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.................

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Getting ready for light cooking

I guess I didn't post it here, it was on facebook.  Well, a few days ago I asked Bill to pick me up some carrots when he was at the store.  I told him that even those baby carrots that are already cut up would be fine... I would just rinse them and cut them into bite sized pieces.  Those so often are slimy... a good idea they just never seem to keep very long.

Anyway... This is what Bill brings me back from the store.  A 10 pound bag of carrots!  I peeled and cut up about half the bag to munch on. 

The second shelf of my frig is pretty much filled with carrots.  LoL
 I am hoping I can find a use for the rest.  I'm thinking maybe a carrot/apple salad with walnuts.  :)  Mom used to make it.  I don't have the recipe but I think I can fake it.  Yep, I'll try that tomorrow.

Today was weigh in... and I didn't go.  It wasn't because I had gained weight, because I am pretty sure I lost at least 2 pounds.  I didn't wake up until almost 10:00.  Oh My Gosh!!  That just never happens.  I am not on new medication or anything, I just am so tired!  It's not even that I feel so tired when I go to bed, it's just from the time I wake up (later all the time) until afternoon.  I have been making myself exercise.  I am still doing it... it just is getting harder to keep going and not want to just quit and sit in my chair. 

I have been working out with my hand weights.  Doing 5 minute intervals.  I was thinking that Spring eventually will get here and I would really like to be able to wear short sleeved shirts without worrying about my flabby upper arms.  You all know what I am talking about.  Ewwwwwwww!

I have been thinking a lot the last couple days about this new recipe book idea.  It's not like it's a big deal or anything... the online site does most the work.  But the recipe's, The Recipes!  LOL  I began today playing with different flavors and fat free or lower calorie dishes.

Tonight we had Bow Tie Pasta with a white sauce and parsley, onions and left over turkey burgers.  I think this dish would work with any meat... or no meat for that matter.  It wasn't so bad.  Bill (my tester) said he would order it again in a restaurant.

1 box (14.5 ounce) Multi grain FarFalle Pasta (bow tie)
2 teaspoons butter
1 8 ounce can sweet peas (I would prefer frozen baby peas but I didn't have any)
4 ounces ground turkey (cooked the night before as burgers) diced small
1/2 medium onion chopped finely
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped finely
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons Beau Monde seasoning (love this... very versatile and great in summer salads like potato or macaroni)
1 teaspoon  Ground Coriander
3 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) Neufchatel Cheese (33% less fat cream cheese)
1 cup Fat Free Sour Cream
1 Cup Carnation evaporated milk (reduced calorie)
Salt and white pepper to taste

Bring to boil a pot of water with 1 teaspoon butter
Add pasta and cook about 15 minutes until aldente

Pour pasta out into strainer, then back into pot.
In a separate sauce pan with 1 teaspoon butter and cooking spray saute 1/2 onion with salt until  tender/clear.  Add to pasta and stir.

In the same sauce pan add 1 cup evaporated milk and flour, stirring over medium heat.  When it starts to thicken reduce heat and remove.
Add into sauce pan cream cheese and sour cream and spices.  Stir until smooth and seasoning is combined well.

Add to pasta mixture and stir well.  Gently add peas and parsley

Put into a 2 Quart casserole dish and bake @ 350 for 30 minutes.  Right before serving add .6 ounces or 17 grams of grated Parmesan cheese.

205 calories per cup  

I served it with steamed broccoli and a green salad.  Bill said I should have added the broccoli to the pasta.  I might try that next time.

I am really trying to experiment with spice and flavors in place of fat and carbs.  LoL  So, I have been stocking up my spice racks.  I was making soup last week and sent Bill to the store to buy me some Saffron Threads.  He came home cradling them like a baby and said... "Do you know how much these are?"  Yep... but a little goes a long way and they add such flavor!  I wanted ground saffron, but it is to be found No Where in town.

