Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Another Monday, Where is the Sun?

I have pretty much given up on trying to get going with running. The motivation just has not been there. I still plan on going to the Fat Ass 12 hour and change at Lake Arbor in Arvada later this month to enjoy running in circles. Maybe that will be what finally motivates me.

When I woke up at 6:30 this morning, it was light out, but the sky was completely overcast. I don't know where the sun is, but it seems to have left Colorado. I can't get myself motivated to get out and run when it's so gloomy and cold. No running goals currently appeal to me.

Life has been fairly exciting lately, a lot of good projects happening. Fighting Dinosaurs launched this weekend and things went smoothly, I got a guest blogpost in time for the launch and plenty of comments on the initial posts. Today the Empowered Nurses book is scheduled for release, I have a chapter in there. I am just waiting for the official word and I will be adding links to it on my blogs and websites.

There are the worrisome things too. My dad took his first dose of chemo yesterday, he seemed to be doing fine when I talked with him later in the day. I'll be going down to visit again in a couple of weeks.

Isabelle has a big lipoma on her right hind leg. Being 13 1/2 years old I hesitate to do any surgery but I trust our vet and he understands my philosophy about my dogs. We did pre-op labs just to see if she's healthy enough for anesthesia, just in case, and everything looked great. She's limping and yesterday she didn't even want to go to Starbucks with Dennis and Iris. That's not like Isabelle. The vet seems to think she would be able to move a lot easier if it's just a lipoma and we took it out, he said it's usually pretty simple to get it out without having to cut any muscles or connective tissue. So we are considering it. I'm talking with him later today about what the whole process would be.

I want her to have good quality of life, and she has plenty of energy and still eats like a pig, so I'm inclined to give it a try. If for some reason it turns out to be something more serious than a simple lipoma, then we'll have to make other decisions. None of us are ready to part with any members of the Buffalo Family, and we're hoping to get good news, but getting prepared otherwise just in case. It's sad and scary. We love our Bella.

I am going to make myself run 30 minutes at least today, and take Iris for a walk if The Bella doesn't want to go. I am such a pile of mush. But I will get there, somehow. Maybe when the sun comes out again...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Confusion

Someone forgot to tell the meteorologists what season it is. They keep telling us we're in for a week of snow. That is soooo not fair. It's been spring for almost two months and we keep getting dumped on with white stuff.

Today I got out while it was still in the 40s but windy, before the snow moved in, and did a little over 6 miles. First I took Iris walking for a couple of miles, then I brought her home and went out, determined to get MY workout in. Even if it was only an hour. I woke up with no pain in my back today, as I have the past three days.

I'm afraid to start any weight workouts or even any core work without weights, because it seems like everything has been aggravating it. After I am pain free for a few weeks then I will start. I am getting so tired of feeling like a flabby limp noodle.

I wish I had more to report. I am planning to run/walk for 12 hours and 9 minutes on March 21 in Arvada at a Fat Ass event. Ready or not, I'm going down there and plan to stay out all day. I don't care how many miles I get in, either. I'm taking my music and dancing around the lake all day. Catch up on my vitamin D, hopefully, if it's a nice day.

My dad is starting on oral chemo, even though they don't have all the results back from the bone marrow biopsy. His hematologist thinks it's the same leukemia that he's had for years and is starting him on methotrexate. I guess it won't hurt him even if it turns out to be something else because it's the same class of drugs they give in the thing we're hoping it isn't. We'll know in about a week or less. What drives me crazy is the lack of thorough education that they do with patients, even at the big name hospitals that are supposed to be the top cancer clinics. They're all the same as far as I can tell. All trying to make a buck and not paying attention to the needs of the entire person and family members. I always want to bang my head against the wall... but thankfully I can give him the information he needs to know. I hope he does well on this stuff, it won't make him lose his hair but it can cause diarrhea and nausea and mouth sores, and making him more susceptible to infections.

I always wish I could tell people in public they should be more considerate of the fact that there are people among us who have weak immune systems so please keep your boogers to yourselves. Like the guy at the airport last week. Dennis and I were waiting for our flight out of Phoenix to come home, and this guy sat down next to me, blew his nose into a paper napkin, then deposited the napkin on the seat next to me. GROSS! Or people who cough or sneeze and don't attempt to cover it or wash their hands.

