Archive for the ‘Doctors and Dentists and Nurses… oh my!’ Category

I had a follow up with my podiatrist yesterday, before the snow got to be too bad. I went totally redneck, though, wrapping my left foot in a plastic sack before putting on the Boot of Shame. It worked, too… kept the foot mostly dry.

To make a long story short, Stubby has been released from care. I still need to keep an eye on him, but he’s really shown improvement. Wayne has also shown improvement, but nothing like what Stubby has achieved. Wayne’s wound measured 12mm yesterday, which was less than the 16mm it measured last week. I’m taking heart in this, hoping that I will be able to get back to training sooner, rather than later. The other good news from the appointment concerns footwear.

Dr. Miller said that I really needed to get fitted for better shoes. I restated my objection that the shoes are simply butt-ugly. He asked if I’d take a look at the selection before I dismissed it as out of hand. I agreed.

Brooks-Adrenaline-14_3In a bottom corner of the display rack, I found something I could more than live with… the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. I’m more of a Beast guy, but if I can get a pair, fitted to my particular feet and have my insurance cover part of it, well, I’m OK with that. I just want to stop the blisters. If they can’t do it right, there’s also a selection of New Balance that I can work with. The point is that while I’m not very vain about what I wear, I was drawing the line at plain white grandpa sneakers with velcro closures. I’m 43, not 73.

I did manage to get my cardio in today… in the form of shoveling snow. For whatever reason, Wanda, evil bitch queen of our HOA, didn’t dispatch the crews throughout the development until late and they never got to our house until late morning. No worries… I just did the whole driveway, sidewalks and out into the street. Felt pretty good to get 90 minutes of cardio. The downside to the whole snow thing is that Supportive Partner Woman was stranded at the office. Fortunately, she was prepared and had food and a sleeping bag, but I’m sure she can’t wait to get home. I opted to not even go in yesterday, when it took me just under an hour to make it home from the foot doctor (it’s normally 10-15 minutes tops). It means that I had to forgo holiday pay for Monday, but my life is more important to me than a day’s pay.

I have my show fitting appointment as well as another followup with the podiatrist next week. I’ll keep you posted.

I also have have wonderful team news to report. A teammate of mine, Ed, was told by his doctors that he was not to run anymore. Undeterred, he got a handcycle on December 26 and was at Walt Disney World to complete the Dopey Challenge two weeks later. His is an inspiring story that I hope to share in more detail in the future, but he was able to let the team know that his regional VA has asked him to represent the regional VA team at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Philadelphia. If he finishes well there, he can earn a place on the national VA team. That is such an amazing opportunity for such an inspirational guy.

At any rate, going to call it a day for now. Hope you all manage to stay warm out there.

 

It’s been a long time since I wrote about the trials of my personal journey, leaving many of you to assume it’s going perfectly.

It’s not.

Truth of the matter is that due to all sorts of external stressors, I’ve been fighting a losing battle on the food front.

Oh, it starts innocently enough… the thought that having a rough day somehow entitles me to eat a Tastykake or ice cream or something like that. Then it becomes less of a treat and more of a constant. Next thing you know, the scale starts creeping the other way.

This ain’t a good thing, y’all.

During my last visit with the surgeon, I mentioned the troubles I’ve been having and he put me in touch with the psychologist that the practice is affiliated with. It took awhile, but I finally got an appointment to see Dr. Collins and it was eye-opening, to say the least.

See, the sky is not falling.

The train has not wrecked.

Dr. Collins thinks that I’ve gone a little off track, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. As such, I’ll be starting a “Back on Track” program next month that will reinforce the stuff I’ve sort of forgotten and hopefully get me motivated again.

While we were chatting, I realized that what problems I’ve had with my feet are so minuscule compared to what I saw over the weekend. Seeing cancer patients like Kim Markey (who did her last chemo the week before the Dopey Challenge), or the folks on full prosthetic limbs… they have problems. I have inconveniences. Big difference.

Regardless, this program gives me another chance to get it right. To learn to stop the mindless eating and the stress eating.

