I haven't been around SP much these past six months because I've been way too busy and stressed to even think about Sparking.
It started in February when my 80-year-old mother had her 5th back surgery. Between her degenerative discs and her most recent diagnosis of polymyalgia rheumatica, she could barely walk BEFORE the surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery didn't go as planned. My mother kept telling people in the hospital that she was in a tremendous amount of pain and couldn't walk and they kept saying that was to be expected after the surgery. She had the surgery on a Tuesday and they sent her home on Friday. She ended up in the Emergency Room on Saturday.
After that, Mom had to go from specialist to specialist and have multiple CT scans and MRI's to try and determine what was wrong. The whole process took weeks and during that time she needed lots of help around the house and people to drive her to all her appointments and I pitched in as much as I could.
Turned out, one of the discs that was operated on in February actually blew, probably during the February surgery or while she was still in the hospital, and my mother needed ANOTHER back surgery, which happened in early June. That seemed to go better and she was starting to move around and even drive toward the end of June.
Then, on the Fourth of July, Mom fell, face first onto my sister's concrete patio. She had to have stitches in her face and she broke the orbital bone in her cheek. That meant more doctors and specialists. She looked like she'd been in a train wreck. Her eyes were both black and the whole right side of her face was swollen and bruised. She also banged up the whole left side of her body pretty well. Thankfully, there was no damage done to her back that she'd just had operated on twice!
Mom's on the mend now and I told her she's not allowed to grow anything extra or break anything else. She must remain upright at all costs! Only one more thing on the schedule: she needs cataract surgery in both eyes and I get to be her duty driver for that. Hopefully, that will go without complications. She's been through enough these past 6 months.
In the middle of my mother's problems, Valor, my Leonberger, started having medical issues. First, it was glaucoma that required a veterinary eye specialist. She was such a trooper! Even when they had to insert a needle into her eyeball to draw out the fluid to relieve the pressure behind her eye! We had to put drops in her eyes 3 times a day and, for awhile, that worked out fine.
Valor turned 8 in June, just after my mother's last back surgery. Shortly after that, she was diagnosed with "The Big C". She seemed to be doing as well as could be expected, but then her eye drops stopped working for the glaucoma. We ended up losing her in July, which broke our hearts.
On the bright side, my step-daughter came for a visit and we enjoyed doing some shopping and going to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see a special Impressionists exhibit. It was awesome.
In the middle of her visit, we celebrated my son's 36th birthday. It's hard for me to believe he's that old already. The years sure flew by!
Finally, we were just too lonesome without Val, so we added to our menagerie. We knew no dog could ever replace her, so we got a ragdoll kitten.
His name is Topaz and he's a love! Our litte entourage now made up of 6 dogs and a cat and, yes, we're a bit crazy here. But we like it that way.
So, now with all the excitement out of the way, I'm hoping to get back down to business. I'm actually pretty happy with where I am. Before all the "fun" started, I'd lost about 30 lbs. Once my mother started having her problems and I got so stressed, I stopped being so careful about what I was eating, but I kept exercising regularly. The exercise didn't start dropping off until somewhere in the middle of June and never stopped completely. Considering everything that's been going on, I'm happy that I only gained about 10 lbs back.
Now, I'm back to business.
Put on my Fitbit HR on Sunday and, by last night, had a rash on my arm, so I've put that aside till the rash goes away. Then, I'll try again. I'm pretty sure it was because it's been so darn hot here in PA and the band reacted with my VERY sweaty arm.
I recently made a discovery that I think is going to be very helpful to me. We now have a Muscle Maker Grill near me. Has anyone here heard of or tried it? It was founded by a fitness enthusiast with the "the goal of offering people a nutritious alternative to fast food restaurants". They have a varied menu and even have the option of healthy menu plans for people who want to sign up for meal packages designed for a specific purpose (i.e., weight loss or muscle building). I've eaten their meals twice a day since this Sunday so that I could try out their foods to see if I like them before signing up for the meal plan. So far everything I had was pretty good:
I've had two pasta dishes (Champion Pasta and Penne Romano), both made with whole wheat pasta. Both dishes include grilled chicken breast and the Champion Pasta comes with turkey meatballs. Both entrées come in at under 400 calories and were very tasty.
Also had something they call the Mona Lisa Wrap, with grilled chicken breast, reduced-fat cheddar cheese, romaine, tomatoes, and onion with a zero-carb sauce and a low-carb wrap. Delish! And also under 400 calories.
I tried their Turkey Taco Salad for lunch yesterday. It's made with lean ground turkey, red beans, reduced-fat cheddar cheese, romaine, tomatoes, scallions, salsa, and fat-free sour cream (474 calories). It was a large serving and very tasty, but I don't think I'll be having this as often as some of the other dishes I've tried because it was a little too spicy for me. Not hot though, so if you're thinking about trying it, don't go by my spice assessment.
Tonight's entrée is called the Godfather and is almost like a stir fry with grilled chicken breast, portabella mushrooms, red roasted peppers, part skim mozzarella, gluten- and fat-free balsamic vinaigrette, served over broccoli. Calorie count, 429.
I won't tell you about ALL the foods I've tried; you can just visit their website to check out their menu and nutritional information: www.musclemakergrill.com
. Be sure to check out the healthy highlights pages to learn about the foods they use for their menu. Very healthy stuff! And NOTHING is fried! BONUS: You can order online and my location even delivers!
This place is great for me for a bunch of reasons:
1. I like the food.
2. It's healthy.
3. It's affordable.
4. I'm spending less time in the grocery store.
5. I'm spending less time in my kitchen, with less cooking and clean-up.
6. It frees me up to do other things, like practice my piano.
7. I LOVE the convenience!
So far, I'm lovin' it!
Just wish I was lovin' the weather we're having here in PA. We just finished our 4th heat wave of the summer and it's very humid. Still went for an hour bike ride this morning though. The air was so moist just breathing felt like sucking pea soup through a cocktail straw! The heat really sapped my strength and right from the start my legs were aching and screaming for a taxi! But I did it, so I'm happy.
So, after a short and mostly painful detour, I'm back on the right track. I'm not too upset with myself because this is going to be a lifelong endeavor for me and I know there are going to be lots of ups and downs ahead. I just have to keep my eye on the prize and keep my feet moving in mostly the right direction. I'll make it to where I want to be when the time is right.