People! People! People!

My friends — I am back!
My goodness, what a past 6-months.

On October 11th (I think it was) I wrote about my mom having been diagnosed with brain cancer. I wrote about losing my (stupid short term temp) job and I wrote about missing personal training appointment and I wrote about the possibility that I might get fat (again).

Most importantly, mom finally surrendered to brain cancer; Stage 4 Glioblastoma late January 2014. The stages in this process were rough–for all of us, though obviously mostly for her. Not going to lie to you – my precious mother was a difficult patient and until she became grounded in bed, she was angry, generally unwilling to accept help, unable to coordinate the use of eating utensils, and refused the help of hired sitters  So, it was up to me and my dad and her long time home assistant — nobody else and mom needed to be watch at.all.times.

Mom was already using a walker pre-surgery for back issues (and old age). As her illness progressed she became less and less able to let us help her getting into/onto her bed, as as well, the toilet. In trying to do things for herself, she fell and was resistant let us help her back up. In the early stages, while she was still almost strong, she fought us helping her and fought harder when she no longer had the strength to help us help her — no resistance strength from her so we had to lift her as dead weight… and this was very hard on her back which caused pain and more resistance.  Eventually she became fully bed ridden in a hospital bed; yes we had-in home Hospice.

In her earlier stages of illness after surgery, she was not able to speak; that is, could not finish a sentience. She left us hanging in suspense over the last word that never came out. I had to tease her when she’d say, for example, “I’d like to …… ”  and I’d say to her, try telling us the last word first… I am in suspense! I could joke with her, at first.

goneMoving forward, once mom was bed ridden she turned to sleep (willingly or unwilling) and did so without moving for up to 30-hours in some stretches. The last phases of the illness were quite rapid. In a highly acclaimed little booklet that Hospice provides, Gone from My Sight, it seemed that mom followed all the rules of the final stages that unfolded before my eyes. Unbelievable. I mean literally, it was unbelievable that “my” mom got sick and suffered through such a horrible time; this extremely dynamic, opinionated, confidant and once independent woman became unable to speak, communicate, write, hold a fork or feed herself.

There was no pain. The brain itself does not know pain itself although, I suppose in lay terms, it knows how to deliver it. Pre-surgery, post-surgery and through the days and final days — not once did she have pain. So, there are the agonizing and painful cancers like pancreatic, liver, lung, and breast cancer. I wonder if you had to chose a cancer, would it be the one that silences you and yet gives you no pain, or one that doesn’t silence you but is painful.

How this affected me was simple. My commitment to my mother was that she would see me most times (and toward the end, each time) that she woke up and opened her eyes. I wanted her to know I was there — always there and would be til the end and mom would never wake up alone. When she woke I’d tell her about the day, something I read, or something from the news. It was important to engage her because after all, she wasn’t dead, or dumb. She was completely coherent up until the last 18-hours of her life.I know this because she smiled at me, held my hand and asked questions, or said, “say that again”?!

In the final 2-weeks I had moved into her house and shared the room with her; her on the hospital bed and me in the twin bed sleeper beside it. Other family member(s) were not as invested in the ‘sitting’ as I was. The other primary in the family felt that if she was dying she was dying. Not being insensitive, but more like a man, he told me that she would die when it was time no matter where he, or I was at the time and life goes on. True — but on my watch… she will die with me right here.

I struggled to focus on much other than her. I went to have dinner with her most nights until later when I moved in, and promised myself that my life should not change and part of that would be going to the gym after I had dinner with her and saw her to bed. But, most nights were not easy. Her eating was atrocious and when someone tried to help she became infuriated. This fueled anger and different sets of family challenges. I’d be so upset, or emotionally worn out each time I left that the idea of taking care of myself; by going to the gym for example was so off the beaten path, so far out of my wildest imaginations — Doing so however, would have been the best thing I could have done for myself mentally and physically. But I just couldn’t pull myself together and that made me even angrier.

