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Reflecting on my last post, thinking about medications in general and suffering through hot flashes … all I can think of is NO, NO & NO.
NO I’m not going to start a new blog about my thoracic outlet syndrome and chronic pain. What was I thinking?! All the typing on a new blog is only bound to make my symptoms worse. But even worse it would be soooooo boring to have to read someone’s blog about pain day #1, 2, 3 , 4 … 325 … blah, blah, blah. I obviously wasn’t thinking that one through. So, no, no, no new blog about boring pain. My pain. My boring pain.
NO I’m not taking the Trazodone any more. I took it for about a month to help with pain-induced insomnia. While it helped I was slowly developing swollen ankles. YIKES! WTF?! I’ve never had swollen ankles in my life. I’ve been off the Trazodone over a month … and the swelling has gone down, but hasn’t gone away completely. This is crazy. Medications with their side effects blow. Of course, some side effects are tolerable and some aren’t. Right now I’m really pissed at medications. Don’t worry I’m not going go all hippy green or something.
NO I’m not taking my Lo Lo Estrin anymore. Say what?! Yep. I decided since my last medication failures I’ve decided to quit my hormone replacement too. I am sweating with insomnia along with the shivers that come afterwards from the lovely perimenopausal symptoms … I knew what I was getting into having failed getting off hormones twice before. Something is different this time. I can’t put my finger on it. Perhaps I got scared due to Lyrica giving me elevated blood pressure and now Trazodone giving me swollen ankles … I’m thinking about the potential of blood clots and stroke from the hormones.
PS: I have another “no” post in the works!
PPS: There will never be NOs to cats … ever!
The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?” he asked.
“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end, then stop.”
My chronic pain of dysmenorrhea.(and then hysterectomy) was initially why I started this blog. Bleh … over and done with thanks to surgical intervention! The chronic pain was dysmenorrwhat … [dis – men – oh – reeeee – uh]. Yes, dysmenorrhea. Kind of sounds like diarrhea, but it’s not. For many years I suffered with this biatch of a uterus cramper and torturer … pain so bad it traveled down my low back into my legs leaving me more fatigued than the after effects of a man having had an orgasm for the first time in a decade — and not in any good way!
Now I have my special new diagnosis of chronic pain from neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (nTOS).
NEUROGENIC — Arising from or caused by nerves.
THORACIC OUTLET — Not to be confused with any outlet in your dwelling … if you live in a teepee of course there are no outlets to confuse you — just this one. The thoracic outlet is a grouping of blood vessels (veins and arteries) and nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib (thoracic outlet). (see pic below)
SYNDROME — Something fun and extra in your life that makes you special! Often something that people can’t tell you have just by looking or talking to you, and will not care about because who wants to talk about you and your pain or syndrome or whatever it is. BORING! NEXT! Actually, syndrome means a group of symptoms that collectively indicate or characterize a disease, a psychological disorder or another abnormal condition … or a group of physical symptoms making you feel like you’re developing a psychological disorder!
Neurogenic (neurological) thoracic outlet syndrome (nTOS):
This form of thoracic outlet syndrome is characterized by compression of the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that come from your spinal cord and control muscle movements and sensation in your shoulder, arm and hand [mentally f*ucking with your brain and emotions].
nTOS sounds much more exotic than that icky dysmenorrhea stuff. People look at me like I’m from Mars (or an escapee from a psych ward) when I say I have neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome … I might as well have said , “I have gooby jooby hooka pawna wawna syndrome and it hurts!”. Then I have to explain it in easy to understand terms … If they haven’t fallen into a coma by then.
I’ve been a desk jockey for 11 years (yes, I am a desk nurse), and all the typing with mousing has contributed to this horrible posture — the leaning forward of my head with overuse of my arms and hands … repetitive motion disorder … also, consider 8-9 hours a day at a desk sitting plus a total to and from commute to work of an hour of sitting. Then of course, after the brain gymnasium (AKA work) I come home and sit some more spending time on the couch (the pseudo brain playground to destress from work — I sit and relax from my day of sitting). I probably total 10-14 hours of sitting daily! That’s probably why I have a flat @ss! I ain’t got no glutey in the booty!
