Dear new followers

 … and oldies too!

First and foremost thank you all for following this little blog … this odd mixed-up blog mostly about hysterectomy  cats  BS randomness.  (there will be no “second of all” because I like to break grammar rules and punctuation)

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Dear new followers,

Thank you for finding me and following me. gif-thanks-for-following-cat-bunny I’m often confused why some of you would choose to follow in the first place, but whatevs.  My best stuff is behind me just so you know.

Personally, if I were to read this blog I’d either: 1) start from the beginning, or 2) just keep reading the posts backwards.  If you start from the beginning things make more sense but also deteriorate in a way … if you start from here and go backwards, posts start to improve but are read chronologically backwards … somewhat confusing  — YOUR CHOICE — I’m simply glad you’re here! WELCOME!

SHORTCUT SELECTIONS FOR YOU!

  • If you want to start from the beginning click HERE.
  • For recommended reading about da Vinci hysterectomy click HERE.
  • My most popular post HERE.
  • Finally, MY favorite post … yes, I can like my own stuff!  HERE!

Does it seem a little bossy and controlling that I’m telling you how to read my blog like you’re: 1) actually interested, and/or 2) an idiot?  Well, rest assured, this is simply a way for me to write another post … a little how-to if you will, and no, no, no I don’t think you’re an idiot … not yet anyway but there’s always hope, and I’m not even confident you’re interested in this blog … not yet anyway, but again there’s always hope!

Also, if you’re a guy reading this I’m definitely NOT judging … I’m fascinated any guy would want to read my blog … aside from the cat-loving guys of course!  cat-thank-you-drawing

I hope you enjoy your journey through this blog.  I can’t believe I’ve written both so much yet so infrequently.  If you don’t like reading, the pics are pretty entertaining.

I wish you the best here … and I love comments.  I’m still so small and not over-popular that I respond to most every comment.  I’m also still alive so that helps too!  Share your opinion, ask questions, correct my grammar, share links … whatever floats your boat!  Oh, and sign my GUESTBOOK if you get a chance. 🙂

Hugs from the blogosphere!

Elizabetcetera … 


Dear oldies & faithful followers,

gif-swinging-cat-thank-youfor hanging on, keeping up and commenting!

Yeah, it’s that short for y’all! 🙂

Well wishes again for a GREAT 2017!

Elizabetcetra


cat-rescue-thank-you

Photo credit: Regina Cat Rescue of Saskatchewan, Canada. Adopt a cat — your life will improve! OMC (oh my cat!), isn’t this kitty so cute!  Look at his (or her) little baby bottom teeth!  He (or she) is so cute I want to eat him (her) up!  If you LOVE cats, you’ll get that … you won’t think I actually want to have kitten stew!  Eww!


PS: And for extra fun … here’s YOUR fortune today:

fortune-cookie-humor

“You will take offense from a post on the internet today, even though it was not directed at you!”  


2017:Gratitude & Aspirations

There will be NO New Year’s resolutions here … they often make me feel worse.

pretend-anything-year-changes-funny-ecard-udy


WORK:

I continue to be grateful for my job of over 11 i-work-hard-so-my-cats-can-have-a-better-life-170e1years! While my job has had its ups and downs throughout the years, I hope 2017 will bring an excellent coworker (new hire) to the group.  I also hope to eventually accept a minor but significant change in my job duties and that my ego can get over the addition of a mind-numbing task. 2016 made me feel proud in how I handled a overly-sensitive supervisor.  2016 marks the best year in over a decade I have dealt with this person.  I aspire for 2017 to be even better in my interactions with said supervisor.  While I never expect to become buddies with this person, I do hope for the happiest and emotionally healthiest interactions possible.  Wish me luck!


HEALTH:

I am grateful my health is overall good despite a lingering shoulder bursitis and newly diagnosed hypothyroidism … oh, and the mysterious ankle edema.  I aspire to raise my vitamin D, somehow get rid of the ankle swelling and learn how to motivate myself to exercise.  I am grateful  I don’t have TCOS (thoracic outlet syndrome) like I thought I did, but instead have bursitis of the shoulder with rotator cuff injury.  With the rotator cuff injury there is likelihood my condition will improve, whereas the TCOS sounded like a never ending bag of sh*t I would endure perpetuitously.

