Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lifestyle Changes, Large and Small

My lifestyle changes are continuing, in large and small ways.

I am g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y becoming more comfortable spending time at the gym and particularly in the pool. This is a large change for me.

Up until last week, I had not worn a swimsuit in public in ten years. Weirdly, this knee injury, (complete with big, honking, robo-brace) is making it easier for me to go to the gym. Before, the Negative Nellie in my mind made me think that people would look at me and say, "Well, she OBVIOUSLY hasn't set foot in a gym in a very long time. What in the world does she think she's doing here in Athletic-ville?" Now, I feel they look at me and think,"Geez, look at that. She's trying to get into that machine and/or swimsuit with that ginormous robo-brace. She must have really done a number on that leg. Her doctor says she needs to be here to make it better."

Odd, isn't it? It took an accident like this to give my psyche the "permission" to go to the gym and pool. I suspect I'm not alone in this. I feel that there must be others out there who beat themselves up to the point where they feel they don't belong in a gym. There must be others who feel they've let themselves go to the point where they feel they don't deserve to give themselves the time, attention, and expense of a gym membership.

The truth of the matter is, that nobody at that fitness center is probably thinking any of those things. As I am changing in the locker room along with other women, they are most likely just thinking about themselves or their lives. They probably don't give a hoot in a holler about my fat rolls or how many calories I ate today. Generally speaking, they are just trying to get themselves dressed and out of there as quickly as I am.

It will probably take a bit more time and a lot more weight loss before I feel totally at home in the gym and pool. Every day is a little easier, and I know I can continue to do this.

Today, I went in to have my hair done for the first time since my accident. I was WAY overdue, as the accident postponed my hair appointment by three weeks. I told my hairdresser that I am making some life changes and that I would need her to consider them in doing my hair. I told her I'm shooting for being in the pool three days per week. She congratulated me on my lifestyle changes and made some adjustments to my color because of the chlorine in the pool. We also decided on a much shorter haircut to work with the pool and my upcoming surgery.

The hairdo is a small, yet significant lifestyle change. It is one more step on the road to adjusting to a healthier, more active life.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's to the Gym I Go!

It's been awhile since I blogged, and it is time for an update. I have been following my food plan pretty well, in spite of eating out this evening and on Saturday (twice). We took my folks down to Minneapolis to see "HMS Pinafore" at the Guthrie Theater. My daughter has worked there for two years, and this was the first time my parents have been there. My daughter and her boyfriend, my son and daughter-in-law, and we had lunch at a Thai restaurant near the theater. I ordered the cashew chicken. I ate about half of it (and half of the rice) and gave the rest to my husband. I hadn't had time for breakfast before we left, so I was proud of myself for stopping halfway, when I could have eaten the whole darned thing.

The play was marvelous! My dad has been so worried about his brother, my uncle, who is still in the hospital since his heart attacks and surgery. It was nice to get Dad out of town and see him smile and enjoy the day. My youngest brother joined us for dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory. I ordered whole wheat pasta, and a selection with very little sauce. I ate my salad, with very little of one of their low calorie dressing choices. I did splurge and eat one scoop of ice cream for dessert, but I remained within my target range for the day!

I went to the gym twice last week! I exercised 45 minutes in the gym and 45 minutes in the pool on Thursday and I felt really good! Today, my permission from the doctor arrived, so my gym membership is official. I exercised 50 minutes in the gym, and 50 minutes in the pool. I did two sets of all the exercises the PT gave me, plus a mile on the stationery bike, and 15 minutes on the recumbent leg/arm extender machine. I added upper body and torso exercises like ab crunches, arm press, and curls. In the pool, I did all my leg exercises and a lot of walking in the water. I was cautioned about trying to kick my leg while swimming, but discovered that if I do a side stroke, I can let the bad leg just float on the surface without kicking. So I would walk the shallow end, then swim from the midway point of the pool to the deep end. Swim back to mid-pool, and walk the rest of the way. I felt really good! Those elusive endorphins kicked in, and it is almost three hours later, and I still feel great! YAY! The plan is to do this routine three times per week until my knee surgery on Aug. 25.

