Week 8–Part 1–There’s the Truth and Then There’s the Lie About the Truth

Super late last night I had the idea to sit down and write out my expectations for the week.  I did not do that.

Why?

It's not hard to put the pen to the paper but picking up that pen will get you every time.

It’s not hard to put the pen to the paper but picking up that pen will get you every time.

It was super, super–like midnight–late and one of my expectations for myself was to not fall into the habit of staying up excessively late.

“I’ll do it in the morning,” I thought as I shuffled off to bed.

Morning included snow and a mile of honey-dos which morphed into every resume template I tried using to whip up a quick resume being impossible to format.  Before I knew it, it was nearly 2:30 p.m.

I could have felt like a failure, like I’d already blown it and since no one knew of my plan to declare my intentions for the week I would be spared saying I blew it.

But did I really blow it?

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the human mind decides it is a failure but how difficult it is to convince the same mind success is just around the corner.

So did I blow it?  Really?

No.

I got busy.

Busy is the truth.

Failure is the lie.

The truth also is the week is nothing close to over.  It is late Monday afternoon for heaven’s sakes.

I still have time to tell you I am going to kick some serious boo-tay this week so here I am.

I had grand plans to walk every day and then it snowed when the forecast did not indicate snow.

Did I blow that goal too?

Nope.  It snowed.  I won’t put myself in a situation where I could fall no matter what the goal is so I wisely stayed inside.  It happens.

I decided I also needed to get up in the morning, take a shower, and get ready as if I were headed to work.  I am still in my pajamas.

Failure Fit ItDid I fail?

Sorta.  But, it snowed and I wanted to stay in my jammies.  I’m cool with that.

Then I wanted to focus on lean proteins and lots and lots of low glycemic index veggies to give my metabolism a good start.  I haven’t had a single veggie because I was too lazy to deal with them.

Oh wait, now that, that right there looks a lot like a failure so I have to own it.

However I also find it somewhat amusing.  If I were headed to work today, I would have filled my lunch bag with celery sticks, carrot ‘chips’ (fresh carrots cut like wavy chips), and maybe even some mini red, yellow, and orange peppers and I can say that confidently because I have a whole crisper bin filled with those exact veggies waiting for my lunch bag that is no longer leaving the house.

Left to my own devices I cut up a leftover piece of chicken breast and called it good enough.

Is it good enough?

No.

There is definitely some work to do.  If I am willing to dirty the canning jar to transport it to work then why in the name of beta carotene wouldn’t I dump some lovely carrot chips on a plate and eat them.  I do not have a good answer. And, it worries me.

Look more work to do.

In 18 days at exactly this time, I while be floating toward PuertoVallarta and if I sit around here not eating my veggies, not showering or exercising other self-care rituals; and especially if I am just sitting around my vacation is going to suck.

Petyon Manning the only number 18 more awesome than going on a cruise in 18 days :)

Petyon Manning the only number 18 more awesome than going on a cruise in 18 days 🙂

Do I want a sucky vacation?

Of course not.

And that is why I am here right now.

I know how easy it would be to slip into a whole pile of bad habits right now.  Bad habits are not good.

They are not good for fibro.

They’re not good for weight loss.

They are not good for vacation prepping.

The truth is I need to be nice to fibro.

I need to do good things for my body so she will lose weight.

I need to move so I have the best vacation possible.

But the real reason why I am here right now is I decided this whole year of accountability is me breaking down what I really want from the lies I am telling myself about why I cannot have it.

It does not matter that it is 5:30 p.m. on Monday.  What matters is when faced with the chance to lie by omission to you and lie by commission to myself, I am telling you I am going to kick some serious boo-tay this week…one day at a time…no, one hour at a time…no, one decision at a time…I am going to build myself up rather than tear myself down.

Accountability.

WERK

Week 7–U-Turn

Sometimes even when you do your best you get a little ways down the road and realize it is time to turn around and go back to that narrow spot on the road when you started rationalizing and bargaining with yourself.  This was one of those weeks.

I am going to let you in on a little secret.  Okay, it’s not really a secret.  I just did not announce it to the world so for some of you loyal readers this will come as a surprise.

