Saturday, November 27, 2010

Numbness still progressing.

Tests were negative for calcium or electrolyte deficiency. Lack of pain meant no pinched nerves, so no scans or MRI. Diagnosed numbness/nausea/stress. Sent me home told me to follow up with doc on Tuesday like planned. Take lorazepam if I feel anxious.

*Asked doc and nurse, before receiving shot, if lorazepam was contraindicated for sleep apnea, they said it would be fine.
looked it up and yep, contraindicated for sleep apnea sufferers.
Was kinda nervous about it being out of my system enough to sleep safely, and stayed up late.

Each day it spreads a little more and the previous bits get more numb.

Hands and forearms, inner biceps, chest, both shoulders, upper back, back of neck, main numbness on scalp started radiating outward from mowhak pattern. Temples, cheekbones, forehead, eyelids, cheeks, teeth, gums, chin, nose, sense of taste and smell are like after I had the antibiotic poisoning. Perineum, left heel and outer toes. Sense of touch has altered over whole body basically, with the left side being approximately half again as affected as the right side.

Still no pain. That's the bit that seemed to really confuse the ER doc.

Breathing feels a little weird now too as lining of mouth/throat, tongue, nostrils etc are numbish this afternoon as well.

This evening I feel kinda numb emotionally. Am thinking I'm a little bit shocky. Afraid of where this is going and what's happening. Want to march back to the hospital and say "do all the tests in the world to figure out what's going on," but know that to them, it's not an emergency, so they won't do anything more than they did yesterday.

Last night I started wondering if this is continued on from the B6 overdose I figured out I'd had the other month. But, it seems B6 toxicity only effects extremities. Maybe it's a combo of the nasal mask pressing on my face when I wore it, plus sleeping in that sitting up position, plus the B6 toxicity, or? or? or?

Been looking up all kinds of disorders/diseases/syndromes, but none seem to fit exactly. Trying not to worry, but can't help it.

Trying to enjoy as much time/touch with Kiddlywink as I can, just in case.

REALLY hoping it's something easily cured.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Off to the hospital.

Can't wait until Tuesday, numbness is getting worse. Heading off to hospital to see if they can figure out what's going on.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trying Again.

We cobbled together another attempt to make the hose lift work. This time I could even lay comfortably on my side. I don't know how much of that is the decreased sensitivity in my face and how much is finding a better position for the hose.

Will post again in the morning to let yas know how it went.

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Freaking. The. Fuck. Out.

Well, the cobbled together thingy didn't work..which leads me to be far less hopeful for effectiveness of hose lift. Slept really poorly last night raised up on pillows. Awoke with even more numb spots in arms, face, hands. Can't see regular doc until next Tuesday. Spoke to dentist, can't do anything for me until appointment on the 9th. Am awaiting a call back from sleep doctor..who probably won't say much except for "sleep the best you can, numbness or apnea won't kill you any time soon, wait for dental device." Was pretty much all he said last time too. But, I can't help but flounder around then call the experts and hope they can help SOMEhow.

Oh AND our nicely defrosted deep freezer now has putrid fishy smelling insulation in the lid. Will be cheaper and easier to replace whole freezer than lid and insulation.

{SOB}

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A little more hopeful.

I did a whole lot of research online last night and this morning, and came across something called a cpap hose lift. There are a few different types out there, and many people have built their own versions. I chose this style because it folds down easily for travel.


It'll take a few days to arrive--even more now that I remembered about thanksgiving this week--so in the meantime we're gonna try and cobble something together. The idea behind the hose lift is that it takes the weight of the hose off the mask, plus also prevents you from rolling on or getting tangled in it for those that have that particular problem. Am hopeful that with only the weight of the mask, it will erase the pressure issue that was causing the numbness. Kinda like easing your waistband after a big meal. LOL

Spoke to my dentist about it and she said definitely try that out. And if that doesn't work there is the cpappro to try (mouth guard) as well as a few oral devices to help with tongue positioning, if it comes down to it surgery to fix my deviated septum might even help. As she put it, even if we get a 50% improvement on some of the issues that cause my sleep apnea (narrow passages, small mouth, long and large tongue, overweight) then hopefully we can get me down to mild or moderate apnea which means its a lot less scary.

Then I got a few lidocaine shots and next thing I know my heart is racing, I'm trembling and I felt all hot and bothered. Seems that me no likee the epinephrine that went along with the lidocaine. It probably didn't help that, due to stress, all I ate yesterday was two pieces of grilled cheese and tomato toast and a single chocolate chip cookie. Breakfast this morning was only a small glass of water and one and a half slices of raisin toast.

My dentist was concerned at how I reacted so she put my fillings off. That made me like her as a dentist even more plus the reason I'd already thought she was good; her empathy for her patients, she treats Kiddlywink like a person and she doesn't push for procedures if she doesn't think they're necessary. Oh, and add in the fact that she noticed that I'd lost weight since I saw her five weeks ago. :)

We made an appointment for next month. That'll give me time to test out the new contraption and it's a few days after my parents arrive so I'll be less stressed overall. Fingers crossed!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

So frightened and Frustrated.

For me, CPAP therapy works. I have my CPAP machine sitting beside my bed, waiting patiently for me to use it. The nasal mask that I got the other month makes my upper lip numb and sends shooting pain up into my face. And, it also has made my bite worse once more.

So, the last few weeks I've been sleeping propped up on a huge pile; couch cushion, a large toy panda pillow, floor cushion and then my pillow. Plus under my butt is another pillow and under my knees too. Basically by the time I'm done it's like I'm sitting up in a hospital bed. This has allowed me to sleep better. Not as great as when I'm on CPAP but better than when flat in bed.

I've been losing weight, got more energy etc etc. I'd even planned not to take my CPAP to Minneapolis. a) to avoid beagle hair possibly getting into the machine and b) because I'm probably going to need a mask that is part mouth guard part nose mask. (which will take time to make and using the other mask will move my teeth even more.)

I've noticed a little numbness in my face recently, but assumed it was leftover from using the nasal mask. The last two days it gotten even worse, and this morning my left-hand pinky and ring finger pads are partially numb too. Now I've realised it's most probably from the pressure on the back of my neck from my new sleeping position.

This morning I had an emotional meltdown. I'm so angry, frightened, frustrated. So frightened of what could happen to me, especially if the mouthguard mask doesn't work. As far as I can tell it's my last option for the masks.

I'm frightened of what could happen to my body in between now and getting that mask.

I'm scared that I could die far too young. Or worse have a stroke and leave me in need of permanent care. I'm afraid of any more of my body going numb.

I'm angry that the therapy that's supposed to be treating me is making more problems. Angry that I even have this problem in the first place. Sickened and miserable that I'm resenting the pregnancy for making the sleep apnea worse, if I had it pre-pregnancy, or possibly giving it to me in the first place.

SO frustrated that my machine is sitting there and taunting me with a 100% effective therapy and I can't use the fucker!

I have an appointment with my dentist tomorrow for fillings and to talk over my options, but I'm nauseated by the hope that the new mouthguard thingy could work, and by the fear that it won't.

I'm hoping that in years to come I'll look back on this and laugh. That I'll be able to use my new exquisite appreciation of a catch-22 situation to write a fabulous novel. I'm really hoping that I can live a long, healthy, happy life and participate in my daughter's life and watch her grow up.

As I whispered to the universe moments before the anesthesiologist knocked me out before the c-section, "I want to live."

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

World's Most Expensive Brussel Sprouts EVER!

Or, my misadventurous week in cooking!

Flushed with success at the wonderful bounty that filled our fridge, and a little surprised at how expensive fresh fruit and veggies are all of a sudden, I decided to try out some new recipes last week. With how expensive they were to buy I also wanted to make sure we used them all up and didn't allow any spoilage like we've done in the past.

Veggie-based dishes were the go because Alaskaboy gets catered a lot of meat at work and I tend to prefer my meat meal at lunch time. First up was this cabbage and sweet potato curry recipe I'd found online. The flavour was good, but I couldn't eat more than a few bites. Literally, two tentative bites and I was done. Instead of using 2 teaspoons of curry paste...I mistakenly remembered the curry amount as 2 TABLESPOONS.

Two tablespoons of curry in such a small amount of veggies is NOT fun, especially since we don't use your average mild Keen's curry. I love hot food, but this was beyond even me. We packaged it up in SMALL servings then froze it for later consumption.

