Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Before Shot

Both of us loathe this picture.  We despise the way we look.  The weight we carry in our faces.  My several added cup sizes.  Our stomachs.  All of it.  The whole thing disgusts us.

That said, we did a photo shoot with a friend of mine.  Our plan is to do a Weight Loss Series of pictures as we drop the pounds.  You can hold us accountable!!

So there ya have it.  I'd lost just over 25 lbs before this picture was taken (March, 2014).  For our purposes, MrB and I are considering this the "beginning" of this weight loss adventure.


The title just about sums it up.

Now, where to start?

I am a born-again Christian.  I'm sure some people will stop reading immediately and unsubscribe.  And you know what?  I'm good with that.  I mean, I don't want anyone to go.  I'm starting with small enough numbers as it is.  But it's true.  I am a sinner and I am sure that God has forgiven me through the life and death/sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.  I tell you that because I want to lay that on the table and give you a filter through which you can use for future posts and comments.

So, my church of nearly 14 years has dissolved.  It was a church plant, meaning that a larger church saw a need in this neck of the woods.  My understanding is that specifically for my church, there were a lot of people at the larger church who lived in my area and a church plant would offer them a place to worship nearer their homes.

Now that I've gone on and on about that...

The closing of my church leaves me looking for a new church family.  That is the source of some frustration and certainly a lot of stress!  There is a church we've been attending for several months now.  We like love the preaching.  The pastor, his wife, and their 4 kids are amazing.  I guess a big hindrance for us is the music.  MrB's main ministry involvement is in music.  He really enjoys playing on the worship team and did so most every week at our last church.  We've spoken with the pastor of the "new" church and he would really like to update the music.  It seems the big snag is how some of the older members of the church might react to more contemporary music.  The pastor will be speaking with others on the elder board to see if it would be possible to add some "beat" into the songs.

I'm absolutely bogged down with medical stuff.  One doctor refers me to another doctor who orders tests, or at least another doctor to discuss if a test is necessary.  It's crazy.  I've been prioritizing the urgency of each appt or test.  The pile of papers I have from doctors is insane.  I'm trying to keep organized, but it's hard.  First and foremost I have to try to keep current the diagnoses and medication for existing conditions.  That already means a ton of appts and labs.  Some of the docs to whom I've been referred consider me a new patient, either because it's been so long since I've been, or because I am actually a new patient.  This means that it's a long time before there is a new patient appt available.  Meanwhile other stuff is on hold until those appts occur and/or until I can have a specific test.  Needless to say it's another source of frustration, for sure.

Sir Groundhog.  At least that's what we call him.  He travels between the yards of several people in the neighborhood.  Needless to say, our yard is one of those "blessed" yards.  I'm sure I've mentioned that we have two dogs (as well as two cats).  These dogs are wild about Sir Groundhog.  They literally go wild.  There is incessant barking and vertical jumping.  The video to the right is what I mean.  Ok, evidently the video refuses to load onto this page.  Grrrr!  And I just went looking for an emoticon for the "grrrr" and don't see them anywhere.  Grrrr squared!

Ok, just throwing it out there -- I'm frustrated with being FAT!  My weight has fluctuated ever since I was a kid.  I'm pretty sure I've already posted about that and it's not really vital to today.  Anyway my weight has gone up and down, mostly up in the past decade.  I weigh more than 100 lbs than I did when I stopped working in late 2000.  100 pounds.  Let that sit with you for a minute.  I have to say that I'm on a bunch of meds and many of the cause weight gain and/or slow my metabolism.  I do have a number of medical conditions which preclude my ability to workout like a "normal" preson.  Add to the mix that I'm in my early 40s and it's a recipe for failure.  It's not an excuse, just a statement of fact.  I was all ready to join a gym a couple of months back... and to get a personal trainer.  When I mentioned some of the major physical stuff he said that he wanted a doc's clearance before he'd work with me.  That has turned into a nightmare of coordinating physician's service and the joy of hours on the phone with the insurance company.  All that to say I'm stuck in this place...  If I may make a sports reference (and only because MrB had the game on), it's like a baseball player running back and forth between two bases.

I could continue my rant and my griping, but I'm sure I did enough of that for now (and for a long time to come).  I've been working on this for several days now, getting distracted with the dogs, email, searching for new blinds, etc.  Perhaps that explains the length.  Either that or I'm making excuses again...

Friday, July 25, 2014


Isolation.  Think about it.  Isolation.  What thought comes to mind?  How does it make you feel?  How do you define isolation? defines it as "separated from other persons or things; alone; solitary."

Now, what image comes to mind when you hear the word? Is it positive?  My guess is no.  Do you envision a homeless person begging for food in the subway?  Is it a garden or plantation?  Is it someone working at a winery getting grapes?  Is it a dog or cat home alone while it's family is not home?  How about a person in the middle of a plantation harvesting fruits or vegetables?  A person living in the tundra in Alaska?  I think you need to reign in your thinking.

