The Lupron Diaries: Vacation and Victory

Last weekend, Joey and I took a trip to Waynesville, NC, to stay in a cabin in the woods and hike all the miles. Although the accommodations left a bit to be desired, I think this was probably the best camping trip we’ve ever had.

On Friday, we hiked the Pink Beds Loop again, but this time, we made it all the way to the waterfall off the Barnett Branch Trail.  It was WELL worth the mile of straight uphill.  The waterfall was about 25 feet high, and the water was ice cold.  Indy was thrilled to get a drink.

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Here’s a shot of Indy at our campsite.  She looks so regal.  I think I overestimated her ability to adapt to a strange situation, though.  She didn’t enjoy being trussed up on a lead, and she was afraid of the campfire.  She’ll learn, though.

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On Saturday, we went to the North Carolina Arboretum.  I’ll have to do a separate post dedicated to that, because I took a TON of pictures.  The below is part of their quilt garden; every year, they create a different pattern on individual squares. This year was a butterfly; can you see it?

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They also had a fantastic bonsai exhibit.  Joey has dabbled with bonsai here and there, so he was beyond thrilled to see all of the trees. I took pictures of each one, and it’s definitely renewed his interest in picking it back up again.

We ended up leaving on Sunday so we’d have a day to recuperate at home, but not before hiking Pinnacle Park in Sylva, NC.  While we didn’t make it all the way up to the pinnacle, we did get plenty of beautiful pictures along the way.  The below is at Split Rock, about a half mile up the trail.

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The first mile of the hike was along this creek; it was full of cascades and rapids, and Indy wanted to check out each one.

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We hiked a total of 11.5 miles over the course of three days.  It was exhilarating, but also an eye-opener.  We’ve got a lot of work left to do before Mount Mitchell at the end of July.

I’m still counting it as a victory over Lupron, though.  On previous camping trips, we would’ve spent the bulk of our time hanging around the campsite and snacking.  This time, we spent it out in nature, working out and getting excellent views along the way.  I did have a few clumsy moments, but Joey was there to grab me before I stumbled.  I had a few “Lupron sadness” moments as well, but he talked me out of those.  He’s pretty great that way:).

Hiking has been such an effective means of dealing with this journey through endometriosis and its treatment.  I’m forced to unplug while we’re out on a trail…there’s no phone reception, no chance to fiddle around on Facebook or check my Instagram feed.  I’m forced to be observant of the present moment and little else; I have to watch the ground diligently for roots and rocks.  I have to pay attention to my surroundings lest I miss a beautiful waterfall (or a bear…it goes both ways).  There’s no time to think about my dysfunctional body or whether or not we’ll ever get to have a biological child.

There’s just miles of trail.  And not dying…there’s that too.
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The Lupron Diaries: Shot #4 and Running Update (and Victory!!)

The Lupron Diaries- (2)

Thank goodness, Shot #4 was painless like #1 and #2.  I made sure that I was completely relaxed, and other than the pinch of the initial stick, it was pain-free.  Ginger blamed #3 on herself, but I told her I was certain that it was my fault for being tense.

The timing of the shot sucked, though…I had a 5K planned for two days later, and if you’ll recall from my list of side effects that suck, I’m usually in for three days of joint aches that make any kind of high-impact activity pretty painful.  But I’d already paid my $35, so I was going to do this 5K, even if I had to crawl across the finish line in agony.

I was nervous, because Friday was a rough day.  My hips and knees ached badly, and ibuprofen was only taking the edge off.  On a side note, the sadness/weepiness and anxiety have been getting progressively worse with every shot.  It’s still bearable, so I’m not waving a white flag, but I’m finding myself crying a lot more and getting overwhelmed by small things/worrying about huge things that I can’t control (getting older, job stress, the never-ending passage of time, etc).  Joey has been an absolute rock through all of this; I have no idea what I’d do without him.

