And Knitting And Knitting Aaand Knitting

I never made it to the doc to look at the gaping hole because it wound up covering up on its own once I let it breathe and now it looks so much better. Yay!

All of the muscle pain on the left side is gone now! Yay!

The bloating and uncomfortableness seems to already be resolving itself. Now I just get a bit of pressure in my chest and a feeling in my throat of there being a gas bubble and I’m still not quite able to burp but it resolves much quicker than it had been. Without any Gax X so I never even took an entire package! Yay!

I stopped my Prilosec on Sunday so cross your fingers that no heartburn or reflux like symptoms appear. Please and thank you.

So, it appears my recovery is going well and all I had to do was calm down, be patient, and listen to the nurse in the family that kept telling me 6 to 8 weeks. Tomorrow is 6 weeks.

Sunday I did a wee bit of meal prep and then last night I spent time clearing out stacks of paper, scanning in items for my photobooks, and generally being productive and I just felt good after doing so. So, yeah, I’m baby stepping in all the right directions!

There’s this snark site that snarks on bloggers and Instagrammers and I’ve read the forums of just two of the bloggers or Instagrammers they feature for a while. The Instagrammer is this girl that is a fucking nightmare of a person and she goes on these days/weeks long rants in her InstaStories and I used to watch them in horror and wonder what the hell is wrong with this girl then go to the snark forum to read other’s reactions. Well, I stopped with all of that. This girl is a mess and the forum is a mess and I just cannot be part of that any more. She’s insane and I don’t need to invite that into my life.

More baby steps!

Basically I just want to get back to the confident, truly happy version of me. These health issues did a number on me. Likely because I was still reeling from the election and the whole mess that’s happened since he took office and how I feel watching all of the hate and negativity and backwards “progress” being made. It’s hard. So, it was nice this last Saturday to watch the David Letterman interview with Obama on Netflix and then attend a Pete Souza event and be reminded of what a good hearted leader is. You don’t have to agree with all of Obama’s policies, I sure didn’t, but you need to be honest with yourself if you find him to be just a monster of a person. You dislike him for reasons that are within yourself and not him. Because anybody that lights up around children that way is not a monster. Anybody that lights up as he discusses the innate goodness of the American people is not a monster. You cannot fake that light in your eyes. The man cares, very deeply, about the world around him and making it better for those that inhabit it. If you don’t see that, you’re blinded by reasons I won’t point out but you do need to do some reflection.

So many baby steps over here. Because I finally realized that you climb a mountain by taking a step. Then another. And another. And eventually, you’re at the top.

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Back That Thing Up

2017 is damn near over….let’s recap this bitch!

January

We started the Weight Loss Challenge at the office.

I wasn’t ready for the National Trail Trek this year even though I signed up to do it. So, I just didn’t do it.

I hiked the usual New Year’s Day hike. Then another hike. That was all the hiking.

February

My Dad visited for the Waste Management Open, as per usual. We had a great time, also as per usual.

My boyfriend decided he was ready to bring a new doggy into his home and started the process of meeting with Rudy and I was at the home visit and then we found out we were approved and now there’s a little Rude Bear in our lives.

I hiked three times.

March

I did the Hike for the Homeless, which was great. Then I hiked one other time.

Rudy’s adoption became final and official.

April

We ended the Weight Loss Challenge at the office and I didn’t win but I did lose weight so I won!

Went to a friend’s birthday party at As You Wish and we all drew names then painted mugs for each other. It was so much fun!

The Final 4 was in town and we went to the FanFest and got in free thanks to it being sponsored by CapitalOne and I have a CapitalOne card! Woo! I like free fun.

I hiked three times.

We went to a Seder with my friend’s family again.

I gave my trainer the news that I would no longer be partaking of his services and he understood and I promised I’d still go to the gym on a regular basis and that he’d still be seeing my face. That was true for a little while…

May

We went to Spain and I ate my weight in chorizo and potatoes and it was lovely and nice and I enjoyed it immensely! So good!

I hiked twice.

I had my very first episode of feeling like I was having a heart attack.

June

I stayed home with Rudy while my boyfriend went to Texas without me and that was all for the best. Little Rude Bear was sick and my boyfriend is a good uncle and wanted to be at his niece’s graduation.

