Croatia. That border crossing took longer as the line of cars was much longer. <BR> <BR> Dubrovnik is a smaller city than Split. We found our apartment and parked our car with help of o... Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:30:31 EST Travels in Croatia: Split First let me recommend We used this site to book our stays in apartments in Croatia and got nice places to stay, two bedrooms, kitchen, family room, washing machines in bathroom, for the same price as a hotel room. At least in Croatia this was the case! Travel in Croatia is cheaper at this time than in other parts of Europe and it is a gorgeous country! <BR> <BR> We flew into Zagreb and rented a car and my daughter drove. Being overseas for almost two years (and only home tw... Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:58:57 EST Travels: Part 2 More on Macedonia After visiting the Islamic Monastery we traveled to the Monastery of Lesok, just outside of Tetovo. This Monastery is Catholic, so we had the experience of two totally different styles of monasteries. My DD had attended a wedding at this historic monastery a couple of weeks prior, the wedding of a friend's sister, and while we were in the new church we saw part of the wedding decorations left from that wedding. <BR> <img src=""> <B... Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:14:15 EST Trip to Macedonia: Travel and Arrival and First Impressions This was my fourth trip overseas and it never gets easier! The long flight overseas is hard, crammed in a plane with a bunch of strangers for 8 or more hours with a limited number of bathrooms, narrow aisles to walk up and down when the flight attendants don't have them blocked with the food/drink carts, and in my case twitching legs that about drove me crazy! I managed to nap in spurts, was lucky with my seat mate, a nice young woman, and we lucked out in earning a second pillow due to my ... Sat, 26 Jul 2014 17:22:34 EST Sweatin' to the Oldies 2 Now that my back and knee have recovered from the latest arthritis flareup, I decided to supplement my aqua wellness class with some workouts at home. I have exercises I can do at home, but I wanted something to add some cardio. <BR> <BR> My daughter sent me some YouTube links to some Yoga vidoes to try. I have some longer ones on my iPad, but these shorter ones are pretty good and have some that are tailor made for me (very stiff hips, etc). I mean, I can't even sit cross-legged on the... Mon, 30 Jun 2014 21:32:00 EST Follow up to my Dr. Oz blog Great editorial letter from the Food Safety News about Dr. Oz and Dr. Mercola <BR> <BR> <link><BR>r-from-the-editor-dr-oz-takes-a-beatin<BR>g/#.U6bq4xYtq24 </link> Sun, 22 Jun 2014 10:44:05 EST Aqua Class I went to the evening class for a change and it was much more of a workout than the morning class. I ached a bit last night, which was good, but don't feel sore this morning. I think for the rest of the summer I'll do the Monday morning slower class, then do the Tuesday and Thursday evening faster paced class. <BR> <BR> In addition to getting to workout three days a week, I also get to know more people since I'm new in town. So that works out great for me! <BR> <BR> No I'm thinking I'd... Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:00:50 EST Updates on my life Tues. <BR> The detached apartment's ac broke: waiting for the repairman to come, which should be in a bit. <BR> Woke up fighting off a migraine and I think I'm winning the battle! <BR> Have already gone outside in the heat and pruned some bushes. The azaleas in the front yard were as high as my shoulders and over run with vines so after DH bought me a cordless hedge trimmer this weekend I started pruning them. Decided to go after them again today. They are about chest high now and a lot ... Wed, 18 Jun 2014 14:51:05 EST Dr. Oz versus Spark People: my humble opinion Dr. Oz was called before the Senate today for a hearing. <BR> <BR> "I am concerned that you are melding medical advice, news, and entertainment in a way that harms consumers,” Sen. Claire McCaskill scolded Dr. Oz during the hearing. <BR> <BR> About time. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>dr-oz-effect-senators-scold-mehmet-oz-<BR>diet-scams-n133226 </link> <BR> <BR> He has a platform (his tv show and the media) to use to help people in an honest and good way, an... Tue, 17 Jun 2014 21:36:49 EST Two months in AR, Summer 5%, and Photography It's three weeks since my back went out and I've made great progress. The aqua wellness class is great for me! I overdid it a bit Monday I think. Got up Tuesday and felt that shoot of pain in the back and was very stiff for awhile on getting up: overworked muscles. So later in the morning I took a walk, which maybe I shouldn't have done, and took a short nap, as allergies had kept me up for two nights, and on rising from the nap my right knee tendon was painful. Big sigh!! Had to put th... Thu, 12 Jun 2014 15:34:35 EST Getting back to normal Three aqua wellness classes this past week left me with some soreness from working out muscles that haven't been worked out in a bit! But the class is just what I need. And my knee and back are getting better, although I still have to be careful about how I move at times. I have a lot of stiffness on getting up so that is a danger time for my back, and going up and down steps and making sudden turns are danger times for my right knee. Slow and steady!! <BR> <BR> But I'm back to getting h... Sat, 7 Jun 2014 15:31:10 EST Wed. and second Water Wellness Class Had my second Water Wellness Class today. Enjoyed it a lot. No back or knee pain during it today. We even did some Tai Chi in the water!! I've been doing Tai Chi here at home for awhile so really enjoyed that. Instructor said we'd do some yoga poses, too soon. <BR> <BR> Electricity: off and on at the house today. I hope they have it fixed now as the temps have been hot! Thank goodness for the trees around our house, those tall pine trees help keep the house from getting too hot. Our ... Wed, 4 Jun 2014 20:01:51 EST Monday and back in Arkansas after DC trip I had a good time on my trip to DC. <BR> Recap: <BR> Arrived early Thursday morning :( due to flight delays due to weather. <BR> Stayed at Dupont Circle Hotel <BR> Escorted son to his medical appt. which was the main purpose of my visit. <BR> Afterwards he returned to my hotel room and took a nap as he was sleepy from the anesthesia and had a headache from before the procedure, probably a migraine. Slept until a late afternoon dr. appt after which we had dinner at a Greek restaurant: ... Mon, 2 Jun 2014 15:26:16 EST Tuesday update Visit with internist: This was a follow up visit. My labs were all good from last time. He wants me to stay on the statins but agreed to let my lower my BP meds from 100 to 50 mg. I was on 50 mg for quite a few years until I got the histo and then after that had to move up to the 100 mgs, so now that my bp is doing well and I'm healthy again I feel it's time to drop back down to the lower dose. <BR> <BR> My back was really stiff by the time I got to his office first thing this morning. I... Tue, 27 May 2014 16:13:23 EST Active & Less Active Spark Teams or How to Find A Great Team! Have you ever joined a Spark team only to find out that it's not very active? What a disappointment!! Or joined a Spark Team and tried to join in on the conversation and wasn't included? And found that other than the conversation there really wasn't much else happening on that team? <BR> <BR> Click the link below and read about the 2014 Summer 5% Challenge and why these Challenge teams stay fresh and exciting! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>urnal_individual.... Mon, 26 May 2014 18:03:47 EST 2014 Summer 5% Challenge: Come on and Join Us! Click the link to join the 5% Summer 5% Challenge. This challenge has something for everyone, no matter what fitness level you are at present. Just log your exercise minutes and LTGL points daily on your teams Challenge thread. That's it! Oh, and weigh in weekly. LTGL, by the way, is Living the Good Life and it changes weekly. It can be tracking food, making "me" time each day, drinking water, etc. All LTGL are designed to instill healthy habits to further your journey to a healthier l... Sun, 25 May 2014 20:18:23 EST Sat. Back pain slowly improving and Spring 5% Challenge coming to and end Back is slowly improving. It's been frustrating, to say the least! Doing my back exercises and taking very slow walks around the yard has been the extent of my workouts for the past week. So I haven't logged very many minutes or mileage and haven't lost my 5% weight with this challenge. I even put back on a pound or two this past week, being so much more inactive than normal. <BR> <BR> But I keep checking in with my team and logging what few points I have and I have done most of the LTGL... Sat, 24 May 2014 18:47:51 EST Wed. Back on pain meds After bragging about how my back was getting better I ended Tuesday evening in a lot of pain! By 8:30 I was ready for a pain pill!! So this morning I decided to take another one and it has helped me get through the day without all the aches and stabbing pains and stiffness. A week from today I'm flying to DC so I have to be in better shape than I am today. So I did my back exercises and kept to very light activity today: no overdoing and making things worse by straining the back! <BR> <BR> Wed, 21 May 2014 17:41:44 EST Tuesday Things are improving. Was less stiff and achy this morning. Took a slow walk late in the morning, very slow! Came home and rested. Did some gentle