I'd bought a Costco-sized bag of brussel sprouts and planned on making only half with our usual cooking method of sauteing them in garlic butter. First up though, I made half with something new that sounded delicious. Not only delicious but Mary, (from A Merry Life) who quite honestly states her beginner abilities when it comes to cooking, had successfully cooked the recipe and found them delicious and simple to make. Sounded like a plan to me!

So, I copied out the recipe Mary used and set to work surprising Alaskaboy with a delicious plate of mixed roasted veggies for dinner.

The first bummer was that it reminded me of cooking Christmas dinner in Australia. For some reason the weather had turned revoltingly hot, but I wanted roast veggies, so buggerit, I was havin' veggies. The second problem was that he ended up working about two hours overtime, with a 5:30am start time the next morning, and consequently fell into bed the minute he got home.

The brussels were delicious by the way. So, I saved some on a plate for him to eat.

And saved them.

And saved them.

And saved them....

By the time Saturday evening rolled around the slight funky smell in the fridge had gotten worse. So, I threw out the defrosted half serve of curry that was left(something else he'd intended to eat); the brussel sprouts; the slightly brown limes and anything else I could think of that had combined to make the smell.

But I'd saved the brussels only to lose everything else. And I mean everything in the fridge and the freezer. The only thing left unaffected was the unopened tubs of yoghurt and a bottle of freshly opened limeade. Even the unopened cartons of milk were feral.

It took several days for the smell to dissipate.

A saucer of brussel sprouts that cost us nearly $700 in thrown out food. I think that equals The Most Expensive Brussel Sprouts EVAH!

This is the fridge/freezer this afternoon. (Slowly starting to restock it.) I'm now taking a break in the middle of scrubbing out the whole thing. Even more fun? My uncle and a cousin are stopping by for dinner tomorrow night on their last night in the US before returning home to Australia. Thankfully it's only the fridge that's bare.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pre-Pregnancy Weight Goal Achieved!

On the 14th of September 2009 I weighed 255.5 lbs or 115.9 kgs. That day I set myself a goal of losing 20.5 lbs. Upon starting to write this, I realised that my actual pre-pregnancy weight was 238 lbs*, but considering how sleep deprived I was last September, I forgive myself for my lack of maths skills. (255.5 minus 20.5 for an even total of 235.0 is so much easier than 255.5 minus 238. LOL)

On the 31st August this year, I weighed 232.1 lbs or 105.27 kgs. I didn't count that weigh in because I was in the midst of the meltdown about my teeth and cpap--update on that in another post--and losing 5 lbs in one week due to my stress-induced lack of appetite meant I'd most likely regain that weight anyway.

The following week's weigh day we had to rush off that morning on errands, so I didn't weigh myself.

On the 14th September (nicely symbolic I thought) my weight was 234.4 lbs or 106.3 kgs.

This morning I weighed in at 232.4 lbs or 105.41 kgs, and thus now consider myself having reached my pre-pregnancy goal weight. Now, if my maths skills are a little better this morning, I believe that comes to a total weight loss of 23.1 lbs or 10.49 kgs in just over 12 months. Nice, slow and steady. Just how I would like to lose my excess weight.

*Ironically, going by the 238 lbs, I've been under goal since 24th August when I weighed in at 237.4 lbs or 107.68 kgs. More exciting in one way that I've been under longer, but less exciting because I was so thrilled about achieving, and maintaining, under 235lbs, which I THOUGHT was my pre-preg goal weight.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Distraught.

The last few days I've been so distressed I've barely been able to eat. The CPAP machine, that wonderful life saving device I use to help me breathe while I'm asleep, is steadily screwing up my face. And I don't mean in a cosmetic sense.

It's literally shoving my lower jaw to the side by at least half a centimeter so far, receding my gums, making my molars and incisors lean inward like the Tower of Pisa, and all my other teeth as a result are screwing up as well. For those of you that have had braces or similar dental work, you know that horrible dull ache I'm talking about. Add to that an occasional sensation similar to when you eat too much wasabi in one go (albeit not quite as intense, but definitely those kind of prickles up the sinus cavity), a headache and a sore ear = a physically miserable me.

That's just the physical side. The emotional and mental anguish are seriously off the scale. I'm so angry that, yet again, there's a bitter pill to swallow in amongst the joyousness. This teeth thing aside, I'm ecstatic about how much more alert I am, how much more energy is flowing through my system. Most especially with how much more I'm the mum I want to be to Kiddlywink. And then this teeth/jaw thing happened and I've freaked the hell out.

Pure and simple, I need the cpap to live. Not only live but have good quality of life. But with how much my teeth and jaw have moved the past few nights, what damage will happen over the next months/years?

A respiratory technician from the medical supply company was s'posed to come out yesterday to help try on different masks to see if they'd help. But when I told him the actual problem, and after he spoke to his supervisor, there's nothing they can do for me.I have to see my sleep doctor tomorrow and hope that he can give me a solution that keeps my teeth and jaw happy while allowing me to live to a ripe old age, without also screwing up anything else!

And oh how I want to live. Apart from living my own life, I have a gorgeous girl who needs me, and I need to see her grow up.

I know I need that cpap. I fell asleep one night without it, too scared to put it on because of what it's do to my jaw/teeth, and it stayed on the pillow beside me. I woke up two hours later gasping for breath and with my heart absolutely pounding in my chest. Not too long ago, that was normal. Now that my body is refreshed I now know how awful/bad my body actually feels when I sleep without the cpap working.

I'm hoping and praying that the doctor can help me, because if he can't...I don't know how to cope. Living in fear of one's life is no way to live, lemme tell you!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Commence Operation Bye-Bye Bouncer

Cue the next step in my recovery. Now that I'm getting enough sleep it's time for Kiddlywink to learn to fall asleep in her own crib/cot. Her dependence upon the bouncer to fall asleep came about through a series of events that we were unable to prevent. First of all we had to keep her upper body elevated for half an hour after she finished eating because she'd upchuck if we didn't. (Alaskaboy could wear her in a baby carrier, but I couldn't.) Secondly, I had to use a breast pump after she did finish eating, so what better way to combine the two than pump while rocking her to sleep in her chair. (Then Alaskaboy could carry her into bed until I was recuperated enough to do so.) And finally, even after she had grown out of her upchuck episodes at about 4-6 months old, I was well beyond exhausted thanks to my sleep apnea. I hadn't recovered enough to try attachment parenting either.

With Alaskaboy gone anywhere from 12-16 hours per day, I used the quickest means necessary to get Kiddlywink to fall asleep, so that I could then drag my sorry arse to bed...often napping on the couch instead. Many times I'd wake up to Kiddlywink complaining that I'd fallen asleep mid-bounce...before she was asleep!

With this being the norm until beyond her first birthday, (we and) Kiddlywink developed her bedtime routine around the use of the bouncer. A couple of months ago we'd almost completed the first stage of transferring bedtime, by making it normal for her to be bounced in her bedroom rather than the lounge room, but then teeth started happening and her schedule went to shit.

Plus, we realised she wasn't emotionally ready for the transfer to falling asleep in her bed. Neither did I have the mental or emotional fortitude yet to deal with the potential screaming/crying. So why not wait a little longer to make the eventual transition easier on all of us? Waiting until she's ready worked for other developmental stages, hopefully it'll work with this one too.

I was rested enough a couple of weeks ago to start attempting Operation Bye-Bye Bouncer, but she was showing signs of cutting another pair of teeth. Everything I learned as a nanny plus all the current resources I've perused for tips on changing a child's routine suggests avoiding doing so while they're teething. Too much happening at once for them to concentrate on = bad juju.

The first night it worked like a dream. I read to her while we both sat on the rocking chair. Then she had some quiet time in her crib while I read some more. I even read a few pages of a novel while she read some of her own books to herself. There were a few crying fits I had to soothe, but then she went straight back into bed when she calmed down. We gave Blinky Bill umpteen kisses, and then she almost fell asleep but couldn't quite get there on her own and began to cry again in frustration. I hadn't expected her to do half as well as she had done already, so I picked her up and rocked us both in the rocking chair. Eventually she was relaxed, sleepy, and not quite comfy enough, so I hoped for the best and plopped her back into bed. And after a few strategic moves to get comfy, she was out like a light!

