It's a funny thing ... as each year passes, I get older. When younger it seemed I would live forever, and now I realize there is an inevitable end to life.  When did that change?

I've come to realize that I want to live for a long time yet, so with that, I do plan on making some lifestyle changes.   All the normal stuff ... eat better, exercise, lose weight, lower stress ... all the things probably much more than half of you have resolved to do this year but also, live more, do more, be more.  

I started the year by getting a FitBit.  It's a little device that is the size of a zipdrive.  You wear it on your waistband or in your pocket,  and it tracks how many steps you take, how many flights of stairs you take, how many miles you've gone, how many calories you've burned.  You can also go online and update what foods you've eaten.  Basically, when you sync it up with your computer, it displays all the information online for you.  It's a tiny piece of motivation.  Online, it will even track your weight and another big thing for me is I can enter in my blood sugars and it will track those as well.  At this point, I'm just letting it track my normal activities to get a baseline.  

Eventually, hopefully next week, I'll set some goals and start working toward hitting the daily and weekly goals for steps, etc.  There's also a smartphone app, but I haven't even looked at that yet.

Another reason I purchased this particular one, was that it also tracks your sleep.  I have insomnia, so I thought maybe seeing my sleep patterns will help me to get onto a schedule so I sleep better.  I don't know ... at this point, it's a technological gadget that I hope will assist me in making some life changes.

I'll keep you posted on how it works, and if it helps.

How many pills ...

can you be offered in a 20 minute doctor visit?

I had a doctor who I loved, respected, and trusted his decisions - but a couple of years ago he was killed in a car crash while on vacation.  So this year, I had to find a new doctor because I'm diabetic and need to have yearly labs.  I choose a doctor that my sisters go to.

So ... to get to the pill count.

1. A diabetic pill to keep my sugars in check - that if I don't eat on time could drop my sugars dangerously low.  2. A second diabetic pill to even out my sugars.  3.  A pill for cholesterol.  4.  A pill to stop smoking.  5.  A pill for anxiety and depression (which I have neither) but would allow me to stop smoking.  6.  A pill to help me sleep - so that I can get accustomed to the CPAP machine. 7. A pill to inhale - so that my lungs are clear. 8. A multivitamin  9. Prescription Vitamin D and 10. Sublingual Vit B12

My sugars are not high - with diet I maintain a fasting of about 113 which is considered "pre-diabetic" - not normal, but not (in my opinion) requiring 2 types of medication.  In addition, when I was getting my CT Scan there were notices all over the place that If I'm taking on of the medications that I should tell them - why? because the diabetic medication and the scan contrast could be too much for my kidneys and I'd need to be checked for several months.

My cholesterol is not high. First test Triglycerides were 105 second test 93 - normal is less than 150.  First test total Cholesterol was 171 second test 143, normal is between 125 - 200, and LDL ("bad" cholesterol) first test was 105 second test is 81 with normal being less than 130, and less than 100 for diabetics. So why do I need a cholesterol lowering drug ?

Sooo ... I refused pills 1 through 7, I'm opting for a dental devise for the sleep apnea, and I'm taking the vitamins. 

Consequently, the doctor has fired me as a patient - yes ... a letter via certified mail - but here's the funny part - it was because the CPAP people called and said I wouldn't see them for the machine.  So if I had obtained the machine and never used it - she would not have been the wiser.  This was on the heals of her complementing me on the drop in my cholesterol and sugar levels and then when I told here I wasn't taking the meds she got all pissy.  I must be doing something right if it's working.

Overall, her attitude and mine just didn't mesh.  I'm used to being an active participant in my health care with a doctor that listens to your concerns and explains the reasoning behind what is being prescribed and why - after all, I know my body better than anyone else.  I'm also a very informed patient.

Cholesterol, Blood sugar, Smoking problems are all Lifestyle related.  I for one am willing to make a drastic change in my lifestyle if it will prevent me from taking medications even for a little while longer.  It's crazy talk to keep eating anything you want while taking pills to keep your levels in check.

I'm now on the hunt for a new doctor.  One that treats the patient as part of the team (what a concept).  I'm continuing my healthy ways - so far, I've lost about 25 pounds.

One thing leads to another ....

I had routine labs done just after the cruise - they found a problem with my iron stores and thought it was a GI bleed.  I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy done - no bleed found (and everything else normal). Next stop is a CT scan of the abdomen.  They thought they saw gallstones.  My next labs showed I had very low B12 (which could have accounted for the iron stores problem) and low Vit D -so now I'm taking mega doses of those and other vitamins.  The CT Scan lead to an ultrasound of the gallbladder and yes I have a gallstone about 1 inch in size - apparently just the one.  But that's still not enough information, so now I have to go for some other type of scan to see how my gall bladder is functioning (from what I've read - it's a 4 hour test where I have to remain completely still -- yeah me - right). 

In the mean time, I've had the sleep studies, special shoes for diabetics, a mamogram, which is leading to an ultrasound, A pulmonday function test which will lead who knows where, my annual gyn visit (which is also leading to two more ultrasounds).

So now ... I'm not only tired - but pretty much broke as well.  The pricing for this stuff is incredible, and I have great insurance (90% covered). 

It's been a whirlwind couple of months and hopefully there is a light at the end of the tunnel soon.  Right now, I'm just plugging along and keeping my eye on August for the Fried Green Tomato Hilltop Crop.

30 Days

without chocolate.

Part of my new low carb lifestyle.

I thought it would be harder than it is, but I've been doing it.  The candy was callling out to me for the first few days (maybe a week), but now I don't even notice it.  I have had 1 homemade chocolate chip cookie and one piece of hubby's birthday cake, but other than that, I've been chocolate free. 

