29 May 2015

It's been pointed out to me that the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is local, requires no air travel, and I could walk just a part of it if I really wanted to do a walk this year.

I'm not sure about it, not sure at all.

I do have a hotel room reserved because I was planning on walking it before I realized I needed to pick just one event this year, and even if I don't participate I'm still leaning towards going and being a cheerleader/walker-stalker.

I like the idea of walking. But I'm not committing to anything until after I've done the post-exercise blood work and know the results.

That won't leave me much time at all to fund raise so if I do it, I'm doing it on my own dime. And if I do it, I probably won't walk more than 8 miles or so a day, which makes me squirrely about fund raising at all. AND I'd be walking alone, which is okay but not nearly as fun as walking with a team. AND AND I have a bad string of luck where this walk is concerned.

I know, it's not all about the fun. There's a cause behind it.

But we'll see...I need to get the test done first, and drop a note to my doc, because at this stage I'm not doing anything like that unless she says it's all right.

OTOH, she's fine with me swimming 90 minutes a day 5 days a week, and playing racquetball, and bike I dunno.

I have until June 15th to get funds raised if I want to manage early check in and the walk is on July 11th and 12th.

My brain hurts.


27 May 2015

If you’ve been hanging around since the first year of this blog (and if you have I LOVE YOU!) you know that in 2002 I had a pituitary tumor. If not…hey, in 2002 I had a pituitary tumor, which in the bigger picture is the tumor you want if you have to have a brain tumor. It's a pain, but is never cancer, and the other things it usually is are fairly treatable.

The tumor left me with some issues. Hypothyroidism, which overall is not a big deal. Diabetes Insipidus, which is a big deal but is not diabetes as one normally thinks of. The diabetes you normally think of is Diabetes Mellitus; in simple terms, that can be thought of as sugar diabetes. What I have can be thought of as water diabetes. My brain no long makes the hormone (Vasopressin) that tells the kidneys when to hold onto water and when to let it go. The end result is that without medication, I’m brutally thirsty and pee every 15 minutes. Luckily, the meds work well and I only have breakthrough occasionally.

Something that wasn’t apparent until relatively recently, though, is that I also have issues with reactive hypoglycemia and cortisol. It poked its head up a few years ago, making flying problematic (because I am a horrible flyer, my cortisol goes all OMG YOU’RE GONNA DIE! and my blood sugar chimes in with HERE LET ME HELP YOU DIE FASTER!) It’s become much more apparent in the last few years, as my levels of activity have increased, and been seriously noticeable lately, as I’ve started swimming for over an hour 4-5 days a week.

I exert, and my blood sugar sometimes just crashes. It doesn't happen every time, though, and that’s the conundrum.

I had my annual appointment with my endocrinologist today, and she’s trying to pinpoint what my core issue is. It could be related to lack of growth hormone—I was on it until a few years ago, when we stopped it because there’s such a strong family history of cancer and I’m edging closer to that age—or it could be related to cortisol levels post-exercise. It could be I’m just a very odd person who periodically bottoms out on the blood sugar, and certain diet tweaks will help.

It’s something that has to be figured out.

Because it has to be figured out, it’s probably not the greatest idea in the world for me to face something that causes me definite problems—flying—with something that likely causes problems—60 miles of walking.

I got sick during a 3 Day in San Francisco. I got sick during the San Diego walk last year. In both cases, it’s more than likely that I was not actually ill (SD med-tent doc thought it might be a virus, but now that seems less likely) but having trouble managing my electrolytes while battling blood sugar issues (at the least) along with potential cortisol issues.

To that end…I won’t be going to Philadelphia and participating in the 3 Day this year, after all. If it were a local event, I could go and walk just a part of it, but adding in the traveling and how beat up my body would be coming home, it was determined that going is just not in my best interests.
If we get this thing nailed down, I can probably walk next year.

There’s more testing to be done, specifically a post-exercise blood test, and then tweaking of pre-exercise diet and ongoing testing of blood sugar, but she did say to keep on with the swimming, racquetball, bike riding, and walking. My other blood work was “beautiful” and I’m apparently tolerating exercise well, but I do need to change a few things to lower my risks of post-exertion harm (like passing out in the pool, locker room, or behind the wheel of my car after) but I don’t have to stop.