Went to an Eddie Izzard book event! He wasn’t doing a meet & greet or signing but he did read excerpts and expand on the stories and was funny and charming and I enjoyed it immensely. I’ve not been lucky enough to make it to one of his stand up shows so this was the next best thing.

We put together a surprise hike birthday party for one of our friends that was turning 60 and she was, in fact, so surprised and happy. We then had a party later in the day and it was so nice.

We went to Kartchner Caverns and OMG!! Best caverns I’ve ever visited. I want us to go back in 2018 to see the one that was closed to protect the bats. It was just that good.

My issues with eating and feeling like I was having a heart attack reached a high point so I went to the ER. Fun times.

July

I hiked three times!

I went to lots of doctor appointments and had lots of tests that revealed nothing at all other than my gallbladder is likely acting up. So, we scheduled to take that buggar out.

I turned 45! It was such a nice day. Until I threw up on the side of the road after trying to eat Mexican lunch because YOLO! Sometimes you really shouldn’t YOLO. But my birthday was still really nice despite that.

August

I had surgery to remove the gallbladder and I recovered from that really well.

My boyfriend had his birthday and we had a lot of good times. One of which was going to the Odysea Aquarium and it’s really great! Way better than either of us had imagined.

I took him to a baseball game to see the Cubs play the D-backs. This was three days after my surgery.

One of my Flickr friends was in town so we met up with him for lunch.

My symptoms all returned so I started the process of seeing the docs and tests all over again.

I hiked not at all.

September

I took my boyfriend to a Phoenix Rising soccer game and it was really so much fun. So exciting and great!

We went to see Napoleon Dynamite in the theatre and laughed out loud a lot.

I cancelled my trip to California to see The Muppets Live with Randi and I was bitter about that for a while but I’m over it now. Shit happens, ya know?

I participated in the world wide Book Fairy Day and dropped five books at five different bus stops around the area. It was a lot of fun and I hope nice people took the books and enjoyed them.

Doctors and tests and not being able to eat and generally felt like crap.

I hiked once.

October

We took all of the dogs to Barktoberfest. My dogs were bored, his dogs were tired.

Went to the Cardinals v Buccaneers game. It’s always fun to go to live sports, I think. Even though I’m not sportsy.

More doctors, more tests, more feeling like crap.

I hiked once! A puppy hike. Those are always fun.

I decorated a bear for charity.

November

My GI doc finally decided that an endoscopy was in order and it quickly revealed the issue and I had to rush to a different place for further testing and it was all terrible. Then my surgeon’s office called to tell me how serious it all was and it sounded like I was in grave danger and could possibly die (now that it’s all said and done I’m gonna admit that, yes, this was a possibility for a bit. It’s not a good thing to have twists in your stomach for too long. I don’t recommend it.) So, another surgery was to be scheduled but now we’re in the holiday season and schedules are hard so I felt like crap, was scared shitless, and had to sit and wait and wonder when it was all going to happen. I had one very sleepless night due to being worried I’d go to sleep and never wake up.

Due to all of that first paragraph the decision was made for me to not go home for Thanksgiving. It was the right call. And I had a very lovely Thanksgiving here so that all worked out nicely.

Since I was here and not in the air going home I was able to go to Woofstock with all of the dogs and my boyfriend and it was so much better than Barktoberfest. It’s a really good event.

No hiking.  But I was able to go to the finish line of the Phoenix Summit Challenge to cheer on my hiking friends and that was nice.

December

I started the month drinking terrible Barium milkshakes for a CT Scan so the surgeon could see what all he was dealing with so he could have his plan of action in place before opening me up. They found that my stomach was no longer twisted, which is why I was feeling a bit better. And surgery was finally scheduled. On a Monday. Surgery was two days later!

I was so nervous for this surgery. It was way more involved than just having a part removed. So, I was just really very nervous. But it all went well and I’ve already talked all about that. To update: the allergic rash and subsequent skin sloughing off is almost all gone, most incisions look great but I have one I’m keeping my eye on. I still have a bit of muscle pain but the less precious I am with moving around the better so I’m doing that. And eating is going really well and I look forward to starting to eat like a normal person on the 1st. No more processed, boxed crap. Yay!