My point with this comparison is I’m not sure which is worse: Dysmenorrhea or nTOS. With dysmenorrhea I was in acute pain for 3-5 days on average every month. With nTOS the pain isn’t as acute but it’s with me every day, some days worse than others. At least with dysmenorrhea I got a total reprieve for the majority of the month. nTOS is like herpes … the gift that keeps on giving while chronic like COPD!
My nTOS pain to my right arm woke me up at night (saying, “F*ck you! I hate you! Get up and suffer — NOW!”) sometime between 2 am and 4 am and I couldn’t go back to sleep until I got on Trazodone — a medication I didn’t associate with good thoughts because there are some people on Trazodone with severe mental disorders and I don’t want to be in that group — I have enough problems. But now that my pride has waned, I’m able to swallow this bitter pill; I associate my low-dose Trazodone with restorative sleep that gets me all the way through the night WITHOUT PAIN! I know longer stereotype people on Trazodone!
Sleep is like ammunition for your body — you wouldn’t go into war without enough bullets would you? First of all, I wouldn’t go into war — they wouldn’t take me anyway, and secondly, I would never abandon my cats. Life without cats is worse than life with nTOS!
“Losing four hours of sleep is comparable to drinking a six-pack of beer [or a bottle wine — I don’t often drink beer],” says Tom Rath, Author of the New York Times bestselling book, Eat Move Sleep.
“I don’t want to be in a serious meeting with a person who drank six beers or lost four hours of sleep. I don’t want my child’s teacher to be that person. I don’t want my doctor to be that person. Still, we don’t view the two scenarios (beer drinking and not sleeping) as equal. In fact, our culture views a person who needs sleep, as a person with a weakness [my emphasis]. “
Right now to combat my nTos, and yes, this is war folks … I’m doing the following:
I have yet to get back into chiropracty … I’m already busy with all the above.
I’m not sure if nTOS has an end or it’s something I live with for the rest of my life or I have surgery down the line to correct it or I move to Washington or Colorado living off medical marijuana —- NOT! At least with my severe dysmenorrhea the surgery of hysterectomy was a curative solution. I don’t need surgery for nTOS and it’s not recommended either … not yet anyway!
nTOS is an expensive hobby to have! I don’t recommend it in the least (for many reasons — chiefly PAIN!). On the upside of all this, my husband built me a standing desk for home. Nothing can be done for my work station at this point with my job. My supervisor didn’t even believe that sitting was bad for you until just earlier this year. I’ve know this for at least 9 years. My supervisor came out and proclaimed how bad sitting was after reading an article … when I told my boss almost a decade ago the look I got was like I was cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and simply a malingering hypochondriac … oh, and that I was a special princess now needing special treatment and office equipment. Ugh.
During the past year, sitting has become the new smoking. “Past studies have found,” declares a 2014 article in The New York Times, “The more hours that people spend sitting, the more likely they are to develop diabetes, heart disease and other conditions, and potentially to die prematurely — even if they exercise regularly.”
The animated TED-ED video (below) begins to paint the picture.
I’ve moved on to one intermittent chronic pain condition to a new constant chronic pain condition. In comparison, dysmenorrhea was better if I had to choose one sucky disorder over another!
This is probably the end of this blog as I’m planning on starting a new blog related to my chronic nTOS pain and subjects related to this issue. Oh joy, hold onto your pants because I know you can’t wait! Cats will continue to be part of the new blog … stay tuned! MeOW!
I will let you know my new blog site once I get it started … sorry to leave all of you who have hung in for hysterectomy information (go read some old posts … like all of them) … and for those of you here for the cats — you’ll still get cat stuff in the upcoming blog! Yay! Cat stuff!❤
No one has asked, but somehow I feel better putting this answer out into the blogosphere.
I have not written any posts since June because my right arm hurts A LOT and typing aggravates the pain. I have gone through some testing and have neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (NTOS) — pretty fancy schmancy sounding isn’t? If you want to know what it is click on the hyperlink because I’m not taking any more time to type this out.
I’m so fancy with my new diagnosis and all … kind of like Iggy Azalea … or not:
LYRICS TO FANCY because if you’re like me, you really don’t know what she’s saying and this video has explicit words I would have never caught (like I really give a f*ck) … but could only read (find) through the lyrics. I especially like the chorus.
I’m so fancy
You already know
I’m in the fast lane, from L.A to Tokyo
I’m so fancy
Can’t you taste this gold?