The next day was one of those nights where she simply refuses to sleep for anything other than a couple of brief spurts. (Have one of those every 6 weeks or so just before she has a mental or physical growth spurt. I guess every child's sleep regressions are different.) We'd also switched to a night shift schedule, another clue for us that she was ready for a change in the bedtime routine. Unfortunately the sleep regression meant she was overtired each time we tried to repeat the success of the previous night. Everything I did led to screaming and screaming, so after about half an hour of scream/soothe/read/scream/soothe/read/read/scream/soothe etc I admitted defeat when she got to the point of crying so hard she dry heaved. Thirty seconds in the bouncer and she was out cold.

Last night, she couldn't settle in the bouncer either so back into bed she went and as long as I leaned over the side of the crib breathing deeply and evenly at her, she was content to lay there till she fell asleep. She had a four hour nap during the night, was awake at an ungodly hour, then back in bed by 7:30am. Again, falling asleep in her own bed after a little time in the bouncer. In the bouncer she held a book against her mouth as she comfort-sucked her bottom lip. That made her Mama Bookworm VERY proud. LOL

Today I'm applying what I've learned from the last few days. Kiddlywink showed signs of stirring between 1:30 and 2pm, so I woke her up. (Much more reasonable than after 5pm!) This afternoon's nap, we got her ready for bed at the first sign of tiredness. (Yesterday it was easy, she very blatantly handed me a book and climbed into my lap to snuggle in.) I placed her into bed and read from the rocking chair. She lay in bed doing her comfort lip suck and almost fell asleep a few times while I read to her.

After awhile I left the room to bring in the card table so I could fold some clothes, unfortunately that was a mistake because she'd dropped off in the few seconds it took to get a drink of water and the table. Deservedly so, she was very cranky now, so I picked up her to soothe her tears and then back into bed she went. About two minutes later I could tell she wasn't going to fall asleep again on her own, so when she stopped the little test boo-hoo-hoos that she did, I picked her up and put her in the bouncer. (No way do I want to reinforce crying = bouncer!)

Instead of waiting until she was deeply asleep like we used to do, I picked her up out of the bouncer as soon as she was asleep. She disturbed, but this time she snuggled back into bed and fell asleep on her own after a few minutes. Hooray!

Gradually, cautiously, and above all else while keeping her relaxed about the process, we're implementing Operation Bye Bye Bouncer. Taking bits and bobs from all different sources and applying the advice that works for us and making up the rest as we go along. The most important lesson I'm learning as a parent is that sometimes kids can follow the advice books or what works for other people you know, and sometimes we've gotta figure it out together by ourselves.

Bonus is, when Operation Bye Bye Bouncer is eventually successful, I can then implement Operation A Little Extra Time To Get More Stuff Done!

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me.

Thanks to the lovely Rita over at The Giggly Bits I've been in a bit of a tizz lately. Awhile back she tagged me and I was IT! But I then had to come up with ten things about me that a) you don't already know, b) I want the internets to know about, and c) that isn't boring as bat shit.

I hope I've manage to do that. But first.

* Thank my friend for giving me the award. Danke, Rita!
* Link back to the giver. I give you...The runningest Rita I know!
* Reveal 10 things about me. C'mon brain, we can do this!

1. During a round robin softball tournament, the team I played for was the only one to beat the team representing Japan.
2. As a child my dream was to grow up, fall in love, get married, have children and be a housewife. Mission accomplished.
3. As a young teen I used to cook dinner for my family and I'd dress the table up nice and then we'd eat by candlelight. Romantic candlelit dinners for the whole family. LOL
4. It took me a long time to realise that romance isn't flowers, candles, chocolates, loving odes etc. Romance is whatever my husband does that makes me feel special and/or melt into a big puddle of goo.
5. It's almost impossible for my husband to surprise me with something. Somehow, even without trying, something always occurs for me to figure it out beforehand. I have learned to keep my mouth shut if I do figure it out though.
6. I wish I could learn to scuba dive, but my slight claustrophobia prevents that happening. If science came up with a way to give us amphibious capabilities...sign me up!
7. I have a photo of me holding an actual Hugo award. It's above my desk. Alaskaboy taped a speech bubble to the frame that says, "I can haz a Hugo award!"
8. I wish I hadn't cared so much what other people thought/said about me as a child/teenager.
9. I'll give people the benefit of the doubt, but once I get to the point of no return, there's no going back. When you're wiped, you're wiped. I get that from my Dad's side of the family.
10. I hate to speak in public. Certain situations I'm fine, but put me in the spotlight and I freak out. I spent my wedding day happy but unnerved by all that attention.

And last but not least, I tag the gorgeous, Shauna!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Same Weight, Different Body.

This month when I took my progress photos, I couldn't tell much difference in the two lots of swimsuit photos. The photos of me wearing jeans are a whole different kettle of fish though.

The top photo in each lot was taken on May 17th 2010.


The bottom photo in each group was taken on July 28th 2010.


In each of these photos I weigh exactly the same weight. 242.9 lbs.



That is the same pair of 18W jeans. The same weight on the scales. But in May I had to push and shove my lower belly into the jeans to get them to even come that far up. Today, yes there was still tugging, tucking and shoving, but there's a world of difference in the fit. And no, the jeans haven't stretched. In fact, they were washed and dried in between. In all probability that made them a little more snug than they were in May.

Scales shmales, I say!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Joy In Motion.

So many diet books talk about finding ways to appreciate yourself, to even love yourself and your body. It's a shame that we have to find ways to love ourselves once more. I wish I'd never stopped loving myself in the first place. How do I know that I once loved myself? And with unreserved adoration at that! Because Kiddlywink has shown me just how wondrous I thought I was.

I usually don't pay much attention to the mirrored wardrobe doors in the bedrooms. I neither pass judgment on myself nor do much positive reinforcing anymore. They're simply a part of the room and my reflection comes and goes as I pass by. Now that Kiddlywink is old enough to run up and down, jump about, and dance on our bed, I see how she watches herself in the mirror as she moves.

She flirts with herself. She delights in the way her body moves. She even kisses herself through the mirror. In little ways and in blatant ways she adores herself. Her body is a source of wonder, joy, exhilaration and sometimes frustration, but always she loves it.

I always knew she'd be teaching us as much as we would be teaching her. Now I need to take a leaf out of her book and find joy in motion and in myself.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

The New Normal.

What has been normal for the past 18 months or so has been for me to do what little I can, while I can and then spend the rest of my time recuperating from that minimal effort. Now that I'm getting better rest once more, I find myself floundering a little. In some ways it's like I'm starting again in regards to healthy habits. I feel as if I'm learning all over again how to run a household, and since Kiddlywink has only seen me not well, it's almost like we're going back to her being a newborn again in regards to getting her and myself on some sort of schedule.

The kicker of it is, I don't have that rosy glow I used to get when I was still in diet mentality. You know what I mean, that first flush of excitement as you plot and plan your daily meals; the virtuous smile you get when you spot someone else "doing it wrong"; the rush of watching the first few pounds drop off in a matter of weeks. These days it's not a rush, more of a plod. I can't be arsed weighing/measuring any scrap of food, let alone every morsel, especially when I'm preparing meals for Kiddlywink as well.

In fact, it's preparing her meals that has made eating healthy feel real to me in a way it hasn't done in a long time. Last week, Alaskaboy and I had a fit of the lazies. When we were almost to the end of the week, it dawned on me that Kiddlywink had been eating from our plates, as is her wont, and she'd had a more unbalanced diet as a result. Then, horrified, I realised her actual meals had also been pretty piss poor because we hadn't been paying attention to what she'd eaten over the course of the day. We'd gone for what was easiest to let us continue being lazy.

The last few days I've concentrated on bringing up her nutrition levels, while ensuring I ate at least one healthy-ish meal per day. To simplify things a little for me since I didn't have the brain power right then to concentrate on my food as well as hers, there were also two days I tried following a meal plan from one of my low fat cookbooks. Even eating intuitively, I had eaten my "allowed" amount within eight hours of getting up. One, the calorie count is too low for me at the moment, and two, I'd snookered myself because it's PMS week.

So, the upshot of it all is, I'm trying to figure how to get us to a new normal. Slightly more scheduled days are better for a toddler. Intuitiveness is well and good, but it must also be tempered by a certain amount of scheduling. Am hoping our normal will eventually involve daily exercise, a few outings per week to prevent cabin fever, some form of housework/tidying per day, and more healthy home cooked meals than convenience products. Even, dare I say, some writing time could be in my future!

That's the bitch of it all, trying to find a workable, moderate solution that I can keep doing every day. Am hoping to get a fair bit of this sorted out before Kiddlywink grows out of her bouncer. That's gonna be a whole other challenge, getting her to fall asleep in her cot/crib.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

The good, the bad and the hopeful.

