Walking into a new and brighter life.

Walking into a new and brighter life.

The healthy me

The healthy me

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This I know.................

This I know.................

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Final day of Stress Tests for my heart

I had my 2nd and final day of my nuclear stress test.  Day one... go in and they inject a radioactive dye into my arm, take an EKG and send me out to the lobby for an hour with 2 glasses of water to drink. 
After an hour they ask me to remove my bra and put me through a kind of CT scan.  They tell me that the water moves the dye throughout my body but the heart holds it there, the rest is "flushed out".  Then they send me home, telling me no coffee, no tea, no hot chocolate, no Pepsi or coke... nothing of color, only clear fluids.

Of course when someone tells you that you can't have something that is all you can think about!! 
This morning I was to be up there at 8:30 to finish the test.  Of course I didn't sleep all night so when I finally got to sleep the alarm went off, then to have no coffee... I wasn't sure if I could even dress myself without caffeine!

They again take me back only this time to a room with a bed and a treadmill... sounds like a blast huh?!!  LoL
They start an I.V. of something (I forgot what she told me), then they hook up EKG tags all over me, then have me lay still for 10 minutes to get a resting heart rate.
After I am good and rested they get me up and call in the radioactive guys again.  They put me on the treadmill and start it up.  Every 2 minutes they increase the slant and eventually I am at the max uphill slope. 

About half way through the radioactive guy puts the dye into my I.V..  Once I reach the max uphill and my heart rate reaches it's peak, they tell me to continue for 5 minutes.  I get to the point where my legs feel like lead, my heart feels like it is pounding out my eyeballs, and I am gasping for air.  At this point they finish.  They sit me on the bed again and hand me water.  My hand is shaking so bad I spill the first cup and so smartly they wait a minute then get me more.  One woman removes most of the EKG tag thingys, but leaves 3 on... one under each breast and one on the center of my chest.

After my first cup of water, they hand me another and take me again back out to the lobby for an hour.  Then the radioactive man comes out and takes me back to the room with the CT scan.  He again asks me to remove my bra and shirt (my shirt had metal studs on it duh! ) and hands me a gown.  After I get the gown on and tied I go into the CT thingy room.  He tells me he hates asking this question but the Cardiologist needs this information to do some sort of measuring.  I can tell the tech (radioactive guy) is embarrassed... and he asks... What size bra do you wear?  I tell him. Then he tells me to lay down on the CT scan machine thing and he puts more dye into the I.V., then tells me for this test he needs to hook up 3 electrodes.  He reaches under the gown and then stops... I can tell he is uncomfortable... so I said.." do you want me to lift those for you?".  He just laughs and says please... I think he wanted to run out of the room.  I thought I was funny!  LoL

So, the scan does it's job, he comes in and removes the leads but leaves the sticky tags there, removes the I.V. and tells me I am through.  I get dressed and go home as tired as I have been in a long time.  I felt as though I ran a marathon.

I got home at about 11:00 and at 2:30 we had Brittney and Fernando and his mom Maria, and Layla over for an early New Years dinner.  Bill cooked prime rib, I made a quiche and fritters, and we had a green salad and garlic bread.  It was really nice. 
I had just not thought about having this test today when we planned this dinner. 
The reason for it today was, tomorrow night is New Years Eve.  And, even though we have no plans other than setting the alarm clock for midnight and wishing each other happy new year and going back to bed... Brittney and Fernando celebrate like young people should.  They are having friends over to their house to bring in the New Year, instead of having people out driving on the roads.  Smart Kids!!
So... we figured having a New Years Day dinner would be bad, because if they are anything like we used to be they will probably be hung over.
We are having Layla spend the night.  Britt is bringing over some sparkling cider for her to toast with me. 

So... Have I told you how much I want this year to be over?!!  LoL  I am so looking forward to a new year.  My goals each year get much more focused.
If I am not on here tomorrow... Happy New Years my friends.  I only know you from behind a computer screen, but you have seen me through some very tough times and I will forever be grateful! 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Weigh In Day

Today was my Weight Watchers weigh in.  I was not thrilled to go to this one.  I over indulged a few days before during and after Christmas.  Britt went with me and stayed for the meeting this time.  (she usually leaves after weigh in)

Brittney met her goal... she has lost 18.4 pounds and is now the size of a pencil.  LoL  Notice a little pissy-ness there?  She looks awesome and I am very proud of her. 
I was sure I would gain weight.  I told Bill before I left the house that I think about +2 pounds.  Ta-Dah......  I remained exactly the same as the weigh in last week.  I made it through Christmas without damaging my progress.  Whew!!  I am sure the reason was me being more active.  I find this Bodybugg thing very helpful.... I knew that the 24th through the 26th I over ate and bad things.... With this Bodybugg I could burn extra calories to make up for it, and keep checking on my burn progress. 
I have been sedentary for so long that the smallest exertion and I burn calories. 
Vacuuming and going up and down stairs seem to be the biggest helper.  My doctor tells me this is my lungs overworking and that is why I burn greater calories with little exertion.  That is why many people with severe and end stage emphysema get so thin.  They just burn more calories than they take in because they struggle so with each breath.  Bless their hearts!!  Isn't that hard to believe, that breathing is so difficult that it actually burns calories.  Welcome to a window inside Copd/Emphysema. 

Anyway, I was very surprised but pleased that I didn't pick up any weight.  Now it's back to watching food intake.  Bill wants to have a New Years Eve, Eve dinner (on the 30th instead of the 31st), but I had forgotten that I have those tests tomorrow and the next day.  I spoke with a woman who works at the hospital and she said they are pretty draining, about 4 hours each for 2 days.  I am not sure I will want to come home and help cook, or even smile at a house full of people.  We'll figure something out.

I took down all the Christmas decorations yesterday and finished cleaning and moving furniture today.  The house always looks so empty after Christmas, I kind of like the clean uncluttered look, but empty none-the-less.  It's actually probably still cluttered by everyone elses standards... I have so much crap!

So, today we had the beginning of our storms come in.  It started out as rain, then by around noon turned to slushy-snow, then tonight it's snowing sideways.  It will result in bad road conditions and with the weight of the snow I wouldn't be surprised if phone and power lines come down.  Anyway... I ventured out around 1:00 in the slushy-snow to go to the dry cleaners to drop off my bedspread and Bill's Santa suit.  I am beginning to notice when the barometer drops.  The low pressure makes it very hard to breath.  It just makes everything seem very heavy.  On top of that everyone in town is using fireplaces, or wood stoves and the inversion layer is TERRIBLE.  We live in a basin surrounded by mountains and the air gets stagnant.  When burning starts the smoke settles in the basin and it's worse air quality than Los Angeles.  I came home and put on my jammies and decided I wasn't going out anymore.  My lungs have been burning a lot lately, and more so after I have an outing.  I am sure part of it is the air.  I am not sure what I can do to get around that other than not going out... and that time will come soon enough.  For now, when I can.... I am going and doing all I can.

I heard this song on the radio this afternoon.  I had never heard it, but especially these days ... it could be written for me.

I'll let you know how the stress tests go....... enjoy the song. :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas and New Years Wishes

Today is December 26th and I am tired.  Layla is spending the night tonight and I can tell I need a few days off.  I have a short fuse, and she really is a good girl and doesn't need a Grandma around that gets pissy for no reason.  I try so hard.  I gave myself a time out tonight and went into the bedroom and watched T.V. alone for about 20 minutes. 

I am not sure if it is this illness, or medication or menopause ... or all three, that makes me anxious, intolerable of noise or over stimulation.  I just feel like I will have an anxiety attack if I don't get away.  I am like that with arguments or fights too.  I just can't take it.  Maybe it's blood pressure?  I dunno.

