Sunday, May 30, 2010

A downside to being healthy that a guy would never have to deal with.....

"As I head for the door I turn around to be sure...
Did I shave my legs for this?
Darlin did I shave my legs for this?" Deana Carter

There are very few downsides to having become healthier in the last 6 months...I have more energy, I can do things I couldn't before, I am having more fun, and my body works better. There in lies the body works better!

For the last 10 plus years, for whatever reason...poor diet, nerve damage, weight, hormones...the hair on my legs didn't grow. And lets face it, even if there was a single random hair...who cared. I wore long pants and it was exceedingly rare that anyone even saw my legs. It was great, no need to worry about shaving. And any woman will tell you this is a godsend. It was one downside of being unhealthy I was good with!!! I hate shaving my legs, I do a crummy job at it and it is a waste of time, I never missed it....

Sadly, in the last 2-3 months I have lost that gift. As I was getting ready to go to the gym this morning, I realized, this shaving my legs crap is really starting to annoy me *grin*. And add on top of it, that now I wear shorts and/or a bathing suit just about every day of my life (not to mention the whole new skirt thing) so I can't even hide it.

I am guessing it is from eating better and the supplement I am taking, but I am back to having to shave and the frequency is increasing. What kind of sick joke is that?

I may have to rethink this whole being healthy plan *grin*

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's here, it's here, it's milestone marker.....

"Made the start and it was hard
We lived and learned, life threw curves
There was joy, there was hurt
Remember when" Alan Jackson

Six months one day and 54 lbs (or if you are using the other scale *smile* one year two days and 81 pounds, but lets go by the first one for this post *grin*). How fast it has gone and how much I have lost are both still really surreal to me. I still have to remind myself and often be reminded of what I have done. I mentioned a few weeks ago in my tips for others, have a milestone marker. I finally have mine! I have tried to keep quiet that I was doing this, til I had it, but that was not easy as excited as I was.

Two and a half weeks ago when I hit my 50 pound mark (the first time, it has been a roller coaster the last couple weeks) that it was time to do something, I was 1/3 of the way on this journey and I needed to commemorate that and also give myself something to keep me moving forward. Since all my rings are too big now, I decided jewelry was the right answer. I wanted a ring that I could add to every 50 lbs I lose.

I wasn't sure how to accomplish this but as with most things in life, it wasn't about having the answer, it was about knowing who to ask for the answer. So off to the best of the best I went, Continential Diamond in St. Louis Park, MN. Judy, one of the co-owners there helped me find the perfect solution. A deep purple (yes my friends it is "foo foo purple" )amethyst in a gorgeous gold setting. The amethyst is for the first 50 lbs I have already lost. The setting was seletected so that for each of the additional 50 I hope to lose a diamond can be channel set on either side of the main stone. That way I have my current accomplishments and my goals to keep me on track also.

After my workout today, Judy called and said it was ready!!!! I couldn't get there fast enough. It is breath taking (these pictures do NOT do it justice in any way, its hard to photograph a ring I have learned).

The day I ordered the ring I was telling my friend Barb about it and mentioned I had thought I wanted a purple sapphire, but Judy recommended an amethyst. Barb then told me about the meaning of the amethyst, and that it is known as the "healing gemstone".

As I came home and read about this I learned it is also known as the "stone of transformation". Obviously it was the perfect choice to commemorate the greatest transformation in my life!!!!!!

Ok this is a late edition photo, I can't seem to get a good shot of the top...but here it is Kathy!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cancer...think pink...and FOCUS.....your help needed

"Ten years of climbin' that ladder
Oh, but money and power don't matter
When the doctor said "the cancer spread"
She holds on tight to her husband and babies
And says "this is just another test God gave me.
And I know just how to handle this"

I'll hold my head high
I'll never let this define
The light in my eyes
Love myself, give it Hell
I'll take on this world
I'll stand and be strong
No, I'll never give up
I will conquer with love
And I'll fight like
Like a girl"

The first time I heard the word cancer mentioned as more than a commercial on tv or in a health class I was around 10. I was standing in the basement next to the washer with my mom and she told me my grandfather had cancer. I still remember my naive, childish response..."he can't have cancer, cause you die from that and he can't die". The next few months were spent driving back and forth every weekend, 4 hours in each direction, to stand in his hospital room while he fought bladder cancer. He won the battle, but his life was never the same as he lost his bladder and had to live with bags and tubes for the rest of this life.

For all the amazing things we have conquered in the world, cancer still robs families of loved ones, robs individuals of their quality of life and changes lives forever! While I don't have the power to cure cancer, I do have the ability now that I have changed my life to play a role in that fight. So I have decided my next physical undertaking is to do the Cancer Society's Relay for Life (July 16-17th) in Eagan, MN. For me this is a pre-lude to meeting one of my long term goals I set when I started with the trainer, which is to someday do the Three day Susan Komen Breast Cancer Walk.

So why am I doing this? And why now? The why now is easy, because I finally can. After doing the "tri" our team needed another event to focus on, and we chose this.

The why I am doing this event is a little more deep. There have been many people in my life touched by cancer, but I have opted to do this in honor of three amazingly powerful women from my childhood....Mrs. Flansburg, Mrs. Karp and Mrs. Cort (yes even though I am 40 now they are still being called Mrs and not by their first name!). Each of them taught me a valuable lesson in life and I can't think of a better way to honor them.

Mrs. Flansburg (Virginia R. Flansburg "Ginny" 6/11/39 - 03/1/92). I remember Mrs Flansburg as the team mom! I mentioned in an earlier post about summer softball and our coach Mr. Flansburg. Well he was never there alone. Mrs F was scorekeeper, drink and snack provider and team mom. She always made us all felt like we mattered and she was proud of us no matter how pitiful we were skill wise. And the stars were no more important than those of us they stuck out in the outfield where no one could hit the ball!!! In addition to mom to all of us, she had three daughters and a loving husband, all who were robbed of her by this terrible disease. As her daughter put it when I asked her about her mom's cancer this week "lung, brain, bone........u name it and she had cancer of it at the end".

The lesson I took into life from knowing Mrs Flansburg was to give it your best, and as long as you have done that you are as good as anyone else!!!!

Mrs Cort (Maureen Cort "Tish" 12/28/51 - 10/3/09). I can't say I remember as much detail about Mrs. Cort as I do the other two. She was more a friend of my mom's than having a direct role in my life. But despite that I remember her always being around and just being that mom that seemed to have it a little more "together" than most of the families in town. She was incredibly dedicated to her children, her family, to our school and she was one of those moms that was always at every event. She was never afraid to be vocal about something she believed in. She fought her battle with cancer for 12 long years, despite an initial prognosis of having very little time. She left behind a husband, two very loving children and her grandchildren. As her daughter shared with me, "Mom was diagnosed 12 yrs ago with stage 4 breast cancer and wasn't given that much time. We researched, questioned, etc and she lived 12 yrs. Although it was a wonderful 12 yrs and she was able to know all of my 4 children, it was also 12 yrs full of anxiety, fear, tears. Our life was never the same."