Our house was built in the 20's, so cupboards were not important.  Neither were closets or storage of any kind.  LoL  So, I needed somewhere to put my spices.  I found these racks at Fred Meyer and spray painted them black to match our kitchen.  Now I just need to find room for more of them.  LoL

I am getting excited about this new cookbook.  I will post pictures with most recipes, just so I can have the pictures for the cookbook. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My trampoline

One of my friends was asking me about the trampoline I use for cardio.  Here it is.  It's low impact so I can actually get quite a work out in before I need to rest.  Gawd... my hips and butt look huge in that pic!  LoL  I am having a flash back from my mom ... "Never wear white or horizontal stripes around your rear end!"  LOL 

Look at my baby girl Midori ( the pitbull) watching me.  She loves to watch me bounce ... but looks worried because she is scared of the camera!  LoL
... So... I really love this little thing.  I can pick it up and hide it under my bed, then just pull it out when I use it.  After my morning coffee I try and do at least a half hour, sometimes my breathing will allow me to get an hour in.  Today nope... 30 minutes.  I am still trying to do 2 hours a day, and get 10k steps in, and burn 2500 calories.  Almost always if I get at least 10,ooo steps in the rest fall into place.  Sometimes the 2500 calories are tougher to get than other times.  It all depends on how hard I can work out. 

Still doing well holding off the late night eating.  I actually have been so tired lately.  I mentioned this before that I never have been a sleeper.  I swear lately getting up before 8:00 is unheard of... more like 9:00 or later.  That is just not like me!

I wrote that up there Thursday... now it's Sunday evening and I am finally finishing this blog. 
I had good days dieting except yesterday the entire day got away from me.  It started in the morning and continued through the day.  Even with all the eating I did I still had a deficit.... although small, I'll take it.  I think the deficit was 350 calories.

That picture of me on the trampoline cracks me up!  A few months ago I would have NEVER put a picture like that of myself online.  But, over the last year or so... I just decided I am me.  I am in a larger package than I would like, and I am working on getting smaller.  But I will not hide away and pretend I am something I am not.

I weigh just under 200 pounds.  I am turning gray and finding moles and marks on me that weren't there last year.  My eyesight has gotten terrible and I can't see without glasses on anymore.  I have a cannula around my face 24 hours a day, and when I take it off to shower there are permanent lines on my cheeks where the tubing goes.  Sometimes when I go out in public or to someones house where I am not familiar I have once in a while (too often) had panic attacks.  I excuse myself, go into the bathroom and Breath in and out slowly.  I am not sure what brings them on... but my heart races, my body temp goes up and I begin to get the shakes. 

It happens mostly when I am out alone.  I think running out of oxygen that one day and trying to figure out if I should continue shopping or go out to my car and get my extra bottle and then return shopping ... but then... what do I do with this partially filled shopping cart?  How can I explain to anyone to save these items for me when I can't breath to speak? 

I just made myself breath and checked out and came home.  I finished shopping another day.  But, I will never forget how I felt.  Total panic and the more I panicked the more out of breath I became. 
Pursed lip breathing.  Taking big breaths in and breathing out slowly through pursed lips ... repeat.  LoL 

So, I was remembering a simpler time yesterday.  A time when I could just grab the car keys and my purse and go anywhere.  Even a overnight trip was no big deal.  Throw a few things into my suitcase and add a few bathroom items... shampoo/conditioner and my make up bag.
Well... make up has long since gone away.  Once in a blue moon I will wear it for special occasions, but now I just get up and wash my face and call it good. 
Now if I were to go anywhere overnight I have to think of how many small bottles of O2 to bring.  One bottle lasts about 3 hours.  Then I need to think (if driving) how many larger bottles do I bring for the car.  One large bottle about 6 hours.  Then pack up the concentrator and make sure I bring the heavy duty extension cord in case there isn't any plug ins for it.  Then... all my meds.  My god!  I have pills for morning, afternoon and night time.  Plus, the handy dandy inhaler that I keep a new one in the car at all times for emergencies.  Then whatever clothes and toiletries.

These are my morning meds I take everyday.

These are my nighttime meds that I take every night.
I take one of those mid afternoon too.  I just wanted to keep track.  I remember once seeing a friend of mine on a quit smoking site take a picture of all her meds and it amazed me.  I know the elderly have a huge volume of pills they take, but I am only  49. 

I watch T.V. shows like Oprah and see woman who are turning 50 who look amazing, who are healthy and live great lives.  I envy them.  I have more in common with the elderly than with anyone my own age.  As a matter of fact I try to keep in check sometimes not talking about my illness.  There is more to life than this. 

I am going to work on a different cook book.  This one will be lighter food.  Some of the same recipes that were in the old book, only modified with lesser calories and fat.
No matter what people do in life they always have those times when they need a healthy choice.  This will be my wonderful gift to Brittney and each one of my brothers. 
Sometimes it's just getting in the lighter mindset... it's like (slaps self on the forehead) "why didn't I think of that?"  At least that's how it is for me a lot of the time.

