Posted in Health

New Body Mysteries

Lately, I have been getting these really swollen bumps on my left shoulder, a rash I guess. At first, I thought they were bug bites, but, they are only on my upper left arm and shoulder. They are very itchy.

I don’t know whether to go to the doctor about them or not. As I age it always seems there is some new thing happening with my body. If it is not a new pain it is an ear infection or something happening with my skin. It gets really tiresome.

Sometimes I get a little worried when multiple things are happening at once. Like today, I have the itchy rash on my shoulder, and, a pain in my right armpit. Armpit pains alarm me because it is usually lymph node issues cause by something in whatever deodorant I may be using. I have tried many different ones trying to find one that doesn’t clog my nodes.

Photo on 2-15-19 at 2.44 PM.jpg

While I write this I am considering going to the ER to have the rash checked out. You can’t really see how swollen it is in the picture to left. But my arm is completely lumpy. And it itches insanely.

I hate going to the ER with something like this but my doctor’s office is already closed, and they don’t open on weekends.

Like I said, I don’t think these are bite because it is only happening on my left upper arm and shoulder. Nothing on the rest of my body. It has been happening on and off for the past month or so. I wouldn’t be so concerned if it had only been just the last few days.

If I go this weekend I’ll let you know what I find out. I just don’t want to end up with some flesh-eating bacteria working its way up to what little brain I have left.ūü§™

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Posted in Diet, Health

Blood Pressure

It has been high but I don’t know why. And I mean stroke and heart attack high! My doctor had increased my med dosage an few months back but did not help.

I saw her last week and it was still high:142/100. So, she added another medication and in only 6 days it has come down to near normal numbers. This morning it was 127/83. I was very pleased,and, I feel better.

I am also feeling better because I am not driving a school bus any longer. I do have to find another job though. You know how when you’re working, and the money is good, and you start spending more and making new bills? Yeah, I did that. I am not completely sunk yet. I can conceivably pay off the debts I’ve created very slowly, or I can get a job and pay them off like I was doing before.

However, I am not worried about it. I will find a job eventually, even if I have to deliver pizzas in my car. And that’s not really a bad gig. I only need so much to get by. Being retired military helped immensely.

The only thing that really disappoints me is that I will not be able to buy that new motorcycle I have been wanting for the last 11 months. I wanted to buy a Harley Davidson. After test riding a few I can’t stop thinking about them. One day I will though.

Anyway, that is about all I have to say on this post. I feel like my health is improving. I am getting better and better reacquainted with my diet. And I am slowly but surly taking measures to improve.

Posted in Diet, Health

Journey Back

I am trying my best to get back on my diet of choice, the Ketogenic Diet. It is a diet that has worked well for me in the recent past. It seems hard to get started though. And if you haven’t heard or saw on my other blog, I am no longer a school bus driver. I decided to give the job up.

The job itself was not causing my failure on my diet. I just haven’t been disciplined or cared enough. The job was causing a great deal of stress though. All I could do when I got home every day was sleep. I was sore, near physically ill from the stress, and dreading the next day. On weekends, I would go through several bottles of wine. This, I believe, was a result of job stress.

I haven’t worked there now for about 3 weeks. I feel like I’m becoming uncoiled finally. I was wound pretty tightly; tight muscles, joint pain, neck pain,¬†and back pain. I’m starting to feel better. Before I took the job, I had begun to practice the saxophone again and learn some tunes. All that ended slowly when I started driving. Eventually, I could not find the energy to continue. Just this week, I remembered what my musical goals were. I had planned to be in a group by this time, or, at least doing some solo work.

I feel I became really unhealthy while driving the school bus. I don’t think I will ever go back to it. So now, since I’ve started feeling better, I intend to try to go all the way. Not even a weight loss goal, just a goal of eating better. I need to decrease some of the inflammation in my body. I need to send my triglycerides in a downward trend, and, I need to lower my blood pressure. The keto diet was doing all of that.

I am a little scared though. I don’t want to fail. And I know I shouldn’t think about it in those terms, but, its hard not to.

Also, I need to get engaged again in some sort of exercise. I guess I will approach all of this one step at a time. And of course, it was helping to post here on my blog. It sort of kept me honest. Anyway, that’s what it is right now. Wish me luck.

Posted in Health, surgery

Doctors, Doctors, Doctors

Yesterday I had a CT Scan with a contrasting agent. ¬†Doctors are trying to figure out why I am having pain in my left ear with no infection. The pain has been excruciating. Sometimes I can’t close my teeth together. My ears ring really loudly.

Today however, I am headed to the hospital with my daughter, who is having surgery on her right hand. She got hit with the college level fast pitch of a softball one too many times last season in the same exact spot. Her wrist has been swollen most of summer so far. She has been in pain since the last time she was hit back in April.

The doctors seemed to think it would heal on its own eventually. But Kat wanted it taken care of through surgery. I hope that it is an issue that can be solved surgically.