Wednesday and Thursday of this week I go to the hospital (not checked in, just there) for my nuclear stress tests.  I have no idea what they entail?  I know a treadmill and IV's are part of it.  Sounds like a party!!  LOL

I hope it will tell the Dr.'s what the problem is with my heart.  My pulse is just getting out of hand.  I take it now at least twice a day at different times each day to try and get an idea of an average.
The doctor finds this very interesting.  LOL  It has only been below 100 a handful of times and those times are always when I first wake up, or if I have been sitting for quite some time.  It usually stays around 105 until I do ANY cardio, or actually even walking around the house ... then it climbs to 130+.  The Dr. told me to not let it get above 150 for extended periods unless I am sweating working out, which hardly ever happens.

I can ride the bike 9 miles and not break a sweat, then come home and vacuum and sweat. 

So... the Christmas pictures... I was going to re-do the ones with me in them, or a few of them... because I didn't color my hair and should not have worn that red turtle neck... bad choices.  But... the hair is me now... mostly gray.  I am wondering if I should just go get it striped with fine lines of gray to make the natural gray taking over look better? 
It is so dark and my gray is very silver so the contrast is a lot.  Bill says no... he says that I am not even 50 yet so keep coloring it to make me feel better.  Really, my self esteem is low so I am not sure what a little color would do?   Most the time my hair is down, but today I was playing with new facial stuff I got for Christmas when Layla arrived, so my hair was pulled up and in a ponytail.
She asked me when I got gray?  lol  Bless the child's heart... I just told her I always was she just didn't notice.  Then she said that it was because I was sick.  Probably... this year was a tad stressful.  Have I told you I will be glad to get rid of 2010 and move onto 2011.  Maybe I shouldn't be in such a hurry huh?

I joked with Bill and Brittney that I must be sicker than the doctors are telling me and maybe they heard something I didn't because I got very nice things for Christmas... they didn't think I was funny.

I have beginning to struggle with depression again.  It began before Christmas.  I am aware of it, and am doing my best not to dwell on things and I am trying to let family issues go.  Not so easy.
My step parents and my step sister are being not so nice to me or my brothers.  My brothers aren't aware of most of it, for some reason I can't not think about them or how they are disrespecting my mom and dad.  I know none of this makes sense to anyone reading this... there is so much history I won't go into... it just is painful.

I have also been not following my eating program or exercising for a week.  I know this weigh in at Weight Watchers will show a gain.  I must get control of myself and get back on track.  One week won't kill me, it will just set back my progress.

I have goals for the coming year.  I still have no idea about surgery.  So I am planning things...
-I want to take Layla and Britt to Disneyland over their Spring Break.  Our best friend and his wife live in Long Beach, Bill and he were firemen together, and I miss them.  I want to take about a week and a half and just RELAX... not think about being sick... or testing... or medication adjustments... or anything and just RELAX!
- I want desperately for Bill and I to get away even if for the weekend and go to the Coast and just be still together.  We need that. 
- I need to finish my will... hopefully before the surgery.  I want everything to go to Brittney and I am afraid that if I don't get it written legally, Brittney will go through what I did with her step sisters and Bill.  I hope Bill would be fair.  But I tell you strange things happen to people when someone they love dies.  Bill's girls never really liked me and never came to see us or sent cards or anything... once in a while a call but that's about it.  I have repeatedly told Britt I will leave it up to her to hand out my things as SHE sees fit.  She knows what will be special to her and what she can part with.  And, I tell you..... When my mom died all her things became the world to me.  Not because value... because quite frankly there wasn't that much of value... but they were hers.  She loved them and they made her feel good to have them around, so I wanted them.  Sadly, they went mostly elsewhere.
- LOL  To not let outside influences bother me so much.  Such as things I have no control over; ie... Ex parents and step sisters and family break ups.  These things torment me and I need to find a way to put it all in my past.
- To continue with my exercise and eating healthy and losing weight.  I have my goal set at 150.  I am hoping 2011 will be the year I do this for myself. 
---- I would say ..... "To take better care of myself", but oddly enough once I got diagnosed with a incurable disease I started taking the best care of myself I ever have.  Funny how illness makes you stand up and pay attention!  Ridiculous!

Brittney (my lovely thoughtful daughter) bought me 2 books and wrote a note to me about HOPE.  The books are ... Eat, Pray, Love ... and ... BLINK (the power of thinking without thinking).  It touched me that she is worried about my ability to have hope.  It also worried me a bit.  LOL  I don't want, and have tried so hard to not let this process and disease be a burden to her.  She wants to go to Dr. visits with me.  She is now wanting to switch majors and go into Respiratory Medicine. 
I think this has touched her more than I thought.

It's hard to want to protect her, and to have her not worry about me, and then have her hear all the Dr.'s words.  She is a young woman who has drive and determination and who used to see that in her mom.  Anymore, she takes the lead in situations that I used to take care of.

An example of my struggle with memory and thought process.  For Christmas I got an IPOD.  I asked Brittney to come over and show me how to upload music, set playlists etc... she said "Mom, I can't believe you need help with this.  What has happened to you?  You used to be so tech savy?"!!
It took me by surprise, but so many parts of my life are like that now.  Areas that I once felt comfortable and competent, now... I am scared and unsure.  It worries me actually. 
It seems to have come on quickly, and is continually getting worse.  My memory issues now have Bill standing up and taking notice and commenting his concern on. 
All these things put together just make me feel fearful and unsure. 

There are moments that I can almost feel what it is like for an Alzheimer's patient or an elderly person suffering from dementia.  It's like I know something that is right there within reach, then it goes and I can't recall it.  Things such as the computer I used to be so familiar with, now I forget or am so unsure.  
Sometimes going out by myself worries me.  Such as when I ran out of oxygen at the store last week or the week before?  I knew that if I walked all the way out to the car to exchange bottles then I would have to walk all the way back to where ever I would leave my full cart... it was just a reminder that I am not the self sufficient woman I was not long ago.
It is a reminder of what I have actually lost this year!
It makes me scared to imagine what I could lose this coming year?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Weigh in

I had my Weight Watchers weigh in this morning.  I was so sure this would be a 3 pound week.  I didn't count on what an impact going out Saturday night with Britt and Fernando had.  I ate deep fried Veggies and Pizza and had 1 beer. 
Then I worked out like crazy the last 2 days.  Well... crazy for me.  lol

I lost .9 pounds.  Not quite a pound.  Grrr  It's not a gain, and considering my deep fat experience I suppose that is pretty good.  Now with Christmas dinner and Prime Rib coming up in a couple days... I am hoping for another loss next week.  Only this time... I'll take .9 or . anything. 

That brings my weight to 21.9 pounds.

I am still having bowel issues.  And, I am still taking laxatives at least twice a week.  My primary care doctor told me not to worry about taking them, that they won't be a problem.  I don't know if it's my diet that is doing this to me, or medication or what?  I know with the amount of fiber and vegetables I am eating I should have no problems.

As for my Copd ... it is unchanged.  I seem to be having more breathing issues than normal, and more burning in my lungs.  I am leery to complain because I know how much worse it can get.  I am being careful when to go out and when to stay in.  Some days I have ventured out with the inversion layer and even Bill will comment on my breathing.  I know I wake up in the night still with a pain in my chest. 
The cardio stress test is coming up the 29th and 30th, I'll let you know when I find out something.  Which waiting for test results seems to take forever.

I am wondering how Seattle feels about my test results.  I know it's Christmas and then New Years ... so the best I can hope for is probably hearing sometime after the 15th of January.  Patience!