I am much more of a germophobe ever since I became a nurse. Watching people is really interesting, and disgusting. People don't realize how filthy their hands are, and what they touch. Cell phones are gross. Did you know that E. coli are found on cell phones? People take them to the bathroom, and those surfaces are full of E. coli, and who knows if they ever wash their hands, but if it gets on the cell phone and you don't disinfect the cell phone, might as well not wash your hands because it's all going back on your hands. And then you shake someone else's hands after touching your E. coli-infested cell phone. Computer keyboards are the worst. I always used to freak out when I'd see a nurse typing on the computer and not washing their hands before touching the patient again. And these days the way nurses have so much more documentation to do on the computers and so much more work to do in an understaffed setting, there's even more likelihood of contamination. Just FYI. Always make sure the person taking care of you is keeping their hands clean.

I am excited about launching Fighting Dinosaurs. Nursing evolves March 1. I can't wait to see what kinds of stories will come out.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Yes I'm Still Alive...

Just busy Fighting Dinosaurs, and a few other things...

Dennis and I made our usual February trip to Arizona to see my parents. Usually I would run the Pemberton Trail 50K, but this year, and right now I am lucky to be able to run 50 minutes. My back has been steadily, but slowly, improving and today I actually ran for a solid hour without walking for the first time in about a month, or more. I'd have to look back to see when this happened.

This time we stuck around, just hung out with my dad and stepmom. My dad hasn't been feeling so great lately and had a bone marrow biopsy yesterday, so we're waiting for the results. We're all stressed and scared and everything is uncertain right now. The problem with blood cancers is that they can undergo this transformation into a different disease, that is treated differently than the original diagnosed cancer.

So we're waiting to find out if this is just a flare-up of the primary leukemia he's known about for 6 years, or if it's something different and more serious, that needs treatment with chemotherapy and/or transfusions eventually. I know too much about this stuff and I'm afraid for the worst, but optimistic for the best. We are waiting for the send-out labs which take the longest, about 10 days. Nail-biting for me. There's so much more to say on how I feel about all this, but I'm waiting to hear what the next step is.

I've been pounding the vitamin D supplements religiously and I already feel less dizzy than I was, ha! As if I was never dizzy? But I do feel better- just a little- enough to notice. I don't have a lot of energy but I am trying to be more consistent about getting out and walking and running.

I am looking forward to crewing Bob at Badwater this summer, so we're waiting the announcement of who got in the race, then we can start planning.

The big project I've been working on is Fighting Dinosaurs. It's a new website/blog that features guest submissions about nursing-related topics, with a focus on solutions and changing the current dysfunction of the profession itself within a dysfunctional health care system. I just wanted to give nurses a chance to get their voices heard, because so many people are afraid to post on Facebook and Twitter since their employers spy on them. I am allowing anonymity when a person is concerned about it affecting their job. I am hoping it will spark some lively discussion and commentary. There is also a Facebook Page.

Fighting Dinosaurs is where my energy will be focused when it comes to healthcare, nursing, and so on. If you've been following those posts, you will find more of it at Fighting Dinosaurs. You can also follow us on Twitter at either @AleneGoneBad or @FightingDinos. By the way, National Public Radio has had an excellent series on workplace injuries among nurses lately. I wrote to them to ask if they'd include a piece on psychological injuries and PTSD among nurses. That is one topic that will be covered extensively on Fighting Dinosaurs, you can bet on it.

Tonight I'm speaking at a cancer support group at the hospital where I used to work, talking about exercise and cancer, along with a friend who is talking about nutrition and cancer. On March 2, the book Empowered Nurses will be released, and I have a chapter in it. I'm excited. I'll include a link to it as soon as it's available.

I'm ready to get back into a more physically active routine. I am up 14 pounds, but I will lose it once I get my act together. This winter has been extremely difficult, but it really is spring, and I am looking forward to the warmer weather.

After this weekend's snowstorm.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My Anaconda Don't...

30 to 51. It's not betting odds, a temperature range or a bad Superbowl score. It's the name of the new purpose in my life.

