Monday, June 08, 2009

Joanna: Now 10% LESS!

I realize that with all the help problems with Sprinkles and the end of the school year I haven't updated my blog with weight loss info for a while, so that's what this post is about.

If you noticed my blog title and you thought about it a bit, you'd realize I've reached my first goal: I have lost (a little over) 10% of my body weight! That's 23.8 pounds lost (0.2 pounds over 10%). I wanted to lose 10% by the end of school (from Spring Break until then), and I did! I can't even begin to describe to you the overwhelming joy I feel from this!

People are really noticing my weight loss and asking me about it. It feels great, and the encouragement I gain from people asking what I'm doing does wonders for me! I bought some new shirts in a smaller size the other day, and I'm fitting into my size large school shirts again now. I can deal with pants that are too big, but the huge shirts drive me insane!

My next goal is 40 pounds total by the end of summer. I've got 10 weeks to hit this goal, and I really think I can do it. Today was the first real day of summer (although I'm working for the next 6 work days on curriculum writing for the school and then for the district), and I spent the day enjoying more sleep and figuring out how to still get in enough water when I don't have small water goals from bell to bell. Sprinkles always takes a while to adjust to me not getting up early in the summer, so he woke me up around 6:30 for a walk. Oh well... it was extra exercise before it got too hot! I'm looking forward to finding the new gym in my complex this summer and joining the Lewisville library, so I'll have new stuff to read while I'm on the treadmill.

OK so I'm happy about losing weight; Sprinkles seems to be on the mend for real this time; summer is here! Life is good. :)

People ask me some questions about my weight loss that I thought I'd address at the end of this post:

Q: What are you doing to lose weight?
A: South Beach, no exercise yet. I've said this so much I'm sick of saying it! People, do I need to wear a sign? I could swear I've told just about everyone now...

Q: South Beach? How did you find out about it? Did you buy the book? Can you send me food lists?
A: Part of any diet working is you doing the legwork yourself so you understand why you're doing what you're doing. I bought the book at a half-price bookstore, and I read it completely cover to cover. I understand how and why South Beach works which helps give me more motivation to keep going. If I send you a food list, you won't understand the how and why and are more likely to decide little changes/cheats are ok and the diet won't work for you. Then you think South Beach failed... but honestly it was really you not getting it. Besides, there's a little thing called Google. If you really insist on getting the food list instead of shelling out less than $10 on the book in a used book store, then google "south beach food lists" and find them yourself. It's not that I don't want to help you or that I don't want you to do South Beach; I just want you to have all the tools you need to succeed.

Q: Wow, how do you have such good will power?!
A: It came from the 2 weeks on Phase I. It was sort of a detox from carbs and sugar. Now if I eat ice cream or cake it's because I want to do so not because the craving is so bad that I can't resist. I choose if I'm going to "cheat" and I realize that real life happens, and I can't always not eat "bad" stuff. I don't miss white rice, white bread, and potatoes most days. Sometimes I miss cake a bit, but every few weeks someone has a cake for something and I snag a small piece. :) I don't think it's will power -- I think it's that my body has reset itself.

Q: I can really tell how much weight you've lost! Can you tell?
A: Honestly typically I can't tell at all. I know my clothing is looser. I know logically that the 23.8 pounds had to come from somewhere, so I should be able to see it's gone. But... I look in the mirror, and usually I don't see it. Every once and a while I get a glimpse and see that my stomach is smaller and my face is slimming down, but it's not something I constantly notice. So... yes, I depend on you, my friends, to tell me you can tell a difference! lol. I can't wait to see my parents in August, so they can see the change in me (haven't seen them since April). I really can't wait to see my extended family at Christmas because by then my weight loss is going to be super obvious.

Q: How much do you want to lose?
A: 86 pounds, at least. That's 36% of my starting weight, and I'm about one-fourth of the way there now.

Q: Energy level still high?
A: Yes. The improvements to my energy level is only getting higher each day. I love it! I still take the occasional nap, but lately that more from the evenings with Sprinkles being sick or me staying up worrying about him. Usually I'm ok without naps. Wonder if that will change once I start exercising or if I'll get more energy...

Anyways, there's an update on my weight loss. I'm still going strong and still on South Beach. :)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sprinkles is Home!!

Sprinkles got to come home this evening. The good news -- he did GREAT at the vet (no vomiting or diarreha), and he did well with the IV. The bad news -- the final bill was around $530. Holy crow -- that's about $200 more than I expected! Argh. I'm still spinning a bit from that, but it would have been soooo much more if I hadn't had the Wellness Plan and if he'd gone to the ER vet. If this is what it took him to get healthy, so be it.