About my last blog and the "used and damaged goods".  Well, yes... I am damaged, and yes... I do feel like I am used up.  But, I am still me.  I do still have my sense of humor (most days), and I do still have the ability to get around, go shopping, drive myself.... This is a lot more than some people, so I'll take it.  It doesn't mean that I can't feel a little jealous of those woman my age who can wear make up and not worry about the cannula smearing or wearing it off, who can wear a necklace and not have it get caught up in the cannula, who can look their age, and not see the "awe" looks when people see you with oxygen. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Used goods

With Britt's help, we got all the Christmas baking done and all but 2 shipped and given away.  Whew!  Glad to get those cookies out of site.  Well, Bill kept his bag of cookies and it's in the cupboard.  I still haven't eaten any... but have been temped.  I am keeping the goal in mind. 

If I can stay on track... this week should be a 3 or 4 pound loss on Tuesday.  I have really been watchful and have not allowed myself to indulge late nights.  There have been 2 nights that I felt like I couldn't live without something before I went to bed.  One night I ate 4 ounces of lean turkey breast, and the other night I ate an apple.  See, I can survive without bowls of cereal, or peanut butter sandwiches.  Who knew?  LoL

I think I have mentioned my newly found absent-mindedness?  To the point of worry almost.  Honestly, I can in the smallest way identify with the elderly.  I make appointments and forget them.  I put things away and can't find them.  I pay things and forget I did.  The latest is... every Christmas Eve I buy everyone Christmas jammies and they open them on Christmas Eve then we all have them on opening presents the next morning.  Well, this year I bought Layla's along with a book that I read (record) for her and put both in my dresser.  I know where they are, still right where I put them.  However... I wrapped Bill and Britt's along with all of our other presents and put them under the tree.  This morning Bill came out only to find me ass up and head under the tree.  I can't remember which presents are the jammies.  So... Off to the store I went to buy new ones.  So, they will just get 2 pair of jammies this year.  LOL
It is frustrating.  I joke about it, but it really is frustrating.  Bill and I even argue over me forgetting something important, or forgetting that I said something, or missed appointments.  It just is not like me.  I have always been the one to be on time, to be organized, and to keep everyone else on track.  Not so anymore.

The last 3 days I have went one place or the other, but each time I have run out of oxygen and had my lungs burn before I got back home.  The headaches I used to get are back again, and I know it's from lack of oxygen.  To be in the middle of a store and know my oxygen is out, but also know that in order to get a new bottle I will have to walk all the way out there... do the exchange then walk all the way back into the store.  So, I just go without until I am done shopping.  This may be the time to realize that it would be easier if I didn't go by myself. 

I am tired of being a bother to someone else because I want to do something.... or because I can't do something.  Bill and I got in a small but memorable argument yesterday, like all couples do.  However, he said something about "waiting on me hand and foot".... which is B.S... .but the fact he mentioned it tells me he is getting tired of this... and it is just beginning.  We have a long downhill road ahead of us.  I know on his part it must be frustrating.  And, O.K.!!!!  I'll give him credit for needing to vent also.  But, it just makes me feel like I am a burden.  I am a burden now, and my future means it will get worse.  What are my options?  Leave?  Get an apartment on my own?  He wouldn't go for that.  He would say I am being dramatic. 

Here I am doing much more than I had been.  I actually once a week or so will go downstairs and do laundry and pack it back up the stairs.  It may sound small, but to me it's like running a marathon.  I am losing weight so I have more energy.  I am keeping myself motivated by riding a bike 9 miles at least 4 times a week. I am doing all I can to better myself.  I just am such a baby, it's hard for me to hear things like that. 

This is the ugly part of this disease.  Losing freedom.  Not only that but being questioned about everything because my memory is getting bad.  I hate this.  I ran my own company, ran work crews and had 150 rentals to look after... and now I can't be trusted to go to the store, or take a phone message. 
How does one cope with this?  How do I accept the fact that without my intending to I am irritating Bill enough so he finds it necessary to complain about taking care of me?? 

It really does bring out the flight part of me.  In my thinking, I don't want to be a burden to ANYONE.  Yes, my family loves me and is willing to care for me.  But I will not be someones anchor.  I refuse to be looked at like work. 

It's these moments I feel like used and damaged goods.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another Weigh In

I have been riding the bike at Britt's and am up to 9 miles in an hour.  Sunday I rode 60 minutes on the nose and rode 9.6 miles and I increased the tension.  My legs burn in the beginning and then again at about 45 minutes until I am through, so I know muscles are working.  I have found that just walking around burns more calories than riding.  Odd huh?  Even house cleaning and vacuuming and doing laundry (up and down stairs) burns more calories than when I ride the bike for an hour.  Walking through the stores too.  I still ride the bike when I am not going to be in their way, only because I know it's helping my legs tone up. 

I can tell I dropped at least a pants size because yesterday while I was baking, standing in the kitchen ... evidently my pants were baggy so Bill just pulled them down to my knees.  Felt stupid standing there in my undies!!!  MEN LoL

Weight Watchers has redone their program.  I still pay every week to go weigh in, but I am not following their diet.  I am doing the basic no frills, calories in and calories burned.  And, for every 3500 calories burned over and above what is taken in is a one pound loss.  Today at weigh in I lost 2.2 pounds, bringing my total since joining WW to 21 pounds.  According to my doctor it is more than that, but I am going by just what I have been keeping track of.  So... I  now weigh 203.2 pounds.  I am hoping to drop below that 200 mark this week.  From their it's all down hill for me.  I am focused to reach 186 pounds.  That will be my first hurdle to be eligible for my LVRS.  My goal weight is 150 pounds.  My BodyBugg projected that if I keep up 2 pounds a week I will reach that goal in October of 2011.  Really just keeping small goals in mind is what I am doing that seems to be working.  Having my  calorie deficit at 1,000 per day is about 2 1/2 pounds a week.  Right now going above that has been easy.  I understand that as this progresses the weight is harder to get off. 
High protein, low carb, low fat, low sodium. 

As far as things, they are fine.  I still seem to have this pain in my chest that wakes me up at night.  It doesn't seem to be serious because I always can adjust however I am laying and go right back to sleep.  I am not sure if it's lungs or heart.  You would think I should know the difference buy I don't.  Chest pain, is chest pain.  Especially on the right side.  I am telling more and more as I venture out the air quality has an effect on my breathing.  If I park far enough away from the door to the store, by the time I get inside I am out of breath and my lungs burn.  We had a couple days of wind and it blew a lot of it out of the basin, but I am sure it will be back.

Anyway... Today was a good day... Lot's of cookie baking that I am not eating by the way.  I have already packaged them up and have them ready to make baskets for friends. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A good day

These days I count good and bad days by a couple things... first of course my breathing ... second how many calories in and calories burned.  LoL  Funny how things change huh.

Today was a good calorie day.  I did "the stairs" doing laundry.  I told Bill and Britt that it's not that I can't do laundry ... it's just that if I get back up the stair no one better need me to talk or point or anything until my pulse gets back to a rest and I can breath again.  Heaven forbid the phone should ring or someone would be at the door. 
Anyway... Bill was gone most the day and I got a lot done, including going up and down the stairs.  Needless to say I got my cardio work out.

I actually got some presents wrapped and some others returned because I got the wrong size, or someone else beat me to the gift. 

Then I had my primary care doctor visit today. 
Her nurse and her both commented on "Wow you look great, let's see how much weight you have lost?"  Well, I told them I will be back everyday to hear that.  LoL
Officially since August I have lost 23 pounds, and as of the end of September I have lost 18.  Like normal most of the initial weight is coming off of my face and chest.  It's like once it gets a hold of my stomach and butt it hangs on for dear life! 

