24 May 2006

Proof of the kayaking!

I got this picture today from one of my classmates who took it with one of those disposable waterproof cameras, so the quality isn't the best. Can you tell which one is me?

23 May 2006

Happy, happy ...

Yesterday was my husband's and my 8th wedding anniversary. We had a very nice dinner at a local restaurant. The company was better than the food; although, don't get me wrong, the food was good. It just wasn't phenomenal like it was the last time we went there. I will say, however, that dessert, a Profiterole Sampler (French Vanilla Ice Cream Filled Cream Puffs Drizzled with a Chocolate Ganache, Berry Coulis & Caramel Sauce), and the coffee service that my husband had (coffee with a create your own gourmet plate of homemade, fresh whipped cream; mini chocolate chips; cinnamon sticks; rock candy swizzle sticks; natural sugar and cream) were fantastic!! I can definitely say that I ate more bites of the dessert than I should have, but thankfully, other than making me feel a bit too full, it didn't make me sick. Unfortunately, it was the first time with a dessert (post surgery) that I didn't want to stop eating it. But, I knew if I didn't, I'd get sick. And, I figured after all that food and dessert that I'd probably gain something, but happily, I stayed the same this morning, 143 lbs! Whoo-hoo! I honestly don't get it (b/c I didn't change anything about my diet and I actually haven't been doing the elliptical as often as I should), but I somehow lost a total of 5 lbs over 4 days! Amazing! I'll take it! Just 8 more to go to goal! Yippie!!

21 May 2006

More pics

So, here is the promised pic of me in my new bathing suit (not bad, huh? Although, my freaking calves are still huge, but seeing as my 103 lb sister still has big calves, I guess there's not much I can do), the requisite full body (All of the clothes I'm wearing in these have become a bit too big, and I'm still not thrilled w/ my arse. I think it looks a bit dumpy.) and head shots and some more of the doggie and garden (as we had a brief reprieve from the rain today). Enjoy!

I realize you all probably don't care as much about my garden as I do, but ehh, they're pretty pictures! ;) Off to do laundry and make dinner!

20 May 2006

Garden Bed Pics

It's a chilly, windy, sometimes rainy, mostly overcast weekend, but I brought a camera home from work so as to show off my hard work. The below shots are of the side garden I re-did at my house 2 weekends ago. Do you like?

The entire bed, straight-on. The stepping stones at the edge of the bed were there, and unfortunately, they don't go all the way to the back door.

One of my favorite photos of the Foxglove and Heuchera.

Another favorite of the Astilbe, Bleeding Heart and Heuchera.

Not the garden, but instead, my sweet doggie. I couldn't get a good shot of his face, but I'm sure you can tell how sweet he is. :) He's still not eating as well as he usually does, but he does eat all of his food just more slowly. I'm going to keep an eye on him and see how things change.

17 May 2006

Why am I falling apart?

So, I don't know if I've mentioned this previously, but I have torn cartilage in my right wrist. I saw a orthopedic surgeon some time ago, and apparently, cartilage doesn't heal on its own, ever. So, she suggested I try physical therapy to see if building up the muscles around the wrist would help relieve pain. So, I saw a PT for about a month and then continued the exercises she gave me. For a while, the exercises seemed to be working, but lately, the pain has come back. So, I made an appointment with the surgeon, and she decided the next course of action was a Cortisone injection. I had the injection (a very long needle directly into my wrist which actually didn't hurt all that much until she started pushing the fluid into the wrist and then the "you're going to feel some pressure now" pain started) on Monday afternoon, and almost immediately pretty major pain in the wrist began. I had asked her about what the known side-effects were, and she said that the 2 most common were pretty rare. But, of course, it's me we're talking about, so I developed one of them, severe pain in my wrist. It was so bad that I could do just about nothing. So, I called the doc back on Tuesday morning (after calling in to work) and learned it was "normal" (for the few people who react this way) but that I could have something for the pain. But, since I can't have NSAIDs, it made that trickier. She prescribed Ultracet, and after work, my husband took me to Target to pick it up. (Imagine right-handed me trying to drive my manual transmission Jetta while in severe pain. Not fun!) I took the 2 prescribed pills almost immediately after arriving home, and then came the loopyness. I felt like a complete ditz all night! Thankfully, though, the pain meds enabled me to actually use my right arm, so I'll deal. I tried just 1 pill this morning (after arriving at work so that I wasn't driving like that), and while the result was less intense, the loopyness was still there. Lucky me! It was ok to feel drunk at work! :) The pain seems to be subsiding even more, so I'm going to try not taking any more meds and see how that goes.