My dirty dozen challenge went by the wayside. It was ambitious of me to attempt that anyway, then Kiddlywink came down with a cold and Alaskaboy had two full weeks of work at the same time. Thus I ended up as rundown and exhausted as I was around New Year's time.

Last night, for the first time in approximately two years, I slept seven hours straight.

What bliss to conk out for the night then wake up with a painfully full bladder the next morning and head off to the toilet for that sweet "ahhh" of relief. Of course there are recent nights where I had to pee in between, but only the once per night. Now that I've had some good quality sleep, I've remembered what sleep used to be like. To be honest, I'd completely forgotten.

Nearly two weeks ago I got my CPAP machine. I got used to wearing it while watching a movie the first couple of nights, then used it for naps the two days after that. My first few full nights wearing the machine I only needed five hours of sleep. In five hours I was just as, or even a little more, rested than I'd been recently with 8-10 hours sleep plus two daily naps. After a few more days of this I was back to peeing only once per night, and actually getting 6-8 hours every night.

Unfortunately, prior to getting my cpap I'd gotten that run down that I had given myself an abscess in my bum crack. And then once that course of antibiotics were completed, and not taking enough probiotics while doing so, I gave myself a UTI. So, I wasn't feeling the full benefits of the sleep I was getting because I was also feeling slightly crapola from what I was fighting off.

BUT I shudder to think how I would have felt without the machine, because despite the infection I was feeling so much better than I have in a long time. Every family member and friend I've spoken to recently on the phone/Skype has commented how much more like myself I sound.

The most dramatic difference I think was for Alaskagirl. We last spoke when I'd gotten the machine but hadn't used it for sleep yet. Then they left for their usual short summer getaway. When they returned I'd had over a week's worth of good sleep. While I was speaking with her, I could even hear and feel the difference in our conversation myself. I wasn't struggling to sound peppier than I was feeling, I actually was that peppy.

I've even noticed I'm even finding it easier to breathe during the day. Alaskaboy figures that's because my lungs aren't straining to inhale all night long and thus are actually rested when I wake up in the morning.

Yesterday and today I've been suffering leg cramps. More than I've had in any 24 hour period for months now. My own fault though. I was feeling so much better I forgot about watching my potassium levels and forewent my gatorades, plus we ran out of bananas and avocadoes and I failed to buy more. I think I'd hoped that the leg cramps were only an oxygen deprivation problem and would miraculously disappear once I started getting sleep.

There's been an interesting side effect from getting more sleep. My weight or diet haven't changed, in fact I ate pretty crap the last few weeks, but my body has changed. I'm fitting clothes better. Some t-shirts are downright loose. I even had to tighten my bra straps by over a centimetre! There is one thing odd I hadn't realised I'd noticed a difference in until this week; my socks have started to slide on like they used to!

Knowing I still have to pay attention to possible leg cramps, plus my ability to have good sleep, once this spate of them settles down I'm hoping to be able to get back to regular exercise and see even more positive changes in my body.

There's still a lot of sleep debt to repay, but at least now I have a more valuable currency to work with. :)

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

June Challenge.

Now that the McFarty Challenge is completed. I'm motivated for a different challenge.

I'm going for a Dirty Dozen Challenge.

4 Weeks this month.
3 days per week.
45 minutes of exercise on each of those three days.

Since there's actually 4 and a bit weeks this month I suppose it's technically the Baker's Dirty Dozen Challenge. 13 workouts of 45 minutes each. Here's hoping to get more regular exercise in!

Oh, and we're planning on keeping up the McFarty Challenge this month too. Both Alaskaboy and I enjoyed the increased amount of legumes in our diet.

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McFarty Challenge Recap.

For the whole challenge, I ate more fish than I'd planned. I was disappointed that on one of the days of fear eating this week that I didn't eat any legumes at all. But, considering there was more than one day over the challenge that I ate legumes at least twice in a single day, I'm actually counting this as a successful challenge. (I also wasn't going to shove in some legumes JUST to say I'd eaten them. Did enough overeating with other things, thanks very much!)

For several days we'd misplaced the camera, and then there was some fear eating days where I didn't take photos.

Sunday 16th:


Monday 17th:

Tuesday 18th:

Wednesday 19th:

Thursday 20th: Lost the camera, but did have leftover dhal poured over broccoli, with toast on the side.

Friday 21st: lost camera. Bean salad.

Saturday 22nd: lost camera. Bean salad.

Sunday 23rd: lost camera. tuscan beans.

Monday 24th: dhal with lunch.

Tuesday 25th: baked beans with breakfast

Wednesday 26th: red bean buns with brunch.

Started fear eating. Half a Costco-sized cheese pizza over the rest of the day.

Thursday 27th: Did NOT have legumes today at all.

Friday 28th:Red bean buns.

Saturday 29th: bean salad.

Sunday 30th: Finished the last of the bean salad.

Monday 31st: Minestrone soup for dinner.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Sleep Study Results Ar In!

I've got Severe Sleep Apnea. In every 30 second window I only breathe 2-4 times. The rest of that 30 seconds is spent trying to breathe, and failing. Sheesh. No wonder I'm exhausted!

We're now waiting for my insurance company to give their approval for me to have the cpap machine. When that's approved a medical supply company will come out and set me up with my new bestest friend.

The difference between the graph when I was sleeping without wearing the machine and the graph from when I was wearing it...amazing! It explains why that hour and a half sleep I got while wearing the machine actually felt like 3-5.

Really hoping the insurance company approves it soon.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Can't blame this binge on PMS.

Earlier this week I started to struggle.

The euphoria from being able to workout on the Wii Fit ebbed and my annoyance with its focus on BMI grew. I wish there was a way to put the default screen to show Fit Credits instead of BMI. As it is, every time I log in, I watch my graph go up and down, all the while trending upwards. The first two weeks it had trended down a whole five pounds, then all of a sudden I was back up two and a half pounds. (There's a reason I switched to only weighing once a month!)

I let the scale do my head in and I cracked the shits. Monday and Tuesday were binge days. Not huge amounts of food like I used to eat, but certainly more than I eat these days. Eating without being hungry also took place. And I binged on a t.v. series marathon.

But, being angry at the scale was only part of the issue. I'd had too much caffeine which kept me awake for twenty four hours. Plus, I was furious that I'd need to have the sleep study, and even if I lose weight, there's no guarantee that I'll get off the machine again.

Sadness. Frustration. Anger. Fear. These are the four major emotions that I hide behind a shield of food.

This evening after a long tiring day where everything I did seemed to be the wrong thing to do or say, I had a short nap on the couch. It refreshed me slightly and soothed my headache and neck ache enough that I could finally give in and cry. You see, I'd forgotten two key lessons I learned a long time ago.

(The following two excerpts come from a post I wrote back on the 2nd of May, 2007. I'm only including the points that are pertinent for me to be reminded of today.)

1) The scales:
"The number on the scale lies you see. It said I've gained only a little. But what does that mean really? All the scales can tell me is the gross weight of my body. Just like I was a packet of sausages you'd buy at the butchers. It doesn't tell me my “nutritional breakdown” ie how much fat, lean meat, water, fillers etc are within my casing. But, unlike that packet of sausages, I'm more than the sum of my parts.

Scales (mine at least) don't show that I've lost muscle tone and gained some fat over the last four weeks. My clothes and the mirror show me that.

The scale doesn't tell me how I'm progressing with my healthy lifestyle. The amount of time I spend doing activities other than binge eating or obsessing about food are a better gauge of that.

A set of scales has no clue about how much improvement I've made in learning to deal with the situations in my life, and my emotions about them. My family, friends and myself are the reflection of my emotional balance."

2) Emotions: "In the earlier half of the month I was cheating. I assumed that because I had acknowledged that I was scared, angry, fearful etc that I was done with those emotions. Acknowledging them isn't always enough. I have a full range of both positive and negative emotions. That's what makes me more than a sack of meat. And if I want to continue to be more than my organic compounds, I need to feel those emotions. Express them. Not hide behind an intellectual analysis of how I'm feeling.

