Friday, May 22, 2015

Back to reality and what I'm reading this week

Sigh, first week back from vacay, always so trying going from doing what you want all day with seemingly unlimited funds back to being in your usual routine like you never left.  

Oy.

But enough of my post vacation complaining, let's get to...


45 Reasons to Exercise and Eat Right That Aren't About Weight Loss  (Awesome!)

Is Sclerotherapy For Leg Veins Worth The Burn?  (I hope so because thanks to my dad's side and lard pushing against them, my legs are a wreck)

10 Common Symptoms That Could Be Cancer  (Good to know!)

Desserts With a Surprising High-Protein Ingredient You Can't Even Taste  (I'm so making those strawberries)

I Want to Lose Weight, BUT my Significant Other Sabotages My Weight Loss!  (I'm glad I'm not in this boat but I know many are)

5-year-old's touching gesture feeds homeless man at Waffle House  (Faith in the future, restored)

9 Ways to Make an Old Home Feel New  (Cool schtuff)

5 Surprising Mosquito Repellants You Already Have   (Bye bye skeeters!)

Delicious Picnic Recipes  (So ready for picnic season!)

Melissa McCarthy Explains How She Taught a Critic Who Trashed Her Looks to Not "Tear Down Women" Anymore   (Get it girl!)

This Photo Could Save Your Life: The Subtle Sign That Tipped This Woman Off to Breast Cancer
(Never even thought of this!)

Why Your Sunscreen May Not Protect You as Much as You Think  (Just go outside in a hazmat suit)

Why Should I Continue To Workout?  (A good answer from one of our favorite workout peeps)

25 Reasons Why Savannah, GA is the Most Utterly Enchanting Place in the South  (I can't believe it's been 3 weeks)

Do you need to wash new clothes before you wear them? Here's the verdict  (*madly throws all shirts purchased on vacation in the washer)

How to Stay on Vacation Forever — These People Did It!  (I'm down)

We don't really have any plans for the holiday weekend.  Typically we plant flowers and herbs this weekend but it's been a rough transition week for the Mr back into work life so I'm going to let him decide if he's up for getting the lanai together or not.  I know a Trader Joe's run is in the future as we need chicken dogs to cook out and not feel like we're missing anything.

What's on your agenda this weekend?

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

A step in the right direction

(source)

When we got together with my mom a few weeks ago for dinner, talk inevitably mentioned Grandma a few times.  I've told you before how sometimes as a family we're not on the same page where including her is concerned.  It's important for her to be in a routine even if it doesn't appear like much of a routine to some of us.  Sleeping, sitting and not saying much is her routine.  When she is out of that element, it can be confusing and irritating to her.  At that point it isn't about her but getting my grandpa out and with other people which was fine for a time.

What I'm going to say may sound mean or selfish to those not familiar with the disease but when the person with the disease and their caretaker are at an event, the event changes.  It's no longer a family reunion...it's tending to her, taking her to the bathroom, trying to explain why her husband isn't at her side and trying to stop her from going to get him so he can have a few minutes of conversation with people.  This applies to every event from holidays to birthday dinners and honestly, it turns what is supposed to be a celebration into quite frankly, a bummer.  Obviously we don't hold the constant attention she needs with this disease against her and the last thing we want is to dread time with her.  But if every single time the family gets together, it all becomes about her disease and trying to pretend everything is normal, the dynamics of the family begin to shift.  I've read all about this stuff and I feel that tug at times especially since the holidays weren't so great from our perspective last year.

I was quite relieved when my mom said that when we celebrate her birthday this year in a few weeks that she won't be inviting the grandparents because no offense, she wants to actually celebrate her birthday.  The Mr and I both said "thank God you said it first!"  We were both of the same mindset that if people were going to be offended by us not inviting the grandparents because we wanted to not have that reminder at a small family dinner then we were just going to make birthday dinners now a thing that we did with my mom.  (As it stands, that's who it normally is plus my aunt and maybe a stray cousin or two so it's not like a ton of people would be left out.)  She said birthday dinners need to be about celebrating the person and everyone there should be available to socialize, have fun and not be about relieving Grandpa of his duties, listening to him nitpick as he tends to do when there's an audience or having to interrupt things if she's not having a good day.

