Monday, July 21, 2014

Ouch! Doing so well, and then a detour

Yesterday my natural grace and coordination led to a badly sprained ankle.  As in, I can't bear ANY weight on it right now.  I went to the hospital to have an x-ray done and they said nothing is broken.  I'm surprised, but thrilled.  It doesn't hurt to badly right now as long as nothing touches it and I don't put any weight on it or move it.  It's in an aircast splint and I'm on crutches.  No weight bearing for three days, and then only as pain allows for the next couple weeks.  Like I want to push that one!  I can only take tylenol for pain because of the restrictions post-bypass, but as long as I'm resting, that's fine.

While I'm THRILLED it's not broken, I'm still sad that this has gotten in my way temporarily.  I have been doing really well since my last post, going to the rec and jogging and walking frequently.  I was on my way there yesterday when a step in the garage foiled my plans.  My eating is much better as well.  I've seen just a bit of change on the scale, but I'm reminding myself that by increasing my cardio, I'm also gaining muscle again.  Best measure - I'm feeling a lot better about myself.

I will be getting a LOT of upper body/ core work with the crutches for the next couple weeks.  I'm hoping after a couple of days I might be able to swim (with the aircast on).  I'll probably also try to get to the arm machines (you know, the ones that look like you're pedaling a bicycle with your hands).  My fitbit numbers are going to take quite a hit.

Logistics around my house are going to be hard.  My boys (11 and 13) depend on me way too much.  They are used to me making every meal, and most snacks.  I warned them yesterday that they are going to have to make their own food for at least the next few days, and help make mine - I just can't carry anything when I'm non-weight bearing on crutches.  They sounded very supportive and understanding, but reality will hit today, I'm sure.

I also can't walk the dogs - so they will have to take that over as well.  Laundry - well, luckily my 13 y.o. son owes me two loads!  He's a sneakerhead (collects and trades sneakers - it's weird, but think baseball cards).  Normally my boys can earn $1 for doing a load (washing, drying, and carrying upstairs, but yesterday my husband came up with something BRILLIANT.  Justin wanted to go to a shoe store and we made him sign a contract that each time we take him to a shoe store he owes us 2 loads of laundry.  He went to one yesterday, so I have two freebie loads waiting in the wings!  Woo-hoo!

Luckily I had just made up a batch of my sauteed julienned zucchini & onions, with veggie crumbles and spaghetti sauce on top, so it just needs to be heated up with mozzarella on top for my dinner for the next 3 nights.  I've got a bunch of lentils with caramelized onions cooked in the fridge, so put a little cheddar and greek yogurt on that and my lunch is prepared for the next week.  Scrambled eggs I'm good for today, and tomorrow I can either have my husband make them for me or make them while sitting on a stool in the kitchen and just have everyone get everything for me.

It's my left ankle, so I can theoretically drive, although I won't be doing much of that.  It will help that I can take my kids up to the pool at the rec and just sit on a lounge chair with my leg(s) up.  Summer break = cabin fever, and while I can entertain myself (with the computer, books, and some knitting on a loom), my kids will start bouncing off the walls and/ or bugging each other.  The dogs are also a bit freaked out by crutches and aircast, not to mention that I'm not the one walking them.  They'll get used to it.

They said to plan on the aircast and modified activity for at least 2 weeks, and the aircast for more vigorous activity for 2 months after that.  So, when I feel up to jogging again, I'll have to find a way to get a shoe over this thing.  Still, it's not a cast, and I will keep reminding myself it could be SO much worse.

On the other front, I've turned in my applications for grad school - a Masters of Education - School Counseling.  I'm waiting for my recommendation letters to get turned in, but everything else is in.  I hope to enroll for Spring 2015, and probably won't hear until October if I've been accepted anywhere.  I also found that as a part-time student with a low undergrad GPA from 22 years ago, there won't be any financial aid for now.  That stinks, but I can scrape to pay for one class at a time for the first year, and then I'll have a nice high GPA to submit for scholarships.  Eventually I'll have to go full-time, and then I'll be eligible for a G.A. (graduate assistant) position which can cover most of the tuition.  Hopefully I'll be able to land one - usually only about 10% of students do.  And there will be loans.  But, it will all be with it - and grad school will not be the hardest thing I've done by a long shot!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hello darkness, my old friend... and heading back to the light

It's been a few months since I blogged, and for all the new WLS friends out there, when I go radio silent that usually means I'm struggling.  At 2 1/2 years post-op and having surpassed my goal, I'm dealing with some weight regain.  6 pounds from my set-point, 9 pounds from my all-time low.