This next part was tricky too and this is something I MUST see past myself from here on out and forever. It’ll be hard to explain so bear with me. I was gaining weight – by the day. My step-father was losing weight — by the day. He was dieting. Last February 2013 I began personal training and aggressively lost weight and toned up to the tune of 52-lbs gone. During that time my step-father insisted (not verbally by in actions and expressions) that I could have lost the weight for free. After all, (well, lets call a spade a spade, he got jealous back then and started losing) he was losing, too. And all he did, he said was watch what he ate. Personally, I am sure there are stomach problems for him. I lived with him (while mom was ill) for almost 4-months and every trip to the bathroom was… loose and spattered.

But anyway, the more I gained the more my mom was looking at my stomach. For once, just this once I am glad she was silenced so I wouldn’t have to put up with the comments coming from her eyes. But ‘he’ kept telling me every day — and I never asked, he told company that rarely came over to visit mom – though they never asked, he told them that he was losing weight. “Another pound today”! (behind his back people would say to me, “?” and “who cares?”) and he did this constantly. But I was in this position that I would not discuss weight with him, would not compliment him because it would generate discussion about my weight and so when it was time to eat…. If he ordered pizza, I was going to eat pizza. I would not cave in and tell him I would only have a salad, for example because it would generate 2-thing: a nod to me that I had gained weight, and/or a nod to himself that he was losing. I didn’t want to hear about it let any food or manipulation on his part make me talk about it.

So I went with the flow. What I ate was off-limits for discussion and while I could have/should have been cautious and open about what I would eat and wouldn’t eat, and wasn’t going to admit I was gaining. And frankly, my weight was not my concern. I HAD been professionally trained for 9-months and when the time came I knew exactly what had to be done to lose. So when it was time, I would lose it.

I hope you guys understood that? The issue now is that I won’t go to the gym because I don’t want my trainer to see the 21-lbs I gained. And trust me, hiding from him is not helping. He is the Assistant manager at the gym and always there. So I haven’t been going. This is NOT good.

After mom passed (so tragic) I immediately switched horses to (probably) avoid the reality of her horrific death and jumped right into her Celebration of Life. It took me a month to pull it together and ultimately it was a beautiful Celebration. 80-people in a beautiful setting. I didn’t watch my weight (yet) (although I did hit the gym for a couple of days — go me) too much. I regretted having to buy a new outfit in a new size (one size up) black pencil skirt, black light knit black top and a lightweight over sweater — HATED the over sweater part — we all know why we wear them! I was stressed about finding something classy and suitable to wear that would not reveal the gain. So sad that I did spend 9-months getting to look the way I should and be exempt from these problems — but the weight gain was an epic fail and I regret not taking care of myself. But who can blame me? Should I be bouncing around in a gym while my mother sleeps and wakes and doesn’t see me sitting there? She woke at all times of the day and night. So, therefore I sat.

And now, mom has passed, the celebration of life is over, we did a mini-second service yesterday for the residents at their community and I have little reason left to have excused to not take care of myself.

I am the sole survivor of the family. My dad died in 2000, my brother in 2002. End of a era is me. For once I have NOBODY to be accountable for or to– nobody, ‘cept the guy… but you guys know what I mean…. and this new-found unaccountability and by the way, no job, has tried to turn me in a lady in the lap.of.luxury leisure (with no substantial money to back up that title — who DO I think I am?) – waking up early and getting to go back to bed, watching too much TV, running errands that turn into shopping excursions.

I understand the Psych 101 aspect of my behavior.
New found freedom can be destructive.
I need structure.
My actions are screaming for it.

So here is the plan:

If I have all this time on my hands, and I have all this discomfort and anxiety about my weight – then I’m going to have to break down and go to my gym, trainer there or not and face the music when I see him. He’ll be disappointed, but he knows the situation I’ve been in and while he is young and hasn’t lost a parent yet, he seems to understand. Still, in texts I told him I didn’t want him to see me – I was too fat.

