Saturday, April 25, 2015
A few days earlier I did two Rock Repeats plus some, and got sore from the quad bashing, but it was a good start. I took it super easy. Now I just have to be consistent and get up there on a weekly or every-other-week routine. I'm already hearing it's a bad rattlesnake season, and that's even more reason to be on the Rock Repeat course. Nice and wide, easy to see snakes.
I did get to see my niece Jenny in her last high school play, and saw my brother and sister-in-law. That was fun. Jenny is off to Ashland, Oregon in the fall for college. I can't believe how fast the 18 years went by.
When I got back from Arizona, the next day I was on a conference call with Bob's crew for his Badwater Double plans this summer. The crew consists of most of his crew from last year at Badwater, and one new guy. And then me, for the return trip. He's had trouble getting Whitney permits, but we're still trying.
The trails up high should be accessible early the way the weather has been. We did get a huge dump of snow last week but it's been warm ever since. Between heat training and trail running, I should be ready for everything, since I am looking at an October Grand Canyon run, too.
Now if I could just find my everyday motivation to get the workouts in...
Friday, April 17, 2015
Yesterday I had lunch with Wheaties Boy's mother-in-law, Faustine. I admire this woman in so many ways. We have a lot of interests in common, obviously health and fitness, but also cancer and healing. She has been a massage therapist for years, doing medical massage and has worked with many people with cancer. She is also the epitome of vibrant and healthy aging. And gorgeous, she literally glows.
We talked about my business ideas and where I'm moving with my online service development. We discussed the important components of empowering people to improve their own well-being after diagnosis and treatment for a serious illness, and moving beyond the sticking points. One of the things that I'm passionate about is getting people the answers to their questions that can't be addressed in a short doctor appointment, but not having to stress themselves financially in order to get the help they need.
Medicine is becoming more of a product and not a service, and doctors are being squeezed for time and production...getting the patients in and out, and those short appointments don't leave room for explanation, education, or personalized attention. The rushed encounters-yes, they literally are referred to as "encounters" in the popular electronic health records...don't leave docs much time to have meaningful discussions with patients or teach them the finer points to empower them to manage their health.
Nurses can and often do fill many of the gaps in information and explanation, but they are under similar time and documentation constraints and in the rushed corporate health care environment, many of the details slip through the cracks as the robotic expectations of the organization for which they work supercede the desire to sit, educate, and empower.
This patient empowerment is a huge unaddressed need, especially in the time period after they get done with cancer treatment. Patients feel lost and abandoned in that transition from cancer patient to...not sure what they are afterward. Called survivors, they don't always feel like they survived. There are patronizing references made to what they feel after treatment. "The new normal" is one of those that makes me grind my teeth at night.
Feeling like crap with nowhere to turn is not normal. It's not fair or humane to tell them, "well, we treated you for cancer, we poisoned you, burned you and cut out parts, so now you're supposed to go through life tired, sick and debilitated. Get used to it. It's your new normal."
People deserve to get information and help in restoring their health, in terms they can understand, and in ways that they can apply to their own lives. They need to do much of the work themselves, because only they can determine where they want to end up in terms of quality of life. But they need guidance, support, and attention getting there after enduring the rigors of cancer treatment and all of the associated emotional, social, financial, spiritual, psychological, and physical invasions in their lives.
As Faustine and I discussed our ideas and experiences, I thought about my trip to Arizona, where I'll be talking with my dad and stepmom about what day are going through right now, trying to manage my dad's upheaval with chemo and all the fatigue that has stripped away his normal energetic life. Between naps and blood transfusions, he is able to carry on with some of the activities he enjoys, but I had to explain to him why it was not a good idea for him to call his personal trainer to come over for a workout the day after his blood transfusion...which is exactly what he did before I happened to call and catch him in this error that could have resulted in quite an unfavorable outcome.
He's being treated at a world-renowned cancer facility yet no one explained to him why being severely anemic is not a good condition from which to exercise. Why? Because in medicine, they often don't think to ask about the daily habits of patients, their lifestyles, or what their normal activities are. And my dad doesn't have an education in exercise physiology or health care. They neither have time, nor the thought process in place to do so. It's just not how medicine thinks.
Even if by chance someone did explain something to him, there is not adequate time for them to assess his full understanding of what they taught him. There is no time for "teach-back" or a way to ensure that the message they tried to convey was received, absorbed, and understood.
So it's just by chance that my dad as a cancer patient happens to have a daughter who is an oncology nurse and told him that not having enough oxygen in your blood to feed important organs like your heart and brain during exercise could result in you having a heart attack or passing out and falling and injuring yourself. And stopped him before it happened.