I was also seriously nervous about this 5K, because it was the first one I was going to do without Joey.  I was running it with my best friend Katie, but she had her own goal pace (which was a good bit faster than mine), so I was going to be doing this on my own (although it was encouraging to know she’d be waiting for me at the finish line).  Would I push myself hard enough, or would I just give up without Joey encouraging me to run a little bit more? Plus, this was going to be the biggest 5K I’d ever done.  It was put on by the Carolina Panthers’ Keep Pounding Charity, to benefit the Levine Cancer Center.  This wasn’t just some local 5K with a few hundred participants.  Nope, we’re talking thousands. Would I get stuck in a pack of people?  Would I be in the way, an obstacle for the “real” runners?  Would I get lost and end up in another part of downtown Charlotte entirely?

I woke up on Saturday morning feeling better than Friday; my legs weren’t hurting as badly, so I took 3 ibuprofen and hoped that’d hold me through the race.  Joey made me an egg over toast and a cup of coffee and I triple/quadruple/quintuple checked to make sure I had everything I needed in my race belt, that I had Katie’s shirt and bib, and that my playlist was all set and downloaded (Thank you, Amazon Prime Music!).  I headed her way and we were off!

We arrived (with only a minor snafu getting to the parking deck) in plenty of time to get a shot in front of the stadium before being shuttled to the starting line at the Levine Cancer Center.

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We stood around and stretched (and I agonized over being nervous), and then I noticed SIR PURR! Not only am I a huge Carolina Panthers fan, but (as you already know), I’m a huge cat fan in general, so I was super-psyched.  I actually dressed as Sir Purr a couple of years ago for Halloween.  I yelled “OMG, SIR PURR!!” and he ran right over for a pic.  Forgive the blurriness…Katie had picture-taking anxiety.

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The course itself was brutal; we started at the Levine Cancer center and ran all the way up Morehead street to the stadium.  The race organizer playfully called it “Mount Morehead,” but he wasn’t kidding; it was almost entirely uphill.  When we reached the stadium, we ran a lap around the outside, up the stairs, and into the north gate entrance.  Once inside, we ran a lap around the ground level concourse and then up the ramps to the 500-level (holy crap).  Then we went a short distance around the upper concourse and back down another set of ramps, out the players’ chute and through the finish line on the 50-yard line.  So, as you can see, the bulk of the course was uphill (especially those ramps).

It was SUPER crowded at the start line, which was overwhelming.  I kept freaking out and Katie kept telling me, “We’ve got this.”  She was a little nervous too, but kept it together and kept encouraging me.  Before we knew it, a horn sounded to start the race.  I do wish they’d told the walkers to make their way toward the back, because we had to do a lot of dodging people and running out into the road to get around walkers.  I kept up with Katie for two or three minutes, and I made it almost all the way through my first song before I had to take a walking break.  I tried to stay to the right whenever I walked so I wouldn’t be an obstacle to folks who were running.

I started to get discouraged right away, which sucked.  Normally, I would’ve had Joey there to say something at just the right time or to suggest that we run to some point up ahead and get my mind off the negative thoughts.  But it was up to me this time.

I set a simple strategy; run as much as possible through each song on my playlist, run through each mile-marker sign, and run through each intersection so I didn’t have to have a cop holding traffic for me while I wheezed my way across the road.  The scenery was pretty, and the day was PERFECT…maybe 60 degrees, a little breezy, and sunny.

I also made a commitment not to fall behind the folks around me; I focused in on a red-haired girl who appeared to be about my same fitness level and was run/walking as well.  It worked like a charm.

Until we got to the ramps inside the stadium.  I had to walk up all of them.  Plus, I had only been in the stadium once before, so I didn’t realize that there were two ramps per level. I got up the fourth ramp and thought I was done, and then I saw the door leading inside and it said “300 Level.”  Shit, I thought.  Shit, shit, shit, I’m never going to make this. But I kept on walking and tried my best to keep up with the cadence of the music.  I finally hit the top and I picked up running again.

I REALLY wanted to walk back down some of the ramps, but I told myself I wasn’t going to waste any downhill portions of the race (especially since there were so few), and I kept running.  Toward the bottom, my earbuds fell out for good (I’ve got to get some new ones), so I just took them out altogether.  Before I knew it, I saw daylight ahead and was running out the player’s entrance.  WHAT a rush that was…the same entrance that Steve Smith ran through, DeAngelo Williams, Cam Newton…there I was…dodging some lady and her toddler, but running through nonetheless.  I revelled in the moment for just a second, and then started scanning the line of cheerers for Katie.  I heard her screaming “look at the clock!!” and I looked up and it said 44:20.  WHAT?!!  I spent the entire race feeling like I was going to fail again at my goal (being under 46).  But here I was just a few yards from the finish line, and I was going to end up beating my goal by over a minute!

