Progress Pics

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Girls night out and other news

Hi, Just thought I would get caught up again for the past week or so.

Last Wednesday, a friend of a friend contacted me about an event called GIRLS NIGHT OUT that was a fundraiser for a teen girl named Erica who is a member of 4-H and was accepted into the Youth Ambassador program.

With this program, they go to Europe for several weeks in the summer and stay with host families, visit local politicians and community leaders, etc. It is to promote global understanding and world peace.

I guess they raise their own money for the trip and it's about $6,000

So I was invited to vend the Lakota Crafts and all I had to do was supply an item for them to raffle.

Thing is, I am not yet set up for the pow wow season-- so I had NOTHING tagged or packed, did not have a cash drawer set to to make change, plus I don't have a car right now.

So I spent two days scrambling around and got my BFF & artist Jeanne, to accompany me, and I spent two days cramming to sort, tag, and pack crafts items, set up my cash drawer, get my literature together, etc.

In spite of the rain and wind storm we were having, there was a good turn out and a lot of raffle tickets were sold. I met nice people and earned about $80 for the Lakota kids. I donated $10 back to Erica, plus donated a really nice craft item for the next fundraiser.

There are some pics from the event below and here is the URL for Erica's web page about what she is doing.

This first pic is actually jewelry that my friend Jeanne made out of her art. Too bad there is glare on the art. She makes tiny prints of her own art and it gets adhered to these glass tiles with a special adhesive. She then adds it to a necklace with other charms and sells these for about $15

Her art is stunning and mostly has a native or earth honoring theme. I'm betting that during the pow wow season she will sell the hell out of these.

Just some random shots of the gathering

On other fronts, we had driving wind and rain for three days last weekend and our basement flooded BIG TIME. So we spent most of the weekend trying to stay ahead of the water. Thank God the sun finally came out.

Also, my dr's office called two days ago and said my recent tests show that I STILL have a vitamin D deficiency. So he prescribed a mega vitamin D capsule that I'm to take once a week while continuing with the daily supplements I've been using. I hope this does the trick!

Now that the sun is out, I DID force myself to get outside and I spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday clearing flower beds, cleaning the stone paths and just generally poking around and getting ready for the gardening season.

I will be sure to take frequent photos and post them here as the season moves along, that way you garden lovers can enjoy the progress with me.

I made a commitment to a friend of mine to be on a committee for an annual event she has that raises money and supplies for shelter animals. The committee meeting is tonight but she is picking me up in a little while so we can hang together first and get caught up.

But I didn't want to let another day go by without posting lest you think I disappeared again. LOL

Have a good day everyone! And if it is nice outside where you are I hope that you get to enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blog issue seems resolved

Ok, after having the month from hell I tried to post to my blog and realized that it was being redirected to another site.

After going through all sorts of crap trying to get rid of the problem, I found out that it was NOT a hijacking worm on my computer but something imbedded in a gadget that I had on here.

It was a timer counting down to the new haven road race. Those gadgets have stuff embedded in them that the ones distributing them can hijack whatever site the gadget is on, anytime they want. I got this RIGHT HERE in the gadget area, so beware!

Take my advice, remove any gadgets from third parties off your blog. THis was on there for MONTHS before anything happened.

Here's a web page that helped me figure this out. I was ready to scrap my blog!

Anyway, thank goodness I won't have to scrap my blog!

It is my mother-in-law's 92nd birthday today and I was swamped, I just wanted to let you all know that I FINALLY got this resolved and can resume posting now!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Issues with blog

I have been having a problem with my blog that I cannot resolve. "Someone" has done something to my blog that redirects me to a new page when I try to visit my own blog. If it does this to me it must be doing it when other people try to visit me as well.

Writing to google has done nothing. I may have to scrap this blog and start over.


Back -- (yeah, really!)

Ok, I am back for real this time.

I realized that I cannot get you caught up if I go into everything in detail so I am going over the main points briefly and bring you up to date. Here goes:

#1 -- DEATH OF ELDER, Lakota elder Jerome Yellow Dog was like a father to me for over 30 years. Right around the time of my birthday in early February, his niece called from Nebraska to tell me that he passed away.

To make a long story short, our finances are a mess right now and there was NO WAY that I could fly out there for the funeral. I felt just terrible about this and my guilt over not being able to be there for the family was just as strong as my sadness over his passing.

I never had a father. This man is the closest thing to a father I ever had. That I couldn’t be there to pay my respects just tore me up.

#2 -- Teen Suicide- Within a week after Jerome passed, a teen I’ve been working with on the rez committed suicide. She was an artist and a friend of one of the other teens whom I sell crafts for. I was going to both have note cards made from her art and also sell her original acrylic pieces. The samples of her work were gorgeous!