People are not being given the attention they need and doctors are not referring them to appropriate resources for help, for their individual lifestyle needs. It happens during treatment and after completion of treatment. And that is what I want to address in a way that is affordable, accessible, understandable, and useful.
Yet I can't get doctors to give me the time of day to let me explain them how I can help their patients. They're "too busy". So I go directly to the patients themselves. That's okay, but it would be much better if the doctors were aware of this service and could let their patients know. Sad reflection on the state of health care, isn't it?
You can't make an addict stop the addictive behavior until they want to. You can't change dysfunction from within the system. So I do it from the outside. Meanwhile the doctors will continue to be unaware of these resources available to their patients. And they will do a disservice to their patients by omitting that important information that makes a difference in their healing and quality of life.
Which is why I've been saying all along, health care is neither health nor care.
We can do better. And I am.
End of rant.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
It's supposed to be like this all weekend. Which makes it a good weekend to go to Arizona, and that is what I'm doing. The girls will stay here with Dennis, I am going to visit my dad and stepmom, and see a play in which my niece Jenny has the lead role. She's about 6 weeks from graduating from high school, so this is the last school play I'll get to see with her in it.
We went for a short walk this morning before the white stuff started coming down from the sky.
Tomorrow, off to the desert...
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Last summer we sold the cabin so it's back to vacationing on the Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and sagebrush covered lot overlooking Pikes Peak and South Park.
The infamous South Park wind whooshing through the pine needles, the tall Douglas firs bending in the gusts. And the smell. Pine and grass and earth and sage. And the quiet.
I'm so glad I don't live here, but I am surprised I forgot the rough charm of the place, the hard reality that people endure who live and work in these towns, unless they are super wealthy and don't have to worry about paying the bills.
We went down to the Arkansas River. It's sacred to us, years ago we scattered our first dog's ashes upstream in Clear Creek, near Winfield, where she used to play stick all the time. We parked at the east end of town just above the bridge.
We were hungry and decided to find a place to eat. Turned out there was a Mexican restaurant in a dive of an old building, and we checked it out, called Los Girasoles. Turns out it is the real thing, from Guadalajara. Dennis had empanadas that were awesome and I got a burrito with chile verde and refried beans. My test of a Mexican restaurant is always the refried beans. And these passed.
The spices were mild but when we looked around it was mostly old people eating there. But it was good. And the salsa reminded me of a favorite restaurant in Scottsdale from my high school days that had great salsa and to die for green corn tamales.
We came back to the room and now I am awake at 11 pm after trying to go to bed at 9. At least I am not hot flashing because the room is cool.
And then when we lived in Arizona, we used to come up and spend 2 weeks at a time. But ever since we moved back we only went as far west and south as Fairplay, and never bothered to come back here. We're back now. It's like reclaiming a forgotten part of yourself.
The girls needed to come back too. When they were puppies we took them here all the time. Took them swimming in the river, took them hiking east of town, by the Buffalo Peaks there was a 16 mile trail loop we used to do with them. Now they can't do that, but they are happy just sitting in the grass and sniffing, wandering around to check things out.
Last week I ran with Wheaties Boy in the cemetery. That morning we only did 7 easy miles, no speed. That was good. Not ready to jump back into speed yet.
I'm still doing the 10 miles a day on my feet plan. Gradually doing more running and less walking. Not super motivatevd but at least I can do that.
The Next Morning
When I woke up this morning I was tired. Dennis went out to get coffee while I dragged myself out of bed. At some point in the night the girls wanted out, so I took them out to pee. When I got back into the room I was freezing so I climbed into the bed with Dennis before Iris could jump up, to get some warmth off his body, and then Iris jumped up on the bed and then Isabelle wanted up. So then it was really Noah's Ark, two people and two buffs on a sagging queen sized bed, sloping toward the middle. Not much sleep, but it was worth it.
Dennis didn't sleep well either but he slept a lot longer than me. He didn't complain. The only things he said was, "next time, pay more".
We went over to the Evergreen Café for breakfast, where we always used to eat. It's still decent food and good service, right on the highway, and it was pleasant enough outside to sit on the patio. The sky was clear and only a few clouds were out. It was so funny to see the way people dress so casually up there and that they are still so laid back. I always feel like I have to dress "up" in the city. Not really dressed up, because I am about the most casually dressed person in any crowd, but I forgot that I used to live in my fleece jacket and jeans and t-shirt, and never thought about being any less comfortable until I moved to the city. Now it seems like I put a little more thought into what I wear before I go out most of the time.