Thankfully he's home without any meds to force into him. The vet wants him on the food he refused to eat for the next month, but we're trying it in dry form. He said that if Sprinkles is hungry, he'll eat, so I'm not to give him anything else. Fair 'nuff... hope that works!

He seemed very very happy to see me when I picked him up, and he was more than happy to jump in the car and cuddle in my lap until we got home. Once back in the apartment he ran around checking everything out. Right now he's draped across the top of the couch napping. Hopefully we're out of the woods, and he's fine. :) Thanks for the prayers. Continue to pray that he doesn't relapse. :)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Update on Sprinkles & Biopsy

I decided a post to update on my family's health would be good, so here we go. For starters, this evening I noticed I had a message on my phone, and when I checked it, it was the nurse from the dermatologist. The spot they removed was a normal mole -- no cancer, nothing abnormal. Hurray! Thank you all for your prayers and kind words. That was super scary, and I'm glad it's over. I'm going to continue getting screened every 6 months to a year (as you all should), and I'm going to stay pale... and healthy. :)

On to Sprinkles! I'm going to sum up what's happened thus far (for those of you who don't see my facebook status updates) and then move on to where we're at now. Also, I'm going to speak fairly frankly about what's happened with him, so don't eat and read this!

The evening of May 21st Sprinkles starting having bad diarrhea and vomited some. On the 22nd he spent the day at the vet. While his energy was a bit lower when I dropped him off, he thankfully was not dehydrated. They did run quite a few tests and $250 later he was diagnosed with a tummy infection (like a stomach flu) and was on a couple of antibiotics (pill form). He was also supposed to be on a prescription canned food for a while, but he wouldn't touch that, so I ended up having to cook chicken and rice for him.

About 4 days later, Sprinkles and I ended up back at the vet for the opposite reason as before -- nothing was coming out! A $30 enema later, he was fine with no apparent reason for the constipation. Frustrating but ok.

From that visit 2 Tuesdays ago to Tuesday this week, Sprinkles had high energy, was playful, and ate well. However, Monday night he started to have some diarrhea again. That Saturday he vomited a bit as well, so as much as I wanted to think he was healing, I knew something was not right, so I dropped him off at the vet on Tuesday. Now, I need to mention that Tuesdays are the only day my normal vet isn't in, so both times I had to see a different vet who I now know I really really don't prefer. Anyways, she diagnosed him with a sensitive stomach and sent us home with another $30 of meds to aid digestion and suggested a food for sensitive stomachs (although not a specific one -- just told me to find one that said that on the shelf, so I went with IAMS).

That brings us up to today, Thursday. This morning right as I was about to leave for work, Sprinkles had a bout of diarrhea and vomited. It all looked like the rice he ate the night before -- not really digested. Thinking that meant I should quit transitioning him slowly (since the rice wasn't agreeing with him), I gave him dry food for breakfast (and his meds). He gobbled it all up. I came back home an hour or so later and checked on him, and he was fine. Sometime between 9:15 am and 4:45 pm, he vomited all of his breakfast into the bathtub (convenient, eh?). I called the vet (the one I like spoke to me personally), and he said to bring Sprinkles in.

Have I mentioned that I was so worried the first visit to the vet that I sobbed at the reception desk when I got there? No? Yeah, this visit was much the same. I cried the whole time the vet talked to me. (OK, and I cried for about 45 minutes after I left the vet.) I'm worried, but more than that I'm frustrated! I just want him to get better and be healthy. The vet said that he was glad to see Sprinkles with such high energy. That's a good sign. If it was life threatening, his energy level would be way low. He thinks that Sprinkles has not gotten over the stomach infection yet, and that his stomach/bowel is very irritated by the food right now. He said that it's all working like a hose and just letting out (one way or another) what goes in instead of absorbing the food's nutrients and the medicines we're giving him. His almost $400 solution is that Sprinkles needs to stay at the vet for 48 hours on IV fluids and antibiotics. I am going for this solution. They are not going to feed him, so his stomach and such will have time to heal. He will stay hydrated, and they will observe him. I'll have daily updates and have him home by Saturday evening.