The lessons I took into life from knowing Mrs Cort was stand up for what you believe in andand be proud of being a smart, capable woman.

Mrs Karp (Linda K. Karp 4/19/44 - 9/13/09). Mrs Karp was one of the most influential women in my life, but sadly I never got to tell her that, and deeply regreat that. She was the mom of one of my classmates and a presence in my life for 12 years, from kindergarten to graduation, but it was only recently I have shared with her family what she meant to me. I grew up in a very Christian town. The Karps were one of only two Jewish families in our school district, which was not a place where being different was always comfortable. But every year Mrs. Karp came in and shared with us their holidays and their faith. Mrs Karp fought a long hard battle with cancer and in the end left behind a devoted husband, two loving children and grandchildren.

The lessons I took into life from knowing Mrs Karp were many, it was the first introduction in my world to a faith that would come to be central to who I am, but more importantly she taught me that it was more important to be true to who you are, what you are and to never apologize for that, that the world can take it or leave it but you shouldn't hide who you are to make others happy.

I mentioned in the title of this post that YOUR help was needed in honoring these three women and the others who have battled cancer. What do I need...

1) Come to Eagan, MN and walk with me in the event! As this is a team relay I am trying to build as large a team possible. I have started a team and am slowly finding others to walk with me. It is a 12 hour committment (Friday July 16 6pm- Saturday July 17 6am). You do not have to walk the whole time, someone from the team does have to be on the track at all times. And I want as many of my friends there with me as possible. Right now I know I have new friends from "Team FOCUS" joining me and also it sounds like I will have some old friends flying in around the country to walk. As many people as we can get for this cause the better. I promise we WILL have fun!!!!

If you are interested in joining the team please leave a comment or visit my team page to join the team... Pam Ingram...Team FOCUS Relay Page

Please don't make me walk alone for 12 hours!

2) This is a fund raising event. The money goes towards cancer research. We have a team goal of $1000 but I would like to see that far exceeded. Please give!!!! The donations are done online at the following link to access my page and donate. You can also sign up to walk at this link. ... Pam Ingram...Team FOCUS Relay Page.
PS I am still working on getting a picture of Mrs Karp and apologize for it not being posted yet.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Milestone days...

"It’s overwhelming looking up,
I know when it’s the challenge of
Me against this heartache to survive
I may slip and I may fall,
But even if I have to crawl

I’m gonna take that mountain,
Ain’t nothing gonna slow me down
And there ain’t no way around it.
Gonna leave it level with the ground
Ain’t just gonna cross it, climb it, fight it,
I’m gonna take that mountain" Reba McEntire

Today and tomorrow are two milestone days......

One year ago today I was weighed at the doctor, and that is the 338 number we have been using as a basis. While I did not really start dealing with that number on this date, it was the day that I had the first serious conversation my doctor about gastric bypass surgery. It is the date that I decided enough was enough even if I didn't know what my path was going to be for solving it.

This is what I looked like in May 2009.

At the time my shirts were 3x or 4x. My pants were plus size 12. My ring size was 10. My shoe size was 10 1/2. Physically I could barely go more than a few feet without resting. I couldn't work out or do any physical exercise at all. I was living on soda and eating very little. Stairs were an impossibility and so was much else in my life!

Six months ago tomorrow (for anyone checking the date it was Black Friday!) I started working with Gui, my personal trainer. On 11/27/09 I weighed 311 pounds. My shirts were at 3x, my pants were plus size 11. My ring size was 10. My shoe size was 10 1/2. Stairs were still out, and I had just doing some very short workouts, mostly water aerobics in the pool.

Here is the photo taken when I joined Lifetime Fitness a few days before that...

In the last six months I have worked harder than I have at anything in my life. I typically work out with Gui (doing strength/resistance/weight training) 3 days a week. Three days a week I do some form of cardio (swimming, treadmill, bike).

This is what I looked like a week ago...

My weight is currently 258 lbs...for those doing the math, that is 80 pounds overall (nearly 24% loss), 53 pounds in the 6 months (over 17% loss) I have been serious about this. Today I bought 3 more skirts, they were size Large and purchased in a "regular store". My shirts tend to be XL or L. My ring size has dropped to 7 1/2, my shoe size is 8 1/2. I competed in a triathlon a few days ago. I no longer use an elevator in most situations (airports and places where it is only that or an escalator are the exceptions).
I have changed how I eat, how I sleep, how I exercise and as a result how I dress, how I think and what I am willing to try. As a dear friend pointed out tonight "this is certainly different than it was a couple years ago".

I wouldn't be honest if I made this all sound like it has been or is easy or perfect. This journey has been hard, especially in the last month to 6 weeks. Eating enough food, staying focused and not giving up on myself in all this has become harder not easier for me. I don't understand that, and it frustrates me, because I am not sure how I got to this point of feeling off track, but it's where I am at right now. I know I have accomplished things in the last year I never thought possible, I don't ever lose sight of that, but right now I see the mountain ahead of me more than I see the path behind me. My life in the last 6-12 months has definitely gotten better, easier and happier than I ever anticipated when I started this journey, but I can't say the journey itself has gotten easier. And I did expect it would, maybe that expectation was my mistake, who knows.

I also don't know for sure where I see me being with all this 6 months for now. I would like to say I see myself at least another 50 lbs lighter. I would like to say I see myself having an easier time with food and eating enough. I would like to say I still see myself working with a trainer and committed to working out. I had genuinely thought by 6 months in I would know for sure that all those were doable, I really don't right at this moment though, but as they say, time will tell. So I promise another status update (in addition to the regular posts between now and then) on 11/26/10.

I was asked last week if I regret starting this journey. I can say without a shadow of a doubt NO! I am grateful for what I have accomplished, for those who have helped and supported me to this point and for being able to change my life to where I am now. I would never want to go back to where I was. For any uncertainty I feel about the future, I have zero doubt about the path I have taken to this point!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

You can do anything if you Tri....

"I'm gonna live my life.
Shining like a diamond, rolling with the dice,
Standing on the ledge, I show the wind how to fly.
When the world gets in my face,
I say, Have A Nice Day." Bon Jovi

Six months and four days ago I walked into Lifetime fitness barely able to walk more than a minute without resting. I couldn't climb stairs, I couldn't pedal a bike and I couldn't complete a length of the pool. Today I walked out of that same club a triathlete.