Anyway... expect more recipes coming with photos.  This time not only will the picture but also the nutritional values of each recipe. 

I am starting that in March and hope to be done and ready to put a book together by April or May.  We are having a "memorial" for Mom in June around her birthday in the Bend area.  Both my brothers will be there and possibly some of mom's friends and a cousin or two.  I would like to have the recipe book done then to give to them.

I am already looking forward to getting started.  It will give me a goal to work towards and will fit in nicely with my new healthy eating plan.  I am going through recipes now and kind of playing with them exchanging different ingredients.  The challenge I have faced through all of this is spicing.  I am learning more about spices and how to use them, but staying away from salt is difficult.  I have gone to sea salt only because it doesn't have the sodium content that regular salt has.  However, the body does need a little sodium.  That might be a good discussion to have with my doctor on my next visit.

Sorry again about it being so long between blogs.  I will start doing better, if for no other reason than to get my recipes here. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I am more than a title

It's been a couple days since I blogged, sorry.  It seems by the time I make dinner and help Bill with dishes then watch a show or two... the last place I want to be is here in front of the computer trying to use my brain.

I have been at a loss for words and it's getting worse each month.  Literally... At a Loss for Words!  I will begin typing then stop and concentrate to come up with a word or phrase.  It's very annoying and a little worrisome. 

My oxygen levels are good according to my oxi meter.  I know I went through menopause early so maybe this is a left over side effect of that?  I never really had the "change" talk with my doctor.  The same time I was going through menopause was just prior to my mom passing away and then all the B.S. with her estate, and then my lung diagnoses.  So... the least important thing has been my menstrual cycles. 

Honestly... besides the new things like facial hair, loss of vision, memory issues and mood swings and sleeplessness I barely noticed!  LOL

On one of the Copd groups/sites I belong to a question was asked.... Do you mind the term "Copder"? 
Most said no, they don't mind.
That surprised me.  I think I do mind.  I am so much more than illness or title.  Every person I have come across with Copd has something that distinguishes them from everyone else. 

I know what it is....  Emphysema has a visual that goes with the term.  Unlike when a person says they have cancer... the other person leans their head to the side and says... "I am so sorry".  But tell that same person "I have emphysema" and they say..." HOW LONG DID YOU SMOKE ?"  It is the same thing or look over and over again.  Yes... I smoked!  Yes, I should have stopped way before my symptoms showed... but, guess what?  I didn't.  I like millions of people smoked.  Some people get lucky and don't get this disease, I did. 

When people ask me why I use oxygen and I tell them "I have lung disease."  I am not fooling anyone... but it stops their looks and judgements.  So... No I am not a Copder ... I am Kellie Rice a woman who was unlucky enough to get Emphysema. 

We are all much more than any title the world may give us.  I think that since my diagnoses I have become a much stronger person.  Not physically (however, I am getting there) but my determination has never been this strong.  My attitude changes from time to time.  It is so hard to remain positive with this.  I stand up for myself now and once I realized how precious life is... I am determined to Live each day.  That doesn't mean I am going on cruises or vacations every other week.  But, I do try and see something amazing and good everyday.  

I can't remember how long ago it's been, but I moved into the guest room.  At the time I blamed it on Bill's snoring.  But to be truthful I did it because I had such a cough at night while sleeping I thought moving in there would hide it from him.  Of course it didn't.  I would sit up holding my stomach with a pillow and cough until I gave myself an actual hernia.  Awe... cigarettes!  Anyway... I think it's been about 4 years.  Bill just moved both dogs onto the bed in my spot... which is fine except for when we have company I then have to sleep around the two dogs.  

I mentioned to Bill that it would be nice to have sleep overs ( LoL ) once or twice a week, without the dogs.  I never have been so lonely before.  I miss having him next to me.  Don't get me wrong... Having my own bed, watching my own T.V. shows and reading whenever I want .... Has Been GREAT.  So, we are going to actually start sleeping together again a few times a week.  Who would have thought we would have to get divorced to sleep together again.

