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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Slow Improvement

Doing a little better today, although it is still quite painful to walk after sitting for a while.  I may try a short walk with my dog this evening, if I get off on time.  I did walk to work this morning.  I did quite a bit of walking at work yesterday, though, and it was beginning to take its toll.  I just want to be careful.  Perhaps I can get on the recumbent bike tomorrow morning.

My eating yesterday was good, almost very good.  Breakfast was Kashi GoLean cereal with milk.  Lunch was a Farmhouse (grilled chicken) salad at Potbelly.  Dinner was a roasted chicken sandwich from Subway, an apple, and 5 whole grain crackers with Nutella.  A little later I had probably 5 more crackers (no Nutella).  I also had 2 hard cinnamon candies during the day (not from my cubie’s candy bowl, but from the mint bowl we have in the lobby).  I needed something after the salad, which had red onion and blue cheese in it.  I didn’t touch my cubie’s candy bowl, which is full of chocolate and Starburst candy.  Too dangerous for me to get started on.

This morning, I had a ham, mushroom, egg and swiss on a wheat square at Potbelly (I was running late, so didn’t have time to eat at home).  A square is the size of half a regular sandwich, or about 3 inches.  With that I had a banana.  Lunch was a Southwest Chicken Caesar salad and an apple.  I ordered the dressing on the side, so I could control how much went on it.  Usually, for me, the less carb thing is a more important choice than a low fat thing.  Within reason.  For dinner, I think I will have parmesan crusted chicken, a little rice and some steamed veggies.

There are Christmas goodies in the break room calling out to me.  I just keep thinking:  “Christmas goodies or less pain?”  I have to choose less pain.  I wish the result of good choices was immediate, but then I would probably stop making the good choices.  I have to keep in the forefront of my mind that I have to make changes, and the changes have to be permanent, if I want to have a life that is not filled with pain.  I need a shock collar to remind me when I choose not to remember that.

This does not mean, however, that I will not have any Christmas goodies at all.  I just cannot make it a month-long thing, like it tends to be in this law office.  Clients and vendors deliver things to our office all month long, not to mention coworkers bringing goodies they have made.  There have been years that I just don’t eat some meals because I know I will be indulging in the goodies around here and I am trying to save at least some calories.  But I have to exercise more discretion this year and partake of the goodies only on limited occasions.

I keep thinking that after Christmas I would like to do something for a few weeks to get some weight off more quickly (like Medifast or something) so I can more quickly get to a place where my pain level is improved enough to where I can be more active to help with my efforts.  Does anyone have any thoughts about that idea?  A big question is, would I do it?  I might.  I hate that I have let it get to this point before I am motivated enough to do something about it.  There was just too much junk going on in my life.

I did not have the family meeting last weekend.  I have, however, been speaking up more to my kids individually.  And there is more I need to say.  I also need to speak up more at work.  I didn’t tell my boss yesterday that I didn’t think I needed to be making 20 trips down the hall to the other end of the office.  He was in a meeting and I didn’t want to make an issue in front of the other people, plus I was feeling some better.  However, toward the end of it, it was beginning to take its toll.  And it was more walking than I needed to be doing.  He is down there in that same office today.  So far, I have only had to make one trip down there.  If it starts up again, I will tell him, or I will take my co-worker up on her offer to walk down there for me.


It didn’t wind up being too bad, and I am slowly feeling better.  Now I am going to walk home from work.

I did have a little “white trash” that somebody brought.  But very little.  I also had a fun-size Snickers from the candy bowl (darn it).  Of course, that made me want more, but I fought that urge off.

Gotta run!  (Or walk slowly.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Setback of Sorts

I typed a post yesterday and didn’t get it posted.  It has been a rough couple of days since Saturday.  I went to the Reflexologist (Sharon) and she did a lot of massage work on my back and legs, since I had been having such problems with them last week.  She said I had all kinds of “ropes” in my lower back and she spent time breaking up the knots and working on the ropes.  She told me I needed to do a lot of stretching on an ongoing basis and that I did not even need to think about doing any strength training, probably for several months, until I had achieved full range of motion.  Strength training when you do not have full range of motion only makes things worse.  I did some stretching just while sitting or lying down Saturday evening.

Sunday, I was doing okay in the morning, although sore.  I got out and did a couple of things that required walking.  I got home and sat a while, and as the day wore on, my back, hips and legs began to tighten up, and by early evening, I was barely getting around.  It was my sciatic nerve and it was acting up with a vengeance.  I got in the hot tub at the lofts to see if that would help, and did some stretching while in the water.  It felt good while doing it, but I went back to my apartment and sat a while after that and it continued to tighten and get more painful.  I was in pain even just sitting on the couch.  I began having some other unpleasant sensations in my back and at one point, I thought I might have to go to the ER.  I lay down on the floor, first on my back and then on my stomach.  That seemed to help a little.  I also took some more pain med and a muscle relaxant, knowing if I went to the ER, that’s what they would do.  I was at least more comfortable sitting, but still in pretty severe pain when I stood up, and walking was impossible.  I was afraid I might not be able to sleep, but with the pain med and the muscle relaxant, was able to sleep.

 Monday morning, I woke up and was still in a lot of pain when standing.  Getting around was very difficult.  I would have liked to stay home the entire day, but with my backup out indefinitely, I didn’t feel like I could do that.  I asked our courtrunner if he could pick me up, so I wouldn’t have to walk to work.  He was at the doctor’s office with his daughter, but said he would pick me up when he was done.  It was getting pretty late in the morning and I felt like I needed to get to work, so I went to CVS and bought me a cane and I walked to work with the help of the cane.  It made me feel so old.  I made it to work okay, although it was painful.  I sat most of the day and would only get up when I had to.  Every time I would stand up, I would have to wait for the pain to wash over me and kind of work into putting any weight on my left leg; then I could painfully walk around the office, holding on to things as I went.  My daughter picked me up so I didn’t have to walk home.  It was pretty much the same last evening.  My poor dog has not been walked in 3 days.

I was a little better when I got up this morning.  I did a few things around the house – put in a load of laundry and put some dishes in the dishwasher.  My son didn’t come home yesterday (not unusual), so I had no help.  The girls are busy with their jobs and some struggles of their own.  I did feel a little better this morning, so I walked to work.  My co-worker had loaned me a crutch yesterday, which did seem to help – I liked using one crutch better than a cane.  I carried the crutch with me and would lean on it when I waited for lights to change, but walked without it and did okay, although slow.  As I sit at work today, at times I am feeling a little better, but I stiffen up again after sitting and it is quite painful when I first get up.  I am not doing enough walking at work to get past the stiffness, so walking around here is slow and painful.