I saw The Last Jedi and LOVED IT even though other hardcore Star Wars nerds, and my boyfriend, hate it. I love it. I think it was beautiful and deep and opens things up for new possibilities while, in my opinion, being true to the original trilogy. I won’t spoil it but a thing happens that made me absolutely sob like a fool.

I was able to attend my company’s holiday dinner and that was nice.

We went to my boyfriend’s sister’s for Christmas Eve and that was nice. I spent Christmas morning with my boyfriend and our dogs, we went to a movie, then he went home and I spent late afternoon and evening with my friend and her family for dinner and that was great. I had a nice little Christmas.

I somehow managed to pay off all medical bills and just have a few low ones that I’m waiting to arrive but I have the funds in my HSA to cover them and they need to come today so I can get that all closed out by the end of the year but I suspect that shit ain’t happening. That’s a huge stress off my shoulders. Whew!

I hiked zero.

Conclusion

So, yeah. This year wasn’t great but it also wasn’t the full-on crapfest I sometimes feel that it was. I think the overwhelming negativity of the news these days pushes all of the personal good down and I have to push that shit aside to get to it. I’ve started paying less attention to the news, which sort of sucks as I want to be able to take action when I can, but for my mental health right now…I just can’t. I’m very white, I guess.

Happy New Year! I hope it finds all of us healthy, happy, and whole.

“Don’t Look at Robot Crab.”

Three weeks out from surgery and I’m still not back to 100% normal and I guess I need to accept that it’s going to take some time and stop worrying about people that act like since it wasn’t cancer I should be fine now.

I’m a little bitter over people, I guess you could say. Some of ’em suck.

My skin is mostly no longer flaking off where the allergic reaction was but I still have scabs on most of the incision sites and one is still a little red looking so I’m keeping my eye on that one to determine if I need to go have it looked at or not. And my left side still has muscle soreness and that part is the part that I have to realize will take time to go away.

I also get this weird uncomfortable feeling in the middle of my chest but that’s likely all related to putting my insides back where they belong and stitching shit up. So I’m not gonna freak out yet.

The surgeon feels that my reflux was likely bile reflux and it’s just a coincidence that it went away a few days after I restarted my Prilosec since that doesn’t do anything for bile reflux. So, he said to take the Prilosec for a month then go off of it to see. Basically, I shouldn’t have reflux anymore after the surgery. So, we’ll see about that.

Sometimes when I eat I feel like it’s all going down lumpy and then other times when I eat it all goes down just fine so that could all be part of the process, too.

Again, I cannot wait to just be back to normal and able to take eating for granted again. I want that real bad.

I found out last night some of my friends are worried about me and feel like I’m maybe isolating myself. I don’t know if that’s true. But I guess it’s nice that people worry and care.

In other news I had a very lovely Christmas and all of the Santas in my life gave me lovely gifts and I feel like a jerk for basically not participating in the buying of presents this year but I just couldn’t.

I spent Christmas evening with my friend and her family and that was pretty great, to participate in that tradition again after a few years off.

My boyfriend and I went to see “The Darkest Hour” on Christmas Day and it’s shocking to think about how close England was to negotiating with Hitler and to think about how different the world would be today had that happened. Just…wow.

Yesterday, I went to see “The Disaster Artist” and I enjoyed it immensely! I think it helps to have an understanding of what “The Room” is and who Tommy Wiseau is. I think I’m low-key obsessed with him. He’s so odd, yet so optimistic and it’s a little bit of what the world needs now. His Twitter is joyful. The movie could have easily just made fun of him but I think they did a great job of displaying his delusion in a really kind way and didn’t really make him the butt of the joke. I really felt a lot of empathy toward him. He just wants to succeed and be liked and, really, who doesn’t?

Last night I noticed I could watch “The Big Sick” on Amazon Prime so I did that and it was so charming. I can see why it was getting so much praise. As a white lady without any sense of any of the cultures that are in my background or real traditions that aren’t just specific to my family, I find it so hard to wrap my head around people that are super tied to culture and tradition to the point they’d give up family or live lives of unhappiness because it’s expected. But I also know that people that are steeped in such things find my lack of tradition sad so we’re all even here.

Tonight, my boyfriend and I will bring back our Wednesday night dinner date. We get together and we cook and we spend the evening together and I loved it. Until I couldn’t just eat anymore. So, I’m excited. A piece of normalcy coming back!