Katie snapped a pic of me:

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I was shocked and thrilled and exhausted.  My official time was 44:35.  Katie made her goal too (under 39).  And I ran over half of the race (at least).  Four months ago, I would never have believed I could’ve done that.  According to many of the online accounts I’ve read of women who’ve taken Lupron, I shouldn’t have been able to do that.  But I did.

Katie and I snapped a selfie, got our official times, snagged water and protein bars, and then sat in the parking deck for 40 minutes trying to get back out to come home. I also found that red-haired girl and told her I’d been trying to keep up with her, and that she did awesome.  Everyone needs to hear when they’ve done a great job.

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The ibuprofen worked like a charm…not one bit of joint pain during the run, and I haven’t had any since, either.  I even went with Joey and Indy on a celebratory lap around the neighborhood after I got back home.

On the technical front, I need new earphones and a new running belt.  I don’t have enough room in the one I currently have for my phone, ID and keys. My driver’s license fell out on the field while we were getting our official times.  I saw it happen, so I was able to pick it up quickly, but there’s always the chance that it could happen and I wouldn’t catch it.  I’m thinking of getting a Flip Belt; a couple of people had them at the race and they looked comfortable and secure.

On the “what’s next” front, I’m going to focus on endurance for the next couple of weeks rather than speed, because we’ve got two hikes planned over Memorial Day weekend (both in the mountains).  Our next scheduled 5K is July 4th, and I’d like to finish it in under 44 minutes.

I’m proud.  I’m proud that I managed all by myself.  Katie even offered to give up her goal and run with me, and I told her not to.  I’m proud that I picked up and ran again every time I felt exhausted.  I’m proud that I didn’t give up.  I’m proud that I’m not using Lupron as an excuse to stay on the couch, even when I don’t feel the best.  Endometriosis isn’t going to win this.  It’s not going to beat me, and it doesn’t have to beat you either.

Here’s my playlist in case you’d like to use it:

  1. Tik Tok – Ke$ha
  2. Turn Down for What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon
  3. Lips are Movin – Meghan Trainor
  4. Boom Boom Pow – The Black Eyed Peas
  5. Hey Mama – The Black Eyed Peas
  6. Toxic – Britney Spears
  7. Lose Yourself – Eminem
  8. Word Crimes – Weird Al
  9. Chariots of Fire – London Philharmonic Orchestra
  10. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  11. Bring Me to Life – Evanescence
  12. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  13. Wannabe – Spice Girls (I finished the race before this one started, thankfully!)

The Lupron Diaries: Lupron Goals

Needless to say, once I made peace with the litany of terrible side effects I’d read about (even if half of them were exaggerated), I realized that I was going to need to adjust my weight loss goal to be a bit more realistic.  I’d only read one account of someone losing weight while on Lupron, so although I refuse to let myself believe that weight loss is impossible during treatment, I accepted the fact that I probably wasn’t going to be looking at completing my weight loss journey (to the tune of 50-60 more pounds) even if I was extremely diligent with food and fitness.  That was a tough pill to swallow, folks.  I’d already mentally prepared myself to bust ass and get myself to my goal weight come hell or high water, and now I was looking at having to dial that back (and maybe even accept that losing another 10 or 20 pounds would be a struggle).  After much cussing and crying, I re-evaluated and created a new set of “Lupron Goals.”

I decided that I wouldn’t express any weight-related goals in pounds. I know what I have left to lose, and I know that I want to lose as much of it as I can before we were to (potentially) get pregnant.  But I also know that giving myself a number at this point would be self-defeating if the Lupron keeps me from reaching that number as quickly as I want.  As a result, my goals (both weight-related and non) are not number-related accomplishments.