Today I went to the beach. Okay, it was Warren Lake, but it does have sand, and water, and driftwood, and today it had sunshine and 70 degree temperatures. But it was a wake-up call.

Faced with today's 70 and sunny reality of my fat pants being tight, and having a hard time finding a pair of shorts to wear that didn't chafe or fit too close to my approaching-Kim-Kardashian-proportioned buns, hon...

I decided it is time to get with the program. Vitamin D deficiency, less-than-stellar mood, sore back, inability to run, raging hormones, and blinding white legs be damned, I have 30 days until my 51st birthday and I know I can lose a chunk of this blubber by then, at least get to where I can fit into most of my clothes again. I think I just came up with a new hashtag: #runthepaws
I woke up this morning with a sore back again. I was doing better, got up to a total of 40 minutes of running in my walks. I've been walking between 6 and 8 miles a day, and every other day I've been running parts of the walk. I think it's something to do with the position I sleep in, if I wake up on my stomach that kills my back.

I took Thursday off, then I walked 5 miles Friday, without running. My back was fine. Then this morning, it was as painful as it was the first day this happened. I woke up face down. I don't know if there's anything else I could have done to prevent it from being this sore. Friday afternoon I went out with a friend for a beer so we could have some girl time and dinosaur talk. Dinosaur talk is when we talk about healthcare stuff. You know, the dinosaurs who run things in health care.

I have been indulging in the beer more often than I should, and eating things I shouldn't, like bread. Actually bread probably has been my biggest downfall lately. But it also leads to slacking on other carbs. When I don't feel like making breakfast, I've been eating PBJs. Bad, bad, bad. It would be one thing if I were running a gazillion miles, but I'm not.

I'm back on the floor with the ice pack again. I'll have to give up the beer, quit slacking on watching the carb intake, and do SOMETHING until my back feels strong enough to handle regular running.

Now that I'm committed, I need to think about where I'm headed, at least a climb of Mt. Whitney and a few miles of a little jaunt across the desert this summer...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Groundhog Sees A Shadow

I don't care what Punxsatawney Phil says, it's spring.

Over the last week things have improved considerably in many ways. The sun has made an appearance more often, for one thing. I started supplementing with vitamin D and while I can't tell a difference yet, just knowing that there is something really wrong and it's an easy, though slow, drawn out fix, getting my vitamin D level above 11 will surely help things.

My back is still sore most of the time, but I'm able to move better and with less pain. Friday I went out on the Spring Creek trail with some of the running club runners and did about 20 minutes of running before I had to stop. I walked back, and got about 4 miles in. Since then, each day I have walked 6 miles a day, some with the girls, then more on my own.

Saturday I added some very easy yoga stretches, and on Sunday I threw about 20 minutes of running in to my walk, here and there, a few minutes at a time, and that seemed to be okay, and the next day it didn't seem to make things worse.

So I will continue that. Maybe I can build up by adding more running into my walks. I've been plowing through the drudgery of some necessary tasks for work, which will be done by next Monday and then I can move back to the good stuff.

What really has me excited is my new project, Fighting Dinosaurs. It will be launched sometime this spring, I have no date set yet, but I'm working on it. It's going to be a blog about...you guessed it...nursing and healthcare. It will be very different from this blog, though. I'll keep you posted, or you can check back at the URL.

Also, the book Empowered Nurses will be released March 2 and I have a chapter in it, so be on the lookout for that one. I'm being interviewed this Friday and that will be on the book's website when it is released.

Finally, on the running front...I spoke with my friend Bob Becker in Florida yesterday and he is applying for Badwater. He's already run the race twice, we actually met for the first time in both of our rookie years, 2008. If he gets in, he is planning to do a double, to celebrate his 70th birthday. I am going to crew him on the return part of his trip. So I have a running purpose again. It all helps my overall outlook. Now I need the weather to cooperate!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mental Paws

Feeling like I'm stuck in quicksand both mentally and physically has gotten old already, so I made an appointment with my primary care P.A., to discuss this downhill slide and how to turn it around. I needed to get labs done anyway since I haven't had my thyroid checked in a while. We did a CBC with diff, thyroid labs, and a vitamin D.

