Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I haven't posted for awhile - and have a lot of things to update - but wanted to take a minute to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you!

God is good all the time!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ready for Surgery

So, between the last post and today I've seen the cardiologist - who said "NO" to the robotic surgery - I wouldn't survive it. (that's a little scary)
I've seen the GYN surgeons who want to proceed with the uterine ablasion and I've had the pre-op visit along with all necessary bloodwork.

Next Tuesday I'll see the cardiologist again and get his final ok - then on Monday November 9 they will do the procedure.

It should only take a little over an hour - it basically is similar to a D&C, but the shave the entire uterine lining off, then laser it to prevent it from growing back (that's the 100% success we're looking for).

For me it's the best of a lot of things - I won't have a period any longer, but I won't go into menopause early. I won't have to take HRT or continue on the progesterone I've been on now almost three months. I shouldn't continue to have problems with anemia or need any more transfusions - all of this for the low low price of outpatient surgery and back home by bedtime. And, best case scenario, it holds me for 2-3 years at which time they think I will go thru menopause myself and I won't ever have to have the hysterectomy.

This procedure will remove the fibroids that are suspended inside the uterus too - not the ones in the walls - but those seem to be calcified - just the little active aliens that keep causing me all these problems.

I am a little apprehensive - but I'm hopeful that once I can get a blood count back to over 30 I will feel tremendously better.

At that point, I suppose I'm going to have to deal with the knees/hips issues. It is always something!!

BTW - I have lost the 20 pounds I'd put back on - so - maybe by January 1 I will break the 400 barrier! I'm hoping and eating my veggies!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Surgery is on the Horizon

I saw the surgeon yesterday - and the plan is as this: They (gyn surgery team) will meet with my cardiologist to see what and how much I can tolerate.

If I can be stood on my head for four hours - I'll have a robotic hysterectomy. Eight one inch incisions, but only a two week recovery and very few complications.

If I can't be stood on my head for four hours - I'll have a uterine ablasion which takes about 2 hours and the anesthesia is not as complete - which means they won't breathe for me. It'll take the entire lining of my uterus, including the fibroids and a polyp - now what's the difference - that I didn't know was there but found out yesterday. If it's 100% successful, I won't have any more bleeding and once my blood rebuilds to a good level and my weight gets down to less than 350 - I will have a traditional hysterectomy.

They said they can't continue to transfuse me every other month - there are some dangers with that - and that the anemia has damaged my heart and must be stopped as soon and safely as possible.

Who knew that having abnormally heavy periods for years would cause damage to your heart? I should have taken better care of myself during the years my kids were teenagers but I ignored all my symptoms and only went to the doctor when I was absolutely sick enough to die.

Now I really am sick enough to die and sorry about not taking better care of myself. Don't do as I've done, see your doctor regularly.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Highway to Health

Hey - did anybody notice that Dr. Oz has hit the road with a healthy eating program called "Highway to Health"? I like that - in fact I'd have used that as my blog name if I'd been smart enough to think about it.

Should be some pretty interesting shows - he takes a real no nonsense common sense approach which doesn't make it hard. That is why what I'm doing works for me.

AND - for some great recipes that are simple, few ingredients, healthy and GOOD - sign up at for their daily recipe. I've enjoyed them - and have used them as a launching ground for coming up with some of my own.

In fact - I will begin to add recipes that I've found or created on my blog to help any of you out that need to eat a little healthier. It's kinda a cool challenge to figure out ways to make things that tastes good but have much less calories and fat to them!

Transfusion News

So I went into the Vanderbilt Clinic on Friday for a transfusion of 2 units. My hematocrit was still 25 - I don't understand all of the readings and I need to research them, but suffice it to say right now that every one of my numbers was red - which means nothing is where it should be.

Transfusion went fine - but my blood pressure spiked and I had to stay about three extra hours until it began to come down after being medicated. I couldn't for the life of me figure it out - then remembered that one of the nurses made me really angry - I didn't say anything but I was in a slow burn. Actually, her comments were so out of line and rascist that I've considered calling to report her. I didn't find out exactly where she was from, but she's not from Davidson County. I chalked her off to Cheatham County and forgot it, which is probably when my blood pressure started to back down some.

I still don't feel really good - I can tell I have more energy and my face has some color - but my eyelids are still white, my gums are still white and I'm still tired.

I see the surgeon on Thursday - maybe just maybe I'll get an idea of when there will be relief in sight.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Medical Updates

Just some information on where I stand health wise as of today:

I had a repeat echocardiogram on September 2. In my very limited understanding of the pictures and sounds I thought things had improved some. Renee was with me and she thought my heart sounded better. Of course, the person doing the test will not tell you a thing.

When the letter came from the doctor in a couple of days - GOOD NEWS! The mitral valve leakage was less and the pressure in my pulmonary arteries had gone from 80 down to 55 - remember 25 is where it's supposed to be. But, all in all a very good report.

Means the meds are working and getting the weight off, especially the extra fluid, is a must do all the time for me.

I saw the cardiologist on September 8. I was really scared about this one - I guess I expected that he would be like the orthopaedic doctor and scream and yell and me about my weight and tell me there was no hope. He was not like that at all - he was very nice and explained a great deal to me.

My heart walls have thickened and the chambers on the right side have enlarged. Part of this is due to the fact that I've been overweight for years and my heart has worked harder, but that in itself is not the deal breaker. He says hearts adjust somewhat to weight. BUT, the biggest deal is that I've been anemic for close to 5 years (as can be documented by Vanderbilt's records). That very fact has made my heart work even harder and he says is mostly responsible for the shape I am in now.

Bottom line - his words - "the uterus has got to go". In 1999 my hematocrit was 39 - that was great. For the 5 years he can review - I've never been above a 30 and mostly never above a 28. Blood work done on the 8th showed me down to a 25 - and at that point I was 9 days into what became a 12 day cycle. Remember now, that I take 200 mg. of progesterone a day so I don't have a cycle. My uterus is making a fool out of all of us and killing me slowly!!

So, he added one more medicine to my regiment - a vaso-dilator to help my pulmonary artery pressure. I seem to tolerate it well, in fact, I think it is helping tremendously because I use the inhaler much less. Which means I used it sometimes because of chest pressure, not asthma related shortness of breath. A little scary!

So, I see the cardiologist again in a month. In the meantime, I will probably have a transfusion. Talked to my regular doctor's office this week who had set up a transfusion for last week, but then couldn't fine my phone number???

And - I've put back on 26 lbs - all fluid - I can see it in my legs. Some difference of opinion about fluid pills - but according to the cardiologist - I will take one every day FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!! Not to fail - even if I'm traveling.

All in all, not too bad. The birthday bash for next June 1 - my 1/2 centary mark - is turning into a hell of party. God knows if I make it to June 1, we all need to be there and celebrate!!

Friday, August 21, 2009


A very dear friend sent me a gift card for a massage last week. I went yesterday - it was utterly divine!

The room was very cool, but there was a sheet and blanket. The lights were very dim and soft music was playing. He really worked on my back - but the best part was my arms and legs. When the 50 minutes was over, I didn't think I would be able to stand up - I was that relaxed. I swear it was better than sex!! Or similar - you know when it's been so good you can't stand up - well - like that!