I admit, I am a bit crushed by not being able to go to Philly, but I have to look at the bigger picture. By taking this year to get my crap together, I may be able to walk next year.

The bright side for you? I won’t be hard core fundraising. There might be a couple of fun things coming, but I’ll donate anything from those to members of my team.

The fight goes on, whether I’m there to walk the miles or not.


16 May 2015

Starting number
Okay. So last week, for whatever reason, I'm not really sure what it was, I decided to try to use my Fitbit to track my kicks while I swim. I shoved it into a baggy, secured it to my ankle, and gave a it a whirl.

I really didn't have anything to lose; I use my Garmin Vivoactive for the most part now, and I knew it was a risk, but hey...I used a baggy, it was safe.

Spiffy, eh?
I sealed it shut tight, used athletic wrap to secure it to my ankle, and hit the pool.

It worked!

Not sure how long I was in the pool then, but it worked. The picture I have shows 2000ish on the Fitbit but I don't remember what it started with or how far I swam.

So Thursday I tried it again; I wanted to see how many kicks there are in 3000 meters, but thunder forced me out of the pool at 1250m.

I was disappointed, but it tracked my kicks.

So yesterday I went back, repeated the whole thing, and knocked out 3000 meters. After I finished, showered, and got dressed, I checked the Fitbit, and it was at 8300+ so I figure with steps taken before getting into the pool and then after, I kicked around 7500 times.

Not as many as I thought it might be, but I still got a weird little thrill out of counting them. I shoved it into my pocket, and went about my day, figuring it would register 10K soon.

But it didn't.

I got home, fished it from my pocket, and it was dead.

I whined on FB, where it was suggested I stick it in rice, and I did just that. Still wasn't particularly worried, because having it was fun but not necessary. The Garmin tracks my swimming and steps just fine. Almost all of my friends are all on Fitbit, but hey...I could still manually input swims there.

Then while I sat here today--the Fitbit is still dead--I got a message from someone I interact with on a writer's forum now and then. My FB posts propagate to Twitter, where they were following along and kinda laughing at me. Nicely.

I only know this person as The Swede. I don't even know gender, and they're quite happy to keep it that way.

They also work for a company that sells the toys I like. And because I like, I have ordered from there and my address is on file.

So The Swede decided that playtime must continue, and over-nighted a waterproof Fitbit Flex.

I did start to argue that it was too much, but The Swede made it clear they didn't have to pay for it, it's a job perk, and also, "People send you shit. It's fun."

All righty.

I also agreed to keep them apprised as to how effective a swim tool it is, and to give some water walking a try.

I can do that.

As soon as I figure out how to affix it to my ankle. The band is a hair too small and I'd like to not use the wrap.

But I'll figure it out.


11 May 2015

Many years ago, when we were living in Belleville, IL and had a membership at LiveRite Fitness, I got into a fight in the locker room. And not a hissing-at-each-other, verbal blast; this qualified as a fight, even though I never touched her.

I was changing clothes and in the next row of lockers over, there was a rather large woman drying off from her time doing laps in the pool. I wouldn't have even noticed her had Bleached Blonde Barbie not come over and whispered--loudly--that "those" people didn't belong in the gym.

You can imagine how well that went over with me. The end result was me ducking and her smashing her hand into the wall behind me, and then being thrown out of the gym (not me...I got to stay.)

I remembered it today when talking to a friend (see image; she knows I'm sharing it) about the anxiety of going to a gym when you're overweight. She has a membership to a good gym, but she never goes, because it feels like everyone is staring and judging, and the white-hot feeling of being the object of ridicule makes it unbearable.

I get that.

Here's the thing. I have worked at a gym, and that was during the height of gyms being meat markets. A large percentage of the people showing up every day weren't really there to work out; they were there to hook up. But of the people who were there to sweat...some were in fantastic shape, but many were not, and there was little talking behind peoples' backs about their weight issues.

I've been a member of several different gyms and fitness centers, and BBB was the only person I can recall being actively mean about another member's weight.

That doesn't mean there aren't those hanging around the gym who aren't thinking horrible things; there probably are, just like they're hanging round thinking horrible things about other people in the grocery store or post office or museum. People of Walmart? Those are the people who think and say awful things about others, and who mock them from the safety of their computers.