I sent her a box of art supplies and spoke with her on the phone several times. All of a sudden, I get a call that she committed suicide. The teen suicide rate on the rez is high-- three times the national average. I have been touched by many deaths there over the years because of the health issues and the suicide rate.

For whatever reason, I was profoundly affected by this girl’s death even though I hadn’t met her in person. This is not something I can explain. Maybe I don’t need to…….

But I felt a terrible sense of futility about trying to help the kids and about everything that I do for and with the Lakota. This was awful. I almost gave up. But the enthusiasm of some of the other kids about their craft projects brought me back and I threw myself into listing stuff on ebay and I even started creating an etsy store-- which I am still working on.

#3 -- medical stuff - When I last posted, I’d had a colonoscopy that was inconclusive because the one-day prep was not enough. And I was concerned about the results of all of my (then) pending medical tests because of early deaths of two siblings from cancer.

I did a four day prep for a second colonoscopy which I had last week. Let me be brief with this and say they removed four more polyps and will call me when biopsies come back.

I had my first pap smear in 15 years two weeks ago and got a letter Saturday telling me that was normal! YEAH!!!

Also, I had my mammography several weeks ago and that was normal too!

The vitamin D and calcium supplements that I’ve been taking worked, as my Dr tested my levels at my last check-up two weeks ago and I am no longer deficient.

I am having a bone density screening tomorrow and that will be an end to all of these extra tests. I go back to my primary care Doc in three months for a blood pressure and thyroid check.

So I’ll just keep taking my medications and supplements and all should be well in the short-term. I was extremely preoccupied and stressed out over all of these pending medical tests and procedures, so I am glad this no longer needs to be an area of focus.

#4 -- Finances: We’ve had one disaster after another this winter --- dog emergencies resulting in huge vet bills, appliances dying, vehicle repairs and you-name-it. The end result is that with two kids in college and the other strains on the budget, we are now going on two months behind on our mortgage and we are barely able to keep our utilities on.

We have never, NEVER been in this situation before. We have always paid our mortgage on time our entire married life-- even if that meant we had to live on rice and beans and go without “extras.”

But the disasters were one after another all winter and we got deeper in the hole each week. My husband is terribly depressed and upset.

We’re hoping to have enough of an income tax refund to get us back on track. He dropped all of our papers off at the accountant a few days ago and everything should be ready to file next week. We should have enough of a federal return that we can get caught up.

I am so worn down by everything that has happened that I am afraid to comfort myself. Until we have the money in hand and are paying the mortgage, I can’t be satisfied.

I can’t deal with stress as well as I could when I was younger so I will be glad when we get past this. It is killing me.

On other fronts, I told you in the past about our wildlife garden and had given you a tour of the property which you can view in this post. Well, this past weekend was gorgeous out so Jeff and I spent both Saturday and Sunday outdoors raking and bagging leaves, trimming the trees and bushes, and cleaning up all of the flower beds.

We must have filled 30 of those brown landscaping bags. With everything cleared away, you can see the tops of the daffodils and tulips emerging. The crocus are already up-- it gave us a boost to be out there.

Anyway, when I went for my check up two weeks ago I could not believe that I lost 3 pounds as I have NOT been counting calories and I was SURE that I was going to show a gain. I guess I was eating just under what I needed to maintain.

That’s pretty much what I am still doing.

As this post is already so long, I’ll end for now. It is good to be back and I will be going around to check on all of you and see how you’re doing.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It lives!

Jeff and I ran away to become professional dancers but that didn't work out, so I am back. Check out this link for a quick video of us in action.

Seriously, I am ok and i am back and will post more tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who kept track of me!



Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Colonoscopy disaster

Ok-- before I launch into explaining this disaster, let me say that I am a believer in biochemical individuality (or whatever you want to call it) because I KNOW there are many ways that my body is different from other people's. In some ways this is positive and helpful and in others ways it is not.

One "good" way that I am different is that my body MOST of the time resists any illness based on "germs" that get passed around. I have only had the flu twice in my whole life. I get maybe one cold a year, at most.

You can count on one hand how many times in my life I have vomited. When vomiting/diarrhea things are going around I may get an upset stomach for a day and some "loose stools" and that's about it. I always end up taking care of everyone else who is sick and I somehow don't catch it 90% of the time.

Now, when I went to my initial appointment with the gastroenterologist (to schedule a colonoscopy) I warned him about two things: One, drugs that knock other people out don't work on me and, two, constipation is my natural state and always has been. It has been a source of jokes between me and my husband for years.