I am grateful my 2014 hysterectomy has given me a quality of life back that I didn’t have prior to my surgery.

advice-cat


RELATIONSHIPS:

Regarding relationships: family, coworkers, spouse and friends … I aspire to be more assertive, assessing situations while calling out things that just don’t seem right or that I don’t agree with.  Usually, I simply want to get along, go along and don’t speak up.  I am grateful for a wonderful drama-free relationship with my in-laws.  This unto itself is a miracle for most! taco-for-followers

I am grateful for the bloggers I follow for they often make my day and lighten my mood when I’m down (especially the cat blogs).  As for readers of my blog, I am also immensely grateful because your comments mean a lot to me as well as any likes (that star button I’m sure you’ll likely press after reading this) — I love when people reach out!  And while my blog isn’t the most active one on the planet, I aspire to continue to make it a source of interest, support and humor … oh, and a place for cat pics too!

Dear 2017,

Hi!  How are you young one?  Welcome into existence. My aspirations for you include trying to figure out the human race … pretty lofty, huh?  Well, maybe just trying to treat my body better and to figure out how to be more mature in some ways while still having fun.  I don’t have any grand expectations but simply to be happy, be grateful for what I have, purr more, say thank you even more, bounce back sooner from disappointments and eat more licorice all while continuing to love my cats.

Take care! (and please take care of everyone and me too!)

❤ Elizabetcetera


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Why & how I stopped HRT

I never thought I’d be able to stop HRT (hormone replacement therapy).  I tried twice before without success.  My intolerance to hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, headaches and brain fog kept me coming back to hormones the two times I tried to quit.

I had no real idea how any woman managed to stop hormones successfully.


There are a lot of people who simply can’t relate to my life with this challenge.  They include and are probably not limited to:

  • Any woman I know who is not taking and has never taken hormones
  • Those women who have gracefully eased into menopause
  • Any male — definitely my husband, father and father-in-law
  • Those against many, most and / or all medications of all kinds

That list above is about every person I know.  I’m not sure why but it’s important for someone to me and vice versa when I’m experiencing challenging or upsetting experiences in my life.  I’ve had this feeling with innumerable issues — the desire to find others who are experiencing or have experienced what I’m going through.  Many people I talk to say they don’t need anyone else to relate to them; I wish I could be that resilient and nonchalant, but it doesn’t feel natural for me.  Emotionally, I get a lot from others who share their experiences with me and I don’t feel so alone.

acceptance-quote

Intellectually I know exogenous hormones can be detrimental to one’s health for various reasons.  I don’t like being on a medication that has to be taken daily.  It’s interesting what can make the final push to get one to start or stop something.

I hesitated writing this post because I wanted to make sure I was off my hormones (a low dose synthetic estrogen and progesterone combination) before I made the sweeping statement, “I’m off my hormones for good!”  It’s been over two months since I quit the Lo Lo Estrin … and I didn’t exactly quit because I wanted to — not like the other two times I didn’t succeed in stopping — I wanted to stop then simply for the sake of quitting.

I quit HRT because I started to get changes in my body that I had no idea as to what to attribute them to.  I stopped the hormones and any PRN (as needed) medications to see if it would make a difference.  I developed swelling in my ankles and I read many sources stating hormones can contribute to or cause this.

Some other medications can also cause swelling in the legs. These drugs mostly affect the water balance in the body or cause blood vessels to leak fluids.

Medications that can cause edema include:

  • Vasodilators
  • Calcium channel blockers such as nifedipine and amlodipine
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen
  • Corticosteroids such as prednisone
  • Steroids, both androgenic and anabolic
  • Diabetes drugs like thiazolidinediones (say that fast with a mouth full of marbles!)
  • Estrogens such as oral contraceptives and replacement hormones  BINGO!
  • MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) and TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants)

I’ve NEVER had any problems with hormones — at least no obvious ones. The only problems I thought about hormones causing were heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and cancer.  While peripheral edema can be a side effect of hormones I never put much thought to it.  Sometimes you have to experience adverse effects personally vs. reading them on a list to visceralize what can happen in real life.awareness-then-acceptance

This ankle swelling has done it for me.  As soon as I read this as one of the side effects I went off Lo Lo Estrin cold turkey.  I am scared sh*tless as to what I may have done to my body with various medications over the years.  I’ve never had ankle swelling in my life.  Coupled with the unsightly appearance of lateral swelling to my ankles is a sense of shame and embarrassment that I caused this … making me feel very cautious with whom and when I divulge this problem.