Remember my name, about to blow
~ Iggy Azalea
Hmmm … isn’t it interesting when some songs are sung they are so much better than when you read their lyrics? Honestly, these words look idiotic to me as I read them, but her honey voice make them come alive!
I have written many posts in my head. They have not made it to my blog. I am sad about this because:
Strangely enough people are still visiting this site … I guess it’s all my glorious free information. And perhaps the cats. It’s always the cats.
I’m still alive. I’m not dead. I love responding to anyone who is brave enough to pose comments and questions for me. As for my arm and my NTOS I start physical therapy next week. My speculation as to how I got NTOS is from my desk jockey job of almost 11 years … type … type … type … type … oy vey! If you haven’t discovered it yet SITTING IS BAD FOR YOU! And it’s not likely I’ll ever change jobs so I’m stuck with this sh*t.
PPS: My 2 year hysterectomy anniversary came and went without event. Sorry no post on that day.
PPPS: My “Frankentoe” (scroll down in that post and you’ll see the toe I’m referring to) is healed! Maybe when I get off my lazy tuches I’ll post an updated photo. Maybe. Or YOU can simply use your imagination as to what a healthy great toe looks like. Remember imagination before everyone spoon fed you images?
Yep, you read it, I said it.
I have so much to say and it’s all discombobulated. Furthermore I don’t care … and neither should you! The problem is WHERE to begin.
Let’s start with my anniversary dinner and wine promises. To sum it up our anniversary was amazing. This is my favorite holiday. Some people like Christmas, others Thanksgiving, some Valentine’s … others Flag day (that was flag not fag). Actually, there is no Fag Day, but there is NCOD (National Coming Out Day) — just so you know.
We went to one of my favorite restaurants. I wasn’t very creative; there are A LOT of restaurants from which to chose in my eat-out city but I chose our old stand by.
I chose the place because:
I won’t recommend others to come here because if they go and tell me it was “meh” it will break my heart … possibly altering the friendship forever. I’m not joking.
Here’s what we drunked & eated:
Every server we have each time is top f-cking notch! I told myself I was going to have only one drink — a glass of wine to be exact but … it was our anniversary and this restaurant makes killer martinis to die for and wine that cannot not be experienced. I caved and couldn’t resist! I was only going to have one glass of wine, but our server pushed us to split another glass (he didn’t have to push very hard) … twist my arm baby. It had to happen. So, instead of one to two drinks, I had 2.5 special beverages over almost three hours time. Yes, we were there for quite a while and I wasn’t driving home — the man who weighs more and makes more alcohol dyhydrogenase was!
Let’s just say when you don’t drink for quite some time, you become a lightweight again. I felt the buzz … a little too much, but no regrets. Especially worth THE WINE!
[Frappto’s] a grape variety that yields beautifully fresh, floral, lighter-style reds, even in the warm climate of Sicily. This is a truly seductive, floral example.
Centonze Frappato 2013 Sicily, Italy
13% alcohol. Succulent, supple, floral nose of red cherries and rose petals. On the palate this shows supple, sweet fruit with red cherries and plums. It’s quite light-bodied, but generously flavored, with a slightly grainy structure. Fresh, supple, pretty and delicious. 91/100.
Per Madeline Puckette, wine geekess extraordinaire:
Ever notice the lack of consideration that dieting has for your wine habit?
How are you supposed to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle if it completely removes a wine lover’s reason to live? Not to worry, there has been overwhelming evidence pointing to wine as a healthy form of booze when consumed in moderation. Here’s how you can stay healthy and still enjoy wine.
The following 7 tips may help you enjoy a healthy diet that includes wine.
Know wine’s calories [yeah, right]
Earn your glass [sure]
Don’t drink before you eat [why?]
Do drink dry red wine [usually, of course]
Don’t drink too late [OK, OK … I know, but what’s the definition of “too late?”]
Do spend more on wine [at least a minimum of $10]
Drink wine away from home [or at home if you don’t want to risk a DWI]
How did I stack up with her 7 tips?
In total, I scored 6 out of 7 on Madeline’s list — that’s about 86% on the money; who said me and a calculator can’t do math! (or maths for all you UK people reading this!)
I celebrated like a queen! We had a great time! The next day I gained some weight, but told myself JUNE is a new month to start over with weight loss, eating healthy and getting fit … and then … MY STUPID TOENAIL.😦
Believe it or not, this great toe looked worse one month ago! This is the improved “healing” version. I sound like a wimp, but whatevs folks … this mother-f-cking toe hurts! Everything I do, my toe says, “Hey, feel me! I hurt! Ow! I need attention. Me! Me! Me!” I’m now limited with my physical activity related to this thing.