BUT! I finally realize that the only think keeping me from going to the gym is him. And yet, he is the ONLY one who gave me structure and required accountability from me. I hated training, I hated going to the gym every day (well, not really – it became natural) but I LOVED what it did to my body. So with a great deal of free time on my hands, I do believe it must be spent in a gym — or interviewing. Period!

And I apologize for the long and poorly written and depressing story. But it’s one that I needed to tell. Stay tuned for more uplifting posts!

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Getting back!

Finally! I hit the gym tonight at 9:00PM.

I’m feeling as though I am, or possibly experiencing some depression. I’ve never had depression (I don’t believe in it) but spending 80% of the day in bed (on the bed; to be clear) watching TV is not a good thing. At times in my life the staying on the bed watching TV is normal, but caring less or finding a reason go get up and off the bed, is not.

I knew my best medicine would be exercise… the hardest part is getting there. Today I purposely waited until the evening to go since I knew my mom was in good hands with her husband at the symphony. She’s in good hands with him at home as well but with them at the symphony I knew it was safe in assuming I wasn’t needed the house.

But, in the midst of my gloom-and-doom-fest this evening I got a text from her husband. He says that they are at dinner before the symphony and she’s having trouble finding the silverware on the table. “Knife, fork, etc.” Poor thing. I do hope she at least found the wine glass. I mean that in love (mom loves her wine with dinner).

My.heart.sank! I ate with them just two days ago and she knew of and found the silverware just fine and had no trouble eating at all. We have no surgery date yet and with this new status report… it might be useless unless it happens soon. Also with this news, the reality; is becoming a real-er reality.

Something in that message from him triggered me to get serious about getting to the gym. Strange? Why? Because an hour of distraction in a healthy way will make for a stronger me and it looks like I’m going to be needing a lot of workouts in the weeks and months to come. And because if I am having depression (I don’t think I do, I’m just not motivated to do much; and I think this is normal and understandable) news like this means that without exercise, I will only get worse and I need to stay strong!

Accomplished!

52-minutes of cardio; rowing, stair climbing and Incline Training. A little TRI of sorts — or a combo plate; you decide. I’ve improved so much on the stair climbing beast but in my mood and sense of self-esteem (being low on this day) I climbed next to a young woman who was banging it out at probably level 12 with no rest breaks. She was racing those stairs… And I felt so insignificant being on level 7 and was taking water breaks. I KNOW it was all in my imagination but she just gave me a vibe that read… you are a loser and you’re not taking this seriously. (well, she doesn’t know how hard it was to get there =D in the first place!)

So I did my 12-minutes on the climber (should have done 15) and then rowed for 17-minutes and 23-minutes on the incline trainer steadily on 21-incline at 4.5-MPH. And I had NO trouble with that. I could have done it all night. Funny what works for us and what we’re comfortable with. And, that’s exactly Andre’s point — and why he wants me on the stair climber — because it isn’t easy for me. Whatev, I did a bit of each that he wanted me to do and then the Incline Trainer where my comfort zone is.

The workout felt good, I was distracted and even at one point I was either so wrapped up in thought I didn’t notice how much time had passed, and other times I was complete in the fitness mind zone. So I got a break.

No plans for tomorrow; we don’t really make plans these days but I will head over to moms, anyway. But before that, I need to start making some calls. I can’t get a straight story out of her about whom she’s told or called. Her husband can’t give me a straight answer either and that said, getting any information out of either of them is a huge frustration and challenge. One sure thing is, nobody will be happy with me if she goes into surgery and/or dies and I never told anyone she was ill. :nono4:

So, I shall take things into my own hands. I never know if what I decide to do on her behalf is something she would want me to do or not, but the sad thing is — she won’t recognize or remember it anyway. :cry2:. Now this is not to say she isn’t coherent and looking healthy (at least I think so) – she’s just not sure of what she’s doing half the time.

ANYWAY Good for me for making that difficult step to get back to the gym; I’ve gone but in the past week and a half, only on Andre days :n:NOT GOOD.

Day 1 – my triceps are sore

Done!