It only took six weeks for me to stop having perimenopausal symptoms from being off the low dose estrogen-progesterone combo.  Those six weeks were no walk in the park though — I got restless sleep, sweated nightly (and daily) and hot flashed constantly.  My mindset was different in this third attempt to quit.  I actually accepted the hot flashes telling myself I’d get used to them, embracing each episode riding it out as each one waxed and waned.  This became my new normal.  And then one night I didn’t have any sweats during my sleep which progressed to a full week without them.  The daytime hot flashes became fewer and fewer to now where I might have one or two brief hot flashes every several days.

Yay for me!  I did it.  I got over the hump with the hot flashes, night sweats, headaches and insomnia.  And because I don’t have the hormonal headaches any more I don’t need the Fioricet (acetaminophen, caffeine and butalbital combo).  However, the swelling to my ankles has not improved and I’m in search of other causes.  ankle-cankles On the upside, my ankles are now easier to shave without a fear of nicks due to their fluffiness and in the process of deciphering the ankle edema mystery, I’ve also successfully kicked hormones to the curb!

Now I have to figure out how to get to the bottom of this ankle edema before I have full on cankles! 


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No, I’m not a rep for da Vinci Hysterectomy!

I’ve been meaning to tackle this comment (see below)  for quite some time, but I’ve been too busy with my rep hours to get to it.  NOT!  

OCTOBER 8, 2016

csectionrecovery

Are you a rep for Da Vinci? They are expensive and Dr’s push for their use, the Misgav Ladach method is even better and doesn’t need a machine to spread cancer!

Nope, I’m not a rep for da Vinci Hysterectomy! … although I wouldn’t mind being one!  I researched being a medical sales rep after this comment and learned the average salary is 150k/yr!  Yowza!  That’s a heck of a lot more than I’m making now.  My husband I briefly discussed the potential of this career and after researching some prospects online, I discovered they all involved travel outside the city and state, both flying and driving.  Yuck. While I  like to travel, this wouldn’t do it for me in many, many, many ways.

And here’s why being a rep wouldn’t work for me:

  1. I would miss my cats terribly.  I think of these guys before I go to bed and every morning when I wake up.  I love my buddies so much! cat-memory-good
  2. I’d miss my husband.  Yes, my husband ranked #2 after the cats … it’s only because I alphabetized the listing — “C” for cats comes before “H” for husband.  Does that sound believable?
  3. I’ve been at my job for over 11 years, have many benefits and love what I do.  I would miss it … plus I’d rather commute through crappy traffic than try to juggle plane flights and driving all over the state while dressing all fancy pants to impress some docs.  I like looking blah and comfortable some days — being a rep wouldn’t afford me that!

OK, so the da Vinci procedures might be more expensive than other methods.  However, with my health insurance the difference to me was negligible and I didn’t know going into the surgery that this method was so expensive.  I only learned about da Vinci costs after starting this blog.  I don’t think there is any patient out there who has health insurance thinking about this cost factor.  The self-pays are probably a different story …

My doctor NEVER pushed me to have this method.  And I’ve also talked to numerous women who were scheduled to have the da Vinci robot and not one of them mentioned their surgeon pushing its use.  I don’t know who these surgeon pushers are and have yet to meet one.

Not every woman is a good candidate for the da Vinci anyway.

I’ve never, ever, ever, ever, ever heard of the Misgav Ladach method.  Not even once.  I would NOT be having a surgical method that I’d never heard of before or that no one in my surgery arena knows about.  I’d be afraid the surgeon wouldn’t be very good at it and I don’t want to be a guinea pig.  Perhaps this method is more popular in other countries like Israel.  I don’t know.  AND from what I read it’s a large transverse incision meant for c-sections.  I wouldn’t want a huge scar across my abdomen unless I needed to or the surgeon was reusing my previous c-section scar which is not the case because it’s not the same incision method — it’s higher up than the Pfannenstiel excision used in c-sections.  Not to mention, I don’t have a c-section scar to begin with!