I am isolated.  Go back and slowly say the word.  Ice-o-lay-shun.  A middle-class woman who is the parent to 2 kitties (Tori and Bert) and 2 pups (Casey and Poly).  I am married with a whose husband is a successful Senior Systems Engineer - read computer geek.  I'm not sure you didn't picture me.  But it is true.  It is one component to depression.  It is also something which breeds depression.  My depression.  The monster has returned making my desire to eat junk food (when I actually want to eat) multiply by dozens.

What does it mean for me?  It means that I can go days without even talking with anyone other than my husband and usually my Mom.  I spend a lot of time having conversations with my computer and my dogs.  I mean a LOT of time.  When my hubby is here, I still talk to the screen.  At least he talks with the dogs as well.  When he hears me whispering to seemingly no one I have to remind him that I personify isolation and am not used to having someone home.  Conversations take place mainly on the phone.  Even those are few and far between and I usually have to initiate.

So, how does isolation look like?  For me, it means I EAT!  Now that I'm doing Weight Watchers, the not eating thing/healthy eating is very hard nearly impossible.  Why do I look like a hippopotamus?  Because I spend the day snacking.  Also, hubster and I eat in front of the television.  We all know that is a super bad idea.  We basically train ourselves by pairing TV and food.  (sorry, that's my psychology degree coming out)  It boils down to telling ourselves that we should eat when in the living room.  It's not good.  The hub and I did it when I worked, and if that wasn't bad enough, now that I'm not working I have the television on most of the time which - you guessed it - means that my brain tells my body that I'm hungry.  I feel like I have hundreds of tests and doctor appointments which all seem to lead to more appointments and more tests.  I've noticed that when I'm at an appointment I talk and I talk a lot!  Human contact.  It's vital.

Isolation + food = hippopotamus.  Isolation + Weight Watchers = hunger.  I get a little cranky when I'm hungry.  Add to it having virtually no contact with human beings during the day I want to pig out!  We are buying unsweetened applesauce in bulk.  It counts as "free" points.  Fruit and veggies are FREE (at least as Weight Watchers is concerned.  I am finding that I have a problem using all of my daily points - and I really need to do that!  I will spend them at the end of the day with junk food.  Yeah, that's not part of the plan.

Now that I've brought up WW I'll let you in... I'm down 8.2 lbs since 6/22, averaging 2 lbs each week.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?  I have to admit, it's frustrating.  I do try to look at the big picture.  I lost 26 lbs between September and February/March.  The whole loss is great (it isn't simple math because I did gain some of those 26 lbs back.  Overall, I'm down 32.4 lbs.

I was totally against counting anything help to lose weight.  Counting isn't natural.  Hubster joined WW before me and went over some of it and now that I've started I think it's a great plan.  I did WW when I was younger - a couple of times, in fact - and have always had success.  Most of the time I was on the go, so went to the meetings to get weighed and then rushed out.  That meant that the online program is just right.  It's obviously been success for me so far.  Sure it hasn't been long, but I'm headed in the right direction.

Ok, I'm off to enjoy some good diner food.  I have about half of my daily points left and about half of my weekly points, too, so I can splurge a bit.  I see french toast in my future!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

General Musings...

First off, a grand HELLO to all of you and please know that I feel blessed you have taken time out of your day to hear my musings.  So, let's get started!

I know this isn't new, but it is a self-esteem buster if ever I knew one.  Plus size.  You know the term.  It's the size given to those clothes that are just too big to don mannequins.  It's a term whose definition has changed over the years.  It's a size I've worn for a long time (read: decades).  When I got married at 135 lbs on my 5'5" frame I was wearing "those" clothes.  There's something humiliating about the term.  It indicates that you have "plus" what society says you ought to.  Should it affect self-esteem or be humiliating?  Of course not.  If you're totally confident with your body, then no, you should have absolutely no problem walking into Lane Bryant and coming out with a bag - not responding to the looks and comments by telling others you are buying something "for a friend" or "as a gift."

I've been shopping the "fat" stores for... well... pretty much my entire life.  Years and years ago, I plumped up to a size larger than what they have in stores.  An aside: don't you love the terms people use to be PC about someone who's fat?  Plump.  Heavy.  Overweight.  Put on a few extra pounds.  Big girl.  There are too many of them to count.  Ok, back to my original thought.  A couple of days ago, I was talking with a very dear friend of mine.  She lives several hours away from me so she sent a picture of herself to me wearing an outfit she needed for an event.  She's a stay-at-home-Mom of a toddler (she has a wonderful blog) and has no clothes for professional meetings.  We got into a discussion about how absurd it is for these stores touting themselves as being for a "Woman" (I think of one store with this as part of their name) start their sizes at 12.  12!

