Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ch-Cha-Cha-Changes

I can always tell whether or not I'm working out by the gap between blog posts.
I am no stranger to chaos, in fact my day doesn't feel normal if there isn't the usual amount of chaos. But I truly need a break from it all for a minute.
First things first, my blood work came back NORMAL, so no leukemia. I'll wait while you wipe your tears of joy. There are no words, when the big "what if I have cancer" question comes up, and you find out you are clear. How can I simply say that's a relief?! It is a real eye opener, and I am reading between the lines to get the message loud and clear.
The message, filtered through my husband and the various documentaries he's been marathon viewing on Netflix, is that, looking at nutrition on a MACROnutrient level is great if you want to look a certain way. If you want health, and not just the annual check-up kind, but the cancer-killing, every cell healthy kind, you have to look at nutrition on the MICROnutrient level. And everything I have been seeing is linking horrible diseases to all the unnatural things we put in our bodies. My husband went from a 250-grams of protein, bodybuilder dude, to a vegan. At some point, you have to take control of your health. In my case, my blood work could have gone the other way. I have spent years willing ingesting toxins, unnatural stuff that the body can't break down. One of my favorite documentaries we've watched recently is called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It's about an Austrailian man who did a juicing detox diet. It is interesting to see the changes in him throughout, especially his energy and enthusiasm. Another documentary showed the horrible conditions that animals are subjected to before and during the slaughter, and how the various hormones the animal had in them at death, are the ones we ingest,. And we've watched ones about water and water bottles and about food modification, and on and on. Every not natural thing we put in our bodies heightens our chances of causing genetic mutations in our own selves ( cancer) and if passed on, these mutations can result in all kinds of birth defects or disabilities. I have taken the information I have gained from watching these and am gradually making changes. No more sugar-free drink mix by the gallon. No sugar=no heart attack perhaps, but the artificial sweeteners and food dyes are toxins that have the potential to cause long term issues. Lets face it, what's the point of having a healthy heart if you are readying your body for cancer? I still eat tuna, which I'm sure is in some way bad too, other than the over-fishing issue. And occasionally on the weekends I still eat chicken if we are out. Though last weekend I ate a falafel pita at a gyro restaurant and it was fantastic! I am drinking only cold brewed tea at home, and my kids are following suit, and instead of Splenda we have switched to stevia, which is zero calories and comes from a plant, instead of being chemically modified in some factory. I am still eating dairy, and it has become a staple in my diet since I cut back on meat consumption. I'm not sure I will go all the way vegan, but I can definitely see vegetarian in my future, and I am trying to get more plant-based foods in my diet to amp up the nutrients. As I have said before, I am a perpetual work in progress. Right now I need to focus on my health instead of how I look. I just got word from my mother that two cancer diagnoses in her side of the family in less than 6 months means cancer now runs in both sides of my family. I've heard it said that if everyone lived long enough, they would eventually get one form or another of cancer, but it didn't used to be like that before we started eating/drinking pre-packaged, instant, mechanically-separated, genetically-modified, red#40 and Blue Lake-laden, artificially flavored, artificially sweetened ARTIFICIAL FOOD.
If we don't do anything to change the probability, how likely are the results to come out in our favor?
Rant over. This week in my house we are fighting a nasty stomach bug. I am happy to report that I think I may have fought it off, but am having an alternative drippy-stuffy-nose-bug and have been fighting a sinus infection for more than a week. I am taking honey as a supplement until I get the sinus infection under control. I have good and bad days with my knee, though I think the Baker's cyst has reduced considerably. Waiting for things to get back to normal is a bit like spring fever. I want it so bad I'm craving it, but forces beyond my control are saying, HAVE PATIENCE!
Anyway, this is a load of babble, but that's where I'm at. Hope you are doing well!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Yaaawn!

I am completely out of sorts today. When my alarm went off, I did not want to get out of bed, but I used my little trick of looking at Facebook on my phone which always keeps my attention long enough to wake me up. Once I got to the bathroom, I was trying to think of what to train. Many of the back exercises I have been doing are irritating my knee. And I can't train legs. Come to think of it, dancing, walking and Let's see... Just about everything irritates my knee. I was so tired, headache-y and crabby that I decided to try to get some extra sleep. But I didn't fall back asleep, despite feeling like the sandman put some extra gritty rocks in my eyes. Instead, I lay awake thinking about how frustrated I am that I can't do much with this stupid knee. My mood was foul when I got back up.
I brought my son to a doctor's appointment, as they are still checking to make sure his medicine is working well for him, then got him to school and I came to work and was able to sneak over to the lab and get my blood drawn to test for leukemia. It's 5:30 pm and I still have an hour of work left, and my yawning is nearly non-stop. Hope I'm not catching my son's head cold.
Not eating on plan or on schedule today. I am feeling quite vegetative in general, and really can't wait to go to bed tonight.
Today is not normal. Tomorrow is a chance to get things back in place.
Some days are just not for forcing things.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

My Fat Saved Me?