This was really an apple (da Vinci) to artichoke (Misgav Ladach) example … not a good analogy … and certainly didn’t make me feel regretful for having the da Vinci method.  Would YOU rather have a 10-16 inch abdominal scar or three to five 0.5-1 cm scars?  I really don’t want a huge zipper-like scar across my abdomen no matter the bargain cost.  I’ll take the sprinkling of small various abdominal incisions.

From Wikipedia:

The Misgav Ladach method for Cesarean section was developed by Michael Stark based on the Joel-Cohen incision originally introduced for hysterectomy. The technique was first introduced at Misgav Ladach and is now being used in medical centers around the world. The Misgav Ladach method eliminates many conventional steps, resulting in a quicker birth, less trauma for the mother and more rapid recovery. There is less need for painkillers and antibiotics, less scarring, less bleeding and less need for anaesthesia. Risk of exposure to HIV is minimized and the speed of the operation saves operating room and staff time.

In regard to “a machine to spread cancer” this isn’t even true in the case of using the da Vinci robot for hysterectomies.  The morcellator is what that cancer-spreading machine is being nicknames, but it isn’t even used in the vast majority of da Vinci hysterectomies.  My surgeon explained this to me personally stating the morcellator wouldn’t be used and isn’t being used.  The morcellator and da Vinci robot are two different things … and because one has a da Vinci hysterectomy doesn’t mean a morcellator will even be used.

The FDA’s stance on power morcellators:

The boxed warning informs health care providers and patients that:

Uterine tissue may contain unsuspected cancer. The use of laparoscopic power morcellators during fibroid surgery may spread cancer and decrease the long-term survival of patients. This information should be shared with patients when considering surgery with the use of these devices.

The two contraindications advise of the following:

1) Laparoscopic power morcellators are contraindicated (should not be used) for removal of uterine tissue containing suspected fibroids in patients who are: peri- or post-menopausal, or candidates for en bloc tissue removal (removing tissue intact) through the vagina or mini-laparotomy incision. (These groups of women represent the majority of women with fibroids who undergo hysterectomy and myomectomy.)

2) Laparoscopic power morcellators are contraindicated (should not be used) in gynecologic surgery in which the tissue to be morcellated is known or suspected to be cancerous.

I’m still not a da Vinci rep even after writing this.  I’m a DINK cat momma whose baby house is gone who was a good candidate for the da Vinci method and someone who would do it all again the same way!

No, no and no!

Reflecting on my last post, thinking about medications in general and suffering through hot flashes … all I can think of is NO, NO & NO.

cat-no-2

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.

cat-no-3

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.

cat-no-1

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.

I feel great about my NOs.


PS: I have another “no” post in the works!

UPDATE: That other “NO” post.

PPS: There will never be NOs to cats … ever!

Chronic pain vs. chronic pain

Hmmmmm … where do I begin?  I guess at the start.

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.”

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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).

Symptoms of Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome:

  • Numbness and tingling in hands and fingers.
  • Neck and shoulder pain.
  • Neck muscle spasm.
  • Headache on affected side or both sides — occipital headache.
  • Worsened symptoms with overhead use of that extremity.
  • Pain or weakness in the shoulder,  arm and/or hands.
  • One arm that tires quickly.
  • Atrophy — shrinking and weakness — of the pad of the thumb, the muscle of the palm that leads to the thumb; this is quite rare.
  • Symptoms may come and go, but they are often made worse when the affected arm is held up. The longer the arms stay up, the worse the symptoms can get.
  • Arm pain at night causing pain-related insomnia.  No, night pain is a symptom of rotator cuff injury that can include bursitis. 
  • Crankiness with curt answers due to a constant state of pain (that’s my own symptom I added to the list).

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!

ntos

Hope YOU are paying attention because there’s a quiz later!

From the Mayo Clinic … not to be confused with the Mayonnaise Clinic — that’s a different place altogether if such a beast exists!  Mmmm … I do love mayo!

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!

Here’s a duh comment for you: sleep is important.