I will definitely be reworking my budget to include $50.00 a month for that hour of ultimate relaxation - check them out at - they have over 600 locations across America. Well worth the time my friends, well worth the time!

How Many Trips to Vanderbilt Will I Make?

I should have been counting them this year - how many times I've been over there! I get bloodwork every other Tuesday, regularly. For the next month or so I have multiple appointments.

I am having a repeat echocardiogram on August 25 - this is to see if the pressures in my heart have improved at all. I pray they have - I feel better but that's not really an indicator. If the meds and weight loss have not helped them to improve, I am in worse trouble that I thought and pretty big trouble.

The next week I will see a cardiologist, for the first time. The one I'm seeing is also on the transplant team. While those words have not come up, I know enough to know that if things are not any better, a heart/lung transplant would be the best option for a longer life. But, I've already decided that I will not do that. Between the history of having a wet body (easy to retain fluid) and the blood clots, I doubt the transplant team would approve me and I'd really question them if they did - I mean I'm not about to be another science experiment!!

I see the GYN again September 24 and between now and then will have a mammogram and bone density scan. Those seem a little mute on point to me, if my heart is going to give out in a year or two, who cares if I have cancer or brittle bones???

I don't mean to sound ugly - I just won't go thru massive rounds of treatment for things that won't make a lot of difference.

I do hope for at least 3-5 more years - so that I can see Renee finish college and get into her field of work. Maybe in that period of time I will see Lynn get himself together and be a productive citizen.

It is humbling in more ways than one to realize that your life is closer to being over - I mean everyday after 40 we are all over 1/2 of the way done, but, this feels a little different to me. And, after all of the feelings after the divorce, etc. I want to love again. No expectations this time, no children to raise, just me and a special someone doting on each other daily, making each day the best it can be.

If I sound like I'm in a pity party, I'm really not, I've just realized even a few more things than I already knew.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wasted Time and Money

So, you want to know how to waste $17,000.00 and a few hours? Implant an IUD into Lisa! Yep, after all that I've been thru with the 60 day cycle, the pain, etc. I had an ultrasound last Thursday only to be told that the IUD is gone. Where the hell did it go? No one knows - except the theory is that when I passed the gallons of blood and clots in the office, it must have been there.

Yesterday the doctor's office called - to tell me that they were calling in a prescription for progesterone (again!) to try and prevent me from bleeding at all and I'll see the doctor again on Sept. 24. Since I'm still opting for the hysterectomy, maybe we can see that in the near future.

I have lost about 40 of the 100 pounds she had said needed to go before surgery, last Tuesday I was down to 435. Lowest weight in 10 years for me!!

I am hoping to be below 400 when I see her on 9/24 - BUT - if I can't have surgery before November - it will have to wait until February 15. We get too busy in the shop from Thanksgiving thru Valentine's Day for me to be off. Of course, surgery on February 15 gives me time to heal good before I go to Costa Rica in the late spring. I'm so excited about that trip I can hardly contain myself! The weather is perfect - 60 degrees at night, only 80 during the day! I may never come back!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Numbers

So, after the last post I had a really bad couple of days with the first cycle after having an IUD implanted. Alas, though, that seems to be the norm with the first one and I'm looking forward to better days. Although it might have been horrible for a couple of days, it was only a total of 6 days!! 6 days - after my episode lasting more than 60 days I am relieved!

AND, on that note, I had lost 6 more pounds - I'm now down to 437!! That is unbelievable to me - I am 38 pounds from being under 400 for the first time in about 15 years!! And that 38 doesn't scare me at all!!

I see the doctor August 11 - I am hoping to be down to at least 425 and I'd love to break 400 by Labor Day! Don't know if I can, but I'm trying!

The increased energy and desire to move about is creating some problems - my left hip is still driving me insane. I am going to have to see an orthopaedic - which I swore off years ago - but I really think the bone loss in my right ankle has shortened that leg and the compensation I make in walking is causing the left hip pain. Now, I don't have MD after my name, but I live in this body. I think a little build up under my right heal, even with an insert, may change things. I could try that couldn't I?

Another updated after next Tuesday!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Good News

SO - let me tell you that having the IUD implanted was the best idea anybody ever had! I've not had any more problems at all AND I am feeling stronger every day. Of course, that has to be from all the iron I'm taking and the fact that I'm not getting more anemic each and every day.

So my blood work is looking good, I'm feeling great, I've been told my eyes are bright again and my color is better than it had been in months. The best thing is I weighed at the doctor yesterday and I'd lost 22 more pounds!!

Now, this is 22 net, the 17 I'd regained from being off the meds is gone to. As of today, my net weight loss is 158 pounds!!! That is a whole person - in fact - my aunt in Bowling Green weighs exactly that amount!!

I am going to go shopping after Labor Day for some new clothes. Right now, everything I have hangs on me and I can barely keep my pants up - but I have a numeric goal in my mind before I buy anything. I only have one dress and one skirt I can wear right now - everything else falls off my shoulders so bad I can't keep it on! That's pretty exciting to me!!

Renee says I am smaller than she is - and I think she's right!

Fresh fruit and veggies rock!! I'm eating almost no meat, lots of veggies and fruit, and yes, I even had McDonalds a couple of times. BUT, instead of getting the big combo, etc. I get the happy meal. Satifies my craving with 1/2 the food and I'm just as happy with it!

Remember my promise to myself - when I go below 300 pounds I'm buying a new Camaro!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Update #2 on June 24

So after seeing Dr. Kropski on June 9, I woke up June 11 to a raw, scratchy, burny throat and upper chest. By Friday morning, I was in really bad shape and had to go in ASAP. I had bronchitis and the doctor said she could hear some pneumonia crackling. Needless to say, it was not a good weekend. But, I took all of my meds, etc. and I'm feeling much better now.

I had scheduled a minor surgery for yesterday, June 23. It was still up in the air through last Friday, my breathing had to be pretty clear, etc. I had an IUD implanted.

Now, my tubes were tied 18 years ago. The purpose of this device is to regulate my cycle, and the brand that she uses releases a small amount of hormone so that my cycle will be very light. After the last 11 weeks that sounds like a great plan to me!!

Everything went well with the surgery and I got to leave the hospital yesterday about 3:00. I am at work today - no discomfort at all, no pain, and no bleeding!! Can you see me doing a jig? Not really, but I would if I could!!!

AND, on Friday I had lost 10 of the 17 pounds I'd gained, so I am almost back to where I was. Now that I can plan on getting in the pool to walk, and get back on my regular medicine schedule, and keep getting the CSA box, well, I'm optimistic that I can restart losing weight. I would love to be under 400 pounds by Christmas. I haven't been under 400 pounds since 1999!

That means 56 pounds in 6 months - which is not impossible at all. Keep your fingers crossed and keep me in your prayers. I can do pretty good as long as I ignore the yellow arches! They have to become invisible to me like Hardees did on February 3 - I haven't been back there!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Moved In and Settled

I've got to do better about updating this blog!!

