Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Dog Days of Summer . . .

It's been so brutally hot here for the past month that I haven't felt like doing much of anything - but it finally cooled off yesterday - and here I am  :-)

I have been meaning to give you an update on my shoulder.  I went to the surgeon for my second post-op visit last week, and he said that I was right where I should be six weeks after surgery.  That was good to hear  :-)   I have six more weeks of PT and then I see him again in October.

That's right - PT is nearly finished.  I still go 3x a week until after Labor day, when I will drop down to 2x a week for the duration.  I really don't know what I'm going to do with myself not going to PT all the time  :-D  Of course PT continues at home - it feels like I'm going to be doing it forever on my own.

My stomach - it took two weeks, but my stomach is finally back to normal.  And, I'm taking only one diclofenac (my regular anti-inflammatory) a day - it's definitely keeping the creakiness at bay  :-)

Somehow I'm no longer getting the 10 on Tuesday emails - I've written in to see if I can find out why.  I am, however, getting closer to one of the goals I set earlier this summer.  It was #4:  Delete 12 pounds from my frame by September 1st.  I weigh myself on Thursdays - so from June 9th when that first post was, I'm now down 11 (only one more to go!!).  Not sure how this week will shake out on the scale - I was really hungry yesterday and ate much more than usual - but I keep on tracking and keep moving forward the best I can.  If you're keeping score at home, I'm down a total of 17.2 since May 26th, when I really got serious again.

I have also continued to chip away at the Big List of WIPs.  I created this list on August 12, 2015 - a little more than a year ago.  It was part of my plan to finish what I had started.  I noticed this unattractive trait in myself in a number of areas and I wanted to take action.  A few projects just needed to be blocked, and several more needed to be frogged, but I have plowed on through with the rest of them (as well as knitting assorted pairs of socks for the Year of Stash Socks group) - and now I'm down to two things left.

I finished (FINALLY) The Big Easy Gansey on Monday, when I washed it and laid it out on the Sunroom floor to block - and dry - but it's done and I'm taking it OFF the Big List.  I started this sweater in October 2014 . . .  This first photo is of it done.

And this one is of it blocking on the sunroom floor.  The shadow on the left side is from a plant pedestal.

I immediately picked up my Quick Sand sweater, figured out where I was with it, and proceeded to start knitting on it again.  I started this sweater in July 2015 - so, only a year sitting around for this one, but still, way too long.  After I finish this, I will have one thing left to finish - a pair of socks - the Rhiannon Socks - which were cast on in July 2013 (geez).  These were started as kilt hose for me, and when I stopped piping, I stopped working on them.  I will be finishing them however - and I'm hoping they might inspire me to pick my pipes back up. Although multiple people sent me a Facebook post today about some guy getting a fungus in his lungs from his pipes . . . my sheepskin bag has been sitting for more than a year . . . I'm kinda worried to play it again.

I continue to love my Tai Chi class -  I'm learning the Yang Short Form.  If you want to see it - here is my teacher doing the form.  (Ignore the phone ringing at the end! :-D )

So, that's the news from The Third Coast tonight - I'm home from Tai Chi, and I've just iced my shoulder, and now it's time for me to sleep  :-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tolerance for Physical Pain . . .

I am a fan of Dr. Christiane Northrup.  You've likely seen her on PBS or on Oprah.

Today in her e-newsletter, she was talking about sugar.  I went out on to her site to read more, and she said this:
"Sugar—whether in white foods, candy, or alcohol—acts like an opiate in the body. Eating foods that quickly turn to sugar quite literally medicates pain—both emotional and physical. But beware. Sugar is eight times more addictive than heroin in susceptible individuals. If you use sugar to boost your mood, to hold at bay feelings of longing or loneliness, or to improve your tolerance for physical pain, you’ll find yourself in a vicious cycle that makes it very difficult to stop eating sugar. This is not about willpower or your being “bad.” It’s about understanding the chemistry that fuels cravings and then doing something about it." [emphasis mine]
The bit about physical pain is something I've intuitively known for a very long time, yet I've never seen any doctor actually say it - until now.  There's always talk about emotional eating, but never about eating to ease physical pain.

It feels really good to be validated.  Thanks Dr. Northrup!

I've wondered about my pain tolerance throughout this entire shoulder journey.  When I was first in PT in April and May, the pain was sometimes intolerable.  I know my physical therapist was extremely frustrated with me, but what could I do?  Moving my arm in certain ways was excruciating.  Then, right after surgery, the surgeon's physician's assistant led me to believe I was going to be in a lot of pain once the nerve block wore off and that I would need to "keep ahead of the pain."  This never really happened for me.  I did take the pain pills initially - but never more than one at a time and I quickly transitioned to only taking one about an hour before PT.  The pain I experienced after surgery was not even a patch on what I was feeling before surgery.  

