Posts Tagged ‘weight watchers

21
Jun
08

June 20, 2008

Big news today is that I’m down 2.4 pounds since Monday the 9th – total down now is 24.6. I haven’t been this light since I was at PSU 4 years ago. It feels really good!

I decided that one possible cause of the fatigue was due to a change in my medications. The insurance company recently switched me over to the generic version of Zyrtec for my allergies when Zyrtec went over the counter – I thought maybe part of the problem was my allergies breaking through because the generic wasn’t working as well. I bought some Zyrtec the other day, and have been taking it instead of the generic, and so far, it doesn’t seem to have helped with the tiredness.

When I saw the oncologist for my quarterly check-up, he told me to check back in a week if I was still experiencing excessive fatigue. So I called him, and he decided I need to have another CT scan to check for pulmonary emboli, and then he added on a brain MRI.

So every time I’m sick, I have to worry that I’ve got cancer or another PE? That really annoys me! Of course, it annoys me more that my solution (changing my allergy meds) didn’t work – why couldn’t it be that simple? I asked him why I couldn’t just go to my primary care, and have her check me out for something fairly simple – but he feels that he needs to rule out “the big stuff” before I go that route.

Shouldn’t it be the other way around? I mean, usually when you start ruling out things, you check the easy stuff first – no, it’s not bronchitis; no, you just need new glasses; no, your ears are ringing because you were at a rock concert.

Until I got breast cancer, my doctors always assumed I had “small” stuff – if I had pain in my chest, it was due to overtaxed muscles; if I was coughing, it was a cold; if I had headaches, it was sinus problems or stress.

Now I don’t need to be a hypochondriac – my doctors are doing it for me.

Brian says, “Great, you’re outsourcing!”

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13
Jun
08

June 13, 2008

Can you say “hypovitaminosis”? I knew that you could!

The test results from my first quarterly check-up with my oncologist are back – no thyroid problems, no organ function problems, but I am Vitamin D deficient. Not radically so, the number is just on the very low end of the normal range. The doctor wanted me to take another 200 I.U., and while I was on the phone with the nurse, I told her that I am already taking 2000 I.U. daily in a Vitamin D supplement, plus I think there’s some in my Calcium supplement (I’ve been on this dose for a couple months). She checked with the doctor, who said that I should maintain this dosage for three months and we’ll do a re-check at the next quarterly appointment.

I asked if D hypovitaminosis (isn’t that a fabulous word?!?) could be the cause of my general fatigue, but she didn’t think so, and based on a quick google of the disease, it’s not a typical symptom. On the other hand, it is possible that I have had a deficiency of Vitamin D all my life, since my knees are valgus ($20 word for knock-kneed) – this is one way in which rickets presents in children.

Recently, Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a predisposition for some cancers, including breast cancer; it also is listed as a predisposing condition for IBD, MS, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and others. I so do not need any of these!

For now I’ll operate under the presumption that my fatigue is related to recovery from surgery, even though it is more than 3 months since the last one. If it continues, I’ll pester the doctor again prior to my quarterly exam.

In other news, since I’m not downtown today (taking the day off), I’ll weigh in on Monday, then try to get back onto my normal Friday weigh-in meeting schedule. According to my home scale, my weight is stable since the last weigh-in on Monday. So last night I stopped at the store and bought some rabbit food, because I haven’t been eating enough fruits and vegetables the last couple weeks. It may be too little, too late; but then again, better late than never.

09
Jun
08

June 9, 2008

Considering what a bad girl I was last week, it hardly seems fair that my weight went down. Only 0.6 pounds, but hey, down is down. I suspect that the long working hours, the short sleep, and the hauling of boxes, walking from event to event, and general busyness counterbalanced the fried foods; the cheeses and sauces; the pasta, breads, pastries, baked goods, and desserts; and the 1/2 Lemon Drop and one Hefeweizen. I also tried to eat small portions, so even though I had a lot of unhealthy things, I didn’t eat much of any one thing. At one meal, there were no vegetables other than artichoke poppers, spanikopita, and caesar salad drenched in dressing – so I grabbed some tomato wedges that were garnishing the salmon platter. So far, I don’t seem to be having any symptoms of salmonella.

The symposium went extremely well, and with only a couple hitches that were fairly easy to rectify. The early mornings were hard, but plenty of coffee got me through the day. By the end of the 3rd day, my feet were killing me, and wearing heels messed up my back a little bit, although it does seem to be recovering fairly quickly. Interestingly, I can’t remember having a single hot flash during the symposium – however, I was having them the night before, and I have had a couple since. Go figure.