I got moved into my new apartment the weekend of May 1. My brother and friend from high school, Jimbo, got all of my stuff in about 2 hours - then it took me about three weeks to get completely unpacked and decorated. That might not have taken so long, but the week of May 4 I worked everyday at the florist because of the upcoming Mother's Day weekend. And, I'm still recuperating from severe anemia.

I'm loving my apartment!! It is really nice, my walls had been redone, repainted, and I've got new carpet. There is a nice size kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bath. Also, a 6 ft by 9 ft storage closet I've turned into a craft room. I'm so excited about the chance to do the projects I've accumulated with the "one day I'll have time" attitude. I've got quilts, wreathes, purses, and cross stitch projects to keep me busy at least 5 years. Not to mention all the books I haven't had time to read and movies to watch. It's being good for me, I can tell that the stress level is much lower. I still worry about the kids tremendously and watching Lynn go thru some hard days for him is tough, but I believe he's going to make it.

As far as my health goes, it's been a tough month. While in the hospital, they took me off everything except the Pepcid , Progesterone and Prozac. I came home with Lovenox injections twice a day - now that they are finished I about to start on Coumadin again.

After I first got him, I started back on the blood pressure medicine. It probably didn't have anything to do with it, but about a week after moving in, I started a menstral cycle! Shouldn't have happened, I was on progesterone and two weeks post D&C - but it did. And it was pretty bad for close to two weeks. Not hospitalization bad, but what little ground I had gained in the anemia field, I lost pretty quickly.

I am back to square one - at this point I am ready to begin again to add back the heart medications and see what happens. I am going to have surgery soon - probably next Tuesday - for an IUD to be implanted. The purpose of that is to make me have a regular cycle so that my uterine lining does not have time to build up. The ideal solution is for me to lose enough weight to have the hysterectomy - something I am working hard on!

I see my regular doctor on June 9 so hopefully, I will have progress to report on the weight loss. I don't think I've gained anything back and feel like I've lost a few more pounds. Being anemic, I've been supposed to eat much more, especially protein. Somedays I just don't feel like it - and somedays have eat very little.

One thing that has happened that helps me tremendously, the CSA program I joined started up again May 6. Each Wednesday I get 1/2 bushel of fresh organically grown produce. I've enjoyed lots of fresh lettuce, strawberries, and green onions. I've had lots of radishes, and I've tried - I just can't eat them - I like the crunch but not the flavor!

This week Renee and I went grocery shopping together - I did really well on my purchases and plans for menus - so I think I'm about to get back on track on the eating part.

One thing I've promised myself - if I can get down to 300 pounds or below by June 1, 2010 - my 50th birthday! - I am going to treat myself to a brand new Camaro!! Have you seen one? They are gorgeous!!

Even if I don't make it by my birthday, when I weigh less than 300 I'm buying a Camaro!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lots of Updates

It's hard to believe it's been over two weeks since I posted. So much has happened - I will try to cover most of the health issues here.

My fatigue did not improve, in fact as the week went on it got worse and worse, in direct relation to the worsening menstral cycle. By Thursday, April 23 I could barely stand up and got dizzy when I did. Friday came and I had chest pain so I knew it was going bad. I started calling the doctor but he was out and whomever was supposed to pick up his pages wasn't. The nurse said for me to go to the ER, which I did.

Now, I have to take a sidewinder here. I got to the ER at Vanderbilt at 4:00 PM on Friday afternoon. Do I need to say anymore? It was 6:30 before they took me back to a bed. I honestly thought I would have a major accident before they took me back.

By 7:00 PM I was on a heart monitor and was told I would be admitted. My CBC was low, and on a repeat test in one hour I dropped 4 points. So, a transfusion was in store for me.

I got to a regular room at 6:00 AM on Saturday morning. I am grateful that I was on the back side of the ER and that I did not have to hear or witness any of the Friday night crazy that takes place at Vanderbilt's Emergency Department. Those folks who work there are to be applauded!

I spent four days at VUMC. I had a pap smear and biopsy on Sunday morning. Now, because of my age and symptoms, the top GYN Oncologist came in Sunday to do these procedures. Can you imagine what that is going to cost???

And, I got two units of blood. First transfusion for me - it went well and I didn't have any kind of reaction.

The preliminary lab results were negative for cancer - great news! So on Tuesday, the top GYN Benign doctor (who is married to the top oncologist!) did a D&C and another pap smear.

The great news is that there was no sign of cancer anywhere. I am doing better, still very weak and on iron, etc. with continued follow up on the anemia. I will have to have some surgical procedure soon to be sure this doesn't happen again - still trying to decide on that one.

More in next post!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Moving Day is Near

I've been really trying to get everything ready for the move - this fatigue I'm feeling is wearing me out more than I like, and just about more than I can tolerate. I sure hope that once I am moved and set up and can really relax some, the blood pressure will be lower so that a lighter dose is required to keep it down so low. Of course, I'm still going to feel fatigued because my BP is low and my heart rate lower, but I'm hopeful it won't be as bad as right now.

The last few days have been tough for me physically. Besides the pain of the PT and trying to work on that, I've had other problems. I won't be too graffic, but, this is really personal and not something I usually talk about. But, after I've told everyone my weight, I suppose there isn't too much left to hide.

I had not had a monthly cycle for over a year. I'm sure that was because of the weight gain, the tremendous stress of dealing with my son and his problems, and the fallout from those. I had hoped that part of my life was over and it had gone quietly! Sounds too good to be true - believe me it was. With the combination of 150 pounds lost and the medication, Mother Nature decided to do some housecleaning. Now that I realize it, that's why the fatigue is so much worse. So, in a day or two maybe I will feel some better. Any change in normal I have to report to the coumadin clinic at Vanderbilt - I imagine this is something I need to share with them. Those numbers may be quite ascue Tuesday!

The coumadin clinic is now in charge of monitoring my INR and all things to do with my blood. This is not something that will change - I will be on anticoagulation therapy the rest of my life. They are very nice to deal with - and they are really on top of their game. I had blood drawn last Tuesday about 12:50 - they were on the phone about 2:15 with the results and the changes I needed to make for the week. I normally only get blood drawn every two weeks, but they requested we go weekly for awhile too so that can get a clearer picture of changes, etc.

Maybe I should have got an apartment on the Vanderbilt campus!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Understand Fully Now!

When I started taking metorprolol - I didn't think I was experiencing quite the fatigue the doctor described. But, I was only taking 1/2 pill twice a day. Last Tuesday, he switched me to one pill twice a day - and can I tell a difference.

You know the fatigue that sets in when you've physically exerted yourself, muscles feel a little weak with a little burn to them? I feel like most of the time now. I even get tired chewing - which may be a good thing - I got 10 chicken nuggets yesterday and after 5 was too tired to eat any more.

This is supposed to be normal - and I guess if my heartrate is down to 60 and my blood pressure down to 120/70, then I would feel a little weak after some exertion. But I'm not liking it at all.

FYI - today's INR was 3.5 - so they called to see why it had gone up a little too much. The only explanation is that I've eaten less in the last week because eating makes me tired! Imagine that - so my dose is cut back some.