One other thing Dr. Collins told me as we were wrapping up. She said, “Those people you finished that race with? They support you and love you and they know you can do it. That’s a big part of your support structure and if they did that race with you, they will be there for this race, too. Don’t throw all that support away by thinking you have to do it alone.”

Once again, Team AllEars FTW.

More soon.

 

As the major winter holidays approach, a few things come to mind. But before I get into those, I want to take a few minutes to thank all those who donated to my Avon Walk page. So, a huge thank you to Mike & Katherine, Mike & Mary, Mark, Mindy & Chris, April & Janet, Charlie & Joan, Candi, Jed & Maureen, Becky, Janet, Mary, Melissa & Nimesh, Rodger & Karen, Jim & Elena, Fred & Renee, Ann, Donna & Jim, and most importantly, my mom and sister, as well as Supportive Partner Woman (culinary creative genius!). I never thought I’d get to my original goal, much less triple that. It’s very humbling knowing that folks out there are willing to support me and believe in what I’ve accomplished.

And to think, in a little over two weeks, I’ll have that first 5K under my belt. Then all bets are off.

In the meantime, I’m focused on rehabbing Wayne. I saw the foot doctor on Thursday and Wayne is healing, just not as rapidly as I would like. That’s primarily due to the blister’s location on the bottom of my toe. Of course, when I first saw the doc about this toe, he was concerned about infection and prescribed a liquid amoxicillin. Now, I’ve had amoxicillin before and never had any issues, but the liquid stuff gave me a nasty drug rash that itched so badly I had to pay a visit to the Urgent Care. Thankfully it’s started to heal up already, because while Benadryl keeps the itching down, it puts me down as well.

Mmmm... chocolate caramel shortbread.

Mmmm… chocolate caramel shortbread.

So, we’re rapidly closing on the Christmas holiday. Once again, with everything going on, we are woefully behind. We don’t even have a tree set up. Maybe this weekend. We have managed to do some baking, however, and that’s gone rather swimmingly. I made my semi-famous chocolate chip cookies, as well as lepp cookies. SPW chimed in with spritz cookies, chocolate cookies, something that looks like a flying saucer with a Hershey Kiss in side, and her ever-evolving chocolate caramel shortbread. This year she baked the shortbread into a cup, made her own caramel and topped it with melted chocolate. A nice, bite-size portion. They are actually kind of cute, as well as yummy. I’ll try to pry a recipe out of her to post on here.

Other than that, I’m looking forward to the holidays and having a day off to spend with family.

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season and I can’t wait to tell you all about my 5K experience.

I figured I should warn y’all that this post will have a picture of a foot. So, if you’re foot-averse, be warned.

So, it’s Monday. That usually means the weekend is done and it’s time to get back to work. Sadly, it’s the beginning of November, and for the big cheeses at the soulless corporation I work for, this means a chance to compel us lowly worker bees to work overtime.

I have a love/hate relationship with overtime.

The paychecks are nice. VERY nice. But you wonder if the headaches are worth it. Being ordered around by people who like to THINK they are supervisors is always a drag, as is actually starting at paperwork for extra hours. The seem to think it’s life or death, but the fact of the matter is that what we do doesn’t really have a huge impact on the safety and well-being of the majority of people in the US.

Enough about that, though.

The Boo to Cancer 5K medal

The Boo to Cancer 5K medal

I signed up for and completed another virtual 5K this past week. A friend and teammate had put together the Boo to Cancer Virtual 5K to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I did things a little differently, opting to cover the distance on the elliptical, since it was my second day out of the boot and I didn’t know how the foot would behave with full-length toes for the first time in years. I managed to get the 3.1 miles done in 21:16, which was pretty cool for me.

Chickie's Rock anticline

Chickie’s Rock anticline

I also managed to get up to the Chickie’s Rock Overlook again last week. I was hoping for more of a foliage change, but I think I beat that by a few days. I did manage to get a slightly different view, as it was pretty deserted and a lot of the leaves had fallen. One of the highlights was looking at the exposed rock face. I’m not sure what the exact geological composition of the rock is, but it’s enough to make you contemplate just how insignificant humanity’s time on the Earth has been. Knowing that this anticline has been eroded through over millennia by flowing water, and that erosion will continue for millennia after we’re gone. Really puts things in perspective.