Feel my emotions. Release them. Laughing, crying, shouting... these are all things that are easy to do when happy. But, to cry, shout, quiver, punch an inanimate object, or however you express yourself when angry, that's considered a lack of control.
Myself personally, I've come to consider it a better expression of control if those emotions can be expressed. Especially if it's in a constructive, rather than destructive way. Pressure needs to be released, else the system explodes. Many machines are built with safety valves in them. We have one too. Our emotions. "

I released another bit of the pressure today with my crying fit. I'm betting there's more to come. Hopefully I can let it out as it needs to be, instead of bottling it up so tight.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week Two Recap: McFart Challenge.

Nary a glimpse of hummus this week. But oy vey, the bean salad. I was hooked on it!

Day 8: Started off the week with a Japanesy-hawaiianish meal; edamame, Asian-style coleslaw and a pineapple teriyaki, ahi tuna, rice noodle and veg stir fry.
Day 9: A lebanon bologna, havarti, miracle whip and cucumber sandwich with bean salad.
Days 10 and 11 were bingeish days and I couldn't be bothered taking photos. Funny how those two seem to go hand in hand. But I did eat bean salad on each day.

Day 12: Yep, more bean salad. Along with a roast chicken and salad sandwich plus watermelon.
Day 13: A simple classic, baked beans egg and toast.
and in the evening a bean salad, tuna, avocado, sun dried tomatoes and pasta salad.
And to give me two weeks McFarted, beef and bean tacos.

And I ate fish three times this week, there was another meal of the pineapple teriyaki ahi tuna stirfry. This time with wheat noodles and slightly different vegetables

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tonight.

Events moved faster than anticipated, and I'm having my sleep study done this evening.
Wish me luck!

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Challenge update and a WooHoo Moment.

Funny thing, it worked out that I ended up eating chickpeas in various forms six days out of the seven.

Day One: We had a picnic lunch.

Day Two: Was a chickpea salad.

Day Three: This falafel sandwich I threw in my face after arriving back from shopping absolutely starving.

Day Four: Lunch was falafels. Dinner? Mmm, mexican food! Black beans and rice on tacos.

Day Five: Leftover black beans and rice mashed with egg and breadcrumbs then made into a burger.


Day Six: A snackish kind of day.

Day Seven: Starters and some pasta.

We'd planned a few different meals, but the days didn't always play out like we'd hope and often it was go with the easiest legume option possible. It helped that the start of this challenge coincided with one of our hummus kicks. ;)

I also exceeded my fish expectations for the week. :)
On Day Two I was really in the mood for fish, at lunch and dinner time.:



I'm elated, despite being slightly sore, to announce. . .this evening I walked 2 miles. WOOHOO! I haven't done that since just before I got pregnant. I'm also very excited that even with taking it nice and slow it only took us 57 minutes to do it. I'd expected it would take over an hour. :)

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Cooking With Kada!

(Double posted at Kada Noms, my food photo blog.)

One of my favourite pasta dishes I learned to cook as a chef is Penne Pasticciate: chicken, mushrooms, avocado, pesto, cream, and a dash of Napoli sauce. When I was in the midst of hard core calorie counting, there was no way I would ever make that dish or Quattro Formaggi. So, I figured out a way make it lower fat. I used fat free cream cheese and fat free evaporated milk in place of the cream, and added a couple of finely chopped sundried tomatoes on a whim when we had no pesto.

Over the years, once I switched to intuitive eating and stopped counting calories, I've slowly perfected the balance of flavours. It no longer resembles a pasticciate but instead has come to be its own dish. Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Pasta. It's become our Go To dish when we want some lusciously rich and creamy pasta rather than a tomato-based sauce. It also doesn't leave the lingering fatty aftertaste I find I get these days from cream-based sauces.

Figuring some of you out there might like to try it, I finally took the time to measure out the ingredients, rather then going by eye.

And, here's the recipe.
(Serves three-six, depending on your appetite and if you eat it by itself or have sides with it.)

1 organic* chicken breast, diced small
half a pound of mushrooms**, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3-5 garlic cloves, sliced, chopped, crushed, however you like it.
sundried tomatoes in oil and herbs, approx 10-15 halves, chopped (about 1/3C chopped)
1 tub chive and onion cream cheese
1 can fat free evaporated milk
1 avocado, chopped
Whatever shape pasta you like to eat, cooked to your preference. (Although, angel hair and small macaroni tend to get lost in the sauce, and pappardelle and gnocchi are too rich, plus have the wrong mouth feel.) We've successfully used farfarlle, penne, spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, radiatori, spirelli, gemmeli and many more.

*Often when using Tyson's/Foster Farms/non-organic I'd have to use 1.5-2 breasts because they pump them that full of broth there's not enough meat when the liquid all cooks out.
**baby portabellas in this case, regular buttons will do.
(LOL The garlic WAS resting on the can, but fell down between it and the mushroom container.)

Step 1: melt 1Tbs olive oil and 2tsp butter in a frying pan/skillet. Add mushrooms and onion and cook until onion starts to go translucent and mushrooms are half cooked...only just starting to go brown.

Step 2: Add the chicken, tomatoes and garlic. Cook until chicken is half cooked..still a little pink in some spots.

Step 3: Throw in the evaporated milk and cream cheese, then stir to combine. Have to get in there and smoosh up the cream cheese really good with your spoon. One it starts to bubble, turn to low heat. The milk can stick on the bottom and burn, if the flame's too high.

Step 4: You're ready to add the avocado when the sauce is halfway to coating consistency. i.e. It hangs on the spoon a bit but still mostly drips off.

Then plop in those delish green morsels. Like olives, avocados get added towards the end, we only want to heat them through, else they go bitter.

Step 5: When the sauce gets to coating consistency it's time to add the pasta.

Step 6: It may or may not need another minute or two to really get the sauce coating the pasta. Once it gets to the point when stirring it around parts the waves, so to speak, it's done.

Step 7: Use a pair of tongs to pull out the pasta and put it in pasta bowls or on plates, then divide the remaining meat/veg/sauce between them. (Little restaurant secret for dishing up good looking piles of pasta.)


Buon Appetito!

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Non-Scale Victory.

My post-caeserean non-scale victories have been a little more basic than any physical ones in the past. I've gradually increased the distance I walk in the pool. I've begun to be able to swim very short distances again. I've moved into a slightly shallower area of the pool for my pool walking, which increases the weight I'm actually bearing. I've also increased the speed at which I walk, driving through the water now instead of gingerly ambling along.

Yesterday, because we rushed out of the house in time to get to the pool before they closed for cleaning, we only had limited time to get any exercise in. That's minor NSV One; previously we would have said, "Fuck it, it's too late, let's go tomorrow."

I got in the pool with forty minutes til closing time. Kiddlywink was snoozing in her stroller/pram on the side, where I could keep an eye on her, and knowing a) she could wake up any second and b) time was of the essence, I pushed myself harder than I've done since her birth.

I busted out 700 yards in 25 minutes. That put me on target to complete a mile in 60 minutes. Ten minutes faster than any previous mile. Although, I'm sure if I'd kept going it probably would have only ended up a minute or two faster, but still!

Then, we had a full day of grocery shopping, errands, cooking, and no naps. Then, sometime around 9:30pm I felt the need to do some more exercise. Not in reaction to what I'd eaten during the day, but because my body felt like it had been shortchanged on exercise. So, I got out the wii fit and proceeded to do the Wii Fit Plus training routine/Lifestyle/Warm up. Something I have done several times and enjoyed since we purchased it. THEN! I did one that has intimidated me the last few weeks, Wii Fit Plus training routine/Health/Over-Indulged. It's a more intense cardio workout and two minutes longer than the Warm-Up one. But for some reason I'd been terrified to even try it! Somehow I had it in my head that I couldn't do it.

Wait a minute! Late last year I was so thrilled when I achieved the NSV of being able to walk down a flight of stairs gingerly, but in the normal one foot in front of the other fashion. Now, here I am, not only doing that scary routine, but completing it in the same day that I'd done my fastest pool walk yet. And to do so...actually avoiding watching the last ever episode of a series we'd been watching on Netflix recently. And THEN helping with some more chores before we went to bed.

I'm a little sore in my ankles and lower half of my calves this morning, other than that I seem to be okay. A little woozy. That's my own fault though. I was so excited to share the news, I had to get up after not enough sleep and tell you. Now I'm back off to bed.

EditedToAdd: Nope. Didn't go back to bed just yet. Felt good enough to stay up and make a large batch of banana pancakes.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Recall for Children's Pain Relief Medicine.

I know there are some of you out there with young'uns, so I thought I better pass it on just in case, like me, you hadn't heard yet.