And that’s it for now. Next post will be my year end recap and I’m hoping, like all others years before, doing it will reveal more good times than I’m able to remember at this moment. Fingers crossed!

Normalcy

Saturday morning my boyfriend and I went out to have breakfast together. I had pancakes. It went well. So, now I sort of want to go out to eat all of the time and just have pancakes.

Sunday morning we took all of our dogs on a short hike to see how his would do. Which they did great, we just need to get an earlier start so they don’t overheat. Especially the older little guy.

Both of these events just made me feel normal and good. I feel like all I do is talk about how I feel, how I’ve been feeling, what the next steps are, think about what I can eat, stress about making sure I don’t get heartburn or trigger an attack at work, calculate how long of a hike I can take if I get to schedule one, etc.

It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted. And I just don’t feel like myself.

And I definitely don’t feel sexy or desirable.

I have new scars on my body, one of which isn’t totally healed yet. My body makes gurgling noises non stop. I’m burpy. I wind up having mystery pains at random.

None of that adds up to a sexy Andrea and I’m sad.

I have a lot of lab tests to do next Friday, one of which is the h. pylori one. I’m also being tested for celiac and gardia. Then in November I’ll be tested for overgrowth in the small intestine.

However these results turn out will dictate what he’s looking for and what he’ll do when I get my endoscopy, since that is a definite that should happen. And a colonoscopy.

More of me not feeling very sexy, y’all.

I also wonder how much of our current political/media climate is impacting me. Stress is not good for the GI tract and I’m definitely feeling stress over the state of our world. I’m going to take off all news alerts from my phone, restrict my Facebook time even more, and not engage in any sort of debate to see if any of that helps. It definitely can’t hurt.

When I finally return to normal I hope I never have to be reminded to enjoy it. To not take it for granted. Because it can be taken away at any moment.

Mundane Monday

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I ate pizza on Saturday without issue. WOO!!!

I also went on a hike. It was the first hike in two and a half months and that is ludicrous Lu-dah-cris. It felt like I’d never walked up hills before but it also felt SO GOOD to be walking up hills again. And down hills. And on flat desert ground. So good.

I don’t wanna get all excited and think I’m totally cured so I’m being cautiously optimistic given what I carefully planned and ate over the weekend while knowing it’s been a week since I’ve had a full blown issue. Fingers are firmly crossed.

It feels really nice to feel like I have a handle on things and to feel like I’ve taken back control.

Hey, Stranger!

Over a week has gone by. I’m not even sorry.

Last Tuesday I did this at the gym:

walking lunges 15yds 15yds 15yds Set 2&3 – pulse on squats
Jump squats 10 10 10
Reverse lunges 15yds 15yds 15yds Set 2&3 – pulse on squats
Wall sit 30s 30s 30s
Back extensions 15 15 15
2 way shoulders 5×10/10 5×10/10 5×10/10
Vertical chest press 60×10 60×10 60×10
Dip machine 80×10 80×10 80×10
Lat pull down cybex 40×10 40×10 40×10
Plate bicep curls 25×10 25×10 25×10

I am a PRO at wall sits now. 30 seconds goes by like nothing. I can sit there and talk like it’s the easiest thing in the world. This makes me happy.

The plate bicep curls were the hardest thing I did last Tuesday. Of all of the things that was the hardest. I have no idea why, unless I was just tired by then.

While working out, I asked Tyler if he felt i was ready to hike the canyon. He said yes. Then he also said that anybody could hike it. But I’m at an advantage because I won’t get hurt, etc. I just don’t even know what to do with that. I really don’t. Let’s move on.

Thursday the Star Wars trailer came out. I am a Star Wars fan and I’ve been keeping my expectations for the new movie at the meh level because those prequels were crap. Just pure crap, man. But then that trailer came out. And John Williams music swelled in the background. And there was that amazing panning shot of a downed Star Destoyer. And there was Luke narrarating the thing in a vague manner with dialogue from Return of the Jedi. And there was excitement. And then there was Han and Chewie and I got chills and I smiled and I teared up and just like that my expectation level went through the damn roof.

I looked around to see who I could share my excitement with and there was nobody. Not a soul. And it set off a course of sadness.