As far as the late night eating and the diet... It's going better this week.  Twice now.... once yesterday and then today I exercised and forgot to put on my bodybugg so it didn't capture my cardio.  
Last night Bill and I had some late snacking.. .but it wasn't terrible. Tonight early I ate things I shouldn't.  But it's not bad and I am still keeping my caloric deficit intact.
This week will be a good weigh in, and not one that I have to squint to see.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Weigh in day

This shows the total calories burned each day last week.
 I met Britt at the Weight Watchers meeting this morning for weigh in.  I went first... I lost 1.6 pounds.  Considering all the late night eating and the scattered work outs I was O.K. with that.  Had I watched my night time eating I would have easily lost another pound and met my goal of 2.6 per week.
Brittney met her goal and maintained it for 6 weeks so she achieved her lifetime membership.  That means that as long as she shows up once a month for a meeting weight watchers will be free to her.  That is as long as she is not more than 2 pounds above or anything lower.  She was smart and set her goal on the high side, then intends to lose another 10 or 15.  She looks great.  I am proud of her.

I am re-newing my weight loss commitment.  When I started weight watchers I was drinking H2O every day and not eating fatty foods at night.  I am returning to that mind set.  I had been drinking coffee all day and afternoon then drinking zero calorie flavored water.  Now I will use only 5 tablespoons of coffee creamer instead of 10+ and when the coffee's gone instead of making another pot I will drink water. 

I also stocked back up on carrots and grapes and apples and will eat those at night.  Well... I also bought Hershey's Bliss melt aways the Creme DE Menthe flavor.  They are 36.6 calories each.  I eat 3 of those and I feel satisfied. 

It started raining and sideways snowing today.  What that means for me is the unhealthy air will get better and get washed away.  Being inside the house for so long has gotten to me. 
I could feel depression sneaking up on me.  When that happens I don't care if I go anywhere, talk to anyone, even get out of my pajama's.  I snapped myself out of it quick enough... it just has been terrible having to rush from car to house, or car to store.  Fresh air really is nice some times.
Also, with that weight gain I was SO disappointed in myself.  When I get that way I tend to sabotage myself.  I know it while I am doing it, and while I am eating the sandwich in bed or 2 yogurts instead of one.  But... I do it anyway.

So......... I have a couple friends who are also on the road to weight loss.  This is what I can tell you...
Set goals for yourself.  Small ones, big ones... just a goal. 

Mine as everyone knows is a BIG one... I want to lose 49 pounds by the end of June.  It is a lofty goal and I will bend over and twist into if I can get there... but if I can't I am O.K. with that.  I am pledging that I will never see 200 pounds again, ever!   

I am now eating oatmeal made with water in the mornings with a tablespoon of brown sugar on it.  I have some kind of snack or two and then dinner, and a snack or two after.  The trick is... watch the calories of those snacks and plan ahead.  Like my 3 Hershey's melt aways at night.  Also, have veggies cut up waiting for those emergencies when you need something right now.  I can eat 2 cups of carrots in no time.  I crunch them like chips.
Speaking of chips... I found some Special K Sour Cream and Onion chips which are pretty good and you can have 27 of them for 110 calories.  I eat those if I get the munchies around lunch time.  It's the salt.  I crave salty things.  Sodium is so bad for our lungs that when I do allow myself to eat something salty... I savour it.  LOL  I really do.  Bill says this look of total satisfaction comes over my face.  LOL  What can I say?  I love my salt. 

Keep your portion sizes under control.  Weight Watchers says for meat and fish one portion is the size of a deck of cards.  You can google anything to find out calories per serving.  Also, to figure out a teaspoon... is from the tip of your pointer finger to the first joint.... A tablespoon is from the tip of your thumb to the first joint.
When you eat salad put the dressing on the side in a small dish and dip your fork into it then take a bite of salad.  You'd be surprised how little dressing you use this way.

If you looking for a low impact easy exercise to do... I swear by my mini trampoline.  Mine cost 29.99 at K-Mart.  Walmart has them too... I am sure most box stores do in the exercise department.  My feet don't leave the trampoline, and I run and walk in place.  I put it right in front of the T.V. and "work out" while I watch T.V..  I found the more interest I have in the show the less I watch the clock. 
I went and bought 3 1/2 pound weights, but you can use large cans of tomato sauce and do curls, or arm lifts to the side and in front and then behind your head.  You can even use the weights while on the trampoline or sitting in your chair. 