My results weren't stellar, I tied for last out of the 70 or so people who participated, but I could care less. I did it. I went the full time in all three events, which was more than some participants did! And more importantly it is more than I ever could have or would have done before in my life!! I have accomplished a lot in my life, a lot that most people expected, but what I did today is probably greater, harder and more satisfying than anything I have done to now. This was my Mt Everest and I climbed it!

If you had asked me 6 months or a year ago if I would ever do this I would have laughed in your face. There was no way this was even conceivable. Truth it is hard to believe I have even done it, which was why I did something else very uncharacteristic and brought a camera to have it recorded. I need the proof for me on the days when I don't want to keep at it.

I have to give a LOT of the credit for me doing this to the great ladies who did it with me, TEAM FOCUS. Jen, Ronna, Sue, Stephanie and Shelia. Thank you. I never would have shown up today without you, I never would have kept pedaling without you guys. I am so proud of you for doing this. I know for most of us this was a major accomplishment and we have every right to be just as proud of our accomplishment as those thin, healthy people who finished ahead of us!!!!! No one thought we would ever do it, and we did!!!!

Special thanks to our coach, cheerleader, photographer and "mom" Kristin. After the tri we had a very interesting conversation in the cafe about how little support we got in this from some people in our lives. I have to admit it shocked me how little people's families, friends, trainers and even the club in general seemed to get what a major accomplishment this was for some participants. Some not mentioning it at all, some barely mentioning it when reminded. For as big a deal as this was to us, it seemed to matter very little to the people around us. And that surprised me, but maybe in a way it was good because it made us do it for ourselves and not for others!!!

But Kristin stuck with us the whole way, cheering us on and reminding us we could do what no one (including her, as she admitted to me yesterday, thought would we even attempt). From the night we originally discussed it (it started as a crazy idea one night sitting outside at EAT) to your support today, thanks for keeping us "focused"!

We also decided today wont be the end for Team FOCUS. Our next event is the ACS Relay for life July 16th and 17th (which one of our team members is coordinating) and we also decided that we want to do a Team Triathlon, and are going to start looking for one.

Go Team FOCUS "Pink and Proud"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Focus...beliEVE...and Tri.....

Tomorrow is the indoor triathlon I posted about a while ago. I am lucky to be joined in trying this with a great group of women, from the nutrition class I took this winter....together with Ann, Jen, Ronna, Sue, and Shelia (and our coach and cheerleader Kristin) we make up "TEAM FOCUS". Every one of us struggle on a daily basis with our weight and just signing up for this is an accomplishment for us. Ladies I am so proud of you and proud to be doing this with you.

Personally just getting through this event is my goal. I have no ambition of scoring well in at least 2 of the 3 events, but for me just getting through it and saying I completed at Tri is really all I am hoping to get through this time. That may sound like selling myself short, but being that a year ago, even 6 months ago just getting through one seemed so impossible, I consider just starting this event a major win!!!!

Our team color is pink....I have opted to wear the Believe T-shirt I wore with another great group of ladies this winter!!!! BeliEVE is a word of strength and empowerment in this group, especially when facing some tough obstacles...I will be carrying the strength I have learned from Eve and all the women who tried to help her with me tomorrow!!!

Our team is part of the 7th "wave" and we start at 9am at the Eagan Lifetime Fitness club. Anyone nearby who wants to come cheer us on feel free...wear your pink!!!!


I am really glad this week is almost over, it hasn't been the week I had hoped for. Started out at the conference and was so excited about going, was hoping for some "wow moments" from people I haven't seen in a year. In the end not one person seemed to notice or mention it who didn't know I was on this journey. It seems very unreal to me that 80 pounds is that unnoticeable, but also just has me wondering if what I thought I was seeing in the mirror is really more than has really changed. I feel like I had just gotten to where I was trusting that what I was seeing was really happening, and now not sure what I think.

Then I came back and found out yes I had been correct (see my post from last weekend) and the scale at the club was wrong, and I have gained 6 lbs, not lost 5 like the scale claimed. This is my largest weight gain since starting with the trainer in November, and I have to admit it is frustrating. I really wanted to be below 250 by May 26th (the one year mark from when the 338 pound reading was taken that I am using as my base) and that isn't going to happen now, I am back over 260 as a matter of fact.

Because of the weight gain, and the length of time it has been since the last test, Gui had me schedule another Calorie Point test for this morning. I mentioned this test in a previous post, but simply put it is a measurement of the calories your body burns at rest. Because this number can change as you lose weight it is repeated periodically to adjust caloric intake. The last time we did the test (March) the results showed I needed around 1400 calories just to function (which meant my diet was set around 1200 so I would lose weight). And for me getting that number of calories in was a struggle.

Today's results were crushing to me, I now need nearly 2500 calories. Don't get me wrong, this is great news from a physiological point of view, my metabolism is increasing. But it means eating what to me is a massive amount of calories. I met with the nutritionist and she laid out a high (2235), medium (1917) and low (1453) calorie rotation plan. But for me that low is normally my high end, I can't even imagine 2235 HEALTHY calories a day.

The nutritionist kept asking "do you think you can do this" and I felt like I had to say yes. Not because of any pressure she was putting me under, but because what choice do I have? I can do it or keep gaining weight, which is not a choice I am ok with. But I just sit here looking at these pieces of paper and can't even figure out how I can break this down into the meals and snacks I need it to be and get all this is SO much food.

I am sure most people reading are wishing they had this problem, trying to eat more. But for me this feels like the cruelest joke the world could play at this moment. I was barely getting to my 1200 on most days and that was a struggle. Now I need to nearly double that.

I am sure I will get this figured out given time, I did when I had to double from 600 to 1200, but at this moment I just feel overwhelmed and want to retreat from it all!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yes world, I do have legs.......

Forty years it took me to decide maybe dressing like a girl wasn't some evil punishment forced upon me by the world. For the very first time in my life I put on a skirt today when I easily could have gotten away with pants and am in no hurry to change out of it. I actually am contemplating buying some additional skirts and dresses (WHO AM I????). Most people, my bosses who I am traveling with included, have never seen me in a skirt, so this morning was kind of fun reactions from them.

Everyone keeps asking why now and I had to think about it a long time to find the answer. It can't just be about weight, I weighed less than I do now when I was growing up and HATED being put in a dress. I have come up with two answers why addition to what I said about being ready to be seen.....

1) Not everything girlie has to be "foo foo" *smile*....I have finally shaken all the formality guidelines out of it I was raised with. I was raised that if you put on a skirt nylons were required and everything had to look dressy and it was just too uncomfortable to maintain. But I am finally seeing skirts can be done as casual with some great sandals and be just as easy to live in as pants.