I had my first quarterly exam with the oncologist today, and he seems pleased with how I’m doing. When I complained about being tired (after I’d already told him about the nasty cold and the very long hours), he responded (in a manner that bordered on snarkasm) that who wouldn’t be, after all that? However, he did check my blood oxygen level to confirm that I don’t have another pulmonary embolism (my cold symptoms were similar enough to PE symptoms that he just wanted to make sure); and I’d already had a thyroid blood test scheduled because I’d been complaining about being tired prior to the cold. My blood counts (both red and white) are normal, so I’m not anemic, and hopefully I should have the results back on the thyroid test in a couple days. Since I’m losing weight, I suspect that I’m not hypothyroid – my skin is definitely not dry, either, which seems contraindicative. Apparently a lot of people have few or no symptoms of hypothyroidism – and my older brother is hypothyroid, so it’s possible it runs in the family. Guess I’ll find out. . .

03
Jun
08

June 2, 2008

Woo-hoo! I weighed in today – the first time since May 16 (nearly 2-1/2 weeks ago), and I’m down 2.8 pounds! I’ve reached 20 pounds down, plus some – and last week was a *bad*, *bad* week in terms of what I ate.

This week is starting out OK, but will be challenging on Weds thru Friday, because I’ll be working our user symposium, which means that I’m not going to have a lot of healthy food choices. I’ll just have to be vigilant and very focused on avoiding the really bad (i.e., good) stuff. I won’t be able to get back to my regular Friday weigh-in this week, due to the symposium, so I’ll weigh in again next Monday.

I’ve also been fighting a cold the last two weeks, and am finally getting over it – not completely, but nearly there. It hit me really hard – I have pooh-poohed everyone who has been telling me that I shouldn’t overdo it, because I’m still recovering; but obviously there’s been a lot of denial on my part. Usually, if I do catch whatever is going around, it’s fairly mild – in general, I’m pretty darn healthy. So for something to exhaust me the way this has means that my body is still very depressed (physically, not mentally). I’ve been telling people that I’m no longer immune-compromised because my white blood count is back to normal, but the reality is that the immune system is just that – a system composed of several parts. Apparently other parts of my system are not in as good shape as the white blood cells. This is at least the third time I’ve been sick with something since mid-January (2 weeks after my last chemo), two of which have been since I went back to work at the beginning of April.

In other news, I’m a redhead once again. I decided to dye my hair again, and this time went with a red that matched my chemo wig. The first day or two it looked pretty purple in certain lights, but has settled down to being a lovely auburn. The only problem is, with it being so curly it kind of looks like a ‘fro, or a darker version of a short-haired Bozo wig. But in its natural color, basically salt-and-pepper (heavy on the salt), it was starting to look like the stereotypical little-old-lady perm. It’s going to be interesting getting through the growing-out stage where it’s not heavy enough to hang down at all. I have a vision of it being like an aura surrounding my head, perfectly spherical except where it breaks around my neck and face. That should be an interesting look, especially if I decide I don’t want to keep dying it, and have salt-and-pepper roots with red tips. Shudder!

Frankly, I liked the bald look better than the Dickens urchin look.

11
May
08

May 11, 2008

Yesterday was our big adventure – the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk!

Thank you to everyone who donated – as a team, we raised $1,995, just $5 short of our goal – many people were very generous, and Schrodinger as a company donated not only one quarter of the total amount, but also paid for the team t-shirts.

Special thanks are owed to those who walked – Carolyn; Evelyn and Vada; Jenny and Lawrence, along with the girls, Lily and Addie; Laurie (and Bobbi the Corgi); Leah; Olimpia, Cole, and Daniel; and, of course, Brian (and Robin). We made it the full 4-mile circuit, and saw parts of Portland up close that I hadn’t really noticed before. To those of you who signed up to walk but had conflicts of various kinds (including leaving the country!), I know you were thinking of us as we walked: Heidi, James, Lynnette, Mike, and Shi-Yi; and I know each of you would have been there if you could have.

Particular thanks go to Jenny, whose idea it was to set up the team, who did all the organizing, and who put her feet to the pavement in support.

I don’t know yet how much the overall Walk earned in donations, but we saw many teams, and many survivors participating – if their friends, family, and co-workers were as supportive as mine, then I’m sure that the American Cancer Society met its own goal.