The majority of people in the gym aren't there to do anything other than get their own workouts done. If they think anything about the overweight person stretching in the corner, it's more likely to be "good for him" than anything else.

Every time I've hit the pool so far, I've been by far the largest one in the water. No one stares. No one mocks. I doubt they note anything other than there is someone in a nearby lane, which means there will be water displacement and its wake as they swim through it.

Okay, they may wonder about the snorkle I swim with. If they're going to mock anything, that's it.

And if someone was disturbed by my girth swaddled in lycra?

Tough for them. I'm there to swim, which I thoroughly enjoy, and I don't give a damn what they think. 

Go have fun doing the things you want to do, and anyone who has a problem? That's what you give them.


Zero Flying Phcks.


10 May 2015

I was hoping that the gym would be pretty quiet today; I hadn't yet braved it on the weekend, but I hoped that with today being Mother's Day that people would be busy with that instead of working out, plus, how many times can I use "that" in a sentence? Too many, it seems.

The drive over made me marginally concerned: it took 15 minutes to get from the Interstate on-ramp to the exit two miles down, but then I remembered this tiny town was hosting a huge fair, and 63,000,892 people were likely headed that way.

Sheep and gross fried food don't appeal to me, so going to the Mayfair hadn't entered my mind.

I squealed a bit when I saw the near-empty gym parking lot, and might have squealed a little more when I got out to the pool and there was only one other person in it. I geared up (I wear way too much crap while swimming, but I love my gadgets so...shuddup) and slid in, and started what I thought would be 2000 meters.

w00t! 3000m
It's the distance I've been swimming; when I hit 2000 in under an hour, I mentally patted myself on the back. I may be slow, but I hit my first major goal within a few weeks of joining the gym. I didn't intend to go further than that, but today I got to 2K in 55 minutes and wasn't wasted, so I pushed on.

I was focused on my heart rate, so I didn't pay as close of attention to time and distance as I normally would, and at some point I glanced at my Garmin and realized I was over 2500 meters, so what the hell...let's go for 3K.

At 1:19ish, I reached it. I didn't cheer out loud, but I was happy enough that I forgot to turn the timer off, so it ran until 1:37...but I'd paused it, so my stats still show my actual swim time.

As I peeled all my gear off I had notions that I still had some energy left and almost decided to go a few hundred meters more, but it was getting late and I wanted to stop by the grocery store on the way home, so I got out and headed for the locker room. And then it hit me.

Oh holy hell, I got out of the pool and walked right into The Wall. As I peeled off my swim suit and dried off, I could feel it creeping up on me and thought I would need to sit in the lobby for a bit before driving home. But when I started getting dressed...let's just say it wasn't pretty and for a few minutes I thought I was going to have to ask someone for help. I was so drained that just getting a bra on was proving to be problematic.

Ever watched a little kid try to grab something stuck to their back? That was me, spinning in the aisle between lockers, trying to grab the back of my bra to pull it down.

So glad no one walked in.

Getting my shirt on wasn't much better and I don't know why it didn't occur to me to just sit down on the bench by that point. When I finally did, to put my shoes on, the thought zipped through my head that feeling like that might be because my blood sugar was low...but I checked it, and it was exactly 100.

Nope, this was just the effect of being overweight and out of shape and pushing a bit. And the contortions to get clothes on was another workout in itself, but neither Garmin nor Fitbit gave me any activity time for that.

I feel cheated.

I mean, I broke a sweat!

I left the gym 5 hours ago and I'm still wiped out, and I can feel the soreness creeping into my shoulders and back. I'm either going to sleep like a rock tonight, or I won't be able to because it hurts too much.

Still...I'm really enjoying the swimming.

Oh, and Garmin...there is no way in hell I burned off 840 calories swimming for 80 minutes. I wish I had, but face it, I'm slow.

Besides, if I really believed I could burn off that much, I would totally follow it with pizza.

Damn. Now I want pizza.


9 May 2015

I like getting presents; who honestly doesn't? And even more than getting them, I love picking out the right gift for someone else. Or even just picking something off their Amazon wishlist and surprising them. Gifts are fun from either side, which is probably why I love Christmas so much. Yes, I know, it's not supposed to be about the presents, but it's a good excuse for me to get a few key people a few things; I don't always hit the mark, but I love gift shopping and buying.