My boss, who gets massages regularly and has some back problems of his own, said this happened because my muscles had built up a kind of protection for the nerve in my back.  When she broke up some of that stuff my back has built up, the nerve was now unprotected, so my vertebrae clamped down on the nerve.  Things will improve as the muscles are loosened so I can get in better alignment, so the nerve is not pinched.  The thing is, from what I know about what is wrong with me, according to the spine surgeon, I am not sure that can happen without losing a substantial amount of weight or having surgery.  According to the MRI, the structure of my spine is pretty messed up.  I have all kinds of degenerative stuff going on, plus the spondylolisthesis (which means one vertebrae has moved forward – anteriorally – in relation to the one below it), and this is causing my nerve to be pinched.  I also have pretty severe stenosis, which means the spinal canal has narrowed (from the bulging disc(s), bone spurs, etc.) and all that is putting pressure on the nerve.  My last x-ray showed that it had further narrowed since the one the year before, so it is quite severe in nature.  I don’t know how much good just causing the muscles to relax is going to help, if the underlying problems are not corrected, either with weight loss (which will help to a degree) or surgery.  I will continue to read and study and ask questions.  Sharon told me to get a book called Wharton’s Back Book, which in her opinion is the best one about teaching you how important stretching is and how to do it, when and how to strength train, etc.  I saw in the index it does talk some about spondylolisthesis, so I will see what it has to say about everything.

Sharon told me reflexology and massage can help some people avoid surgery, but for others, it helps the surgery be more successful and keeps the muscles, etc. surrounding the spine in better condition before and after the spine is corrected.  I have a suspicion that my back falls into the second category.  I am not someone who has occasional back pain.  My back is in pretty bad shape and it is going to take some major things to make it better.  Weight loss does often help spondylolisthesis, because the added weight in the abdomen pulls the top vertebrae further forward and out of alignment.  It will help the other problems some, because the extra weight is putting an enormous amount of pressure on my spine, but it may not cure it because of the severity of my problems.  I wish I could have a disc replacement when the time comes.  That seems the most natural way to restore the spine more to its normal state, instead of fusing it, which causes loss of mobility, etc.  However, my insurance will not pay for disc replacement because it is considered too experimental at this point.  It is a fairly new procedure.  I hope that by the time I have anything done (if I do), that it will have become the proven method for treatment and therefore be covered by insurance.  However, fusion might be required if the slippage is not improved enough by weight loss.

Losing weight and the work Sharon is doing on me will give me the best chance of the best recovery.  I must stay on track.

Speaking of which, my eating has not been great the last 3 days, as far as what I have eaten, but portion control has been pretty good, compared to how I was eating.  I could slowly lose weight, I think.  However, I have not been able to walk or work out the last few days.  That is not good.  I could probably do the recumbent bike now (although Sunday night and Monday morning, I do not think I could), but the walking there to do it is the hard part.  Everything is 4 times harder to do right now.

I can’t remember if I posted about thinking about getting a “scooter” chair.  I sure have been wishing I had one the last few days.  Maybe I will look for a used one.  At least I could keep my dog walked and maintain my independence as far as getting to work if I had one.  Until I get my back healed up more, I may be having more episodes like this.  But I do believe it is just an episode.  I will be back to where I was in a couple of days, I think.  I hope.

I must keep my eating on track.  I must.  And this is not a good time of year for that.  Always some kind of goodies around.  So far so good today.  I had some Kashi GoLean cereal with milk for breakfast.  Lunch is a Farmhouse chicken salad from Potbelly.  I seem to do better on higher protein and less carbs, so this salad is good for that.

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's Time for Boundaries

Goodness, I am sleepy today.

I got to thinking about something last night and this morning.  It has to do with the situation with my kids – having the family meeting, saying the things I need to say to them, etc.  This has been a life-long problem for me.  I did not speak up for myself in my marriage and it became abusive.  I don’t speak up for myself enough at work, so I find myself carrying too heavy of a load oftentimes, and I do the same thing with my kids.  I tend to believe things happen for a reason.  What if all that is happening has something to do with this issue of my needing to learn to speak up for myself (I am talking about some of the unusual things that have been happening)?  Actually, it is probably just a natural consequence.  If I don’t speak up for myself, people tend to walk all over me and I end up carrying way more responsibility than I should.

I have always been a pleaser.  I don’t like confrontation and I don’t like making waves. I have always had this mentality that I better be really good so people won’t mind having me around too much.  But I have become a pushover far too much of the time.

Now, I have never been a fan of people who are too pushy and who come in and take over situations in the wrong kind of way.  I have no desire to be that kind of person.  But that does not mean that I cannot be a nice and kind person and still uphold proper boundaries.  I owe that to myself.

There are certain things about my current situation that I wouldn’t necessarily do differently.  The problem with my daughter losing her job because of her health issue.  I think most parents would step in and help their child in a situation like this.  But there are other areas – a lot of them involving money and finances – where my kids are overstepping the line.  If I don’t uphold the boundary, then who will?  I guess I just expect them to do the right thing.  But they don’t always do that.  I am doing myself and them a disservice by allowing this to continue.  And there are other areas too.  If I am helping my kids this much financially, they should be helping me in every other way possible.  Jacob is staying with me and the girls are coming over a lot for meals because Stephanie has not been making enough money and I didn’t have enough extra to give her money for groceries.  Bethany also had a couple of things come up during the last month where she has been short on money.  So they come eat at my house.  I am fine with that.  But if I am doing all this for them, I sure as heck should not be cleaning up after them.  In fact, as much as I am helping them financially, I really should not have to be doing much of anything in the way of housework.  They should be doing it for me.   But they are not – or, at least, only a little.   And I have not been saying strongly enough that they should.  I don’t expect them to work as hard as I work myself (I don’t, but I should).  If I can work extra hours to make sure we all have enough, then they can certainly work extra hours lightening my load in other ways.  I expect that they should know this without me harping on them about it, but that is not working.  I am going to have to learn to communicate more directly and strongly.  This situation cannot continue.

And if they are misusing their money and that creates a situation where they cannot pay a bill, then I should not step in and help them.