For my part, as well as being grateful to and inspired by my team, I walked for those who have touched my lives who have been hit with breast cancer (and some other cancers, also). I carried a banner with the following names:

In Memory of:
Mom (although she did not die of breast cancer, she showed me how to handle it with strength and humor)
Peter’s mom

In Honor of:
Aunt Pat (x2)
Steph
Teddy
Shirlie
Karen
Monica
Sue
Joyce
Evelyn
Yvonne
Helen
Jolene
Nancy
Kristin
Aunt Julia (chronic lymphocytic leukemia)
Cathy (ovarian)
Penny (adrenal)
Jody (glioma)
Elaine (colorectal)

And, of course, for those whom I have never met, yet who have walked, or will walk, the breast cancer journey.

Yesterday after we got home, Robin and I took a long nap, and went to bed early. I had some stiff joints and some soreness, and still do today, but other than being tired, I’m really pleased at how easy it was, and how relatively little the long walk affected me.

I celebrated by having pizza for dinner last night! After adding up all my points from yesterday (and subtracting the 4 points of activity from the walk), I only dipped into my weekly points by 1/2 point – hooray! I’ve had two weigh-ins since the last post – on Friday the 2nd, I was down 0.6 pounds, and on Friday the 9th, I was down 1.4 pounds for a total of 2 pounds in 2 weeks. Sadly, I didn’t quite make my first mini-goal of losing 10% of my weight as I had hoped to by the 9th, but I am now within 0.6 pounds of reaching it (in my last post, I said I had 2.2 pounds to go, but I was mistaken – at that point it was actually 2.6 pounds). So progress is being made, which keeps me motivated to continue the good work. I need to start thinking about what target I will choose for my next mini-goal, once I’ve hit the 10% goal. My girlfriend Laura chose her roommate’s daughter’s weight as her next goal (and already met it – yay Laura!) – I suppose I could go for losing a “Robin” of weight, but since he’s about 5 or 6 pounds overweight himself, that would mean I’d have to lose nearly 30 pounds to reach my next goal. On the other hand, I could choose a “Jasmine”, but since the little poodle barely weighs a couple tenths’ more than 9 pounds, that goal seems too close. Anyway, I guess I’ll keep thinking about a goal that is close enough to keep me motivated, without being so close that I reach it too soon – the weight of either my yarn or fabric stashes are beyond my final goal; since I’m so into books, maybe I should plan on losing the Oxford English Dictionary (in its multi-volume incarnation, not the one-volume version that comes with a magnifying glass).

Today is a “lazy” day – I’m going to try to get Robin out for a walk, assuming the weather cooperates, but other than that, I’m going to do some reading, some beading, and other than that, nothing much else.

Happy Mother’s Day to Charlene, and to Aunt Pat,

Love, Julie

26
Apr
08

April 26, 2008

Not a lot going on the last couple weeks – I was down on the 18th with a headache that was as bad as a migraine, but was different from the way I usually experience migraines. It actually started on the night before, and kept me awake most of the night – I even took some of my left-over pain pills from the surgery, and they didn’t touch it at all. It eventually subsided to a bearable level Friday evening, but lingered through Monday, more like a tension-style headache.

This week, I worked late most nights making up the time I missed on the 18th – I have been extremely tired all week. Once I get home from work, I need to wind down, no matter how tired I am, so even though I was tired enough to want to sleep, I wasn’t sleepy. This meant that I ended up going to bed very late, and not able to sleep in much. So today I am lolling around in my sweats and slippers, reading, writing, beading, maybe napping.

Tomorrow I want to go to the Art & Elegance in Beads show at the Oregon Convention Center – I am particularly interested in finding some focal beads – typically they sit around for a while and tick around in my brain until I come up with a plan to use them – there’s not usually a specific thought process on “What am I going to do with this?”, but I’ll see something in a magazine or online, or even in person at a store, and it will trigger the thought of a particular bead I have, and I begin designing something. Sometimes, though, I just buy some beads that will go with a particular focal bead, and just sort of make something happen with them. Of course, then there are the projects for which I specifically choose a pattern and follow the supply list religiously – usually so I can learn a new technique. I have more projects than I know what to do with.