I'm hoping that I will get my leg strength up so that after my surgery, recovery will be a bit easier. I know that the surgery will move me back to square one on the way my knee feels, and it will take a few weeks to get back to what I'm able ti do now. If I could drop a few more pounds, it would also help with the crutches, walker, etc. that will be back for a return visit.

Monday is my scale day, and I was down three more pounds for a total of 24 since the beginning of June. I am pleased with my progress, in spite of having the banged-up knee!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What it Means to Have a "Second" Birthday

July 19 has a special meaning in my family. My beloved grandmother was born on this day in 1909. She was born on a sheep farm to immigrant parents. Her parents came from Germany and Austria, and were very happy to be Americans. Her name was Grace, and her life was not easy. Her father made the children leave home once they had their 13th birthdays. She went and lived with her aunt and finished school. She became a teacher and worked in a tuberculosis sanatorium until her marriage. She had three children, her eldest was my mother. She loved to sew, knit, and crochet. I was her first grandchild, and she loved to teach me her crafts. She gardened and had a green thumb like nobodies business. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early thirties, in a time when treatment was in its early stages. The cancer slowly spread through her body, but she fought like the most valiant warrior until she was 79. When she passed, I was in the midst of a very difficult pregnancy. I had miscarried one twin child, while on bedrest holding onto the second twin. Gram wanted in the worst way to last to see this baby. She died 2 1/2 months before my beautiful baby girl was born--- on the day that was my grandparents' wedding anniversary. I named my baby Katherine Anne, which means "Pure Grace." My daughter has grown to become a strong, independent, beautiful businesswoman; who also loves to knit.

Forty years ago today, that same Gram welcomed a baby granddaughter who's name is Elizabeth. She has wild red hair, big blue eyes and is the mother of two beautiful little boys. She lives on a farm, where her boys have learned to place eggs under their broody hen and welcome new chicks each spring. Just this morning, they hatched a new crop of Monarch butterflies.

And seventeen years ago today, seven years after Gram passed, when I was 35 years old; I got up in the morning and while getting ready to go to work, I had a heart attack. I had a job I adored that kept me traveling all over the US. I was speaking at national conferences, and testifying before state legislatures. I had a boy, aged 11, and my girl, aged 7. I also had a husband who was in a downward spiral of mental illness.

My story is not unlike anybody who might read this post. Nobody goes through life without difficult periods. Nobody. Trying very hard not to sound "sappy", July 19 is a day that I consider my second birthday. Because on this day, seventeen years ago, as the medical personnel went into overdrive all around me; I made a decision. I thought about my babies, and how much they needed a healthy parent. I thought about my Gram, and how hard she fought for her life, for so long. And I thought about how every day is a choice we make.

I worked hard to get well. I made some very difficult choices about my marriage and my career, and did a U-turn in my life. I have been remarried for 9 1/2 years now. My ex-husband is remarried, and I was a guest of honor at his wedding (with a corsage and everything.) The children are beautiful, productive adults who work in careers that are their passion. I am blessed with a loving family, and many, many caring friends. For sixteen years, families in my small community have entrusted their most precious children into my care and classroom for nine months of their lives.

My first birthday was the result of a choice my parents made. My second birthday was a choice that I made, and continue to make every day. On this, my seventeenth second birthday; my wish is for all of you. I wish that you will pause for a moment to feel gratitude for the many blessings that we all receive. And, I wish that you will remember that this, and every day, is a choice you can make. You may choose to make this a new day in your new life, just as I have.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekend Recap

My weekend was a bit of a challenge. On Saturday, my husband and I went to Duluth and made those clothing exchanges that I blogged about previously. I settled on the one-size-smaller, but they really aren't stretched at all! Yay!

We went grocery shopping to restock my healthy choices. We parked in a handicapped parking spot so that I didn't have too far to walk to get into the store. When there are a multitude of handicapped parking spots available, I have no problem using one. The doctor gave me the paperwork to use one until Jan. 1, so he must feel that I "qualify." When spots are at a premium, I always feel there must be someone in more need than I, and I feel guilty using one.