Wondering how I got this beauty? I lifted a terra cotta pot at my dad’s house that was disintegrating while taking it to the trash and it fell into multiple, heavy shards directly onto my great toe — that’s not so great now. F-cking A. F-cking O. It hurt so much. It bled more than my heaviest period, I cried for two hours straight and iced it it down with holding pressure. I had to ask my dad for the medication he had from 2014 from his knee surgery just to control the pain. He complied and I felt a wee bit better.
I’m sorry for such an ugly picture when I know I should be posting a picture of a beautiful cat. Here’s my lovely cat so you can clear your mind of that ugly toe.
Sooooooooo … my point is … I drank wine because I wanted to celebrate. I can’t work out like I want (need) to because my toe has messed up everything (for a while) and my cats keep my happy and distracted. I’m human. I will continue to be healthy after my hysterectomy. I promise. I’m still eating healthy, but physical exercise is a challenge. It’s amazing how much one toe can effect your life!
I look forward to going back to swimming, but the sign says:
I’m simply going to go with this. I had fun. I indulged a wee bit too much. Two steps forward one-and-a-half steps back … but hey, life happens. I’ll be back with more success. Please, please I beg of you to wish some good juju healing for my stupid toe!
da Vinci Robotic Surgery
The da Vinci surgical robot helps doctors perform complex, minimally invasive surgeries like hysterectomies and prostate operations. But some patients suffer serious complications that require additional procedures, some of which can be fatal.
Developed and marketed by Intuitive Surgical, the da Vinci Surgical System gained approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. California-based manufacturer Intuitive created the multi-armed robot to assist surgeons with more precise, minimally invasive surgery through small incisions that don’t require doctors to open the abdomen.
One of my readers commented asking if I’d ever heard about “Unplug the Robot”? I replied I hadn’t. She wrote about how the da Vinci robot she had for her hysterectomy ruined her life and other women’s lives as well.
Some of these stories are terribly tragic.
The consequence is that little is known of the real disadvantages of the equipment [the da Vinci robot], and the injuries and deaths it may cause, even as robotic surgery is widely marketed to consumers. ~ Dr. Diana Zuckerman.
Personally, I haven’t heard a single terrible story of any patient I have known or treated regarding the da Vinci method which is not to say there aren’t tragedies happening left and right of which I’m not aware of. The da Vinci robot can be used for many other surgeries and not simply hysterectomy. While I don’t work directly with da Vinci or its company Intuitive Surgical, my blog is not about promoting the use of da Vinci itself, but rather to chronicle my experience with hysterectomy … I would have created this blog regardless of the method (and outcome) I had.
In the beginning, I was planning on having my hysterectomy the laparoscopically assisted vaginal method (no robot involved) believing there was less scarring and was easier for the surgeon. My case was actually booked that way for a few days until I had an in-depth discussion with my GYN surgeon while also reading quite a bit about the da Vinci method.
The da Vinci is not, strictly speaking, a robot. It is a surgical tool and interface for that tool. Robots perform a pre-programmed sequence of steps that may or may not be conditional on input (think the IRobot vacuum). The surgery performed with it is only as good as the surgeon. A poor surgeon or poorly trained surgeon will not use it optimally. ~ random commenter
I had a lot of trust in my surgeon … and still do. He’s been a physician for a very long time … in fact, he graduated high school the year I was born! He has received many accolades on his performance and patient satisfaction throughout his years of practice. I can tell by many things about his personality that his “job” of being an Ob/Gyn was a career and calling. Luckily, my hysterectomy performed with the da Vinci robot laparoscopically assisted went off without a hitch.
I cannot speak to the individual cases of da Vinci Hysterectomies gone awry because there can be several and differing reasons why these operations ended up as either surgical misadventures and/or maladies for the female patients involved. One has to be careful when making assumptions that a particular surgery is “all good” or “all bad”. The cliched saying is that medicine is both an art and a science.
I recommend anyone contemplating a non-emergent surgery to get a second (or third) opinion and do as much possible research on the surgeon including his/her experience with any robotic equipment, the hospital where the surgery will be performed along with the technique of surgery recommended — and this advice is not merely for the laparoscopically assisted da Vinci hysterectomy, but ALL other major surgeries as well! Another recommendation I’d like to make is to explore ALL other options — especially non-surgical weighing the pros and cons, risks and advantages of each. Surgery doesn’t always have to be the answer.
