Archive for the ‘The Toe of Wonders’ Category

The morning, I completed my first ever 5K.

I know… it’s hard to believe.

Mr. “I only run if chased” actually did it and even ran a bit of it.

I’ve been wanting to do this and working toward it for so long that I didn’t think I could get too emotional afterward. Then I reached that point where I just overfilled with emotion and starting crying. Tears of pain, relief, and joy. What a combo.

See, in a surprise move, the dastardly tag team of Wayne and Stubby have been acting up.  I mean, why wouldn’t they? I’m in my supposed happy place and I would have no desire to not have to wrap my toes like an Egyptian mummy, right? So, as late as Tuesday night, I was thinking about bailing on the whole thing. Then it really struck me just how much it meant for me to do it. Then yesterday, we hit the expo. Things really started to click at that point. We met up with our friends from Colorado at the expo and braved the chaos. I never saw anything quite like that. Just a sea of people milling around the Wide World of Sports complex. It was pretty freakin cool. I also met some other folks from the team and to have strangers telling me how proud they were that I was doing this started pushing me toward the happy scale.

I didn’t want to let my teammates down.

Team All Ears and friends before the start of the 5K

Team All Ears and friends before the start of the 5K.
Photo courtesy of Tom Troost

So, at 5:30 this morning, Supportive Partner Woman (5K finisher!) and I were at the team photo.

See? Lots of people

See? Lots of people

Then the waiting begins, because, as it turns out, there are a LOT of people doing this race. We were, of course, in corral E, which was the last one. Thankfully, a lot of my teammates stayed with us and walked along. I wasn’t planning on running, you see, due to my issues with Wayne and Stubby.

As we plodded along, the rains came. Not a heavy rain, but one that was starting to dampen my spirits. My inner Debbie Downer started to gnaw at me and I fumed to myself, thinking, “Well isn’t THIS just ^@$## perfect?”

I kept a smile, but that voice kept yelling at me, “What were you THINKING, you dumbass?”

Still we plodded along.

Then something magical happened. We came across a single team member standing by the International Gateway and she was just screaming for me. That’s what started my inner bitch-slapping of my inner Debbie Downer. (Big thanks to Laura Ozo!)

I realized I only had another mile to go. My pace started to pick up… the heavy feeling in my legs started to dissipate… We came around Spaceship Earth and hit the three mile mark. I saw a group of teammates and I started to hear them cheering for me. Just then, that huge lump of self-doubt flew out of me. I looked at Mike and Brad and said, “I got this.”

Then I ran.

Lumbered, really, but is that really a bad thing?

Getting a medla and hug from Lori was a great ending to an amazing morning.

Getting a medal and hug from Lori was a great ending to an amazing morning.

I crossed that finish line in stride to be greeted by a dear friend who was volunteering with a big hug and my first-ever medal.

See, they may say that running events are a solo thing. Maybe they are, but in my case, my team made me able to run.

This was followed up with congrats and pictures and a tasty brunch. Supportive Partner Woman went off to the parks, I came back to the room to write and to rest the toes.

This little bit of time has allowed me to reflect on what has happened to me today. Oh, and also to start thinking of how I’ll handle a back to back 5K and 10K next year. Because runDisney has its hooks into me now. I want that feeling again.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few people who have really helped me. First off would be our team founder, Deb Wills, and our team captains, Mike Scopa and Michelle Scribner-MacLean. Also, my friends Melanie and Bryan for putting the bug in my ear and just generally being awesome. Brad Garfinkel for being a friend and pushing me to do better. Rich Gairing, for being a great mentor and just an all-around awesome human being. It also goes without saying that the rest of my team gets credit. They are all rock stars and it would take too long to list every one of them individually.

I also wanted to thank the Nerds for a great virtual series. These folks have been so supportive as well (and yes, there’s a lot of cross-pollination) .

A "We did it" selfie

A “We did it” selfie

The real rock, though, is Supportive Partner Woman. She thinks I deserve all this credit, but the fact is that it is due to her support and encouragement that I was there at all today. I was truly blessed to have her in my life.