After worrying about what my MRI means, and wondering if I could have leukemia, and knowing there is no way I can wait 6 months to find out, my dr. ordered a blood test for me. I don't know if that is because he thinks it is possible or just to put my mind at ease, but this orthopedic surgeon is the only doctor I've been to that has taken me seriously. I told him I was concerned because cancer runs in my family, and he told his nurse a blood test couldn't hurt. I was thinking, do I really want a surgery if I have a blood problem? Then I felt comforted by the fact that he wouldn't have been talking about surgery if he truly thought I have cancer, and he would have mentioned blood tests when I was in the office too. A blood test will put my mind at ease, and then I will let it go. I am assuming I don't have cancer, but it does indeed run in my family. My dad lost both of his parents to it at an early age, and his brother too.
It has me thinking about the grand scheme of things, the reason some of these things are happening to me. You hear all the time, stories of people who go to the doctor for one thing only to discover something life-threatening lurking beneath the surface. They feel so grateful for the thing that caused them to go to the doctor. I was thinking of that with my knee, if I do have leukemia I will have caught it because of my bum knee. I had the bum knee because I ran without the proper training/form/shoes. I ran without those things because I felt like I had something to prove. I felt like I had something to prove because I had been trapped in obesity and its mindf*#k for most of my life. The same thing applies to my weight loss journey in general. I was just sick enough to need to go to a doctor to find out what was wrong. When I was diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blod pressure and pre-diabetes, it scared me enough to start making changes and I the changes I have made are so positive that I reversed those negative problems, and my blood pressure is stellar, even though I consume a moderate amount of caffeine. I think about my family history of heart disease, every one of my maternal grandparents have passed to either heart attack or stroke. Like 6 of them, that I know of. My mother has 8 brothers and sisters, all in their 50's and my uncle has already had a stroke. I am wondering about the rest of that side if the family, many if them overweight. Here's the point I'm trying to make, if I hadn't have been 'just sick enough' I would never have known that my blood was thick and sticky and just waiting to make me a statistic. I wouldn't have made the healthy changes that potentially saved or lengthened my life. I wouldn't have started running, the meniscus wouldn't have torn, I wouldn't have had the MRI that came up with medically unclear changes in my bone marrow.
I know it's a stretch to attribute all of these things to being obese for so long, but to me, it makes sense. I feel like I am being watched over, being led to have my health looked after whether I like going to the doctor or not. And all in all, I am in pretty good health for someone my age. I really truly believe its never too late to reverse some of the negative things we so to our bodies. The human body is amazing in its recuperative abilities. I know that no matter what the blood test shows, I am strong and able to fight for health, no matter how long it is before I get back in my feet after surgery, I am fierce in my will and I will make the best of it. To have a knee that works correctly will be a thing of beauty! Everything else is just details.

Friday, March 8, 2013

What The?

Waiting for news is tough. In my case, yesterday was the day I found out the results of my MRI scan, and it meant I was going to find out something truly was wrong with my knee, or that I just had a $4,000 test done for old fat lady syndrome. I was mentally arguing with myself all morning thinking, you should have waited to see if it got better, then I thought, it has been swollen and weak for 3 mos, and I haven't been able to squat down for a year.
Waiting to be called into the doctors office was torturous and my heart began to race a little. When they called my name I just about launched out of my chair thinking, finally some answers. They put me in a room and brought up my MRI images while I waited for the orthopedic doctor. As I looked at one of them I thought, what are those white specks? And I immediately hoped it wasn't rheumatoid arthritis, but I also had no idea what I was looking at. The doctor physically examined my knee, noticed some swelling still there despite the cortisone shot, them began going through the images with me. This looks good, that looks good, no arthritis...you have torn cartilage and a Baker's cyst about the size of a strawberry at the back of the knee. He explained that I would need surgery once the cortisone shot wears off, that the cartilage is not repairable because of its location, but that he needs to get the damaged stuff out. There are also signs of wear on the back side of the kneecap. He said he may be able to do simething about that while he's in there. After describing the procedure and the 4 -6 weeks off of work, he carefully approached the final bit of the radiologist's report. He zoomed in on my bone marrow and I saw those funny white specks/streaks that caught my eye before. The radiologist noted this discoloration as "changes in the marrow" of which the meaning was "medically uncertain". In other words, my bone marrow is changing, and they aren't clear as to why. My orthopedic doc said it could be as simple as my using the leg differently than I normally would, that it was probably a good sign that it was in both bones instead of just one, but that if I was concerned about it, that we could repeat another MRI in 6 months. I don't think I heard another word after that. I spent the rest of my day in nausea, thinking about my changing marrow and what that could mean. Then I thought about my earlier post, whining about not being able to run, and how insignificant it all was now. It was hard to even keep my head in eating healthy, as my first instinct was to comfort eat, but I stuck to healthy stuff, and just ate until I felt full and warm. I chose not to dwell on what could be and focus on the inevitable, I need surgery, and I need to come up with a plan to keep my head in the game so I don't end up in a really bad place when the knee is healed and I can be active again. I will be on crutches, so that's an instant upper body workout, right? And I'll be able to train abs and maybe do a little couch-dancing while no one's watching. At the end of the day, I have to focus on the positives. The knee is fixable and I bet my quality of life will be much improved after I get it dealt with. And no matter what that bone marrow business comes down to, I've got the best people around me to help me through whatever may come.
Happy Friday friends.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hey Jealousy