We went over quite a bit.  I hadn't seen her since October, right before my thyroid surgery.  So, down the list we went.....
-Thyroid levels will have to be tested occasionally to make sure they stay where their supposed to.  So, labs tomorrow.
-Notes from my Pulmonologist say ... must lose weight.  That one is being taken care of.  Also, she tested my BMI and to reach 32% I have 12 pounds to go.  Of course my goal is much lower than that, but it does make it seem attainable now.
_ Also from Pulm. he wants me to be seen by a cardiologist.  She (primary care doc) says she wants to try and get my pulse down first with an increase in my heart meds.  She told me to take my blood pressure if I begin to feel light headed, actually just take it twice a day for the first couple weeks of increased dosage.
-She also will have them call me for an appointment for a nuclear stress test.  I know I have been being awaken more frequently with pain in my chest and heart.  It doesn't last long and I can roll over and go back to sleep every time.  She told me if this happens and it doesn't go away go to the emergency room.  She is worried about heart attacks.  Especially with my family history.
-I asked her about my constipation and she said that it is almost expected with the combination of medications I am on.  And, the laxative I am using is mild enough I can use it every other day and it won't hurt me.  I asked her about the laxative stripping my body of nutrients and she said Nah.  LoL

All in all a good day.  No bad news at the doctor and I got a lot done and worked on cardio all at the same time.

On a side note.  A lovely woman and dear friend underwent a bypass surgery this morning... Hugs to you Char..

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

.4 pound gain

I went to Weight Watchers this morning.  I knew before I left the house I wasn't staying for the meeting.  Bill needed to use the Durango.  I gained  .4 pounds.  Yes, .4 pounds is not the end of the world.  But it was totally my fault and out of control, "I don't care" behavior that got me a .4 pound gain.  That pisses me off. 

So, what did I do?  I came home and ate cheese and crackers.  And it wasn't even good.  I just ate to eat.  White flour Saltines even.  I have been watching my sodium for months and for weeks I have not had white flour.  So, I decided to eat my dinner for lunch, get all the eating for today out of the way and start to move.  I got up out of my chair and "exercised".  Which means, I walked in place for 5 minutes, then worked out on my weight ball.  Then went over to Britt's and put my fat butt back on the bike for 9.6 miles.  It took me 63 minutes to get there, but I wasn't about to settle for anything less.  I will again tonight work out in my weenie way before I go to bed.
I make fun of myself, but I really can't do too much to get my heart rate elevated so my "cardio work out" is silly to most. 

After gaining I measured myself.  I have lost about 18 pounds and important inches.  1.5 inches from my upper arms... awesome.  Plenty of inches to go there, but slowly that flabby stuff is coming off.
2.5 inches off my waist... I can actually feel a rib cage again.  My thighs I have lost 1 inch and my calves have actually increased .5 inches. 

This made me feel better.  The process is still continuing on a losing path and that is my goal. 

This weekend Britt and I are going to start baking.  I am not sure about this.  The thought of having dozens and dozens of cookies around the house is not comforting to me. 

I met a man who had LVRS about a year ago.  He said that it helped him with his breathing and he could somewhat get rid of his oxygen.  He still used his oxygen at night and at times throughout the day depending on what he was doing.  Exertion still made it necessary to use the O2.  I have read different things and different outcomes.  He told me it was a very painful recovery and he had problems with air leakage so he stayed in the hospital 3+ weeks.  They sent him home with tubes in his chest to drain fluid from the lungs.  I am not sure I could come home like that.  I don't know if the doctors here would be familiar enough to do after care for a surgery like that.  Another thing to add to my list of questions I guess.

Like usual, I am exhausted tonight.  I am getting off of here and trying a few exercises before I go to bed.  I already took my meds so we'll see how this works.  LoL  Might have been poor planning on my part. ;)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas and other stuff

So, I am really picky about decorating for Christmas.  Even when Brittney was little I would have her decorate her own tree or let her put ornaments on the tree then wait for her to go to bed and re-do the entire thing.  I have special ornaments that were handmade from Mom like this Santa below.  It is beaded with the smallest of beads.  She was amazingly talented. 

 While I was taking these pictures our poor pit bull got caught  like a deer in the headlights.  She sat there just shaking until I finished taking pictures, so I had to snap one of her.  This is Midori, the pit bull who is the sweetest and cuddliest dog we have ever had.
 This is one of Mom's ornaments that she bought on a trip to the Oregon coast and found a year around Christmas store.  We always talked about going back there but never did.  It is beautiful, and has graced my tree for 2 years now, but will always be "mom's ornament".
 I get up every morning and turn on the tree and all the lights in the house.  I just love it.  It is so cheerful and happy.  I can be having the worst day ever and be around beautiful Christmas things and it just lifts my spirits. 
 So, with as picky as I am with my tree and the decorations ... I was looking the other morning at the tree turning (it spins slowly 360 degrees) and I thought I noticed something that "didn't fit in", but the tree turned and I lost it.  Then I saw it again and removed it and asked Bill what it was and why was it on the tree?  He said it was a tag off of a watch he ordered and he gave it to Layla.  She thought it would be pretty on my tree.  So I walked over and put it back on the tree.  She was SO proud and happy when she came over the next time to see it still there.  I must be getting soft in my old age.  Brittney would have never gotten away with that.
So, I joined or "liked" a page on face book.  It is the COPD Foundation.  It has good information there and they feature a new "face of COPD" each month.  I had my turn a few months ago.
I made a comment on one of the stories.  It was written by a woman who was diagnosed with severe copd but still smoked. 
I made the comment that while I was sorry for her diagnoses she is further increasing the damage by smoking.  Anyway.............. She went off on me last night and said things like ... I am rude, cruel, mean, selfish and uncaring. 

Why I let the words of one woman bother me I don't know.  But instantly I felt compelled to clear my name.  One strangers words cut me like I hadn't been in years!  Well, that's not exactly true... my step father and his actions hurt worse ... but for a total stranger to effect me like that surprised me.

I am channeling my friend Giulia, I know I am...... But letting one person who is a stranger get under my skin is ridiculous.  I know my intentions and she couldn't be further from the truth. 
Anyway... It floored me how I let it bother me all night.  This morning I woke up and thought... It is one lady.  I don't know what she is going through and in return she doesn't have insight into my life either.  I am letting it go, staying away from that site for a while and stopping being such a baby.

I have weigh in tomorrow, and for the first time in weeks I am anxious about it.  This hasn't been a good week for me with my eating or my exercise.  I'll post my results, cross your fingers for me.

I got a message from my cousin who is the nurse at the University of Washington this morning.  I had told him they are thinking LVR now.  He said to him that makes much more sense.  He said it is a difficult surgery but they do many of them there.  He said he would be very interested to know the patients progress after they leave.  He just cares for them and then they check out and go on with their lives.  So, I told him this will be a first for both of us. :)
Still no word.  I really don't expect anything soon.  I keep remember hearing this process takes time.  So I need to not dwell on it.
I am not ready anyway.  I still have much more weight to lose.  So... I had better get going.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I am slipping

I feel myself slipping.  Actually I am watching myself slip and am very aware of it.  Eating things or more of things than I am supposed to.  Eating when I am not hungry and just bored or stressed.  Not drinking water like I should.  Missing biking, and slacking on working out with my 5 pound ball. 

I can not keep this up.  It actually has been about 2 days now.  And, that doesn't mean eating candy or chocolate, or eating fat.  It just means eating more dressing on salads and eating 3 or 4 rice cakes instead of 2, drinking more fat free coffee creamer than I should.  It's the little things that I am doing to sabotage myself.  I can't allow that to happen.

I know some of it is cold weather behavior.  Coming in from the cold, getting warm fuzzy jammies on and comforting myself with warm gooey food.  Well, I haven't exactly eaten warm gooey food, but I have wanted to dunk my head into mac and cheese and casseroles.

Britt is right, baking will be really hard not to taste and eat our products.  The trick here will be to package them fast, and to not lick our fingers.  We will have to police each other.