As for what to eat.  Well... I have pretty much stuck to Chicken Breasts and Ground Turkey.... Sometimes very lean sirloin or pork loin.  I use shredded chicken for taco meat, or ground turkey is just as good as ground beef for casseroles or tacos. 
I have found that any where you would use ground beef you can use ground turkey.  It's all in the spicing.  For turkey burgers... you can put your turkey in a bowl then mix a package of low sodium ranch dressing mix, or the cup of soups... the french onion mixed with turkey is awesome.  I mixed BBQ sauce into it and then made a meatloaf with it.  We eat it with taco seasoning a lot. 
Or bake chicken breasts on a baking pan and when it's done and cool... shred it for taco's. 
Use a baked chicken breast spiced with Italian seasoning and then melt a low fat slice of Monterrey Jack or Swiss and then top it with a spoon full of canned spaghetti sauce,  (you will have to watch the calories and fat and find one without added meat, just good ol tomatoes) a big green salad and you have a great dinner. 
I keep on hand 2% shredded cheeses... Mexican blend and cheddar and Swiss. 
I "portioned" size potato is great with fat free sour cream and a slice of turkey bacon chopped up on top of it. 

Any food you usually eat... except pizza and most pasta... you can find low fat alternatives that taste good.  I come home from the store and fry up the entire package of turkey bacon and keep it in a Ziploc bag in the frig.  It is low fat and only 35 calories per slice. 

Sara Lee has a whole wheat bread that is 45 calories per slice.  I bought sugar free ice cream topping (strawberry) and use it instead of jelly on toast. 

Anyway... I am re-thinking all of my ideas.  I still believe that with my cardio workout and adding water to my diet and quit late night eating... I can keep dropping weight fast enough to hold my interest.  If things get drawn out, and my progress slows I start back sliding.  I lose interest and will begin to slip.  I think it's pretty normal every 6 weeks or so... to re-evaluate why I am doing this.

Some day, I don't know when?  My doctor will tell me... Kellie you now qualify for surgery and there will be no waiting because you are at a healthy weight and have taken good care of yourself.  Yep... someday that will happen.

Whatever your reasons are... I promise you... If I can help at all, even if it's just learning from my mistakes... whisper to me and I will do whatever I can.  I know how hard it is to get started, and then it's a chore to keep going. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I appreciate your comments

I took all your comments and spent the night and day thinking about it.  I have come to a conclusion that is about half way between what you are saying, and what I can do.

For me... food is comfort.  I used to have cigarettes to do the comforting.  That is a entirely different conversation.... however it fits here because............
The only way I could quit smoking was cold turkey... jumping in with both feet and not looking back.

To me losing weight is that same mindset.  I have read and read and talked to my doctor and from everything I know... when you eat plays NO part of how you digest or burn calories.  It is simple math.  Calories in minus Calories burnt.  It's that simple.  Of course you can take advantage of (I can't think of the word so I'll call it) forward progress, metabolism boost or whatever you want to call it and keep your caloric burn going with simple proteins and healthy carbs. 

What I am doing is keeping my caloric intake at 1200 calories or less daily while exercising and burning at least 2500, leaving a deficit of 1300 calories per day.  It takes 3500 calories to lose one pound, therefore if I keep these #'s daily, then each week I will lose 2.6 pounds. 

Now... please understand this is a goal I set for myself when I was working toward transplant, then LVRS ... now it is for my health.  It is a goal to reach that by June.  If I don't the world won't end for me.  It just gives me something to work toward.  It is not unreachable... just big enough for me to push myself.  Much like what I did quitting smoking.... only with food you have to give yourself measured doses of it while trying to do away with bad habits associated with it.  CRUEL isn't it??  lol

I appreciate everyone worrying about me.  I go to the doctor at least once a month and get on their scales.  They take my pulse/blood pressure/oxygen levels and I have my blood drawn more than anyone should...so if I were lacking something they would be the first to tell me to slow down or stop. 

I really had to look internally after I read every ones comments.  I am pushing myself, yes.  I sometimes (hell, most the time) set unreasonable goals for myself, yes.  I go at things 500 miles an hour, yes. 

Seeing myself gain 4 pounds after taking a week off made me realize that I need to push myself.  It's O.K. for me to have a day here and there, but going that far off is not healthy for me, and not helping me.  I was angry with myself.  But it wasn't the end of the world and I can recover from it, get back on track and be fine.

I appreciate everyone comments, I love the fact that you all cared enough to say anything.... I just am feeling so good watching my pants get baggy.  I look in the mirror and see a difference.  That is so good for my self esteem ... which took a big hit this year. 
I will soon enough be able to look at myself in the mirror and have the cannula be the only thing I dislike about myself. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weigh in

I was going to skip today's weigh in.  I told myself all week as I ate birthday cake for Bill, and bread and butter, and pasta and you name it... I probably ate it ... So, I told myself for my birthday I would skip weigh in and work harder this week to make up for it.