The freshly straightened toes (with Stubby to the left)

The freshly straightened toes (with Stubby to the left)

Speaking of the foot, I’m attaching a picture where the toes are not all bandaged up. The toes are nice and straight and it was really weird, actually feeling the texture of a sock with the bottom of my toes. They had been curled for so long, I didn’t really remember the sensation.

So, that’s pretty much what’s happening here in cow country. I would like to give a shoutout to my friend Brad who not only completed the NYC marathon on Sunday, but did it while enjoying himself AND followed up by getting interviewed on GMA. Way to go, Brad!

One other note. I’ve been talking about my Team AllEars fundraising. I’m pleased to announce that due to an unusually generous corporate match, my fundraising total has eclipsed $1,000. This is more than double my original goal. I have to give thanks to everyone who has contributed, and if you haven’t, there’s still time. Feel free to donate here… any amount $5.00 or greater is most appreciated.

I’d also like to take a moment to offer belated birthday wishes to the lovely and gracious Supportive Partner Woman. She had a birthday on Halloween and we’ve now entered the four months of the year when I can get away with busting on her for being older than me. I should also mention that the day prior to her birthday we celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary, which, I think, is the Styrofoam anniversary. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve made it this long and the good days far outnumber the bad days. Some days that’s all you can ask for. I will note that I love her more today than I did on our wedding day.

That’s really saying something.

Haven’t written anything in a few weeks. I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been incredibly busy doing something worthwhile.

It’s not that.

I just haven’t really felt inspired.

Truth is, I haven’t really been feeling that much like myself.

So, I thought I’d start writing and see where it leads me.

The post-op toes. Stubby is on the left.

The post-op toes. Stubby is on the left.

I’m currently back in the Boot of Shame. I had a small procedure on Monday morning that straightened three toes on my right foot. It’s the same one I had on my left foot earlier in the year. It’s kind of a pain, but it’ll be for the better. The downside is that it’s really hard to walk while wearing the Boot of Shame, so no training for Brian this week. At least it’s not a long time in the boot. I should note that the reddish discoloration on my foot is a result of the prep Betadyne scrub. I can’t get it wet for a week, so it just needs to be discolored.

I know what’s causing most of my internal strife… it’s a job issue. I’m not going to go into any details here because there are coworkers who read this, but recent events have really torn me up and I know I need to get over it, but it’s so freakin hard to do. I guess after giving 13 years, countless hours of overtime, and training people, I feel a sense of betrayal. I guess it is what it is.

In the good news department, my Avon fundraising continues to go well. I actually upped my goal to $1,000.00. Currently I’m at $811.00, so I could really use some help to get there. The link to my page is located right here and any contribution, whether it be $5.00 or $50.00, is welcome. Now, many folks in the community have brought up the point that breast cancer hasn’t impacted them directly… they’ve been much more impacted by skin cancer or colon cancer, etc. To that end, they are right, but what if a breakthrough in breast cancer can be adapted to other forms of cancer? After all, scientists and researchers do talk and share information. What if that new chemotherapy for breast cancer works equally well on colon cancer? It’s all worthwhile… and for a great cause.

Thanks for reading… I hope to have some foliage pictures from the overlook as soon as I’m out of the Boot of Shame. Until that time, be well.

So, the saga of Brian’s toes continue.

Wayne had a callous that cracked last week. It was not pretty to look at, but then again, my toes usually are NOT things of beauty.

Then Monday, I noticed Stubby had a crack in the callous on the tip as well, plus Wayne was looking kind of nasty. I had an appointment to see the boys, so on my way, I called my podiatrist.

He could see me in about 90 minutes.

I did an abbreviated workout at the fitness center, went home, washed my hair, collected Supportive Partner Woman (Brave little toaster!), and went back to the Health Campus (or should I call it the Suburban Outpatient Pavilion?).