I did go to physical therapy today to try and work out some problems with my left hip since the fall last fall - two sets of 5 at 20 seconds each - I was ready to go to sleep on the ortho bed!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This Week's Weigh In

After struggling with excess fluid for the whole month, I was afraid of the weigh in on Tuesday. I actually didn't think I'd lost anything else and was figuring I'd put some weight back on. Great news - I didn't gain - I actually lost 8 more pounds!

Definitely not the 30 I'd been looking forward to - but still progress. My doctor was actually relieved, he said I only needed to lose 2-3 lbs per week from now on, anything faster would not be healthy. Still some concern over my kidneys so I had more bloodwork done to be sure we weren't blowing them - so far so good!

So, that's 144 pounds altogether - which is almost 1/4 of my original body weight.

I start physical therapy this Tuesday. I had asked about it because of my lack of stamina and movement after the fall. Since I've managed to get this much weight off - it's a good time to start some kind of program. And, with me moving into Trevecca Towers later this month, they have a workout room and indoor pool. I'd like to get a routine down to use in those facilities that helps me build strength and muscle - I'm already seeing some really flabby skin.

He did increase the metorprolol to 25mg twice a day - my blood pressure was still 143/80 with all that I'm taking, and my heart rate was 80. He wants to get my resting heart rate down to 60 to give it time to fill and rest more. That sure seems slow to me - but then again, I'm not the one with M.D. after my name!

Thanks for all the support and prayers I know friends are sending my way. It helps me tremendously to know that you're rooting for me when the times get tough!

Saturday, April 4, 2009


So I'll have more updates after I see the doctor on Tuesday - but - this week my INR was 3.1! That's just about where they want it to be which is great after more than two months of changing the Coumadin dose every other week. Now, we'll see if I can maintain where I'm at on the dosage I'm on. I was really glad to see it where it's at - it's been so low I wasn't getting any benefit, and so high I was scared of a stroke. It's been as high as 12 - the doctor said at 15 you can begin to seep blood thru your skin and are in danger of a stroke that would be deadly. Pretty scary stuff!

I am hopeful Tuesday's weigh in goes well - I know this - yesterday morning I put on my jacket when I left for work - and for the first time since I've owned it - it would snap around my hips and stomach. It has been at least 10 years since I've had a jacket that would close around that part of my body. I can usually snap the top three or four buttons, but that would be all. That was pretty cool! Of course, the top of the jacket can almost wrapped around me twice because of the size it is, but, I'm making progress.

Other good news - I am looking at an apartment on Tuesday morning at the retirement community I'm moving to - so moving day is coming soon! I'm excited about the opportunity to lessen the stress in my life and hope that leads to more physical rewards in the improvement arena.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Baby Steps

I think that the first month I was starting all the new meds, I made so much progress with the fluid loss that I kinda expected, or at least hoped, it would be the same.

This month hasn't been that way at all and I've really struggled with the fluid. My fluid pill has been doubled again, and that helps. I must learn patience!

I did go to the lab today to get bloodwork AND for the first time, got out of the wheelchair and walked to the van where it was parked. It wasn't that far, we usually park in the same place, but you should have seen Renee's face when she came back from returning the wheelchair and I was getting into the van!

Baby steps - that's what I'm taking right now - but at least I'm stepping.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Heart Healthy Choices

When I went to the grocery store, I was reading labels on everything I bought. For me right now, avoiding sodium is key. Too much sodium causes me to retain fluid which seems to be the worst offender I'm having. My cholesterol is great at 147, tryglicerides (sp?) are 43, so I'm good when it comes to both cholesterol and fat - although - I am not trying to break that bank by gorging on either.

I've talked a lot about the sodium, but there are few choices in anything that is remotely prepared or in packaged food. The other thing I noticed is that the few things Kroger had marked "heart healthy" were on the top shelf and there was only one flavor or option. Most cardiac patients I know are riding in the cart - so you're not going to be able to reach the top shelf unless you've got your cane and can reach up and knock it off (I did that more than once - but it doesn't work with cans or glass jars and bottles) (Also, don't try it on laundry detergent or cokes, beer, etc!)

It's still working to stick with the fresh produce for me. My brother Mike is having some good success with using the Healthy Choice frozen dinners for his lunch, and all kinds of fruit for snacks. I used to do those for lunch at work, maybe I'll check them out this week when I get groceries.

My sister Amy and her husband are having good success with the Paul McKenna diet plan. I haven't researched it all yet - but I will and update. One of the biggest things I know is that you take your time eating, put your fork down between bites, and really learn to listen to your body about when you are full.

I believe that wholeheartedly - like my spill on ordering the small hamburger and a baked potato and being full before it was all gone as opposed to the big double hamburger combo. And, we are all victims of the "there are starving children who'd be glad to clean their plate" society in which we were raised - we don't think food should be wasted so we eat it - mostly when we don't need it. Keeping that in mind has really reduced what I spend at the store - I am not being hungry, but things last longer because one half of a turkey sandwich and an apple fill me up. I don't have to eat the other half plus half a bag of chips - and it's a win/win all around.

Now, don't think I won't eat what I want to - I'm going out with some friends in a couple of weeks for lunch - I hope we go somewhere really good!!

Hope this wasn't too rambly - just things that crossed my mind today. I go to VUMC on Tuesday for bloodwork and see the doctor again on April 7 for a weigh in. My next purchase is going to be a new scale on which to weigh - it will cost me close to $100 but will be a good investment in me and my health.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sunsweet Prunes

An unlikely title - but I wanted to share this tidbit. While grocery shopping last week - and I have a rant about that! - I bought a container of Sunsweet Prunes that are called "Ones". They are pitted and individually wrapped.

They make a great snack - and they are so sweet that they satisfy the craving I get for something sweet about 9:00 or so at night. And, there is an added benefit, prunes are nature's laxative. They work quite well and have no ill side effects, no cramping, etc.

They may seem like a subject that shouldn't be discussed, but, let me say this - once your body has gotten past a certain age, and I think it's worse after you've carried children - you are going to need some help staying regular. It is essential to your overall body health, and particularly for your colon health.

Prunes - well they are a good way to do that. I got Renee to eat one today, she loves plums, but she made the most horrible face! If you try them, maybe cut the first one into three or four bites so you can get used to it - they are a little different. Growing up, my mom fixed prunes occasionally for supper - I think I understand why now - so I was surprised about the taste. They are good - it's just different if you've never eated them. They are dried prunes, like raisins are dried grapes. That should help!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today is a Little Better

Yes - today I think I feel a little better. That could be because I've been home for two days and haven't even walked out the back door - which means I've slept quite a bit. But, for right now, I have a little more energy and will probably do some packing.

I've struggled with a decision about moving for awhile - I have always planned to move into a small apartment somewhere when the kids got grown. Renee is out on her own, Lynn is still here, but he's refusing to even look for a job, which presents another problem.

I did the paperwork to start getting into Trevecca Towers in December. I will go from a 1400+ square foot 3BR, 2 Bath I cannot possibly take care of into a 600 square foot 1 BR, 1 Bath. I'll have a living room/dining combo and a small kitchen, which will be more than sufficient since I cook little.