Not to beat a dead horse, but I was a 12/14 at 135 lbs.  You had to know that I'd add a wedding picture!  I felt the most beautiful at our wedding!  It also gives a touch of my Disney side - we entered our reception with these guys on our heads.  Hubby's is a bit hard to see but it's a top hap with ears.  The picture on the right is from our honeymoon (in Disney, specifically the Yacht Club) and gives a slightly better view of my bod back in 1995.

I have probably said (a zillion times) how I've struggled with weight my entire life.  Doctors said needed to lose weight.  The famous "charts" showed me as overweight.  Has anyone ever actually seen these charts?  I did Weight Watchers and Nutri-System with my Mom.  She was doing what she thought best from what the doctors had told her.  She is a smart woman, an RN, but weight issues aren't her area of expertise.  The term "childhood obesity" wasn't used back then.  I was "heavier" than most people/girls in my grade, so I was automatically labeled "the fat kid."  I look at pictures from my childhood and would just about kill for that body (even if I could go back to that age and look the same).  I was no Kate Moss, I was no model, I had a burger and milkshake sometimes  Gosh, do you think everyone and their uncle calling me overweight affected my self-esteem?  It couldn't possibly be contributing to my food and weight issues today, could it?  I get angry every time I think about it!

Whoa, I am getting distracted more than usual today.  Now back to my friend.  She is in between the "regular" stores and the "fat" ones.  How is it that the size 12 girl (to be clear I do not know what size my friend is) can't just walk into any store she desires to find clothes?  Is it necessary to send her into the abyss that is the "fat" store?  Fortunately my friend isn't embarrassed by this.  Fortunately my friend found something to wear.  Gone are the days of "fatties" wearing a muumuu, thankfully.  That doesn't make it ok to force a size 12 to enter a store that caters to size 26...  Yes, I do realize that stores have "plus size" areas, some stores do carry size 12 as well as a size 2, and that I'm making generalizations.  Before anyone reams me about this, I'm trying to make a point!

The entire population of the world has, no doubt, heard the stats about Marilyn Monroe being what is considered certainly what today's standards consider "Hollywood" worthy.  See this article from the files of  Conversely we have the beloved Barbie.  I found multiple sites I'd like to link to.  The first is titled "Barbie as a real woman is anatomically impossible and would have to walk on all fours, chart shows "  The second, The 'average' doll v Barbie (from BBC NEWS MAGAZINE MONITOR), shows what "real life" dolls would appear with Barbie's measurements.  The final link I want to share is this one, which I find impressive, dare I saw inspiring.  You'll have to click on it to see what I'm talking about.

While it is discussed in most references to these stats, I would be remiss if forgetting to mention the way Barbie affects women, specifically as it relates to eating disorders.  The articles above will touch on this and I think it would be wise to take heed to this and apply the positive implications it offers to the girls in your life.  Start early!

Shockingly I got side-tracked... again...  Maybe the best thing for me to do is to let you ponder all of this.  How does the term "plus size" affect you?  Do you find it embarrassing to buy clothes at stores advertising that they sell "fat" clothes, if you do fall into that category?  What are your feelings about using "fat" and "fatty?"  Do you stare at people who are obese, maybe thinking that you're better than... that at least you aren't "that" size?  How do you feel about women, such as myself, who have to shop via catalog, no longer fitting into the "Woman" stores?

Please, share your opinions.  Start discussions.  Think!

As an added after-comment: I have no idea whatsoever how to get rid of the few lines with a white background.  I've spent a ton of time working on it.  Rather than let it drive me even more insane, I'm going to (try to) go with it.  Apologies.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Were You Raised or Did You Just Grow Up?

I didn't just grow up
I was taught to speak when I enter a room.
Say "please" and "thank you"
Have respect for my elders
Get up off my lazy butt and let the elder in the room have my chair
Say "yes sir" and "no sir"
lend a helping hand to those in need
Hold the door for the person behind me
Say "excuse me" when it's needed
Love people for who they are and not for what I can get from them. 
I was also taught to treat people the way I want to be treated.
(adapted from a Facebook post)

True all the way!  While it's not a straight line, I think that the lack of respect across our nation has led to some of the violence we're seeing.  I'm sorry, friends, but I think that (unless you're super close with someone and are "Aunt___" or "Uncle___"...) adults should be referred to as "Mr. and Mrs. ___."  Then there is a distinct difference between friends and people who are more...seasoned.  And on the topic of respect, I believe that parents are doing their children a disservice by being friends with their kids and fighting *with* teachers (etc) when their child does something be it in behavior, grades, speech, etc, rather than recognizing that their child makes mistakes and suffer consequence.