Dr. Miller was right there, and gave me crap about needing my Dr. Miller fix, since I had only been there the week before. He looked at Stubby first. He (Miller) wound up trimming the edges of the crack and gluing things back together.

Then it was on to Wayne.

Turns out, the reason Wayne was getting a little gushy was that there was a blood blister under the nail. So, it was off with the toenail. I do have some increased feeling, so it did ache pretty good, but I’m happy to report he’s healing nicely.  I was sent off without being sentenced to the Boot of Shame, but I was also admonished to rub my feet every day with ammonium lactate cream to keep the calluses soft and less prone to cracking.

See, Monday was an all-around lousy day.

Mom and Dad in happeir times

Mom and Dad in happier times

It was my dad’s birthday, and that’s always tough to deal with since he’s gone. He would’ve been 78 and I still miss him every day. Of course, tomorrow would’ve been the folks’ 43rd wedding anniversary. That’s also tough. It reminds me of the last one the celebrated. Dad was in the rehab center at the hospital and my sister and I brought in a nice steak dinner from a local restaurant, dressed in nice clothes and acted as the wait staff, even had candles. It was one of the last happy times… he was gone a month later.

Losing him to cancer has been one of the major reasons why I support many of the cancer charities. I’d give anything to have him back and if, through my efforts, I can save someone else from the anguish that I’ve been through, I’m going to do it.

Whether that be supporting the Avon Walk with my participation in Team AllEars or my newest endeavor, the Nerd Herd Racing Series (which supports stupidcancer.org), either way, I’m doing something to help others because so many folks have helped and supported me with my efforts against my own diabetes.

Now, many of you might be wondering what the Nerd Herd Racing Series is all about. Simply put, it’s a series of running (or whatever form of locomotion that you prefer) events themed around various nerdly events. The first race was the May the Fourth 5K (Star Wars), the second was a Happy Birthday Harry Potter 5K or 10K (Harry Potter, duh!) and the third will be a 5K or half-marathon to celebrate Banned Books Week (We’re talking really subversive stuff like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird).

I came late to the party, but there were a few slots open for the trilogy and I managed to get signed up for all three of them. Not only do the proceeds go to stupidcancer.org, you get some sweet bling to display. The best part is that you get a week to complete each event and you can choose to do it all at once or break it up into manageable chunks for those of us who are running-challenged.

Now, if you’re thinking these folks are small-time, well, allow me to enlighten you. The series (through two races) has donated some $10,300 to stupidcancer. That total is only going to go up. If projections hold up, the total should eclipse $15,000. That’s pretty good numbers.

Good people doing good work.

That’s the real lesson… do something good with your life. There’s more to life than petty jealousy and selfishness. Make an impact on someone else’s life. Even if it’s just throwing a couple extra dollars in the Salvation Army kettle or dropping your spare change in one of the myriad good cause cans at your local pizza joint. You’re helping someone less fortunate. Hell, by donating blood, you’re helping someone in dire need.

The Big Whoop

The Big Whoop

In other news, SPW and I managed to make it to Root’s Market on Tuesday. Managed to get some nice produce and some fresh turkey bacon. I have to cook that up (probably tomorrow) and see how it is. I’m constantly amazed by how much local food is available at Root’s. There are so many local farms and butchers selling fresh stuff, not to slight the folks making baked goods and the fast food-type places. We passed the “Big Whoop” which I thought would send SPW (Fan of Whoopie Pies!) into a swoon. It was the size of my head! Thing was huge!

P.S. I managed to walk 20 miles last week. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. Makes me think I’m going to complete that banned books half marathon.

Song of the Day: Tears are Falling – KISS

Currently Reading: The Book of Fate – Brad Meltzer

Current weight: 271 (109 pounds down)

So, I had my four month followup with my surgeon yesterday.

I was pretty worried that things had blown up… as I said, I have been struggling here of late and I feel myself backsliding to my old eating habits.

Imagine my surprise when Dr. McPhee used the word “remission”.

As is, “Brian, you’re doing great… your diabetes is in remission, you’ve exceeded your weight loss target for four months, and your blood work looks great. Do you really want to throw that away for a Tastykake?”

