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Friday, January 17, 2014

Possible Surgery and Financial Forecasting

I got on the scale last night and was a little bit appalled.  Not taking the BP med really makes a difference.  I also took my blood pressure this morning and it is still a little elevated.  Not too bad, but not as low as it should be.  So I called to get my BP med refilled and will be going in for my annual physical in the next couple of weeks.
It is difficult to not let something like that affect you, but I know why I am showing the big gain.  I have been doing well enough this week that I should be showing a loss.  Hopefully by weigh-in day, that variance will be balanced again.
My plan this week is to have a splurge meal, not a splurge day.  I was following a much stricter plan last week, but since I am eating a regular dinner every night this week, I am just going to do one meal off.  Otherwise, I spend the whole week trying to recover from what I ate that one day.  I will have a regular Atkins day, except for the one meal.  Not the shakes on that day.
I felt pretty good most of the day yesterday.  I decided to try to sleep in my bed last night.  I went to bed after 10:30, and by Midnight, I was starting to feel the pain go down my hip and leg.  So I got up and moved back to the chaise.
I did not do the recumbent bike this morning, mainly because my alarm did not go off.  I thought my phone had plenty of charge in it, but evidently it was not a good connection when I was charging it because it went dead during the night last night.  I did do the arm work last night and, unless I work late, there is no reason I cannot do the recumbent bike tonight.  I may also do a little strength training that does not involve my lower back.  I want to keep doing arm, shoulders and upper back work so I will look as good as possible in whatever I wear at my daughter’s wedding.  2 months from tomorrow!
I read a really good article about mind power tips to be healthier.  I am already putting some of them to use.  One thing she says is that she likes the term “releasing weight” better than “losing weight”.  I do too, so that is the term I am going to use.  I highly recommend you read the article.
I am using my motivation journal a lot right now.  I wanted to show you most of the illustrations I have put together.  I made the journal by listing all the reasons I want to release weight.  I filled in some more after I made my initial 24 or so, so that is why the numbering is the way it is.  There are a couple that are too personal to share (have to do with a particular person, or something like that, so I’ll keep those to myself).  Here are a the first few:
1.  I want to be free from everyday pain.
1a.  I do not want to become crippled with pain.
2.  I want to win this battle I have fought my whole life.
2a.  I don’t want to feel like a neurotic, sugar-holic, secret-eater, food thief.  (Anyone ever felt like this?)
3.  I want the healing I have found on the inside to show on the outside.
I will post some more tomorrow.  I read these through when I am struggling and when I want to remind myself why I am doing this.  Why am I turning down the donuts in the break room?  Why am I drinking this shake for lunch, again?  The visualization part of it has helped a lot.  I highly recommend it.
I wrote all that, and then later in the day, I tripped up.  I know what caused it and I will be prepared next time that situation comes up.  I had to do the switchboard for lunch, and I went up there pretty hungry.  There is a candy bowl up there and I got into it.  One thing led to another and I didn’t end up having a very good day.  Could have been much worse, mind you, but still not on plan.
I also had another episode with my sciatic nerve and by the time it was time to go home, walking home was kind of iffy.  I have to walk a ways anyway, even if someone picks me up, so I just walked the shortest route home and gritted through the pain.  Consequently, I did not do the recumbent bike.
I am writing what I remember about Thursday on Friday.  I pulled myself together on the eating and had a good day.  I was back on my BP med, so in a few days I should be balanced out again.
I had another episode of sciatica Thursday – a pretty bad one.  I was either going to have to take more med or go home.  Actually, if I had gone home I would still have taken more medicine, so I took it and waited to see if I could make it through the day.  It took a while, but eventually the pain was better and I was able to finish out the day at work.  I don’t know many people who could do what I did yesterday after taking 20 mg of Hydrocodone.  Most people it either makes them loopy, puts them to sleep, or wires them and makes them nauseous.  For me, I got a little sleepy (and drank a SF Red Bull to combat it), but otherwise, I am able to function.  Pain relief is its main effect.  My boss and I went to our office where we work and he dictated a long agenda while I typed it.  He made one small addition to it after reading it over, but found no typos.  I guess I am blessed that it does not affect me like it does most people.