I've even passed the test of impulse buys at the grocery store.  I can check out without picking up a piece of candy.  I can pass by my coworkers desks without indulging which has been quite the challenge since it's been so stressful at work these days.

My last piece of chocolate was May 1st - so I've made it thirty plus days.

My goal for June is to start some sort of exercising.  Nothing special really, but more than crashing on the sofa and watching TV or playing on Facebook after work.  I'll keep you posted on how I'm doing.  To be honest, this is the longest I've stuck with it.

What I found weird

when I was having my labs etc done was how "tight" the medical system is these days. 

In the old days, you showed your insurance card, the provider submitted to insurance, and then they sent you a bill for the difference.  Those days appear to be gone forever.  Everyone wants their money upfront.  The hospital (which shall remain nameless) actually called to tell me the exact amount I would have to pay after they accounted for the copay and the deductible, and my 10% etc.  Then they wanted to collect for an xray that I "may" have needed (I refused to pay until it was determined it was needed).  The girl kept telling me I'd have to come back to pay before they would do the test -- alright so ... my portion of the xray amounted to a whole $29.00.  (I could have paid but it just didn't make sense to me).  I wonder just how long I would have had to wait to be reimbursed when I didn't need the test.  In the end, I didn't need the extra xrays and I really felt like going back to the registation girl and saying Na Na Na NaNa.

I don't know ... I liked it better the old way.

New Show DietTribes

Watched the first episode which was pretty good.

I'm normally "into" reality shows and this one follows 5 friends through a weight loss and health journey.  One of the refreshing things about this show is that the women get to wear normal clothes (T-shirts and capris), and they're regular people.  Loved the girl talking about ending her relationship with french fries.

The diet plan is calorie restricted to 1500 cals, split into 3 meals and 2 snacks with a specific split of protein, carbs, and fats.  If you're interested you can see the diet plan here.

I'm going to follow the series and see how the women progress.

Dropping off the face of the earth

It always seems that I drift away from blogging at the end of the month.  I get crazy busy at work, and am just exhausted when I get home and just plain old don't feel like opening up my computer.  Since I'm on the computer almost all day long, it's the last thing I want to do.

Imgp0997_2To catch up ... all is well here and I am feeling almost 100%.  Here's a self portrait from when I was taking my nebulizer treatments.  Not very glamorous.   I didn't upload the full size print, but in it you can even see my watery/glassy eyes.

Now that the end of the month, quarter, and year are done here at work, I can take a little breather and catch back up with blogging.  I've got lots to update, still some pictures of the projects I completed at Winter Retreat, plus car shows and other projects I've been working on.

Still Sick

and now hubby has joined in my pain. 

Friday at work, I was having some difficulty getting air in and out of my lungs. It's hard to explain the feelings, but if you've had asthma you know what I mean.  I was at work and my chest was getting tighter and tighter, and I was wheezing and beginning to panic.  Panic doesn't help ... in fact it makes it worse.  So I did what any 47 year old adult does and I called mommy.

She didn't even recognize my voice.  After she figured out who was calling, I listened to her tell me about her chemo issues for about the first 10 minutes of the conversation but it didn't matter - I just wanted to hear her voice.  There is no greater comfort than a mom. 

We reviewed my options and decided that I would need to go to an ER or clinic for a bronchodilator.   Hubby and I  skipped the car show and went home and I ended up finding some nebulizer treatments from the last time I was sick (2 yrs ago).  OK, the meds were expired but I figured at most they'd be weaker but they should help.  It was just what I needed.  It opened up my lungs, made me able to breathe easier, and able to have a productive cough.

I wish I could find a doctor that actually has appointments available when I'm sick.  I'm so tired of calling the office and being told that the first appointment is several days away - then you get there and the doctor barely spends time with you.  My doctor died in a car accident in 2005 - he was a great diagnostician, took time to listen to your history and complaints, and was conservative in his treatments plus was well loved by the community.  I have not been able to replace him.  I keep looking but it's hard to find a doctor with all these characteristics.

I took today off work and I think I'm finally starting to feel a little better.   I'll be happy when things get back to normal

Ol' Reliable

You go into a store these days and the cough and cold aisle has literally hundreds of options.  Your head is so conjested that just thinking about reading the package active ingredients makes it start to pound.  Even if you could read the packages for say more than 5 minutes they all start to sound alike.

So you rely on your old friends.  Regular Robitussin and Vicks VapoRub.  Really ... who needs anything else except, maybe Tylenol but you probably already have that.

They have served me well over my 47 years and take me back to my childhood.  I loved the taste/flavor of Robitussin (the regular kind) and still do.  It's one of the first cold remedies I buy.  And there is something soothing about the warming feeling of the vicks.  Now ... if only they could package up mom and transport her to me when I'm sick - yeah I'd pay double for that.

Well ... things are improving a bit at least I can breathe a little better and my tolerance level is improving - a little less scarey at work - hubby's been helping by not staying too too late as well.  Hopefully I'll continue to improve and get this gone.


So as we age it's a fact of life that doctors want you to get a Colonoscopy done.  Mine wanted me to get one last year about this time, and it has taken me quite awhile to come to terms with it.  For me, it's not so much the procedure as the having to be knocked out (I have control issues).  So I've put it off, and put it off, and listened to my mother with every phone call ask me when are you going to get it scheduled, when, when, when.

So Friday, I got up the appropriate amount of nerve and called to schedule the appointment.  Wouldn't you know that the prescription expired two days prior and they couldn't enter me until I called the doctors office and had them reorder it.  I'm proud to say that I did just that and the office called in the order so I didn't have to actually go to the doctor needlessly.  I should be able to get it all scheduled up this week.  I didn't want to schedule it until my cold is gone (good excuse right?)

Still not all that crazy about the idea, but I guess it's time I grow up some, and deal with some of these big girl issues - LOL.