Tonight I marked a goal as accomplished. I climbed the Mac incline. Just once, but once was my goal so I feel good. Really good. It's 200 steps up, up, up. I thought I was going to die there for a bit. Like my heart was going to come pounding out of my chest. But I stuck with it and got 'er done. The climb took me a little over 20 minutes. At the top they have a few chairs, which I was thankful for. I caught my breath and then it was time to head down. Kenzie and her friend, Bailee, joined me and I was thankful for the moral support. I pulled up the caboose, but not by much.
All told, it took about 40 minutes round trip, including our break at the top. I was seriously, so so happy to reach the pinnacle. It represents so many things to me right now.
Some of you know, some of you don't, but I've been dealing with some pretty serious health issues as of late.
In March I had an "attack" after eating a bratwurst. Boy how I love my greasy sausage. The attack was such that I wound up going to the hospital at 2am. Conclusion? None reached. They took blood. They did an ultra sound. They ruled out gallstones. In the end, they gave me pain relief and then after about 4 hours, sent me on my way. Later that day the pain subsided and I didn't think much of it again. Until early this month. When I ate another bratwurst. (Hmmmm, perhaps you shouldn't eat bratwurst...) And had another attack.
This one didn't subside for nearly 10 days. Not full strength, but painful none-the-less. And I couldn't eat. Anything. But broth. And Jello. No joke. -9 pounds in 10 days. Whoot whoot. Not so much. I made an appointment with a gastroenterologist. Because I had fear.
I'm not a worry-wart, or a doomsday'er. I don't believe that we are predestined for any particular outcome. But I'm also a realist. My mom died of pancreatic cancer. After 20+ years of digestive issues she used to call "Diverticulitis". All sorts of foods would set my mom off. In pain. For days. After a while we just chalked it up to mom having a "gentle" system. Until she got really sick. And didn't get better. And ultimately died. I learned a lot about the pancreas during that time.
I learned that the reason people die from it is because it's not an organ that signals pain. Often the pain that does present is located in other areas that throw off the docs. For instance, this round my pain was on the left side. Where there aren't many organs residing. By the time they narrow down the problem it's advanced to stage 4 and then it's not very treatable. The success rate at stage 4 pancreatic cancer is something like 1.8%, and that's with a 5 year morbidity prognosis. Grim stuff.
Anyway. I went in to this appointment equipped. I want to talk about my pancreas. No, I don't drink. No, seriously, I'm not an alcoholic. My mother died for Pancreatic cancer, and I understand there can be a genetic component. The doc was great, and listened with full attention. The doc asked me a lot of questions. Things I hadn't thought about. Food for thought, so to speak. Next steps, we ordered blood work, and a CT. Just in case.
I did the blood the next morning, and the CT in the afternoon. Results were back the next day. Dr. Fairbanks was stumped a bit. My Lipase (blood work specific to the endocrine system/pancreas) was only at an 11, on a scale of 0-60. Ordinarily not another thought would be given to the pancreas, except for the CT results. Which show that in fact, my pancreas is inflamed. Go figure. More testing. Still going through the testing now.
So, things have begun to change, all at once, and radically. My eating for one. Low-fat, lean meats. LOTS of vegis. And the weight is falling off. I'm even tracking my eating in weight watchers just to make sure I'm getting enough nutrition during the day. Trying to eat the points I'm allotted. Some days that's easier than others. Yesterday, I felt great. All my points, plus a few bonus points. Today, I'm down 14 points and have no more appetite.
Frank gave me the go-ahead to build a home gym. So I am in the process of doing that. I've ordered the treadmill of my dreams (z11) and a Bosu. I'm about to order dumbbells and a weight bench. And then I took a really big step. Saturday night I did a search on Castle Rock personal trainers. I want someone who is willing to work with me in my home gym. A service came up called Thumbtack. It's a place where you can specify the kind of professional you are interested in and within 24 hours you get information and quotes from professionals meeting those needs. And bingo, I got a great hit.
A gal named Laura Hancock who owns Essence Health & Fitness, a private gym here in CR. We connected on Sunday and chatted for a bit. And she got me. Once an athlete, I tend to go all out when I try to get back into working out. I do it with a vengeance. With a streak of perfection not to be touched, until I slip up. The slightest little bit. Then it all comes crashing down and I quit. She had my number. She is of the same background. We talked about my goals and my condition. We meet in person on Wednesday to determine if she is in fact, the right trainer for me. She offered to meet me 50/50. If I would come to her gym (about 10 minutes from my house) to do my regular trainer based workouts, she (or one of the other trainers I may work with) will come to my home gym when my program changes so I know what to do at home on the days I'm not in her gym. Deal. I can live with that.
I have big goals. And a huge amount of weight to lose. If I want to get into the stupid "healthy weight zone" on that stupid grid they came up with in the 1950's or so, it would mean a total weight loss of 120 pounds. I'm not insane. That's not my goal. At my healthiest, fittest, and at 9% body fat in high school I was 151. And it was a bear to maintain even then. And I was working out 2 hours before school and up to 3 hours after school most days. Insane.
I would like to hit about 175. I think I can comfortably maintain that and I think it's doable for me to reach it. But that will be a total loss of 95 pounds. Holy smokes. I'm down 14 from where I started less than a month ago. It's not the best way to lose weight, but I'll take the jump start. Now that I'm eating my loss has slowed to 2-3 pounds a week, and I anticipate it will slow further here in the next week or so as I continue to eat balanced, healthy portions.
This is something in my control. I can't change my genetics. But if this is what is going on, I will do everything in my power to fight. Now, when I'm still young and pretty healthy. As heavy as I am I have no co-morbidity. No high blood pressure, no full-blown diabetes, no high cholesterol. None of the things I should have. I've maintained a weight in the morbid obesity range for something like 13 years now. And I've gained 20 + in the last 2 1/2. Stress on the job and sitting on my butt most days and eating whatever, whenever I wanted will do that to a person.
Like I said, I don't believe our path is predetermined. I think it's a matter of what path you choose to take that will lead to a natural outcome. Some better than others. I choose the path of health. I know there will be a LOT of hurdles in my way. A LOT of obstacles to over come and push through which is why I'm sitting here writing tonight. I want something to come back to. Something to read when the clarity I have in this moment becomes foggy. I want to remember that I determine my fate. That I am in control of my choices and the path I walk. And I am not alone. Frank is super supportive. My kids are supportive. My friends are supportive. And now, hopefully, my trainer(s) will be supportive. I have a great doc who I trust. And the beginnings of a game plan. I am on my way.
Walking up that incline was so cathartic. One step at a time, even when I thought I couldn't do it, even when my heart was beating faster than I could catch my breath, I kept putting one foot in front of the other. 10 steps, 40 steps, 80 steps, 180 steps. The top. I just didn't let myself stop. And by going forward I found success. Every little success counts. It will be the same in this journey. One step at a time, forging ahead. Check back in from time to time as I journey back to health.