How did that happen?  I stopped jogging, maybe only doing it once a month.  Still getting in lots of steps, but doing less cardio has a consequence. I started grazing - mostly eating things I shouldn't (carbs) or don't need to (peanut butter), and mostly when I'm preparing food for others, but not always.

Why?  Stress and old habits.  There have been lots of stressors - but we all have them, and mine weren't particularly horrible (nobody died, nobody lost their job, my husband is very lovable).  I came off my 5 day pouch test feeling great, and that lasted a couple of weeks.  Then we had the stress of my father-in-law's health declining some more and the resulting anxiety that brought upon my husband.  And getting my son prepared for some very difficult testing - in that last month I baked like a fiend to reduce my stress, but instead of giving it all away I nibbled at some of it (just in small enough doses not to dump, like any addict learns to avoid the crash).   The testing went well, and all of the stress was worth it, BTW, but I HAVE to remember I have other coping mechanisms I should use.

Then I started looking into a new direction for myself - a new career, starting with a Master's program in School Counseling.  It's very exciting, and it set off a roller coaster of emotions.  The principal and guidance counselor I work with think it's a great idea and will write recommendations for me - Whee!  Up I go... Finding out my undergrad GPA was even lower than I remembered - crap.  Taking a practice GRE was painful but assured me that I could meet the requirements with room to spare - yay!  Realizing that the idea of my going back to school part-time was freaking out my husband and increasing his anxiety and depression - ouch.  Talking that through with him over our anniversary and having that reverse into his full (albeit still typically anxious) support - whew.  Realizing I could take the 1 hour MAT instead of the 4 1/2 hour GRE was good, and then when I took it and got stellar results was WONDERFUL.  Now my applications are turned in, and I'm just waiting - for the recommendations to get turned in, the transcripts to arrive, and the decisions to get made at the two different programs... and waiting is hard. I'm settling in for about 2 months of it.

Last week I started with the mental tweaking.  I changed my Facebook profile pic to the one of me about to do the triathalon I did in March.  I needed the daily reminder of what I can accomplish.  I reconnected with some old friends that I haven't visited in a while.

The last two days I have been making better choices.  I've eaten clean, surpassed my step goal, and yesterday I jogged 25 minutes and felt good.  I've reminded myself that I can manage my stress in healthy ways now.  Now I just have to re-establish the habit.  The scale hasn't started moving back down yet, but it will.  And when I'm thinking about baking, I'm back to asking myself - are you wanting to bake for a good reason, or because you want to eat the cookie dough?

I also found a new fun way to enjoy my jogging (especially good when our weather has been so stormy).  I've been taking my Kindle Fire to the gym and setting it up on the treadmill so I can watch movies/ shows while I work out and my kids play.  It's a great distraction, and yesterday I was actually looking forward to it so I could finish the movie I started the other day.  Anything that works, baby.

I'm feeling like I'm training for a race, but unlike my 5ks or triathalons, this one is the ultra-marathon of life.  I need to build up my endurance, because there is always stuff to endure.  Starting something new is exciting, but the challenges will come and I have to be strong enough to meet them.  To prepare myself physically and mentally.  To know when to ask for help and support.  To keep my priorities in order.

The journey goes on, one step and one day at a time.  It's easier on days I get a good sleep.  And more fun some days than others.  But I have the tools, and I can do this for the rest of my life.  We stumble, we fall down, but we pick ourselves up and get back up stronger and wiser.  All the other WLS vets out there - if you are struggling you are not alone.  If you are doing well - share!  We could all use reminders of success for inspiration.