Our outside air quality the last 3 days has been nearing dangerous for people with respiratory problems.  Of course the news just broadcast that fact tonight.  I knew the last few days shopping with Bill made me more winded and exhausted when we got home.

Layla is here tonight.  Our usual Saturday night sleep over, and I am ready for bed before she is.  It's not even 8:00 and I want to go to bed!  LoL

I am going to have to get over to Britt's tomorrow and ride.  I am going to have to re-commit to health.  Ugh... to be "one of those" skinny people who can eat anything.  I am the only one I know to have thyroid surgery, but not have a hyper thyroid and lose weight afterwards.  Can't catch a break!  LoL

Friday, December 3, 2010

As you can see it's been 2 days since I wrote.  I haven't been on the bike, but I have however burned more calories walking through the stores and cleaning house.  I am still on track.  Bill and I met Britt and Fernando for lunch yesterday at Mongolian BBQ, it's one of our favorite restaurants.  For the most part it was very healthy except those pesky YokiSoba noodles.  We tried to ask for the nutrition information with no luck.  So whatever I worked off yesterday I have a feeling was used up with lunch. 

A couple times now I have had this sudden experience.  Once was when I was with Bill shopping for a trying on boots, and the other time was when I lost Bill and Layla in the store and Bill wasn't answering his phone.
It's a feeling of being overwhelmed, out of breath, irritated, and stressed far beyond normal.  It comes on quickly, and goes away as fast, but while I am in that state it is terrible.  Anxiety attacks, for no apparent reason???  I dunno what they are.  Besides that at far as my copd goes ... It's just the cold air I am struggling with.  I wears scarves but with a cannula, a scarf and my coat and purse with a 3 pound canister in it... it's a bit much trying to keep everything in place.

Usually about once a month the oxygen company comes out and exchanges my empty for full canister's.  Twice now with this last bunch of canister's I have run out of O2 while out running errands.  Out of the 20 canister's they gave me all but 4 have been only 1/2 full.
When I called them this morning to ask for a delivery and told them the last bunch was only filled half full they kinda got pissy with me and blamed it on the cold weather. 
Well... If I run out and can't get any more O2 and end up in the hospital from an exacerbation... They probably won't like the letter from my attorney. 
I mean REALLY!  Cold air or not... when I hook up a new canister I surely don't expect to run out of oxygen within an hour!  I'll assume a little of the blame for not checking the bottles (which I do now each time). 
It's just another one of those things that I get irritated with about Copd, is packing this O2 around with me.

I am getting close to having my shopping done.  I have a few things still to get for Bill as always.  He NEVER tells us what he wants, and every year he gets the same thing... jeans, shirts, cologne and maybe pajama pants.  He is worse than an old lady... he always says "I don't need anything".  It is infuriating to Britt and I.  Britt and I are so similar that if I like something I just buy it for her and vice-versa. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I went to Weight Watchers this morning.  They have re-vamped the entire program, changing everything.  It sounds like (with the exception of fruit) that they are doing the high protein and fiber, low fat and carbs... whole grains and fresh produce. 

I lost 2.8 pounds.  I feel like it was more, but I think that is because I am actually moving now.  I went back to the bike tonight.  It wasn't as easy tonight as it has been.  Usually the first 5 minutes are the hardest then I get into a groove and time flys.  Tonight I trudged through my hour and only made it to 8.4 miles.  I should have pushed to 9 miles, but honestly I was spent.  I gave kisses and hugs to Britt and Layla and drove home, hooked up to oxygen and laid on the couch for a half hour.  Usually after I ride I have this energy... not tonight.

I had a coaching session with a girl from BodyBugg today as part of the program Britt paid for.  She went over adding my calories and to be careful to get the correct values in.  You add food for instance...  Campbell's Tomato Soup, condensed.... then it gives the calories, carbs, fats and fiber.  But there are a gazillion different Tomato soups and they all have different values.

She also told me that while riding the bike is wonderful and it will help build muscle... it is not a cardio work out.  For me to have a cardio work out with my heart issues has to be done slowly but intensely and for short periods of time.  She said this will burn more calories than riding the bike (which I intend to keep up).  So, in the evenings after my ride at Britt's I will come home and throw the ball around, do "old lady" crunches, and walk rapidly in place. 
As a matter of fact, she suggests it just while I am watching T.V. instead of sitting, stand up and move.

Sounds good to me.  It was nice today at Weight Watchers there was a friend I hadn't seen in a few months.  She told me I looked wonderful.  Britt said she had a awesome compliment the other day too.... so we are doing the right thing. 

Tomorrow starts the holiday madness.  Yes, I have had our tree up for a couple weeks, and yes we have our outside lights up ... but tomorrow starts the finishing up shopping, wrapping gifts. Baking and mailing cookies and candy to my brothers, and making big plates for our friends and neighbors.  Britt said she would help me.  Baking cookies and making fudge and candy will be difficult not to eat it all.  So, we have made a pact.  We can eat ONE of each and then quickly package the rest.  I make gingersnaps every year that Bill LOVES and I told him he will have to hide them somewhere I can't get to them.  The same for all the chocolate and goodies that will be around here. 

I am not a drinker, never really liked it.  But at Christmas and during the holidays I make a Champagne Cocktail that is so good.  It is good champagne and pomegranate juice with a splash of orange juice.  Then sugar the glass rim and float pomegranate's in the bottom of the glasses.  It is so good!

I am thinking to try it this year with cranberry juice and float some cranberries in the glasses and leave off the sugar.  Diet drinks???  LoL

I have gotten about 2/3rds of the way done with my Christmas cards.  I need to run to the store and get more then get them in the mail.  I still have a few online orders to get done for Bill.  I love shopping online, but I get nervous during the holidays about shipping getting lost, or being late.  So, I had better just get it done.

I have a feeling this year I am going to be taking a few naps in between.  i am already tired just typing it.  LOL

Monday, November 29, 2010

Let's change the subject... sorry

I wanted to post my biking progress before I forget.

Sunday (yesterday) I went to Britt's and rode for an hour and did my 9 miles.  I had to push it the last 10 minutes to get 9 miles in but I did it.  :) 

Britt is at the Gym right now, but as soon as she gets home I am going back over.  I'll get on here tonight and post.

It's tonight.  LoL  I went to Britt's this afternoon and rode for an hour and 2 minutes to reach 9 miles today.  I must have slowed down at some point.  I was much more winded and felt the effects on my lungs today after riding.  We have an inversion layer today and I am wondering if the stagnate air and the smoke from fireplaces is making breathing more difficult.  I forget about these days.
I have weight in tomorrow, I'll post the results.  I think I have done well.  Actually, I know I have done well ... I just hope the scales shows it.  I have had a problem with constipation for the last couple months.  I have been taking laxative 2 or 3 times a week.  I forgot this week and just took them today.  I don't think they work quick enough for me to rid myself of excess weight before tomorrow's weigh in. 
I have a doctor's appointment on the 9th with my general practitioner and I will talk to her about this.  It's really odd.  I have been eating tons of fresh veggies both steamed and raw, I eat a high fiber diet and high protein.  I can't imagine why suddenly I have this issue?

I have been having nose bleeds.  I am going to buy a humidifier and keep it going this winter and see if that helps.  I have a saline solution (mist) that I can use, but I really hate that stuff.  If the humidifier doesn't work then I'll try the saline.  This morning it was bad, I rolled over and felt a rush of something out of my nose.  Before I could get out of bed and to the bathroom I had a handful of blood.

Boy... What a blog tonight, constipation and bloody noses.  Sorry.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bikes and Breathing

I was back on the bike again today.  Britt called and offered to come get me and bring me back home so I could ride for an hour.  How could I resist?  I love her for keeping me going.  I rode an hour and did 8.5 miles at a higher speed.  I was trying for over 9 miles but Layla and I were chatting and I would get side tracked and slow down.  LoL  I find myself at night now using my 5 pound exercise ball while I am watching T.V..  A month ago I would just sit and look at it and think to myself I should be using it.  I can feel a difference now in how my clothes are fitting.

