Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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2011: The Year in Review

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written here; interactive chat with friends has been more appealing than writing a blog post these days.  But I’m feeling delinquent and out of touch, especially with those of you I only see in blog-land.  Rather than try to catch up, here’s a sum up of 2011:

Year of Surgeries:

  • Surgery #1 on March 2:  elective plastic surgery to remove hanging belly skin and upper arm lifts.  I was out of work for 3 weeks and took another 4-5 before I was really feeling good.  The arms look amazing and I relished wearing sleeveless tops this summer.  However, I also had complications – abscesses along the lower suture line, and the discovery of a serious infection in my lapband port area.  The surgery wasn’t connected to the lapband at all, but the moved belly button was less than 2 inches from the port and, well, things happen.
  • Surgery # 2 on August 2:  removal of the infection, surrounding tissue, and the lapband port.  I had an open wound that is still not 100% healed up, tho it’s not a problem.  I ended up missing work time due to daily nurses for wound care.  Necessary but annoying.
  • Surgery #3 on Nov. 22:  Lapband port revision, aka putting in a new port to replace the one that was removed during the infection surgery.  Went extremely well and I’m now starting the process of getting fills to complete

Exercise:

This did not go well in 2011.  All the surgeries didn’t help, as my ability to exercise was limited for long chunks of time.  My personal trainer moved to a different gym 45 minutes away, which is just not convenient for me.  Rather than switch to a new trainer, I’ve decided to let it go for a year, save the money, and work on my own.  I know it’s not the best solution but for now, it’s my choice.  And $110/month adds up nicely.  I still have my gym membership, mind you – just gave up the training.

Weight:

I’ve been eating off-plan since the March surgery.  Major abdominal surgery will do that to you, especially with the fear of having to throw up under those conditions, but I continued to maintain the loss until my surgery in August, which removed all lapband restrictions.  They’re still not back and I can really see the difference.   I can and will improve my eating choices but this has really shown me how much it helps to have the band in place.  I have weight to lose again, and it WILL happen.

Family:

I visited my parents and brother and sister-in-law in October.  Everyone is doing well and staying busy.  My niece/goddaughter got engaged this year and is getting married next summer.  In Houston, in July.  Can we say hot?  Her brother, Football Nephew, is now a member of the Washington Redskins, and was promoted to the active 53-man roster from the practice squad two weeks ago.  We’re so very proud and happy for him.

Tessie and I celebrated our four-year anniversary last month, and I love her more every day.  She was a wonderful therapy cat when I was home recovering, and sticks close unless I’m vacuuming.

Home:

I’m moving!  Not far, just to a different building in my same complex.  I love where I am but will be happy to move to the 55+ building (most residents are retired so I will be the young one) where rent is almost $200 cheaper and I’ll have a walk-in shower, which my knee will love.  It’s the same layout as what I have now, but flipped and a tiny bit smaller – but still over 1100 square feet, so what’s not to like?  I’ll be on the second floor in the SW corner in an elevator building.  Yayyyy!

I move on Jan. 27th so am applying a Peter Walsh approach to looking at my stuff before packing.  Stuff is going to Goodwill or the trash so I can just pack up everything that’s left.

Work:

I’ve completed a full year in my current position, and love what I’m doing, aside from the concern of how to be sure there’s work for my staff on a consistent basis.  Preferably that doesn’t involve too much of my time to dream it up, document, train, produce “work from” lists, and then do clean up.

In July, I celebrated a wonderful annual meeting educational program for my national professional association, after months of work, worries, and details as chair of the program committee.  I also turned down the chance to run as vice-chair/chair-elect of one of our special interest sections.  I’m ready for the next generation to move up and am happy NOT to be in charge of anything.

Have a happy and healthy 2012.  Do the necessary things, but also do what brings you joy.

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Staying Busy

My back, shoulders and arms are sore this morning, a sure sign that yesterday’s pool workout was effective.  I’m very happy that my back is not in spasms; I did something to my SI joint about a month ago just getting out of my car.  Major pain from one spot up to most of the left side of the back, which then ebbs back and becomes just tender, and then is fine.  Then I do it again by walking down stairs, or standing up, or something else normal.  The doctor is referring me to physical therapy and my trainer knows what’s going on and is very careful in the movements she allows me to make so I don’t aggravate the back.

I really love my trainer and her style.  She has wonderful energy and so much enthusiasm for helping us be stronger and healthier.  One of her other clients with a session next to mine has become a good friend and the gym generally feels like a more approachable place than it did back even in May.

