Thursday, March 25, 2010

And so it begins...

The official start of the 2010 running season is here... for me anyway!  You'll remember I did my first 5K last year... which I walked because I was on HCG and therefore not allowed to run and, truth be told, I was in nowhere near the shape I needed to be in order to actually run anyway having just started on this long journey to health.  It's been almost a year since that race already.  And wow what a year it has been - I decided to get fit and take control of my health and my future in spite of my insanely bad gene pool, started working out and got addicted to running, did my first 5K, dropped 30lbs in 23 days on HCG, got pregnant, had to stop running but didn't stop working out, had a baby, dropped all the baby weight, lost a gall bladder and have officially hit the gym again.  Today I was talking to a friend - one of the ones who inspired me to start running in the first place - and I committed to do Race for the Cure again in May.  As luck would have it, I will have to walk it this year too since I'll again be on HCG but this year I'll walk it faster and push a stroller with my new baby while my eight year old and her BFF walk with me.  I have resumed my workouts both at work and at home with my walking/jogging buddy who is also recovering from having a baby about a month ago (I swear, it was something in the water in our neighborhood!).  We talked tonight about finding more 5K's to do this year and I got SO excited.  People all around me are training for new milestone events - triathlons, half marathons, marathons - and I'm catching the bug, too!  It felt so good to be back at work this week (until the sleep deprivation caught up with me anyway) and especially good to be back in the gym.  Daily exercise... recommended, craved by me, and fit into my schedule no matter what!  I'm loving life and looking forward to new personal bests in 2010!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh so true

"My inner child is a mean little fucker" ... my new favorite bumper sticker!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Foiled again

There's good and bad news this week which was full of doctor visits... First I got good news from the OB at my six-week check-up.  I'm all healed up and with my new IUD in place I'm ready to go and get on with my life after baby.  I don't know what I'm more excited about - the fact that I can have sex again or that I can go running again.  It is seriously a toss up at this point. Two days later, I got the bad news at my post-op check up with the surgeon.  While I'm healing up nicely, I cannot run for another THREE WEEKS while I continue to heal from the incisions in my abdominal wall. 

Okay, I know what you're thinking.  You've waited this long, what's another three weeks, right?  Well, that's just it - I will only have a 3 day window to run before I'm back on HCG for a 40-day round I've been waiting to do my entire pregnancy and the timing of which cannot be altered or I'll still be on the restrictive diet phase for my busy vacation schedule this summer. 

Three days... I get three days then that's it until Memorial Day. You can bet your ass I'll be running all three of those days and loving every minute. 

I guess in the grand scheme of things I have my entire life to run and it will be much easier when I remove most of my excess weight with this last round of HCG.  But when all I have been thinking about is running since I was told I had to stop back in early pregnancy it is hard to look at the grand scheme past the disappointment and frustration.  April 7th can't come fast enough for me!

Water for Elephants

What an eye opening glimpse into the Depression Era and the behind the scenes of life on a circus train.  Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen) was this month's pick but before that it was one I was potential going to pick when it was my duty in 2009.  It has several gritty scenes involving sex which unfortunately come almost back to back in the first third of the book with nothing much later on of "questionable" nature.  Since there are some in the book club who object to such and I was up against a tight deadline of reading before having to announce my choice I feared that if I continued and then didn't have enough time to pick another more appropriate book it would be disastrous.  So I abandoned it and it ended up on my book shelf with the rest of the novels I've started and put down for one reason or another over the past year or two with thoughts of "someday" returning to finish.  When I found out I actually would get the chance to finish it I was ecstatic.
The book has an interesting premise - who doesn't wonder what it would be like to abandon your life and join the circus never to look back?  The story is loosely based on historical circus' of the era as well as several elephants whose antics appear in one of the books main characters - Rosie the elephant.  The ending was well thought out and satisfying although the first two thirds of the book seemed - for me - to drag along.  Part of that is because I always feel rather detatched when reading a book written in first person present tense as this one is.  I thought several times midway through that if I wasn't reading for book club I might be tempted to put it down since the pacing was rather tedious.  There is intricate details painted of day to day living on the circus train which does little to further the plot quickly in many places.  However, the ending was so fantastic that I never once held those chapters against the author when I was done.  All in all, a good read.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Four Things

I saw this on a blog I follow and I thought... Hmmm, that would concisely give an idea about who I am (as if readers didn't really know me by now, right?) and might be fun reading.  So, here goes!