In no particular order:

  • RUN a 5K in its entirety.  I’ve got three scheduled over the next few months (4/23, 5/14, and 6/11).  I’m doubtful that I’ll be running the whole 5K on 4/23, but I do plan to run more than I walk. I’ve tried to become a runner so many times over the last ten years or so, but in the last year, I’ve actually committed and started seeing progress.
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  • Get paid to write.  I’ve wanted to do this for years, and now is the time to start making that happen.
  • Hike Mount Mitchell.  This is the biggie for me.  Joey and I love to hike and camp, and Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. For whatever reason, I feel like making it to the top will be my own way of saying that I kicked Lupron’s ass.  We’re tentatively scheduling the trip for my birthday weekend, which will be a week or so after my final shot.
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  • Not be an butthole to everyone.  Lupron moodiness is a real thing (I’ve learned since the first shot).
  • Not eat everything in sight all of the time.  Lupron hunger is also a real thing (more on all of this in a future post).

So, that’s it. No “be at a current weight by the end of the summer.”  No “stay under 100 grams of carbs every day.”  No “work out 5 days a week.”  I know what’s required to get across the finish line at a race and to the top of Mount Mitchell.  And every step I take toward that is a giant middle finger to the face of this drug that’s defeated so many women.

Good Morning, 2015

We brought 2015 in among great company last night; our “Shenanigans” crew gathered for snacks and games and I got to watch the ball drop with some of the people I love best (now, if we could have figured out how to get Shannon/James/Levi and John into the mix, it would have been perfect!).

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We came home around 2 and hung out with Indy for a while before hitting the sack.

This morning, we’re enjoying copious amounts of coffee (and someone’s enjoying a giant beef knuckle courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa) before venturing out into the world to have an adventure (which, honestly, will probably just consist of Petsmart and maybe Target).

I’ve been thinking about my 2015 goals for the past couple of weeks.  I’ve got three larger goals, and then a few smaller ones:

  • Get rid of about 50% of the “stuff” we’ve amassed over the last seven years.  Our house is a wreck and we’ve got one room that we can’t even use right now.  It’s got to go.  We’ll sell whatever we can, then donate what’s left that’s not trash.
  • Cut our debt in half.  While we’re not fiscally irresponsible by any means, we’ve fallen into wasteful spending in several areas.  If we cut those out, we should be able to wipe out a lot of our debt.
  • Reach a healthy weight and fitness level.  I made strides with this last year, losing 32 pounds and walking a 5K in September.  As long as I’m diligent, I should be able to get where I want to go.

Small goals:

  • Stop biting my nails
  • RUN the NC Troopers Foot Chase at the end of March
  • Get paid for writing at least once
  • Read 2 new books each month
  • Learn how to knit colorwork
  • BLOG regularly (more than once a week)

I’m planning for the blog to take the direction of sharing my decluttering/frugality/weight loss journey.  I’m sure it’ll be a little embarrassing here and there, but I’m hoping that seeing someone else’s struggles might help you feel like you can make changes too.  I’m the laziest person I know, and if I can do this, I know you can.

I hope today brings you relaxation and a bit of fun.  Time for more coffee here!

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And the Drama Begins…

Nothing super-dramatic, really.  Joey had a rough time getting the camper out of the backyard because it was still muddy from the colossal monsoon we had Saturday.  Backing the trailer into its spot will be an adventure on Thursday when we get to the campground.  Random things that happened:

  1. Shelli always has to be in the bathroom with me when I’m pooping.  It’s kind of strange.  Anyway, I was in there today and she jumped on the counter and gave me a head bonk.  And it was apparent that she had just finished up in her own litterbox.  Litter-smell right up the nose.  Ew.
  2. I started Jillian Michael’s Thirty Day Shred this morning.  It was challenging.  Much moreso because I was barely conscious at 5 am and hadn’t thought to put on the following:  sports bra, ankle wrap, socks, gym clothes, or tennis shoes.  Yep, I stumbled into the living room, half-alive, and proceeded to jump around for thirty minutes in my pajamas without any support for either my boobs or ankles.  Smart move.
  3. I went outside after Joey and his folks got back from his “camper-backing dry run” and spent ten minutes outside and managed to get thrice-bitten by mosquitos and once by a fire ant.  All on my ankles/toe.  So my big toe is killing me.  I was going to take a picture of the bite, but I forgot to shave my toes this morning and I’d rather just tell you about my hairy big toe than show you.
  4. I think I’ve hit self-destruct mode with this bridesmaid dress.  I’ve lost twenty pounds, yes, but as the fitting draws closer and closer, I find myself wanting to eat indiscriminately, as though sabatoging myself is somehow “sticking it to the man.”  How utterly ridiculous.
  5. I have a new obsession with seltzer water.  I don’t know why.  It’s wonderful.  Especially with a twist of lime:).  I’ve always been a big water-drinker, but adding fizzy bubbles to it without any artificial flavors/sweeteners?  It’s perfect!  It’s like the things I like best about both water and soda wrapped up in a nice, fizzy, cheap package!!
  6. Shhh….don’t tell anyone, but I’m about to make a HUGE appearance change tomorrow!!

Yep, that’s the musty, litterbox-headed culprit right there.

2011: A New Year!

Today is going to be a good day!  It’s MLK day, so I’ve got the day off, and the morning is being spent like this:

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I can never pass up a Shellikins on the lap; it’s a rarity for me, since she usually wants to be on Joey all the time.  So, it dawned on me that, because things were so crappy, I’d neglected to post the resolutions I finally came up with for the year.  Here we go!

  1. Further My Education; (1) Graduate, (2) complete PhD applications
  2. Improve my health, fitness, and weight.  (1) reduce takeout to once a week, and make it last two meals if possible.  (2) Plan meals one week in advance. (3) eat mostly paleo and reduce refined carbs, (4) incorporate exercise every day!
  3. Lead a more peaceful life/reduce stress:  (1) Yoga at least once a week, (2) read Bible and pray every day, (3) have one fun outing with Joey every week, (4) establish morning and evening routines, both for myself and with Shelli, (5) incorporate 15 minutes of cleaning the house per day.
  4. Be a better friend/more thoughtful person
  5. Tighten back up financially, (1) the aforementioned reduction in takeout, (2), meal planning (getting our grocery/toiletries budget back down to $50 per week)

In an effort to improve both #2 and #5, we bought a Wii with the Wii Fit Plus package!  It was a bit of a steep up-front cost, yes, but when we did the math, we’ll save about $300 over the year over our memberships to our gym, which just isn’t convenient to us and doesn’t really fit our schedules.  I prefer to workout in the morning, but to do that, I have to get there at 5 am, right when the gym opens.  As much as I’d like to, I just can’t get myself up at 4:40 to be ready to leave at 4:45.  However, I can get up at 4:55 to do thirty minutes in the morning before I get in the shower!  Or even get up at 5 to do 30 minutes since it won’t really hurt to be five minutes later.

Here’s our home-screen:

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Initial thoughts:

  1. I do not appreciate that the little voice goes “Oooh!” when I step on the balance board/scale.
  2. It hurt to see my BMI and have the little voice tell me I’m obese and to imitiately change my Mii (avatar) into the chubby girl you see above.
  3. It’s TOTALLY awesome that you can enter your pet!  Shelli is just under 8 pounds, by the way, which is very healthy for her, so we’re not trying to change her weight with it.  However, she did NOT appreciate being held so that we could get her weight.  She got pretty pissed.
  4. It’s FUN!  It’s really nice to have something to work toward, and the games are great for a workout.  When I played it at my friend Katie’s house over the weekend, I was really sore the next day from the workout that I got…but it doesn’t usually feel like exercise because it’s a game.  Good stuff!

In other news, my prospectus draft has been submitted and I’ve gotten feedback, so the next step is revision and resubmittal, and then hopefully it’ll be good enough for submission to my committee for the meeting.  I’m feeling positive about it now rather than overwhelmed and my advisor is very involved in my progress, so I don’t feel nearly as lost.  Middle Eastern Lit has been interesting so far; I’ve read The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, which was thought provoking and made me uncomfortable with my own thoughts/beliefs and assumptions.  That’s the sign of a good book, my friends; confronting uncomfortable realities isn’t a bad thing.  Too many people shy away from it.

That’s all; Maury is about to come on!