2) No friction.......and I think this is even more the fact than the dressing up part....(ready for true disclosure). It is the first time in my life that even though I weigh more than I did in high school my legs are in the best shape of my life...and my thighs no longer rub together so much that wearing a skirt means heat rash and discomfort on my inner thighs. That has always been an issue for me in skirts, dresses and shorts if I wasn't wearing nylons. I would end up miserable after a few hours walking without material between my thighs. Now, no problem!!!!! Its a great change! Guess all that torture on the leg machines was worth it, thanks Gui!

I could throw in there as a third showing off the tattoo but that is just a nice side effect *grin*

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Going from Black and White to life in full color............

"This is for all you girls about forty-two,
Tossing pennies into the Fountain of Youth
Every laugh, laugh line on your face,
Made you who you are today...

This one's for the girls
Who've ever had a broken heart
Who've wished upon a shooting star
You're beautiful the way you are
This one's for the girls,

Who love without holding back
Who dream with everything they have
All around the world,
This one's for the girls"

Martina McBride

I was so ill prepared for the journey I am on. I had no clue what this would mean to my life. I thought I would lose weight and just have the same exact life, only thinner. I was in no way prepared for the evolution in myself I am experiencing. And I don't think at all that evolution is a bad thing, just not something I had anticipated.

I have spent most of my life trying to blend in and hide. That is going to sound odd to those that know me. I am hardly a "shrinking violet" when it comes to my thoughts and opinions once I know someone and am in a one on one or small group situation. But when I am in larger groups, especially of strangers, I have always tried to be invisible. I can fake for work and required social events being out going, but it is a lot of work for me to do that, and I come out of it exhausted. I by nature am an Introvert (ISTJ for those who know the Myers-Briggs scale). I have always known that about myself.

What I didn't realize was how far I went. subconsciously, in trying to use my clothing to make myself invisible too. Whether it was dressing in neutrals, clothing without great detail or just hiding in oversized, shapeless clothes. What I used to think was classy or professional I am now realizing was just PLAIN and easy to blend in with.

I didn't realize this about myself til that part of me started to slip away in the last couple months. As more and more clothing options have opened up to me I am finding that I hate how I used to dress. It had no personality and certainly doesn't match my inner spark. Slowly I am seeing more and more color come into my wardrobe and yesterday while out shopping with a friend I found myself trying on things and thinking, that is just too boring.  I even found myself excited to have pictures taken in outfits I bought and to be seen this week at the conference I am going to. I bought colors, I bought patterns, I looked for clothes that fit tighter and showed that I have a waistline finally and I bought things (especially shoes) that I would just consider "showier".

It would be easy to just chalk this all up to weight loss, but lets face it, despite having lost 80 plus pounds, I am still over 250 lbs, I am still considered morbidly obese. I am far far from thin. And while yes 80 lbs is amazing, for someone new meeting me, they have no clue how I used to look and all they judge on is the current, still fat, package. So there has to be more to the change than just the weight.

Personally I think it is just a pride in yourself that you build over this journey. It is impossible to go through this change and not develop a better, healthier sense of self. Losing this weight has been tougher than any job I have ever had, any project I have ever undertaken, but I have done it. And while a stranger meeting me may not know that, I do and I think THAT is where the not wanting to be invisible comes from. I know that I have done what few can do and am ready to show that off to the world. And am also ready to say they can either like what they see or screw them (sorry, my east coast attitude slips in once in a while also *smile*).

I can say without doubt this is the first year in the 7 I have been going to Insight (annual software user group for our market) that I am not trying to figure out how to stand so I am not seen, to dress so I blend in and not wanting to disappear. I am packing the hot pink clutch purse (Coach, girls, Coach), the showy sandals and a great outfit I bought yesterday (more on this after the conference when I have pictures) and I am wearing them with pride!

Now, off to do the first thing I need to change, no more bland taupe nail polish!!!!! I bought some great colors yesterday and I need to take off this blah I had put on yesterday during my manicure!!!! I had her put this on (OPI..Charmed by a Snake) because it seemed the professional, blend in well thing to do, but screw that! There is color in the world and I am not apologizing for wearing it!!!!

PS. Yes the shoes in the picture are ones I bought yesterday!!!!

Yes, you are right, it is only a number...but.........

Back to one of my least favorite topics, the scale! Whoever invented the thing should have be shot. There is not one single device on the planet that causes me more stress on a daily basis. On bad days I lose sleep over it, I shed tears over it. On good days I celebrate over it! The difference of one digit can make or break my day. My self esteem is wrapped up in whether it is up or down. It is totally ridiculous that one gadget has that much control in our lives, but I know I am not alone in my fixation on that number.

The great irony to the scale is, as Gui points out to me regularly, it is a pitiful indicator of progress in burning fat. So much can change the reading on the scale, for me simply eating salt or flying can add 3-4 pounds to the scale in a day. The weather being cooler can drop 2 pounds off the scale for me just as easily. Yet despite logically knowing that, and knowing that my clothes are shrinking (a much better measure) I still have complete angst over that number.

Yesterday was probably the worst example of this yet. I had an AMAZING day shopping with a friend (will be my next post topic) and I got great clothes in sizes I would never have thought I could wear. But what was in my head the whole time (and even when I was filling TB in on my day) that the scale had to be wrong at the club yesterday because it said I was done (3 lbs), but the ones in the locker room at Eagan and Lakeville say I am up (5 lbs). I was totally fixated on this!!!! And I still am 24 hours later. I want someone who knows what they weigh to get on the scale the trainers use at Eagan and validate it for me. How insane is that? That that is more of a forethought for me than all the great new clothes I can fit in now are.

It is ridiculous, it's crazy and sad, but as much as I know that,  I don't know how to turn off my need for the scale to validate me! I am sure the answer some will give is, well don't weigh yourself (Gui's answer also) but that seems to just make it worse. If I don't know the number on the scale then I just spend time guessing about it (and usually assuming it is up).

Pitiful huh?!?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It really was all in my head...just not in my imagination....

"It's pretty irrefutable that you can help yourself. Somehow exercise can reawaken dormant pathways in the nervous system and cause small amounts of regeneration. Otherwise, there's no way to explain why, all of a sudden, five years after the injury, I was able to move my left index finger. And from there I've gone on to move my legs and my arms, and I've even recovered the use of my diaphragm. So, I just don't believe in ultimatums.

The sky is the limit. I'm not going to put a time line on it. I did have a time line before: walking by age 50. I remember telling some researchers I met: “Don't give me all the reasons why recovery won't happen. Let me be the fool on the hill who says, `Why can't we do this?'”"....Christopher Reeve

Today was the big day, Mayo clinic results. I have stressed over this for 3 weeks since the original tests were done. I apologize for not posting more of the original results, but as findings came in they were a bit scarier than I had expected and I needed to know what I was fully dealing with before I shared the information too far.