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!

sleep infographic

“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:

  1. Physical Therapy with McKenzie exercises
  2. Taking Trazodone nightly
  3. Taking Lyrica (pregabalin) (I stopped — it gave me elevated scary blood pressure)
  4. Acupuncture  (I stopped — it wasn’t working)
  5. Myofascial release massage therapy 
  6. Topical analgesics (AKA strong smelling camphor & methyl salicylate based ointments)
  7. Trying to find the person who is using me as a voodoo doll!  (this search has been in vain so far)

I have yet to get back into chiropracty  … I’m already busy with all the above.

cat stretches

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.

sitting is killing you

Sitting is the new smoking … have you heard?

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.”

What’s the science behind this alarming claim?

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! ❤

cat stay tuned


 

 

 

Why I have not posted lately

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:

Fancy

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:

  1. YOU don’t get to enjoy my reading (and count my grammatical errors)
  2. Writing is my therapy

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.

cats in hats

My husband says I’m the one on the right and he’s the one on the left … I disagree.  He’s the one always talking and yammering on as I sit and listen.

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.

Hey things could be worse … things can always be worse.

things can get worse cartoon

Boy, aren’t they in for a big surprise!

PS: My hand and arm hurt.  I’ve written too much already.

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?


 

Heterogenous post-Hysterectomy Happenings.

Yep, you read it, I said it.

HETEROGENOUS  post-HYSTERECTOMY HAPPENINGS …

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.  (I made some silly promise I would drink no wine or only one glass … something ridiculously stupid and unachievable on my anniversary like that.)  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:

  • Healthy food choices
  • Excellent wine list
  • Close to home
  • Great Phenomenal kiss-your-@ss service
  • Free dessert with mention of any special occasion
  • It’s my go-to place with the hubby
  • It’s dimly lit (how romantic!)

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:

  • Grilled artichokes (appetizer) with aioli from the mother of goddess
  • One blue cheese-olive (4 olives) stuffed-martini each
  • Beet, walnut, goat cheese salad (and the goat wasn’t barnyardy!)
  • Italian wine (1.5 glasses each!)
  • Striped bass topped with spicy shrimp & sautéed spinach with Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Filet mignon (medium rare) & a crab cake with kale pepita salad
  • Petits Pots de Crème à l’Orange (on the house Baby!)  (see photo below)

Anniversary 8

I cannot even begin to explain how much I love this restaurant.

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!

Centoneze Frappato anyone?

[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.

Kitties and wine

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?

  • I didn’t give one rat’s @ss about the calories.  Seriously.  I wanted Italian wine which reviewed well and that alone was my criteria.  Life’s too short to count calories.  Plus I’m not so hot at math … and neither are cats.
  • Earn your glass.  Hell yeah!  I’ve been married 8 years and it feels more like 20!  I probably earned at least a case of wine that night, but I know my limits (sometimes).
  • I drank while I ate … I ate the artichokes with the martini. AND the martini had olives!
  • I then drank RED wine with dinner.
  • Too late?  Nope, we had reservations at 6 pm like old people!
  • We spent enough on the wine.  Plenty …  but not breaking the bank kind of thing … that’s silly.  And no, no, no, no, no 2 buck upchuck for me.  Gross.
  • Yes, we drank away from home — it’s called eating out.

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!)

cat math math cat

Math Cat says, “This math stuffs gets harder and harder, but the most difficult part is writing because I don’t have opposable thumbs.”

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. 😦

My Franken Toe

UGLY toe

Oh my … this is so ugly.  Go wash your brain now — preferably with a glass of Côtes du Rhône.

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.

Handsome Mr. T!

Handsome Teo

This is one of my REAL LIFE cats!  Can you believe how gorgeous he is?!  My friend Tunie calls this a “money shot”!  Ha!  He’s one bad@ss furbear!


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:

No swimming

This says NOTHING about swimming with your cat.  Next time I go to the gym, I’ll bring my cats!  And that chick’s open wound on her arm is 10 times grosser than my toe.  Bleh!  How did she get that wound on her arm?  What a weird place.  F-ck splashing “unnecessarily” — I’ll splash as much as I want; I’m not 5 years old for Pete’s sake!  Swimming in your bling … hah, hah, hah!  Really people — yeah, I’ll break out my pearl necklace and diamond earrings.  Oh, maybe this is all about ocean swimming and attracting (or avoiding) sharks … cute info graphic anyway regardless of the body of water.  Do RED bathing suits really attract sharks?

Things don’t always turn out as expected … apparently the Italians have a saying for this:

Italian saying things dont always turn out as expected

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!