There are horror stories about robotic surgeries gone awry found in the pages of thousands of lawsuits. But experts interviewed by Healthline lay the blame for these negative outcomes at the surgeons’ feet, not at the robot’s. Whenever a new technique enters the operating room, some doctors make mistakes with it. They are, after all, only human.
‘When [laparoscopic surgery] was introduced, there was a spike in patient complications. That was because, in general, the surgical field was getting trained; there were errors, there were mistakes. Now fast-forward, this is just kind of par for course when it comes to introducing a disruptor. You’re going to run into these issues,’ said the ECRI Institute’s Schabowsky.
The key is for patients to minimize their chances of being one of the mistakes by ensuring their surgeons have ample experience with any device they plan to use in the OR. That information can be hard to get, the experts agreed — only cardiac surgeons currently make such records available to the public.
But consumers aren’t doing their part, either. ~ Cameron Scott
from HealthLine (Feb 2015)
There are women out there who have researched their surgery, were in good health, trusted their surgeon and still had complications from their hysterectomy … my heart goes out to all of these women! It’s possible I could have been one of them and this blog would be written with a completely different perspective. Fortunately most elective surgeries do turn out well with most people being greatly satisfied they chose to have the surgery to include the robotic method. It’s an extremely unfortunate circumstance of life all surgeries cannot go 100% well without any problems … living life and having surgeries involve risk. Merely being alive is risky … but it beats the alternative.
Wow! You’re back again … no wait, I’m back again with an update on the weight loss post-hysterectomy. I promised myself I would write my next post when ten pounds were shed.
May 1st marks my journey into eating healthy — NOT going on a diet — and getting more physically fit in attempting to lose weight and get more physically fit. I don’t believe in diets because they make no sense. I’m never been on a diet in my life. I’m not bragging, simply stating facts. I’ve always wondered why people go on diets. Does this mean they will do the diet for however long, lose the weight they want and then return to old eating habits? This doesn’t make any sense.
I am back to eating healthy (healthily?) which has been easy as pie (nice cliche analogy, no?) … AS LONG AS I AVOID ALCOHOL! Avoiding alcohol has been easy too. I made a plan with my change to eating healthier I would cut out alcohol (it’s mostly wine when I’m talking about alcohol) except for one day a month where I will have one to two drinks on that designated day.
My actual anniversary was the 24th and I broke down drinking one glass of white wine … it was already opened for a shrimp dish I made so of course, someone has to drink the opened wine! My husband and I had one glass each on our actual anniversary day. We have dinner reservations at one of my favorite restaurants where I plan to have a glass of red wine. I didn’t consider the dinner I made at home as celebrating our anniversary — I only count eating out.
So, not too bad, huh? Two glasses of wine this month. I’m thinking I can skip June and call it even … there are no special days in June for me.
Three of my girlfriends I’m going to hang out with soon don’t drink for the following reasons:
I feel pretty lucky I won’t be tempted by these teetotalers. There won’t be any drink-pushing on either end. Also, I would never push a person to drink who doesn’t … not my style. I bring up my friends who don’t drink because I think it’s important not to put yourself in tempting situations when you’re trying to make a lifestyle change, and my friends being who they are make it naturally easy to avoid alcohol! Cheers to them! (Oh, is that the right thing to say?)
I have now developed a bit of fear with the upcoming dining-out anniversary with wine consumption. I’ve lost ten pounds and while super satisfied about this accomplishment, feel trepidation about drinking! I’m worried if I have a glass of wine all kinds of cravings will hit the next day and the weight will be right back on.
Madeline Puckette says:
If you’re trying to stay slim be sure to monitor your serving size. A proper pour of wine is just 5 oz. (not the entire 20 oz. glass!)
The following 7 tips may help you enjoy a healthy diet that includes wine:
* Know wine’s calories
* Earn your glass
* Don’t drink before you eat
* Do drink dry red wine
* Don’t drink too late
* Do spend more on wine
* Drink wine away from home
How much wine should I drink?
The good news is you can drink wine every day just not quite as much as you might be accustomed. Also, it doesn’t seem to matter too much if you prefer red, white or rosé.