I also have a sort-of sculptural diorama project I’ve been contemplating, involving some carved animal-shaped stones that came in a surprise package I ordered from Fire Mountain Gems – I’ve gotten some strands of stone-chips to use for the project, but I haven’t been able to figure out what to use as the base of the diorama. My mother-in-law saw a shell-shaped bowl and suggested it (the theme is ocean-related), and it hit me that a plate or platter of some form would be perfect for the base. So now I have to start keeping an eye out for the perfect platter to use – I have to get out more, obviously, because I’m not going to find it just going between home and work ;-}

My weight started back down again – I’ve been really working hard, especially this week, to get back on track. It can be frustrating, when I know I’m following the plan closely, to have little movement, or even to gain a little. But so far I’ve managed not to fall into the trap of giving up when I have a bad weigh-in. My previous weigh-in was two weeks ago, and I went up; I missed the 18th because I was sick (but my weight didn’t seem to have shifted at all, at least according to my scale at home); so this week it was a pleasant surprise to find out I’d gone down 3.4 pounds for two weeks. I got an “Ooo” (an *impressed* “Ooo”) from the group when I mentioned that this had included a meal at The Melting Pot. My total lost so far is 15.4 pounds, and I’m within 2.2 pounds of my first mini-goal of losing 10%. I hope to achieve that in two weeks. This drop also meant that I had to recalculate my daily points – I was just getting used to the relatively new level of 22 points per day, and now I’m down to 20 points per day. That means I have to eat more 0 point snacks (veggies, veggies, veggies!) and really focus on planning my meals so that I don’t get taken by surprise. I could save points by giving up my half-and-half in my coffee, but I’d rather give up so many other things, except maybe chocolate. . .

Another thing I need to work on is increasing my activity. I bought the Weight Watchers pedometer that calculates how many points-worth you walk, and because my job is so sedentary (pretty much sitting in front of the computer, typing all day), I rarely even make it to the level where I start earning one point – how sad is that? I’ve been trying to get out of the office for a walk, at least when the weather is not completely uncooperative. The week before, I was very good about getting out for a walk with Robin after I got home from work, but with the late nights last week, I didn’t get out once. The office building where I work has just added a fitness room, free to the building tenants, that opens up for use on Monday, so I’m going to try to drag myself into work an hour early to see if I can get some workout time in – I am so not a morning person!

The other day, I had the odd experience of being surprised at remembering that I have had cancer. For the first time in a long time, it wasn’t an ever-present background thought, or being kept as a focus of my attention through pain, fatigue, lack of hair, having to take time off for doctor appointments, or being limited in what I can do physically. What a weird feeling – getting back to “normal”.

Julie

06
Apr
08

April 6, 2008

Well, it’s been a busy couple weeks since my last post.

Shortly after I posted on the 21st, I got a call that my little brother was in the hospital. I flew down to see him on Easter (after having a wonderful Easter lunch with Sharon and Gary and their family). Brian couldn’t go due to a major project he’s working on for a client, so he dropped me off at the airport with a stern injunction to NOT PICK UP my own suitcase. When I checked the bag, they weighed it in at 25 pounds – everyone I asked for help was very kind about picking it up for me – I felt guilty about just asking people, because I look very healthy (and of course, I *am* very healthy, with the caveat that overdoing the lifting could make me *unhealthy*), so I felt compelled to explain about having recently had surgery, can’t lift more than 10 pounds, etc. Apparently Brian had called his mother (with whom I was staying, rather than getting a hotel), and told her I wasn’t allowed to lift my bag, so she came out to the rental car when I arrived, and my little 83 year old mother-in-law unloaded my suitcase for me. How’s that for embarrassing?

Tim was discharged from the hospital on  the Monday after Easter, and because he was at a hospital quite a distance from his house, and they are on tight funds, I gave him a ride home. I got to briefly see my nephews and niece – they’re all so big! The oldest son still at home will turn 17 in May, and he was the only one to really recognize me – with so little hair, and since it’s been quite a while since we’ve been to visit, the younger kids had a hard time reconciling this aunt with the one that had longer hair.

I had scheduled my trip to fly home on Wednesday, because I didn’t know when Tim was going to be discharged, so I ended up having a free Tuesday to spend with Brian’s mom. At that time, I was still sleeping in the recliner at home, since my arm range of motion wouldn’t allow me to sleep with my arm in the right position to sleep in the bed – I can’t sleep on my back in bed, only on my sides – so I was sleeping in one of her recliners. We seemed to be on the same sleeping schedule, and stayed up late and slept in late on Tuesday. Then I took her shopping for some craft items she needed (she isn’t driving since her accident in November), and then we met Dani, one of my sister-in-laws on Brian’s side, for lunch. Had dinner with a group of Shirlie’s friends, and then we all played Mexican Train dominoes after.

Wednesday I flew home from Sacramento, and spent the next four days recovering from the trip. As I’ve learned, I can push as hard as I need to, but the payment comes due eventually.