For those who have helped support me through the last few weeks, during which I was less than rational at times, thank you. To say I was scared of the possibilities of what could be wrong would be the understatement of the year, and I am truly blessed to have people around me who let me talk, cry, throw things at walls,  be unfocused and flighty and just be a nut case for a few weeks. Luckily all that worrying was wasted emotion, but I am OK with that, because the outcome is the best possibility.

OK so before the outcome, what the tests showed that I have wrestled with for the past few weeks. The major tests I had done were a series of MRI's (include a blood vessel study known as an MRI-V), a nerve conduction test and an EMG (which shows muscle electrical activity). The MRI's were the most telling and the most stressful. I saw the results right after they were done, but had to wait til today to talk to the neurologist and neurosurgeon to understand exactly what is going on.

The tests showed the expected, that there is major nerve root damage related to my arm and to my leg from the shunt pulling out. We knew this no biggie.

The first surprising finding, although it shouldn't have been surprising, it makes sense, is that during that same surgery I suffered a pretty significant stroke. Which accounts for the numbness, skin issues, lack of sweating, and other things on the entire right half of my body. The neurologist predicted it in the first 10 minutes we talked and the MRI proved her theory. Them finding this is frustrating for me, we should have known this when it happened, because then I might have recovered further, but it also fills in big holes and just makes it all make sense. So in that way I feel complete now.

The second surprise finding, which was the stress provoking one, was that half of my spinal cord (the right side) was not showing like it should on the MRI. There was less nerve tissue in spots and some of the function was decreased. There were lots of things this could be, some not so good (like MS). I walked into today knowing this could be a day where I heard something that could change my life forever.

I am ECSTATIC to say that didn't happen. Both the neurologist and the neurosurgeon think this is also old damage from the original surgery, probably another stroke within a vessel in the spinal column.  There is no sign of any progressive damage, my vascular system all looks great, so no need to worry about additional stroke risks. It was great news and I feel like the world lifted off my shoulders after hearing that.

So what does this have to do with the title and the Christopher Reeve quote. I went to Mayo to find an answer, are there changes going on. Is it even possible or am I imagining it. I thought my chance at that answer was gone when the EMG results from the 90's were gone. I had given up ever having it verified. I shouldn't have given up. When I met with the neurosurgeon this morning he emphatically stated he does believe that there is some recovery going on, what is called Latent Spinal Injury Recovery, that the new sensations I am feeling are NOT my imagination. When I asked how that was even possible he pointed out to that Christopher Reeve moved his hands 5 years after his injury and other parts after that, which I didn't know. And while my time frame is way outside of what he normally tells patients to expect, that it is happening and I need to not worry about why or if and just take it as far as I can. He definitely thinks that the strength/resistance training I have been doing since November is what is driving this. And both he and the neurologist not only suggested, but insisted I keep the trainer part of my life and continue to push to see if I can make any additional progress.

How do I feel about it all...truth I am not sure. Three different people asked me tonight if I was ok when they saw me. I thought I was, I am told them that I was, but realized maybe I wasn't once I started working out and seemed to be feeling more and more alone in a club full of people and with my trainer standing 5 feet away the whole time. I thought it was just exhaustion, but as tonight goes on I am realizing it is something more.

I am happy, I know that, I am relieved, I am grateful but part of me is angry also, incredibly angry. Angry at the surgeon who cared so little to find out what was wrong after the surgery went wrong, who wanted to run away from the situation as fast as he could and never stopped to find out what happened. I know being mad fixes nothing, I cant go back and change it all. But it angers me that he didn't give me the chance when it happened to have the therapies and treatments that would have given me back more of my functionality. I am angry that he got off scot free and I live like this every day. I am angry at myself that I am letting him rob me of the joy I should be feeling tonight. I should be on cloud 9 with the news I got today that I am making some progress, and once again I feel he is robbing me of that too.

I am heading to bed, I hope by the time I wake up in the morning the anger has subsided and I can truly enjoy the great gift I was given today and can look forward at the possibilities instead of backwards at the cause. Good night!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why can't life come with do overs......

"I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then

I wish I could start this whole thing over again...
Yeah, I wish somehow I didn't know now what I didn't know then"... Toby Keith

The last couple of days I have been doing a lot of thinking about things I wish I could have done differently in this weight loss/lifestyle changejourney. I want a "do over".

I have to share a side story before I get into what I would do differently...."do overs" is one of those few things from childhood that make me smile. I used to play summer softball and one of the coaches, Mr. Flansburg, used to allow us to have "do overs" when we flubbed something up or hadn't tried our hardest. He gave us another chance to do our many times since then I wish life came with that option, and every time I have that kind of a moment I think of him!!!!!

Ok now my honesty, it will come to no surprise to anyone reading and especially those who know me, that the last 5 or so weeks has been trying for me. My vacation, the medical stuff, relationship stuff, work stuff and I know on the other side I will be better and stronger for all I am going through, but it is definitely wearing on me. And I had to stop myself last night when I realized I was questioning if the way I am doing this is the right path or not. Should I have gone with the surgery instead, should I still consider that now since I have 110 more pounds to lose. I really wonder if I have what it takes to stay with this level of effort for 2 years or so to get to the goal. If I had that "do over" I am just not sure at this point which path I would take, maybe some hybrid of the two paths. Some time with a trainer to build some habits and then the surgery to increase the pace of the weight loss and shorten the time involved, and then more time with the trainer post surgery to make sure it stuck. This path just seems really long right now.

Beyond the how would I do it, there are definitely some things I wish I had done differently, and this is the advice I wanted to share for those just starting out on a similar journey...

1) Take lots and lots of pictures of yourself, clothed and unclothed, before you start losing weight. As much as I HATE having my picture taken, I regret I don't have more things for comparison now.

2) Take lots and lots of measurements. Measure every inch of your body. When I started with the trainer they measured 3 spots. And the great irony is for all the weight I have lost those aren't the spots that have changed. I wish I had so many other points to document the change now.

3) Have redundancy in your plans. What are you going to do if you lose your job and can't afford to workout where you do, what are you going to do if your club goes out of business, what are you going to do if your trainer transfers or moves to another country. I never would have thought of any of these, and didn't, but have friends and readers on here who have gone through all of them and it has negatively impacted their goals.

4) Have a plan for how you are going to handle it when you get derailed or lose your focus. It happens to the best of us, and figuring it out when it goes on is a lot harder than knowing ahead of time what your "disaster plan" is.