But... it made me feel like a cheater.  I went this morning.  I held my head up and got on the scale and gained 4 (FOUR) pounds.  Holy SHIT!!  I thought 2 maybe 2 "." point something..... but never would I have thought 4 pounds.

But then, I wasn't doing any exercises because of the "episode" I had.  And, I was still on the steroids... LOL  look at me makin excuses for myself! 

I am back up to the 200 mark.  I promised myself NEVER to be there again. 

I came home (didn't stay for the meeting) went through the refrigerator and cupboards ... watched Bill wince as I threw out goodies.  Then I went shopping, stocked the house back up with veggies, chicken breasts, fruit and low calorie-low carb bread... and whole wheat pasta.

I am back to square one with myself.  No second and third chances here.  I went back on the trampoline.  Doing short spurts at a time ... 5-15 minutes. 

I re calibrated my bodybugg arm band and to keep myself on target for my 150 pound goal by the middle of June, I now have to hold a 1300 and above caloric deficit each day instead of my 1,000.  Which doesn't sound like a lot, but those 300 calories are hard to give up. 

This mostly means I am forced to deal with my late night eating habit. 
I bought seedless grapes and measured them into 1 cup containers, and I bought Quaker Peanut Butter chewy snacks, and Quaker White Cheddar Cheese Rice Cakes to satisfy that late night sweet or salty need of mine. 

I am feeling better.  I have to let you in on a little secret... the other night when I had that chest pain scared me pretty bad.  I watch myself very close now when I am exercising, and if I start to get dizzy I stop for a while.  If I have the slightest pain in my lungs or chest I quit. 

I think some of that was the fact that I was out in extreme air quality.  It was so sunny and as everyone knows when you live in snow country by February any sun shine is glorious!  Well, I learned my lesson.  With my breathing issues I will have to watch those days.  We have them pretty often here actually.  We will have them again in the Spring when people start burning Fields and tree trimmings..,. then again in the summer if there are any forest fires burning around us, and then again in the fall when people start using their fire places and the Fields are getting burned off again.

Crap.... looks like bad air quality is year around.  LOL  Why hadn't I even thought about that before?  Why would I? 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

One year (Looking forwards and backwards)

When I wake up in the morning I will be another year older. Face it... 48 is not the END of the road. The road is just getting worn out with more pot holes.

If I had my way I would stop here. I have a feeling the next years will be much different. It is for that reason I am here blogging. I am going to need all the stamina I can get to make it.

Last week the doctor asked me what makes me happy. I had no answer for her. I shrugged my shoulders. That is unacceptable!
Of course I have the typical answers. I do adore my daughter and granddaughter. I do look forward to visits with them. It just seems we are all going through so much right now we don't have that spontaneous joking and laughter that we usually have.

I have had so much change this last year it's hard for me to have a anchor point of stability. I lost my mother, my husband of 27 years and I got a divorce, I quit smoking and was diagnosed with Copd/Emphysema, I gained 40 pounds. Ughhhh... That just is daunting to even write it all down.

I am living one life at home, another life outside the house. At home I am living with my ex husband as though we are still married. It's a long story! Once I walk out my front door alone or with him we are divorced.

It wasn't our first choice, but necessary for me to get medical insurance. I am not sure how you would feel about someone being dishonest to gain benefits? I was not sure how I felt about it actually! I am afraid to tell anyone. Very few people know about it. Our close friends think we are still married, and those we just meet think we are divorced but close. I can't tell my own doctors about it for fear they will need to report me. I am getting SSI benefits. Big deal right... 400.oo per month is not worth anything. What I needed most was to qualify for medical insurance and this was the only way I could get it. I worked my entire adult life as a business owner. We paid employees but never paid ourselves. I didn't pay into social security for years and now when I need the little $$ and benefits it could give me, I didn't qualify. Instead I was given SSI. I honestly don't know how people can live on this. I am sure they can't.
It has been a terrible time for our relationship. We started with a pact that no matter what happened we would ALWAYS be together, that just because we weren't married legally anymore didn't mean squat to us. Well... funny how stress and anger, resentment and depression can play havoc on a relationship. We are struggling to find why we stayed together in the first place.

