Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekend Project

Lots of updates for you guys today. I would have checked in sooner, but you will soon know why that didn't happen.

First off - I do not have diabetes. I am still technically in the pre-diabetic range. It turns out that my hormone levels were way off due to my polycystic ovarian syndrome acting up. This was causing the headaches and general crappy feeling. I was put on a higher dose birth control (one with more estrogen) and I had to go in for one estrogen supplement shot. It was terrible! The shot made me nauseous, so I spent the majority of that day puking.

The doctor believes the hair loss is also from the hormone levels, but I do have a slight rash on my scalp now. Because of this, she wants me to see a dermatologist. My appointment isn't until the first week of May, so if things improve I can always cancel.

Dad had another set back. He went in for a test about two weeks ago and while waiting to go in, he began to throw up. Turns out he was throwing up stomach bile. Apparently the gall bladder died, so he ended up having emergency gall bladder surgery. The gall bladder was so bad that it was gangrenous. He was in the hospital for a week. The doctor says it was going bad for a while, but Dad never noticed the signs because of everything else that was going on.

Dad is now back at the rehab center. He feels much better, is eating more, and is making huge progress in therapy. I think the gall bladder issue was causing him a ton of problems that we didn't even know about. Since it is out, I see a huge improvement in him. According to rehab, they see him possibly going home in 3 weeks or so. He is already able to transfer from bed to chair and to the toilet. Things like that.

We know that he will go home with a walker for good days and a wheelchair for bad days. Now, my job is to make the apartment more accessible for him.

My first project - Get rid of the huge buffet in our dining room. It was an antique that my great-grandparents bought in the late 1890's. I held on to it for sentimental reasons, but really the thing was falling apart. Even after I tried to refinish it a few years ago, it kept getting more and more unstable. I didn't have the heart to get rid of dishes after Mom died, but there is a lot of stuff we don't use. My idea was to clean out some cabinets and then place my antique dishes (which were in the buffet) inside those cabinets.

I'm fairly certain my mother was a hoarder. 

Notable finds: 1970's Tang pitcher, some really ugly glasses that apparently came out of dish detergent boxes in the 60's, lids that go to a pot set we owned about 10 years ago, 3 coffee cups with broken handles that someone tried to super glue, and more sets of glass glasses than any family of four could have possibly used.

Lots of stuff!!!

 Once all of these things were out of the cabinet, I placed my antique dishes in their spots. I then had the fun task of getting the buffet out of the apartment. No one would help me. No one. I ended up putting this on some of those "moving men" things you can buy at Menard's and did it myself. It's a good thing I chose to get rid of it. The entire back part started cracking off about half way down the hall.

Goodbye buffet.

I did some moving around of furniture, and this is the finished product.

The angle makes the space between the wall and table seem smaller than it is.

The next thing will be figuring out the living room and my Dad's bedroom. Dad wants a twin size bed. He wants a smaller bed because he says the big bed is difficult for him to get in and out of. The nursing home wants him to have a hospital bed because he need a rail to help stand. Our co-pay on this will be very expensive. Buying a twin size bed and getting rails (like the one found here) would be much cheaper. I just need to make sure it will be approved by the people doing the home inspection before I buy it. We will also need to get a riser for the toilet and some bars.

Lots of work to do, but I will get there.
 

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Hair Loss is Driving Me Nuts!

I'm not usually a vain person, but the hair loss is getting to me. I'm already freakishly tall. I have broad shoulders like a linebacker. I wear glasses because contacts don't work for me. I'm clumsy and awkward - something I never grew out of like everyone told me I would. Plus, I'm extremely overweight.

Let's make me bald on top of all that.

There are a lot of thing I don't like about myself, but my hair was never one of them until now. I always loved my hair. It was the one thing people complimented me on.

I now have noticeable hair loss to the point where others are commenting on it. It's getting harder to hide.

Below is my hair wet. When it's dry I can fake it some with hairspray and a fine tooth comb.

Most of the hair loss is on this side.

This side isn't as bad.

My test results from the doctor have come back, but I haven't seen the results yet. My follow up appointment is next Monday. The doctor mentioned that if there was no reason for my hair loss (thyroid, vitamin deficiency, etc) she would send me to a dermatologist to check it out.

I think I may take her up on it. I'm too young for this crap.

Meanwhile I am trying to put more protein and healthy fruits and veggies into my diet. My A1C test came back with my blood sugar averaging the diabetic rage, but just into the diabetic range. The tests I took last week are supposed to give me a more accurate diagnosis of whether I have slipped into diabetes.