Don't know how many of you this will affect, but I came across this today quite by chance. Sadly, every single opened and unopened bottle we have of Children's Tylenol and Motrin has to be recalled.

Don't know if anything any of you have will be affected but here's the info just in case: Pain Medicine Recall Link.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

30 Day Farty McFarty Challenge.

It's been a long time since I've had a challenge of some kind. In light of that, I'd like to start things off slowly. This is a physical challenge, but not in the usual sense. There'll be no committing to certain amounts of exercise a certain number of times per week, I'm just not up for that, yet.

What I am up for is adding in more types of protein to my diet. With organic chicken and turkey so expensive, and my inability to eat organic pork, that leaves me eating a lot of beef and cheese for my protein. Both are good sources of saturated fat. While my cholesterol is all fine, my triglycerides are elevated, according to my very recent physical.

I've been trying to think of ways to reduce the saturated fats in my diet. I didn't realise it, but while pregnant I switched to cooking mostly with butter, it tasted so much better than the olive oil, and I've continued that practice. Cutting down the amount of butter I use is helping, I'm sure. This last week, I'm back to sauteing in olive oil. Today our toaster oven broke, so I toasted my sandwich in a skillet like I do on occasion....but without any butter on the outside of the bread. It toasted up deliciously!

Yesterday I thought of a new way. Nothing crazy! I'll include more legumes in my diet. So here we are with the Farty McFarty Challenge. A 30 day challenge to eat one meal every day that includes legumes.

I'll be trying to eat a new legume recipe once per week. I'd also like to include a fish meal once a week. However, I'm not setting myself up to fail if life gets busy. Those last two are merely things I'd like to do, time permitting, not part of the challenge itself. Why, yes, I have learnt something from all those previous challenges. LOL

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Sticking With It.

I've had an emotionally tumultuous week. Every day this week I've sat down to write a post about how blah I'm feeling. How sad I am that crap is happening with my extended family. How Nan is getting older and more infirm, as is Scruffy, and I may not see them again in person before they die. How I'm worried for my mum and wish I could be there to help her with Nan's decline, and help in a general sense as well. How playing degrees of separation with the blog rolls of people on my blog roll has led me not to inspiration like I'd been searching for but to jealousy and sadness. Instead of writing those posts, I've talked to my husband and done a lot of thinking, and some emotional eating.

Usually when I start feeling like this, and bemoaning my lack of readers or at least feeling jealous of all the comments other people get, it's because I'm avoiding another issue; I'm scared of something I don't want to face. Also it's usually a large hint that I'm getting cabin fever and in need of social contact. On the other hand, I've been feeling happy about how much and what kinds of activities I've been able to do on the Wii Fit.

At a few points in the doctor's office my voice became quavery as I held back my tears while we discussed my sleep history and need to have a sleep study done. Part of what I've been bottling up lately is my deep-seated hatred of all the medical yuckness that has happened to me in recent years. Possibly having to have a CPAP machine represents all of that.

Not only am I slightly claustrophobic and worried about how I'll cope with actually wearing the machine, not to mention making it to the toilet in time of a night if I have to delay to take off the mask, but I'm frightened that my body may never be normal again. And that, my friends, is what I've been avoiding. Reading all those blogs where the women have worked hard and had success, despite whatever has been going on in their lives at the time, only made me feel more angry and afraid. Pleased for them, but also jealous that they could lose their excess one hundred pounds in 1-3 years.

I'm so frustrated and sick and tired of working so hard only to have things happen TO me, things out of my control, which have these awful effects on my body. Effects that even IF I lose the weight may or may not disappear. Years ago I thought it was a simple solution, deal with my emotional issues, lose weight, get on with life. The point that I nearly lost it completely with the sleep doctor, was when I got up the courage to ask the hard question, "Because this came on while I was pregnant, and I'm anatomically predisposed to having sleep apnea, does this mean even when I lose a significant amount of weight, this may not go away?"

That's right. Even if I lose weight. Even if my life is so much better in many other ways, I may still have sleep apnea and my body may still be numb, and I may still have incontinence. The pity party started the minute I got home, as did the battle with my need to spew out into the blogosphere all of the awful things I was feeling. Instead, I went hunting for validation and hope, but found only my own inadequacies.

But then, I clicked on a link that Shauna had included in her Friday Link Feast. Reading that article, plus the pressure of all the positive things I'd achieved recently, turned me around to face a new direction. A new realisation. There are probably people out there who are just as jealous about the good fortune I have in my life. My medical issues could have been so much worse. I could have died, not only with the pregnancy but also with the antibiotic reaction. I could have died and Kiddlywink may never have existed. Every thing after that epiphany is gravy!

It's also the start of a new month. The days are getting longer. It's another month closer to December. This month my baby girl turns one! Alaskaboy and I'll be celebrating our seventh anniversary. And Mother's Day is next weekend.

That epiphany doesn't negate my feelings, but it's giving me a different perspective on how to work through them. Instead of being AS afraid of the CPAP machine, I'm at least now wondering how much my quality of life will improve once I'm getting more sleep. I know how much more alive and in the moment I feel now than I did in January...in 4-6 weeks, once we get the approval from our insurance, perhaps I'll feel a whole lot better again.

I've also switched to reading and thinking about other women that I know and admire, Shauna among them, who also took many years to lose their weight and did so despite physical and mental ailments during the process. Up and downs are part of my life. Those other new blogs/women I found were fortunate to be able to lose their weight so quickly. Good for them. I wasn't so fortunate in that way. BUT! I'm still here, alive and able to continue my journey. I'd forgotten that important fact.

This fabulous post over at Did I Just Eat That Out Loud also helped me realise that the journey is about having the heart to continue, even when it gets difficult beyond imagining.

Unlike the Tin Man, I do have a heart. Unlike the Lion, I do have courage. Those, along with my brain, plus my support network, will see me through: No matter HOW long it actually takes. LOL

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 25th Australian Time: ANZAC Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them. Never forgotten, always in our hearts. Lest We Forget

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Two posts in one day!

Lulled by how quiet she'd been for so long, I forgot to stay away from the quarantine area.

First, it was a whispered comment here and there as I passed by the door.
Then, like a cook does to frogs in a pot of cold water, she began to slowly increase the heat.
Eventually, she was murmuring a running commentary.

Under cover of this white noise, there was rattling of the cage walls whenever my attention was elsewhere.
As sure as night follows day, poking and prodding of the security system came next.
Seeing me passing by on such a regular basis, the guards began to lapse in their vigilance.
All too soon she had befriended them and she could come and go as she pleased.

Content for the moment, she revelled in her freedom, tagging along quietly in my wake.
Soon, the whispering began again.
Gentle nudges, blowing in an ear, pointing out pertinent sights, all of this and more followed as each success emboldened further efforts to guide me into seeing and doing only what she wanted.
Like any experienced rider, the accoutrements were all fitted into place in good order, then she mounted up.
And kept a firm seat.

Until today.
Somehow the bit was between my teeth and I ran with the unexpected freedom of it all.
With every drop of sweat that formed, her grip on the reins loosened.
With every inhale and exhale, she became closer to being unseated.
With every successful completion of a new activity, my confidence grew.

When I came to a halt, glorious in my rosy glow, my legs a tremble, and sucking in a well-earned drink, I realised a weight on my back had indeed come unstuck.

No wonder I've been dragging lately. I've been piggybacking LSED* everywhere I go!

I've known for years now that my confidence is bolstered by my strong body and good health. I didn't truly realise a major part of my self-concept relies on my good health and strong body. First the antibiotic reaction, then the birth aftermath, no wonder LSED was able to get out of her cage after I'd shoved here in so tight she could barely move.

Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed my increasing fitness with the activities I have been doing, but like so many things--with LSED's help, no doubt--mostly all I could see was how far I'd fallen from my previous abilities. Step-Aerobic-type exercise has been out of the picture for years now. Chances for nearly instant gratification for small challenges has been almost nonexistent also.

Ever since the first trimester of my pregnancy I've felt like I was going backwards instead of forwards. I'd worked so hard to improve from the antibiotic and there I was having to curb myself while my body did this other completely amazing and wonderful thing all on its own.

But now! I feel like all those painfully tiny steps I've been taking for so long have finally come together to be a noticeable and quantifiable progression forward.

As for LSED? She's gone into hiding. Looks like I'll need to keep building my strength and stamina for the upcoming hunt and recapture! {grin}

*For the latecomers, LSED = Low Self Esteem Demon

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Wake Up To Yourself.