When we got into the store, my husband insisted that I use one of their scooters. I had an emotional reaction to this. Even though there were several available, I feel I should leave them for someone who has greater need. Once I got going though, it was a great relief, as I know that my knee would never had made it on that concrete floor. I came out of the shopping experience in much better shape than I would have if I had tried to walk it.

I have an old sports injury in my lower back, and it was kicking up all weekend. I think I am trying to compensate for the knee, and that caused my lower back to spasm. It is still sore tonight, but I haven't let it stop me!

On Sunday, we took my parents to the Twin Cities (roughly 120 miles, one way) to see "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" at this theater My son is the manager at this theater, and it was a FANTASTIC show! He suggested that we have lunch at the restaurant next door to the theater to avoid my mother and I having to walk too far. The restaurant was excellent, but the healthy choices were limited. I made what I would consider a moderate choice, but it still wouldn't be considered healthy. I gave bites of my food to my husband and mother, and ate about half of what was presented.

After the theater, we met my daughter-in-law, brother, and sister-in-law at a seafood restaurant. Again, I made a moderate choice, but not really healthy. I brought half of my meal home, but I was over my target range for the day.

It was a wonderful day! The show was fantastic, and the food delicious (albeit less healthy than I'd like.) My leg was quite swollen from hanging down all day, and I had to remove my brace after the play, as it was cutting into my leg. I was careful with it the rest of the trip, and enjoyed myself immensely!

I made a conscious decision not to let the food choices of yesterday derail my journey (as I might have in the past.) Today my choices have been better all the way around.

I met with the physical therapist today. I explained to her that I would like to join the adjoining fitness center, as I have to drive in to Duluth three times a week, anyway. I also told her that I have been working really hard on my exercises, and that I am determined to come out of this thing better than I went in. She had me remove my brace, watched me walk and measured my flexibility. She put me on the stationery bike, and with her cautioning me, I was off to the races! She kept telling me that she would need to rein me in! I told her I'm so determined, that I'll do whatever I can! My flexibility was 100 degrees, and she said that's about maxed out with the amount of swelling that is in the knee.

Once she watched me work, she helped me formulate a plan. I joined the gym, and she has set me up with two machines that I may use. I may do up to 15 minutes on the stationery bike, and an arm/leg bending machine (kind of like a recumbent bike, but the legs just go out and back.) On Thursday, we will be meeting in the pool, and she will give me some simple exercises to do there. I will mostly just be walking and doing simple leg raises under the water. She said that she knows that I will do my work, and so she is just going to turn me loose in the gym and check me before my surgery date of Aug. 25.

I turned in my application for the gym membership, and I was told that they have to get doctor approval. It seems that a previous heart attack requires doctor approval. I am hopeful that the doc will give the okey dokey and that I will be able to do my routine three times next week. It feels great to be exercising again!

The PT was telling me that I would be sore tonight, and she was right. She asked me if I'd been using ice. I told her I haven't been home enough to ice anything, but I had at least purchased one of those freezer packs. Sore never killed anyone, and I'm working the ibuprofen and ice pack now. It feels empowering to know I can be doing something toward improving my health again!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy to Make This Exchange!

So, yesterday, a buddy on, wrote about cleaning out her closet. Susie was getting rid of many sizes of clothing that are now too big for her. I was amazed and so happy for Susie! What a great feeling that must be!

As for me, I'm just a month and 20 pounds into this thing, and I've been avoiding purchasing any new clothing. I've been hoping that I would be moving down a size or two... eventually.

Due to my knee injury and beginning physical therapy on Monday, I've been contemplating asking the PT about setting me up in a program in the adjoining gym. My mother swims there several times per week. I'd like to try the pool (although me in a swimsuit is a shocking and painful experience for all.) My mom called me yesterday after she returned home from said pool. She said a lady there had a new swimsuit that she got on sale at a local store the day before. My mom thought it was such a pretty suit and knew that I'd been thinking about trying the pool. I told Mom I have a suit (hardly worn, obviously.) Mom said that if it has a skirt on it, I shouldn't wear it to the pool, as the chlorine will make the skirt grow to ankle length in no time. Rats! A swimsuit without a skirt is required?!?