I remember looking at him and saying to myself, “Say what?”

Then it sank in and I was overcome with this sense of relief.

Then joy.

Yay!

Yay!

I have achieved my primary goal of having bariatric surgery.

It kind of makes all I went through in the program worthwhile. All the tears I shed, the pounds I shed and regained and shed again. The physical pain of the surgery itself. The digestive issues post-surgery.

If I had to do it again, no question. It was all worth it to hear those words.

I would be horribly remiss, however, if I didn’t thank you all for your support. Yes, you, my friends, family, and even you, anonymous reader. Your support has given me the strength to get this far. I thank you with every fiber of my being. One of the things we were told before surgery was that you can never underestimate the need for a powerful support system.

I have that in spades.

Thank you so much.

Onto the next challenge… keeping the beetus in remission.

Song of the Day: The New Song – Howard Jones

Currently reading: Hidden Order – Brad Thor

I’m back in the saddle again. It does make me feel pretty good.

Got the stitches out of my toes and everything seems to be working. I got out yesterday during my lunch break and did a leisurely 1/2 mile walk. Today I was at the gym with my trainers and it felt good to be on the elliptical. My legs felt very heavy at first, but as I loosened up, I started feeling better. I also did some weight training and talked to Cory about what I can do to vary things so my workouts don’t feel so stale. I was introduced to the joys of the resistance band (sounds like a guerrilla group, right?)  which will make a nice change from dumbbells and machines.

I get to go back to the office later today for my four month followup with Dr. McPhee. I’m hopeful… my labs actually looked pretty good. There are a few places where I can improve, but once again, my biggest obstacle will be my head. I’ve started hearing the siren song of the carbohydrates again.

This is not good.

I’ve caved a few times as well.

So, I plan to ask the doc if there’s a therapist/headshrinker he knows of that deals with bariatric patients. I honestly think I could use some therapy to help get me through the rough patches and maybe figure out what makes me tick, (Stubby: Yeah, good luck with that one, dumbass! It would take a whole team of psychologists YEARS to figure you out.) It’s been on my mind for sometime and we’ll see what he has to say. It can’t hurt to seek a professional opinion.

In the exciting news, Supportive Partner Woman and I are going to see the Rifftrax live show tomorrow night. They are riffing on Starship Troopers and I am totally stoked. There’s even a short trailer with a few lines that I’m sure will make me laugh. I think both SPW and I need to have a good belly laugh.

Until then, I leave you with the following from Lieutenant Johnny Rico: “C’mon you apes! You wanna live forever?”

The good service

The good service

xfinity_comcast_logo

The not-so-good service

Now, before you think this is just another Comcast/Xfinity rant, it’s not.

I will just say that they (Comcast) could get some lessons in keeping customers happy if they just talked to the Fruit.

I’m not talking Fruit of the Loom, though.

I’m talking Apple.

Now, many folks think I’m just a mouthpiece/fanboy/unabashed Jobsian. Do I like Apple? Yes. Have I consistently gotten good product from them? Yes. Are they perfect?

No. They are not perfect.

I’ll get this out there that the Macs I own work that much better than the Windows machine. It takes our Windows 7 laptop  some four minutes to boot from cold. The Mac Book running OS-X Mountain Lion can do it in under 30 seconds.

Big difference.

Now, Supportive Partner Woman and I are both on our third generation of iPhone. We typically eschew the “S” models and upgrade every two years. Currently, we are both running iPhone 5s with 32GB. It’s a good, dependable phone, but it is not without its issues. That’s why I don’t get the Android vs. Apple debate. Recognize that both products have plusses and minuses and go with it. Do I like how my iPhone works with the rest of my tech? Yes. Is there some Android features that I wish it had? Yes. I’m not going to hate on one because I happen to own the other. That’s kind of foolish.

SPW had noticed in recent weeks that her battery had gone haywire. One minute it would show 19%, the next minute it was shutting down. She’d plug it in and 90 seconds later, it would be back in the green. Add this to the fact that whenever we’d go to back it up, it wouldn’t always detect the phone. My phone? No problem.