My grandpa was never the one to keep track of birthdays and he couldn't tell you whose birthday is when so he won't have a clue he's missing anything and obviously grandma doesn't know any of us anymore.  My mom and aunt are there 1-2x week and have to deal with seeing their mother in that state so they especially deserve to have their birthdays celebrated without one of them having to take on caretaker duties on their day or someone missing out on conversation and tomfoolery.

More importantly, going out in public restaurants is no longer an option.  She has accidents, she needs everything cut and sometimes fed to her, she needs to be reminded how to eat.  Literally she will look at her food after just having taken a bite and say 'what do I do?'  They used to be able to eat out even a year ago but it's not an option anymore so having a family dinner out for an hour or two is just not something she can handle anymore.  I wish I would've thought to say that to mom when she said that.  There's really nothing to feel guilty over because it's physically impossible for her to be out for more than 10 minutes anymore.  At holidays, she's in a house where she can be tended to in a private bathroom and such.

I know this is a long way from the holiday stance that the Mr and I feel need to be taken to keep her in her routine but we both feel this is a step in the right direction.  Just as caretakers needs that break, sometimes the family needs that break to come together as a family and bond over something other than a disease.

Even with her not at birthday dinners, she will always still be there in spirit...mispronouncing fettucini alfredo as feggucini and a nice spoonful of birthday ice cream will be left in her honor.


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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Up the Coast - Vacation pics

Two big arse road trips in 7 months, watch out asphalt!

It turns out pretty much anywhere we would've chosen to go except our normal Hawaii trip would've been a weather cluster you-know-what.  The Yellowstone trip we cancelled when I saw there was a "possibility" of snow that time of year turned into Snow Storm Venus that dumped two feet of snow on the areas we would've been traversing and believe me when I tell you, my lil car wouldn't have made it.  

So when Tropical Storm Ana decided to start swirling off the coast by us 6 days into our trip, we considered ourselves lucky as the trip unfolded.  It was looking bad for Charleston but it ended up being scattered rain and didn't ruin anything.  Well, it did make landfall when we were in the Outer Banks.  She was basically stalking us up the coast.  Wench.

We started our adventure in Savannah, Georgia enjoying such wonders as Forsyth Park



...the beautiful squares...



...and the haunting, historic cemeteries like Bonaventure featured in the movie Midnight in Garden of Good & Evil



We sampled quite a bit of Southern food...


Oddly, it turns out I feel about Southern food what I feel about Amish food...way too bland.  Unfortunately I kept giving so many places a chance that I probably packed on 10 lbs of lard before coming to this conclusion.  Do you know how long I've been waiting to try a real praline?  I sampled them in two places and thought they were gross.  Wah wahhh.

We spent our anniversary watching the sun rise on Tybee Island.



We also got to watch them film a new movie with Zac Efron and Robert DeNiro there.

Then it was time to drive up to Charleston, South Carolina.  Because the weather was unpredictable hour to hour, we moved Magnolia Plantation to the top of the list and drove straight there since we knew we'd have sunny weather that day.  It was quite beautiful.


We stayed not far from here in downtown Charleston.


I loved seeing side street gardens and gates.


I fell in love with the architecture.


Seriously, Charleston kind of beats Savannah hands down for us.  All the people in Savannah said people in Charleston were jerks and snooty and it turns out, just as we suspected, it was the other way around.  I would definitely go back to Charleston.

Then it was time to go to the Outer Banks.  Since we watched Nights in Rodanthe in Charleston and I had bagel eyes from ugly crying at it, it was mandatory we stop by the house from the movie.


Then on to Cape Hatteras where we climbed to the top of the lighthouse.


We also went down Rodanthe Pier...during Tropical Storm Ana...when the pier has a history of plunging into the ocean during storms.  We're daredevils, I tell you!


Time to head to Rehoboth Beach.  Our first day was spent in Ocean City, Maryland enjoying the boardwalk.


Then the boardwalk at Rehoboth.


The Mr was quite excited to climb the gun turrets at Cape Henlopen park.


It was a looooong drive home but we made it with the help of audio books and a good playlist.

I don't think I'm much of an east coast beach town person.  Charleston and Savannah, were very nice and Charleston is a place I can see myself going back to for sure.  We had a great time and now it's time to get back into the swing of things.  I hope I remember how to cook!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

She's gone (she's gone)...oh why?