Several months ago, I went back to work part-time as the personal assistant for an insurance agent.  What I did not know at the time was the extent of my boss’ personal issues.  He is a good man.  He has issues.  Out of respect for him, I will not elaborate further except to say somewhere around Thanksgiving-ish I realized the exposure to his issues was detrimental to my health.

I stayed because I love my husband who was still recovering from surgery.  At that point I also did not know if my boss’ blow up was just a run of the mill bad day or if it was part of a pattern of negative behavior.  It took some time but it was absolutely clear it was a pattern.  Not only was it a pattern but it was a pattern I recognize from my own pre-fibro life.  I has taken me hours and hours of therapy to work though the majority of my own triggering issues.  What I was not really prepared for is how much being exposed to that behavior would cause me to struggle physically and emotionally.  Well, DUH, I am a human sponge.

Perfection is never required.  It is OKAY to change your mind.  It is OKAY to say, "This just isn't working so I need to do something new."

Perfection is never required. It is OKAY to change your mind. It is OKAY to say, “This just isn’t working so I need to do something new.”

So, I quit…after weeks and weeks of agonizing.

I quit 21 days BEFORE our cruise.

I quit when my husband is STILL looking for a job (Yeah, if you knew he had one you might not know what a giant disaster that was).

Am I questioning the U-Turn?

Umm, yeah.

Do I think I made a mistake?

“No,” she whispers timidly.

Am I worried about how we’ll pay rent, eat, and oh yeah go to Mexico?

WARNING WARNING MAJOR FREAK OUT ALERT

So what’s my deal?  If I know I did the right thing, why am I freaking out?

I just want to know NOW that everything is going to be okay.

There is no part of me who believes I was wrong to quit especially considering the adverse affect to my health.  The timing, however, is more than cause for concern.  Yet, when I woke up Saturday morning at 4:50 a.m. to the smell of fresh, brewing coffee happy to be alive–something I had not done in months and months–I was sure I made the right decision.

The truth is my heart was breaking for my boss.  It is so easy to learn to not be quite so angry.  I learned it and I also learned I needed to move away from him.

The truth is my heart was breaking for my boss. It is so easy to learn to not be quite so angry. I learned it and I also learned I needed to move away from him.

Now, to just get my brain to shut up.

I even questioned whether I should tell this story simply because I did not want the dark corners of my brain to see the light of day…err computer screen…but I also could not explain this week without sharing this part of my life.

I am a worrier.  I am a churner.  Okay, I obsess about shit like this…until I am completely nutso…so talking about it is either going to be a great thing or a spectacular disaster.

Sometimes you just have to roll the dice and take a chance.

So here it is Sunday afternoon and I am…

Humm….

What am I?

I am hopeful.

Hopeful is where my heart really is.  My mind is off in left field blowing up and as long as it stays busy I guess that is not entirely a bad thing.

What has this done to the scale?  I am up two pounds.

Considering I dove head first into not one but two grab bags of Fritos once out of stress–I’m a crunchy muncher–and once out of it being honestly the best option available at the pitiful gas station we stopped at. HELLO LADY, you know better.

Considering my week, it really could have been worse.  Considering I walked A LOT this week I probably saved myself from any ‘real’ gain.

Considering as of this moment I am not sure where the gas money to even drive to the cruise ship is going to come from, I am really proud of myself it was only two bags of chips.

Whew!  THANKS indeed!

Whew! THANKS indeed!

Considering my hubs and I are cleaning house and in an old box filled from around this time four years ago he found the two Wal-Mart gift cards we received as wedding gifts (our anniversary is on Wednesday), I AM HOPEFUL.  They will put some groceries in the house while freeing up the cash we have to pay bills.

Whew.

Just breathe honey it is going to be alright.

Here’s my absolute BEST ADVICE: If you just know things are not going the way they should IT IS OKAY TO MAKE A U-TURN!!!!   As you turn back around, you see things you missed the first time down the road.  Life or weight loss change is part of the game.  Get used to it!  Oh and EXPECT MIRACLES!

Week Six–Seven Walks, Seven Days

My big goal for the week was to do seven walks in seven days.

Why?

Well, the truth is I do not want to be a pained up mess in Mexico and I have fibromyalgia.