Ever have one of those moments where you feel like the universe/god/whoever is giving you a big kick in the pants to say "Wake up and pay attention!"?

The last few months I was doing well; exercising regularly, not sleeping great but certainly sleeping better than I had in months, eating properly and then as the wedding approached, came, then went, I kinda slacked off a little. I didn't have my usual daily naps while away on vacation, plus then we got sick so I was sleeping even less. I ate a little more than I should have and didn't walk as much as I'd planned to.

The positive side of this, the scale only shows a 0.8 lb gain since February.
The downside of this, I'm exhausted again. Not quite as bad as in January, but I've undone some of the good work I did earlier this year.

I also sort of blew off the sleep study I'm supposed to have done. The week before we left for vacation I called to make sure the doctor's office faxed through the referral to the sleep specialist...but I didn't call to ensure it had arrived. I figured, if it was meant to be, it'd arrive. Besides my sleep had improved so much that surely I'd lose enough weight soon enough that the apnea would disappear, right? So, I could wait till we got back to set up the appointment.

We got back, and I put off calling.

And delayed some more.

And shrugged off Alaskaboy's suggestions to call.

Then on Saturday we received a card in the mail.

Years ago as we were first starting to get to know one another, J, a friend of Alaskaboy's mysteriously stopped talking to the whole group of friends. Alaskaboy and I have some theories on why, but we never found out the real reason. J, refused to tell anyone what was going on despite numerous attempts to find out.

The card came from his mother, who we've kept in contact with over the years.

At the ripe old age of 45, J, had died.

Now, he was a larger man who didn't take care of his health very well, but it also came to light in the past couple of days--at least to us--that he had suffered from sleep apnea.

Ironic, really. In one way, we're pretty sure, my appearance in Alaskaboy's life was partly the catalyst for their friendship breaking up, and yet J's now been the catalyst for me getting off my bum and getting truly serious about getting healthy. Part of the binge on the weekend was due to the shock at knowing J was dead, the rest was my more usual post-holiday and premenstrual stuff. But once it truly sunk in, the binge stopped cold turkey. And then I set about thinking of ways to improve my health as quickly as possible.

We bought the Wii Fit Plus, who cares if it's a little more expensive right now, I NEED it.
I contemplated going to weight watchers for a few months to get the weight to drop off...but I don't have the time or energy for their system, and I want the weight to stay off, not a diet I'll rebound from.
I'm back to watching my portion sizes, eating more fruits and veggies and drinking enough water.
I called the sleep doctor and then called my doc's office to get them to fax through the referral letter a third time.
Not sure what I'll do if it fails to go through yet again.

Any one else have moments where something has made you realise how much you're kidding yourself on a particular subject?

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wii're a better fit now?

One of the things I had been worrying about prior to our Easter vacation, stairs, proved to be a help rather than a debacle. Both Dr Kay and Alaskagirl have stairs in their homes. Technically, Mom and Dad do too, but since they only lead down into the basement, they're avoidable. Alaskagirl's stairs I could NOT avoid, because the main living area is the middle level and the toilets are on the upper floor and in the basement. Surprisingly, the very few times I peed myself were actually my own fault for not getting up and going at the first urge. Video games and good conversations have always tended to make me hang on as long as possible. That, coupled with the abdominal pressure of using stairs...as I said, my own fault.

What the regular use of stairs did do is give me some more muscle tone in my legs. It's not obvious, but somethings are easier than they were. The scales also show a gain even though my clothes are fitting a little better. All indicators that I'm putting on muscle mass. Hooray! What also helped me to gain muscle, despite my negative review of it last February, was Alaskagirl's Wii Fit.

Some of the games were much easier now that I'm not pregnant. Some were harder due to my new issues of numbness etc. What became more and more apparent as the weeks passed, is that I'm now in one of the target groups the Wii Fit is aiming for. I'm not strong enough or fit enough to attempt even an aerobics video warm up section. I am fit enough to swim a little plus do walking, but I know doing strength training will also help improve my fitness faster. But again, I'm not strong enough to do any affective amounts of repetitions. Enter the Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus.

The Wii Fit Plus has several new games that I can actually do. Games that work my cardiovascular system and my muscles in short bursts that can be increased as I get fitter. Games that I showed improvement on, even during the short time we were there. I still really dislike the negative chatter. I still think the inability to string together workouts sucks. But, hey, at the moment I'm barely capable of finishing the three minute segments, so that's not really a factor. I don't like to admit it, but in many ways my body is now like a beginning exerciser. And as "they" say, every little bit helps.

Since they're hard to find now; are even more expensive than the usual retail price at the few places they are available; and ESPECIALLY in light of the excess almost-one-thousand dollars we hadn't planned on spending during the trip, we fiercely debated getting one. Eventually the pros outweighed the cons, and we ordered a Wii Fit Plus yesterday.

Besides, come Christmas time when we go back, I want to be able to be in the running with the games I was able to play this time, and even participate in fun games I haven't yet been able to play. Competitive, me? Why, yes! Although, I think even the world's least competitive person would find it the slightest bit depressing when their four year old niece, without help from grown ups or an older child, scores better than them!

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Heading Home.

After an extra week here, being unable to fly on our original return date due to having colds, we're returning home this evening.
We're at that weird point where we don't want to go home, but we're also ready to get back to our own home and routine.
Despite the blahness of the cold, it's been fabulous, as usual, catching up with this branch of the clan.
Looking forward to catching up on all the blogs/news that I've missed out on during the last three weeks.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Easter Vacay!

Apologies to those I owe emails to! We've been really hectic lately. Alaskaboy got some unexpected work, we had Aunt and Uncle Traveller visit, normal busyness plus getting ready for a plane ride with a little one. To add to the fun, yesterday, Kiddlywink puked into her stroller more puke that it should have been possible to hold in her body. Cue frantic running around trying to find something to get rid of the smell, instead of the other necessary stuff that we'd allotted to do yesterday afternoon.

All Hail, Alaskagirl! Suggester Of Nature's Miracle! We sprayed one coat on in the early evening, after using a fan to dry out the vinegar/water solution we'd tried first. A second coat was spritzed on just before bed. Hardly any smell was left this morning. We're hoping by evening it'll be dry enough to use, plus neither vomit stinky nor Nature's Miracle scented! Excellent qualities for spending time in airports with a sensitive baby nose up close and personal.

I hope to find time to blog while we're gone. Am sure there'll be stuff to talk about in the lead up to the wedding, especially after the dress fitting. {sigh} It's a bummer when you lose weight, and everything firms up, thus making certain parts, that didn't need to be, broader than they were before!

We're off to stay with Alaskaboy's parents for a few days, then to another state for Dr Kay's wedding, and back to stay with Alaskagirl, BeeMaN, DuoLoq and Browneyedgirl. Poor Browneyed girl, she's been saying for days already, "I want to see them NOW!"

IF I don't catch up with yas before then, Have a happy chocolate day! Err.. I mean, Easter.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Progress!

I know these aren't really fair comparison shots, considering the angles are so different, but I felt it was time to post a POSITIVE update.

In these two photos taken in mid-January 2010, I'm wearing a maternity swimsuit top, size XXL and the bottoms are regular plus-size, size 26W/28W. (Granted they're starting to get baggy, but they still fit. The top is also tucked into the bottoms.)
By the end of February I HAD to go out and buy a new pair of bathers. The others had reached the point of ridiculousness beyond which the next stage was falling off! In these two photos taken in early-March, I'm wearing a regular plus-size swimsuit top, size 22W and the bottoms are regular plus-size 20W/22W.

This following swimsuit is the one I wore before I got pregnant. It's a regular-sized one, US18/AU22/UK20. Again I know, not fair comparisons because the angles are different, but there are certain areas that you can slightly tell the difference. Especially my feet. LOL

These two photos were taken early-September 2009. I weighed 250+lbs. I had to have Alaskaboy's help to wriggle into the swimsuit. The suit was stretched to maximum capacity and the straps dug into my shoulders, painfully .


These two photos were taken this morning. I got the suit on unaided and easily. I weigh approx 240lbs. (A month ago I weighed 245lbs. Even though our scales went on the fritz shortly after, I know I've lost weight/inches since.) I now understand what Shauna meant, when she wrote--and I paraphrase--at such a large weight, even taking off a fair bit of weight, it really doesn't show up yet.