Juju cartoon

… to my toe please.  And thank you in advance.


 

Surgical Misadventures

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.

from DrugWatch.com

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.

Flowers dark sky

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.

from New Concerns on Robotic Surgeries (2013)

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

More here: Mishaps & deaths Caused by sSurgical Robots Going Underreported to FDA (2013)

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.

FEAR Eleanor Roosevelt quote

Sometimes when surgeries don’t go as expected there are numerous reasons for these problems like:

  • The baseline of the patient’s basic health.  If you start out with a patient who has lung or heart problems there are simply greater risks involved in healing and effects of anesthesia and recovery from surgery.
  • Age can also play a role in a patient’s recovery — in general, the young and the elderly are at higher risks because the young have smaller bodies (typically) and aren’t fully developed like an adult, and the elderly can often have less lung reserve capacity, decreased ability to heal as quickly, less physical mobility and flexibility to name just a few challenges with this group.
  • The patient’s psychological baseline and readiness for surgery is a huge component in successful recovery.  Sometimes surgeries are emergencies and the patient cannot take the time to adequately prepare emotionally for surgery.  Some people struggle with anxiety and depression among other mental health and chemical imbalance disorders that can sometimes place them at a disadvantage with healthy coping mechanisms in terms of recovery.
  • The experience of the surgeon really is one of the key components to successful surgeries, but not all patients are the exact same in anatomy and health status, so that the surgeon has to draw on experience making the best decision at the time when a surgery goes awry.  There is a lot to be said for training and the number of that type of surgery he/she has performed.
  • Patients bodies are many times similar in general, but can often be unique.  If a patient is a person of size (POS), there are going to be much greater challenges to performing many surgeries and the anesthesia risk increases as well (think short neck and/or sleep apnea).  When a POS has extra body tissue it is not often muscle, but rather fat and adipose tissue simply doesn’t heal as well as non-fatty tissue because it lacks the vasculature to deliver nutrients via the blood to assist in the healing process.  Special surgical (and scanning) tables are often required for patients weighing over 350 lbs. (~ 160 kG).  It is more difficult to physically reach into a patient that has a greater visceral depth while specialized equipment is needed to keep the area open for the surgeon to have an adequate working field.
  • Another factor in having a successful outcome for a surgery is the team in the operating room, the recovery room and even the area where the patient will recuperate — AKA the nursing floor.  The more experienced the team, the more outcomes they have seen and worked with.  A newer nurse may know something is amiss after surgery, but an experienced nurse may know what that problem is more quickly related to having more time-in-grade experience.  Whether the nurse is newly graduated or has dozens of years of experience is immaterial if he/she lacks care.  Care and attention should be the primary components of caring for all patients.
  • Malfunctioning or lack of the proper surgical equipment can lead to disastrous results.  However, in my experience, hospitals in the U.S. go through rigorous preparations to ensure their operating rooms are up-to-date with proper equipment working and available prior to the surgery.  There are many regulatory agencies that mandate this such as OSHA and JCAHO.  Surgeons will leave hospitals and work elsewhere if the equipment they want and need is either not available or not functioning to their standards.

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.

medicine-is-a-science-of-uncertainty-and-an-art-of-probability-403x403-nk2xbp

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.

Nothing is perfect etc


P.S.  You can read more about da Vinci surgery on my previous post:

WHAT IS da VINCI TOTAL HYSTERECTOMY?

10 Pounds Off!

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.

Here goes!

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.

Flowers Anniversary 8

ANNIVERSARY FLOWERS

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:

  • Andi doesn’t drink because she doesn’t like the taste and gets inebriated even after a mere 1/4 glass of wine!  Can you imagine?!
  • Maleah doesn’t drink as of late because she’s doing the Primal/Paleo diet, has digestive and skin issues while also trying to manage her weight.
  • Tunie doesn’t drink because she’s Asian whose genetics often don’t allow alcohol metabolization without ill effects as in her case turning bright red, experiencing nausea, getting severely congested and feeling like she has the flu — perhaps the wine flu to be exact!

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?)

Teetotaler cat says …

cat teetotaler


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.