You may be saying, what does this have to do with a weight loss blog?  For me, A LOT.  I think this “holding everything in” and not saying what needs to be said – in almost every area of my life – is part of the underlying problem.  I am not caring enough about myself to take up for myself.  I am not valuing myself.  It is little wonder that I am having difficulty taking care of myself  physically – doing what it takes to lose weigt.  I am carrying too heavy of a load all the time, I am constantly stressed, and my body is not handling it anymore.  I comfort myself with food, but that is only making the problem worse.

My kids love me, but they obviously are not respecting me enough.  Why should they when I don’t respect myself enough to say enough is enough?  Respect is earned.  They are obviously not going to do the right thing without my setting some boundaries.  So that is what this meeting tomorrow is about.  It is only a first step, but I have to do it.  Lord, help me not to wimp out like I usually do.

Food yesterday was good.  When I got home late last night, my son had fixed me dinner – a chicken stir-fry with vegetables and some brown rice.  I had already eaten the peanut butter crackers, so I didn’t want to eat too much.  I ate just a little of what he cooked – maybe a half cup total – and saved the rest to warm up for lunch today.  I need to drink more water, so I am going to work on that today too.  I stayed away from the candy bowl yesterday.  Last night when my cubie had gone home and I was still working, I set the candy bowl out of sight so it would not constantly be staring me in the face.

I did not ride the recumbent bike this morning.  I felt the need for a little more sleep.  I have had 3 bike workouts this week, and will try to get one done tomorrow and one Sunday.  That would be a good, strong week, considering my pain level right now, which is still significant.

Now let’s see if I can stay awake to get through my work day.  Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Have to Learn to Speak Up!

Last night was a rough one.  For my lower back, usually I only have trouble when I am on my feet.  Although there is occasionally some generalized pain when I am sitting, usually pain is not an issue until I get on my feet.  Yesterday, I started having more pain issues just sitting at my desk, and last night, I had a difficult time sleeping because of radiating pain.  It feels like something has gotten significantly worse.  You know how things always seem worse in the middle of the night.  Last night I got worried that I was going to be in that much pain all the time and there being nothing they could really do about it on a day-to-day basis.  Specifically, the pain shooting to my right knee, and sometimes into my right foot, was pretty bad.

Admittedly, I did not take any pain medication in the evening, but I usually don’t.  Usually once I lay down, I am okay.  I finally had to take some around midnight, but I still had a hard time sleeping.  Finally, around 5:30, I took my morning dose and arranged my pillows so I was almost sitting up and pillows under my knees and that seemed to take some pressure off of the nerve, and slept another 30 minutes after that.  I think I will start out that way tonight.

I had a good day as far as eating and exercise yesterday.  First, I stayed away from the candy bowl.  My meals were fairly healthy and I think where they needed to be calorie-wise.  I asked my son if on the nights he is home (while he is staying with me), he would cook dinner for us so that it was ready when I get home.  He cooked some tilapia (kind of pan-sautéed), brown rice and roasted squash.  It was very good!  I had some frozen (unsweetened) cherries for “dessert” and a few whole grain crackers (about 5) with a little Nutella spread on them.  Breakfast yesterday was some cereal with milk; lunch was a bacon and avocado sandwich on a multi-grain ciabatta roll and an apple.

So, not everything I ate yesterday was exactly “diet” food, but my portions were controlled and I think I can lose weight on that amount of food.  It is not that kind of eating that got me this big.  It was the out-of-control eating and being addicted to sweets so that one serving was never enough that got me here.

As far as exercise, I walked the dog 3 times yesterday and did 30 minutes on the recumbent bike.

For breakfast this morning, I had cereal with milk again.  For lunch, I had a ham sandwich and an orange.  I still need to stock up on some more veggies, although I do have some frozen ones.

I had a couple of “surprises” (not in a good way) this morning.  I am going to have to call a family meeting.  I won’t go into detail – I don’t like anyone to think badly of my kids.  But I really have no one to lean on if they are not going to be dependable, so I had better learn to speak up better where they are concerned.  It makes me feel very alone that I don’t really feel like there is anyone I can talk to about it.  Let’s just say I am feeling a little “pillaged” right now.  I just looked up the definition to that word, and I guess it is a little strong.  My kids are leaning on me a lot right now, but I have no one I can lean on.  The load feels too heavy.  Things are about to get better, but right now, I feel a little used and abused.  I really have to speak up because I don’t need to be under this much stress.  I told them I wanted to have a family meeting, so now I just need to stick to that and say what I need to say.  Nobody else is looking out for me, so if I don’t do it, things will go on as they are.

I am working late tonight, the first night this week.  Of course, I would rather go home, but I will be glad when my paycheck gets here.  Right now, I am alone and the candy bowl was staring me in the face.  I put it down off of my cubie's ledge onto her desk where I can’t see it.  I have no intention of eating any, but seeing it every time I get up doesn’t help.  Plus, when she gets here in the morning, it sends her a message (I told her before I moved it out of sight because it tempts me).  My friend at work, who also has big-time weight issues, plus other issues (she is the one who was in ICU recently and still has not returned to work) told her that when she got back, that thing needed to disappear.  She is much more outspoken than I am, plus she is a supervisor.  My cubie still seems to think we are kidding.  She just doesn’t understand that for people like us, that is a real problem.  It’s like offering champagne to an alcoholic all the time.  Seriously.

For dinner tonight, so far, I have eaten some peanut butter and crackers.  I had some whole grain crackers with me and some natural peanut butter, so I had a few of those.  My intent, when I get home, is just to eat a little fruit or something and let that be it.  That’s enough calories for today.  Maybe a little something else – some yogurt or something.

I just want to make sure I am doing what I need to do every day to get the weight off.  I did not walk my dog at Noon.  The reason I did not was I got busy this morning and did not take my medicine on time.  I remembered it when I was about to leave for lunch, but it had no time to take effect.  I just didn’t feel up to walking without the benefit of the pain medication.  Now I will not get to do it tonight either, but that is one reason I like to do the recumbent bike workout in the morning.  You never know when things will get in the way of getting your exercise, so if you get it done first thing in the morning, nothing can.  So today it will just be the 1 walk and the 30-minute workout on the recumbent bike.  At least I am doing something.

That’s it for today.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pep Talk to Myself -- What's It Going to Take?

I keep starting posts in the morning and add to them as the day goes on, and then it gets to be time to go home and I don’t get them posted.