When they gave me the solution I was supposed to drink to clean out my system before the procedure, I told him, (seriously) that it might not be enough to work on me. And I also told him that I doubted whatever he gave other people to knock them out would work on me. I guess he thought I was joking.

Ok, so Sunday I fasted all day and at 4:30 in the afternoon I mixed the Nulytely they gave me and started drinking it. I consumed the whole gallon within two hours. I got so full and bloated and I felt like puking...........yet the hours ticked by and I did not go to the bathroom.

To spare you the literally "crappy" details, suffice it to say that I did not "go" for the first time until after 9pm, almost FIVE HOURS after drinking the stuff. (It is supposed to start working within an hour). I was up half the night going but I could tell when we arrived at the hospital the next day at NOON that some of that stuff was still in my system. I was STILL visiting the restroom and what was coming out was not "clear" as it should have been.

Ok, fast forward to the procedure, I'm in the procedure room and they give a shot into the IV of whatever the hell they give you to put you to sleep. I continued to talk with a nurse about my diet and weight loss. I felt buzzed, like I had too much to drink, but I was still very awake.

The doc told the nurse to give me another shot. Then I fell asleep but woke up several times. At one point, I heard the doc tell the nurse that they could not give me any more of the drug they were using to try to make me sleep. I heard him tell her to give me a shot of benadryl to help keep me out for a few minutes and he was going to wrap things up.

Later, he told me that the prep was not good and that I have to do it again with a different prep that lasts for two days. He also said he wants me to have general anesthesia so that I stay asleep. He said that every time I woke up I tried to sit up and that is not good with what they are trying to do.

In spite of the "bad prep" he found two polyps and removed them. They have been sent for biopsy. One really WEIRD thing is that he told my husband while I was in the recovery room that he couldn't see certain areas and there seemed to be something like corn blocking his view. I DON'T EAT CORN often and haven't had any for months. Corn? I have to wonder what the f*ck was he seeing.

I don't have a medical background so have no idea what he could have seen that looked like corn. Yikes. Something about it is creepy to me.

So I called this morning to reschedule and I am waiting for the nurse to call me back with the date for my next procedure and instructions for the prep. They also said that our insurance company is not going to want to pay for the second procedure nor for the general anesthesia, so he is writing them a letter explaining why. Even so, at the end I may end up having to pay for all or part of this. YIKES!

Today, I feel sort of "detached," probably some residual affect of all of the drugs they had to give me to try and keep me down. But I got up early and kept my appointment for my mammography. That is done! They said they will mail me the results.

When I was leaving the building, I noticed another medical building next door that was an OB/GYN. Since I haven't had a pap smear in 15 years and my doc is bugging out about it, I thought I'd get that over with too. So I walked right over and made an appointment before I chickened out.

So I have an appointment there for the end of the month. My doc will be thrilled!

I'm having an intense and totally irrational craving for TACOS, of all things. Ortega makes whole grain taco shells that are about 55 calories each and have a lot of fiber. Although I don't do well with a lot of grains, I am going to indulge myself and make tacos for dinner tonight.

I stopped at the market on the way home from the mammography to get the ingredients then I came home and got everything ready for tonight. I cut up some lettuce, onion, tomato, avocado and black olives to have on the tacos, and I am going to use fat-free greek yogurt for the sour cream. I arranged everything all pretty-like on a platter. I also put a salad together. YUMMY! Everything is pre-prepared so it will be a breeze getting dinner on the table tonight.

Anyway, I am not really "with it" so I'm going to go lay down for awhile. Have a great day everyone! And I appreciate everyone who checked up on me. Online friends are real friends-- so many have proven it to me again and again! You guys are the best!

ADDED LATER: Forgot to say that when they took my "vital signs" at the hospital, my body temp was only 96.6, probably because of the thyroid issues.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Progress Report & Prep for colonoscopy (Yikes!)

weight los inspiration pics

Greetings friends. This has been a strange and sometimes stressful week for me, but, more on that later........

I entered a women's fitness challenge over at the JP fitness forum. Many of the women are doing the NEW RULES OF LIFTING FOR WOMEN program, but you can do any program.

The challenge is for 6 months and you must post your stats and progress pics monthly at the first of every month. If you've been following my blog, you know that I haven't weighed myself a lot during my weight loss, but got weighed only when I went to the doctor. This is because of compulsiveness with regard to the scale.

Anyway, I thought a 6-month challenge would be good for me, so here I am. Here's some progress pics, one from August 2009 and one taken earlier today.



My weight today is 270 pounds, representing a loss of 15 pounds this month and a total weight loss of 160 pounds since last March. I wanted to mention that I started taking thyroid meds at the start of this challenge, as I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at that time.