As soon as surgery removed the nearly constant physical pain with my shoulder, I've been able to steadily get smaller.  I still have some inflammatory pain in my knees and heel due to the current anti-inflammatory ban because of my wonky stomach - and I've definitely eaten more this last week trying to ease the physical pain in my stomach.

Oh - and I have to say - I'm so done with white rice and those other foods.  I ate white rice yesterday and the day before - and right after I cooked it on Monday night, there was this odd smell in the kitchen.  Seriously - it smelled like farts.  I knew I hadn't passed gas and wondered what it could be.  Then, yesterday, when I opened the ziploc bag with the cooked rice in it, the smell was there.  Ick.

I guess the good news is that I'm really used to eating in a more healthy way now - so much so that going back to old choices no longer is tempting in the least.  Except for ice cream/gelato - I mean, who doesn't like that cold in their stomach?  ;-)

And speaking of my stomach - the update is that my stomach is still unhappy.  The Pepto works - but I'm having to take to it at least three times a day and I have to supplement with chewables in between.  The pain of it woke me early this morning, but turning on to my left side was very helpful and I was able to get it to stop by doing that.  Hopefully just a few more days of this and it will settle itself.  Still crossing my fingers.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ten on Tuesday . . .

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is to: Write a list of 10 words that describe you. The catch is that all the words should begin with the same letter as your first name. Use nouns or adjectives or a mix of both - whatever floats your boat!

Hmmmmm . . . I had to pull out the dictionary for this one because there aren't that many descriptive words for this letter.

  1. Jovial
  2. Jaunty
  3. Jocund
  4. Jazzy
  5. Judicious
  6. Joyful
  7. Joyous
  8. Just
  9. Jolly
  10. Jubilant
I like these because so many of them are about joy - like my late mom, I strive to live every day of my life with joy and purpose  :-)

It was easier using the initial of the name I actually go by.
  1. Active
  2. Awesome (yes, yes I am  :-D)
  3. Accepting
  4. Able
  5. Ageless
  6. Affectionate
  7. Amazing
  8. Animated
  9. Articulate
  10. Authentic
Sounds like I have a pretty high opinion of myself.  I guess I do - and there's a reason for that.  I go with the positive, because what we dwell on is what we manifest into our lives.  Meditate and affirm all the positive things that you want to manifest into your life  :-)

Finally - a quick stomach update:  Pepto Bismol is gross.  However, it is, apparently, doing its job.  No pain since I started it last night.  It's weird eating white rice and stuff that is so easy to digest, but I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying the gelato  :-D  (and counting the calories).  Who knows what this week is going to look like on the scale, but I'm not going horribly overboard - just eating very differently.  In any case - this wonky stomach is just a bump in the road.  :-)  I see white rice and instant oatmeal in my future  :-D

Monday, August 8, 2016

If It's Not One Thing . . .

Alrighty then.

Thursday night brought me very unpleasant stomach pain.  Not the rumbly in the tumbly kind - the Jesus, this hurts kind.

Apparently my body has rebelled against the giant, horse-pill Advil I've had to take since surgery.  I tried cutting the dose, but that didn't work.  I then switched back to my normal anti-inflammatory, but although I physically feel WAY better on it, it didn't work either and my stomach is still quite painful.

I called in to the doc today and I'm to stop ALL ibuprofen (the horse-pill Advil, AND my normal anti-inflammatory), take liquid Pepto Bismol  twice a day for a week and see how I feel in a week.  One of my friends told me I'm going to need a stick of dynamite (Pepto is also an anti-diarrheal).  So it goes.  I'm happy to take the Pepto and see how it works for me.  I'm crossing my fingers, and if I'm stopped up beyond belief, it can't be any worse than it was when I was taking the Norco (that's one of the side-effects).

Today was a great PT day because I was back on diclofenac - my regular anti-inflammatory - and I didn't hurt anywhere  :-D  I hate to give it up for a week, but I need to get my stomach back to normal and then I'm sure I can start it again because it's never bothered my stomach before.  I will be looking forward to taking it again.

Saturday was Stitches Midwest.  I had a wonderful day with quite a few of my knitting friends!  It was a smaller market this year - I think some of the vendors who usually come were at Convergence instead.  I did get some yarn - sweater quantities for three sweaters.  I haven't purchased that much yarn in a VERY long time.  I'd show you the photos, but it's all being dyed and will be sent to me.  The photos I took with my phone didn't turn out all that great.  But the yarns will all be here in a couple three weeks.  It's not like I'm in ANY danger of running out in the meantime :-D

These are the Naked Ladies in bloom out in front of my house.  There are a ton of them this year!