So, the rest of the weekend will be taken up by cheering for my teammates as they finish the other races. I hope that I can give them the same lift that they gave me. There’s also the other event coming up… the big reveal of this year’s fundraising total. That becomes available on Saturday and I will be sure to keep you updated.

After that, well, there’s the brand new Mickey Milers team, an offshoot of the Mickey Miles podcast. This will help to fill the void of Team AllEars. I’m already signed up and I’m sure I’ll be begging for donations to help Give Kids the World before too long.

Until that time, keep on moving.

Supportive Partner Woman and I just returned from a visit to sunny Florida. We went to take part in Reunion 2013, a gathering of like-minded Disney fans who get together for four days of meets, hi-jinks and whatever else happens.

There are, of course, some folks who just don’t get it, and that’s OK. More fun for the rest of us!

With that little bit out of the way, I’d like to report that the entire event was a blast. The highlight of the event is catching up with the friends we’ve met over the years. SPW and I often speak of how different the guest list would be were we to get married now instead of nine years ago. I can tell you that list would certainly be larger.

One of the biggest moments for me was the taking of the picture. If you recall, someone took a picture of me last year that really showed how obese I had become. I was determined to take a picture of the newer me, in the same spot.

meIt was a success, to say the least. I’ve lost a few pounds, or so it looks. I still have some ways to go, but it’s that much more believable when you can see tangible proof.

I’m also pleased to report, other than yet another blister incident, I survived a lot of park touring and I’m really not in any pain. The past three or four years, every trip has required a few days of recovery time. This time, not so much.

The blister is pretty substantial, enough that the doc prescribed antibiotics, in case there’s an infection. He found a liquid one, which goes down a lot easier than trying to eat it in yogurt or pudding. I was lucky that the crappy weather actually allowed me to see my regular doctor, since he had a cancellation.

I’m also pleased to report that Disney can be accommodating with my bariatric surgery. Even our group meal at Ohana was accommodated. I was able to pay the child’s price, since my capacity was so diminished. For the most part, I ordered off the child’s menu or I shared with SPW. The one full-sized item we got was a very yummy margherita pizza with prosciutto at Via Napoli in Epcot. We were lucky that the crust is very thin, so I was able to enjoy a lot of the pizza.

Another of the highlights of any Reunion is the chance to see the IllumiNations holiday tag. This is a four minute extra segment that includes a stirring rendition of Let there be Peace on Earth as performed by the Boys Choir of Harlem with narration by Walter Cronkite. I managed to get video of the tag (a little shaky, but not bad overall), so that’s posted below:

There were other special events, and the chance to make some new friends. It was also nice to chat with some people I knew by name, but had never really met, and have them tell me that my journey has been inspiring to them. It’s very humbling when you hear that.

A rare treat was being able to relive my first sight of the Osborne Lights. This was better, as the fine folks at Mouse Fan Travel had arranged a private viewing of the lights after the park closed. One of our group had never experienced the lights and there is no better way to experience them. It proves that despite all the issues they may have, Disney still knows magic.

Lights!

Lights!

I think the picture says it all.

In short, 2013 was one of the best Reunions I’ve attended. Special thanks go out to Beci & Annette from MEI/Mouse Fan Travel, Matt from Studios Central, Mike from Mouse World Radio, Mike from AllEars, and Len from touringplans.com. Might also mention that together, Mike, Len, Mike, Matt and Annette make up the WDW Today podcast team. These folks give up a lot of their time and energy to make sure everyone has a memorable experience and I know they don’t get thanked enough. I, for one, am honored to call each of them a friend.

I hope to have more photos and video up later in the week. Until then, stay warm!

Greetings from the land of the living!

Yes, I survived my second operation on my toe. This one was the big one… Dr. Flood “resected” part of my right “great” toe. In layman’s terms, he cut off the tip of my big toe to remove the infected bone. I don’t know why they call it the “great” toe… my take on that is if the toe was so great, it wouldn’t have landed me in the hospital.