I've lost a whole stone, and I can barely see any changes!
Other, more important to me than weight-on-the-scale, forms of progress:
-I know I'm making progress because I'm fitting into clothes that I wore during my first trimester. And I do mean fitting. Wearing the elastic waist slacks, I can sit on the couch then bend over to tie my shoelaces up, and continue to breathe while doing so!
-My parents have also noticed a difference in the way my belly hangs while sitting on the couch and talking via Skype. (But how much of that is weight loss progress and how much is tightening up as my body readjusts from giving birth?)
-I now pool walk 1 mile in an hour and ten minutes as opposed to the hour I would take to pool walk 1 kilometre back in December.
-In February I swam freestyle non-stop, unsupported, for ten lengths of the ten yard pool, or 100yards. In December I could manage one and a half lengths of the 25 yard pool, or 37.5yards, with a noodle under my belly for support.
-In November, it took me 29 minutes to walk 1.084 miles, and I was buggered. I can now walk the same distance in 26 minutes and feel comfortably tired.
-Using the frontmost set of steps near the pool, I can walk down to our mailbox, collect the mail, then walk back up the stair--one foot in front of the other without holding onto the rails--and only slow down a little 2-3 steps from the top. I'm puffed when I get to the top, but I can walk up them without thinking about it too much.

One day I hope to get back to swimming a full kilometre, and even better my PB for that distance. But for now, I'm congratulating myself on progress as I make it. As I've learned from watching Kiddlywink, a little bit of exercise every day soon turns into big steps you couldn't even dream about when you started those first little motions. (Is quite amazing watching how her body instinctively builds up her muscles for the next stage of her physical development.)

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

So many things to talk about: Part Quattro.

For those that missed the earlier installments: Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

It was awful, laying there beside my husband, in the fragile peace we'd spent all day brokering, knowing what I was about to say would create a whole different set of discord. How to tell the man who had been far more caring of me and my feelings, more patient, more loving and more sensitive than many other husbands would ever dream of being, that despite all that wonderfulness it was, ironically, his innate honesty that was hurting me the most?

Exhausted from what we'd already been through and how late Kiddlywink had stayed up, I ended up involuntarily blurting out, "I HATE my body!" Then I spent the next five minutes dissolving into a puddle of snot. Ever cried so hard you wanted to puke? I cried so hard that when it came time to stop it was like I was a kid all over again, making that horrible "fehFEHfeh" noise when you spasmodically suck your bottom lip into your mouth and take great shuddering breaths.

Me! The advocate of loving your body and being kind to yourself, hated my own body. I loathed it. And unlike fat, which is something you're "s'posed" to be able to do something about if you don't like it, I didn't know if the things I detested would ever be fixed. Me, the great solver of problems had met a problem I couldn't solve.

This is your Too Much Information warning. I'm going to talk, in explicit detail, about the postpartum physical problems my body is going through and my feelings and mental issues on the subject. If you don't wish to continue reading, fair enough, I'll see you on a later post.

The problem with getting enough sleep, is that I could no longer ignore my postpartum trauma. Sure, I'd logically discussed it with many people, I'd even had a sobfest or seven. More importantly though, I hadn't dealt with what had happened, what was continuing to happen, and what may or may not potentially happen in the future. Now I had the energy to deal with it, but not the desire. Funny how something which seems bad at the time ends up being a catalyst for something good? Alaskaboy's elephant had been noticed, and it led us on a merry chase to where I was forced to turn around and confront my own pesky pachyderm.

For those that aren't aware let me try to explain how my body has been affected.
Over the whole area from the bottom of my bra line to the tips of my toes, I have completely altered sensation. Any of you ever worn a wetsuit? Imagine that entire area is coated in a layer of neoprene. Like when wearing a wetsuit, I can feel that something is touching me, but nothing subtler than that. If I concentrate enough I can usually figure out what's happening, but I do have to concentrate...and often it's a guess based on information I'm getting from my other senses.
Add to that the weird, numb sensation you get when a body part is not quite all the way asleep yet. My outer two toes and parts of the soles of my feet are totally numb..which makes walking fun sometimes.
Add to that difficulty differentiating temperature differences and odd sensations caused by this. e.g. Sometimes walking on cool carpet feels like the carpet is wet.
Add to that the usual post c-section stuff. Complete numbness from belly button to bottom of pubic mound, even the labia and clitoral hood are mostly numb. (Thank god the clitoris still works...mostly) Weakened abdominal muscles etc
Add to that the usual postpartum vaginal differences...dryness, thinner skin, weaker pelvic floor etc.
Add to that a ventral hernia.
Add to that loss of muscle tone and weight gain from surgical recovery.
Add to that sacroiliac joint pain and weakness.
Add to that sleep apnea.
Add to that incontinence.

All of this and I'd done everything you're supposed to do in order to have a healthy pregnancy and easy delivery! For god's sake I was in the pool working out two days before delivery! While I was busily dying!

And therein was the crux of the matter. Despite all that I was going through, I felt awful for even thinking of feeling anything other than relieved to have a healthy, happy baby and grateful that I was alive. There were plenty of women/families who had it far worse than me. Who was I to bitch and moan about what was wrong when I had so much to be thankful for?

The problem with that though is it's not only black or white thinking but also Should thinking. And Should is a bad, bad word. Why did my gratefulness and relief have to preclude those other feelings? Why would feeling those things make my gratefulness and relief any less than their true depth? Just like Alaskaboy's problem, failing to talk about it only made the issue far worse by the time we eventually got around to discussing it. He'd betrayed me by not giving me the chance to fix it and failing to be honest about what was truly going on, and I did the same to him.

By caring about what I "should" be doing or feeling, I wasn't completely honest with him the very few times we've had sex since I gave birth. By not being honest I made the situation worse. Sure I was honest about the mechanics of it all; what hurt, what was okay, when we had to stop because I couldn't go any more, what didn't do it for me any longer etc. What I wasn't honest about was how I felt.

How I died a little on the inside when he'd grimace at the taste of the milk that remains in my breasts. A double psychological wound. It's the same face Kiddlywink pulled the last time I breastfed her and my milk had finally given up the ghost. Sure there's not enough there to feed my daughter, but there's enough to make my husband find me less enjoyable. (Poor bugger tried to hid it once he was aware of the problem, but it must be awful stuff because he still reacts in subconscious ways.)
How awful it feels putting weight on my numb knees.
How painful it is to be flat on my back.
How hard it is to hold myself in any position that allows for sex to occur.
How I would have to force myself to relax and how I dreaded the way my hips would cramp in the lead up to, or even during orgasm, because I could no longer tell my muscles were fatigued.
How just about every single part of my body no longer felt his touch the way it had.
How it felt like I was a virgin all over again, every single time, and he was hung like an actual stallion.
How frustrating all of this was because even when all the stars aligned and we had time plus desire to have sex, my body failed me yet again.
How guilty I felt because he'd been so patient and understanding, trying to find ways to solve all of the problems I had told him about.
How I'd cringe on the inside every time he'd muster the courage to ask hopefully if I was in the mood.

All of this and more came pouring out that night. We got hardly any sleep because it took that long for us to sort through it all. The shoe was also on the other foot. He'd known something was wrong, but hadn't been able to get out of me what was going on. Boy, did we both feel foolish after admitting our secrets led to something good and constructive.

By opening up to each other it's allowed us to work together on our issues. It's taken weeks and several more discussions but I'm helping him find solutions to his problems, and he's helping me with mine. (Who knew that we'd find so many other places that give me that delightful shivery feeling!) Our problems aren't one hundred percent solved-- for several reasons, one of which was jealousy that the character was awake and got to see her baby straight away, I sobbed for nearly fifteen minutes because of watching a cesearean delivery on a television show the other night--but we're working on them together as a couple again. Dealing with things takes time and effort, but it's so much more rewarding than the time and energy spent on denying stuff. I wish I could remember that whenever I'm in the middle of it all. But, I guess everything does happen in its own time.

I can honestly say I don't hate my body anymore. I'm often frustrated by it, angry with it, hurt or saddened by it, but I don't hate it. And I'm trying to accept and love it. Part of that has been to find the courage to write about all of this on here. Blogging is such an important part of my recovery. But, I used the excuse that I was writing too much about pregnancy related stuff, when it's a weight loss blog, not a postpartum recovery blog.

Well? I realised this particular part of my weight loss journey does involve post partum recovery. Those that don't want to read about it won't. Just like any other subject I discuss they don't want to read. It's my blog, and I have to write about the issues I need to write about. So, I did. And I will. Am pretty sure we haven't heard the end of this saga yet. ;)

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