Tuesday after Weight Watchers will be my 2nd measurement.  I'll let you know how the weight goes and how the inches go.  I really love this program.  I think the reason why I am doing so well is because I can at any moment get online and look at how may calories I have used and how many I have burned.  I think (if I remember correctly) that it takes burning an extra 1300 calories above what you have consumed to lose a pound.  It's nice watching and having power over what that # is per day.  I am trying to keep my calories burned at least 1000 calories per day higher than what I am consuming.  Some days it's a little more, other days a little less.  We'll see Tuesday at weigh in if the 4 pounds will be an average loss.

Did I tell you about talking with my pulmonologist's nurse about BMI?  She calculated mine for me and I am at 36% BMI.  I need to be @ 32% for the LVRS.  She said that would be approximately 185 pounds.  Weighing 207 pounds now (that's a 16 pound loss by the way, lol) that leaves about 22 pounds.  Now, add in some actual muscle mass and that number will be less.  I am planning on continuing past that weight.  My Weight Watchers goal weight is 150, and I would personally like to get to about 140.  I plan on continuing with Weight Watchers only because I like the group setting and the weekly weigh ins. 

Thanksgiving and the turkey and dressing and bread was difficult.  But, I was proud of myself.  I had no dressing and 1 roll and about 4 ounces of turkey breast.  Not so bad.  I did eat 1 very skinny slice of pumpkin pie, but only at the filling and not the crust.  I think that saved me some fat and calories.
I need to start drinking more water.  That's hard for me to do for some reason.

I have noticed that my breathing is better, but my lungs are burning more.  I am not sure why that is.  I should say ... my breathing is better until I go out in the cold.  That is extreme for me.  It actually steals the breath right out of my throat.  Bill had been a doll and makes sure if I have to go somewhere he will go start the car for me and let it get warmed up.  I had to one day shovel to the car and scrape the windows and broom off the snow.  I had visions of being found passed out in the middle of the street.  Terrible! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Testing is done & a weight is lifted :)

Lot's to update you on.

I now have had all the tests that Seattle University of Washington wanted me to have.  The last appointment that I had was with my Pulmonologist's nurse and she is a doll.  I had a full Pulmonary Function Test and then she tested my blood gases.  She asked me if the Dr. had gone over Nancy's (from Seattle) information with me.  I said no.  She asked me if he talked at all with me about Seattle.  I said the only thing he had told me was at the last meeting with him that he wanted me in Seattle by winter and I needed to pick a transplant hospital.  She sighed, then went on................................

First of all, the reason he wanted me to pick a transplant hospital and have them familiar with me was because at this stage of emphysema/copd if I were to have a lung collapse or in case of emergency they would need to know where to send me.  Oregon does not have a specialized lung hospital that can do transplants or Lung Volume Reduction surgeries.  She told me that my Pulmonary function (FEV1) level is high 30's 37/38.  And, in order to be put on the transplant list levels need to be nearing 20.  She said it is shameful that the criteria is so low for transplant, that is a lot of suffering, but that is the standard.  So..... I have time.  She couldn't tell me how much time, only that how many exacerbation's I have and my over-all health will have an effect on my time.

I asked her about the BMI, and she said she didn't recall Nancy mentioning that, however she would measure for me.  She did, and I am @ 36% BMI... I need to be @ 32% for LVRS and 30% for transplant.  That made me feel so much better.  That is within my reach.  She figured that for me to be @ 32 BMI that would be around 186 pounds.  I can do that standing on my head.  My goal was far beyond that anyway.

She said once all my test results were sent and received and looked over I would be getting a call from Seattle for an appointment.  She said most likely February. 

All in All I came home elated.  This was good news for me.  Also, my blood gas tests showed that I can be without oxygen on room air for about an hour at a time if I am not moving around.  :) :) :)  This pleases me very much. 

We went to Britt's boyfriends mom's house for an early Thanksgiving.  It was a lovely evening.  Lot's of good food and great company.  I was feeling big for my britches and left my O2 off for almost 4 hours.  I could tell.  My lungs began to burn and it was more difficult to get a good breath of air.  So, I showed myself didn't I?  LoL 

I have continued to watch what I eat and exercise.  I have only been to Britt's twice this week, on Monday and Tuesday, but I have been working out at night with my 5 pound ball working on upper body muscles. 
This afternoon I paid Bill's for December and have them ready to mail out, and have almost gotten my Christmas cards done.  That is a relief to me.  It is the one time every year when I actually sit down and write.  Everything these days is done on the computer and it is so impersonal.  I try and be good at Birthday cards, hoping to be better each year... But Christmas is a never fail.

I feel hopeful now.  Like even with LVRS ahead of me, it's not a transplant.  It may be a long surgery to recover from and a longer stay in the hospital... but there are no immunosuppresant and anti-rejection drugs that will need to be taken every day forever.  It will buy me 5-10 years before I have the worry of transplant.  That is a wonderful thing.  I can use this time to live, and enjoy every moment I can. 

I am learning to be positive.  I tell Bill and Britt all the time now, that mine will be a happy house.  Yes, we will have sadness once in a while... but I want this to be the place people can come and relax.  No worries, no judgements... just a happy home.  I watch very little news anymore.  I am just so tired of political bickering, harsh and hateful actions taken by those who are supposed to be working for us.  And, all the crime shows on T.V. ... Bill watches them, now he watches them in the bedroom and not in the living room.  I don't want to watch death and depression on T.V..  This doesn't mean I am burying my head in the sand.  I still read the headlines online, and I still watch T.V., it's just that I try and lighten the mood every chance I get.  I have learned first hand that life is precious and it goes by us quicker than we think.  So, I don't intend on missing out on any part of it, and I am not waisting it worrying who is getting patted down or put through an x-ray. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow and Weight Loss

Today has been an eventful day.  I woke up this morning to find a foot of new snow and temps around 20 degrees.  I got started getting ready to go weigh in at Weight Watchers and realized since Bill was still sleeping I would need to shovel the walk to my car and then sweep it off and defrost the windows before I left.  After shoveling my way to the car I was so out of breath I wasn't sure I could continue.  The combination of cold air and exertion wasn't a good combination.  So, I struggled to open the door and turned on the defrost, swept it off and came back in the house. 

That was my first work out of the day.  I met up with Brittney at Weight Watchers and she weighed in first.  She has made it past her 10% goal and is only 5 pounds or so away from her total goal!  So proud of her!!!  My turn came and I was so excited/nervous.  I lost a total of 4.4 pounds this week!  YIPPEE  That is 8.4 pounds in just 2 weeks on this body bugg program.  I do believe that this is one program that I can be successful at and in combination with Weight Watchers weigh ins and meetings to re-enforce the goal I am thinking I can meet my June deadline I set for myself to get to my goal weight.

I came home and soon after I got home I got a call from my pulmonologist's nurse.  She asked me if I wanted to re-schedule my appointment I missed.  What???  OMG, I was supposed to be at the hospital @ 10:00 this morning for tests then at 11:00 at my Pulm. for more testing.  Crap!  I never miss tests.  So, I called the hospital and got a hold of a friend of ours who works there, she pulled some strings in 2 different departments and I had my tests done this afternoon from 2-3.  Now I go in tomorrow and have another full Pulmonary function test and blood gas tests.  These are the tests the University of Washington wanted.

I came home and went shopping with Britt to find a dress for Layla to wear tomorrow for our early Thanksgiving dinner and Britt picked up a few sweaters.
We came home and I changed clothes and went to Britt's and rode my hour on the bike.  Tonight I rode 9 miles in an hour with an increased tension.  Came home and had a salad and 2 rice cakes and now I am ready for bed.