I have a tremendous amount of guilt with this Emphysema. Both of my parents had it, and you would have thought I knew better than to follow in their footsteps. It honestly scares the crap out of me. I have seen them both struggle for air. I have heard the gurgling sounds coming from my mom in the hospital. I never wanted to be here. I feel like damaged goods. I feel like I have promised my daughter the same pain as I had watching my parents die of this. It's not pretty!

I am getting carried away with my first entry. I just wanted to document on the eve of my 48th Birthday my frame of mind. It is my hope that within a year I will be back here on my 49th and discover I learned something about myself. That I found out I am stronger than I think I am. And hopefully... that I figured out what "makes me happy".
That was a year ago.  Well, let's see..... 

I can tell you that Bill and I have figured things out.  We still have struggles and adjustments, but every couple does.  I found out I can count on him and that his love really is unconditional.  He has had to step up this last year and take on so much more, and he does it without hesitation or complaining.  I am not sure I could or would do that?  I suppose you don't know.

I also found out that I am much stronger than I gave myself credit for.  I was put through the ringer in 2010 and I made it through.  Not only made it, but I think I am better for it.  I appreciate daily life now.  I appreciate a simple trip to the store.  I found out what makes me happy.  It's family.  It's the simple things like chats with Brittney, or sleep overs with Layla, or lunch with Bill. 

I still have moments of depression, sometimes days, and once in a while even weeks.  But I have figured out how to see the signs and get myself out of it.  Sometimes it's just my lungs getting in the way of life that frustrates me. 

I am still learning to deal with the disease.  It's getting easier.  I put the cannula on now and forget about it for the most part.  I still have moments when I trip over it, or the dogs get tangled up in it, or it gets stuck under the door... and it will RIP off my face.  Those moments I could do without.

I get tired easier and know that now and can plan ahead for busy schedules.  I don't nap... but do sleep 10-12 hours a day, which I would have never done before.  I am not a early riser anymore. 

I have lost 27.8 pounds since August.  I have another 56 to go.  I have started regularly exercising for the first time in my life. 
I began cooking, wrote a cookbook with the help of my mom and her recipes. 

So.. when I wake up I will be 49.  I wonder what 2011 has in store for me?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Reading the comments on the last entry cracked me up as I came to write tonight.  Well, not exactly cracked me up... but spoke clearly to me.

Last night / this morning at around 2:00 a.m. I awoke with what I thought was a heart attack.  I had the worse pain in the center of my chest.  It felt like someone had ahold and wasn't about to let go.  I couldn't talk, so for 5 minutes tried to get down the hall to Bill.  I woke him up and the paramedic in him took over.

I can't remember what he called it but I was icy cold and sweaty.  He got our blood pressure cuff and my blood pressure was all over the place.  He wanted to take me up to the hospital.  Of course ... I said no.  He layed me back in bed with my head elevated, turned my O2 up as far as it would go and kept taking my pulse and watching my breathing.  How long?  I am not sure.  I fell asleep.  He finally slept at about 4:00.

I am not sure what it was.  Today my lungs are tight and breathing is not very easy.  I have had dizziness.  I am sure everything that was commented about is true.

I did too much too fast and while I was trying to recover from an infection and respiratory distress.  So... it was self induced.

Today I did NOTHING.  As a matter of fact, I was just thinking I will go put on clean jammies and wash my face and go to bed.  After all it is 7:15. 

I am cutting my cardio to an hour.  And, I will watch what I eat.  I will try to find a happy medium.  Giulia, .. you are right.  I need to slow my ass down.

Tomorrow we are going over to Britt's for Bill and my B-Day party.  We will be amongst friends and it will be relaxing. 

This was me yesterday.  You'll see that I tried to do some cardio.  I just didn't have enough air.  I should have just realized it and quit.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I had a bad night!

Yesterday was a bad day all around.  I couldn't get my exercise in because I was so breathless and just tired.  So, I went to bed early, and then got up and ate all night.  As you can see above... I barely had any deficit.

I was hoping tonight I could make up for it.  But, no!  I am exercising 10 or 15 minutes at a time, and then taking 1/2 hour to get my breath before I can think about it again.

Tonight however, I will not pig out.  I am going to give it my all to exercise tonight, even if in small amounts of time.

