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Trying to work out "my deal"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Life seems to have calmed down again, the radiation treatments are finally over, for real, my health is good, my friends and family members seem to have stopped dying, and throughout it all, I haven't engaged in any destructive, or even counter-productive behaviors. I more than maintained my weight during a time of significant stress. In fact, I lost ten pounds that I didn't really have to try to lose. I attended to my emotional well-being, continued to work out every day that (a) I could, and (b) I knew I should. I have increased my calorie burn per week from 4000 to 5500-6000 calories. I do some type of cardio for at least 60 minutes and strength training of some form six days a week. I eat smart, making certain that I get the necessary balance of carbs, fat, and protein. I drink lots and lots of water. I stay away from processed foods. My total cholesterol has dropped to the 140s (!!), my triglycerides are phenomenal, my resting heart rate is 53 bpm, blood pressure is around 100/55. Obviously, I am doing all of the things that I "should" be doing. And, I think my results have been fantastic. No complaints.

Here's the thing: I am not allowing myself to lose any more weight because I eat just more than the top of my calorie range per day. Part of this is due, I think, to making certain that I have physical reserves should my health head south again. And, I feel so good and my physiological indicators are so amazing, that I don't know if I SHOULD lose any more weight. My BMI indicates that I am at the top of normal weight for my height; that suggests that I could benefit from losing more weight. However, I don't know what my body fat percentage is, except in a crude way (BMI calculation, my own private pinch testing). That suggests that I should keep working toward a goal weight of 135-140. My fear keeps me where I am. I'm afraid I will become physically weak should I have to resume radiation or should I require chemo and weigh less than I do today.

I could throw caution to the wind and forge ahead, but I can't quite bring myself to do it. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the risks I already have in my life. I resigned for my job (effective at the end of the academic year), and come May, I will have no job. I currently have no prospects for a future job. I am getting ready to move away from ND and I am not positive about where I am going because I haven't yet found said job. Caution, caution, caution! That's what my soul is telling me.

Why the caution... Well, I went from healthy one minute to not healthy in the next. That is how it seemed at the end of September. Lumps. Biopsies, Surgeries. MRIs. Radiation. EEGs. Ultrasounds. Blood work. Frequent medical appointments. Nearly every day in a hospital. That was my life for more than three months. I have only very recently been "released" from 5-day-a-week radiation treatments. I thought that was supposed to end by the end of December, but two extra weeks got tacked on. I wasn't mentally or emotionally prepared for that. So, all of that signified more risk, and more caution, and the need for more prudence on my part. Good that I didn't fall apart.

I sometimes feel as though my emotional state is so fragile that I can't take one more thing. I don't feel like I am in a good cognitive place right now. I feel like I just get by in that regard. I am working through my issues. My Motivation and Emotion class is helping with some of that. In doing the same assignments that I give students in the class, I am working through some of my road blocks. And, by writing this here, I am also working through this deal.

There are various forces in my favor. First, I am an optimist through and through (Thanks, Dad!). Second, I am in a good place from a fitness standpoint. I have stamina, a solid fitness plan and routine to which I am faithful. Third, I have the resilience trait (Thanks again, Dad!). Fourth, I have a lot of gratitude. Fifth and sixth, I have a supportive father, supportive daughters, and supportive friends (Thanks everyone!). Seventh (and beyond) I am assertive, forward thinking, open-minded, and tenacious. I know who I am, and I know what I want from life. I keep my expectations in check. In short, I have the characteristics that will help me to continue to succeed. So, my plan is to keep working through my issues. I think it will all work out eventually, even if it doesn't all get worked out today.

Sign me,
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Your last line is absolutely the key and something I'm learning too. It really is about just taking life as it is here in this moment and embracing that. Love you lots lady!
    2289 days ago
    I think you are amazing! The fact that you have kept up with so many challenges and still are so physically fit is admirable. I wish I had your insight and such a strong sense of optimism. I also was glad to see you were back sparking again. Take care and just know your weight isn't as important as the way you physically feel. emoticon Ann
    2292 days ago
    It's good to have you back!!! emoticon
    2292 days ago
    Dear Satisfied:
    I am -so- happy to hear from you.
    You are one awesome lady.
    Big Bear Hugs!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2292 days ago
    Burning 6000 calories a week?? That's athlete status, right there. I know that you have other sound reasons for maintaining your weight even though you note it at the "top end" of the bmi scale, but really, with your calorie burn, I wouldn't be surprised if you're already at the level you need to be. NPR did a wonderful article on the problems of BMI, but this quote in particular seems to apply to you:

    "[BMI] is physiologically wrong.

    It makes no allowance for the relative proportions of bone, muscle and fat in the body. But bone is denser than muscle and twice as dense as fat, so a person with strong bones, good muscle tone and low fat will have a high BMI. Thus, athletes and fit, health-conscious movie stars who work out a lot tend to find themselves classified as overweight or even obese."

    The rest of the article is here, if you want to read the whole list:


    I'm glad that things have settled down and that the radiation went well.
    2293 days ago
  • DR1939
    There is a huge and very well-conducted literature that indicates that those who are in the slightly overweight range live longer than do those who are at normal weight. The CDC's campaign for "normal" weight was based on a single study, albeit a well-conducted one. It was followed by another, conducted by another scientist at the CDC and equally good, which indicted "overweight" was healthy. However, the CDC did not popularize this one. Studies in Scandinavia have long indicated that overweight in healthier. Scandinavian studies are considered the gold standard as the public health services have birth-to-death health records on entire populations. Top this with even the CDC agreeing that overweight people who are active live longer than normal/underweight people and you have strong support for maintaining the weight at which you are now. If you feel healthy at the top of normal for your weight and age, then you should stay there. If you want references, I will dig through my old lecture notes and give you some.
    2294 days ago
    My two lovely ladies! It's so good to see you're both still filled with positivity!

    Evo, I've missed your beautiful and well-thought-out perspectives on so many things! And I know that things have been very difficult for you, but, please remember that you're only ever as alone as you choose to be. Your friends and family love you, and we're all here to elp you with the difficult steps.

    Your strength, courage, and exceptional self-discipline are nothing short of inspiring across the board, Darlin'! Thank you so much for catching up here!

    2294 days ago
    So good to see you on the boards again!! I am sorry you had to go through all that, but my- you are doing GREAT!!! Keep up the strength my friend and follow your gut feeling. It is your life, your body, you know!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2294 days ago
    It's good to hear from you! I can't imagine everything you have been through, but I am glad that you are doing as well as you seem to be. You've been through so much I think that feeling fragile is perfectly understandable. I wish I had some advice or something to say to try to make you feel better.
    2294 days ago
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