Not following?

Okay.  Let me explain.  Your fibro body (or your otherwise chronic body because this does apply to all manner of chronic illness) cannot go from whatever your normal routine is to a vacation routine without a horrible crash into a wall of pain.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

It’s like being in a car accident.  I have been in a couple of accidents in my life and it is the closest sensation I can come up with to help you understand what is going on in your body.  The trauma of going from your home to any vacation locale is the same as being in a moderate speed crash.

That is what fibromyalgia is and that is what it does.

Too many fibros think this means there’s no vacation, no joy left in life.

And I’m saying you are absolutely wrong…IF…you’re willing to work for a better result.

It is said Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.  Therefore it is insane for any person with fibromyalgia to go from her or his normal life to a vacation without significant preparations.

It’s not fibro’s fault you were miserable on your vacation.  It’s yours.  And yes, I know I take a huge risk saying that to you.  But, it is also one of the tough-love truths of fibromyalgia.

You cannot bounce from your normal to anything else without pain.  Hello, this is fibro!  So stop trying.

No, I’m not saying stop trying to go have fun because I’m all about THRIVING with fibro and you should know that.

Found on Pinterest, used without permission.

Found on Pinterest, used without permission.

What I am insisting is that you learn to prepare your body, your fibromyalgia to have a pleasant experience.  Does pleasant mean pain-free?  No.  Pleasant means not so thoroughly miserable you cannot have a good time WITH fibromyalgia.

So seven walks in seven days is part of my months-long preparation for vacation.

How did I do?

It was ROUGH!

Monday I needed to go shopping for clothes and since I went to the mall, a thrift store, and a big box store plus grocery shopping at the big box I counted it.  I found some cute clothes and the memory of just how physical and emotional the dressing room is.  It didn’t help that the mall department store dressing room was equipped with a 360 mirror.  The mental work!  Oy!

Tuesday’s walk was at a new place with a steep grade I did not know about.  I probably should have turned away.  In fact, it was my first instinct.  However as I stood there contemplating I realized that no matter how well I think I am preparing for Mexico there is going to come a moment when I am going to be faced with a situation I think my body cannot handle.  I may even be in a situation where I cannot turn back.  So.  I.  Walked.  Down and then back up that steep grade.  And.  I’ve.  Been.  Paying. For. It.  All.  Week.  However, if it would happen in Mexico and I intend on having a decent time I do need to recreate as much of what I think I’ll experience there in my here and now on the chance that maybe my body will not see my south of the border experience as such a threat.

Yeah, that's my ANKLE!!!

Yeah, that’s my ANKLE!!!

Wednesday.  Holy crap…where did I walk on Wednesday?  I know I did but for the life of me it’s blank.  Which by the way is very typical because Thursday was an exercise in pain.  When I have a huge pain event, I lose memory or have a hard time stitching the day or so before, the day or days of the flare, and the day or so after the flare together.  Right now, I would say I didn’t have a Wednesday but that’s slightly impossible, right?  I actually had to go look at my Fibromyalgia Five Minute Fitness Challenge Facebook page to remember….oh yeah massive ankle edema cancelled all of my plans.

Thursday the ‘general malaise’ of fibro set joined the pain.  I was queasy, weak, and dizzy…and amazingly thankful I was here at home feeling it instead of being in another world and feeling it.  I prayed a lot asking for today’s pain and general unwellness to be temporary and something I will handle well aboard the ship.  Sometimes praying is all you can do.

Friday I still felt woozy but my pain levels jumped down a couple of pegs so of course I went for a walk.  I finally made it to the nature center.  It was worth the wait!  Ducks, bees, and glorious signs of spring.  I finally remembered to turn on my walking app so I know I went just over half a mile and it worried me that it felt like more.  I took a deep breath and reminded myself it always feels like more.

Saturday my hubs and I planned to go bald eagle watching but the viewing station eluded us.  We were near Parowan Gap, a beautiful ancient site full of petroglyphs, so since I’d never been we walked the 1/8th or so mile path up one side and down the other.  It was amazing!  A mile or so down the road a sign said, “Dinosaur Tracks” and I couldn’t dive off the highway fast enough.  Out me and my camera went for more sights.  The site is entirely unimproved so I wasn’t sure what I supposed to be looking for but I managed to find some evidence of the beasts anyway.  I snapped exactly 67 pictures…and quite possibly my ribs and spine, or at least it feels that way this morning.