4 shows I like to watch:
(I NEVER used to watch TV but now that I have DVR I am in heaven...)

1. Fringe
2. Hoarders
3. Heroes

4 things I am passionate about:
1. The environment
2. Writing (and reading)
3. My husband and kids (as in plural, which I never thought would happen!)
4. Avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup (it's harder than you think!)

4 words or phrases I say often:
1. Hurry!  (Why an eight-year old still doesn't know the morning routine for school is beyond me!)
2. How's your homework?
3. Are you fucking kidding me?
4. Oooh, what's the matter with my baby?  (in sing-song baby-talk voice)

4 things I have learned from the past:
1. There's no time like the present to take care of your health.
2. Most people don't do much actual work while at work and don't feel bad about collecting the paycheck.
3. The things that matter most are usually not the things we spend the most time doing.
4. Nothing good ever comes from guilt

4 places I would love to go:
1. Italy - I'd like to see where my ancestors come from
2. New York City - I always thought I'd live there and haven't even visited
3. Ireland - I wonder if it is really as beautiful as everyone says
4. The Mediterranean - the views are always so amazing

4 things I did yesterday:
1. De-cluttered a cabinet in my kitchen (part of a larger project involving the entire house!)
2. Registered my daughter for summer camp
3. Tried to find a nanny (it's an ongoing search)
4. Forgot to eat a single thing before dinner

4 things you are looking forward to
1. Being out of debt except for the mortgage
2. Finishing the bathroom in the basement (or more accurately, the hubby doing it)
3. Going back to work
4. My sister in law's wedding so I can see a part of the country I've never been to.

4 things I love about winter:
1. No allergies
2. Sweaters
3. Nothing much to do so I have more excuses to knit
4. National Novel Writing Month

4 things on my wish list:
1. A pool in the back yard - ok, I'd settle for it to be landscaped instead of a mud pit!
2. A longer battery life on my Droid
3. To finish my novel (ok, and get it published!)
4. To be fully recovered from pregnancy and surgery so I can go running again!

There you have it... some hopefully interesting tidbits of useless information about yours truly.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Perfect Formula

Today I found the perfect combination of things that make new baby sister happy enough that I don't have to hold her.  She's been really fussy the last week - compounding my stress level while recovering from surgery.  See, she teased me for the first 4 weeks being a super content and docile baby who, sleeping or awake, rarely cried.  She'd get fussy when it was time to eat to let me know but otherwise was happy.  Her fiesty side came raging out last week and sent me reeling!  Today I had a huge To-Do list, a book club book deadline looming on Thursday with 100 pages left to read and... a fussy baby who just wanted to be held all morning.  What's a mom to do?  Well, I put her in her swing and put Tchichovsky on the iPod docking station... and she slept for 3 hours!  I got so much crossed off my list and now I can enjoy her for the rest of the day without worrying about all the things that aren't getting done.  The swing alone is not enough, this girl needs her classical music!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gone-zo Gall Bladder

Bye bye gall bladder and bye bye to my record of NEVER having had surgery.  Happily I tolerate general anesthesia well - unlike my unlucky sister who had me extremely worried about a horrid recovery.  Everything went routinely well with my... routine... surgery. 

I won the prize for the most gall stones my radiologist has seen in a long time which made the decision to try and keep my gall bladder and manage the symptoms with diet alone not really a viable one.  Turns out, according to my surgeon, I have a huge liver (which prompted a third laparoscopic incision) and which is probably why I went so long before my gall stones bothered me

I'm up and around just 24 hours after surgery - able to care for baby sister and myself but still enjoying all my family helping out.  I get an additional week off for my short term disability which makes it a nice trade off.  Lose a gall bladder, gain another week of paid time off at home with my new little one?  Can't say that sucks!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The current health debate

No, not THAT health debate...  I'm talking about one of a more personal nature.  The one that involves my gall bladder that may or may not be failing me and, more importantly, what to do about it.  A couple of weeks ago I thought I had a touch of food poisoning - and I blamed the fry sauce in the back of the refrigerator that didn't have an expiration date I'd eaten the night before.  But a week later after a very rich dinner with heavy cream sauce - oh so yummy! - I had what can only be described as some sort of attack.