So, we booked an appointment with the “Genius” bar at the local Apple Store. We were a couple minutes late (blame the traffic and a long line to check in), but we were directed to wait for a “Genius”. We kind of got lost in the shuffle, but eventually, we were helped by a nice young man named Ian. He had the hipster vibe that many of the “Genius” team seem to cultivate. He ran a couple of diagnostics and announced that while the battery checked out, there was apparently a glitch in the software and proceeded to give her another phone. No fuss, no muss. Just simple service without pulling teeth.

What a concept!

To get the same result from Comcast/Xfinity, well, it would take a lot of phone calls and histrionics and threats to switch to satellite.

So, to sum up, Friday was a pretty good day.

In other news, got my blood work back (thanks, Barb!) and it was looking pretty good. A1C is still higher than what is considered normal, but it’s that level without insulin (and it’s pretty much the same as what is was before surgery WITH insulin). My cholesterol is improved… all values (save HDLs) right in the middle of normal range. In fact, most of it is disgustingly normal. It’s an improvement.

Everything seems to be healing up with my toes. I look forward to being back at it on Tuesday after the stitches are removed. I have a lot to catch up on.

Hope you all had a great weekend… it’s off to make dinner for myself and Supportive Partner Woman. Making roasted buffalo sirloin (for her) and roasted chicken breast (for me). Should be yummy!

Song of the Day: We Care a Lot – Faith No More

Currently reading: The Tenth Justice – Brad Meltzer

See? I used Latin. Who says you can’t learn anything on the Interwebz?

So, yesterday was the toe surgery. If you’re squeamish, you might want to skip ahead, but know that Supportive Partner Woman was in the room the entire time and kept her lunch down. The root of the problem is that I have hammer toes. This is primarily due to the diabetes and the overpronation of my feet. There are many treatments, most of which involve therapy of some sort, unless your toes are beyond repair, as mine are. The simple fix is that the podiatrist makes a small incision at the base of the affected toe and then, using a scalpel, releases the tendon causing the toe to be bent. It’s not terribly invasive, but it does render you incapable of curling your toes.

Recovery time is about a week, during which the toes stay bandaged (it acts as a splint) and then you are left with straighter toes. This helps to prevent corns and blisters.

It also leaves you with a freaky-looking foot. Although, as my podiatrist has told me, I’ll never win an award for attractive feet. I guess there goes my career as a foot model. Sigh.

There’s been an interesting side effect, though. For the longest time I couldn’t feel much of anything with my toes, except for heat and pressure. As my blood sugar has stabilized, I’ve found an increased level of feeling. That’s awesome, except now I can feel pain again, and, well, the toes kind of hurt. As I was sitting at my desk last night, I could feel the pulse throbbing in the straightened toes and I didn’t know whether to be bummed that it hurt or ecstatic that I could actually feel something other than phantom pain. I settled for Tylenol and a sense that while I hurt, it was a good hurt.

The other drawback is that I’m on the shelf for a week as far as getting outside. Walking up to the mailbox does not make for a ton of exercise, but I can at least lift weights and get something done. Swimming is out, because I can’t get the bandages wet (I have to wear a leg sleeve in the shower. Oh, yes, I look like a huge dork, but SPW is the only one who sees me wear it, so no foul). I can’t do squats or anything that puts stress on the feet, so lifting it is.

Been a few days since I’ve done an inspiration piece, so today’s shoutout does to Linda, who’s just an amazing person. Linda is someone who has been so incredibly supportive ever since I started this blog project oh so many years ago. I can always count on an encouraging word when I need it, and just wholehearted support. I’m incredibly lucky to know her and I can’t thank her enough for the unwavering support. So, thank you, Linda, for everything. We are truly honored to call you our friend.

Bichon/Shih-Tzu  puppies

Bichon/Shih-Tzu puppies

All that being said, going to get on with my day. But, since you are my readers and are awesome, I thought I would leave you with an undeniably cute picture, because, well, who doesn’t like cute, fuzzy puppies?

Song of the Day: Lovely to See You – The Moody Blues

Currently Reading: The Brass Verdict – Michael Connelly