Kids will learn to respect themselves enough to accept being less-than-perfect, that mistakes happen, and that there won't always be someone there to fight for them.  Kids need to be taught to have a moral compass; as humans it isn't entirely natural to be loving to others.  We *want* to be selfish.  It's all intertwined!  I'm not saying that it's easy, but that's one of the difficulties of parenting.  (and no, I don't have kids, but have many friends who do, and I have taught).

Perhaps I'm too old-fashioned.  Perhaps I'm too conservative.  Perhaps I'm getting older.  Perhaps I think respect is something children should offer their elders.  Perhaps., perhaps, perhaps...  You get the point.

When there are morals instilled in childhood, there are morals in an adult (even if they don't show it)! And yes, I believe that morals fall under the "respect" category.

There are people in my life from childhood and I have a great deal of trouble calling them by their first names. I've shortened it to call them "Mr.J" or "Mrs.Q" because I still know that they are one of my elders.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe respect is something only to be given to the generations prior to yours. Respect should be given to anyone around you. And to yourself, but the whole self-esteem thing comes in to play with that one. Too much to go into for this post.

So yes, I have strong feelings on this one. I firmly believe in this, some of which can be displayed by not calling those generations prior to yours by their first names. Also, as the above quote says, hold the door for the person behind you, give your seat to an elder, and say "excuse me" and "God bless you" when it's needed.

Please, it's not that hard!

Friday, July 11, 2014

When Life Enters the Picture

There is no excuse.  None. At all.

However I'm going to offer one up anyway.


Life is crazy busy.  You know it.  It's true for you, too.  It seems to be true for everyone these days, doesn't it?  Work.  Cooking.  Shopping.  Movies.  Dinner out.  Family visits.  Friend visits.  Cooking for said visits.  Phone calls.  Life.

Personally, my life has taken a turn further into crazy with appointments and testing out the wazoo (I can't believe wazoo is a real word!).  I won't go into all the craziness of it all, but it's there.

My last post (embarrassingly nearly a year ago) was about a month after I fell.  I had had my MRI and was doing PT.  Ahhhh, such innocent days.  After PT was unsuccessful, the doctor and I decided it was best to schedule surgery.  Eeep, surgery!

Ok, I'll back up.  I go to the surgeon for the first time and he tells me that the type(s) of injuries I sustained rarely needs surgery.  I laugh at him because I had the same injury on my other ankle years ago and wound up having surgery.  I have the surgery in early December and was told that I needed to be non-weight-bearing for 3 weeks.  For someone the size of a hippopotamus that essentially means that I have to live upstairs for those 3 weeks.  To be clear, 3 weeks/21 days after surgery is Christmas Day.  Brilliant.  Someone morbidly obese... ok, I cannot use my weak upper arms to hold up my big-fat body with crutches.  I borrowed a Knee Scooter from a friend and that was a life-saver.  It took a bit to get used to, but crutches were absolutely NOT an option, I was thankful for this.  I had a really hard time going up and down the individual steps in front of the house and wound up crawling on my knees.  It wasn't pretty.

Moving on...  ok, so, I had the surgery on a Wednesday and had a quick check-up on Monday.  All looked good.  Monday night the pain was unbearable.  The doctor had already given me Percocet and Vicodin, but when I called him at the end of the day, he prescribed Dilaudid.  Ok, taken.  But OUCH!  I was still hurting in agonizing pain.  I called him after-hours and he said there was nothing else to do; I should go to the ER.  He also mentioned that he's never had anyone go to the ER for post-op pain.  Hours later, after a lot of groaning, MrB came up and said that I really should head to the emergency room.  Off I went.  They gave me IV Dilaudid and I remember nothing after that.

Changing the bandages was a multi-step process on the outside of my ankle.  Given my size it was a difficult spot to make sure the dressings were secure, so MrB helped me - a lot!  One morning it looked as if I had popped a stitch and called the office to see if they would fix it in the office or if I needed to head to the ER (again).  They said to come, so MrB drove me over to see the partner in the practice.  The bottom line of that adventure was that I had a hematoma which burst at the incision site.  A couple of weeks later I had another follow-up with my doctor.  By that point, the area was ugly absolutely disgusting!  After removing the bandages my surgeon said that he had never seen this happen.

Have you lost count?  That's 1) injury doesn't usually require surgery, 2) never had anyone go to the ER for IV pain meds; 3) hasn't ever seen this problem.

Moving on to #4.  The wound was infected and I wound up going through four rounds of antibiotics.  The surgeon has never seen this (I've come to expect hearing those words by this point), but the wound wasn't healing after some time and he had to refer me to a wound clinic.  Yup.  Is anything ever easy?  So, off to the wound clinic I go.  The clinic treated me with some medical honey and it cleared up after 6-ish weeks.

That's enough life for this post.  But yeah, life has kept me busy since I'd last written.