I love getting presents that make me laugh out loud and rush to take a picture so I can share it with the world, or at least my little slice of it on Facebook.

Yesterday the Boy's Mother's Day gift to me was delivered, and it was one of those that had me grabbing the camera. Who could not love this?


Twelve boxes of my favorite Poptarts, even. 96 of them. Blueberry, unfrosted. And half the gift is that he rememebered I specifically prefer the unfrosted kind (hush. You go right ahead and eat the frosted kind. I just don't want candy on top of my already sugar-laden treat.) It's one of those little details I wouldn't expect anyone, other than perhaps the Spouse Thingy (and then only because he sometimes does the shopping alone) to remember.

Last night a friend texted me, a giant LOL about the picture I posted on FB, and it turned into a discussion on Mother's Day in general. She's never known her mother, and until she had kids it was pretty much a foreign concept to her. This year two of her kids are away at school, and only one is at home but he's deeply involved in an end-of-the-year school project and has already apologized because he's squeezing her Mother's Day into about 2 hours tomorrow.

My mother has been gone for nearly two years; I didn't gift shop for her, not even pretend-shopping to find what I might have gotten her. The Boy has a life that has him working tomorrow, as usual.

And we're both fine with that.

I am not a huge fan of Mother's Day as it's become. The expectations are very high for a whole lot of people, it seems, and in the last few days I've read over and over musings about how someone's kids won't make time for them tomorrow (though the next day, or today, but not Sunday) or how hard it is to find a present for Mom that she'll be happy with, or how unfair it is to have this day shoved into someone's face because their mother is dead and it hurts.

I get it, I really do. But I also get that those feelings of hurt and frustration are as overwhelming as they are because Mother's Day has become this commercial powerhouse, and it's practically Christmas for Moms. There's stress over who will go where and do what, how will Mom like what I got her, did I get her enough, doesn't she understand that I'm a mom, too and I want to spend it with my kids...and on and on.

But for me? The Boy is a good son all the time. He's thoughtful--just look at my Poptarts--and treats me well all the time. All the time. Not just one day a year. So maybe that's why it's not a huge deal for me; I love the gift he sent and that's enough.

And no, tomorrow will not be more difficult for me because my mother is gone. It won't be any more difficult; I miss her every day, not one day more than another. It won't feel unfair because she's gone and so many other people still have their mothers. It's the opposite: I am quite happy for those who still have their parents, who can pick up the phone and call on a whim. (And hey... if your mother is gone, or you never knew her, or she was just a bad sucks. But mother's day is not an attack on your feelings. Make it a day for yourself; do something for yourself, grab a friend and do something together, but don't dread the day because other people have what you don't.)

If you can buy your mother something weird and wonderful, it's not unfair to me; it's wonderful for you and for her. I want for your mother what my son does for me: make her laugh, make your life a thing she's joyous about...and make it all the time, not just tomorrow.

And call your mom. Or text her, if she's like me and can't handle the phone. But don't just do it tomorrow... Mother's Day is supposed to be about honoring the person who gave birth to you, not just presents and candy. If you save it all for one day, it really doesn't mean as much. So connect, and connect often.

Trust me...if you don't, you will regret it when she's gone.

TL;DR: Go ahead. Pick up the phone. You're the reason she drinks, after all.


6 May 2015

Today’s random chit

Walking season hath begun: after a lot of contemplation (seriously, a lot a lot a lot,) I won’t be doing Avon this year. I have a horrible track record with it, and I really don’t want to be that person who does nothing but fundraise. So I’m only doing one, Philadelphia in early October. My teammates have a decent grasp on my limitations and they have my back, so it feels safe. I am starting to fundraise and I will be begging asking for donations, and y’all should know by now…there will be prizes. Don’t know what, yet, but I’ll try to make them good ones.

There will probably not, however, be pink hair. This makes me a sad wabbit, but I am swimming in earnest now and who knows what pool water would do to a dye job.

Y’all also know, the right donation could make me risk it.