Amazingly, I lost another 2 lbs last week! And, I somehow breezed right through my 11 month WLS anniversary Sunday. I guess it was all the Mother's Day bru-ha-ha that did it. Anyways, I was very surprised to see 146.0 on Tuesday morning as I'd been stuck at 148.0 for over a week. One more month to my 1 year anniversary, so I doubt I'll be at goal weight for it, but that's ok. It will be close, and I'll just have another thing to celebrate after the 1 year anniversary. Man, what a year!

15 May 2006

I did it!

Kayaking on Saturday went off without a hitch. We met on campus a little before 8am, gathered the gear and then headed off toward the lake and where we were going to put in. By the time we drove there and got all of the gear out and on (wetsuit, neoprene boots, spray skirt, paddling jacket and PFD), it was about 10:30am before we actually got on the water. Once successfully getting into the kayak (without dumping myself, yeah!), I set off onto the water with a bit of trepidation. Because of expressing my nervousness, one of the 3 instructors basically trailed me all morning. I was grateful for her presence, but at the same time I was also unhappy with it because it hurt my pride. But, I'm sure having here there was also a source of confidence for me, so in looking back on it, I'm glad she was. We were taught a number of different paddling strokes including the sweep stroke (used for turns) and the draw stroke (used to bring yourself sideways in one direction) in addition to paddling backwards and stopping quickly.

While out on the water, I chose not to eat anything because I wasn't feeling hungry, but by the time we made it back to the put-in point, I was weak. I'd thankfully brought my lunch meat and cottage cheese because what they provided for us, while good, wasn't very high in protein. After eating my food, though, I tried a little of the provided southwestern rice and veggies with a little dab of hummus and southwestern sourdough. It was really good! And, I guess since I was out there doing so much physical activity all of the carbs weren't a horrible thing.

The afternoon was filled mostly with free paddling and rescue techniques. They weren't teaching us how to roll the kayak, so most of the rescue techniques were wet exits. And, in 50 degree weather, that sucks! Thankfully, most of them were demonstrations with one of the instructors having to go underwater. Just before we were ready to leave, though, they wanted us to try a rescue ourselves, both being rescued and rescuing others. I was pretty exhausted by this time and feared not being able to pull myself out of the water and up onto the kayak, so I elected not to try being rescued. But, I did rescue my husband successfully. :)

Overall, I had a great time, and when we went back out after lunch, I no longer had any nervousness, and not once was I fearful of the deep water. Granted, had I capsized in the middle of the lake there might have been a different story. I've been thinking I may want to learn to roll the kayak so that I wouldn't have to do a wet exit, and I definitely enjoyed myself enough to want to do it again!

Yesterday, I went to church at my parents' church, and while I was walking up from the lower parking lot to the church's front door, I thought I saw my brother and sister-in-law driving into the parking lot. I wasn't sure but decided to wait in the church's foyer a few minutes to see if it was them, and when they walked in they both had these giant smiles on their faces. I hadn't seen them since early December (the day after my husband told me he was leaving, as a matter of a fact, so I wasn't looking so hot), so when they saw me walking up the driveway, my sister-in-law said to my brother, I think that's your sister. He says, no way! That's not my sister! She said, yes, I think it is, so when they got out of the car, he shouted my name. I was too far away and didn't hear him, so he said, see, she didn't turn around; that's not her. So, when they walked in and saw that it was me they were both surprised. My sister-in-law said I looked absolutely fantastic, and my brother was rather speechless.

This new perspective that I now have is so odd. My goal was never to be smaller than most people I know, but now that I am smaller than my mom and my sister-in-law, two people who were always smaller than me, and I can recognize it, it's just such a surreal feeling. I'll tell you what, though, I'm looking forward a week and weekend of not much planned. Last week was just crazy!

