Sunday, May 22, 2011

Starting a weight loss plan and feeling better

I started the TRANSFORMS Fingolimod (now Gilenya) Phase III trial way back in August of 07, and one of the known side effects of the drug was a slight asthma-like breathing issue. While this wasn't necessarily a given that I would have that happen, they did say they were going to do a pulmonary function test every three months.

This frightened me, an admitted hypochondriac, into quitting smoking cold turkey on the 4th of July, 2007 prior to my entering the study.
Why mention all this? Well because up until that time the only times I had been overweight in my life were the two times I was pregnant with each of my boys. But that didn't really count. Not even the second time when it took more than a year to shed the "baby weight".
Then I quit smoking and the gradual change happened. It happen SO gradually that it snuck right past me and packed the weight on my backside while I wasn't looking. Well, if I had looked down at my gut I may have noticed, but I was in denial... right up until I went shopping for a new bathing suit since we got season passes to Wild Waters in Silver Springs, FL. After forking out that kind of dough I am not ABOUT to not go due to having no suit.

I ended up having to get one that hid my rolls as best as could be expected. It's black with bright paint splatter pattern in hot pink, yellow, green, blue, etc... a sort of old lady's camo. And the bottoms are swimming shorts, no T-back for this rump. I wouldn't subject anyone to that.

So I'm realizing that quitting smoking was actually EASY compared to losing weight. My philosoply that has worked so far with smoking is, "just never do it again and you won't ever start back up."
I'm finding out food doesn't work like that. How cruel. I have to actually make a conscious choice every time I eat something. Is this the best choice? Do I really need to eat it or why am I eating it? Boredom or hunger?

I'm making a little headway and not back sliding much, but it's hard, and I"m not seeing instant results like I did when I quit smoking. My clothes aren't getting any tighter, but they certainly aren't noticably looser yet.

I've had a couple spells where I wasn't able to get my next meal in a reasonable time period and I got hot, sweaty, shaky, and dizzy. Almost feeling like I was going to pass out. Eating something sweet or carb laden seemed to bring me right out of it.
I'm wondering if maybe I have made too many big changes in diet and fitness to suddenly for my 50yo body to handle.

Anyhow, at least I'm not contending with MS symptoms. What a great relief. I am STILL, after nearly 4 years on Gilenya, astounded every day that I have yet to relapse. I thank God I have a life now. Prior to the study I was suicidal and all consumed by the terrible symptoms that had zapped me of my will to go on.
Seems like I should be doing something meaningful with my time since I have been granted the precious gift of near normalcy... but right now I'm concentrating on trying to shoehorn myself in that bathing suit and not burst the seams when I'm going down the slides at the water park.

Sorry to say I'm not writing an everlasting piece of literature that will become a classic that endures time. And I"m not finding a cure for cancer.

I'm just trying to spend some quality time with my family and that is enough accomplishment for me. :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Muffins Win

I give up. I found the best recipe for Golden Raisin Oat Bran Muffins and the very first time I made them they were to die for. Awesome flavor, tender texture, heady aroma right out of the oven.

And EVERY time I've made them since then, I've screwed them up. Today was no exception.

I ran down the list of ingredients, deliberately checking them off once I made sure I had each item AND in the appropriate quantity. These muffins weren't going to get the best of me this morning, by God!

Everything went perfectly - I even remember to get the melted butter out of the microwave this time. (Last time I made them I only discovered the butter about 10 min. after the pan of muffins had gone into the oven. That batch was a little....rubbery).

Then came my fatal mistake. I thought I could be like Dad and improvise. Dad was a great all around cook and baker. He had many many winning recipes that could never again be duplicated because he had used no recipe or had improvised so much as to have eclipsed the original instructions.

 I live in Dad's house now, keeping Mom company and trying my  best to feed her in the manner to which she had become accustomed when Dad was alive. He's been gone a decade now and lots of stuff remains behind that reminds us all of him...

...including, I suspect, the bag of pecans I found in the back of his flour cabinet which I attempted to use in my muffins this morning. Bad mistake.

Everything had gone so smoothly up to that point that I must have gotten cocky. I wanted to add something "extra" that the recipe didn't call for. I had successfully done this on my second attempt at making these muffins and while they were rubbery from lack of butter, the pecans were slightly redeeming.

I grabbed the bag of pecans thinking they were probably purchased in the past year or two by one of the many family members who regularly use the kitchen when we have holiday get togethers. Just because I didn't personally remember purchasing them sent up no alarm bells.

Neither did the musty odor of the nuts when I opened the bag.

In my own defense I did look at the front of the bag again to make sure it said "pecans" because I didn't remember them smelling like that.

I don't have any self confidence when it comes to cooking or baking, though, and I always think the ingredients know themselves better than I do, so maybe pecans had every right to smell that way.

Turns out that odor carried through the baking process and even blossomed into a more pungent odor -- and flavor.

Mom, bless her heart, was the first to take a bite and, ever the Encourager, she managed a "tastes good!" while she gagged it down.

My son was next and had no problem spitting it out immediately accompanied by an "Oh my gosh, Mom! What did you DO to these?? They SUCK!" He immediately grabbed a handful of graham crackers to get the taste out of his mouth.

I scolded him for being such a harsh critic while I was peeling back the paper to take a bite of my own muffin...which I immediately spit out.