Personally, I hate surgery. For me it has never worked out the way it should. My lower back surgery, though deemed a success by the surgeon who performed it, has caused me nothing  but pain since 2010. I had surgery on my neck two summer ago but my neck still hurts, though I think the pain I now feel is a new issue. I had carpal tunnel repair this past December on my right hand and my wrist still hurts.

So, I’m not a fan of surgery. Perhaps it will be different for my daughter. She is younger and stronger. And did I mention she is younger and stronger? Yea. Hopefully, she won’t be out of commission too far into the next school year, and will be ready for softball season. That is what she is shooting for.

Posted in Health

Time for a Checkup

I am headed to the doctor’s office this morning. I have had somewhat of a relapse with my right hand. I had carpal tunnel corrective surgery in December. It was doing fine until a few weeks ago. I believe pulling the parking brake lever on the school bus re-injured my hand. When pulled¬†out, the lever sends a shock wave through my hand. After three months of that my dominant hand is becoming my weaker hand because of the new pain in my wrist.

So today I am basically going to my doctor to be referred to the doctor who did the surgery. And not only for my right hand, but, my left also, which is showing the symptoms I had in the right before surgery. I also have an ear infection which has been with me since the beginning of April. I have gone through two rounds anti-biotics yet it persists.

Also, the pain in my neck has increased to a level I can’t even describe. Sometimes it feels like there is a knife in my neck (or what I imagine a knife in the neck feels like). And sometimes it feels like really hot water is being poured down my back starting at my neck.

So I’m hoping to see both the surgeons who operated on my hand and my neck. Sometimes I feel like I’m falling apart. I will also be giving some blood for my annual checkup. I’m not looking forward to that.

 

Posted in Health

My Makeover

What exactly is a makeover anyway? What exactly should I be trying to achieve? Am I trying become a skinny person? I don’t think that is actually going to happen. I think I love food too much, and that includes all the ones that are supposed to be terrible for you.

I think maybe I am, or maybe should be, trying to simply develop a healthier attitude about foods in general. I still like the Ketogenic diet. It is easy to follow and a fairly healthy way of eating. However, I find that I am prone to taking advantage of the higher fat intake with the wrong kinds of fat. I have been doing better with that part. This year so far I am mostly overdoing it with the carbs. As you may know, the ketogenic diet is low carb by design.

I don’t ever remember being especially concerned about my appearance when it came to weight. However, before I turned 40 I had never been heavier than 185 – 195 pounds. When I turned 40 things just seemed to slow down; my metabolism, my running speed, and my energy level went way down. I got out of the Navy when I was 44. I feigned injury to get out of my final Physical readiness test (PRT). I would have probably hurt myself doing it anyway.

So when I began writing this blog I had just had my 50th birthday in March. The month I started writing (Sept), is the month my Mom died. She was my best friend. Nothing could have prepared me for such a loss. I was, and am, affected deeply by this event. I think sadness sometimes has a lot to do with the way we eat. Some of the times I ended up eating when I’m not hungry are times I thought to pick up the phone and call my Mom, having forgotten for a fraction of a second that she is gone. There are, of course, other triggers. I think this is what is meant by emotional eating. Everyone probably does it.

As far as controlling weight gain I believe exercise is half of the equation, but sometimes injuries can keep that from happening. I have had a lower lumbar fusion, two levels. I have had the same type of surgery on my neck, level C6. The one thing I am never without is physical pain. My doctors always ask me what my pain level has been between visits (1-10). Mine is always between 5 & 10. Most days it is around 8.

So, I don’t know what kind of a makeover am trying to achieve or could expect. I once thought that if I lost weight maybe my pain level wouldn’t be so high. I’m not sure I believe that anymore, mainly because I don’t think I will ever lose enough weight, but also because degenerative disc disease is, well, degenerative. So, a makeover I may need or want, but, I don’t know what that actually means.

Maybe, in the beginning, I wanted to prove I could lose a lot of weight, and be able to post before and after photos. Now I don’t care about that part of it. Some days I just want to feel sane or normal and feel good physically. Maybe I suffer depression. I don’t know. Perhaps a makeover of the mind is in order.

So, I don’t know what a makeover means for me. I will always try to watch my weight. At my age its a sensible thing to do. I want a healthy mind and emotions. Maybe when that happens (and I believe it will) I will have a better relationship with food, or a healthier one anyway.

Posted in Diet, Health

Cures of the Right Diet

Today I have realized that I have been without any form of antacid for over 3 weeks. In 1993 the doctor diagnosed me as having¬†GERD¬†or a Hiatal¬†hernia. I don’t think the doctors actually knew which one. They were Navy Docs.

A Hiatal Hernia – A condition in which part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm muscle.

I don’t think this is actually what it was!

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. The weak esophageal ring allows acid to enter the esophagus.