I didn’t gym on Thursday because I had a ticket to go to a live Welcome to Night Vale show. And oh my goodness how much fun was that?!?!? But…there was nobody to smile with. To enjoy it with me.

I live a very solitary life. It’s fine. I have friends and family but they’re all over the place and/or their interests are very far removed from my own. So it leads to me being alone a lot. And it just sometimes gets to me. This is one of those times. I wish I had a friend or someone like that nearby to share my joyful experiences with. I had that before and I miss is terribly.

Anyway. I moped about it and even put some sad on my FB and nobody really responded appropriately enough for my fucked up asshole brain and then that made it worse. I cried all of Friday evening. Alone with my dogs.

Saturday I got up and went for a hike with my hiking group. It was a very nice hike. Two really good areas of incline and it got my heart pumping good. It was a new area to me. It was pretty but nothing special. I’d go on that one again. A nice, easy 5ish miles.

I love this shot.

I love this shot.

This is me! I did not take this.

This is me! I did not take this.

Then I went home and napped then got ready to go see Purple Rain in a movie theatre with two of my hiking friends! There’s a local dude that organizes these monthly events where he shows classic movies in local theatres. This was the first one I went to and it was a lot of fun!

I love Prince. I love Purple Rain. But I totally recognize that it is not a good movie. But it’s one of my favorites anyway because of Prince. When I watch it at home, I watch it with the seriousness that tiny man is demanding from the audience with all of his over the top acting and temper tantrums. But in the theatre surrounded by people? There was so much laughter! Prince gets angry about Morris being a fool? Angry stomp and dramatic arm swings! Prince isn’t happy about his Dad slapping his Mom? Dramatic staring into the camera. Prince and Apollonia get it on? Cue all of the laughter!! I proclaimed “These people are making a mockery of his drama!” but I was one of those people, too. And it was fun. I had fun.

Sunday morning I dragged my tired behind out of bed and took the dogs on our Sunday hike. Riley is just not a hiker and he’s pissing me off. Which, really, is likely more to do with my being sleepy and sad. I cried. I found a pocket of space in the group where I was surrounded but alone and I cried. And people saw me jerking Riley by his leash and I generally feel like a jerk about all of that. I need to work with him. He’s not been with me very long. He’s got years of training from another household that I have to overcome and that’s not going to happen in four weeks.

Due to me being so sad my desire for a brownie was at high levels. I wanted it bad. I fixated on how sad I was and how a brownie would just make me feel happy. I can’t get a hug? I can’t share my Star Wars joy with someone in person that gets it? I can’t have someone just be there to pat me on my sad little head? BROWNIES WILL FIX ALL OF THAT!!!

I did not bake brownies. I, instead, went to the stores, cooked food, took a nap, and kept myself busy to try to distract from the fact that I’m a lonely little jerk.

I’m currently on day 24 of the Whole30 and I’ve been compliant every day, other than the getting on the scale. I’ve eaten clean and healthy every day and I enjoy it. I only want a brownie because of the sad. And it only sucks that I can’t eat one because of the sad. The sad makes everything stupid. Especially me.

But I have gymming from yesterday to talk about so let’s get to that, shall we? Yes, we shall.

bosu ball crunch 20 20 20
Bosu ball alt knee to elbow 20 20 20
Bosu ball alt hand to foot 20 20 20
KB single arm front squat 18×10 18×10 26×10
Stepper quick feet 10 10 10
Stepper dynamic step ups 10 10 10
Med ball squat toss 6×15 6×15 6×15
Med ball oblique twist 6×30 6×30 6×30
Med ball walking lung with twist l 6×10 6×10 6×10
Med ball toss 6×10 6×10 6×10

I felt good and strong yesterday. Nothing hurt. Nothing was super hard for me to do. Challenging and new, sure, but not hard. Other than the dizziness that would still arrive. Bah! But other than that? I did all of this without complaint and I am so happy about that.

And now we’ve caught up again.

Cheater

I just went to grab the stats for Thursday and they are not there. The wifi in the gym is messing with my stats, man! So, let’s see if I can put this together through the power of my mind. HAHAHA.

I did get back on the stairmill. The one that went crazy on me had an out of order sign on it. So I got on another one. And I reminded myself that if anything went awry to just stop walking. And it still made me nervous which is the only reason I can come up with for a normal five minutes on the stairmill to make my heart race, my breathing labored, and my legs feel like they are on fire. That all sounds like stress.