5) Set rewards for yourself at key milestones. Having something you are working towards will help with long term focus. I used to think just the number on the scale dropping would be all the motivation I need. In the last weeks I have learned that you do become kind of numb to that after a while and losing a pound or three no longer holds the excitement it does in the beginning. This is something I am trying to figure out now for the future. I have thought about a piece of jewelry I could add to every 50 lbs or something of that nature, but it is still a work in progress. I wish I had done it at the beginning to get me through the last few weeks. I feel I am losing sight of the goal and the why.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day when your kids have four paws......

I will warn you, if you aren't a "pet parent" today's post wont be for you. If you are a "they are just animals" today won't be for you. This post is going to be way off the normal topics, but my heart was touched by a poem a friend wrote and I am sharing it.

First of all, Happy Mother's Day to the mom's reading. I am not a mom and I would be lying if I said my mom and I had a functional relationship. But I have been blessed in my life with many other women who have been like a mom to me, so to them, Happy Mother's Day. And to my two dear friends, Laura and Hilary, who are both expecting babies in the next couple weeks, Happy First Mother's Day, you are already moms to those babies.

As I said, I am not a mom in the traditional sense. I have no "twofer" children. But I have three amazing "furbies" (Winnie, Chester and Seybah) who I love as much as others love their children (and my angel furbie, Taz who I still miss to this day). They fill my home with a love and warmth that is hard to understand if you aren't an animal lover. The unconditional love of a pet is an amazing thing. No matter how bad life seems at any given moment, they just don't care, they are there, non-judgementally, unwavering. The world would be a lot better place if we humans could learn to love and support each other more like the pets in our lives do!

Normally not being a mom I would have skipped this topic all together. But a friend from posted a poem on Facebook this morning that I felt driven to share. Ima Manxster, thank you for your beautiful words....

"Now while your heart is beating
loud and strong,
I press my face in close
and the pump refreshes me.

Now while your throat is purring
soft and sweet,
your motor running ...
I never tire of the tune.

Now while your legs are running
swift and sure
and your nails hit the floor
with a clickity click ...

I know your meows, your howls,
your sneezes, your hisses
and they register with me
like a barometer of vitality.

Your silence deafens me
and I strain to hear
something, anything
for my reassurance.

So I call your name,
peek in on you sleeping,
grab a paw, kiss a cheek
hold you oh so tight.

Another Mother's Day
and we snuggle and cuddle
and remember the ones
no longer with us.

And in the stillness
they surround us
always loving
always near.

And the rhythm continues
as the ebb of the tides
the phases of the moon
... my gratitude grows."

One other special Happy Mother's day, to Tina, my pet sitter (aka cat nanny to my furbies). Tina you make it so I can have a crazy insane work life, but know that my furbies are as loved and taken care of when I am away as when I am here (sometimes even better than when I am here I think). Thank you for being their "other mother".

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pseudotumor Cerebri makes the national news....

"We thought it was the worst thing we could ever hear when we were told Lauren had a brain tumor," she said. "If we only knew then what the endless battle would be like."

There are very few people in the world, even within the medical profession, who have heard of Pseudotumor Cerebri (also known as Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension) and of those who have heard of it, even fewer medical professionals have ever seen a case or could diagnosis it. So I was rather shocked when I opened the news this morning and PTC was a major headline:

Also listed was another article of one girl's experience with it:

I have to admit reading the second article was upsetting for me. It was a lot of "been there, done that". But first I want to talk about the new findings and seeing more and more of it in children.

While I wasn't diagnosed with PTC until I was 21, I genuinely believe my symptoms started when I was 5 and went through a year of tonsilitis (and antibiotics) on a monthly basis. I can look back now and see many times in my life that it presented itself, but I blew it off as headaches, being tired, being stressed or other things. I vividly remember a six month period in my teems of vision issues that I never mentioned to anyone, because in my family you were expected to tough through things.

For me, as I mentioned in an earlier post, PTC was a 7 year nightmare of surgeries, blindness, spinal taps, infections and every medication on the planet. Ironically the last was probably the worst thing, and one theory on the rise. That an overuse of antibiotics and over the counter medications is actually a precipitating factor in people with the right biological risks for developing PTC. And why we learned finally how to manage mine in the late 90's I still live every day in its shadow, but from the damage of the surgeries, but also because this is a CHRONIC LIFELONG CONDITION. I know that I am one tylenol or red wine away from my intracranial pressure going back up, but I at least know for me how to keep it at bay. As April's story above shows, most aren't that lucky.

My recent trip to Mayo, as stressful as it was, was also a major reaffirmation of how lucky I was. I was lucky to find the right doctors, including the amazing doctor at my college health clinic who recognized what it was after about 3 weeks of testing. To have the best person in the country on the disease at that time be at a hospital near where I lived and to have doctors who wouldn't give up. I would also add to my luck that I was headed into the medical field myself and had the knowledge and research facilities to start to explore this horrible disease.

But even more than that, I was lucky at my outcome, and I lose track of that often when I deal with the surgery damage issues. Every single doctor who examined me at Mayo was shocked at for the path my disease took (I was about as bad as you can be for all those years) my vision today is totally intact and other than a slight misalignment of my eyes from a surgery issue (another surgery during PTC not the same one as my leg) my vision is as good as it was before PTC. For all I went through medically, no one would be shocked if I had ended up blind. I owe my Neuro-Ophthalmologist, Dr. Deborah I. Friedman, daily for the fact that I see today. And I have to admit I have not thought about that fact in a long time until my time at the Mayo Clinic.

In one of the articles the point was made about people not "getting it" and them writing it off because "well you don't have cancer". For me that was one of the hardest parts of the active phase of my illness, it being an invisible illness. I remember often saying I would rather have lost a limb or had some outwardly visible illness because then at least people would realize it was real. When you look perfectly healthy and you have something no one has heard of, yet you are having to miss classes, skip work and hide out in your house because your head is too heavy to lift, you are very quickly labelled as a hypochondriac or it must be all psychological. Friends get bored with it and move on, employers tire of it and you lose jobs and you find your world become more and more limited.

I will say another way I was lucky was because I had Dr Friedman who was so involved in the disorder nationwide, my world was greatly expanded beyond many. Together Dr Friedman and I started the first national support group for people with PTC, we did some of the first national clinical studies and I got to meet some really amazing people living with PTC.

In April's story she talks about resiliance and fighting through. It always seemed ironic to me that the more people I met with PTC the more that seemed to be a characteristic of those with the disease. I can think of maybe one person of the 100's I met and talked to who ever really gave up. Yes we all had our moments when we broke down, where it got the better of us, and many times when we wanted to quit, but it seems we always found that drive to get back going again.

As I have shared my story with PTC with people and through this blog I often get asked would I change it if I could. I definitely wouldn't. I think part of the reason I am who I am today was because of those years. I learned more about me and about survival and about the true meanings of friendship and love while I was fighting PTC on a daily basis than I have at any other time in my life, at least up until the last 6 months.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Another step towards normaly....more about clothes...