Well, she talked me into going to the store to see about a suit on sale. They had one left. Hmmmm.... I didn't really want to try it on, as I have this humongous robo-leg brace now. I also looked at a swimsuit cover-up. " I better make this a size bigger than usual because I don't want a cover-up to be clingy when I'm wet." I also thought I should probably get a couple of stretchy bottoms to wear to therapy over the ding-dang brace. I picked up some stretchy navy crops and a black stretchy skort from the exercise clothing section, in my usual size.

I went to the check-out counter, and the clerk asked me if I'd like a dressing room. "Oh no," I said, "I know my size here, and besides I have a leg brace because I recently hurt my knee." A woman in the nightgown rack said, "Tell me about it," and I see a cane waving from behind the summer-weight nighties. The shopper volunteered that she had undergone a knee replacement. I inquired how the new knee was functioning? She said, "Terrible, it will never be the same. They offered to do it over, but I won't trust them to operate again." I shared that I had fallen down some stairs, and was having surgery in August. I said I was purchasing a swimsuit to try some water therapy. The woman's response was, "They tried that on me. I told them I haven't had a swimsuit on since my children were babies, and it ain't happening now." The thought popped into my head that if they told me I'd have to parade around the gym stark naked to get my knee back into shape, I'd probably do it. I'm willing to try anything they recommend to get myself moving again.

After that exchange, I asked the salesclerk if she could order the swimsuit for me in a size larger. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to spandex. She checked and said she was sorry, that is the largest it comes. So I purchased the swimsuit, and the usual-sized bottoms, and the one-size-larger cover-up and made my way back out to my car.

As I was going through the process of getting my leg into the car, and hopping the rest of my body behind it, I saw a pickup truck pull up in front of the store. A guy jumped out, literally ran around to the back of the truck, get a step-stool, place it at the passenger side of the truck, and run to get his wife off the curb and assist her to the step-stool. It was the knee replacement customer.

Now, I'm not passing any judgement on that lady, but I am trying to learn from her. There was bitterness in her and blame toward the people who tried to give her a new knee. Sometimes these surgeries go awry, and I most certainly pray that my upcoming surgery goes well. But I think attitude has a lot to do with how successful a person's recovery is. This woman seemed angry about her bum knee, and angry that she didn't recover well, yet unwilling to follow the therapy suggestions that were offered to her.

This morning, I tried on the clothing that I purchased yesterday. The swimsuit (that I wanted to order in a larger size) fits perfectly. I couldn't wear it any larger. And the usual-sized clothes are loose! WHA?!?!?! Loose? I could keep them, but I don't want to be hoisting them up all the time I'm at therapy. I'll be very happy to take them back and exchange them for a slightly stretched one-size-smaller, thankyouverymuch. Yay for Susie, yay for me, and yay for you if you have enjoyed the thrill of moving down a size!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What the Surgeon Said

My husband went with me to see the surgeon today. He tugged and bent my knee every-which-way and carefully showed us the MRI results again. His opinion is that I have to get the MCL in shape before I have surgery on the other two injuries. The MCL is a "Class 2" tear, meaning more than 50% is torn off. He said that the location of the tear is the best possible spot, and that the ligament will try to heal itself. Unfortunately, when it tears, the ligament contracts, or gets very tight, limiting the movement of the knee. My knee was very stiff and sore when he tried to manipulate it. So, I am starting 4 weeks of physical therapy starting on Monday to get the MCL a bit more healed and flexible.

Surgery on the meniscus and ACL replacement will be on Aug. 25. The meniscus break is right at the border of where suturing is a possibility. He won't know if he can try to stitch it back together until he gets in there to see if there is blood flow at the break point. I have chosen to use a replacement ligament from a cadaver rather than taking a portion of my hamstring for the ACL repair.

I still cannot plan on working until October, and I contacted the Superintendent with that piece of cheery news today. I will be starting post-operative physical therapy on the Monday following my surgery. I will be receiving therapy 2-3 times per week, probably until the end of Sept. Depending upon my progress, the therapy sessions will be fewer after that time.

The surgeon said that I can expect to be fully released 7 months from now. It's a long road.