I actually put my hand in the center of this one.  I felt the energy.  I felt was the right magic for this week.

I actually put my hand in the center of this one. I felt the energy. I felt was the right magic for this week.

Here I am at day seven.  I have completed five walks, had a bout of massive edema that worried me enough I almost went to instacare, survived the ‘fibro flu,’ and felt the sunshine and fresh air on my shoulders while I dreamed of experiencing the sun in Mexico.

“I wonder if the sun feels different in Mexico,” I dreamily asked my husband as we walked together.

Sunday is nearly half over.  My morning has been immersed in words.  My back is screaming.  The blue sky and abundant sunshine is beckoning.  And one of the local DJ’s turned me on to a new park after she posted her Valentine’s Day walk with her husband.  It is calling me.

Six walks in seven days.

I hurt.

I have over 100 new photos.

I have fibromyalgia.

I have also lost 1.4 pounds this week.

I was also accountable to my goal and to my body.  While I did earn some pain I would have rather avoided, I embraced my fibro body for all her infirmities and decided to live anyway…I like to call it THRIVING.

No magic.  Only accountability to my body, my disease, my health.

This is me on Valentine’s Day 2015: XL denim jacket that finally buttons all the way up, 16/18 top, almost too big 22 camo cargo pants, and a smile with fibromyalgia…life is to short to never live like you mean it.

THRIVER!!!  I do not smile to hide my pain from you.  I smile because it is good for me.

THRIVER!!! I do not smile to hide my pain from you. I smile because it is good for me.

Week 5–The Good, The Bad, The Ugly…And The Utterly Amazing

One of the good moments was finding out one of my medications, Relafen, was the cause of the severe non-migraine headaches I’ve been having.  It’s frustrating and disappointing.  It made me swear.  A lot.  But, at the same time the water retention it was causing was also causing my brain to swell.  It is good to know that.

However, this is also bad.  Brain swelling????  Effin’ really??????  As if I don’t have enough to worry about now I have to worry about brain swelling too.  My doc thinks it will be a good couple of weeks before my body ‘normalizes.’  He did say that with kid-gloves because he’s been riding the roller coaster non-normal of my body with me for almost six years now.

I do need to stop right here and share another good moment because it will lead us right straight to the ugly.  My hubs FINALLY found a job that seems to be a perfect fit.  The lifting of all the stress, worry, and confusion that comes from not knowing if or when he would find work is quite a bit above just being ‘good’ it is AMAZING (but that’s not the utterly amazing moment…I knew he’d find the right job).

Ironically, that brings us to a lil’ bit o’ ugly.  We’ve been running around like crazy trying to tie-up a bunch of errands, honey-dos, and assorted stuff so his transition back to work is as smooth as possible.  That has meant there’s been a gross amount of fast food in my life.  I have made good choices–bun-less burgers with chili or salad with maybe 10 of my hubs french fries–and I am proud of myself about that part.  But, fast food three times in one week.   That’s so not me.  And while this is not bad we also went out for a celebratory dinner at ‘our’ restaurant (the one where we met) and I ate a few too many of their gloriously fresh tortilla chips.

Four non-cooked-by-me meals in one week.  For me, that’s ugly.  Even making good choices it’s still a sodium bomb in my life.  I’m not too puffy but I am feeling it and the scale is showing it.

So let’s review the past few weeks shall we…massive water weight gain which I now know is a side effect of medication.  Twelve pounds of water.  I knew it wasn’t real.  And now I know that for sure.

So please join me in being utterly amazed that I…..

….was too small for 1X the super cute beach-scene printed top…

….and…

…I put on a size 16 dress…

…and would have bought it…

…except for a few bumps and rolls in the wrong places…

…size 16 people…

…SIXTEEN…

….WITH lingering water retention.

A-M-A-Z-ING!!!!!!

I’m thinking about investing in some shape wear and going back to try that dress on again *huge smile* It was the type of dress that would knock his socks off for our five-star dinner on our cruise.