Total disclosure, some of what I am writing about happened last week. But with the funk I was in I wasn't ready to write about it. Today it seems like a good topic. And more importantly it seems like something I need to remind myself today.

May is trade show month for the company I work for. We have our big annual meeting, called Insight. It is the one time a year I get to see lots of my old clients and colleagues from around the country. Every year it is in a different part of the country, last year we were in Florida, this year we are in D.C.. Typically 4-6 people go from our company, mostly the sales team (pardon me "Client Development" *grin*). I have attended the last two years because I was presenting a session as part of the user conference portion of the meeting, and will be again this year.

Part of going to these events is always a discussion on what we are going to wear. The normal attire is matching (color coordinated) "logo wear" so that we are easily identified with our company. I usually dread this process. I have never been able to fit in the same shirts as the rest of the team. When I have tried to order from the catalog the PR folks provide nothing has ever fit right and I usually ended up having to shop for shirts and then take them to have the logo added. Everyone else would match and I would end up "odd man out". Just another way of reminding myself I was the fat girl who didn't fit in. And I totally expected this year to be the same, especially when I learned the shirts this year were tailored oxfords (the hardest thing in the world for me to find that fit). In the past to get oxfords to fit across my shoulders/back I would have to order men's shirts, which would then not fit right in the bust and would be huge in the armpits. Never an attractive look!

I had already prepped for this year, before knowing what the team was wearing, and found some dress shirts and put them in my closet to send for logos. But when the "action pack" came around I was having a decent day on my view of my weight loss and decided to try to do what the team was. Off I went to Land's End (where they were shopping this year), styles I needed in hand and ready to fail!

I of course had to go through my trying on 4 sizes that were too big first *shaking my head at myself* but SHOCKED myself when I realized I was going to be able to easily order what everyone else was this year, and more importantly they fit right!!!!!!! They are still considered "plus size" but they fit, and the reality is one more size down and I wouldn't have needed the plus size even.

For once I get to fit in and look like everyone else!!!! I can not remember the last time I was able to easily dress in coordinating shirts at any trade show I went to, or if I ever have. Kinda cool.

My other clothing success recently was yesterday, it was jeans shopping time again! This is about an every two week occurrence it seems. Which is kind of ironic since the tape measure every time we measure me says my abdomen isn't really shrinking, but I think my butt is and jeans kind of depend on both items.

The last pair of jeans was a size 20. For those that don't have to shop for plus sizes, a quick lesson. Typically jeans will run normal sizes 1-24 and then the plus size stores make up their own series of numbers after that. The store I normally shop at had a 0X-12X on top of having 16-24 in the normal range for jeans. A year ago I was 12X and was pushing that. Yesterday for the first time in at least 15 years, I bought jeans with a 1 in the front within the normal range...size 18!!!

I wish I could say I was excited when it happened. I have to admit with the place I was at yesterday it was a pretty uninspired purchase, again just doing what I had to. But today I am trying to look at it in a better light, because logically I do know that is a HUGE accomplishment. I actually bought the next size down also just to have them so I don't have to keep running back.

The interesting part about buying the size 16 is that it means I have run out of something else I can buy at Catherine's (where I have shopped for most of my adult life). I already can no longer buy bras, dress pants and some shirts there, and now about to add jeans to the list.

As part of commemorating that milestone I am going to be doing another large donation of clothes to charity this weekend. It turns out Catherine's is doing a national clothing drive Thursday and Friday for Women's shelters. So I am going to take the huge mountain in my closet and let go of all of them. If you have clothes to donate, please check with your local Catherine's for their details.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tomorrow is a new day...

First and always, thank you for the phone calls and emails I received after my last post. I genuinely appreciate the support and caring. I truly do have the best friends in the world.

How am I doing is obviously the question everyone wants me to answer. I'm ok. I think tonight I reached the bottom of the downward slide I have been on and am ready to try to find my way back up. I went to the gym and talked to Gui (wouldn't really say I worked out, but I got to throw things at walls and that felt AWESOME, thanks again Gui...that might even get your nickname not used in this post *smile*). He definitely has me trying to think about this all in a different way. Still trying to process the idea that this is a good thing to have hit this place now, will reserve saying much more on that til I have thought it through more. But he is probably right, he seems to be way too often. As always got a couple new ideas from him on ways to cope (or at least stop myself from sabatoging myself), so that was good.

I ended talking to him with a good cry after leaving the club (I made it to the parking lot as I have a "no tears in front of the trainer" policy which came close to being broken tonight) and am now ready to start to try to get back on track. Back to journalling food tomorrow, back to working out (or at least not giving up before I get to the club) and taking it one step at a time. Not sure where it will go, but I have to get back to the old "one foot in front of another" and start that way.

I did hit a milestone today...and while I have to admit I don't feel much like celebrating it yet, I know it is HUGE and I need to at least recognize it! When Gui weighed me tonight I was 263...that is 75 lost!!!! (48 of that since starting with Gui the end of November). I never would have thought I (we!!!!) could do it and sometimes it still doesn't seem real. Even to say it now seems surreal, like I am talking about someone else.

I am trying to think of something to do to celebrate/commemorate when I lose two more pounds and it is that 50 mark since starting with the trainer. Those numbers seem a lot more important to me since I know what that weight was on a specific date and when it was I truly started that part of the journey. Anyone know what hallmark recommends as a 50 lb weight loss celebratory gift for yourself? *grin* I am thinking something in the jewelry family *smile*. And NO April, Donna and Trish, I will NOT be piercing anything!

Anyway, Gui mentioned tonight I needed to do something to make it sink in better all the weight I have lost. So I decided maybe posting some new comparisons would help. The most recent were taken over the weekend by a friend! Enjoy....

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Idling in neutral..........

First of all, an apology for it being nearly a week since I posted. I have tried a couple times and nothing I wrote sounded right. I want to try to do a better job keeping the blog positive and I haven't had a lot positive to say. Don't get me wrong, I haven't had negative to say either, I just haven't had much to say at all. At a kind of quiet place the last week or so. I am confused by myself right now and just trying to figure it all out.

A friend said to me on Friday, that I tend to run at 0 or 100 in life, and she is right. When I am truly engaged in something I am totally invested, but when I lose that focus I slip to neutral. I don't stop doing what needs to be done, but I tend to go through the motions. Another way to put it is my heart checks out even though my mind tells me I have to stay in the game. 