This sounds more like what I was experiencing

Since that time in 1993, I have taken every antacid ever produced in the pharmaceutical industry. That’s what it feels like anyway. 24 Years! TWENTY-FOUR YEARS!!!! I don’t even think the stuff is good for you. ¬†Earlier years on some of those drug labels I remember reading that it was a temporary¬†treatment, but, I took them for 24 years.

I wrote a post earlier in my progress about how my stomach situation seemed to improve on the Ketogenic diet. But when I began to veer off my diet the symptoms returned.

Today I suddenly realize how long I have gone without my Nexium. I have meant to buy it but never got around to it. I haven’t even mastered being back on my diet yet. I have been fairly consistent, but I’m not all the way there yet. I don’t think it is only the diet that counts. It has to have something to do with how much I eat. When I know I’m eating something that could give me heartburn symptoms I certainly don’t eat a lot of it.

With GERD, I realize that how much food I consume at one setting is very important in keeping digestive acids in my stomach where they belong and not my esophagus. A few times in the last 3 weeks I have had to drink about a half cup of water with about a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in. This neutralizes the acid and gives heartburn relief. Other than those few times everything has been pretty good.

I would like never to have to take antacids again. To do this, staying on the right foods plays a key role, and gives me another incentive to keep at it.

 

Posted in Diet, goals, Health

My Fitness Pal

One of the reasons I was so successful in 2015 with my diet was the MyFitnessPal website and mobile app. It lets you set your nutrient goals, calorie intake, and helps you to see exactly how you are doing as long as you are inputting your meals.

During that year I recorded every meal. I got instant feedback about my nutrients. I knew exactly where I stood throughout the day and could adjust accordingly. It is an extremely helpful website and app.

One of the reasons I began to falter was the holidays; Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. The other reason was that I thought I was able to do without the app. Sure, once you have been doing your diet a while you should be able to do without having to depend on an app. But if you are like me the app helps to remind you that you are trying to accomplish something. It reminds you that you have a goal. And it helps to keep on track.

Will I ever be able to go without the app? Maybe, but, why mess with success. So this week I have resumed using the app to monitor my meals, food & nutrient intake through MyFitnessPal. There are also other apps that are just as helpful, but my favorite is the one I’ve been writing about here.

There are others you can check out. All of these apps are available on both iTunes & Android:

I find that I need all the help I can get.

Posted in Health

Wow It Really Is Winter

It’s about 10:15 at night on January 3. I am just now feeling like this cold is letting go. My headache is finally gone. My nose has stopped running, and I don’t feel so miserable anymore. What a way to start the year.

Today the weather seemed relentless. The temperatures were consistently lower than 27¬ļ. Then it began to sleet. I was surprised. I didn’t think it would last long but it lasted most of the day. Before I knew it my little neighborhood looked very wintery.

 

IMG_0361I opened the door for the cat to go out. She ran out as usual onto the porch then took a giant leap to the ground trying to escape the white stuff. When she landed on the ground she froze for about 20 seconds. Then she slowly makes her way back into the house. I believe she thinks I’m responsible for the ice on the ground.

Of course, this isn’t even close to what’s happening in New York or Cannada. But for us here in the south, it’s a little bit of a big deal. Things tend to shut down around here when there is snow on the ground. We’re just not prepared for such weather. It looks pretty, but it’s got to go.

Anyway, this post is to say I am feeling better for the first time in days. Though, I am concerned what my electric bill will be, as I have had to run the heat quite a bit in the last few days. I have some cleaning to do. While not feeling well I have failed to straighten the place up. I believe our external existence reflects our inner existence.

Posted in Diet, goals, Health

Still Hanging On

belly barrow

It is and has been a slow process to try to get back on track with my diet. I know it will probably be even more difficult with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays coming up, but I am determined. By the new year, I really want to be back on track with my diet & exercise, and feeling better.

Today when I got out of bed I did some stretching because I have been having more back pain than usual. I thought it might be because I had been gaining weight. However, on the scale, I had only gained a pound since the last time I weighed in. So, I suppose it is because I have not been exercising. During the winter months before summer, I had been walking every other day. So the exercise had been helping with the pain.

I need to be in shape anyway. Next summer I plan to audition for a gig onboard a cruise ship as a musician. They have a health standard just like the Navy, but not near as hard to meet. Not that the Navy’s standard was that difficult, but it did involve being able to meet some physical activity requirements. The cruise ship just wants to make sure I don’t fall over dead before my contract is finished.

I have, of course, been practicing the saxophone for about a year and a half. I think I will be ready by summer. I have also promised to play at my church at some point. I will keep my promise. And if possible, I would like to play with some of the musicians in the Charleston area; at least a jam session or something, or, maybe a solo gig in a restaurant or coffee shop.

Anyway, the bottom line is I will not give up. I have a plethora of reasons to keep at it, number one being my health. I’m only 54. I’m too young to quit. I will keep you all informed about the ship thing. For more about playing music, you can follow my music blog tonelovette.wordpress.com.