I cried a lot this afternoon from the worry and frustration but also from leaving Sprinkles. He's constantly with me when I'm home -- I mean at my feet, laying on me, following me, in my face, with me. It's weird to be here without him, and I don't like it. He'll also be alone at the vet for some hours in the night, and it makes me sad to think about him alone in a cage. The vet seemed confident that this is what Sprinkles needs to get better, and I have to trust that. I have to feel positive that Sprinkles' energy is still normal to high, and the vet says this is not life threatening but is something we have to fix asap.

So that's where we're at. I'm trying to look at this as an opportunity. I was able to clean the mess in the bathroom without puppy dog underfoot. I can work tomorrow and not have to come home between noon, when the kids leave, and 5 pm, when our staff dinner starts, to let him out and feed him. I can sleep in on Saturday without someone jumping on me. I also called maintenance to snack my bathtub while Sprinkles isn't taking up residence there.

I'm trying to ignore the lonely feeling and dread I'm feeling at going to bed without him lying on my feet. I was very comforted that the vet said, "You and Sprinkles are valued clients. I've worked with you for years, and I know how much Sprinkles means to you. I will do my best to care for him and help him." OK -- him saying that made me cry more (poor man), but it helped.

Again I am writing this knowing my friends and family will read it. Sprinkles needs your immediate prayers. He needs healing and to be able to get back to normal. My pocketbook needs healing from this -- lol. (I do want to take this moment to say that the Wellness Plan at Banfield is top notch. I would have and would be paying a LOT more without the plan, and the emergency vet would have bankrupted me.) I need my baby back healthy. Please pray for healing and a long term solution for his sensitive stomach. I think what's happening now is a relapse from the original illness, and we need prayers that when I get him home, I can feed him what he needs to settle his stomach and avoid another relapse. Please pray for him and me.

Monday, June 01, 2009


So I went to the dermatologist today for a couple of reasons, the biggest of which was to get a dreaded mole (I hate the word "mole", so I'm going to use "spot" from here on out, k? k.)check/cancer screen. The doctor said everything looked ok except a spot that I pointed out on the back of my shoulder. He decided to do a biopsy. (I knew it was likely that I'd have at least one spot that he was "worried" about -- there's so many that of course statistically speaking, one would be worrisome. That's why I've been dreading this check-up so much.) I asked him if he was thinking it was melanoma or another form of skin cancer, and he said that he was mostly sure that it wasn't, but it was just weird enough that it should be checked.

I've never had a biopsy of anything done before, but I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be my new favorite activity. In fact, I told my doctor that I hadn't had one, but that he should know I was scared of needles, and I had a hunch that what he was about to do on me was fairly needle-like and freaky. He laughed and put my exam table up about as high as it would go. I jokingly asked if he was trying to make sure I didn't flee from him to which he said, "yeah, a little." lol. Turns out, I didn't look or even attempt to look at what he was doing, and for the most part, I didn't feel anything. I did, however, have to keep reminding myself to breath. When the doctor asked if I was ok in the middle of doing his thing I actually admitted that I was trying to remember to breath. He told me they were "all fans of oxygen around here" and if I could keep breathing that would be great! He was really kind.

I actually held it together ok in the office. Although I am fairly certain that when he said he was going to do the biopsy that the fear I was feeling showed quite obviously. I don't think my calm, cool, collected exterior hid my inside panic very well. If I fooled the doctor, he was kind enough not to say anything except to tell me not to worry and that the results would be in in a week.

When I got to the car and called Mom... that was when I couldn't talk for crying. I know a biopsy technically isn't a big deal. I know people regularly have melanoma spots that get taken off, and no more action is needed, and they are fine. I also know that nothing else on my body looked like this spot (good) and nothing else near it looked bad (good), but that it was not normal (scary). I know as well that I had a sister who died from melanoma, so forgive me if I panic for a week waiting on test results. I fear cancer. Melanoma is very deadly, and according to my doctor my sister and I have a much greater risk for it since we lost Shelly to it. It's scary.

So here I am on my blog sharing something fairly personal with the world. I don't care though because I'm scared. I'm praying often about it, but I'm still scared. I think the only way I can get through my week to 10 days of waiting for results is through God's help and by knowing others are praying for me. Please don't try to comfort me by telling me this isn't a big deal -- it's a big, freakin', scary deal to me. It's something, according to my mother, I'll have to face in life considering our family history, but nonetheless it's frightening. I don't think it will ever be less so. So pray for me. Pray for comfort from my fears. Pray for good test results. And when you're blinded by my pale skin at the pool this year, know I choose to be pale because they had it right in the Victorian times -- pale is awesome. :)