Women: 1 glass a day
Men: 2 glasses a day
* A glass of wine is 5 oz. (~150 ml)
If you find that you drink more than this in a single day, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism advises that women should have no more than 3 drinks in a single day (a 24 hour period) and men should have no more than 4 drinks per day. They also suggest that consumption all week should be no more than 7 drinks per week for women and no more than 14 for men.
Robert Atkins (nutritionist) — ya know, the Atkins Diet guy says:
Here’s the problem with all alcoholic beverages, and the reason I recommend refraining from alcohol consumption on the diet — alcohol, whenever taken in, is the first fuel to burn. While that’s going on, your body will not burn fat. This does not stop the weight loss, it simply postpones it, since the alcohol does not store as glycogen (starch), you immediately go back into ketosis after the alcohol is used up.
While I’ve started to eat healthy I am also slowly incorporating physical exercise into my life. I’m embarrassed I’m not very physically fit or don’t exercise on any regular basis. While my friend Maleah and I discuss many nutrition topics and are often on the same page, we have never discussed physical fitness until just recently.
80% of your body composition will be determined by your diet. [my emphasis] Exercise is also important to health and to speed up fat-burning and muscle-building, but most of your results will come from how you eat. ~ Mark Sisson
Maleah introduced me to Mark’s Daily Apple where Mark Sisson not only discusses nutrition, but also writes about ways to incorporate physical fitness into every day life without running! I knew I could possibly take on Mark’s advice on fitness because he said running (daily, distance or marathon type) wasn’t necessary, there’s no need to join a gym and you use your own body! These are things I can do.
Humans did not evolve to be long distance runners. Our bodies didn’t evolve to run marathons. Instead we evolved to walk long distances, lift heavy things and sprint once in a while. ~ Mark Sisson
While the eating healthy part has been simple for the most part except for the one day I dug into a bag of melted chocolate truffles and ended up with a stomach ache later that night … the physical part has been more difficult because when I start things I tend to overdo them.
One day I spent 30 minutes going up and down uneven stone steps at a local natural reserve, walked on a trail for 30 minutes, had an intensive one-on-one hour and fifteen minute session with a yoga instructor, and then swam for 30 minutes that evening.
THIS WAS A MISTAKE!
While I felt good the entire time doing all of these things, I was hit with complete fatigue and screaming upper abdominal pain from the yoga core exercises the next day! All this over doing it has put me out of doing anything physical for three days as I recover. I’m telling you I’m really out of shape and it happened after my hysterectomy where I just let myself go.
I don’t think my plight of physical deconditioning is necessarily due to having had a hysterectomy because I believe it could be any surgery … mine so happened to be a hysterectomy. Getting into shape isn’t easy — at least not for me.
This is the FIRST time in my life where I’ve incorporated both eating healthy along with physical fitness.
Rather than strive to lose weight, most people would be better off striving to lose only fat and to build or maintain muscle. ~ Mark Sisson
Ashtanga is a challenging lineage of Hatha Yoga focused on building strength and endurance that naturally leads to a relaxed mental state. This dynamic sequence of postures, known as the Primary Series, combines focus with continuous movement. Ashtanga is practiced in a warm room (78-84 degrees).
Ashtanga, which means ‘eight limbs’ in Sanskrit, is a fast-paced, intense style of yoga. A set series of poses is performed, always in the same order. This practice is very physically demanding because of the constant movement from one pose to the next and the emphasis on daily practice.
This is the beach at Turks & Caicos. Notice my meatball self is NOT in the photo — I didn’t want to mess up the beautiful beach picture. The trip was INCREDIFABAMAZIAWESOME! If you ever get the chance to go to Turks & Caicos go … go without hesitation … go, go, go, go. In fact go now! Book your hotel and plane fare this minute. Definitely bring sunscreen though! Of all the places I’ve traveled in the world the people of Turks & Caicos were the friendliest by far … they also have the best frozen pina coladas I’ve ever had too which I responded with the worst brain freezes of my life. I rode a REAL bike for the first time in 35 years (THIRTY-FIVE YEARS!) — Did you read that?! It has been 35 years since I rode a REAL BONA FIDE bike!!!! (A stationary bike at a gym does not count.) I snorkeled for the first time ever. We ate conch ceviche after the boat divers retrieved live conch from the ocean. I would definitely return without a second thought. AND as far as the Zika virus is concerned, there isn’t much to be worried about … my husband and I got only one bite each and aren’t even sure they were from mosquitos.