The only struggle I'm really dealing with is what to do with my son?? We've struggled a lot the last three years, I put him in state custody for about 16 months until he turned 18. He got his GED almost a year ago, in July. He got a job in September, which he quit early November, and has not worked since. I told him over a year ago that when the lease was up here this month, I would be moving. Does he think I'm kidding? Does he think I'll feel so guilty that I'll stay here (which is where I'm teetering) knowing I cannot physically nor financially continue to keep this house.

I've tried telling him that if I dropped dead on the steps, which could happen any day, he'd only have the rest of whatever calendar month we were in to move out. Well, this is my mental struggle today. It's probably a good thing I feel some better so I can deal with this - set my move out date, and continue on.

I truly believe stress can and will affect your physical health in more ways than you will begin to know, until that stress is relieved and you feel it in your bones, the damage it was doing.

Two really great things about Trevecca - they have a work out room - I cannot yet, but I hope to be able to walk on a threadmill soon. The 2nd thing they have I can do, is walk in the pool. They have an indoor pool. I'm really looking forward to this since it will help me with mobility and motion and burning calories.

Monday, March 23, 2009

More Numbers

So, it's been a few days since I posted. I feel awful! The doctor said I would, but I thought he was kidding around. I didn't expect that he was right on target when he said 'really bad'. I suppose the meds are helping, I'll find out more about that on April 7, but I sure don't feel like doing much.

The metoprolol is to slow my heart rate and in doing so, hopefully relieve the pressure within the chambers of my heart, particularly the right side where there is the biggest problem. I'm not sure what the measurement is, I don't think it's like PSI in tires (??), but, I know it's supposed to be a 25 and in my heart it's an 80. A little scary!

This week, my INR was down to 4.3 - still a little high but I'll go two more weeks on 10mg of Coumadin daily and see if it comes down a little more. Ideally, I'll get somewhere between a 2 and 3 and try to keep it there.

I'll say this about the new med - Renee can tell if I've taken it. I get a little loopy - because it zaps all of my energy and all I want to do is sleep. So, I get that exhaused look on my face and my eyes get a little glassy. I don't feel high, just drugged. I did some internet research and it didn't say that it would get better or that you'd get use to it, so, I don't know for sure I will continue taking it.

It also tends to cause you to retain some fluid, which I don't need to do at all, and I can feel that in my legs. It's nothing like it was, but I'll bet it's been close to 20 pounds back on since I started taking it.

I suppose the question becomes - is it really extending my life? AND, for how long? I'd rather have 6 months the way I felt a month ago than a whole year of the way I feel today!

Well, I feel the bed calling - I can get in a nap before Jack Bauer comes on and maybe I'll stay awake long enough to watch it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Shopping Trip is Coming Up

I'm still wearing all my clothes, though most of them are just hanging. And, I'd thought I'd wait a little longer to go shopping. BUT, after today, maybe I'll just go on and buy a couple of things!

Renee had gotten some new shirts a couple of weeks ago - just too cute - at the Avenue! I've not bought clothes there in almost 10 years. So, today she is here doing her laundry and just for fun, I tried one of her new shirts on - it fit perfectly!

That felt great!

Living Wills

This morning as I got my AM meds together, a thought came to me. I need to be sure that I have a living will on file at the hospital. My sister, Amy, and my daughter, Renee, both know full well what my thoughts on this are, BUT, they would still be powerless if I don't get the proper documentation completed.

A lot of folks do not like to talk about death, or even think about it. I have a friend who totally refuses to discuss it at all. It's not something my family has a problem with, but, my dad was a heart patient from age 43, as most of his family, so maybe we are just a little jaded. I prefer to think of it as practical. Besides taxes, it's the only thing we can be sure of, right?

For myself, it's more like making sure that I am taking care of my business and making my own decisions, as much as I can. I do not want extreme heroic measures taken. I have survived two head on collisions, one of those inflicting great harm, but I was younger. As I near 50 and know that inevitably, there will be a major heart episode, I don't want to be on a respirator or feeding tube. And, while a transplant might become an option, I will not be pursuing that. I do believe in transplants and signed my donor card years ago, it just won't be something I choose for myself in the future.

Oh, don't think I'm giving up, far from it. I'll take my meds, stay on my diet, get as healthy as I can and want to live as long as possible, but when the time comes that my ticker has had it, I'm okay with that too and don't want to extend life with non-existent quality. As of right now, I have no reason to think I can't or won't live another 20 years, modern medicine is really something, and I have not suffered any heart damage, (i.e. dead tissue or coronary artery disease) at this point. I am extremely grateful for these facts.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Acknowledge and Admit

I have to say something here - I've been meaning to do this since the day I started this blog.

Never, I mean NEVER!! in my whole life have I admitted how much I weighed, to anyone. My doctor and the nurse who weighed me knew, the lady at Weight Watcher's knew (yeah, I tried that several times, and it does work, I just didn't stay committed).

I never admitted to my mom, my sister (who would have been the only person I'd told if I was telling), my kids, my husband, no one!

I remember what I weighed on certain days - 208 pounds the day I graduated from high school. (By today's standards, I'd be one of the sexiest girls in school with my hips!) I weighed 280 pounds when I met my husband, 340 when he married me. I weighed 343 pounds when I found out I was pregnant with Renee, 338 pounds the day before she was born. I weighed 335 pounds the day I found out I was pregnant with Lynn and 342 the day before he was born. On May 26, 1999 when I was in a terrible car wreck, I weighed 424 pounds. AND at that weight, I worked full time for the YMCA running Fun Company and summer camps, had 2 kids and 1 husband who drove a truck, had an 11 room house, active in church, family and community.

I rarely got in bed before 11 pm and was up again by 4AM to get Ronnie out the door and open my school by 6:30 am. When I got to Stallworth Rehab and they asked me about my daily schedule, they even suggested I was exhausted and had fallen asleep at the wheel!!

My point is that my weight had never really kept me down, I thought. But, it did. It kept me from enjoying everything to the fullest. In the latter years, I didn't go as much as I used to - I didn't ride anything at amusement parks - I've walked thru Mammoth Cave a few times but couldn't begin to consider it now - and I love the beach but me at this weight and loose sand are a very bad combination. (I don't like water - just the beach looking at the water!)

So, part of my own journey and rehab of my thought processes is to openly admit exactly where I am. If I can't acknowledge and admit just how serious the problem is, how can I ever tackle and overcome the full challenge of what lies ahead of me? And, you know what - with admittance comes liberation. Sure, it's a number, a high number, but it's also a temporary number. Something that will change, is changing, and not something I hide from any longer.

To say that 2 months ago I weighed 601 pounds is a major confession by anyone's standards. In doing that, I am liberated from those chains of secrecy and can openly share, give and receive, encouragement, hope, understanding, and accolades. It's one of the best things I've ever done for myself!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Falling Down

I usually watch the Biggest Loser on Tuesday nights. Actually, I guess starting to watch that show last fall began the inspiration for me to do something about my weight.

Last night, the Black team won a 24 hour pampering session. They got massages, pedicures, etc. and they got to go out and eat somewhere that looked pretty fancy. They had drinks, huge shrimp cocktails, and lots of food. In fact, the 5 of them ate 15,000 calories BEFORE they went to the bar and drank.