I am super deficient in vitamin D, which doesn't surprise me, so I will begin taking a supplement. That alone should help boost my mood and possibly make me less achy. Everything was fine with the thyroid, so it's not that. My CBC with diff was perfect. Not anemic, no blood issues whatsoever.

After we talked about all that's going on, we arrived at the same conclusion, that it's hormones and menopause and I'm right there in the thick of it, so this is how it's affecting me. I'm up 11 pounds, and I can't run right now because my back is still not quite right. I am able to walk and get on the bike though the motivation is the problem with the bike. My brain is out to a two margarita lunch, and I have no idea when it will be back.

I feel like I'm 90, but I'm about 7 weeks away from 51. It's nearly 70 degrees here today, and I can't even get out running to take advantage of it. I took Iris for a walk and she was dragging her butt. It hurts my butt and back with every step. Isabelle didn't even want to go. We're all feeling old today.

Speaking of old, there are lots of fossils and dinosaurs in the world, and they need to move on. We have a lot of them in our government, and in positions of power in our institutions such as health care. Even if they aren't old in years, sticking to the old way of doing things in a world that has changed, and fighting for dominance to continue the old ways, not only looks kind of silly but is unproductive and wasteful.

Spoiler alert: You'll be hearing more about Fighting Dinosaurs in the near future. When you see dinosaurs fighting each other and bashing each others' skulls in, you have to wonder why they are trying to hasten their mutual extinction, and killing everyone else off with their counterproductivity. I would have to describe the nursing profession as a bunch of dinosaurs. They are still trying to train people, in the 19th century image of Florence Nightingale, with a 20th century mindset, in the 21st century of the health care reform corporatocracy. To borrow a dinosaur term from last century, Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stuck in the Starting Blocks

It's only a week from February and I have not moved, I am still stuck in the funk that I've been in for the past four months. No progress on fitness or losing the blob around my midsection and hips, soon I'll be giving Kim Kardashian some real competition.

To top it off I did something to my back a few days ago, I can't figure out what I did because I didn't work out, didn't lift anything, nothing out of the ordinary happened in my activities all week, but Friday morning I woke up with a sore low lack, and it stretched from my sacrum all the way through my lumbar area. And all the muscles in my glutes, around my hips, and hamstrings are tight and sore. Every small movement is painful.

Friday I drove to Denver to hang out with Steph for the day. It was a mental health break for both of us. We mostly just sat and talked, took her dog for a walk at the park since it was a decent day, and caught up on what's happening in our lives. We still have to carry out our mutual bucket list trip to Death Valley to see all the sights we never got to see during the race.

Getting out of the car when I got home from her house was excruciating. I iced, took ibuprofen, and slept on the floor Friday night. Saturday was hell, and I had to sit in a chair for much of the day finishing up my chemo class. Thankfully I got it done, one less thing to deal with right now. But my back hurts! Can't bend over to do laundry, pick up dog poop, empty the trash, feed the girls, or anything I need or want to do. Getting in and out of the car seat is an ordeal.

Today I went for a walk with Iris for a couple of miles and that felt okay. It wasn't comfortable, but it wasn't painful and it helped to loosen things up.

I'm not thinking very clearly or being efficient at getting any work done. My brain is not firing properly. Executive function is seriously impaired. When you get dressed you have to think about the steps in order to complete the task, like putting your underwear on first, then putting your pants on, then your shoes. It's very difficult to get through those steps. I was trying to describe it to Wheaties Boy on the phone. We've been trying to figure out when we can meet to run, and I am in no shape to get my butt out the door.

I have too many stray thoughts, my brain is unfocused and unsettled. Chalk it up to hormones, the weather, isolation, depression, who knows. It's a combination of things, I'm sure. I need to sort out the tangles. Not running at all for the past week hasn't helped. And now I can't run at all due to my back. I'm hoping things will improve this week.

I'm tempted to get in the car, drive south and west, until the sun stays out and there's no more white or gray in the landscape. Some bougainvillea flowers would be nice to see. Palm trees, oleanders and cactus. But it hurts to sit...

I'm hoping this coming week will bring me some forward progress, I can scrape the gum out of my brain and unstick the parts.