Yesterday was busy.  Tessie and I slept in until 7:30 after a great sleeping night (low temp and humidity with windows wide open) which felt fabulous.  Training session, followed by a banana split meal replacement shake (250 calories, 30 gms protein) while I went on errands.  Hit Staples (small Rolodex for work), TJ Maxx (coffee only, clothes were meh), bank, Walmart (school supplies to donate plus groceries for me), and the local farm (fresh fruit and veggies).

Today is for house cleaning, weeding out things to take to the Salvation Army, laundry, neighborhood walking, and doing online claiming of missing serials issues.  Yes, that’s a work thing but I can do it here while watching TV, and it needs to be done.  This is the least painful way to do it.

I haven’t been very introspective lately, and am not focused on Big Issues.  Maybe I should be, but I’m just not at the moment.  Just living one day at a time.


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In the Pool with Webbed Hands

Pool training today at the gym was surprisingly fun.  It made a big difference to have my glasses on – I could actually see what my trainer was doing (duh, what a concept).  I did walking, jogging, Nutcracker leaps, frog jumps, squats, and worked upper body muscles with those little yellow water weights.

The best part was using these cute weird webby gloves that made my hands look like duck feet.  They increased water resistance and made a big difference in how much my muscles were working.  I liked them so much that I bought a set for myself when I got home.  They’re small and will be easy to pop into a gym bag or a suitcase when I travel.  Oh yeah, the bathing suit comes with me, too.  And I have them in the next 2 sizes down, too (Lands End was having a sale) so I’m set for a while.

I felt surprisingly good about the workout and am planning to go back tomorrow for more pool work and/or work on the weight machines.  I’m not ready for classes – I need to work on strength and endurance before I’m really ready to jump into faster stuff.  I’m keeping an eye on my knee, and my trainer is showing me different positions that work muscles while easing the pressure on those unhappy joints.

I already see that not having to worry about joint pain while exercising, which makes me more interested in doing it.  Good thing the gym is only 2 miles from my house!


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Back From the Gym

Yes, that was me that just said I was back from the gym.  I’ve belonged to my local gym practically since I moved here, joining because it was the only place with a pool, but I am the first to admit that mostly they’ve just been taking my money while I prided myself on my lovely gym bag and all the things I could do if I only went.  But I didn’t.

My Boston gym was for women only, and I loved it.  No one was in competition, no one was showing off with assorted super-cute super-tight workout clothes.  Equipment was scaled better for women – and there was an elevator that people with injuries could use to go from one floor to another.

My new(er) gym is definitely co-ed with some seriously muscled men front and center when you walk in.  Everything is bright with acres of equipment, bazillion pounds of free weights, a 5-lap pool, a spinning room, raquet ball rooms, and class space for a variety of things that look energetic.  Almost all the cardio equipment is located up a big staircase – lots of everything, but you have to climb up and down to get it.    It’s pretty intimidating.

But I met with my new personal trainer last week for the first time and feel better about it.  She is small but powerful, motivating but also understanding that I am not in good shape and need help within my physical limits.  One thing she said last week that’s stayed with me was not to be afraid of knee pain, but to be conscious of it and be able to not just say, “Ow, it hurts!” but to be able to describe the pain (sharp, stabbing, throbbing, dull, etc.) and on a scale of 1-10.  This makes sense to me.

We will be spending most of our time this summer in the pool, exercises, weights and walking laps without doing water aerobics, since even in the buoyancy of the water, that’s still a lot of impact on already cranky joints.  Last week she also showed me alternate ways to do squats, Pilates bridges (which felt fabulous), and work on some of the equipment.  I always liked using the machines as long as I knew how to use them properly, and it actually did feel good to use them again.  Who knew?

So today I did it again, leaving work early for a visit to the health center, then heading for the gym to (theoretically) work out before it got crowded with after-work people.  I climbed the big stairs and did 15 min. on the treadmill at 2.2 mph, and then went down to work with the equipment, trying to remember what we did on Saturday since I couldn’t find my card.  I was super happy to find and use the adductor and abductor machines (the ones with the legs wide apart while you move them in and out slowly).  And to do it at 100lb weights!

One thing about being a fluffy person – we have strong legs.