So far, today, I am doing fine with my plan.  The scale is being stubborn right now, but I know I should be losing and hopefully the scale will respond soon.  I am very motivated.
I am having increasing pain in my neck, shoulders and arms from sleeping in the chaise lounge.  I know the problem comes when I rest on my elbows, which pushes my shoulders up and my neck down between my shoulders.  I am sure that puts pressure on the nerves, as well as just makes me sore and tight.  It also leads to headaches and I don’t want to get those started on an ongoing basis again.  I need to find a way to sleep that does not set off the sciatica, and does not create these neck problems.  I feel this is the reason I developed the problems that led to the fusion surgery in my neck.  I had been sleeping in a chair for 3 years because it hurt my lower back to sleep in the bed.  Since I got my tempurapedic mattress, I had been able to sleep in the bed until recently.  Now, lying flat seems to set off the sciatica.  I think I will try tonight sleeping in the bed, but sleeping in a more elevated position that keeps the bend in my back, but does not allow me to rest on my elbows.  I am also going to wear my neck collar again and try to get the pain there to settle down.
Honestly, I am ready to get this lower back thing taken care of.  Even if I still had some pain in my lower back, if the radiating pain is fixed, that would be an enormous improvement.  I also am anxious to get started on some exercise.  I know it will be a good while after back surgery before I am able to do much in the way of exercise, but just being able to walk for exercise would be good.  My daughter has been telling me how using the rowing machine is good for her and I want to try that.  I could do that now, on a good day.  It’s just hard to know what is going to set something off, and it hurts enough to where I have become afraid to set something off.  I wouldn’t feel quite as afraid on the weekend, since I could just go home and medicate until the pain was under control, but I am reluctant to set something off on a work day that will keep me from being able to work.
As an example, I was just in my file room.  I bent over to look in a drawer and took a step forward, and all of a sudden pain is shooting through my calf and down my foot.  At first I had this thought that it was something in my leg that was the problem (even though I knew better), because the pain was not shooting down my thigh like usual.  I went to my desk and sat down and that is when I felt it all connect up from the lower back down.  I just never know what will set it off.  I can just shift in my chair sometimes and it fires.
One of my concerns with having back surgery is financial.  Not only the cost of the surgery itself, but missing work.  To be fully prepared to make my decision, I calculated what my likely income would be if I missed 4 weeks or 6 weeks from work to recover from back surgery.  With the sick leave and vacation time I have available, short-term and long-term disability insurance, which would kick in after 2 weeks, plus the AFLAC policy I have which would cover hospitalization and a benefit for the surgery, but then taking into consideration I would not be getting the usual overtime I work, I could be out a full 6 weeks and still have more income than I would if I worked with my usual amount of overtime.  That is comforting.  I would have to be gone quite a long time before it would have a negative effect on my income.  It is the AFLAC policy that is the big help there.  I am so pleased with how AFLAC has helped with my family issues, including my daughter’s health issues.  It is such a great benefit.  I go to the doctor next Thursday and will make my decision based on what she says.  But I am pretty ready to do something about it.  What I have long “feared” – loss of mobility – has come to pass.
I have continued to do well with my eating through the afternoon.  Sometimes after I drink a shake, I like to have a mint to kind of get the taste out of mouth.  Someone put some little candy canes in the break room, so I took some back to my desk, just to have a little piece of one after I drink a shake.  It is surprising to me how much even that little bit triggers cravings.  I wanted to eat them all up.  But I didn’t.  Good Lord, sometimes you just have to challenge yourself and say no.  My daughter had me print off some motivational quotes yesterday, and one of them said:  “You’ve come too far to take orders from a cookie.”  Yes I have.  That also applies to a candy cane.
Steph had dinner ready when I got home -- grilled (thick) pork chops with sautéed onions and melted pepper jack on top (my addition), a half of a baked sweet potato and some roasted Brussels sprouts.  Yum!  I could get used to someone having my dinner ready when I get home all the time, which is how it is with my daughter living with me.  For "dessert" I had some of my hot chocolate, which I find very satisfying.  I've got to drink down another bottle of water and I'm done for the day.
TGIF!  Over and out.

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