This is going to take some getting used to. The doctor seems to think that my gait should not be adversely impacted, but it’s got to be different from what I was used to. It’s strange to look at… seeing your big toe shorter than your second toe. I can’t say what the surgical site itself looks like, as it won’t be unwrapped until tomorrow, but there’s a lot of tape and whatnot stuck on my foot. As part of the healing process, I need to keep my foot elevated and walk on my right heel. They are supposed to take the stitches out on the Tuesday after Christmas… then I should be able to do a little more.

All hail Stubby!

Next up on the medical front is the possible removal of my PICC line from my left arm. This will make me very happy in that I might be able to wash my left arm for the first time in a month. It will also mean that I might be able to sleep on my left side. That would make life much nicer.

I’m also learning a lot about diabetes management. This is not an easy thing to do. he diabetes staff at LGH recommend that my ideal blood glucose reading be between 70-130. I’m proud to say that my 14 day average is 101. As a pleasant side effect, the hair on my legs is starting to grow back. I might be a better challenger in the International Mr. Sexy Legs competition with some leg fur. Of course, when searching the web for diabetes information, I’ve come across some real gems, most of which feature legendary Quaker Oats and Liberty Medical pitchman Wilford Brimley. I’m going to share some of these gems with you:

It seems that old Wilford has a bit of internet celebrity. Whoda thunk?

One other thing about the forced confinement is the sheer amount of bad acting on daytime television. It can be summed up in two words. Susan Lucci. This woman is a hack of the first order. I haven’t seen this much scene chewing since the Xpress Ready Set Go infomercial. This woman makes Drake Hogestyn look like Laurence Olivier!

So, I’m headed to the main Chair of Doom to have some breakfast and get on with my busy day of doing not much. It’s nice to have The Management around for six straight days, so at least I have that going for me. Of course, I got her hooked on Angry Birds, so maybe that’s not a good thing.

I’m going to leave you with some appropriate lyrics from Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas,” which is my favorite Christmas song:

I wish you a hopeful Christmas, I wish you a brave New Year. All anguish, pain and sadness, leave your heart and let your road be clear.

I’ll be back with you soon.

P.S. I don’t have much to report on the weight loss front, but last night it was 278.6. A little loss is still a loss.

A major milestone

Posted: December 6, 2010 in The Toe of Wonders, Weight loss

Greetings from the Chair of Doom.

This time I write with some good news. When I started the weight loss, I weighed in at a tick over 330 pounds. This morning, I weighed 280.0. That means that the first fifty pounds is down. Still have 30 pounds to go to get myself ready for the Segway tour, but I’m a lot closer than I’ve been in a lot of years.

This goes to show what a steady balanced diet can do for you. I’ve lost weight with no exercise at all, other than the periodic visit to the bathroom and up to bed. I’m really encouraged that it is coming off and I think it should get easier with exercise.

I think I’m really missing the freedom of walking. Walking has been my preferred exercise since I started this. I like being able to put on some tunes and get some fresh air. I’ve never been a runner (when people ask if I run, I say “Only if chased.”), but walking is pretty much my speed. I’m hoping that I will be able to walk regularly again. I’m hopeful, since I won’t be losing my entire toe. I’ve read some blogs from people who’ve lost an entire big toe and it’s no picnic.

If I can’t walk like I used to, I at least have a good memory of the last walk I took before landing in the hospital. The Management and I joined our friend Margot and her mom for the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on November 14. The way I sweated during the walk probably shows that I wasn’t in the best of health, but it was still a great day for a great cause.

Kathleen, Margot, yours truly, The Management

Perhaps the neatest part of the walk was being at the ballpark while it was empty. I’m used to being there with 40,000 people and to see all the empty stands was very different.

So, I’m going to continue with the diet and see how it goes. Thanks again for your support. This is not an easy fight, but knowing that family and friends are willing to support you helps a lot. In a way, weight and diabetes are a lot a like. Both take a lot of effort to manage and keep under control, but both can be controlled.

I’ll keep you posted.

Good morning, campers!