How am I doing?  Let’s just say I am treading water, trying to stay afloat.  I got up Monday morning and this morning and did 30 minutes on the recumbent bike.  Monday I had 3 walks, Tuesday, I had 2 walks, and today I have had 2 walks so far.

I am doing better, at times, with the eating, and not so good at other times.  Really treading water there.  But I refuse to give up.  I know that pretty soon, I will get fully back on track and moving again.  I just have to keep fighting.

Pain issues are significant.  My knees, in particular, are hurting pretty badly.  It feels like someone is taking a knife and stabbing me, and twisting it at the front, inside part of my knees – both of them.  It used to only be the left one, but now the right one is doing it and it is worse than the left one.  This is the radiating pain I talk about.  I also have it at the backs of both knees (which is the sciatic nerve), but this pain at the front, inside part of my knees is worse.  It is from the 4-5 disc space where I have the spondylolisthesis.  It bothers me that it has gotten worse.  There are some days, walking to work, when I don’t know if I can keep doing this.  I can – you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even though it hurts – but if things get worse….  I know nerve damage is always a possibility.  I know getting my weight down would probably help this immensely.  I have also been having some “new” pain in my tailbone area.  It feels like the pain I have been having, but the area I am feeling it has broadened (or so it seems).  I have not been hurting down that low before and that worries me that another disc level has gotten involved.  I am also beginning to have more pain while sitting.  That is discouraging.  Before, at least it was only when I was up bearing weight.

Speaking of weight, I did get on the scale this weekend.  It showed a 10 pound gain.  I wasn’t surprised.  However, I have been lax about taking my BP medicine (which has a diuretic), so I know about 5 pounds of that is fluid.  I took my BP med yesterday and today.

I am still struggling with my cubie’s candy bowl.  When she is not here (at night, or if she is out), I move it out of my sight.  But I have to get strong and just make this absolutely off limits.  I have done that for a few days, and then I get weak and I am back at it again.  So far, so good today.

I went to the reflexologist on Saturday.  I can tell this is really going to help.  It is helping with the neck and headaches more than anything else, right now.  But I think with some more work, it will be helping my lower back and legs too.  The work she did on my legs was very painful.  She said my nerves or muscles, or whatever she was working on there, were like ropes.  I am going back again this Saturday.  I am going once a week, when possible, for a while, until we get things under a little better control.

I am taking a muscle relaxant regularly, which is something else that is helping the neck and headaches.  But it makes me so sleepy and draggy all the time.  I hate that feeling.  But it is better than a constant headache.  However, I sit at my computer and almost fall asleep sometimes because of it.

I had a conversation with a friend recently.  She struggles with pain issues like I do, so she understands where I am coming from.  I mentioned I would like to go to this certain event downtown, but that I didn’t think I felt up to it physically, because I would have to walk there, walk around and stand a lot at the event, and then walk home.  She said something about I ought to get a scooter so I could do things like that.  I told her I promised myself I would never be one of “those people” who got so fat, they had to ride a scooter around Wal-Mart.  She told me to look at it in a different way.  There are things I would like to do, but don’t participate in because I don’t feel able to physically.  So I am holding myself back from enjoying life because of this.  Wouldn’t it be better to have a way to get out and enjoy these things, even if it meant having to ride around on a scooter?  It doesn’t mean I would do that permanently.  But the mental lift I would get from actually getting out and enjoying things would help me to feel more like making changes necessary to improve my physical condition.  I would still look for every opportunity to get more activity.  But during times of increased pain and when a situation makes it necessary, why not take the help and get out and enjoy the activity?  I don’t know, but I am giving it some thought.  Of course, I don’t have a scooter, so that would be one issue.  And I can’t help but feel like that would be giving up, in a way.  But it wouldn’t have to be.  I don’t know.

I had written up to this point this morning and then had to get up to go do something after sitting for an hour or so at my desk.  The pain is always worst after sitting a while.  It took me a minute to brace myself before standing up, and when I did stand, the pain I experienced was the worst yet.  I don’t know why.  I had to stand there a minute and let the pain wash over me and pass a little bit before I could take a step.  My legs actually felt a little shaky.  The first few steps are always the worst.  I am not saying this for sympathy.  I am trying to let it sink in that I have to do something.  I cannot go on like this.  How bad does it have to get before I start doing more about it?

I could go to the doctor and ask for more (as in dosage) pain meds.  I could pay over $1,000 to get an injection (which has never done much good in the past).  But there is not much else I can do other than have surgery, and the surgery she would want to do is something they cannot do until I lose some weight.  It would be a 360 fusion, and that involves going in through the abdomen.  I have too much abdominal fat right now.  But if I lose down enough to remedy that situation, I might not need to have surgery.  I have to get serious about this.  I am in a vicious circle and I have to break out of it.  No one can do it for me.  If I don’t do anything about it, then I need to stop talking about the pain.  I’m just giving myself a pep talk here.  Why I have had to get to this level to find the motivation to do anything, I don’t know.  How does a person get to the place where they are in so much pain and they know what they have to do to improve things, but still have trouble doing it?  But I know there are many, many people like me.

Is it a lack of love for myself?  Possibly.  I have always struggled with that.  I am an intelligent person who has it together in so many other ways.  I don’t understand why I cannot get victory over this issue.  But I sure do want to get to the bottom of this and change whatever I have to to overcome in this area of my life.

I do know one thing.  The times in my life I have been successful in this area, I have to be almost 100% focused on it.  It is no wonder that all the things that have been going on in my life have distracted me.  It would be a lot for anyone to deal with.  Regardless, I have to switch my focus back to this.  I owe it to myself.  No one is going to do it for me.

The pain aspects add another layer of difficulty.  I cannot become a runner or focus on training for a marathon at this point.  There is only so much I can do physically.  I am going to have to look for more ways to get in more activity that I can handle.  Swimming is an option, but I am probably not going to be doing that this time of year.  I could find an indoor pool, but I don’t have much confidence that I would make that work in my schedule at this point.  I can walk, on a limited basis, I can do the recumbent bike, and I can ride my bicycle.  I could probably do a little bit of strength training, but I have to be wise about what I do in that area.  I will take a look and see what they have in our fitness center at the lofts.  I may have seen a rowing machine, and that may be something I can handle.  Anything where I don’t have to bear weight is better.