Anyway, most of their weight loss for the week showed it - the buys lost but the girls didn't do so well.

And Jillian hit the roof! She yelled and cussed at them because on their first trek outside into the real world, they didn't use their brains to think about what they were eating. While it was a special outing, it makes sense.

I have fallen more than once on this journey, and I expect to fall again. There are some things I love dearly, and I'm still learning to eat them in moderation or alter what I eat to still enjoy them. Mexican food is my favorite - a couple of weeks ago, I had the beef chimichanga from Las Palmas with chips and hot cheese - it was so so good. I ate 1/2 of the order and ate the rest the next day for lunch - so that was some improvement. But, there is room for more.

My whole point is, you just get back up and keep going! We have to do that in every aspect of our life, on the job, in your personal relationships, and with the eating. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on - the failure comes when you don't!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Let's Talk Numbers

Thought I'd share some of my numbers from where I've started - some of these are already on this blog site somewhere!

Beginning weight - 601 (2/3/09)
Last weight - 465 (3/3/09)
Height - 66 inches
Total Cholesterol - 147
Triglycerides - 43
LDL - 53
HDL - 84
Hematocrit - 38
Blood pressure - 140/94
INR - 5.4

Now, for my weight the fact that my cholesterol and triglycerides are so good was unbelieveable. My blood count I included because I have sometimes dealt with anemia, but not right now.

Every two weeks - go to the lab for bloodwork.
Every four weeks - go to the doctor's office for a visit.

My meds right now are constantly being adjusted - which will happen until the numbers fall in line and stay stable - but as long as my weight continues to change. so will the meds.

Lasix - 40 mg per day
Lisinopril - 40 mg per day
Metroprolol - 25 mg per day
Prozac - 20 mg per day
Warfarin - 10 mg per day
There's another little pill I take - for my stomach - to prevent ulcers since I'm on so much blood thinner, etc. - I can't remember it's name.

I have to keep this list handy as it changes often. I also take a good senior multi vitamin each day with an additional B-12, C, and E. My nightstand looks like a pharmacy counter!!

Some really good numbers - 7 days a week I feel like getting up now! And, I can walk the 50 or so steps from my van all the way to my desk at work without stopping to rest! I can lift my leg up the 14 inches to get into the van without problems, I can climb the 7 steps to the deck and walk across the deck into the house without stopping to catch my breath. I am only sleeping about 9 hours per night now, instead of the 12 I used to, and I stay up all day now, no resting spells (except for when it was rainy and I just was being lazy - it wasn't because I couldn't do anything else).

Lots of numbers to keep up with! We shall see on April 7 if that weight number can't come down a little more! I have a goal - I'd like to lose 30 more pounds by then.

Super Obesity

Sunday night I watched The Learning Channel (TLC). I really like this station and their programming. On this night, there were back to back shows about people who were called "Super Obese". That means they weighed more than 500 pounds. I was surprised to learn that in American 15 million people are considered Obese, and over 1 million of those considered "Super Obese".

The three persons who were documented in the segments was a 30 year old woman who weighed more than 900 pounds, a 19 year old man who weighed 800 and a man around 40 who weighed 1048 pounds. I watched with a range of emotions from horror to sadness. Each of these persons had family, the two who were older had children. And, it was sad to see the shape they were in.

During the segments, each of them were removed from their home, which included removing walls, etc. They were taken to Renaissance Hospital in Houston, TX. This hospital has an entire wing dedicated to helping obese patients and the same doctor was involved with these three patients. They've got bigger beds, wider doorways, had altered operating tables, etc. so that they could accomodate patients of these sizes.

All three were going to have the gastric bypass surgery, but so much was involved prior to that being able to happen. The man who weighed over 1000 lbs had surgery on both legs to remove huge fatty tumors. After 5 months he was able to stand up - for the first time in 3-4 years - he had lost about 400 lbs before his surgery was ever scheduled. The teenager was doing ok - he had still been able to get up and walk - but he was an only child and very spoiled, so he didn't do so good if mom was around. The young mother lost a couple of hundred pounds, had the surgery which was successful, and was improving greatly when she suffered a massive heart attack and died.

Throughout the whole time I spent watching these episodes, I kept saying to myself, "Thank you God that I did't get to this point" and "Thank you God for letting me see the light before this is what I faced".

Some interesting points made during the shows:

1 - since two of these folks were bedfast for years, they had an 'enabler' in their life who actually brought them the massive amounts of food they ate. I'm sure for those persons, who were family members, it was out of love and pity. (The teenager did too - mom brought meals and snacks to him directly)

2 - the availability of cheap and fast food (drive thru windows) was directly related to all of these three's weight problems.

3 - once a person's weight goes over the 500 pound mark, it is not just what they consume, but metabolic problems, lack of movement, etc. that actually contribute to the problem becoming so much worse.

I was impressed with the persons who were in support positions, the firefighters and EMT's that moved the patients, and the PT's and nursing staff who were so caring and kind to the patients, especially during the difficult times of trying to move them. As a person who once had casts on both legs and had to be moved about by others, I know it does not make you feel very much like a human and the extraordinary kindness of the folks helping you really does make a difference.

I'm not sure what all of this means to me right now, but, each day I am looking at my life and how it is improving, and, it is beyond my control that I will want to take what I'm learning and spread it to everyone I can - that's just who I am.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Grocery Shopping

Now that I have a plan and a goal, grocery shopping has certainly changed.

I've always started out with making something of a menu. I didn't have to have specifics per day - but I would write down 10-12 supper meals I planned to cook and make my grocery list from that. Then, the list of suppers was put on the fridge so I could mark thru them as I had prepared them. It helps keep me on some kind of plan, and especially when shopping. If I were to go into the store with no list at all, I would spend way too much money and not have anything to eat when I got home, or at least to make a good meal with.

I think 60-70% of what I'm buying now is out of the produce department. You can't go wrong with fresh produce and fruit, and you have complete control of how much sodium gets added.

Also, when I get home, I go ahead and prep everything. I wash the produce and repackage it all in ziploc bags or glad containers with tops. I'll use a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. This works good with fresh herbs too, something new for me. I go ahead and slice my cucumbers - they are all gone long before they'll begin to go bad. Leave the fruit whole, it will keep better. And, I don't refrigerate my grape tomatoes - they are washed in their container, let drain dry, and set on the counter. A good quick snack for me - 3 or 4 of those - so I don't snack too much when I'm cooking or on the wrong things.

I'm not buying much meat - I get turkey bacon but one pound will last 3-4 weeks. A small package of ground chuck, browned, rinsed and drained and put in freezer for spagetti or chili later. We love chicken, so boneless skinless chicken breasts are always on the list. And fish - I've always got tuna in cans and pouches and canned salmon.

This week had an interesting article on particular foods to eat for certain organ health. For brain and heart health, they recommended garden salads with canned salmon. For heart function, grape juice. Grape juice can be a little tart, I tend to water my down a little. Or try this - buy the crangrape - cranberries are great for your urinary tract. If it's still a little tart, add one package of the artificial sweetener you use, (I prefer Sweet-n-Low, I'll explain later), and drink it iced. It's tastes great and is quite refreshing! Pour it over crushed ice in your favorite margarita class and head to the deck one afternoon!