He put me in a new flexible brace today. I had a bit of difficulty with the fit. It seems my cute little leg is wedge shaped and the brace wants to slip down, no matter how tight we make it. My brother, husband and I put our thinking caps on, and we may have solved the problem by making the brace long enough that it sits on top of my foot, hence it can not longer slide down. I drove the car home (YAY!) which means I have a lot of my mobility back. I have three different exercises to do to strengthen my thigh muscles and stretch the MCL.

I am still sticking to my target range on my food plan, and looking forward to being more active with the new leg brace. I plan on inquiring at the therapy center about having a personal trainer work with me to set up an exercise plan at the adjacent gym. I'm not sure I can afford gym, trainer, and all the co-pays for therapy; but I would sure like to make the best use of this time as I am able.

I am determined to keep a positive attitude about this time, and hope to come out the other side of the tunnel in better shape and lighter!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Silver Lining

My visit with the orthopaedic doc yesterday confirmed his original diagnosis. My little express ride down the stairs has caused what he called a "catastrophic injury." The place where my ACL should have been was empty, the meniscus is shattered, and the MCL is "hanging by a thread." I will be seeing the surgeon on Tuesday. The doctor said I will probably be having surgery within the next two weeks to replace the missing ACL with one from a cadaver, attempt to suture together what they can of the meniscus, and take a better look at the MCL. He is saying two weeks of non-load-bearing, followed by a lot of rehab. He is putting the kibosh on my trip to Knoxville in Aug. to see my stepson graduate. He is also telling me that I cannot start my 30th year of teaching on time. He says I will need at least the month of September off. He said that full rehab will take 5 months. Okay, so much for the dark cloud.

Now, here's the silver lining. This accident happened during the one week each year when my family is all together. I have twin brothers who are 10 months younger than I. Yes, that's right, for two months out of every year, we are all the same age. We were in the same grade together in school. Raised as triplets. I live in northern Minnesota (from whence we come) and they live near each other in Phoenix. We have an additional brother who is 8 years younger than we are. (Family planning was NOT one of our parents' strong suits.) We elder three kids were old enough to bring our little bro with us everywhere. When I got married and started having my family, he would come and spend summers with me on the East Coast. This little bro lives in the Twin Cities, as do my two now-grown kids. The Twin Cities are about 120 miles from where I live. When my daughter got wind of my little accident, she put her two jobs on hold and came home for the week. She went back yesterday, and my son is coming for the weekend today. We are a very, very close knit family.

A few years ago, 17 years ago on July 19, when I was just 35 years old (with children ages 7 and 11) I had a heart attack. My brothers had just left from their annual visit when it happened. They weren't with me then, but they called frequently. So, I've had little bumps in the health department before. I know what it takes to rehab. I know that I can get better. And my family won't let me forget that.

The silver lining in all this is my wonderful family. I am usually the care-giver in family matters, the nurturer. As uncomfortable as it has been for me to need to ask for help, they have kept me active and laughing all week long. Yesterday, the doc noticed that I've put a little bend in my straight leg brace. He asked how it happened. I told him that my bros are in town so we HAD to take in a baseball game, and go on a tour of a local mansion, AND go out to a pub for music and a diet soda. My bros would hear nothing of leaving me back when there is fun to be had. They put my butt in a wheelchair and sweating, grunting and groaning have shoved me all over the city so I wouldn't miss a thing.

Last night we were racing through an empty shopping center while leaving the local brewhouse. I had my arms over my head and was squealing while my brother whipped me in a donut before going into the elevator. Mind you, we are over 50, but still having fun. Never once did they complain about having to drag out a wheelchair and haul me along. I said, "I don't want to be a pain in the butt." Young bro said, "You've been a pain in our butts all your life, why stop now? Get in the chair."

My wise-beyond-her-years daughter told me that sometimes I can be stubborn (Really? Me, stubborn??) and maybe this is just God's way of slowing me down for awhile again. I'm one of those people who sometimes needs a big hammer to get the message. When we were in the doc's office, she said, "My mom's been really working at getting fit, can you give her some suggestions how she can keep exercising while her leg is healing?" And he did.