Teeny tiny wine

For my anniversary dinner out I’m playing with a few scenarios:

  • NO wine or alcohol at all waiting until next month, or the month after. (Ha ha ha! That one’s funny.)
  • Have 1/2 a glass of wine giving the other half to my husband … of course, me the larger half … who says they have to be equal halves?
  • Stick to one solid glass of quality wine.
  • F-ck it … go all out and have 2 glasses!  Although according to Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly women should have no more than 5 oz. (~150 mL) of wine per day and (men no more than 10 oz. or ~300 mL).  I know some of you like GHBM are laughing at the thought of only 1-2 glasses of wine per day!

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

from WINE FOLLY: Drink Wine & Stay Thin


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.

Moderate Drinking

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.

from WINE FOLLY: The Surprising Benefits of Wine All Require Self-Control

cat red wine

This cat, like most cats obviously has NO self-control!   Just look at his irresponsible drinking … he’s going to spill that precious wine!

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

Mark Sisson's mission motto

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.

Health mismanaged genes Mark Sisson


My future goals include:

  • Flat stomach — not necessarily a “six-pack” but at least getting rid of the abdominal roll.
  • Be able to walk up 4 flights of stairs without feeling an ache in my thighs.  As it is now, I’m able to walk up the stairs without huffing and puffing but my legs feel like lead … and then hypochondriasis kicks in as I begin to think I have peripheral artery disease (PAD).  I don’t even have risk factors for PAD!
  • Lose 18 more pounds with a goal date of late November — 6 months from now.  This works out to losing 3 pounds per month which I think is quite doable.  Although, I’m concerned if I gain muscle weight I may actually not lose weight and will have to rely on how my body looks and feels instead.

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

  • Not have my thighs touch.  No, no, no I’m not trying to have that “thigh gap” — I simply don’t like the feeling of my thighs touching.  I often put baby powder on my inner thighs to create less friction.  I used to have this gap (I have the a body type for this gappiness — click on hyperlink above for a great read on “thigh gap”), but as I got into my 40s and stopped being as physical my thighs started to droop (think muscle atrophy) and touch each other. AND no, no, no I don’t think the thigh gap is particularly sexy on women … I simply feel creeped out when mine touch — it’s as though a stranger’s hands are upon me. IF my thighs touched and it was due to muscular mass I would probably be OK with that … but no my thighs are currently droopy, saggy and baggy. That’s it on the soap box for the gap!
  • Get back into Ashtanga yoga. I have begun one-on-one sessions with a yoga trainer and to my surprise she’s been a lifelong athlete! Cat yoga yoga my way She’s adept at running and other forms of physical fitness, not only yoga. When most people hear yoga they probably think the Hatha type yoga.

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.

Types of Yoga


Currently the exercise I’m doing is:

  • Swimming!  I joined a gym for the pool and lucky me I got a discount through my work!  I’ve used it twice.  So happy.
  • Signed up for one-on-one yoga instruction.  Only had one session so far and she kicked my @ss … I mean my abs!  I feel like I’ve had a hysterectomy again with the abdominal pain I’m experiencing.  My husband, so cliche that he is says, “No pain, no gain.”  I cry B.S. on that … sometimes pain is just pain!  Frickin’ masochistic husband!  Last time he went to yoga with me he was sore for days!
  • Using the bike trainer.  When my husband told me about a bike trainer I thought it was a person who helped you train on your bike.  Wrong!  (see photo below)

    Bike trainer ME

    ME on the bike trainer!

  • Hula hooping!  I dusted off the hula hoop and have used it a couple times so far.
  • WALKING! I have started walking 30 minutes for my lunch break away from my desk-death job and also around some local trails on my off days.

The reasons I started to make lifestyle changes:

  1. I weighed the most I have ever weighed in my life April 2016 and saw it only going up from there if I didn’t do something differently soon.  The weight steadily came on after my hysterectomy (June 2014) and I’ll be damned if I blame that surgery for my weight gain rather than taking personal responsibility for my own health (or lack thereof)!
  2. I looked like a meatball in my photos from my vacation to Turks & Caicos.  I like to eat meatballs but I don’t want to be one.  I’m not trying to be vain because this change is more about health than looks. This added unnecessary weight is not from muscle nor is it good for my health longterm.

Turks & Caicos beach May 2016

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!

cat using a hula hoop

This is a cat doing the hula hoop!  See how effortlessly the cat does this?