Size 16!!!!!!!!

Also amazing is my garden coming back to life alreadyWP_20150208_001

My goal for the week: Seven walks.

I know that might sound like a lot but if I do not start putting my feet on the pavement Mexico is going to kill me.  I finally found okay-for-now sneakers.  Not having them is what I’ve been saying has been holding me back.  I have them so now it’s time to put up or shut up.

ACCOUNTABILITY!!!  ACTION!!!  ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ACTIONS!!!!  My year.  My time.

Week 4–

Man, I don’t even know where to start.  I guess the best way to describe this week was a roller coaster–emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually.

I wouldn’t necessarily call it a bad week just full.  Very full.

There was a whole lot of me working on building my patience and tolerance for my body’s shenanigans.  However, I also came to the realization that I’m fighting my body in an unhealthy way.  I’m not ‘doing’ anything bad but I am feeling bad about what I have come to know is just part of my normal.  Yes, I am referring to the bloated, puffiness that has been hanging around for weeks.

Here is where I want to stress the importance of keeping your tribe, your circle, your influences positive and solutions-focused.

As most of you know this blog started as I prepared for weight loss surgery and how I later changed my mind.  As I discarded my plans, I kept one of my online weight loss surgery support groups because they are so solutions-focused.

Weight loss surgery breeds creative food solutions that really can work for anyone who is looking for nutrient dense, power-packed meals.  And for anyone who thinks surgery is the ‘easy’ way out I suggest you spend some time in the world of a post-weight loss surgery patient.

Well, in that group a successful loser posted her concerns of some post surgical weight gain.  She gained 12 pounds just having surgery.  I was able to respond to her.  I told her to be patient.  I told her to keep her protein up.  I told her to keep her fluids up.  I told her to move as much as she was able.  I told her the weight loss wasn’t real fat gain.  Even though I had been telling myself all those things, I wasn’t really listening. I go through unearned weight gain several times a year when my body starts crapping out.

So I started asking myself why I wasn’t listening.

Here are my answers:

I’m tired.  I’m tired of my body playing sick jokes (all pun intended) on me.  I’m tired of struggling so hard.  I’m tired of watching other people do what I have yet to convince my body to do (reach a healthy weight).

Then the surgery friend said, “I’m sure we’ll just look back on this and laugh.”

And what felt so good as I reassured her and listened to my own good advice suddenly became this angry moment.

She is going to recover from the temporary weight gain of surgery.

I am not.  No matter what weight I am my body will randomly gain weight and I will go through this again, and again, and again.  Now perhaps with time I’ll learn my body even better and find a level of control over my Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism (autoimmune disease with low thyroid) that I have yet to enjoy which will reduce or eliminate these episodes.

Used without permission from 15pictures.com

Used without permission from 15pictures.com

That’s just one turn on the roller coaster.  I’ll spare you the other twists, turns, and loop-d-loops.

You’re probably thinking I had a bad week, right?

I wouldn’t call it bad.  I would call it a week of growth.

I’d also call it a week for shrinking because I lost………

2.6 POUNDS THIS WEEK!!!!!!

I’m sure a good part of it is some of the water I’ve been retaining because I’m not quite as puffy.  By the end of the day my ankles only look like they’re wearing doughnuts instead of inner tubes *rolls eyes*

So here’s my best advice:  When you have these types of roller coaster weeks, hang on to your plan.  Do your part.  Put in the work.  Put in the time.  When your world is spinning and you’re just not sure what to do just hang on.  Stick to your plan.  Let your plan bring you a sense of peace and order.

Where this is my year of accountability, when I felt like a tornado on the inside this is what I did to use my plan to help me reach my goals:

As much as I was all over the place emotionally, my food was on point.
I made sure I was weighing everything.
I focused on nutrition rather than food.
I took extra steps whenever I could.
I made sure I was getting enough sleep.
I made sure I was drinking my water.
I kept reminding myself that even when my body storms out of my control I am worth the effort.And I remembered the advice of my dear friend Jerry, “Enjoy the ride.”

Hang on…roller coasters only last a few minutes…then they’re over and you move forward taking the experience with you.