Now I just have to find a way to motivate myself to do it enough to make the difference.  If I know me (and I do), once I get going, I will be more motivated and I will start building on that.  There have been times when I get almost addicted to working out.  So I know I can get there.  The pain aspect just adds a little difficulty.  Hopefully once I drop 20-30 pounds, I will start feeling enough difference to where I can do more.  But I am going to venture to guess that I will never be a runner.  I have a knee that the doctor says I will probably need a knee replacement on in the next few years, plus all the back issues.  I’m going to need something lower impact than that.  If I want to do any kind of marathons or that type of thing, I will have to do it either walking, biking or swimming.

My plan tonight is to do another walk with my dog.  If I don’t feel up to that and have one of my kids walk him, I need to do the recumbent bike or my bicycle.  I have to start getting in more activity, whether I feel like it or not.

I also need to get back to posting more.  It is my accountability and it also motivates me to write about it.

So, that’s my pep talk to myself.  I hope it helps.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Time to Get Moving Again

I can see some improvements in myself this week.  Not so much desire for emotional eating.  I eat a reasonable amount and I am okay with that for several hours until the next meal.  I don’t have this constant urge to munch all day like I have had for a while.

It’s time to make a plan, shop for what I need to carry that out, and get going again.

I got up “on time” this morning.  I took the dog for our usual first-thing-in-the-morning walk.  I got back and was thinking what to do next.  Typically I would go into the living room and turn on the TV while I checked e-mail, etc. for a while before getting ready for work.  Since my son is staying with me right now and sleeping on my couch, I haven’t been doing that.  I thought about going to the gym, but wasn’t feeling very motivated.  I began to think about how nothing was going to change or get better if I didn’t make some changes, so I got up and went to the fitness center at my lofts and did 20 minutes on the recumbent bike.  It’s a start anyway.

I’ve been behind on reading other blogs, but I have been doing more of that the last couple of days.  This really is a motivating thing for me, so I need to spend more of my free time doing that.  Michelle’s, in particular, motivates me.  I am not sure I will be physically able to become the athlete she has become, but she certainly makes me want to try.  I have to break myself out of this paralysis I have been feeling when I get home and start doing more physically.  I think if I will do that, the eating will begin to follow.

One of the things that I keep using as an excuse is that the kids are around all the time.  Jacob is staying with me and the girls are coming over every night after work.  I think this is partly because everyone is short on money, so they are coming to my house to eat.  And they also come to watch my TV, since I have cable.  Bethany comes and uses the gym at the lofts and rides my bike and takes her dog for a run through the downtown streets, etc.  For some reason, when the kids are there, I am less likely to get up and get busy.  I sit and watch TV.  I need to take my cues from Bethany.  I have to get myself up out of that chair, whether it is to get out and walk, go to the gym, ride my bike, do some housework, or whatever, even with the kids there.  Just because they are there doesn’t mean I have to sit around.

I am still having a significant amount of pain this week.  I don’t know what brought it on.  I thought it was from sitting around too much on my days off, but it sure is hanging on.  Perhaps I have gained some weight and it is having its effect.  I haven’t gotten on the scales, because sometimes that traumatizes me.  My clothes don’t feel significantly tighter, however.  But I am sure I have gained a few.  That is probably having an effect on the spondylolisthesis and pulling me more out of alignment.  I have an appointment with the reflexologist on Saturday, so maybe she can help.  I don’t know how to explain it, but when I get up to walk, the pain is pretty severe and I am bent over and slow and the radiating pain is increased.  It is hard to pick up my feet and I am more apt to trip.  I am also having more problems in my feet and ankles, so that makes it difficult.  I was also having trouble in my upper back yesterday.  Something I must have done in my sleep, because I woke up feeling like something was out of place at the level of my bra line on my spine.  There is a big knot of pain there, something feels out of place and I can feel numbness and tingling going out from that spot.  Last night when I lay down, I begin to feel like I was not going to be able to keep laying there.  Something about it was so uncomfortable, I didn’t think I was going to be able to sleep.  I realized I had a pillow by my left side and my arm was on top of that pillow.  I moved the pillow so my arm was resting on the bed itself (I sleep in an inclined position, so this caused my arm to fall away from my side more), and it suddenly relieved all the pressure I was feeling in that area.  I think sleeping with that pillow there the night before is what set it off.  Who knew an arm position could make that much difference?  But my spine is so sensitive and “fragile,” the least little bit of misalignment causes something to flare up.  It makes me feel old.  I think I may go get a chair massage this afternoon.  Maybe that will help work the soreness out of that area.

I remember Michelle saying in her blog (or one of her FB posts) that life was so much better after losing 80 or so pounds (that’s how much she had to lose).  She had so much more energy and pain issues were improved, etc., etc.  I want to get there.  I actually had twice that much to lose when I started, so it seems like it would make even more difference for me.  I don’t know how healthy my spine can become by losing weight and getting physically fit, but it would have to help a lot, I would think.  I am very tired of living this way.  I am very tired of being in constant pain.  And this is life with pain medicine.  I can’t imagine how it would be without it.

It’s time to get moving again.

One other thing -- Jacob and Stephanie both got jobs!!!  Yay!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Things are Looking Up?


Well, I don’t have a lot of news.  Other than I really need to get back on track.  I had four days off from work, which I sorely needed.  I didn’t do much except rest.

Of course, I had Thanksgiving Dinner with my kids.  They helped a lot with dinner and it did not seem overwhelming and everything turned out wonderfully.  Nothing dietetic about it, other than everything was made with fresh food.  No casseroles made from cans of soup and that kind of thing.  My daughters love green bean casserole, but I do not like using canned soup because it is so full of MSG and preservatives.  But we made a green bean casserole from fresh green beans, fresh mushrooms, and a crunch topping made from fresh shallots.  It is delicious – so much better than the kind with canned soup and French’s onion rings.  My son made a squash casserole, also from fresh ingredients.  Best squash casserole we ever had!

I remember the “old days” when I was quite a bit younger.  I could eat a couple of platefuls of dinner and then several desserts throughout the day and leftovers for dinner.  Can’t do that anymore.  One plateful and I was done.  I did have too much dessert, but no leftovers that evening.  So although the food was not low calorie, I was not able to eat nearly as much of it as I used to.