I am positive that most of my weight loss for the month is fluid as I did nothing but pee when I first started taking the pills, and lost 10 pounds in ten days. I've been checking my weight once or twice a week and it fluctuates wildly. Just a few days ago, I weighed 265.

I also lost 5 1/2 inches this month, with the biggest loss coming off the waist (FINALLY).

At the start of the challenge, I recorded my initial stats and my goals for the challenge. Here they are, followed by my stats for today:

Body Stats (as of January 5, 2010)
age: 51
height: 6'3"
weight: 285
neck: 16”
chest: 46.5"
waist: 49”
hips: 55
thighs: 25
upper arms: 15.5
calves: 16.5

Health Stats (as of 12/28/09)
Blood Pressure 142/74
Cholesterol - 170
HDL- 45
Triglycerides -113
Fasting Blood Sugar -96
Resting heart rate - 62 BPM

Goals for the 2010 Challenge
1. Lose 60 or more pounds (I CAN do it)
2. Lift weights 3 Xs week based on NROL4W
3. Begin couch to 5k program in spring (to prepare for ½ marathon in Sept)
4. Eat adequate protein, continue to eat clean
5) Get blood pressure down more & improve other health stats
6) When gardening season starts, grow as many of my own veggies as possible
7) Buy a nice cocktail dress to wear out on my anniversary in July

February Body Stats (as of January 31, 2010)
age: 51
height: 6'3"
weight: 270
neck: 16”
chest: 46"
waist: 47”
hips: 54
thighs: 24
upper arms: 15.5
calves: 16.5

I feel REALLY strong from the weight lifting and clearly have put on muscle, but still have enough body fat covering everything that you can't see it in the pics. Not yet anyway.

Ok......... on other fronts, I have been VERY anxious for the past two weeks and I KNOW it has to do with the colonoscopy tomorrow. Not the procedure, but what they might find during the procedure, as cancer runs on my dad's side and he had cancer of the colon.

So I have been "off" with my food and exercise, often eating too much and skimping on the cardio. I admit it, there's a little voice saying "Why exercise and eat less if you're gonna die of cancer anyway."

So, I have not been buying potato chips or ice cream....... but rather eating a bit too much at dinner and sometimes going heavier on the carbs than I know I should.

By this time tomorrow, I will likely know whether or not there is anything to worry about up there, and if there isn't, I can go back to normal and refocus on my fitness efforts, and if there is, well, I'll just have to deal with now, won't I?

I also have my mammography on Tuesday.

Greta asked me if I feel better yet from the thyroid meds. Yes I do, Greta. Thank you for asking. My feet are less cold, my skin less dry, I am sleeping better and have more energy and focus during the day. I think the vitamins I started taking are helping too.

Greta asked how many kids we have. Between the two of us, we have seven. Jeff has a daughter, Sarah born in 1979 and a son Andrew born in 1986, plus my son Thomas, whom he adopted as I described in my last post. Thom was born in 1984.

For kids I gave birth to, I had the triplets in 1975 (Michael, William and Kevin), one son born before, Robert, born in 1975; and as I already said, Thomas was born in 84.

Anyway, Tom had the opportunity when he was 12 or 13 to go to Florida and meet his natural father. I did not try to influence him in any way. At first he said he wanted to go, then when it came time, he said he didn't need to do that.

He thinks of Jeff as his dad, not as a step-dad or adoptive dad. He calls his natural father "the sperm donor." LOL

When he decided not to meet his natural father, he said that Jeff had always been there for him and provided for him from when he was small, and that his natural father had never done jack for him and was showing up late in the game and trying to have "fun" with him.

His natural father never once paid a dime of child support and Tom knew this. It is why the judge wanted Jeff to adopt Tom instead of just changing the name. Jeff was supporting him and being his father unofficially.

I occasionally offer to contact the other side of the blood family for Tom and he always declines. This is his choice. We explained that curiosity about it would be normal and that Jeff would not feel hurt or jealous if Tom wanted to pursue relationships with his natural father and his family. He doesn't though. At least not so far.

Anyway, thought I'd leave you with a few links. There's a gal over on the JP fitness forum who also has a GREAT blog where she posts all kinds of studies related to health and fitness. There are side bars on BOTH sides of the blog!

Some of my favorite entries from her blog include:

Three strength training sessions a week keep bones strong without medication

Trained body burns more fat with gentle endurance exercise

Weight Loss Faster With Vitamin D

Also, another of the gals in the challenge will be competing in this year's WARRIOR DASH in her area. So I am wondering if I am up for that?

Check it out

I will try to post tomorrow after the colonoscopy!

Hope you're having a great weekend!