And inside the house my two orchids are blooming.  Finally.  After YEARS!  I guess they finally got enough light  :-)

I'm stalling for some reason on finishing the last sleeve of my Big Easy Gansey.  Seriously - I just need to do ONE SLEEVE.  :-D  I think I'm bored with it now.  Still, I want it to be done so I was going to see about picking up those stitches tonight.  But as soon as I got home from Walgreens with the Pepto, I had to make some white rice.  I also bought some tapioca pudding, and white bread English muffins, as well as some gelato.  I will likely have some pain from the sugar in some of these things, but I'm trying to go as bland as possible with my food this week to see if that helps my stomach heal.

It's an early night for me tonight.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ten on Tuesday . . .

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is:  go back to the post you wrote on June 14, 2016 - the topic was 10 Things On Your Summer Bucket List - and update the list and see how you're doing regarding those things you want to do this summer.

Here's the list I wrote for summer:

As for this summer of 2016 . . . it's just a regular list  :-)
  1. Get successfully through my shoulder surgery
  2. Heal well and quickly
  3. Become the Queen of PT and regain full mobility in my right shoulder
  4. Delete 12 pounds from my frame by September 1st
  5. Enjoy time spent with friends and family
  6. Set aside enough time to physically take care of myself - i.e., cook more, walk more, sleep more, create more, love more, laugh more . . .
  7. Spend some quality time in my hammock in the shade
  8. Finish The Big Easy Gansey sweater
  9. Listen to all of Outlander on Audible
  10. Get started listening to Dragonfly in Amber on Audible
And here's how I'm doing:
  1. Get successfully through my shoulder surgery.  Done!  Yay!
  2. Heal well and quickly.  In terms of my incisions, done and dusted!
  3. Become the Queen of PT and regain full mobility in my right shoulder - Well, I am the Queen of PT (both at Athletico and at home) - there's no doubt.  I went every workday for three weeks, and am on my third week of going only 3x/week now.  Unfortunately I do not have full mobility back yet, but I'm making progress and I suppose that's what counts :-)
  4. Delete 12 pounds from my frame by September 1st.  I weigh myself on Thursdays - so from June 9th, I'm down 4.8, but from May 26th, which is when I really got focused, I'm down 11.
  5. Enjoy time spent with friends and family. - I could do better in this area and will be spending some time with friends on Saturday at Stitches Midwest.  I am also likely going to drive up to the Michigan Fiber Festival mid-month for a day and will see friends there, too.
  6. Set aside enough time to physically take care of myself  i.e., cook more, walk more, sleep more, create more, love more, laugh more . . . - I'm giving myself this one because I'm definitely doing better in this area!  I'm putting myself first and I've cooked more.  I've been getting 10,000 steps every weekday for a few weeks now, and I'm very good about my home PT program and icing and those things take time.  The steps in particular are a very good improvement for me.  Creating, loving. and laughing - I can always do more  :-)
  7. Spend some quality time in my hammock in the shade - Not yet.  Sleeping is still a challenge with my shoulder and I've felt like the curve of the hammock would not be comfortable on it yet.  Plus, every time I think I'm going to try it - it rains.  :-D  We'll see how I do in the next few weeks ;-)
  8. Finish The Big Easy Gansey sweater - I have made a valiant effort here - One sleeve done and the neckline done.  I plan to do some finish work soon and then pick up the stitches for the remaining sleeve.  I discovered that knitting too much aggravates my shoulder, so I have had to cut back a bit or I would have been done by now.
  9. Listen to all of Outlander on Audible.  Done!  And I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the story by listening to it - something I never thought I would enjoy.
  10. Get started listening to Dragonfly in Amber on Audible.  Yup!  I'm about halfway through, I think.
So - five and half out of 10.  I think that's admirable  :-)  In addition, it's been interesting - I've been forced to do less as I have been healing, and although there are still plenty of weekend days spent in jams just resting, I feel like I'm making progress in many areas this summer. I've also started a Tai Chi class, and I love it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ten on Tuesday . . .

The more recent topics have not been of interest to me, but today's topic is:

10 Songs about Where You Live

You know I cannot pass that up  :-D

The Superbowl Shuffle - still awfully fun to watch and remember.

Go Cubs Go - by the late and seriously wonderful Steve Goodman.

Lincoln Park Pirates - also Steve Goodman.  Lincoln Park is a very crowded north side neighborhood.

Let's Go, Go Go White Sox - the Sox fight song

And of course, Bear Down Chicago Bears!

