Tag Archives: family

Stress, Traveling, And Diet Plans

During times of stress, staying on any diet plan can be very difficult, especially someone who has to stay on a tight schedule such as a bariatric patient.  This week has been difficult for me.

First, I have to say that the people here do not eat.  Well, they do, but not frequently enough.  My mom will eat breakfast, maybe.  I made her eggs on Sunday around 830am.  Then at noon, she didn’t understand why I needed a snack.  My schedule is pretty tight.  I am supposed to have breakfast, protein snack, lunch protein snack, dinner.  I feel like I eat all of the time, and I guess I kind of do.  My body is now trained on this schedule.

At noon when I hadn’t eaten yet, I made my way into the kitchen and started rummaging for appropriate protein snacks, of which my mother has none.  Yes, I know.  I should have been better prepared.  I did try to think ahead and bring my own protein snacks, but I left it on the kitchen counter back in Arlington.  Good thinking, right.

My mom can have breakfast and then not eat again until dinner.  I’m not supposed to do that.  I do not eat a lot for each meal, so I have to eat frequently, plus take vitamins.  I know if I skip meals, forget my vitamins, or wait too long between meals, I feel it.  Not hunger pains so much as the other signs of not eating, irritability, dizziness, etc.  I had to explain this to my family and let them know that while they do not have to eat frequently, I do.

I feel a lot of pressure about this, I have to admit.  Most of it is stress that I am creating myself.  I am worried that every time I eat, they will think I am going back to my old ways and I so want them to see me as doing well.  I’m not saying that I do not occasionally struggle with food, addiction, beating myself up for falling off the wagon sometimes.  I just am doing a lot better and I would like for my family to know that.

Of course traveling, dealing with a death in the family, nursing my mom through surgery, looking through old paperwork to make sure she has what she needs to arrange the funeral, get her survivor benefits from social security, make sure she has everything she needs as far as her insurance paperwork, etc adds to the stress levels.

This has definitely been a very trying week, but it is almost over and I will be back home and back on schedule soon.  Granted, I know I will have to come up here several more times to help my mom out, but things will be much easier, I hope.

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What A Difference A Walk Makes

Sometimes I live a little bit too much inside my own head.  It’s easy to do.  I am single. I live alone.  I have no kids.  I do leave the house and go to work each day.  I have co-workers that I talk to off and on during the day.  That helps.  But when there is no one else to share your day or your thoughts with, one can get lonely.

I was kind of feeling that way today.  Today was hot.  I came home and my apartment was hot.  My fan broke last summer, so the only way I can cool down for now is to open a window.  I did not want to cook because it was hot.  I decided to nuke some chicken my friend Sush made for me yesterday.  I also decide to heat up some palak paneer (spinach and cheese) I had in the freezer so that I could have a vegetable that I could nuke and not heat up on the stove.

Well, I ate too much.  A lot too much.  I have not eaten that much at one time since before the surgery.  My stomach was hurting and upset.  Plus being home alone and feeling sick, I was stuck with many thoughts I have been avoiding thinking about for several weeks racing through my head.

My step-dad has lung cancer.  His initial prognosis was very bad.  The first doctor told him he may have six months to a year to live.  Obviously, the whole family was hit pretty hard with this news.  Well, he went to another doctor and then saw an oncologist who has given him every reason to hope his cancer is very treatable and not as far gone as the first doctor thought.  The first doctor thought the cancer had already spread to his liver and brain.  After doing some scans and tests, the oncologist determined that it had not.  It has spread to his spine and his lymph nodes.  Not great news, but still treatable.

Well, my mom shared some other news with me this past weekend.  Apparently, one of the lumps of cancer is pressing on a major vein or artery that goes to his heart.  My step-dad already has a pacemaker and a defibrillator.  Fortunately, the cancer is not on the side of his chest with those two devices.  Nonetheless, he’s been in afib for a week or so and is sometimes coughing up blood.

I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I know it’s not good.  So, the race is on.  Can they shrink and hopefully eliminate the lump before it does irreversible damage to his already strained heart?  I don’t know.  I have been very upset since she told me this.  What’s worse, there is nothing I can do.  I want to go and visit with them, but they have asked me to stay away for now.  They live in another city.  I would have to drive there, which I have no problem doing, but since he’s doing chemotherapy, he’s very susceptible to germs and illness.  So, they want everyone to stay put for now and wait.

I hate waiting.  I love my step-dad.  He’s a wonderful man.  He married a woman with four children, took them into his home and made them his family.  He has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders, too.  When I call, or visit, he always says, “It’s the amazing Colleen.”  And he is so proud of everything I have accomplished since the surgery.

So, here I am, sitting all alone in my small postage stamp, hot apartment, too full and nauseated, and getting grumpy and depressed worrying about things I can do nothing to change.

I got up off of my bed and put on some shorts and a t-shirt, grabbed my cell phone and Google pad, and walked out the door.  I walked down the street to the little village at the bottom of the hill.  I bought an iced tea at a local coffee shop and sat outside reading a book using my Nook app.