I am hoping to get over to Britt's before dinner tomorrow and get another hour in on the bike.  It helps burning calories.

One of these blogs I will post the results of one day to show you what calories burned verses calories consumed.  I think it's interesting that a little computerized band around my arm can keep track of so much.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I am just about ready to call it a night, but wanted to post my biking progress.

I went over to Britt's this afternoon and rode for an hour.  I increased the distance to 7.5 miles, up from 6. 

It is snowing heavy tonight.  I think during the night it may stop because it's supposed to get down into the single digits by morning.  I am hoping they won't cancel the Weight Watchers meeting tomorrow.  They said that if the City schools are closed then the meetings will be cancelled.  I can feel my weight loss now.  My clothes aren't fitting the way the did a month ago.  My face is slimming down. 

I'll post tomorrow to let you know if WW had their meeting and how my ride goes tomorrow. 

Not much is going on.  My energy levels have really dropped the last couple days.  I haven't slept well, so I am going to give it a really good shot tonight.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sometime last week I realized the anniversary of mom's death was coming up.  I did my best to forget it.  I don't need to remember this day.  It's 2 years today.
I think of her almost everyday.  There is so much I want to tell her.  There are so many days I just want her to comfort me.  I was the baby of the family and till the day she died I was her baby.  Crap... I just miss her so much.
I didn't get to say goodbye to her.  She was scheduled for heart surgery to repair a leaky valve.  We (Brittney, Layla and I) had planned a trip down to see her in October and we were all going to do a little early Christmas shopping.  So, when her heart surgery was scheduled for the middle of November I asked her if we should cancel and I would just come down for her surgery?  She said no, that my brothers would be there and she wanted a nice visit with her girls.  So we spent a week there in October.  2 days before her heart surgery was scheduled my oldest brother called me and told me that during the night she got up to do something and fell and broke her hip.  The next 3 days he would call and give me updates.  I spoke with her on the phone the first day she was in the hospital.  Finally the 20th Greg told me I may want to get there ASAP ... this was Thanksgiving week traveling and the only flight I could get was the next day getting into Phoenix by 4:00.  I was met at the airport and taken to the hospital by my step brother and step cousin.  As we got to moms room I saw my big brother and step father and they told me the doctor had just went in and I could  see her shortly.  She passed away while I was outside her room.  I didn't get to let her know I was there or to tell her I loved her. 
I won't ever forget how painful and heartbreaking that was.  I was 15 feet from her bed and never got to say goodbye.
That was 2 years ago and so much has happened since then.  I know she has been with me a few times.  I have such lovely vivid dreams of her. 

This isn't the day I want to remember.  I would much rather spend the time and emotions thinking of her birthdays, or our trips we would take together. 

I already took my nights meds, the earlier I can get to sleep tonight the better I will be. 
Before I go I wanted to fill you in on the "body bugg" diet plan.  I think it will work wonders for me.  It's difficult not to eat carbs, white flour or white sugar.  That doesn't leave much. 

Thanksgiving is coming and we will celebrate the day before with Brittney's boyfriends family at his mothers house.  Then Thanksgiving Bill and I will just hang out ourselves.  Britt has plans and we have most of the time had it be just the two of us. 

I have a Weight Watchers weigh in on Tuesday.  I'll let you know how things go.

Miss you mom! <3

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pushing Forward

I was back on the bike last night at Britt's house.  I did 50 minutes, I figure today I'll shoot for 55 minutes and next week work to 1 hour.  Let me be very clear ... I am peddling consistently, but I am only averaging 6 miles in almost an hour.  So, like the doctor said I am trudging along being careful not to put too much pressure on my heart. 
Sad... I am not even 50 and have let myself get to this point.  Sometimes I have such disdain for myself!

Anyway, this is all a step in the right direction.  Britt is very helpful when it comes to motivating me.  She, being a single mom is up @ 5:00 going to the gym, home to shower and get Layla up for school, then to school herself all by 9:00. 

She has worked with a personal trainer long enough to be helpful to me with a low impact exercise plan.  She was over the night before last trying to load the "body bugg" program onto my computer.  For some reason she couldn't get it installed.  So, I gave hers back to her and she said when mine is delivered today she will come over and get it installed, even if she has to get on the phone with our friendly computer fixer guy.  LoL

I am curious to get this system started and to see how it works.  I know right away dieting watching carbs is a challenge.  I never paid attention before.  And, no white flour or white sugar.  I have never in my life eaten so many veggies, which I am fine with.  I have always gnawed on them anyway, diet or not.

Every year for as long as I can remember I have baked candy, fudge and cookies at Christmas for us and for gifts for our friends and family.  I told Bill I am not baking this year.  It will be almost impossible for me to bake and not taste.  Well it would be possible, but torture.  I am sure everyone will understand.  I did some canning earlier this fall and have some of that ready for gifts.  I will come up with something else. 

I am feeling (looking for the right word) naive regarding transplant, lvrs and treatment in general.  My entire life I take things literally.  If someone tells me blank... I expect blank to happen and in a timely manner.  LoL  Why is it that it never does?  And, why is it I haven't learned my lesson with this years and years ago?  Could it be.... life doesn't really revolve around me???  LoL  Honestly I am just kidding!

When I first was told in August about the need for transplant and my doctor told me he wanted me in Seattle by winter.  I believed him and took it to heart.  Then I found out that the wheels moved slower than I expected and that too was fine as long as they turned.  Then I find out that transplant now will be placed secondly as a treatment and that lung volume reduction surgery will be #1.  (And, I was relieved about this, and happy that my fears about lung transplant could wait a while)  However, now I am reminded that my weight will be an issue.  Why hadn't that stuck with me before?  I was aware of the BMI in August. 

So, now my Pulmonologist tells me that tests will begin next week and the results will be sent to Seattle and they will notify me of an appointment.  This appointment will not be for the lvrs, but will be a meeting to go over several things .... Insurance coverage, results of testing, I will have a psychiatric review, I will speak to a counselor and then they will tell me I have to wait for surgery until my weight loss is further along.  LoL

I know my disease is not at it's worse.  I know things can get much, much worse.  And, because of that it buys me time to wait for surgical procedures.  I know how I am feeling now.  I have heard others describe symptoms I hoped never to have.  People without this disease can't imagine living with it.  My fear is that stage of suffocation.  Of not being able to get a breath in AT ALL or breath out for that matter.  Of not being able to move about by themselves.  Of needing that damn cart at the grocery stores.  Of lugging around a push cart with a large O2 tank in it.  Of sleeping elevated because you can no longer lay flat and breath at the same time.  Of not being able to go outside AT ALL during frigid weather or extremely hot days, or days when the air quality is bad.

I can now squeak by all of that.  Yes, I am having breathing issues, and yes at times they are so bad they bring on anxiety attacks ... but nothing like I have heard described.  Yes, I carry an oxygen canister everywhere I go, but for now I can disguise them in a hand bag.  I keep eyeing those carts at the store and swear to myself I will walk if it takes me hours!  I will not give in to those carts.  Yes, the extremes in weather, hot or cold bothers me but I can still get around it either with scarves in the winter, or air conditioning in the summer.  Bad air quality days still keeps me inside.

What I am getting at is ... As bad as I think I have it, things will get worse.  There are many people living bravely with much worse symptoms as I have.  So, I have time for surgeries.  I have time to live as well as I can until those days get here for me too.

I have to keep reminding myself of that.  To LIVE.  Us Copd-ers are a tough bunch and the best thing we can do for ourselves is to not give up, to push through and do as much as possible even when we don't feel like it. 