I did take some walks over the holidays.  I rested quite a bit, but that gets my body to hurting more, so yesterday I was up and around a little more.  Still, I seem to have this paralysis outside of work.  When I get home, except for walking my dog, I am not doing much.  I don’t like the way I feel when I am like that.  But I did need some rest.  Yesterday I tried to alternate times of rest and relaxation with times of being up and being busy.  But I still felt like I should have been doing more.  I need to push myself more.  I wish I wasn’t constantly having to deal with this pain, but at this point, that is wishful thinking and I just have to find a way to get what needs to be done, done and push through this.

The kids have been over a lot.  Of course, my son is staying with me right now, and my daughters are at my house pretty much all of their free time.  Of course, this was a holiday weekend, so I guess that is one reason.  The girls bring their dogs, so my loft is full of 4 people and 3 dogs.  It is keeping things pretty lively.  I am less likely to get up and be busy around the house when they are all there.  Hopefully things will get a little more like normal this week.

Steph will be changing jobs soon.  Actually, she is waiting to hear back about the one she really wants, but if she does not get that one, she does have another offer on the table too.  It will be enough for her to be able to pay her bills.  If she gets the one she really wants, she will have enough to pay her medical insurance too (which she will need, because they are nanny positions, and do not come with health insurance provided).  The one she wants would be for a couple, the wife of which is an attorney.  Stephanie told this lady who her mom worked for (Jerry), and as it turns out, this attorney’s firm is the opposing counsel on the big case I am always talking about that my boss is working on.  She knew who my boss was, for sure, although she wasn’t personally working on the case.  (Did I mention we are whipping the other side’s butt so far in this case?)  She is also friends with one of the female attorneys here in our firm.  I hope that will work in Stephanie’s favor and not against her.

The other family she met with wants her pretty badly and increased their offer to her.  If she does not get the one she wants most, she will take this one.  It pays significantly more than she makes now and she could make it on that income, except for the medical insurance part.  I would have to help her with that.  So, of course, I am wanting her to get the other one too.

My son also thinks he might have a job.  If he gets this one, it will be just a block away from my loft.  I am sure he will continue staying with me until he saves up enough to get a place in Dallas.

I say all this because these are things that would help me immensely.  It would help me a lot not to have to carry all this load.  I “worry” when I don’t have as much overtime, instead of being glad for the rest, because I need the extra money to keep us all afloat.  I can make it fine on my salary without any overtime if I wasn’t having to help my kids so much.  There are a couple of things I have had to help Bethany with lately, too.  One being she had a wreck and has to pay the deductible for the car insurance, and one is something she would probably prefer I not go into detail about.  Just one of those things that happens when you procrastinate because you are low on funds.  She says she is going to pay me back, but I don’t see how when she has just enough to cover her bills as it is.

Again, I am thankful that I have the means to help when it is needed – I just don’t want it to be needed so much.  This load is too heavy.

My eating today has been under better control.  The candy bowl is empty, so that is helping. My cubie is out today, so she didn’t refill it.  I would like to hide the bowl and see if she gets the hint.  People groan all the time about it, but she just laughs.  She is a tiny little thing and rarely eats anything like that, but I guess enjoys watching other people eat it.  Aside from the candy bowl, I have had some thoughts of getting something sweet (always sweet cravings with me), but I am in enough pain today that it is reminding me that is not going to get me where I want to go.  I had a bowl of soup (some homemade chicken tortilla soup I had left over), and that seemed to satisfy me.  I don’t seem to be thinking about eating all day long when the candy bowl is not staring at me all the time.

I walked my dog at noon, so that is my second walk today.  I had forgotten to take my medicine mid-morning, when my dose was due, and so I was really feeling it on my walk.  I’m really “waddling” today (which is the word they use to describe the typical gait for people with spondylolisthesis, which is certainly true for me when it is flaring up).  You want to limp, but both sides hurt, so you end up kind of waddling.  And my hips don’t feel right when I am walking.

I really need to make an effort to get up when my alarm clock goes off at 5:45 (instead of squeezing out 30 minutes more of sleep) so I have time to go to the gym and ride the recumbent bike.  I keep thinking they will be here to fix mine any day, but they haven’t yet.  I confess that one excuse I was making was that I felt bad leaving Cassie for the 30 minutes I am at the gym.  I try to use opportunities for exercise as opportunities to spend time with him and get him exercised too, but I can’t really do that when I ride the recumbent bike (unless I could ever get him trained on a treadmill – not sure how apartment management would feel about that).  But he would be fine those 30 minutes.  And with my son staying with me, he is not having as much time spent alone in my apartment.  So I just need to do it and start building that habit again.  I’m going to make a goal to do that in the morning.  If I get moving more, it would probably motivate me on my eating too.

December is always really tough.  There are tons of goodies around and special events to attend.  So moving as much as possible is important.  And I don’t have to eat it just because it is there.


My eating was definitely better yesterday.  When I got home, I had a ham and cheese sandwich (from leftover Thanksgiving ham).  I ate a few – maybe 5 – crackers with some peanut butter, and that was it.  That was pretty good for me, lately.  I can eat a whole sleeve of crackers with peanut butter pretty easily (heh-heh).

My improved eating has continued today.  I keep thinking about wanting to go get me something sweet, but I just never get around to it.  I had cereal for breakfast and a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.  My son is cooking something for dinner, I think.  If it is like the last meal he cooked me, it will be fish with some rice and a veggie.  That’ll work!

Steph did not get the offer that was her first choice, so she will be taking the other one that was offered.  The good thing about this one is it starts before the other one would have (either Friday or Monday).  And she will be paid weekly, so she should have money coming in quickly.  That is good, because I don’t think I have enough coming in to cover all the bills this paycheck.

My son has a second interview tomorrow and hopefully has a job right down the street from my loft.  He can get started on that (it is waiting tables) and start making money pretty quickly.  I am sure tips will be pretty good – it is a fairly nice restaurant and the downtown crowd should be pretty good about tipping.  Lots of attorneys and business people going there for lunch, and residents and visitors at night.  Hopefully he can manage getting his own place (hopefully with a roommate) in the not-too-distant future.  At some point we need to make the switch (in our minds, mostly) to my car being my own again and his use of it being “borrowing it” instead of me feeling like I am borrowing his car.  Too bad he can’t move in with his sisters and cut their expenses into thirds instead of halves.  But they would really need a bigger place to be able to do that.

Anyway, hopefully a lot of the financial load is going to be lifting soon.  That should help with my motivation.  Now if we can keep everyone healthy and out of “trouble”!!!