A lot of people throughout my life have called that "100" pace obsessing. I have thought about that word a lot in the last couple days. If you look in the dictionary, every definition of obsessing has a negative connotation, and I know most have used it in regards to me mean it that way too, as destructive or compulsive. But there is a side of obsessing that I think gets sold short (or is misinterrpreted) and that is called "passion". It is giving all you have to something to get the best outcome you can. For me passion is a driving force at my core. I can do my best at something when I have that obsessive, laser focus. It keeps me moving, it keeps me on track. YES it leads to over thinking, but as hard as it may be to understand from the outside, and as hard as it is to live that over thinking on the inside, it is what keeps me moving forward. It keeps me out of neutral!

I am sure many reading will look at what I just said and say "but there is a happy medium", or "you are seeing black and white and not the shades of grey". And they are right, that is where I should be according to the word, but it is not how I seem to have been programmed. It is not who I have been to this point in my life. I tend to be an on and off switch not a dimmer switch.

Don't get me wrong, I can stick with something I am not passionate about, my logical side can take over and get a very good job done, but it is not the same as when my heart is involved. I lose my drive, I lose my "at all cost" view of giving it my best, and most often I lose why I started it in the first place.

This is hard to admit, it took me til Thursday or Friday this past week (probably Friday during a chance encounter with one of the nutritionists at the club) to say to anyone but I have gone into neutral on the whole "lifestyle change" and weight loss. My mind knows I need to keep going, but my heart isn't there.

I want to clear something up, this is NOT about Gui being on vacation, everyone I have told this to has asked me that. Has that probably let this get further than it should have, sure, he would have slapped me upside the head long before this. But this slide started before he went away and even before my last two sessions with him. This is completely and totally coming from inside me and is not about anyone else.

So where has it come from? I don't know if I have that answer yet. I am still struggling to figure out what happened (so I can undo it) but I can see a couple moments where the air started to go out of me, lets call them a theory for now as I am not sure they are really what is behind this (still really confused on it).

1) Trying not to obsess! I took the advice of many people around me. Stop worrying about it, let it go, don't focus so much on it. I know every intention behind those comments was from the heart and looking out for my best interest. But not worrying so much lead me to a path I should have stayed off. I let myself cheat because I should go easier, and once I started cheating (both with food and not working out so much) I kept getting sloppier and sloppier, until some bad habits (like soda) became easy again. And as it became easier I just stopped caring what I was doing.

I need to be hyper conscious of my behavior, I know that about myself and I didn't trust my own understanding of myself because I heard so many people around me saying the same thing that I believed they had to be right and I had to be wrong. I know I need to be really strict with myself or I end up out in the weeds badly and I did't stay with that because I wanted to make others happy. Again, I do not blame anyone but me. I should have stayed true to what I know about myself and not let the other voices over rule mine! That is a big part of this whole mess I am in now, not being true to me.

2. It got to easy. This is sort of a part of the first item, but not exactly. This started back in Israel. This is going to sound really bizarre to most, but I think I would have been in a better place (more focused still) if I had gained weight on that trip, but I didn't I lost 2 pounds. And I lost those two pounds doing some really unhealthy things for me. I wasn't eating enough, I was drinking soda and I was eating things I shouldn't. Once I saw that I could do that and not pay a price, I did more of it. And that continued after I got home. Last weekend I went to a friends and went totally off the deep end with food and wine (the meal started with raw cookie dough, progressed through nasty fried/breaded foods and ended at cheesecake, only to be followed the next day with a corned beef sandwich). When I got on the scale 5 days after that my weight was the same as it had been before Gui left. I also ate crappy during my week at Mayo and barely worked out, again wiht no outcome.

Most people would be cheering for this (and wont understand why any of this is an issue) and if I had been at my goal weight when I learned I could do much less and get away with it, that would have been GREAT. But I am not at my goal weight, I have 115 more pounds I need to lose. And finding out there are no repricussions for my sloppiness helped make it all right to not focus and care.

3. Mayo Clinic. I know I haven't shared in the blog everything that I learned and found out. Please forgive me for that. There are a couple people I still need to talk to before I put what I know here, and there are still pieces I wont know until after 5/12/10. I promise more details this week hopefully. But I know I shared the part about the doctor suggesting I consider going back to the leg brace. I am realizing slowly how much that hit me and how defeated I felt. I went there for her to tell me how far I had come and instead I was told a couple times, by at least two doctors, that where I was was the best I was going to get (at least related to my foot and my leg) and again I let their voices overshadow mine. I let that view lead me to "why am I bothering". Why am I spending all the money on a trainer if I am not going to see results? Why am I making my life harder if I can't make progress?

It was kind of funny, and I didn't even realize I was doing it, but on the first day every time a doctor there would ask me to walk for them, or would do some kind of strength test I would find myself saying "you should have seen it 5 months ago", as if I had to remind myself of how far I had come. But by day 3 I had stopped that. I should have seen then I was losing sight of things. Maybe I did see it (I can see it now in what I said in the blog and what I didn't say) but I certainly didn't know what to do with it.

I don't want this to sound like the doctors at Mayo didn't put value on the work with the trainer and the weight loss. The internal medicine specialist actually said "heck we should all start working with your trainer" and went as far as to insist I keep going with it, and even made that a condition of him not adding another medicine and possibly surgery. But when it came to the neurologists it was as if it never mattered and never would. And I let that really dishearten me. I let it take away a lot of my purpose for this and I am not sure how I get it back yet or if I even should. If they are right and the end game is not going to be much more than I have right now is all the work a foolish attempt at denial? Somewhere in me I know it isn't, I know they are wrong, but I am having a really hard time sorting out what is stupid childish wishful thinking and what is reality on this right now.
So where does all this leave me. I wish I knew that answer. I have been back working out, so I give myself some credit there. But it certainly hasn't been to the level I was or with the heart it was. I was back with a trainer (Gui's boss) on Thur and Fri so at least I went through the motions again, but I didn't get anything out of it beyond the physical. Normally that kind of workout really energizes me and I look forward to the next one. I didn't have that.

On food, I need to stop with some really bad habits I am back to, and some are proving harder than others. Soda (pop for my Israel and New England friends) was always a weakness and I am back to that again, I need to stop it. I also need to stop giving in to pressure around me on this again. It's rather ironic, some of my friends are actually HAPPY that I am back to eating like crap. It puts me back to the norm they are used to and makes me a lot more "fun" in their eyes. I need get back to being around healthier people like I was doing and about being more vigilant about my own behaviors.

I logically know what I need to do, my problem is my heart isn't feeling it. I don't have drive to do it. So I think my plan at this point is to let my head lead, in hopes that my heart follows and reengages. I am in town this week and really hope I can refind my routine and my state of mind and find where I was a few weeks ago. I really hope I can get myself out of neutral because I know I can't stay here long before I start slipping into reverse and I don't want that!