I hope I have not.

I suppose this post was just to vent. I'm frustrated with everything, but I know all of this is my fault. I had time to turn things around, and I chose not to. Now I am paying the consequences.

Sorry to be such a downer.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I Gave In...

While taking a shower this morning, I had huge balls of hair coming out of my head. Trying to do my hair was tons of fun. Let me tell you.

I broke down and made a doctor's appointment for Monday morning. 

This is most likely all caused from stress, but I would like to make sure.

I'll let you guy know what we find out.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Major, Major Fail

Dad pulled through. We almost lost him more than once, but he made it. He ended up on the ventilator for a little over a week before they weaned him off. He is now in rehab, and there are a lot of things he needs to overcome. His bladder and kidneys are not working correctly. His body is extremely weak. He has memory problems, vision problems, and simple things like eating are a struggle. It will be a long time before he can ever come home. The good news is that he is making progress, so I am hopeful.

The last month has been absolute hell. I have never been so stressed out. Even when my Mom died it wasn't like this. We had Dad to fall back on. This time around, it was all on my sister and I. Hours and hours of sitting at the hospital. Spending the night with him. Praying for a miracle. Trying to work.The hospital was a 45 minute drive from our apartment. That in itself was hard.

Even now that he is in rehab, I find my day very busy. I go up each night and spend a few hours with him. This often means that I am gone from 7:30am to about 8:30pm. There isn't much time for me. I got into the bad habit of eating fast food and heating up cans of crap for meals.

I weighed in yesterday. Sadly, the number on the scale did not surprise me.

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

Yep. I am back up to 315 lbs. I gained about 20 lbs. in one month.

To make matters worse, I feel like crap. So much so that I called my doctor. I have bad headaches that I know are caused from blood pressure. It's where my head will start pounding and my face will get really hot. My joints hurt. My legs are swelling. I'm losing my hair.

My hair is wet here, but you can see how bad the hair loss is.

The doctor wanted me to go in and get testing done, but the problem is that I cannot miss work. My boss has been an angel, but I have missed a ton of work. There is no way I can take off a few hours for an appointment. I know all of this is caused from stress and weight gain, so I am hoping that as things calm down my health will improve. I will eventually need to go in and get checked out though.

I'm attempting to somewhat start over again.

My last "bad" thing I ate was a cupcake. My birthday was Friday, and Dad somehow managed to talk a friend into buying me cupcakes for my birthday. After this, I went home an got rid of all the bad food in my apartment. Three bags of crap I donated to a food kitchen on Saturday. Better to donate than to throw away...

I had one. The rest went to the nurses station.

Sunday was a snow day. The roads were too bad to visit Dad, so I spent the day cooking. I boiled up a big pot of chicken with spices to flavor it up a bit. I like to have this for soup. I also throw some into vegetables or rice - things like that. It's nice to have it pre-cooked, so I don't have to mess with it.

Boiling some chicken.

Other than chicken, I also grilled a few chicken breasts. I made up some turkey chili and some veggie casseroles that have to be thawed and then stuck in the oven. The idea was to plan out my whole week of meals. What couldn't be frozen or made in advance, I at least broke into serving sizes to make it more easy for me to figure out during the week.

This week there will be no excuse for hitting the fast food drive through or eating boxed whatever. My meals are pre-planned and mostly pre-cooked. It's a matter of heating things up.

At this point my goal is to eat better. I haven't figured out exercise or anything else. If I can eat better, that is a good start for me.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Things Are Not Good

I know I promised to give an update on Dad about a week ago. Things have been so crazy that I didn't have a chance to.

The surgery itself went great. The aortic valve and bypass grafts were replaced, and the heart was able to be restarted. Open heart surgery patients always come out of surgery on a ventilator. Dad was able to come off the ventilator just a few hours after the surgery was over, which surprised everyone. He was doing so much better than anyone expected.  He woke the next morning sore, but feeling good. He even ate breakfast - eggs and a cup of coffee.

By Wednesday morning everything went downhill. His lungs are full of fluid. It started off with him only needing to be on oxygen. Then they needed to alternate oxygen with time on a bipap machine. Eventually it progressed to were he was on the bipap machine almost the whole day.

The inside of the lungs are full of fluid. They gave him diuretics and were able to get a lot, but not all, off. Now he also has fluid on the outside lining of the lungs. The lack of oxygen and pain medication made Dad hallucinate. We had a few really rough nights where he was completely out of his head. Yesterday they went in with a needle and drained 900 ml. of fluid off the lungs.