My pain has been increased the last couple of days.  My friend at work who has similar problems to me with back and radiating pain says her pain has been increased the last couple of days too.  We wonder if the change in weather is having an effect.  I don’t know.

I broke down and ordered me some things I needed in the way of clothing.  Actually, most of it is shoes – or actually boots.  I didn’t have much of any decent “closed in” shoes for the colder weather, especially that are comfortable enough for walking to work every day.  My feet have been bothering me some.  I can’t wear flats – they do not provide enough support, but I also cannot wear too much heel, at least when I am walking to work (I could always change when I get here, though).  Anyway, I hit a “Black Friday” online sale and ordered me two pair of boots (dress boots, for work), some ankle boots, a jacket for weather when I need something to keep warm, but not so cold that I need my heavy coat, and a skirt.  I ordered a kind of brown trench-style coat, but it is hip length rather than full length.  I also ordered a denim type skirt that will look cute with the boots I have ordered and that can be worn with tops I already have.  I got all of this for $200 with the sale.  I put these on a credit card, which I don’t typically do, but I really needed these things for the sake of pain issues and weather issues.  But I budget $100 per month for clothing and I can pay this off quickly.  I do not like to keep a credit card balance and times seem so uncertain these days, I don’t think debt is very wise.

I did not get up and go to the gym this morning.  I was sleeping so good this morning, I just couldn’t make myself get up.  So often by morning I just can’t stand the bed any longer, because of my back, so with some good pain-free sleep, I wanted to take advantage of it.  But I really need to get going on this.  Sure would help with my pain issues would let up, but I have to push through anyway.  Hopefully I can report something positive tomorrow about that.

This is way too long, so I will close.  Maybe things are on their way to smoothing out a little.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Checking In

I felt like I needed to post just so you wouldn’t think I had dropped off the face of the earth.  Things have been incredibly busy and I have had no time to think about anything much, but work.

My friend and co-worker (who is my backup, and I hers) had to go to the ER weekend before last and was admitted for emergency surgery.  After the surgery, she fell and hit her head and ended up with her heart stopping and having to be revived.  She had gastric bypass three years ago (but still it was quite large, although not nearly as large as she was) and the emergency surgery came from that.  It seems some sort of band was left on her intestine and 3 feet of bowel died.  (I am not sure if that was from some kind of negligence, or just part of the risk of the surgery.)  So it had gotten to the point to where nothing would move through it and she had a blockage (what is it with people I know and intestinal blockages?).  Anyway, from just the surgery, her estimated time to be out was 2-3 weeks.  I don’t know if the fall and resulting blow to her head added any time to that or not.  But she very nearly lost her life.  She also has been working a lot of long hours, and although I don’t know that that had anything to do with what happened to her, it does make you think more seriously about taking care of yourself.

Anyway, not only do I not have any backup right now, I am having to carry her work load.  Fortunately, things have been a little calmer on the case our attorneys work on together, but another case my boss has, has been very busy, so I have been just as busy as always with my own work, plus the little bit added from my friend being gone.  So I have had no time to post.

I haven’t had much time to think about my own health.  Thankfully, the headaches are improved.  I did go to my doctor’s appointment and appointment with the reflexologist Monday.  I knew if I continued down the path I was on the week before, I would be down for a while too.  My spine doctor felt that the headaches were from stress, tension and overwork (as I did too).  She took a neck x-ray to make sure (one of the things that can come from a fusion is the space above or below the fusion can collapse).  Everything looks perfect there.  I knew it felt muscle related.  I also ruled out rebound headaches.  It was tension all the way.

I went to the reflexologist (someone I had known 25 years ago before I even moved to Dallas – we both lived in Lubbock, Texas at the time, and now have reconnected) and the first thing she said was, I can tell you one reason why your head hurts – your left shoulder is about an inch higher than your right, which means you are all out of balance.  This begins in the pelvic region, so she did a little work there, plus in my neck and shoulder area and on my feet (which is a reflexology thing (does wonders!).  It will require more work, but I felt better from that one treatment.  My doctor and Sharon both said I was on the right track with the muscle relaxants and I have been using them regularly through this period of having to work a lot.  I take a half of one when I am working, or I would be laid out on my desk, and a whole one at night.  It does make me tired, though.  But that is a whole heap of a lot better than my head “pounding” all the time.  I was ready to jump out of the window of my office, which is on the 25th floor, the week before.  The only time I could really get away from it was when I was asleep, but then I would wake up with it or it would be back within a few minutes of waking.  I had lost my ability to cope with it.  I know it was from working so many long hours, sitting at the computer for day after day of 12-hour days.  That has improved a little, but I still am having to work a lot.  I need to take some time off soon.  At least this week is just a 3-day week (but I had to work 10 hours yesterday).

My son is realizing his impulsiveness in walking out on his job (even though he hated it and it was causing him so much angst) was probably not such a good idea (I could have told him that, and have in the past).  He has asked a couple of times if he could borrow money for some gas so he could go around putting in applications.  I suggested he come stay with me for a bit – he was going to start looking in Dallas.  He would be right there in the hub of everything, where there is plenty of public transportation and plenty of job opportunities (Texas is still very good about that).  So he is staying with me right now.  I would rather do that than have to keep giving him gas money.  He has been waiting on me hand and foot -- cleaning the loft, cooking me meals, walking my dog, etc.  That has been kind of nice.  I am having to adjust to having to close doors, lol.  I can’t walk around in my short nightgown, and I have to close the door to the bathroom, etc.  I am very glad I got a loft with 2 bathrooms.  It only has one bedroom, but 2 baths.  The living room is quite large and he is sleeping on the couch.  It is obviously just temporary.  But I think it is a lot smarter for him to find a job in Dallas than in Arlington, since he hasn’t been able to get his car running.  He can’t keep using my car forever and Arlington doesn’t have the public transportation system Dallas does.  In Dallas, he can get to most anywhere he needs to go.

Stephanie is looking for a job diligently.  She had three interviews Friday.  Hopefully something will pan out soon.  I need to stop carrying this load for my kids.  I still would have to work long hours, but at least I could spend my money on a trip or vacation, instead of having to support them.  It’s my turn to get to do some fun things.  She did give my loft a good cleaning last week in exchange for my paying some of her bills, and the girls took my dog for a few days when I learned about my co-worker’s situation and having no backup.  I wanted no pressure at home added to what I already have at work.  It did help.  Except then I didn’t have the motivation to get out and walk, but little time for that anyway.