I’m on my journey to get heathy … please cheer me on! I need it because sometimes eating Cheetos and sitting on the couch still seem like the norm!
I’ve chosen to do it to myself — no more wine! Wine and any other alcoholic beverage seems to pack on the pounds making me eat like a chow hound! I have found that alcohol has empty calories (duh, WHO did not know this?!?), makes your blood sugar suddenly spike then your body has to pump out more insulin overcompensating for this high with the residual insulin hanging around causing you to be hungry, then affecting the hypothalamus screwing up a bunch of hormones like cortisol, causing even more weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle!
The interaction between alcohol and the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal) axis may be bidirectional— that is, not only does alcohol consumption stimulate cortisol secretion, but elevated cortisol levels may increase drinking by magnifying its rewarding effects.
The Role of the HPA Axis:
Activation of the HPA axis induces glucocorticoid secretion, which in turn affects a wide range of physiological responses, such as changes in blood sugar levels, blood pressure, fat redistribution, muscle breakdown and immune system modulation (Sapolsky 1993). Although these hormonal effects develop much more slowly (i.e., within hours) than those of the sympathetic nervous system, they may persist for several days …
With this information it’s easier for me to think about alcohol negatively. I never learned about the connection of alcohol and weight gain until just recently. I thought weight gain with alcohol only occurred with excessive alcohol intake. My alcohol was in moderation only … but apparently the amount doesn’t matter — it’s merely the consumption of it period. Alcohol very powerfully stimulates a whole set of hormones triggering what are mostly negative effects under non-stressful circumstances.
I continue to believe my GYN when he said hysterectomies do not cause women to gain weight. After my surgery, I changed how I ate and my level of physical activity (think couch potato eating potato chips) after my hysterectomy … maybe I ate and drank to fill the empty void where the vacant baby house once dwelled within me. Oh bullish*t … that’s just some romantic excuse to consume whatever I wanted!
On the weight gain / loss forefront … I have currently lost 7 lbs. since May 1st (7 lbs. lost in 9 days). I have truly not done anything spectacular to accomplish this.
I cut out the following:
Currently I’m label conscious about the amount of sugar in anything I buy like coconut water, veggie juice … really anything with a label. I’m not consuming many things that have a label. I am NOT counting calories and through this process have learned that it’s ill-advised to go below 1200 kCal per day being that it’s difficult to get enough nutrition with such a low calorie intake. To burn one pound of fat 3,500 less calories have to be taken in or one has to exercise enough to burn that amount of calories.
Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So, in general, if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day you’d lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories).
‘There’s tremendous variability in how a 3,500 caloric deficit affects different people,’ [my emphasis] says Pamela Peeke, M.D., M.P.H., senior science adviser at Elements Behavioral Health and author of The Hunger Fix.
Well, one huge factor determining the results of our dieters is body composition. ‘The more fat a person has to give, the quicker he will lose weight and weight from fat,’ Peeke explains.
Meanwhile, when you get closer to your body weight, your body holds on to fat stores for dear life and sacrifices muscle over fat, she says. The body is perpetually afraid that it will starve; it’s perhaps biology’s least-sexy-ever survival mechanism.
I also realized that diet alone will not be enough to burn off the weight I want — it will also take the dreaded exercise! I have started to walk much more and take the stairs whenever possible. While I’m not up to going on walks daily, I have started to bring some exercise into my life besides bringing the fork (or chopsticks because I’m multitalented) up to my mouth.
I’ve also started drinking coconut water for the potassium. There is no way I can humanly stuff myself with that many bananas to get the amount of potassium I need. I started to get leg cramps when I started eating healthier. Weird. I also now take a magnesium supplement at night, a multi-B vitamin about every other day and a vitamin C. In general, I believe most vitamins are wasted through urination, but because of my lowered calorie intake I’m trying to get the vitamin supplementation in I’m simply not getting through food.
I’ve also begun to add a probiotic daily into my diet. The probiotics I’m eating are kimchi, kombucha tea (I don’t like this much because it tastes like carbonated vinegar), and yogurt. I also occasionally take a high quality probiotic capsule or two about every other day. Probiotic capsules are expensive! Cha ching!
This is my journey so far regarding weight loss after hysterectomy … wish me well.