Dad woke this morning finally in the right state of mind. He felt better, was able to breathe without the bipap, and even tried to eat. By this afternoon, everything went bad again. He is now on a ventilator. The doctors have sedated him. He is completely worn out and doctors think that giving his body a break for a few days will allow the lungs to heal better.

I am trying so hard to stay positive, but I am terrified. My Mom went on a ventilator. They too said it was to give her a break, but my Mom never came off. I am hoping things with my Dad do not end the same way.

To make matters worse, I am now sick. I woke up this morning running a fever, so I didn't go to the hospital for fear of giving him whatever I have. I think the reason I got sick is because I am so run down. I'm not sleeping well. I'm not eating well. I am still trying to work because I can't afford to take time off. It's too much.

I don't know what the next few days will bring. I am hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

How Many Steps?

I've been wearing my pedometer for about a week now. I didn't do anything extra other than what I always do. I didn't up my exercise or go out of my way to walk more. My schedule stayed the same.

Here is what I found:

  • I average about 7,500-8,000 steps per day
  • Most of my steps occur during my exercise (walking or doing the elliptical) or during the walk to and from work. It's about a mile from the parking garage to the hotel.
  • Only about 2,500 steps occur during actual work hours. I sit pretty much the entire 8 hours.

All of the studies I have looked at recommend getting at least 10,000 steps a day for losing weight and to promote a healthy heart. I was surprised to find that I am pretty close to that already. I originally estimated my steps for the day at 3,000. Way off! The good news is that I'm sedentary, but not as much as I thought.

Some ideas I have to get more steps in:
  • Take the stairs more. I'm already working on this. They will add steps fairly quick considering how often I encounter stairs.
  • Exercise for a longer period of time. Instead of 30 minutes, do 45. This too will add quite a bit more.
  • Get up to walk once every hour. I tend to sit at work for 2 hours at a time before getting up. Even if I am just walking to the bathroom or something, it would help.

My goal this week is too see how close to 10,000 steps I can get. I'll let you know how it goes. 

I'll pop in Monday evening or Tuesday to update you all on my Dad.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Making Small Goals

With all of the stress going on, my weight loss journey has been struggling. It has been struggling for a very long time. I have improved a lot of things and made some big changes this past month. Overall, my eating habits are much better than they were in previous months, but I still have days where I slip up. My heart isn't in it like it used to be. It really isn't that I don't want to lose or that I don't care. I do care. The problem is that I am stressed to the point that I'm not sure how to balance everything.

I tend to focus on the big picture. Before I always set my weight loss goals in 10 lb increments. Every 10 lbs was a celebration. Now, I am fixated on the fact that I gained 30 lbs back. Every time I step on the scale and see that I'm not where I once was, I get upset. Even if I lost, I am angry, depressed, and I find myself crying. Perhaps I should go back to the beginning and focus on the little things first.

One idea I have had is to break my weight loss journey into small, reachable goals by picking two things to work on each week. These might seem really simple, but they are things I've stopped being diligent about. My idea is to work really hard at making those two things second nature. Once they are, keep doing them and work on two new things.

Last weeks goals were ones I learned my very first week of Weight Watchers. They were also ones I became very lazy about.

They were:
  1. Count everything that went in my mouth - even if it was only a bite of something. I got in the habit of not counting the small things. "It's only a little butter" or "I just had a little cream in my coffee" became excuses for not logging in and counting it. You would be surprised at how fast the "little" things add up.
  2. Eat a serving of vegetables or fruit with every meal.  One of the reasons I was so successful at the start of my weight loss journey is because I embraced fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories and fill you up. When I cut them out, the weight crept back on and I found myself more hungry.
This week's goals are:
  1. Take the stairs. I have developed this very bad habit of always taking the elevator. I work on the second floor of a hotel and on the second floor of my apartment complex. Taking one flight of stairs will not kill me. By the time I am done waiting for the elevator to come, I could already be up the stairs.
  2. Exercise at least three times. I've been slacking on this, and I hate exercise. Three times in a week is a big deal for me. 
I have also bought a pedometer. Nothing big. It was a cheap one from Meijer. I work in an office and sit the entire day. For the first week, I am going to see how many steps I average each day. After that, I am going to work on adding steps into my routine. Going for walks more. Parking away from the store. Things like that.  I think I will be very sad to see how little walking I actually do, but I am working to change that. 

***For those of you who have been asking - Dad's surgery is scheduled for Monday, February 3rd. This is going to be a very long week.
Copyright 2012-2013 Mary Ellen Quigley