Yeah, this is a bummer, but it is also a blessing. I've always appreciated my family, but times like this are a good reminder. This getting fit thing is a life-long journey; and it will slow me down, but it won't stop me. Don't stop, don't quit, never give up, and once in awhile take a gander at the silver lining and whip yourself a donut.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Only Get Better From Here

I'll be honest. The past two days have been difficult for me, food-wise. I tend to eat when stress is being relieved in my life (not during the actual stress event.) I have exceeded my food target range. My uncle survived triple bypass surgery on the 4th of July. This is great news and a wonderful relief as he had flat-lined twice in the past week. My five cousins and aunt came to my parents' house for a barbecue once my uncle was out of surgery and in his room. Instead of being able to help my folks with the cooking, serving, and clean-up; I was in a chair with my leg propped. My wonderful daughter took time off of her two jobs (in spite of me telling her I was okay) and unexpectedly drove 120 miles to spend a week caring for me. One of my brothers connected with another uncle, and drove a wheelchair 100 miles to bring it to me. Other people brought me food (not necessarily the best choices) and I ate it. I went over my target. It is so hard for me to need and have to ask for help. I'm supposed to be the care-giver, not the care-needer.

Yesterday, I saw the sports medicine / orthopaedic doctor. My daughter drove me and came into the room with me. The doc was very nice and spent good time with us. He listened to what happened during my fall, and manipulated my knee. He suspects I have torn my ACL, my MCL, and the meniscus. The doc was very understanding when I explained that I want to get the show on the road if repair is needed. I am going in this afternoon to have an MRI to confirm or revise his diagnosis. He explained to me that if it was just the MCL, it is possible that rehab and time could heal it. But, with the three injuries, it would seem that surgery is in my future.

Determined not to let this spoil my whole visit with my family visiting from Arizona, we went to our annual baseball game last night. I am a pain in the butt, because my bros had to ask about getting me in the wheelchair into the stadium and helping me up a few steps and storing the wheelchair. My leg was throbbing by the end of the game, but we had a good time. But, I also had a whole box of popcorn.... not the best.

Yesterday, the doc gave me a couple of exercises to keep the leg muscles from atrophying. My daughter is saying we'll get me some dumbbells to do upper-body exercises in the chair. This is a challenge, and it is going to be a challenge for some weeks to come. I am trying to stay positive. I am trying to look at this as a lesson to be learned. I am telling myself that if I can continue to get healthier while I am injured, that I will be able to continue my process as I get better. I am reminding myself that if I can figure out how to handle this, that perhaps I can help someone else through it in the future. I am telling myself that I will only get better from here (even if I will be having surgery.) Every day a little better, every day a little stronger.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Avoiding Negative Nellie

Well, after my last post, I had a bit of an accident.

Two of my three brothers live in Arizona. They come to visit once a year or so (sometimes they skip a year.) My third brother lives 120 miles to the south in the same Big City where my children reside. This is the week they are here. It's a lot of fun, but can be a lot of work to entertain and feed a crowd of a dozen people or so. They stay at my parents' house, but I drive in every day to help with the cooking and entertainment duties.

As I mentioned in my last post, my uncle suffered two heart attacks last week. During the first, he basically expired in the ambulance. They revived him, and he had another two days later. He is my father's only sibling, and so my parents have been spending quite a bit of time at the hospital. My uncle is in surgery as I am writing this, having quadruple bypass and perhaps a valve replacement. His five children have come from the corners of the states to be here.

On Friday, my mother was busy getting the house ready for the influx of visitors. Her foot slipped on the carpet while going down the stairs, and she took a tumble. She injured her leg below the knee in the calf muscle area. She refuses to seek medical treatment, and says she thinks she just "pulled the muscle."

So on Saturday, I went to try to help with the cooking and retrieving visitors from the airport and such. When the dinner dishes were done, and everybody was safely relaxing at my parents' home, I decided to head for home. They live in a raised ranch style home with an attached garage. Because the house is raised, you have to go down 4 steps to get into the garage. As I was leaving, I was reaching around the wall to hit the garage door opener button, while also calling over my shoulder for my dad to come and close the door once I was gone. He didn't hear me and said, "What?" as I was beginning my descent down the stairs. As I was pushing the button and calling back to him, my foot missed the step and down I tumbled.