We both tossed our muffins to the squirrels out back who didn't seem in any too big of a hurry to scarf them up, and headed back to the graham cracker box for tongue wipes.

I tried to tell Mom not to eat any more, but someone who lived through the Great Depression has a hard time parting with perfectly good food even if it's "a little off". She ate around the nuts. How you do that is beyond me.

So, if you are in the market for a wonderful Golden Raisin Oat Bran Muffin recipe, here is the link to it:

but it may be a while before I attempt it again. If I keep on screwing these up we will all have a knee jerk gagging response to the very mention of muffins in this house. I knew I should have gone with the chocolate chips over the nuts when I was debating. You can't screw up chocolate chips.

And actually...they tasted pretty good the first time when I just followed the recipe and didn't try to emulate my father. I did NOT inherit his improvising genes or they got severely mutated along the way.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ScribeFire extension for Chrome browser

Does anyone else have multiple blogs they'd like to simultaneously publish posts to?

I'm trying out ScribeFire for Chrome and so far so good. I think I may blog more because of it. :)

Only thing is I just imported 266 posts from the old blog to the new one today and Blogger slapped me with a word verification box with this explanation: If you make a large number of posts in a single day, you will be required to complete word verification. After 24 hours, the word verification will automatically be removed.

So now I just have to wait 24 hours to see if multi-posting is possible since it didn't let me try today. More things to suck up my time that were meant to save it. LOL I have such good intentions, really I do.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Trip to the Fair - Part 2

While I was sitting there with bag of ice pressed to my goose egg I started shaking uncontrollably and felt like maybe I was a little bit in shock or something. I just kept saying over and over "Will somebody call an ambulance, please?!"

My son sat next to me sobbing because he thought it was his fault. I tried to tell him it wasn't and that accidents happen. While I was consoling him we were interrupted by a male voice saying "Ma'am, can you get up and walk to the vehicle?"

I was confused. Usually EMTs check you out a little or at least want to take a look at the bump before they go asking you to get up and walk around... I took the bag of ice off my noggin and looked straight into the face of a clown who was asking me to get into a golf cart.

I know it was dollar night but come ON! Surely they could do better than that!

The clown reassured me that the real EMTs would meet us at the back gate. Whew!

Sure enough the ambulance pulled up shortly after we got to the gate. They looked me over, asked a bunch of questions, shined light on my pupils, etc, etc. Then they loaded me up on a stretcher and shoved me in the back of the meat wagon and away we went. Upon finding out that my son was riding up front in the ambulance I told the EMT "That boy would do anything to get a ride in an ambulance! Why, he'd even trip his OWN MOTHER!"

I don't think the guy had laughed that hard in a while. I felt I had done my duty to supply comic relief to those whose jobs are otherwise thankless and stressful. These were some great guys and I appreciated everything.

Not long after were were under weigh I started having waves of nausea bowl me over. Worse than any "I-should-NOT-have-drunk-that-tequilla!" nausea or morning sickness I ever felt. Combined with my normal stage of dizziness, it was the worst part of all of it. They gave me this long plastic bag with a rigid circular opening at the top in case I threw up. I found out later it's a bag for male patients to pee in. Eeewww! Glad I didn't know that as I was holding it up to my face.

We got to the hospital and I had to go over the whole story again, telling the nurse and then the doctor how I tripped on thin air, stumbling over my own two feet. It was humiliating because I had deliberately told everyone I was with that I was NOT going to be riding any of those rides that upset your equilibrium because I didn't want to get dizzy and fall down.

Later my son said "See?? You should have just ridden the rides. You fell down anyhow and didn't get to have any fun." Out of the mouths of babes.. or in this case a smarty pants tween.

The doctor took one look at my noggin and ordered a CT. He said he hadn't seen anyone do that much damage just falling down in quite a while. I told him I was a professional and trained up north for it at a college near Niagra Falls.

I got butterfly bandages on a gash across my forehead and an awesome pill for nausea that totally erased it within 10 minutes, and with a clear CT they sent me home with a diagnosis of probable concussion.

I spent the next 2 days in bed, nauseous and tired... and the next MONTH with 2 black eyes in the shape of my sunglasses. I even had a black stripe across the bridge of my nose.

The eye doctor said they probably took much of the impact and kept me from breaking any bones around my eyes.

Here's a photo from 6 days after the fall. On the right side of the image, over my left eye, you can see some of the road rash that's healing up peeking out.

Before it was all over, my entire face from the eyes down had taken on a greenish tint. It was hideous.

Now that I look back on that day I do recall that it was hot out and I was starting to tire and the more I read up on it I wonder if I fell due to Foot Drop.

I've never actually had a doctor verify that symptom, but I do know that if I get extra tired or overheated I tend to stumble more and have a hard time completely picking my foot up from the floor/ground. I often stub my toes on the ground when I go to swing my foot forward taking a step. While I think I'm clearing the surface, my toes actually drop a little.

Maybe that's what happened?

At any rate, I have worn more darn makeup over the past couple of months than I have worn in the entire rest of my life combined.

My first black eyes ever.

The fair traveled onto the next town the following week and Karen, ever the joker, invited me to drive up there and go to it, black eyes and all.

Needless to say I took a pass on that one. Very funny, Ha. Ha.