I still write from the Chair of Doom. Not necessarily a bad thing, if you aren’t stuck sitting in it about 14 hours a day. See, I still have to keep off the Toe of Wonders as much as possible, so… here I sit. I’ve spent so much time welded to this chair that my ass is going to assume a complementary shape before too long.

There’s good news, though. All the doctors seem to think that it’s healing up pretty nicely. I keep threatening to take a picture of the toe, just to post on here, but The Management says that wouldn’t be a particularly good idea. I might use a word picture to describe things, but that would probably be a little graphic as well.

Getting back to the doctors, the infectious disease doctors say that the strep is going away. Three more weeks of antibiotics and I should be ready to go. The surgeon wants an X-ray, which I’ll get done on Wednesday, but they are probably going to amputate the tip of the toe. Apparently, the bone loss from the infection has really been severe and if they leave the whole toe, the risk for further infection is quite significant. I’m troubled by having part of my body cut off and tossed away like garbage, but if it improves my overall health and reduces my chances for further visits to the hospital, I can deal with it. I might ask if I can have the piece and put it in a Lucite block as a paperweight, but Laura says that’s creepy.

So, next week will bring more doctor visits. I see the infections doc on Tuesday who will look at the toe and review the bloodwork and make sure it’s all kosher. I see our new internist on Wednesday. This will be my first time with a woman physician. It’s not that I’m a sexist about it, but I just always had a male doctor. We shall see how it goes. I also will get the X-ray done that day.

Finally, I see the surgeon on Friday who will let me know about the X-ray and maybe a timetable for the snip job. He assures me that after the amputation, I’m back to normal (or what passes for normal with me) in two weeks. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Finally, I’d like to give a shout out to everyone who has taken care of me. At LGH, the biggest shout outs go to Dr. Christopher Addis and Dr. Jennifer Delutis, both of whom took great care of me and got me started on the road to better diabetes management. Not to mention they both have Penn State ties, which counts for a lot. Also, Tabby Jones, the diabetes educator who answers all my silly questions and genuinely cares about my concerns. This is a new thing for me. I also would like to thank the nursing team on 8 North who really took good care of me. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Dr. Michael Flood, surgeon extraordinaire, who carved up my toe like a Thanksgiving turkey, but saved the rest of my foot. Thanks for keeping me upright.

Since I’ve been back home, I’d also like to give a big thank you to the people from the visiting nurse association. All of the nurses who have cared for me have been skilled and professional and have been more than willing to share their expertise and suggestions for dealing with diabetes.

Thanks also go out to my friends who have sent well-wishes and kept us in their thoughts. I know it’s helping me get better faster with all the positive vibes. Specific thanks go out to our Disney crew, most notably Mike Newell, who have been live streaming  events from Reunion and whetting our appetite for next December. I would also like to thank our friend Margot who has come over to visit regularly and cooked dinner for us.

The final and biggest thanks go out to my two biggest caregivers. They are my lovely wife and my mother. They have been taking good care of me and sacrificing a lot until I can get better. If it wasn’t for them, I’m not sure where I’d be. They can drive you nuts, but it’s for the best… I’m usually trying to push the envelope, but slow and steady wins the race. So, Laura and mom, thank you. You guys completely rock.

Until next time, I wish you all good health and good shopping.

Greetings!

I am typing this from the “comforts” of my own living room, where I’ve been recovering from the Magical Mystery Toe. This is not quite as good as it sounds. See, I have to keep the foot propped up and my ass is crazy numb from too much sitting. I’ve been home a week and a half, and not done much. I’ll be two weeks post surgery tomorrow with no complications.

Today is a sad day, though. Today we were supposed to be flying to Orlando to spend a week with many of our friends for Reunion. My toe situation kind of put the kibosh on that trip. We were both looking forward to this trip… there was a lot of good stuff planned, including a dessert party and private time at the Osborne Spectacle of Lights. Alas, my need for I.V. antibiotics made travel problematic at best. Also, I’m really not ready to do Disney in an ECV.