Y’all know, too, I am willing to walk in spandex for the right donation. Or not…I got a good one for St. Baldrick’s if I promised to not show up in skin tight psycho-clothing.
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Yelling at me to “ride on the damned sidewalk” is not going to make me ride on the damned sidewalk. I am not 5; my bicycle has just as much right to be on the street as your car. And I’m not in your way as it is. Go the fark around me, you sanctimonious blowhard.

Yeah, I’m tired. I get cranky when I’m tired.
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
If you and a couple other people want to dissect my work, please don’t include me. I know you think it’s a courtesy, but it makes me really uncomfortable.

Hence, I rarely read my own reviews. The bad ones stick with me and make me question my abilities as a writer. Well, the "call a WAAAHHHHMBULANCE" review almost made me laugh. Almost.

There are only about 4 people who can point out the flaws in my work and I don’t mind, mostly because they’re reading it pre-publication and I can change things. Once it’s out there…if you like it, fine, please buy the next book. If not, fine, but please don’t pick over it with me.

Also, if you ask me what that book is about, the answer you’ll probably get is, “about 400 pages.”
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
I seriously can’t do heat anymore. When we painted last weekend it was 73F outside and not much warmer inside. After we prepped, I painted just one wall and had to take a break because I was so miserably hot and nauseated. It wasn’t until the Spouse Thingy put the a/c on at around 70 that I was able to finish.

It’s 74o in the house right now and I’m sweating and not very comfortable.

No, it’s not hot flashes. The Spouse Thingy thinks I’m just doing a slow burn instead and he might be right.
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
He's in IKEA hell right now. Assembly of 3 wardrobes, a dresser, and a bookcase. I’ll help when he asks, but mostly my job is to stay out of the way.

I will finally have a linen closet. It’s the simple things…
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Applebee’s Clubhouse Grille sandwich = 1200 calories.

I wish I had known before I ate half of one. I’ve been trying to stick to about 1500 calories a day, but that’s not going to happen today. And since I am already over and a blow-out day is not a bad idea every now and then, I am also going to have ice cream tonight.

Ice cream = nasty digestive things. But so totally worth it. Pretty sure that makes it diet food, anyway.
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Maybe I’ll swim it off tomorrow. Holy fark, I’m loving the swimming.


5 May 2015

The Spouse Thingy was off work all last week and is still off until Friday. We had plans to go to Disneyland for his birthday, but we then found out what the temps were going to be, and since I no longer do heat well, we decided to bail on that and just do local things.

We talked about going a lot of places: SF a couple of times to see the Academy of Sciences, the DeYoung Museum, and just walking around. We could go to the Crocker Museum in Sacramento and the Classic Car Museum. We were going to take a couple of long bike rides. Maybe even go overnight to Monterrey.

We went to the Crocker. I don't think we did anything else we talked about. We never got to SF. Or the car museum. And the bikes never moved from their spots in the garage.

We did go to the gym, where I hit a personal best of 2000 meters in under an hour in the pool. The Spouse Thingy did a demo at the art gallery on Sunday. And we annoyed the cats.

It doesn't take much to annoy them, but we went all out by moving everything out of the living room and prepped it to be painted, during which Buddah had a minor freakout--pretty sure he thought we were moving again--and Max had a reaction of "meh."

We got it painted but didn't put everything back where it had been, making Buddah even a little more upset, and Max was just "meh."

Today we moved a really big piece of furniture from the back of the hallway to the living room and put one of the cat trees next to it, leading Buddah to practically squeal with joy as he jumped on top, and Max acting just, "meh."

I don't think we're going to get much reaction out of Max anymore, no matter what we do. He seems to have a memory much better than Buddah, and knows the difference between the rearranging of things and the implementation of the M-word. As long as he has his place in the big closet, a bed at the foot of my bed, and his living room nook, he's happy. He knows it's not going anywhere.

But poor soon as he relaxes--which will be around 10 tomorrow morning--the delivery guys from IKEA will show up bearing a stack of boxes of things that need to be assembled, and his little head is just going to pop.

And hopefully by tomorrow I will have recovered from painting...we did it on Sunday and all the going up and down the ladder introduced me to a whole new level of post-exertional pain.

Getting old sucks.

Beats the alternative, sure, but man that part of it sucks.