12 May 2006

This has absolutely nothing to do with weight loss

Well, actually, it sort of does in a very round-about way. My dog is 13 years old and is generally healthy ... except for a rather large mass discovered about a year ago in his liver. It's about the size of a softball, and because it's in the liver, they aren't able to determine exactly what it is without doing exploratory surgery. So, because he's generally healthy and it didn't seem to be affecting his everyday life, we made the decision not to do the surgery but to monitor the mass via ultrasound instead. So, another ultrasound was done in September of 2005, and at that time it was found that the mass either didn't change or slightly reduced in size. And, nothing had changed about his behavior.

It's now a year later, and in general, nothing's changed about his behavior save one thing, he doesn't eat as voraciously as he used to. Now, this has only been going on for about a week, but he's my baby and I was concerned. So, I took him to the vet this week, and they drew some blood to do bloodwork so as to compare it to the most recent results. For this bloodwork and the exam and other various things, I paid $192, a lot of money for me right now. The results: his liver enzymes are higher than they were the last time by about 300 points. So, what the vet is suggesting is another ultrasound (at about $300) and then maybe a test for Cushing's disease.

I'm having a very difficult time with all this because: a) I really can't afford it (and, that's where WLS comes into play b/c of having to buy new clothes a lot more often than I used to) b) it's not like he's not eating at all or lethargic or visibly sick or whining all the time c) I sometimes feel like vets push you into doing unnecessary tests b/c I've heard about the pressure to do that at some vet clinics. So, I feel like a horrible doggie mom. Am I putting his health in jeopardy b/c of my needs/feelings/wants? Or, like the last few times we've done tests, are they going to come back with inconclusive information that yields little to no results subsequently resulting in nothing being done for him? I'm leaning toward keeping an eye on him to see how the eating thing changes and to see if anything else crops up, but it still bothers me that I feel my decision is being influenced by the cost.

10 May 2006

Kayaking was awesome!

We had our first kayaking class last night. It was held at one of the pools on campus, so it was rather convenient. After getting outfitted with helmets (to protect our heads from flying paddles and the sides of the pool), life-jackets, kayak skirts and kayaks, they helped us into our kayaks in the pool. There were 3 instructors and 10 students ranging from college-aged to a few in their 40s. I'm very thankful for the skirt part of my bathing suit as all of the other women there were rather fit, so having the skirt there covering my upper thighs was fabulous. Anyhoo, they had us begin in the kayaks without our kayak skirts attached so that if we were to dump (fall over into the water w/ the kayak ending up upside down) we'd just fall out. I felt pretty comfortable in the kayak and decently handled the first fall (intended) into the water. Although, I wouldn't say I enjoyed it!

After pulling our kayaks back out of the water, they showed us how to attach our skirts to the kayak (dang was it difficult!) by stretching it over the lip of the kayak. Then, they taught us the procedure for releasing ourselves from the kayak in the case of a dump (lean forward, hit the bottom of the kayak 3 times with our hands, find the rim of the kayak opening with our hands, run them along the edge until the pull tab is found, pull the tab out and up to remove the skirt from the kayak lip, then pull ourselves out of the kayak as though we were pulling off a pair of pants). Once we all had that down, it was time to get back in the water to try it out one-by-one. I'd already mentioned my issues (fear of deep water and claustrophobia) to the instructors, so while others were doing their successful dumps, one of the instructors not in the water was trying to psych me up for it. It finally became my turn (because there was no one else left!), so I got in the kayak. The instructor told me to take my time, and trust me, I did. I took quite a few deep breaths and then forced myself over. After slapping the bottom of the kayak w/ my hands 3 times, I panicked and forgot what to do! I was completely freaked out! I at least had enough composure to hit the kayak again, and the instructor had me righted within a second or two. And, then I broke down. I was breathing very heavily, crying and just completely falling apart. My husband came over to me while the instructor did his best to calm me down. He told me it wasn't a big deal, was completely natural and was ok if I didn't want to do it (b/c I was hysterically saying I couldn't do it). I honestly don't remember what my husband said (if anything), but just the way he looked at me and held my hand gave me so much strength. I told the instructor I wanted to try it again (albeit a little more progressively), and he agreed. He also suggested I try it with goggles on so that it would be a little less disorienting. So, he had me do the dump again w/out the skirt attached. That was again fine, so next, he had me attach the skirt. But, instead of trying to get myself out of the skirt, he had me stay under water as long as I could tolerate it, and then when I was ready (signaled by hitting the kayak with my hands), he flipped me up. I did that maybe 3 times, and then moved on to the next step, I went through the motions of the extrication process underwater and then had him flip me back up when I was ready. I felt comfortable with that after a couple of times and felt ready to try the full process again myself. I got it on the first try and completely without panicking! I did it 2 more times feeling more and more comfortable with it, and even when I had a little more difficult time removing the skirt from the kayak I didn't panic.