I do buy deli cold cuts, usually just oven roasted turkey or roast beef, for when I crave a sandwich. I buy all 100% whole grain breads and pastas now. I still put a small amount of mayo on my sandwiches and I may eat multi-grain Tostitos or Baked Lays - depends - but I can actually skip those now and choose a thinly sliced Granny Smith apple to accompany my sandwich. The crunch will make you think you're eating chips, but, look at the calories and sodium saved!

The things I don't even bring home anymore are regular chips, cold drinks, anything sweet like cookies, etc., canned veggies (unless they are no salt added), very little cheese, quick prep stuff like Hot Pockets, frozen pizzas, etc. I pretty much avoid the boxed dinners like Hamburger Helper. I do buy Rice-a-Roni and turn it into a casserole with chicken and veggies.

I'm going to be adding some recipes that I've tweaked to work for me - hope you try them!

Also, I have switched to a whole grain cereal and soy milk. I have a problem even with skim milk, but the Silk brand in light vanilla is pretty good, especially with cereal which is the only milk I injest. And, I buy real butter that is unsalted. I use it sparingly but find it tastes better and is less of a problem that margarine. Don't forget the olive oil, and I buy a salad dressing that I like, again, because I will use it sparingly.

Allow time to read the labels, Mike and his wife are really doing this too, so we are able to share ideas with each other, especially on altering a recipe or coming up with something new. That has made this chore, which could have become overwhelming, somewhat of an adventure. What can I come up with that is good and healthy at the same time??? It's not as hard as you'd think.

Friday, March 6, 2009

You're Not Going to Believe This!

I'm way behind, again! That's not the unbelievable part though.

I had an appointment with my doctor on Tuesday. I always have to get a wheelchair and go to his office since it is still too far for me to walk, but I had planned to get out of the chair and weigh to get the best possible number!

I noticed Lynn was pushing me like really fast and I asked him, "does this chair roll better or am I lighter?" to which he answered "I think both".

But, are you sitting down? When I got on the scale and the number came up, my mouth dropped open and I asked the nurse "Is that a real number?". The woo-hoo's started from her - and the receptionist came running to tell me she knew I didn't look like the same person. It was all so exciting, I felt faint!

Wait, I didn't tell you yet! The number was 465!!! Yes, I weigh 465 pounds, which was 136 pounds lighter than exactly four 4, yes count them, 4, weeks before. Unbelievable!!

I knew I felt so much better and could move so much better. And that my clothes are hanging on me.

Most of that I'm sure was the excess fluid which was drowning me from the inside out, but I have made dramatic changes in my diet and eating habits.

My doctor was pleased, very! He also added another new medicine to me, a Beta blocker to slow my heartbeat so that it may squeeze more blood out on the pump side, and rest more on the relax side. I will start it tonight - he said I will not feel good for a couple of days until I get used to it, so I figure the weekend is a good time to start taking it.

I see him again in exactly 5 weeks - my personal goal is to lose 30 pounds by then. I will definitely be below the 400 pound mark by my birthday on June 1.

FYI - this is the lightest I have been in 7 years - I weighed 498 pounds when I left Ronnie in 2002. And, I have to buy some new clothes - starting with a couple of good bras!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Really Cool Dessert

My brother Mike and I are both struggling with some health issues and trying to really cut back the amount of sodium in our diets. Easier said that done, but, as it's becoming a habit I think it is getting easier.

He told me about this recipe he's fixed up - great for those of us who have a sweet tooth too.

He takes a can of pineapple (in it's own juice) and chills in the fridge. Cut up a banana into the pineapple and toss in a handful of unsalted roasted peanuts. It's delicious!! I added whipped cream to the top of mine! Very little sodium and very very tasty!

Since we are both on huge doses of diuretics, loss of potassium can become a problem and cause leg cramps. Right now, I eat one banana and one orange each day. Besides adding natural potassium, they serve as a healthy low calorie snack and satisfy my sweet tooth. Some other high potassium foods are lima beans and sweet potatoes. Haddock is an excellent source of potassium.

All of the dark green leafy veggies are - BUT - if you're on anticoagulant therapy as I am, you have to be careful. You can have them, BUT, try to keep the frequency the same. I eat broccoli a couple of times a week, but if I were to eat it four or five times, I'd need to tell the coumadin lab since it would throw off my INR.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


The week has gone by pretty good. I've done pretty good on eating. Still taking the fluid pill, which has made a tremendous difference. I have feet! I mean really knobby feet with bones that can be felt. I've even noticed that the little bone which sticks out on the side of your ankle actually hurts because the bone itself is resting on the bed - not a fluid pillow like usual.

Tuesday will tell the tale.

Something to think about - almost all drive thrus have a side salad as an option to fries now. BUT, what I've discovered is that they are all iceberg lettuce with either a small tomato wedge or a couple of grape tomatoes. Iceberg has no nutritional value at all, and from a fast food restaurant, the produce has been chemically treated to keep it from changing colors. Neither of these are acceptable options if you're watching what you eat.

I did notice that Captain D's has romaine lettuce in their side salad. AND, they must not be treated because I didn't get stomach cramps after eating them, and the extra one in the fridge went bad the next day. So, they may be a better choice.

What I've discovered is that by buying romaine, cucumbers, baby carrots and grape tomatoes, washing everything when I get home, chopping the lettuce and cucs into ziplocs - I can put a salad together in about 2 minutes that is far better for me. If I make it easier for me at home, I'll put the food together instead of opting for the ease of the drive thru.

Have you ever noticed that the rise in obesity in this country is directly related to the rise in which fast food and drive thru windows became available? We call it 'death in a paper bag'! Think about it!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Labels, Labels, Labels

Reading the labels may be the very best way to take control of what you eat. Assuming something is healthier because of a few key words may be the biggest mistake you ever make in food choices.


I love frozen waffles. Pop a couple in the toaster and I'm good. I don't even use syrup - they are usually somewhat sweet and I don't like the mess of syrup. Last week I picked up a box of frozen waffles in the multi-grain flavor. I assumed they would have whole grains which had to be good for me. What I didn't realize is that 2 waffles had 460 mg of sodium!!! Now, if you are on sodium restricted diet that is 1/4 of your daily allowance! I don't want to give up that much sodium for that breakfast - not when I could have an egg, turkey bacon and a piece of toast for less!

SO, I decided to check out the label on the box of Velveeta shells and cheese we had that was made with 2% milk, marketed as low fat! One cup - 980 mg of sodium! No way am I wasting 1/2 of my daily allowance on 1 cup of mac and cheese.

So beware - things marketed as low fat, no fat, etc. have to be making up for taste somewhere and it's either going to be in sugar or sodium. Know what YOUR primary dietary needs are and cater to them, but read the labels on EVERYTHING!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


This website has a lot of great information about heart disease, all the different types, meds, food options- a list of foods to eat for heart health - it's a wealth of information . I highly recommend checking it out.

I went over to the Biggest Loser site and thought I would sign up - but I was disturbed to see that it is not free. One month is $19.98 and you can get three months for $55.00. It's not worth it to me. I do enjoy the show, but, I can't see paying.