This attack was not pretty and involved hours and hours of vomiting - first the projectile kind followed by what happens when there is nothing left to come up.  This by itself is bad - because you see, I. DO. NOT. VOMIT.  Not even once when I was pregnant - either time!  And I can tell you the exact dates of the last two times I had done so previous to this new development in my life.  (Family reunion 2008 and an unfortunate night of drinking circa Halloween 1999)  I'm a master at NOT vomiting...  But not this night!  On top of that horror, I had such excruciating abdominal pain I was crying like a small child who'd just had her stomach run over by a MAC truck and wanted her mommy.  It was the worst pain I've ever felt - and remember I just had a baby and felt every bit of it because my epidural failed.  This was worse - way worse.  I couldn't stand up straight because the pain in my stomach was so bad.  And I couldn't take a deep breath for HOURS because the pain radiated up into my back.  All total, I suffered for about 20 hours before the pain was gone.  After talking to my mom the nurse and extensive Google searches by my hubby (who needs doctors for diagnosis these days anyway?!) we concluded it is most likely my gall bladder.

Now comes the debate.  The first thing out of EVERYONE'S mouth are things like "oh, easy surgery" or "I had mine removed after my second pregnancy, too", etc.  Is it just me that thinks removing an entire organ - one that I actually use everyday unlike my appendix - is a bit on the drastic side?  Not to mention the permanent side!  When I started thinking about it, it's kind of creepy how everyone just assumes I'm going to have surgery to remove it.  Like that is the only option.  Twilight zone-ish creepy even!  I mean, I still have my tonsils and have never had surgery.  Never.  This cannot be taken back people! 

So I Googled some more on the subject this time down the alternative medicine and treatments road.  Since that is my nature after all...  And what I found was pretty interesting.  Both the traditional medical sites as well as the natural healing ones agree that the cause of gall stones is a concentration of cholesterol that builds up and crystalizes.  Which means it is yet another side effect of the American Diet of processed foods.  (Oh God, don't get her started...)  Okay, so I went further down the rabbit hole.  Are there alternatives to surgery is really what I wanted to know.  Well, that and how specifically do I avoid another attack!  I found a very compelling quote (which I'm paraphrasing because now I can't find it again...) Gall stones and the accompanying gall bladder attack are caused by the way we eat.  So removing the essential organ which contributes to the digestive process is the equivalent to removing the engine from your car just because you put the wrong gas in it and it stopped on the side of the road.

WOW... that stopped me in my tracks - pun intended - and appealed very deeply to the hippie, naturalist, tree hugger I am at my core.  The irony is not lost on me that this is probably the years of High Fructose Corn Syrup and fast food consumption coming back to haunt me...  And part of me thinks it might be easier to stay on the healthy eating soap box if the consequence of eating crap is a gallbladder attack.  Drastic, yes but very persuasive all the same.

So now comes the dilemma... I'm 4.5 weeks into my 6 week maternity leave already.  IF this is really a problem with my gall bladder AND I decide to treat it surgically, I'm looking at another week of recovery time.  I'm hoping if I can sell it as a complication of my pregnancy (which many people say it is) they will simply extend my leave and I'll get an additional week off to spend with my newborn and still get paid for it under short term disability.  (That is appealing!)  But, if I decide to treat it naturally with a detox cleanse to rid my organ of the crap that is making it not function properly - that will take two weeks and I'll be back to work.  If that doesn't work, I'll then be subject to taking an additional two weeks off before STD kicks in again.  But just because it is financially convenient to do as part of my leave, does that make it the right decision for me and my body?  UGH! And what if the claims of all the natural remedy people saying you can reverse the damage and keep your organ are just so they can sell me their products?  Decisions decisions....

For now, I'm treading both paths until the last possible minute when I have to commit to one or the other.  I'm seeing my doctor this week for an ultrasound to figure out if it really IS a classic case of gall stones while I start my detox - which I am overdue for anyway.  Part of me whispers 'this is a cop-out' because as long as I'm still in the discovery phase I can hold off making the official decision.  (But hey, knowing is half the battle, as my AA friends say, right?)  While another part wonders if I have really diagnosed myself properly - especially considering the one staple in my diet for the past week has been ice cold whole milk which is supposed to be the biggest trigger for a gall bladder attack according to my doctor and I've been fine.  I'm not even putting the little tidbit of 'what else could it be' into the sunlight at this point.  Nope, just not going there!  Stay tuned... it is sure to be as heated a debate as what they've got going on in the Senate right now only on a much more intimate level...