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Saturday Update

Hello my fellow bloggers and bloggettes.  Long time no post.  But fear not, nothing is wrong – I’m just spending less time online in the evenings at the request of my cat, who wants me to pay attention to and play with her.  It also feels good to not spend every waking minute online for a change.

I’m really getting into Twitter and connecting with people via Facebook, mostly people from my professional life who have whole lives outside of work.  Who knew that they were so interesting, or that we’d have to much to talk about?  One thing I’m liking about both is that microblogging – those little short burst of message without doing whole posts – fits some kind of comfort level for communication that blogging doesn’t quite do.  That’s the whole point of social networking.

Still not exercising much, but I did do the walk from the parking garage to the office one day this week and am pondering do more of it next week.  Note the level of commitment – ha ha ha.  I did get some new bathing suits on 75% off sale from Junonia, which is a great place for active wear for plus size women.  Not having a suit was my reason excuse for not going to the pool to do water aerobics.  I bought two different sizes since they were only $17.50 (really, go figure that one) which eliminates the “it doesn’t fit” problem.  Next step is actually going into the pool but first things first.

Tomorrow is my WW meeting.  My current goal is to not gain weight.  That seems to be as much of a challenge as actually losing it, so I’m taking this as a very small step to not feel like a horrible failure for gaining a little and then losing it again.  I’m within one pound of where I was at the beginning of June – and right now, for me, that’s an accomplishment.

Now it’s time to stop goofing around and go to the farm for some lovely fresh fruits and veggies (local corn and tomatoes fresh from the field – yum!) and then the grocery store.  This afternoon it’s haircut time; even though I’d rather go out and enjoy the gorgeous not-really-late-August weather, appointments are hard to come by at this place so I’ll make do.


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Sunday Afternoon in the Pool

Don’t drop dead of shock, but I went to the gym this afternoon and did 30 minutes of water aerobics in the pool. By myself. Without anyone holding a gun to my head or bribing me with brownies for going. I have to confess that it felt good to be moving, and safe in the water. Safe for my joints and safe from too many prying eyes, although there were some swimmers who looked askance at someone waving a noodle and water weights.

Why did I decide to go after 6 months of assiduously avoiding the place? Probably because the weather has changed and it’s time to pull out summer clothes, and most of what I have either doesn’t fit well or fits but I hate it. I’ve had a hard time finding clothes to fit in stores so spent a chunk of time last night ordering online from sites with better track records of larger sizes. Of course, that means being prepared that a good chunk of what’s ordered isn’t going to work out, so I usually buy extra so I have more choices.

Along the way it occurred to me that an alternative to being annoyed is to actually do something about my body shape to make it easier to find clothes. Not specifically to lose weight, more about the inches and where they are currently padded. Losing weight will probably be a by-product but my real goal is to make sure I can shop for and find clothes I like better.

I think maybe I’m going to look for a second bathing suit.


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Gym Follow Up

Sometimes we ask for what we want and it doesn’t work the way we expected.  Case in point:  I decided at my WW meeting yesterday that I would be brave and go back to my gym and ask to set up a real orientation session to learn how to adjust the machines.  It seemed easy enough and how threatening could it be, to just go in and ask some questions?

I stopped on my way home from work, all bundled up with cold weather clothes and with a bad case of hat hair which doesn’t do much for feeling pretty.  I went to the fitness desk with the little blue-shirted young perky trainers and asked about getting one or two paid sessions with a trainer to make sure I know how to do the logistics of the machines.

The next thing I knew, I was talking to a manager – who turned out to be the same 24 year old guy who did my original orientation, the one that had consisted of a quick tour and a hard sell on the packaged trainer sessions.  He did say that individual sessions were available at $60/ea, up to 12.  But if I were to pay that, it would be cheaper to just sign up for the smallest package, which is twice a month at $40/each.  But then I would need to also pay an enrollment fee.

The numbers got me muddled because, let’s be honest, what I wanted wasn’t what he was talking about.  I can appreciate that they want to see us achieve our goals – as long as that means they sell more training packages.  And I admit that having a trainer twice a month could be very motivational, assuming I went.  Since I’ve been particularly good at avoiding the place completely, I just didn’t want that option.

I left having not signed up for anything.  I’m saving up for a new car (more on that another post) and think that I’ll just try again to go back and figure it out on my own.  And if it’s too hard for me to make sense of it, or to get over feeling intimidated by all the men and perky toned youngsters, well, we’ll see what happens.

Richard Simmons’ Sweating to the Oldies sounds better all the time.