One more day of vacay for me yesterday and I didn't have it in me to edit pics...tomorrow.

(source)

But you may be wondering by the title why the heck I'm channeling Hall and Oates.  Well, remember a few weeks ago when I was singing the praises of my gynie?  I was calling her office to see if she was running on time or not and I can never remember her number so I looked it up on HealthGrades.  I saw in her profile she was 60 and I told the Mr "I'd better enjoy this time because she's gonna up and retire soon."

Well...sooner than I thought.

I went to check in and was informed she would be retiring the following month!  I felt like I got kicked in the gut.  I made next years appointment with one of the other ladies I know is in her practice and gets good reviews.  I looked and she's close to my age so I should have her for a good long time as long as she stays in the state.

So I went back and waited for her.  I got my tears out of my system and she walked in.  She did her usual chit chat, didn't mention a thing about retirement so I brought it up roundabout style.  She said she wasn't really retiring but taking on a teaching career and retiring from private practice.  She was offered a job where she's not on call for nights, weekends and holidays and now that her husband has passed (he was 20+ years her senior) she's ready for something new in her life.  I started getting teary eyed as I told her I was happy for her and then went on to full on ugly cry.  She got me tissues and tried to hold herself together.  I asked her who was going to guide me through middle age now?  She was like my life guru and now she wouldn't be there.  She said there were two other women in her practice and the one I chose to make the appointment with next year is the one she would recommend because she has a personality and is basically exactly like her in her personality and abilities.

We had a good talk and she told me not to succumb to the number where my age was concerned.  I told her all of the things that have happened to me since I turned 40 and she said if it happened when I was 35, I wouldn't have thought anything about it.  (I would've because being sick in one form or another for 5 months just plain sucks but I get what she was getting at)  She said looking back, her 40's were the best decade of her life and she wasn't just saying that because of my age.  She said you don't give a shit anymore about what people think, you live your life the way you want and your body hasn't begun breaking down in ways that you don't want to think about yet.  She asked if there was anything she could do for me and I told her with tears streaming down my face to go live her life.  We hugged and I told her thank you for making getting something as weird done as having another chick examine your hoo ha seem like no big deal and almost something to look forward to with her personality.  She laughed and told me I was sick.  HA!

Yesterday I received a letter from her that she sent out to all of her patients.  She tells us what she's doing and how much she's going to miss all of us.  She ends it with saying she wishes she could take us all with her but something in me suspects she will.  All of us in our own way touched her life too.

I can't tell you how much I will miss her.  I have trusted her for 20 years with my health and listened eagerly to any life lessons she was willing to pass along.  She was truly a rarity in this life of not just being an amazing doctor but a friend.  She, like me, chose not to have children and she was the only one who understood from the time I was a teenager that it was not my path.  I could confide in her about that and the scrutiny I received from family and strangers over a choice that was frankly, none of their damn business.  Her understanding and knowing that choosing that path requires support from like minded people was invaluable.  It's something I can never repay.  Now I will have to go through that weird period where you learn how much you can joke or not joke with a new doctor.  Humor is my defense mechanism in medical situations so we'll see how the new girl does with all this woman to take on.

Have you ever had a doctor change your life for the better?

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Monday, May 18, 2015

We're back!

Well, I'm sure a few of you super observant folks may have noticed I've been absent on the responding front the past two weeks.  I have a good excuse...we were on vacation!  You know my rules with vacation, complete social cut off to soak in the sights with my honey.

We were supposed to do a road trip to Montana/Wyoming and see Yellowstone National Park but that didn't work out due to potential weather issues.  I'm glad we chose to forego that because this is what it looked like there 2 weeks before we left:

(via Yellowstone National Park's Facebook page)

We quickly had to change modes in January and figure out where we wanted to go.  The Mr was dying to recreate his childhood vacations and I was not but decided if I could fit in a few destinations of my liking, I'd throw him a bone.  He wanted to go to Virginia Beach and Rehoboth Beach.  I wanted to go to Savannah and Charleston.  An extensive search showed us that despite going in low season, the options for Virginia Beach were not up to my rental standards.  But not too far from there was the Outer Banks area and while the Mr wasn't down with it at first, he came around when I showed him the place we'd be renting.