The rest of the class had moved on to learning to paddle and trying it out through a game, so I took a quick break for some nuts and water. By the time I finished my snack and got a quick lesson on paddling, the rest of the class was ready for a break themselves. So, at that time, I got in the kayak and tried out paddling for myself. I found myself turning a bit even though I was trying to go straight, but it didn't take too long to figure that out ... for the most part. I even let myself paddle into the deep end, and while the first trip down resulted in my typical feelings of wanting to get back to the shallow end as quickly as possible, I got over it after just a few minutes. The rest of the class got back in the water, and we played another game where we did our best to stay in one end of the pool (thankfully, the shallow end!:) without hitting any of the other kayaks with the area in which we were to stay decreased in size every few minutes. I did ok with this game and thankfully didn't dump. They then had us get rid of our paddles so as to play kayak basketball. The instructors pondered how to split us up into teams, and visions of being the last one picked flashed through my mind. (Yes, I was typically the last one picked in school when it came to athletic events.) They decided to split us up by the color of our kayaks, so I ended up on the team opposite my husband. I figured my teammates were thinking to themselves how unlucky they were to get me (and I didn't blame them) as we were receiving our instructions. We began at the opposite end of the pool from our baskets (the deep end; ack!) and then had to make our way down the pool making sure the ball was touched by each team member before making a shot. I don't remember many of the details of the game ... except that I (yes, me!) scored at least 3 baskets!!! And, I always sucked at basketball! And, not only did I score multiple baskets, I didn't dump. I will admit that I wasn't overly aggressive at making my way up and down the pool, but I didn't just stay in one spot either. Oh, and not only did my team make about 5 or 6 baskets, the other team didn't even make one!! So, yeah, I felt pretty good about myself.

Unfortunately, in my attempt to gracefully exit the kayak (without dumping myself first), I didn't hold onto the side of the pool and flipped myself over. My right leg got stuck, so I now have a lovely knot about the size of a baseball on my leg just below my knee.

Our next class is on Saturday on the lake (another fear to overcome!), so we'll be wearing wetsuits, etc. b/c of the cold temp of the lake (50 degreesish). I'm still a bit fearful, but I'm looking forward to it!

Weight update: I'm at 148.0 lbs and have been sitting here for what seems like forever. It's a pound lost, so I'm happy. But, as usual, it's so close to 147 it's frustrating too.

I'm utterly exhausted because of all of the things I've been doing over the past week or so: recovering from the UTI on Friday; 3 1/2 mile hike on Saturday; gardening all day (literally!) on Sunday; work, gardening and the elliptical on Monday; kayaking for about 3 hours on Tuesday! So, I'm thinking I may be a bum tonight. We'll see!

06 May 2006

Yeah, I guess you could say that ...

I'm doing much better! Love those drugs! The pain/burning is almost all entirely gone, and there's no more visible blood. Yippie! I even felt good enough to take a hike today, one of nearly 3 1/2 miles over a 600' elevation change. Thankfully, we did the climb upward first, and while we didn't push it really hard and took minor rests here and there to look at the scenery, I had no issues whatsoever! I just continue to be thoroughly and completely amazed by this. I am, by far, in the best shape of my adult life and am just so thrilled! Oh, and tomorrow my landlady's going to be bringing over about 15 or so gallon-sized perennials that I'm going to be planting ... once I get all of the weeding and bed prep complete. I am so looking forward to it! Thanks again for all of your positive thoughts and well wishes! I wouldn't wish a UTI on anyone and now feel extremely badly about my dog having had one at least 3 times. I mean, he can't really tell me how badly it's hurting. The poor baby!