I did take a couple of good bike rides last weekend (not the one that just past, but the one before).  Saturday, I rode to the dog park that is on the outskirts of Downtown Dallas (under the freeway!).  Sunday, I rode to Katy Trail, then rode a ways on Katy Trail, then back home again. I did pretty good and didn’t have too much trouble with the inclines.  I walked the last hill, because by then, I was worn out.  This bike is much better on hills than the one I had before (or else I didn’t know how to do the gears or something).  Just as I was about 2 blocks from home, a cold front blew in.  Brrr, it was kind of cold (for Dallas, Texas).  Not for you guys in the Northeast, I am sure.  We don’t have enough cold here to suit me.  I felt like that weekend I was beginning to live the lifestyle I am working toward as far as having fun and getting exercise at the same time.  I did most of the riding with Cassie in my basket.  On Katy Trial, I took him out and hooked him up to the bike leash and just walked with the bike first.  Then I got on the bike and just walked it that way.  He is kind of scared of it, so I am trying to ease him into running behind it a little.  Then back in the basket and we rode back home.

I know this wasn’t much about diet and fitness, etc., but I wanted to check in and post about my current status.  I really, really, really need my life to settle down.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

On the Edge

Beginning what was to be day 1 of withdrawing.  No side effects yet, of course, except no pain relief this morning.  I typically set my alarm at 4:00 a.m. and take a pain pill so that it has time to take effect before my alarm goes off again at 5:45 a.m., when I get up (or thereabouts) to go walk my dog.  When I say pain relief, I mean back and leg pain.  I just turned off the first alarm last night and did not take any medication at 4:00 a.m.  My alarm went off at 5:45 a.m.  I turned it off and promptly went back to sleep.  I woke up with a start and looked at my clock and it said 7:00.  I panicked, got up and started hurrying around, getting ready to get out the door to walk Cassie.  I was about ready to walk out the door, when I decided to check the temperature on my phone to see if I needed a jacket.  When I looked at my phone, the time said 6:00 a.m.!  I forgot.  I typically set my clock in my bedroom 10 minutes ahead, and then I have never changed it when the time changed.  Lol.  Usually when I look at it, I see the time and I calculate that it is really so-and-so o’clock.  I don’t know why I do that.  In this instance, I guess it really worked.  I had already reconciled it in my mind that I was probably going to be late for work.  It was really only a few minutes after my alarm went off.

My headache this morning is on the mild side of moderate.  My pain level otherwise is not too bad, but I was noticing it more as I walked to work this morning.  Hips and knees and back were hurting more.  Maybe I should take something else early morning, but I really need to have something in my stomach if I take an anti-inflamatory med, so I probably won’t do that.

As I go through my morning, I see how much good the pain meds were doing, as far as the bodily aches and pains.  Headache is definitely better, but why?  If it is rebound, wouldn’t it be hurting more?  I do notice that my neck and shoulders are not hurting as bad.  They are not so tight.  I would attribute that to the muscle relaxant last night.  I had been out of those for a few weeks and that situation had been building up.  I don’t know what to think.

One thing I know.  I have to get moving on the weight loss.  I cannot take pain meds indefinitely.  If it is not rebound now, it will be.  I have to get to where I don’t have to take those on a daily basis.  I have been really nervous about getting to the place where I cannot do my job.  It is one thing for my back to hurt, but the headaches have been making it difficult to function.  I have to get better.

My mind is popping everywhere this morning.  I left my muscle relaxants home this morning (accidentally), so I popped home to get them (that is the advantage of living 5 minutes from work).  As I walked home, I realized not having the pain medication could be a problem with me having to walk so much now.  It was painful to walk home.  I got the muscle relaxant and walked back to work.  I was having quite a bit of pain in my hips, legs and knees, as well as pain shooting up the back of my heel.  That was going to be really tough with having to walk everywhere.  I took a half of a muscle relaxant when I got back to work.

By lunchtime, it was time to take a dose of medicine, just to avoid withdrawal symptoms (for the weaning process).  Still not much of a headache, but a little of one.  Not like I was having the last few days.  I did not go to lunch until 2:00 because my boss had a hearing that I had to get him off to.  I went home at lunch and walked my dog.  It was quite painful and it took a lot of effort, because of the pain.  I think I am going to have to have more pain control at this stage of the game.  And, the way the headache is acting today, it does not seem like it is rebound.  The muscle relaxant seems to be making the difference.

So here is my game plan.

1.     Continue with the pain meds for now, trying to take them as little as possible and only using them to facilitate keeping moving for weight loss purposes.

2.     Weight loss efforts have to begin NOW.  Not Monday, not tomorrow, but NOW.  Do the best I can with the food I have now.  Stay away from the candy bowl.

3.     I have a doctor’s appointment and an appointment with a reflexologist scheduled for Monday to work on the headaches, plus I will continue with the muscle relaxants.  I will also work on some neck exercises I found for cervicogenic (neck-related) headaches.

4.     Reassess the medication situation in one month.  If I am not making progress on weight loss, do I need to continue with pain meds?  They should be used to help me keep moving for weight loss.  Can’t stay on them forever.

 I am tempted, once again, to do something a little more drastic, diet-wise.  I need to get my weight moving.  But would I do it, for one thing?  Some things I thought about:  Medifast, Nutrisystem, Gastric Bypass.  Gastric Bypass is a no.  My insurance won’t pay for it (it is excluded).  I don’t really want to do it that way anyway.  And there is no guarantee it would be a lasting result.  I have thought about doing Medifast as a way to get some weight off fast, so I could get to feeling better physically, and then move to something more long-term.  I just don’t know if I could make myself do it.  I can’t make myself do the more moderate thing right now.  Same thing with Nutrisystem, although it is more moderate than Medifast.  I may do the Subway Diet again when I get paid.  It was my compromise last time.  A way to have a plan I didn’t have to give much thought to, it was convenient, and it worked.  But I did get tired of it.

I just feel very tired and discouraged.  But I want to get to feeling better.

This post probably seems disjointed.  I don’t feel very coherent today.  I really want to get free of having to take any medication.  I wonder if that will ever happen.  I feel on the edge.  Like I want to cry at the drop of the hat.  Like I am just barely hanging on to being able to handle my usual schedule.  Like something’s got to give.  But I don’t know what to do about it, except to just keep trying. And trying to be good to myself as best I can.