I still feel like my body is not as strong as it was. The theory is that it is because my body is learning to pull power and energy from fat instead of sugar and that is an adjustment and to be patient. So, I’ll try. I will try with patience.

So I did some upperbody stuff. I have no idea how much the weight was. But I did that and I laid down on the bench for the bench press and I did leg lifts. I can lift my legs but they are not straight because I do not stretch.

Then we walked over to the other side of the gym for ab work and on the way I made eye contact with a very, very hot trainer that reminds me of someone I enjoyed spending time with and I got all giggley and giddy and weird. When Tyler came back over with the equipment he was all “What happened? Did you trip over your mat?” Because that is a thing I have done and could have done again. I refused to tell him why I was so giggley. But that dude is distractingly hot. Distractingly so.

I did burpees with a wall slam and then more ab work and things weren’t as horrible as they could have been. That was the gym on Thursday.

When I returned home from the gym my RxBars had arrived and I ate one for dinner with a salad. And it was damn tasty. I hope they are all that tasty.

On Friday I made my first trip to Whole Foods and I hope to limit that activity. That stuff is expensive. I shall only go there if I absolutely need something that I cannot find at Sprouts. But I did get delicious Whole30 compliant bacon, herb sausage, and chorizo sausage. I made the bacon Friday night and it was really good. But what I learned from this experience is that I really do not care that much about bacon. Yeah, it’s very good. But I rarely make it at home and that’s usually just because I wanted biscuits and gravy and I MUCH prefer bacon gravy to sausage gravy. When I got out for breakfast and I get the standard eggs and meat and toast? I usually go with sausage. I mostly use bacon on things. So, that’s a thing I now realize.

I went on a good hike on Saturday after three weeks! It wasn’t a hard hike but I totally kept up with the leader and this hike has a lot of UP to it. So that was good. And it was magical with the light and the hot air balloons all around us.

dixie loop-8

I did not take this one. But I am in this one. And it's just beautiful.

I did not take this one. But I am in this one. And it’s just beautiful.

Then I came home and cooked some yum Whole 30 compliant foods, took a short nap, talked to my friend Jeff about our upcoming canyon hike!, and then got ready for a night of rollerskating!

40 somethings totally love to rollerskate!

40 somethings totally love to rollerskate!

I did so much better than the last time I went, which was a few years ago. My working with a trainer and my hiking has improved my strength and balance so that was fun to see. I wasn’t awesome by any means but I definitely felt more confident on the skates once I got on the floor.

Then I went to IHOP and watched people eat cupcakes, ice cream, waffles, and all sorts of good stuff that I cannot have. It was a wee bit sad. Because I’ve got the PMS and I want a fucking cupcake.

I got to bed around midnight and still woke up at 4:15 for the Sunday hike for my wee dogs.

They deserve this weekly outing whether I'm sleepy or not.

They deserve this weekly outing whether I’m sleepy or not.

So all in all this weekend I hiked around 8 miles and roller-skated and stayed Whole 30 compliant!

Except…I got on the scale. Which is not allowed.

I was very, very grumpy because of the lack of sleep and I saw a photo from the rollerskate party that I did not like of myself and it all made me grumpy and then I remembered that I didn’t eat a cupcake so I was very much going to weigh myself just to see that everything I’m doing isn’t changing anything and then I’ll bake some brownies and that will show them all!!

Except…I’ve lost damn near 7 pounds. In 14 Days. Today is Day 14 and I’ve lost damn near 7 pounds just by eating real, whole food. I’m not counting calories. I’m not tracking what I eat. I just eat what meets the criteria when I get hungry and stop eating when I’m full. And I’ve lost damn near 7 pounds.

So, no. I did not bake any brownies and I put the scale back in the closet.

I went to the grocery store, instead, and bought a lot more veggies. I’ve not been incorporating veggies into my meals enough so I’m changing that now.

Apparently another thing I’ve learned is that I am very much an emotional eater of the brownies and that PMS will wake up that urge like a mofo. Beware the PMS mofo!

Today I made that amazing scallops and chorizo recipe I saw on their Instagram and it was SO GOOD! That chorizo sausage is dangerously tasty.

Now I must clean up my kitchen from all of this cooking.