I went to see my Pulmonologist this afternoon.  My oxygen level was 94 and that was on 5 LPM (liters per minute), my blood pressure slightly elevated and I had no temp.  He came in and we talked a few minutes.  I told him how heavy my chest felt, and how hard it was to feel "satisfied" with a breath... he said there is nothing he could do.  He did ask me if I had heard from Seattle - University of Washington ... I told him the FEV levels they gave me as criteria for surgical procedures... LVRS or TRANSPLANT ... he was disgusted.  He said that is leaving a patient sitting in a chair hooked up to O2, unable to move around because their O2 saturation is so bad. 
He then showed me my latest CT scans of my lungs.  Showed me the damage in the upper lobes and more so in the right one.  And then as to what I can do now to feel better... he said go home and take it easy.  He didn't want to give me any more steroids because they are so harmful to other organs. 

Welcome to life with Emphysema.  I almost wanted to cry just out of frustration.  O.k.  So... this is life from now on huh?  No more meds will ease anything.  No higher level of O2 at the moment.  Nada.  Just get used to having these periods of exacerbation's. 

So here I sit.  Now I know when I push myself too hard, or when the air quality is bad and I venture out in it, or when I get a cold or flu... this is how it will be.  Any worse... and it is hospitalization and I.V.'s ..

He did tell me Thank You SO much for the holiday goodie basket I left for him and his staff.  He especially liked my ginger snap cookies.  He said his mother-in-law used to make them just like that and she has passed and his wife doesn't know the recipe.

I will bake him a batch and copy the recipe in a Valentines card and drop it off for him. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A very bad breathing day

Yesterday I had a very good day.  I got in over 2 hours of cardio, I ate well, and I burned plenty of calories.

Today however I am shaky, short of breath and feel like I have weights sitting on my chest.  Our air quality has been unhealthy, and I still have the remnants of this cold/infection.  I didn't take the air quality seriously and was out in it again today.  This afternoon and tonight I am a believer!  This is the worst I have had my breath as far as not getting any or struggling for enough.

I have tried to exercise today and I just gave up.  You'll see the charts tomorrow. 

My pulmonologist's nurse called me this afternoon about my meds and said that if I am having breathing issues they want to see me.  So, I have an appointment tomorrow at 2:00.  I am so thankful for the doctors I have.  It's just not everyday that someone is lucky enough to have doctors who actually follow up and care about their patients.  Mine do, and I am very appreciative of them.

Now, for tonight ... It's 7:00 I am going to take my medicine and go to bed.  I am physically exhausted for no good reason.  More tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Weigh in and new measurements

The above shows how well I can do when I don't pig out at night. 

Here are my measurements and the progress I have made since starting this bodybugg thingy.  I had been on weight watchers and lost 9 pounds prior to this.  Any rate... it is beginning. 

I know raising the cardio to 2 hours per day will help me with my progress.  Some days it is really hard to do, I have to tell you!  Today we went grocery shopping and ran errands and then Britt and Layla came over to visit for a little while, so I didn't start my cardio work out until around 3:30.  I pushed myself tonight and did 35 minutes without stopping.  It felt really good but at the same time it sent me into coughing FITS! 
I have 45 minutes more to do tonight and it's already after 7:00.... I am not sure I will get in the entire 2 hours.  I'll do my best.  The more I exercise the quicker I will reach my goals.

I am still feeling this infection I have.  I just can't seem to get a deep breath.  I try and cough up as much as possible... which is nothing.  I cough until I feel like I will throw up.  I would think with all the jumping on the trampoline I am doing it would knock some of that stuff loose.

I am going to call tomorrow and talk with the Pulmonologist to see about the steroids.  My primary doctor suggested it.  She said that if I am still have breathing problems she would keep me on them, but since it was him that prescribed them, then he should be the one to extend them. 
She called me tonight by the way.  She is so personable.  I am lucky to have found her.  She just wanted to clarify a message I left for her.  <3

So... Have I mentioned how much I love dishes?  LoL  I can remember a trip my mom and I made to visit her sister.  I was SO impressed that her sister had actual drawers lined and padded for MULTIPLE sets of dishes. 
Lately, I especially like brightly colored platters, dishes, bowls... anything. 

Today for an early Birthday present we bought a few dishes and serving bowls and the prettiest platter.

Aren't they so Springy?!?!  I just love them. 

I forgot to mention... I lost 2.4 pounds today at Weight Watchers.  If I hadn't had those 2 nights that I ate everything in the frig it would have been so much more.  It's alright... I'll take it and work for more this week.