The little strip of shops and restaurants was alive with action this evening.  The weather is finally warm and people have been anxious to get out of their houses and out into the world.  People were out walking their dogs, dining in restaurants, in and out of the library, and browsing in shops.

I sat outside the coffee shop and watched two young girls stop and spontaneously start dancing while sharing music on their electronic device.  A dog trainer walked around with a group of dog owners encouraging them to continuously give their dog treats to instill good behavior.  Couples walked by talking and holding hands.  Families toting kids or pushing strollers made their way down the street.  My little town was alive tonight.

My mom called while I was sitting there and we had a great conversation.  My step-dad was in good spirits and making jokes to me through her while we talked.  He sounded good.

After I walked back up the hill to my apartment, I realized that not much had changed.  I still felt overly full.  My apartment was still too hot.  My step-dad still has cancer.  And there is still nothing I can do from here to help him or my mom.  I do feel better, though.  The walk, the reading, getting out into the world has really helped to clear my head which is what I wanted.

I do not know what the future holds.  I just know that I need to continue taking care of myself.  Whatever happens, whether it’s to celebrate his defeating the cancer, help my mom prepare to deal with a long-term illness, or worse, I need to be ready.  The only way I can do that is to stay focused on continuing to improve my own health.

I know my step-dad wants that too.  He would get up out of his sick bed and walk here to kick my butt if I allowed his illness to knock me off track.

Correction:  My mom posted this information to update what I had written: 

“He does have a new smaller tumor but it is not pressing on any of the arteries leading to the heart. It is pressing on the bronchial area and when he coughs, it breaks the little arteries causing them to bleed. Sometimes it is a lot of blood and sometimes not. We have been warned that it could be alot at which time we are to call 911 and get him to the ER. The heart is another matter. He was/is in a-fib which means basically, that the heart is in a little trouble. The defibulator is working overtime but it is working and that is important.”

Thank goodness the tumor is not pressing on an artery leading to the heart.  They still do not know why he is in afib.  Hopefully, they will get some answers today as he sees the heart doctor before his chemo treatment today.

The Big Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is usually a day that I love to spend cooking.  Even if I am going to someone else’s house for dinner, I make a dish to bring with me.  This year, I am not cooking at all.

I am going with my brother and his family to his wife’s parent’s house.  They often invite me over for holiday meals.  They are so nice to include me to make sure that I have somewhere to go on holidays.

I am really happy to spend the day with my niece and her little cousins as well.  They make the holidays so much more fun.  I even get to meet the newest cousin.  I think he’s over a year old and I have not met him yet.  The last time I saw his mother, (my sister-in-laws brother’s wife), she was pregnant with him.  I cannot wait.

I will be taking my baby bullet blender with me so that I can puree some turkey.  I also plan on having some sweet potatoes and some green beans if they’re not baked in a casserole.

I was so happy today.  I pulled out a dress pants suit that I have not worn in forever.  When I bought it, it was kind of snug.  I had to wear spanx under then to get them buttoned and they were still very snug.  I’ve only worn the outfit twice.  I put it on today and the pants fit me perfectly with a little room even sans spanx.  The jacket also fits me perfectly.  The blouse is a little snug, but only because I am still wearing a support garment under my clothes.  The garment is kind of bulky so it is hard to judge just how my shirts fit unless I put them on without it.

I have really been struggling with my protein shakes.  I do not like the soy shakes at all.  I have tried using brewers yeast, which works well in chicken broth, but I still do not like it.  I’ve made the decision to try the protein shakes with the milk protein.  Trader Joe’s has a great chocolate shake.  The vanilla one was too sweet for me.  I had some dumping after drinking it.  I also bought a chicken soup protein drink made by Unjury.  I keep plenty of Zyrtec and Benedryl handy just in case of a reaction.  I do still some of the soy drinks and Brewers Yeast during the week, but I’m mixing in the Trader Joe’s and Unjury shakes as well.

I am really concerned about not getting enough protein.  I do not want to lose my hair.  Yes, I want to be healthy and all that, blah, blah, blah…but I am kind of vain about my hair.  I was born on a good hair day.  My hair texture is fine, but it is thick.  It doesn’t look thick until you try brush it.  Hair dressers love to work with my hair.  I am always getting a free style when I go get my hair done.  As they are working on it, or drying it, they often say, “I want to try something different, do you mind?”  Sometimes I go get my hair trimmed just to get it styled.  I’ll take a picture the next time I go to the beautician and show you how great my hair looks after I go.  Can’t wear a bikini, have great hair.  It’s the one good thing I have.  I really do not want to lose it.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.  I know I will, even though I cannot pig out this year.  I still have a lot to be thankful for.  I have great family and friends.  The best ever!  I have received so much love and support this past year I know that I am blessed and lucky to have them in my life.  I am also thankful for all of the support and well wishes I have received from the readers of my blog!  It feels so good to have strangers reach out to you and be supportive of what I am doing.  Thanks everyone and enjoy the big feast today!