Weight Watchers has a good site - lots of tips, recipes, etc.

I also went to Amazon and Borders and searching for heart healthy cookbooks. There are a great number of options - I'm ordering one that is heart healthy recipes for two - I figure since I'm about to be living alone that will work for me.

BUT - you do not have to change everything you cook - just the ways you fix some things. Tweaking your own recipes can be a lot of fun and a good way to keep your favorites in your meal plan, just making them more heart healthy.

Big Tip: Don't use self rising flour or cornmeal. Start with the plain, add the baking soda or powder as directed and either none of only 1/2 of the salt. The self rising style has a truckload of salt in it - so you will save tremendous sodium from your body by this one simple step.

My own update today: I have ankles! For the first time in a while I could actually touch my toes today and there was space between them to move around - the top of my foot did not look like a big spaceship bubble and I could feel the bones or metal plates! It was much easier to stand up this morning too!! YEAH!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Eating Plan

When I left the doctor's office on February 3rd, I was disturbed, highly disturbed. What have I done to myself?

I know exactly what I've done, I've eat whatever, whenever, without any regard to what it was or how it might be affecting me. And, I've justified that I wasn't doing too bad with some said excuses that I don't smoke, don't drink, don't use drugs, etc. But, my habits have been atrocious and now the piper is here to be paid!

I know what to do - and how to do it. The chore is to make myself do the right thing and do it everyday without excuses.

So, when I got groceries this week - this was my shopping list:

Total Raisin Bran
Skim Milk
Green Onions
Roast Beef
Whole Grain Bread
Whole Grain Eggos
Whole Grain Tostitos
Mac & Cheese

Not too much of a list - but I had boneless skinless chicken breast in the freezer. I'd planned cereal or waffles for breakfast, with fruit or fruit as a snack, a sandwich with chips and salsa for lunch, chicken and salad for supper with the mac and cheese primarily for the kids, but that I would have a small serving.

It hasn't been bad - I've actually stayed with the plan about 8 days. This weekend I'll have to get groceries again. I have avoided fast food except for one meal. I did have a chicken plate from Habib's - rice, grilled chicken and a greek salad with a pita - a major fat free healthy meal.

I've had three cups of coffee this week and one diet coke!! Otherwise, I've drank water.

And I've pee'd my brains out! I can tell a great big difference already in just how I move, etc. I go back to see the doctor on March 3. I will weigh that day and update my progress. In the meantime, I will share some heart healthy eating tips I'm finding and other encouragement for anybody out there facing a similar fate.

Take control! You can do it!!

The Results

Yesterday before 11 AM the doctor's office was on the phone to me. The first conversation was with the office person - to double my blood pressure and diuretic and triple my Coumadin!

The second call was to be give them the correct pharmacy number to call in new prescriptions, since I would need refills way faster than the insurance was going to cover.

The third call was to confirm everything regarding the prescriptions, the fourth call was the doctor!

He was careful with how he began speaking, but when I didn't wig out on him, he relaxed and we had a great conversation.

My heart is enlarged - and in that muscle being extended past regular size, the valves cannot function like they should, therefore the leakage. There are two valves leaking, not enough to cause great concern at this point, but definiately something to monitor. There is also tremendous pressure within my lungs - pulmonary hypertension. That he thinks is primarily attibutable to the tremendous amount of fluid build up in my body.

Now, most people in heart failure have a problem where their heart does not squeeze properly. My heart squeezes fine, it's the relaxing beat that I'm not doing properly. He also said that for the folks who need help pumping, there are 4-5 medicines they can prescribe. But, for the folks whose heart don't relax, they don't know a lot or have many options.

The best options for me right now are to continue to try and get the fluid off, rest as much as I want or need to, and try to lose as much other weight as possible.

I did ask if there was any evidence that I'd had a heart attack and while the echogram is not definitive, there is no evidence that I have any dead heart tissue, which is a good sign!

More on my new way of trying to eat next post!

Weight Gain and the Echogram

From the time I first saw the doctor in October - about two weeks after the class reunion pictures I've posted to this blog - when I was at 550 lbs - I had gained 50 pounds in 4 months!!

I'm sure my eating habits were deplorable during this time, but I didn't do a lot of cooking thru the holidays! This year, I didn't make one single sweet thing except a batch of Lynn's cookies - and I didn't eat but one of those! No cakes, no peanut butter balls, no chess squares, nothing!

The obviously unbelievable weight gain prompted the doctor to order the echogram. I was scared to go for that test because I didn't know what to expect. Tuesday morning I woke up at 3:00 AM and never did go back to sleep. Renee was taking me, so we left here about 7 AM for my 7:30 appointment.

The tech who did the testing was really nice and tried not to make my fear any worse. The worst part of it all was getting this body up on the table and in position. I haven't laid down to sleep for a couple of years now, for the test I had to lay on my left side. But, she had a pillow for my head and I was actually not uncomfortable. It took about 30 minutes to do the test.

I tried looking at the screen - now I don't know too much - but when she said she was looking at the valves, I could tell the bright colors which indicate blood were not all where they should have been. And, when she said she was listening to the blood flow thru the valves, I could hear the little 'whoosh' you don't want to hear. At that point, I quit watching and just lay there.

The good part was she said she was getting some really great pictures!

Ground Zero

I decided, after two pretty intense weeks of medical intervention, etc., to blog about my pathway to a healthier life which actually began February 3.

On that date I had an appointment with my new primary care provider. It was the second time I'd seen him, since I'd cancelled two or three appointments. BUT, I felt so damn bad there was just no choice but to go. Either go see him or go to the ER, which I had contemplated several times over the last two weeks prior to the visit. Or, maybe end up at the funeral home, which I thought might be a real possibility if something didn't change.

I could tell I was chug full of fluid, my legs were so tight they looked like they might burst, and my thighs had several places where fluid just leaked out. My joints were so stiff I could hardly move and breathing was a chore. All I wanted to do was sit in bed!

So, no holding back. I told him everything, how I felt, how bad it hurt to try to move, how I couldn't breathe, how tired I was. He changed some of my meds, put me back on a blood pressure medicine, changed my fluid pill, and ordered an echogram of my heart to see "if there was anything going on there we needed to know about".

The worst part of the visit was getting weighed. Not an easy task because I was in a wheelchair that I could barely get in and out of so they rolled me upon to the portable scale. According to it, and allowing for the wheelchair, my weight was an unbelievable 601 pounds!

I must say that the tears came at that point, not a sob, not a wail, but tears, lots of them, just streaming. How in God's name have I let myself get to this point? How does a woman who is not stupid by any means, who gives and gives to others, helps everyone she can, works hard and trys to be a good person, how does this person let herself go to reach this unbelievable point of self destruction?

And, the epiphany came on the heels of that. I've taken care of everybody else for so long, it didn't start with my husband, it was many years before that that I'd shouldered more responsibility than I should have. Now, my parents are gone, God rest their souls. I'm no longer married and my kids are grown. It is time for Lisa to put Lisa first and not feel anything but good about it.

My journey to a healthier life began with that realization, it really is okay to put yourself first!