stretching exercises this afternoon after a nap. Haven't done a lot around the house, other than laundry and cooking meals. Enjoyed time out in the backyard this afternoon with the dogs. <BR> The dogs: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> My backyard: <BR> <img src=" Tue, 20 May 2014 18:26:52 EST Monday Blues Had back pain again on Sunday. Lived on pain pills all day. Enjoyed having DH home for the first time in a week. <BR> <BR> Did the slow roll out of bed maneuver to keep the back from hurting this morning. That's the worse thing, when you can't get up or down quickly without the stabbing pain! But I was able to fix breakfast without the annoying pain so decided to skip the pain pill (narcotic kind) and stick with ibuprofen. Made it through the day! <BR> <BR> I do think this is all tie... Mon, 19 May 2014 22:04:26 EST Sat. Today is my DD's 26th birthday. She is currently overseas finishing her second year with the Peace Corps, serving in Macedonia. <BR> <BR> My back got worse during the night so I have been on pain pills since last night and minimal activity. Have done some simple back exercises from the Mackenzie Back exercises that my orthopedist gave me to do and hope to add a few more exercises tomorrow. It's not much fun when getting out of bed in the morning is difficult to do without the stabbing ba... Sat, 17 May 2014 20:49:00 EST Friday Had a nice chat with my DS Thursday evening about my trip to visit him in DC. I will say, he may have been upset about me not including him on my overseas solo trip to visit DD, but we don't stay mad long, at least DH, my two kids and I don't! It's not worth the time and effort to hold grudges. <BR> <BR> I woke up this morning, bent over and the back started cramping again. So I've been resting the back as it's doing it's normal pain thing again. So limited activity today. I did get a c... Fri, 16 May 2014 18:37:44 EST Thursday and Sunshine Wednesday afternoon I booked my flight to Macedonia. DD has to put in for her days off in July when I come to visit so we worked on this together. Since it's Ramadan in July she won't have a lot to do, work wise, that month which means she can take off easily as the organization she works with will be basically..not shut down but not running like normal. <BR> Anyway, DS got a little mad as he wanted to go, too, but can't afford to and wanted us to pay his way. I kind of feel that a grown s... Thu, 15 May 2014 18:51:32 EST May 14 Check In on a Dreary Day It's been a wet, chilly week so far!! My arthritis has eased up but the weather is keeping me down!! No energy, as this soggy mess makes me want to stay in bed and stay warm. And it's only in the 50's here, but a few days ago it was in the 80's and I was wearing shorts and sunscreen and insect repellant! Today, jeans, long sleeved shirt, cardigan. Only going outside for doggy breaks. <BR> <BR> Working on making progress on my book for book club, just over 30% done and a week and a half ... Wed, 14 May 2014 14:56:42 EST May 1st Check In Weight, Exercise, Personal Goals Starting weight in April 170.5 <BR> Starting weight in May 170.2 <BR> <BR> Not a lot of difference <BR> During this month we moved from Louisiana to Arkansas. The actual move took place April 16th but the week before and the days after, until I unpacked my cookware, we lived on a lot of fast food, meals picked up from local places, frozen foods, convenience foods, etc. You do what you have to do in those situations to get by. Exercise options were often limited, too. The day of the move ... Thu, 1 May 2014 09:54:34 EST The move and the day after Update on my move: <BR> <BR> Movers showed up on time but we had an issue with one of my pianos which was crated. I have three pianos, one is electronic and not an issue (older), but the other two are and the one that was crated is the one I bought in 2012 with money I inherited from my aunt. I had waited years to get a really good piano and when I got the money from her I knew she would approve of me using some of it to buy a really good piano. So we had major concerns with this move of ... Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:00:19 EST New House We bought the house today. It's official. Now to get the moving van scheduled. I did talk to them today so it will be in a couple of weeks. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is the view out of the breakfast nook. Look across the patio and you can see the window of the MIL apartment which will be my piano studio. I can't wait to settle in! Fri, 28 Mar 2014 20:48:58 EST Sunday the 16th of March: Chaotic Days getting ready to Move Last week was a bit chaotic. Lots of work was done on our house which meant the pets had to be confined to the back of the house for a good part of the week. No access to the kitchen and laundry room for three days: that was tough! <BR> <BR> I finally took a walk on Saturday, the first time in days. So my fitness and healthy eating got way off track with all the chaos in the house this past week. <BR> <BR> We are due to close on our new house on the 28th if all goes well. And the move s... Sun, 16 Mar 2014 14:32:29 EST Tuesday: Walk Away the Pounds Happy Mardi Gras! I spent it indoors, out of the cold, rainy weather! I did pull out a Leslie Sansone DVD and did a 30 minute walk today. After months of not doing much of anything due to winter weather, I could kick myself for ignoring all the great resources I have here at the house to work out: a treadmill, a stationary bike, a Wii, lots of DVDs, Yoga podcasts and videos on my iPad, Spark resources, etc. Instead I just sat around putting on weight and getting stiffer and more and more ... Tue, 4 Mar 2014 20:20:11 EST March Update Weight: has been going up not down! I know why...stress and lack of focus. This transition time has not been easy and I am not handling it well. <BR> <BR> House: we are making an offer on house no. 2 today and I'm glad house no. 1 fell through! House no. 2 came on the market last week and it is more what we were looking for. More details if things work out. On a side note we had the chance to get house no. 1 again last week but decided to give it some more thought.. and decided to go ... Mon, 3 Mar 2014 11:24:23 EST The Walk app DH got me The Walk game app for Valentine's Day. It's a game you "play" while you walk. for apple and google by the way. <BR> <BR> Well I started the first level and it took me a while to kind of figure it out as I wasn't really walking except around the house. Once I got the hang of what I was supposed to do, I found that I really liked it and I was working to try to complete the levels (done the first two and the first challenge so far) and trying to get 100% on them. ... Sun, 23 Feb 2014 18:24:22 EST Buying a house is frustrating and stressful This house buying business is getting me down! DH is working on the numbers now...he has to have all the data to make a good choice among our top five choices. I like to picture which will best suit or needs and we'll enjoy living other words making into our home. Sigh...I know his way is important but mine has merit too! And I can't get him to say which house he LIKES! It's all numbers to him...that's an engineer for you! <BR> <BR> Meanwhile we are in month three of the transfer... Sat, 22 Feb 2014 18:47:02 EST Painful night, lonely days Yes, another painful night. The lower back and the left hip have been causing my pain at night. The back is better but the left hip pain is worse and the orthopedist and neurologist in the past have always said that pain is from the lower back problems. Plus, I started back on the stationary bike and resumed my walking, so I expect some of that feeds into the pain. I also started back doing my floor exercises to strengthen my core and again, more pain at first. <BR> <BR> So two nights ... Fri, 21 Feb 2014 16:38:52 EST Valentine's Weekend I didn't expect DH to come home Friday as he was supposed to be on call at work but he ended up switching weekends and made it home, around 1 am. We had a good Saturday, went out to lunch and then he did our taxes! We went out for breakfast this morning and he left late morning to head back to Arkansas for another week of work. Hopefully things will move along now that we have a contract on a house and we'll get a closing date and then get a moving date (around the first of April) so I can... Sun, 16 Feb 2014 21:54:59 EST Low Back Pain and the McKenzie Method I've had low back pain for almost 20 years now. I've seen doctors, orthopedists, and neurologists about it and had physical therapy and steroid shots, massages, and discussed surgery to fuse three discs (which I am determined to never do unless there was absolutely no other option or the pain was unbearable after everything else possible had been tried). In my experience I've learned to live with and manage the back issues. So no advice, please!! <BR> My worst times are night time, as w... Wed, 12 Feb 2014 21:24:36 EST End of January: a stressful month It has been a stressful month! Two ice storm events which we in the South have no resources to deal with. I was lucky enough to be able to stay home during both, but DS flew home the evening of the first from DC and ended up flying to Jackson and renting a car to make it to Baton Rouge, arriving at 4am (he was here to attend a conference). He is used to driving in bad weather but I was worried about him getting here. <BR> <BR> I have gained 10 pounds since the Christmas holidays. House ... Wed, 29 Jan 2014 19:02:14 EST A New Year and Lots of Changes 2012 ended up being a pretty good year for us. I got my health back and I lost almost 40 pounds. Can't complain about that! <BR> <BR> 2013 finds us getting our house ready to sell. DH has been transferred and we are moving to Arkansas, Magnolia to be exact. We were there a couple of days ago house hunting and he starts work full time there at the end of the month. He spent a good part of Dec working between Baton Rouge and Magnolia, and when home he's been working on the house. After 2... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 13:17:39 EST Thanksgiving I haven't been around Spark in a long time. I may be around more, I don't know. A lot of changes are coming up and I may need support, but I may not have a lot of time so we'll see. <BR> Good news: I've been dismissed from my infectious disease doctor, pending one last check of my labs in January for my histoplasmosis levels to make sure they don't increase (currently still have trace amounts) and I was able to stop my meds for the histo. <BR> <BR> My son got a job after his year long fel... Mon, 25 Nov 2013 10:22:26 EST Monday Friday evening: walked almost 5 miles. <BR> Sat. Did nothing much all day. No walk in the evening. <BR> Sun. Walked 3 miles in the evening (temps were nice after our hot humid days, so enjoyed the change). <BR> Monday: a day of overindulging. I think I got it out of my system!! <BR> Pilates: great workout. <BR> Walk tonight: doubt it. Need a night off. <BR> <BR> I volunteered with our local school district and am being trained Wed. I was employed by this system for 5 years and res... Mon, 15 Jul 2013 18:50:17 EST Friday I'm enjoying my "break" from Spark. Actually it's a break from the 5% Challenges, but I also haven't been on here that much this week. <BR> <BR> My 30 minute Pilates session was great. We worked on the whole body in that time and I'm sure I'll feel some of it tomorrow! Well worth the money at this point! <BR> <BR> Saw my dermatologist this afternoon and got three different samples for three different issues. Hoping they help. Especially the one for brittle nails, which are a pain in ... Fri, 12 Jul 2013 16:23:57 EST Wed. and Pilates I had my third Pilates session today. Great workout! I'm splitting my next two sessions into 4 30 minute sessions. After that I may go to class work: groups of 2-4 at a time. The one on one sessions are such a huge help as I learn how to sit and stand aligned correctly (a problem that we worked on in physical therapy last fall). I can't get that at home! Hopefully I'll soon be more aware when I'm sitting or standing incorrectly and be able to fix it myself! I have so many years of bad ... Wed, 10 Jul 2013 14:59:06 EST Tuesday Have a new side effect from my itraconazole meds: photosensitivity. I noticed it in May after being in the sun all day: red sunburned looking neck/chest and some swelling and itching. Haven't been bothered a lot with that since May until this past week. It got worse, and I have dark red patches under my arms, where the sun never shines! Classic photosensitivity. I've read up on what to do and am trying my best. One thing I cannot do is stop taking those meds. At least 5 more months of ... Tue, 9 Jul 2013 17:34:20 EST Sat. night DH will be home sometime tonight (midnight maybe) from his visit to his parents. Which means he'll be home for our 29th Anniversary Sunday. I was happy for him to visit his parents but was also disappointed that he wasn't going to be here for July 7th. But I held my tongue and didn't say a word about that. Maybe I'm maturing after all these years! <BR> <BR> He texted me pictures from Friday night's Cardinals game which he attended with his brother. He's a lifelong Cardinal fan but has... Sat, 6 Jul 2013 22:13:24 EST Fitbit Zip Battery I have gotten lazy about checking my Fitbit during the day. For one thing, I have the Zip and it has a button battery so I don't have to remember to charge it. I use the App that alerts you when the battery is low...but this time it didn't warn me. Maybe it did, but the text message is lost in the atmosphere! I know for a fact that text messages get lost. I've sent some to DH or my children and they never received them. <BR> So as DH and I started our walk last night he asked how many ... Tue, 2 Jul 2013 09:47:24 EST End of June Assessment Weight: <BR> <BR> June 1st 169.3 <BR> June 30: 166.4 <BR> <BR> Highest weight in June: 170.3 <BR> Lowest weight in June: 166.4 <BR> <BR> I'm slowly inching down the scale! <BR> <BR> For comparison: <BR> May started at 170. <BR> Highest in May: 170.5 <BR> Lowest: 167.8 <BR> <BR> So the trend is downward, however slow! <BR> <BR> BMI: hovering on the borderline of Obese to Overweight. <BR> June 1: Obese BMI of 30 <BR> June 30: Overweight BMI of 29.5 <BR> <BR> Steps: <BR> Highest day: 130... Sun, 30 Jun 2013 16:14:37 EST