ON MY HRM: Total Calories: 451. Total time: 85.7-mins. Miles: 2.06

A day of determination… Step one: Breakfast morning starter; “the smoothie”

Making it…

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Taking it…

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Getting there….

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And finished … (and feet posing)!

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Day 1

Being at the gym felt great, and immediately; again like my second home! It was fortunate that I didn’t see “A”, my trainer friend and thankful that it appeared he wasn’t even there today, at least while I was. I can’t wait to see him but the longer it takes to run into him, the better I will look.

First day back on the proposed plan, and the one I used to follow. I fulfilled my obligation this morning to do a BodyPump class and then cardio on the Incline trainer — Jut a little bit out of order, but it’ done. I gotta tell ya — the calamities and missteps in this entire workout scenario; getting there and being there — and even leaving — are unbelievable.

PLAN1

I wasn’t at the gym early enough to do the cardio warm up first; oh wait! Yes I was! I just had so many set backs at the gym before getting started. I didn’t arrive at the gym very prepared — but when I left for the gym it was that ‘defining’ moment when I said to myself, GO now or you’ll dismiss it. I went with the moment and I knew that everything that I needed was in the truck of the car. Most of it, as it turns out. I didn’t have my iPhone armband case and spent too much time looking for it. In retrospect, it turns out I don’t (really) need it. Also, I kept forgetting to take things I needed out of my locker, one by one I had to go back to the locker to get something, or put something back into it and the last straw was wearing my Flip Flops to Bodypump class. Lordy! But now that I think of it — this kind of absent-minded disorganization is normal for me! LOL.

BodyPump class. The latest updated version is 84  and it was great. Despite being away from the class for such a long time (2-months) and even though I left off at BodyPump v.83 — 84 is positively harder. I like this version. Infamously, by far the bicep track is the hardest. And I feel it today — course I could be feeling it from all of it — but being sore today feels good.

After BodyPump it was time for cardio! I hit the FreeMotion Incline trainer like it was yesterday! That is to say, I hadn’t lost any of my mojo at all and I worked it well for 30-minutes — not one second over. (First day back and I was kinda over it all).

FOOD

Thanks to burning 451-calories, by 5:00PM I had consumed a net of 27-calories. OOPS again! I needed to crash eat because according to my calorie counter — I had a total of 1350-calories to consume by midnight. That’s not a particular issue — I could go to McDonald’s and cure that  but…   that they had to be, um, healthy calories. I grilled a chicken breast and made some brown rice. Unfortunately the chicken was disgusting because it was slow grilled on a portable Baby Weber grill.

theweberThe grill is great for a few things but it doesn’t have the BTU power to sear and char. And it cooks soooo slowly. I didn’t want to replace all the unit pieces on my old REAL grill but it looks like I’m going to have to if I’m going to be doing any kind of serious grilling this spring — or even now.

So when it cooked the chicken breast so slowly, didn’t sear it and didn’t give it a spec of flavor, I didn’t eat the cut up chicken I had put into my ‘brown rice bowl”. I ended up eating just the rice and later a high fiber cereal. What can yado?

So anyways, the food will always be an issue unless I start planning. PLANNING. PlAnNiNg.

TODAY…

photo(4)I’d scheduled myself for cardio, TRX and resistance training. As expected, I am more sore today than realistically anticipated. I’m going to make today a full cardio day instead of adding TRX and resistance workout to the mix. Then, tomorrow (Tuesday) morning will be an exact replica of Monday with the exception that there is BodyPump classes at 6:00 and 9:30. While the 6:00 a.m. class is appealing in the ‘get it over with’ sense, the 9:30 class is more appealing in the ‘beauty sleep‘ sense. Therefore, if not one, the other!

Which ever way the wind blows, Scarlett will be there.

Today is supposed to be one of the hottest days on record, for this time of year  so it will be a great day for outdoor work and part of that work should be fixing up the old “real” grill. If I’m going to eat right from here on out — the grill will be stove. It is surprising that the coldest days on record for this area were just 15-days ago. Crazy! 30’s and 40’s to mid 80’s!