This past Monday, I started back to work. I had to hit the ground running, because we’re just getting into a very busy time. With 800+ e-mails to look through, I spent Monday going through them (fortunately, most of them were either informational or ones that didn’t require action on my part), and got started dealing with the ones that *did* need my attention. The rest of the week, I was focused on getting literature and other items printed and ready to ship to our first big event of the tradeshow season. Friday afternoon I got everything packed (I didn’t pick up any of the boxes, because I’m still on the 10-pound-or-less lifting restriction) and discovered that even without lifting or even pushing the boxes around, just using the tape-gun to seal the packages was hard on me – I didn’t damage anything, but I definitely experienced some pain once I was back at my desk that afternoon.

Brian and I went out to dinner and a show on the 4th to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary (actual anniversary date = 3/29) – McCormick & Schmick’s on 1st Avenue (*wonderful* halibut with pomegranate molasses – mmm), then on to Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo”. Sharon and Gary met us there, and the show was fabulous! Of course, we’ve never been to a Cirque du Soleil show that wasn’t.

This weekend I’m totally wiped out – again, I am paying for pushing myself this past week – I had thought I might start back around 3/4-time to work, but discovered that not only did I need to work full-time due to the deadline for this tradeshow, but I also had to work extra hours just to get it done. Frankly, I’m happy to be back to work, and to be able to do my job – and I’d much rather be busy than not. But I can hardly wait until I’ve recouped enough of my normal level of health that I don’t have to spend the weekend just recovering from work. When I was younger, work used to be a way of recovering from the weekend!

After my trip to California, I weighed in on the 28th, and my weight was up 0.6 pounds. It is really hard to eat well when you’re traveling. Mostly due to the fact that you don’t always have the choice of healthy restaurants, or healthy menu items to choose from; and if someone is cooking for you, unless they’re also on-plan, they don’t know how to accommodate on-plan needs. All in all, considering that I’d also had a big Easter meal that week, I was surprised at only being up by 0.6 pounds over the previous week, although I’d hoped to be able to hold steady. This week I weighed in down 1.2 pounds, which brings my total loss so far to 13 pounds. Only 5 more pounds to go to meet my first mini-goal!

I’m in the market for another fan – the one I have been using has now broken in two places (I play with it too much when I’m not actually using it). Where does one buy these things? I have no idea – probably not in the clothes department, but maybe in the toy department? Or maybe I have to go to some place like Cost Plus (what are they called now, World Market?) or Pier 1. The hot flashes are bearable, although I would say they’re getting a little more intense than they used to be. I can usually feel them coming on, with a feeling that my face is flushing, and if I take my hat off (assuming I have one on), that is often enough to fend one off. If one is coming on when my head is bare, fanning myself seems to shorten the duration. I definitely think caffeine is one of my triggers, but there are just some things that one can’t give up and still be able to function.

There are a couple people I want to share news about – one of my friends from support group, Penny, just had surgery on the 31st, and is in the hospital recovering.  The surgery was a long one, but the doctors believe they got everything they were in after, and even took less than they thought they might have to.  Love and healing thoughts to Penny!

My physical therapist had a surprise double-bypass surgery a couple weeks ago – he is young and healthy, and had no idea he had trouble brewing in his arteries.  He is recovering well, and says that he can’t even lift as much as I can – when they crack your sternum and ribs, the weight limit is 5 pounds.  So, Tony, keep on healing, and maybe by the time we’re both released to normal activity, I’ll be able to outlift you for a week or so!

I had a bone density scan last week, of which I am awaiting the results – before the scan the technician asked what my height was, and I told her 5’3″.  She then measured me, and I came out as 5’2″.  I looked at my driver’s license after the scan, and it definitely says 5’3″.  Of course, that was from back in 1988, but I would be surprised if I really did lose 1″ of height.  As I recall, I was actually about 5′ 2-1/2″, but that it got rounded up.  Still, that would mean that I’ve lost 1/2″ of height sometime in the last . . . 20 years . . . well, when you put it like that, I guess maybe I can believe that.  I don’t know how often they’ll do a scan to compare to this base-line – the Femara has the possibility of causing bone density loss, but then, so does menopause in general.  Exercise helps, so I’m trying to get serious about a daily routine.

With my hair growing in, and only taking a daily hormone pill for the next five years, and being back to work on a full-time basis, I’m starting to feel as if life is finally getting back to normal.  Once I’m off the blood thinner, I will be as free of the medical establishment as possible as regular quarterly visits to the oncologist allows.

Whoo-hoo!




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