Normally at 3:30 in the afternoon I am ready for a nap.  Now, I sit on a bike and ride.  It's a necessity for me to advance my chances for a better life.
S0 when you're feeling like you just can't take one more thing ... accept the frustration and push yourself.  You'll feel better about yourself if you go down trying rather than giving in and giving up.

Britt came over after she picked up Layla from school and programed my "bodybugg" that came today.  We added my weight and measurements and I set a goal to lose 62 pounds by June.  I would love to get there sooner, but this weight did not get on me overnight, and I have carried it around long enough to know it doesn't want to let go very easily.
I then went to her house and got on the bike.  I rode today with a increase in intensity and for 60 minutes.  My heart rate stayed around 130-140. 
I will stay at an hour and week by week slowly increase speed and intensity. 
I am not sure if I mentioned but I am going to ride Monday-Thursday, which also over time may increase.  We'll have to see.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas Decorating and Weight Loss

Let's get the weight issue out of the way first.  I went to Weight Watchers this morning and lost 4 pounds.  Keep in mind that I did not weigh in the week before, I played hooky.  That brings my total weight loss for 12 weeks to 12 pounds.  1 pound a week is great... but I need to do it faster, and without this up and down.  I am now at 212.2 pounds.  (I hate admitting that)  I am not sure what my BMI is at this moment, but my first goal to reach is break the 200 mark.  It will be interesting to see how this new "calorie" diet works compared to WW. 

Bill and I went grocery shopping after I got home and I stocked up on veggies and lean ground turkey and chicken breasts and fish. 
I came home and cut up all the veggies and put some in storage containers for snacks and Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and Cranberry's in baggies to cook with.

I also bought myself some good decaf coffee beans and some fat free Cafe Vienna international coffee to add to it for something special and comforting in the evenings.  Plus, Weight Watchers Fudge Bars for zero fat and 60  calories.  I am hitting this weight issue with a new dedication.  This is not a diet like other people go on.  It's a life saving measure.  I know without surgery or transplant I wouldn't have much of a life.  I would be home bound eventually and my heart would continue to get worse.

I NEED this weight loss.  It is not for vanity it's for life.  However, my memory can't even place when I had 30 BMI.  LOL  So, it should be fun to see.

I am going to start going to Britt's house 3 or 4 times a week to ride her stationary bike while she works out.  She said it will help her too to keep a scheduled exercise program as well.  She is doing some program on DVDs that would kill me. 

I mentioned last night that I had decorated our tree and house for Christmas.  I love Christmas and if it was left up to me I would leave them up all year.  Bill jokingly says that any month ending in "ber" is fair game for Christmas to begin around our house.  LoL
Living Room
Living Room
Even Christmas in the Kitchen :)
Dining Room
To me there is nothing better than to sit surrounded by Christmas.  I come by this honestly... Mom would decorate so beautifully every year for the holidays.  She used to make fun of me for putting my stuff up so early.  I have passed this onto Brittney as well.  She actually had her tree up before me this year. 

It's time to get to Britt's now.  I just wanted to share my weight loss with you.  Yippee!  And, post the pics of Christmas.

**Just a ending note.  We are back from Britt's.  I rode the bike for 46 1/2 minutes.  My highest pulse rate was 156, but after resting and slowing things down it stayed about 130.  I can already feel it.  When I stood up from the bike my legs were like standing on spaghetti noodles.  LoL  Back again tomorrow and Thursday.  I will do it Mon, Tue, Wed and Thurs.  I'll keep track of my progress here. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Pulmonologists appointment and some news

There have been a few times that being so "forth coming" about this process has been embarrassing, or shameful or uncomfortable for me to write. 

I went to my pulmonologist's appointment today.  He had heard from Seattle and they sent a list of requirements and tests they wanted me to have prior to visiting them.

The tests included but not limited to ...

An Echocardiogram
A High Resolution Ct Scan of my chest
A complete Pulmonary Function Test
A Blood Gas test without O2

He said there would probably be more blood work, but those tests are easily scheduled.
So, on the 23rd (in 8 days) I am scheduled to go @ 10 for the echo cardiogram and ct scan, then once I am finished there remove oxygen and wait 30 minutes then go to his office for the Pulmonary function test and the blood gas test.

He said I meet all requirements for LVRS and Transplant EXCEPT FOR ONE AREA ... MY WEIGHT!!! 
He as politely as he could said he will take it upon himself to be "that" doctor that I will hate, and just tell me.... I am overweight.  I need to lose weight in order to save myself.  I sat there shaking my head agreeing with everything he said.

I have been going to Weight Watchers and losing slowly.  Sometimes losing, sometimes gaining, always wanting to have big losses but going up and down.  I have not eaten fast food, I have watched my fat intake and low calories.  But what I hadn't done is exercise. 

He told me today that even with my heart condition (which he will forward concerns about to my primary care doctor) I need to get up and move.  He said even if I can only walk 15 minutes, then rest in between and walk 4 times a day for 15 minutes.  I get it, I understand. 
For people without this disease it would appear ridiculous that I cannot walk for periods of time.  It seems ridiculous to me. 

He said that in order to have the LVRS they would like me at a BMI of 32% and for Transplant at 32-30%. 

So, he said they will want to see me.  Go over all my tests with me and get familiar with my case as well as letting me get familiar with them and how they do things.  He said he doubts they would do the surgery until I had significant weight loss.

So, I give up and give in.  I will continue to go to Weight Watchers weekly and weigh in.  The support system there is good for me.  But tonight Brittney brought me over this calorie counting and calorie burning system she has been using.  I wanted to get one but they are 200$ and I didn't want to spend the money.
She put it on my arm and told me she ordered me one and paid for 6 months worth of online support to go with it.  When I get mine I will give this one back to her.
They are called the bodybugg (version 3) calorie management system.  It uses body temp to keep track of calories burned.  Then you plug it in to the computer at the end of each day and add what you have eaten and it tells you calories burned verses calories eaten.
You can set your own goals and it will calculate, and give you your daily calorie allowance.

I will keep you posted on how it works. 

Being over weight to me is one thing.  But being SO overweight that I do not qualify for surgery is something shameful. 

I go to Weight Watchers tomorrow and I am hoping to see a loss.  I didn't go last week so this weigh in will be for 2 weeks.

I am so tired tonight, but I will get on tomorrow and post some pictures of Christmas.  I got energetic and put up our tree and decorated the house for Christmas. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I was thinking today about this time last year.  Bill and Layla and I going to feed our ducks and walking around canister free.  We walked or got outside nearly everyday. 

What a difference a year makes.  I often wonder what would I be like today had I not quit smoking 522 days ago?  I can't imagine putting anything in my lungs, even cold air will make me panic.  I look back at the holidays last year and I want that me back.  Of course then I thought I was damaged beyond repair ... little did I know of the downward slide that would take place.  I can see the evil-ness of this disease.  It slowly almost unknowingly steals your breath, energy and independence. 

I can remember last November being able to take walks, dress without being out of breath, clean house (if I didn't use harsh smelling cleaning products), walking from room to room, taking a shower without the need for oxygen. 

I am not sure when it happened, I didn't notice waking up one day and not being able to do something, but it happened.

Now when I shower I lose my breath, when I get dressed I am breathless and exhausted by the time I'm done.  Cleaning house now takes me all day just to vacuum and dust ... a chore that used to take me an hour.  I can no longer walk for any distance or period of time.  Strangely though I can walk pushing a shopping cart.  I think that is because of my oxygen canister being in my purse and being so heavy to lug around.

I can only imagine what I would be like in another year?  With some luck I will have this lung volume reduction surgery and it will go smoothly and I will be able to see an improvement.  That would be nice. 

Suddenly I am finding it impossible to keep my eyes opened.  I guess it's time to go take meds and go to bed.