Spring is coming, I can feel it. I can draw in air through my nose and not have it instantly freeze. It has been sunny and warmer, snow is melting, I can even see grass in some spots. I am fully aware of the 18-incher that barely missed us this week, and that the weather can change at any point, but today it feels good to know we are almost done with the gloomy, bulky drudge of winter.
Today was also my fist day stepping foot on a treadmill since November when my knee became swollen. After my cortisone shot last week, nearly all of the swelling is gone, and it is snapping/cracking/catching a lot less, and what a miraculous thing it is to be able to bend my knee all the way. I noticed how weak it is once I started on the treadmill, I was grateful there wasn't any pain, but it's still not normal, I'm still favoring it and limping a little, which puts extra stress on my hips. I was frustrated more than once this morning, listening to some of my favorite cardio songs, which I used to be able to power through, and now I have to keep myself so reigned in. My body cannot reach the level if intensity that my mind is at, and I don't know that I've ever been this frustrated. All around me at the gym, there were people running. And me, limping beside them on slow-mo, listening to songs I used to run to; the very songs I was running to during my final, emotional run. AND I WAS JEALOUS. Jealous of all of those people running, and taking their ability to do so for granted. And I cursed my knee, and the years of not caring how badly I was damaging my body, not just my heart and my spirit, but my joints, my skin, my teeth, my hormones. Then I watched the others running and felt like I wanted to cry, or scream, or claw at something. What is my hang-up about running? When I'm doing it, it isn't particularly enjoyable. And personally I get a better endorphin rush from T-bar rows. And running makes my body feel like I've just done something I shouldn't have. I know it is totally mental and unrealistic (especially at the snail's pace that I run) but when I run, and accomplish my goal, it feels like my spirit is taking flight.
I don't know if I'll ever run again, I'll get my MRI results today and depending on what they say, I may bring it up to the ortho Dr, but I have to start finding something I can do without damaging myself further. All of what I'm going through right now was likely preventable. I don't want to be saying that again next year after trying to prove something else to myself.
If you run, and enjoy it, don't take it for granted!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Quick Update

A quick update to bring you up to speed.
1 yr ago, aweful knee pain while running my last 5k ever.
3 mos ago, Shingles and after two days on meds, left knee once again swells to mammoth proportions. Dr says, "you're already on steroids, that's the best thing for it"
Last month, new dr, knee still swollen, potent round of non- steroid anti inflammatory drug. After being off it for two days, knee swells once again.
Last week, another round of NSAID drug and some x-rays. Then a referral to an orthopedic specialist who was the first one to take me seriously that I am not just a fat old lady who strained my knee going to fridge to fetch a Buick-sized snack. A lovely cortisone shot and an MRI scheduled.
Tomorrow I will have the MRI done as the ortho dr thinks I may have a torn meniscus. If all goes well, I will get the MRI results on Thursday and I'll know what it is I'm dealing with. At least, osteoarthritis has been ruled out for now. The knee looks more normal now than it has in months. Hoping for good news. I have to try to lay perfectly still for 30-45 minutes, that is truly going to be a challenge. I will be happy to put this whole thing behind me. Meniscus tear=surgery. Crossing my fingers I just strained something going to the fridge. And that will be the only time you ever hear me wish that!
Happy Monday friends!