There’s a good side to the problem, and that is just how great everyone was to deal with. When we realized it wasn’t going to work, my first call was to Disney Vacation Club (our timeshare). When I talked to the lady there and explained my situation (hospitalization, surgery, etc.) she managed to get things fixed that our points went back to our regular account and not into a holding account. This is great news and it gives us the flexibility to reschedule at our convenience (when the Toe of Wonders is healed up). After that, I called the airline. I have had issues with airlines in the past, so I was expecting to lose the money. With great trepidation, I called AirTran’s customer service line. I was connected to Frances and I related my story. Frances cancelled our flight without a cancellation fee and now we have the entire airfare as a credit in our account with them. AirTran could not have been more helpful and they were a pleasure to deal with. I will be sad when they are taken over by Southwest.

The other major stumbling block would conceivably be Micky’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special hard ticket event at the Magic Kingdom. I called Disney about these tickets when I returned home and they were able to refund our money for the tickets. All told, we’re out about $5 in PayPal fees. Not too bad when you consider how bad it could have been.

So, moving right along, I’m making progress getting my blood glucose under control. The doctors put me on insulin, which kind of sucks, but it has not caused the suicidal feelings that Byetta caused. Speaking of Byetta, it seems that it is made from the saliva of the Gila monster. Apparently, it works for some people. Not me, though. So, I have to stick myself four times a day. It’s doing wonders, though. The downside is having a couple of bouts of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The shakes and cold sweats are not a good thing, but once that curve is mastered and the blood sugars even out, it will be worth it. No one is saying anything in particular, but in the future, I might be able to control things with one injection a day, or maybe by diet alone.

Speaking of diets, mine is going well. I’ve gotten to about 1,800 calories a day and even though I can’t exercise, I’ve still lost 11 pounds since the day I was admitted to the hospital. This puts my total weight loss since I started the blog at 46.8 pounds. Just to think I almost lost 50 pounds in six months. This really makes me happy. When I get to 250, I’m treating myself to something I’ve always wanted to do… take a Segway tour at Disney World.

I’ll be back with another entry this week.

Current weight: 283.2

Greetings from Stalag 8012!

Perhaps that is a little strong. See, I’m stuck in Lancaster General Hospital due to the attack of the Amazing Technicolor Toe. Many faithful readers can recall the epic tale of Lord GOMF, the Earl of Bunion. That particular blister was thought vanquished. Well turns out he’s back and seriously pissed off.

See, a couple of weeks ago I got a blister. Fairly innocuous, so I lanced it and slathered it with bacitracin. The usual treatment for a blister that I’ve employed countless times before. This time, well, there was a sinister interloper…. streptococci. I didn’t know this, but apparently you can get strep toe. I’m living proof.

I continued treating myself and the toe just didn’t get any better. A couple of days ago, I noticed it was becoming colorful and getting a tad swollen. Before I knew it, it was roughly the size of Donald Trump’s ego and I was running a 102.2 fever. That’s pretty steep for anyone, but since I normally run a 96.8, it scared me. I took some Advil and the fever subsided, but I knew I needed some help. Before I did that, though, I had the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk on Sunday. Three miles at Citizen’s Bank Park. I finished that with no major issues.

So Monday, I got the Management to take me to Urgent Care who sent me to the ER. At the ER, the Magical Mystery Toe was unveiled and promptly became a must-see stop. They admitted me and started the IV antibiotics. I’m pretty sure that by this point they’ve pumped me so full of antibiotics that you could drop me into a giant Petrie dish full of anthrax and I’d be ok.

So, after x rays, MRI, ultrasound and God knows what else, I’m on the cusp of my first general anesthesia. This has me freaked out like nobody’s business. I’m so skittish right now I’m like a hyperkinetic poodle on crystal meth. I’m hoping I’ll be able to continue the post when I’m out of surgery and the Amazing Technicolor Toe is less… colorful.

Thanks for all the support and well wishes. I’m going to be ok. I hope. It might curtail my participation in the next International Mr. Sexy Legs competition, but then again, the people who saw the last one might say that might not be a bad thing.

See you on the other side.

Most recent weight: 291.4