My right leg folded back and slightly to the outside of my body at the knee during the fall. When I hit the concrete floor, the top of my body hit their car and went backwards over my leg. My knee was folded and wedged beneath the front bumper of the car. I hollered for help and everybody came running. They had to back the car out of the garage to get my leg unfolded. When they eventually got me upright, the knee completely gave way, as if there wasn't much holding the joint together.

I spent the night in the ER. X-rays showed nothing broken, but I almost certainly have soft tissue (ligament) damage. The doc put me in a full leg immobilizer and told me to contact an orthopedic surgeon at 8:00 on Tuesday after the holiday.

So, here I am. It seems this injury will take several weeks to resolve itself. There is the definite possibility of surgery, followed by therapy. I had been doing so ding-dong well! I know I'm on a lifetime journey here, and these speed-bumps will happen. My mother commented yesterday that it is like my efforts to lose weight are "cursed or something." I am choosing to believe that because this is a long journey, this is a lesson that I am meant to figure out.

So, now my challenge is to banish that Negative Nellie voice that wants to tell me that since I'm a forced couch potato that it doesn't make any difference what I eat? How can I exercise when I can hardly move? How do I keep the show on the road! And in the meantime, I'm hoping the orthopedic surgeon is a cutie....

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I'm Back!

Well, I had a wonderful visit with my kids! I stayed within my target range on my food choices with their help. They had put a lot of thought into restaurants that had good choices for me, yet were fun. We went to a Hibachi restaurant. You know the kind. You sit at a U shaped table around a grill. A chef comes out and puts on a show while stir-frying the meal. Knives twirling, flames flaring, and food flying! It was fun (our family is not the quiet, wallflower type) yet basically a meal of veggies and fish. I ate very little of the white rice they served, and brought half my meal home. We also went to a retro place that is famous for their mac and cheese. I ordered my mac and cheese with veggies and had the to-go box come with the meal. We made sushi at home one night with brown rice (doesn't stick as well as white rice, but healthier) and lots of veggies and fish.

I did not get in my aerobic exercise, but we weren't just sitting on the couch either. I exercised at the horse barn before heading out on my trip. The first day there, my daughter and her BF and I went to the zoo and walked the whole darn thing. The heat index was over 100 degrees, so I had to sit periodically in the shade. We bought water and stayed as hydrated as we could, but I think I still got a bit dehydrated. The second day, we went to a museum (air conditioned as heat index was dangerous.) We spend 5 1/2 hours in the museum walking around.

I feel pretty good about the way I handled the visit, but the scale seems stuck. Now, I have a pretty craptastic scale, but I think after my initial burst of weight loss, I seem to be just hanging in the same place. I guess it's good that I didn't gain on my mini-vacay, but it would have been nice to see a couple pounds disappear. I'm starting to believe that I just won't lose unless I exercise a lot more than I am currently able to (no matter how good I am with my food choices????) My exercise DVD is getting easier, and I think I will soon be able to move onto doing an additional segment. So that is a good thing, and maybe it will help to get that scale to move?

In the bad news department, on Tuesday, as I was in route to the city where my kids live, my uncle had a massive heart attack. He has had Type II Diabetes since 2008. He hadn't been feeling well for several days, but refused to go to the doctor. They had to transport him from our local hospital to a larger one 20 miles away. He crashed in the ambulance, but they were able to bring him back. By Thursday, he was off the ventilator, and sitting up in the bed and things were looking better. But Thursday night, he had another heart attack. On Friday, they did an angiogram, and found blockage in every artery and a bad valve. He is scheduled for open heart surgery on Monday. It is coincidence that all my siblings are arriving today for pre-arranged vacation over the week of the 4th. Now, my 5 cousins are here from the far corners of the US because their Dad is so ill. My own Dad is having a difficult time with this, as he is his only sibling, and possibly because I (his only daughter) had a heart attack 17 years ago when I was only 35.

I am confident after the visit to my kids' that I can keep within my food choice range, but I am unsure how the exercise department will go for the upcoming week. Wish me luck!