05 May 2006

UTI follow-up

The doctor confirmed it last night; I do indeed have a urinary tract infection. Yeah me! :P She put me on some anti-bacterial drug for 5 days/2 times a day. Unfortunately, it really screws up my med taking schedule b/c it can only be taken 2 hours before or 6 hours after iron and multi-vitamins. But, to clear it up, I'll deal. I'm telling you, that was some of the worst pain I've ever felt! Not as serious as the post-surgery pain, but dang, was that rough! And, there was so much blood, I swear, I started thinking I was bleeding internally from something else! Thankfully, after the 2 pills I've taken, I'm doing much, much better! I'm just so glad the meds worked that quickly! Oh, and the doc did recommend 100% cranberry juice, and b/c of it being 100% cranberry, the sugar wasn't all that bad, 9 grams in 8 oz. So, I diluted 4 oz. w/ water and drank away. Not my choice of yummy, but if it will help, I'll drink it! Thanks for your well wishes and suggestions! Have a great weekend all!

04 May 2006

There's this burning sensation ...

I do believe I have an effing urinary tract infection. Dangit! I've never had one before, but from what I can gather, the symptoms, burning sensation when peeing; feeling like I need to go all the time; and now blood in my urine, are classic. Yippie! Just what I need. NOT! I did hear back from my general doc today about my blood test results; all normal. Good, I know, but it doesn't explain the foot cramps. And, on the same thread, I also heard about my fasting glucose and insulin results from my GYN's nurse today. Glucose is 81 (up a little from December's 77 but still in the low, normal range) and insulin is 6.8 (also in the low, normal range, but no # from December to compare to). So, we'll see if the doc wants to keep me on the 4mg/day of Avandia or not. I'm guessing so. Bummer!

03 May 2006

I've lost fat and years!

I realized something today. The fat I was carrying around made me mentally and emotionally older. We all know carrying around an extra person makes you age faster physically, and because of society's stigma against fat people, it affects us emotionally. But, what I realized today is that it made me feel as though I had to act older too. I mean, I felt like I would be accepted less than I already was if I was behaving too "young" or immaturely. You know, "what does she think she's doing?!" But, now that I'm thinner (i.e. a "normal") person, I feel like it's ok to act cute, young, etc. I'm not saying I want to behave that way all the time, but I guess what I'm saying is I can use the ability to act "cute" to my advantage if needed ... say in trying to get out of a speeding ticket or something. (No, I've not had the occasion to try that out!) But, it's there if I need it, right?

02 May 2006

It stuck!

I am officially in the 140s (149.2) as of today! Yippie! As usual given my close proximity to 148.x, I would have liked more (b/c I'm greedy!), but I'm happy with this past week's 2lb loss! No word on the blood results yet; they tend to be a little slow about getting back to me once they've received results.

My new bathing suit arrived yesterday. The top is exactly what I was looking for in terms of support. And, because it's a tankini, it is a little forgiving of the various bumps in the abdominal area. The bottom is a bit on the tight side across the derriere, but it's not uncomfortable. And, I think it will be best going forward. That being said, I'd likely be very uncomfortable with it right now without the skirt. The skirt is sooo awesome! It covers just about all of my really uncomfortable areas; although, the area just above my mid-thigh has this odd crease in it that isn't covered by the skirt. But, considering what it does cover, I'll have to deal. I'm curious, though, about what it will look like once it gets wet. Is it going to just "suck" onto my legs? I sure hope not! Depending upon my mood, I may post a pic of me in it for you guys. The way I look at it is if I'm willing to show myself in it to people I "know" why the heck not share it with the world, right? I mean, y'all will be less critical, right? ;)

Oh, and I've decided to do something that confirms I must be insane! My sister's talked me into doing the Nike Women's Half Marathon in October 2007! I'm not a runner, so there are a few factors that have helped me decide to do it. 1) It's in San Francisco, and I LOVE San Francisco! 2) It's specifically tailored toward women with the "chocolate mile", pedicure and massage stations and a special finisher necklace designed by Tiffany. 3) I have over a year to train/prepare for it. 4) And, the biggest reason I'm willing to do it: they are ok with people walking most of it! So, I know I can do it! I'm hoping to start a Landscape Architecture program in the fall of 2007, so who knows where I'll be living at the time. But, since it's on a weekend, it shouldn't matter. I'm very excited about it!