Lake Shore Drive - Alliota Haynes & Jeremiah - there really is nothing else like it . . .

Sweet Home Chicago - Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter, et al.

Chicago - everyone knows this one  :-)

My Kind of Town (Chicago is), and everyone knows this one, too!

I'm Coming Home - this song is not actually about Chicago - it's about going home to Southern Illinois, but it's by Big Twist & The Mellow Fellows.  Twist is long gone now (he was only 53 when he passed), and one of my oldest friend's cousin, the late Pete Special (he died two years ago and was only 62) is the lead guitarist.  I believe that's Daddy G (Gene Barge) on the sax solo at the end. One of my all-time favorite bands and I never tire of hearing them.  True Chicago blues at its finest.  

The Sweet Sound of Rhythm & Blues - Here's an extra from Twist for you  :-)  Pete Special wrote this one.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Sunday Wrap-Up . . .

Shopping was great fun yesterday.  I was glad to be out of the house.  I had planned to go to the club today with my cousin, but I'm much more tired today than I thought I would be, and so, once again, it's a jams day here.  I have a lot of meat to use the FoodSaver on and freeze.  They thought I was having a party when I checked out at the store yesterday  :-D  I can freeze things in individual servings, which is great when things are on sale or look particularly good.

PT has been going well this week - there was a breakthrough on Monday, and I'm making progress.  Today I am much more stiff than I have been - I think my shoulder is going to be my new weather barometer  :-)  We had bad storms this morning which means that the barometric pressure dropped.  I had a hard time doing my "wall washes" this morning for PT.  But i did them, and now I have just completed my mid-day PT consisting of all my table stretches.  I'll ice as soon as I finish this post  :-)

I've hit the 10,000 step mark on my Fitbit six days this week, with today being my rest day.  This is a big accomplishment for me  :-)  I do plan to get back to the club with my trainer on Tuesday morning.  There are things we can do that don't involve my right arm, and I can tell I need some core work and some work on my quads.

I haven't been able to spin at all during Tour de Fleece this year.  I'm sad about that, but so it goes.  I'll spin after my shoulder and arm get a little stronger.  I have also had to cut way back on my knitting.  You wouldn't think that it would aggravate my shoulder, but I find that I'm often in more pain on the day after having knit.  I did pick up The Big Easy Gansey yesterday and picked up the stitches for the first sleeve.

I will see about getting through the first pattern repeat and then leave it for another day.  The trick seems to be to not knit for hours on end  :-)

I have not mentioned my budget much recently - truth be told, I haven't been keeping as tight a handle on it - but I have not touched my other account, and that was the entire point of the budget.  Even with the added medical bills and some concrete work on my patio, I've managing to keep things going.  So Yay Me!  :-D

Something I have learned about myself in the last year has come around again:

It sometimes takes me more than one try to move forward.  

And perhaps even more importantly:

It does NOT mean that I have failed if I don't get it right the first time.

It took me a couple of tries to know for sure that my podcast was really done - and people still tell me how much they miss it.  It's taken me many tries where food and exercise are concerned, and it's looking like it's taking me another try to get my food and exercise right now that it's critical to my life that I do so.  And so, another try to release all the reasons I mean excuses I've clung to in the past.  I think this time is the charm, however.  The Strict Program for Three Months was the solution to a minor cholesterol issue a few years ago, and now, it appears that a slightly modified version of it is going to be critical in my fight against inflammation.

And, of course, eating well will certainly help the size of my ass.  Michelle at Boulderneigh is a vegetarian and she's cheering me on.  And I cheer for her as she navigates her extremely busy life.  And Kristyn at Crazy Knitting Fool is looking at major changes in her life.  She's at a liminal place, too, and I have some understanding of those places - I mean, here I am at another in my own life.  So I'm cheering her on.  We are all different - Michelle lives on a small ranch in Portland and Kristyn in suburban Detroit.  I am older, they are younger.  They both have husbands and sons, but we are all on our paths - striving to move forward in our respective lives.

I believe that cheering each other - holding space for each other - makes us stronger women in our own right.  What does holding space mean?  Blogger Heather Plett defines it thus:
"It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement [sic] and control."
And so my readers and friends near and far, I am holding space for you on your journeys, and share these words from Tree of Life Inspirations with you once again:

I believe in you as you
step forward in your life.
I'm inspired by you for 
keeping your dream alight . . .
for facing the challenge
and achieving your goals.
I'm proud of you as I watch 
the bright light of your spirit
embrace the world.

And we all need a fight song - so take your pick  :-)   Here is one of mine (you get to have more than one, you know ;-) ), shared before but always worth another listen  . . .

 And if you need to hear the lyrics again  . . .

Onward . . .