So we started off with 5 nights in Savannah GA then moved on to 4 nights in Charleston SC.  We made our way up the coast to Outer Banks for 3 nights and rounded things out with a 4 night stay in Rehoboth Beach, DE in accommodations way better than the Mr was used to there since it was usually the ol' Econo Lodge for them back in the day.

Then it was time for the looooooooong drive home and besides a stop in DC for some Georgetown Cupcakes, we throttled through and made it home late last night.  So we're probably sleeping while you're reading this but I'll round up some pics to share over the next few days.

All I do know is that we're getting back in the swing TODAY on water, exercise and food because we've got a lot of southern hospitality and beach food to work off even with as good as we were trying to be!

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, May 15, 2015

What I'm dreaming of this week

I looked through the links I bookmarked and there were two this week.

Uh, yeah.

I guess I've been dreaming more getting past the freeze point so we can plant flowers, vacations and general tomfoolery.  So instead let's dream a bit.  I'm going to share five of my top vacation destinations.

1.  Tahiti  (Includes Bora Bora, Moorea, etc)

(via)
Tahiti and staying in an overwater bungalow has always been a dream of ours.  I pray we get to make that a reality some day!

2.  Galapagos Islands

(via)

I would love to do one of those cruises that lets you see all the animals there.  It's supposed to be amazing!


3.  Self guided movie tour of Los Angeles

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I used to spend my summers as a teen in LA but the Mr has never been (except the airport).  You guys know what movie buffs we are and this would be the ultimate movie tour experience for us and the Six Feet Under house is at the top of our list.  Of course we'd have to add on three days just to account for sitting in traffic.

4.  Yellowstone National Park

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This was actually going to be our vacation this year but we found out the time of year we were looking at could still have some snow issues and all parts of the park weren't open.  So we'll save this one for a fall vacation sometime.


5.  Oregon/Pacific Northwest

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Obviously driving to the Goonies location will be on the list but Oregon looks beautiful and I suppose we'd better make a trip to Seattle or a friend of ours whose been begging for us to visit will slap us.

Name three to five vacation destinations you want to go to!  Let's dream together!

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Reducing our risk for good and not just for now

When you hit your rock bottom close to 500 lbs, the road to getting to anything resembling "normal" seems long, daunting and possibly unreachable.

(Sorry spammers)

It's pounded into your head that people can't lose that amount of weight without the assistance of weight loss surgery of some kind.  That has never been in our vocabulary as we've seen the results and consequences up close and personal with loved ones and while it was the right choice for them, it wasn't for us.  We skated by without any serious health issues but knew it would eventually catch up to us if we didn't do something.  We were at the age where it was no longer about looking good but being healthy.

Fast forward to 200 lbs lost and you get very comfortable. You know you've greatly reduced your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancers and all of the other lovely reasons they tell you its important to lose weight.   Life has opened up not only health wise but in ways you know others take for granted.  You can go to 99% of restaurants out there and not have to worry about whether or not you'll fit in a booth or chair with arms.  You walk in a park and when a car drives by, you don't worry about being verbally assaulted.  You don't have to get back to people about going somewhere so that you can stalk Yelp or TripAdvisor looking for pictures of the inside to see if you'll fit in their seats and decide whether or not to accept based on those factors.  You can shop at an actual store instead of having to order from a catalog and pray what you bought fits.  It's a freeing feeling and it breeds complacency. It got to the point where we didn't feel the urgency to lose more weight because honestly, we could do most things we wanted to do.  I mean nothing was like being in that prison we'd created for ourselves and now we were on parole.

Of course we wanted to but being able to still eat what we wanted even in amounts that turned out to be more than we needed during the week was more important than giving up more.  We went on for 3 years telling ourselves that we'd ditched those health risks we had when we were at our heaviest and we did for a time.  But then you see health shows or articles online where people talk about how unhealthy and obese they are and they were 50 lbs less than we were.

But...we lost 200 lbs a piece.

Yeah but you're still over 100 lbs overweight for your height.  In plain speak...we would both still qualify for weight loss surgery.

Oh.

So that was when we put our newest plan into action and stopped lying to ourselves.  It has been working and we know we're well on our way to kicking the complacency to the curb and truly reducing our risk for good and not just for now.

What weight loss truths and lies have you told yourself?

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