And Monday is another day. I look forward to it. Taking the weekend off helps everything. And next weekend, it's off to Arizona for me...
Sunday, April 5, 2015
We had some nice weather this weekend. Last week was a good week for several reasons, I'm starting to feel like I'm hitting a certain stride in my work. I feel more productive and the interest is growing. There still isn't much cash flow coming in but that's okay. I know I'm on the right track and it will happen.
I have a CSU student working with me and she helped me make some videos, we're in the process of producing as many videos as possible this spring. A few copies of the book have sold, and it's been fun listening to the comments and reviews.
Getting a little clarity in my head might be partially a result of getting rid of all the extra carbs I was eating. And maybe my vitamin D level is just starting to rise, enough that I'm not totally in the tank. It will take time, but I am feeling like the light is coming back...
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The past few days I've been fairly productive. I guess it took 50 miles to unplug the system and get the pipes cleaned out, get everything working again. If that's all it takes, I'll gladly throw in a 50 miler every so often for productivity.
This place is getting crazier all the time. On Saturday Dale and I were talking politics as we circled the lake. About cronyism and corruption and how damn bad it needs to get before people WTFU.
I woke up this morning and almost choked on my coffee when I saw that beautiful red white and blue front page picture of Ted Cruz announcing his candidacy for Republican presidential hopeful. Rah, Rah. USA! Oh, wait. He wasn't born here. Where's Donald Trump when you need him?
Then I was out walking Iris this morning and came across a yard sign, and it inspired me to write this post on Fighting Dinosaurs. I thought I'd share it.
That's all I have to say for now. I'm still coughing up coffee.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
My goal was to stay on my feet the whole time, I didn't care how many miles I got. I didn't expect much.
My friends Marissa DeMercurio and Pete Kardassis held the Fat Ass gathering in a park, on a 1.15 mile walking path around Lake Arbor. It was mostly flat with a couple of small, almost imperceptible hills. The park has a view of Longs Peak and the Indian Peaks.
It was one of those perfect spring days, it was sunny and warm but there was enough of a breeze to cool things off without making it difficult to run in the wind.
Driving down from Fort Collins in the morning I got lost for about 10 minutes once I got into Westminster. It was dark so I couldn't see the mountains, and I ended up going in the opposite direction that I was supposed to go. I pulled over and realized I didn't have my reading glasses and I couldn't see my phone to look at the map. Last week I got my first pair of progressive lenses and now I can't see $&@#!
Finally I found Lake Arbor. It was dark and no one was there except for a lone figure with a headlamp in the dark unloading stuff from a car. I pulled over, put my window down, and said, "Marissa?".
Our friend Vince Gerber showed up and did a few laps, I walked with Vince and Dale for a while and then I started to run more. Vince and Dale continued on together. Later on Matt and Anne Watts showed up, they saw the pictures I posted on Facebook and decided to check it out. Matt joined me for a couple of laps. And Danie, an old friend from Western State College, showed up and did a lap with me.
Early in the day I had my iPod and stuck it in my bra for a lap because I had nothing on me to anchor it. I forgot to bring my pack on that lap. By the time I got around the lake to get my pack, I pulled my iPod out, and it was all sweaty. Then the stupid thing wouldn't work. It would start and play for a few seconds, then shut off. I thought maybe it got too much moisture in it, and it might dry out. Later on it started working again, but it would cut out every so often. I finally got frustrated with it and grabbed my old MP3 player with all the trance music on it, and listened to that.
My legs felt slow and tired but not too bad. I've only run 120 miles so far this year, an average of 12 miles a week. I have done a lot of walking, though. I think that helped. I was surprised that I had as much energy as I did, and I actually did more running in the last 3 hours of the race than I did all day. My back didn't hurt, either, that was the other thing I was concerned about.
In the last hour Dale was sitting in the aid station talking with Matt, Anne, and Vince, and every time I went through they would give me a hard time. Vince ate the butts off my Peeps and left the buttless Peeps on the sticks.
As the laps progressed, I found the motivation to run a few minutes each lap, and it was enough to get me just over 50. I finished with 50.6 miles at about 12 hours and 2 minutes, not enough time to do another lap. I had time to take pictures of the sunset, too.
I gave away most of my remaining Peeps with the intact butts to a group of kids who walked by on one of my last few laps.
I drove home, and Dennis went to Whole Foods and got a pizza, and brought home some Corona beer. It was awesome.
I'm not moving too bad this morning, not sore or stiff except my toes hurt. My shoes were pretty worn out, so that might explain it. Sometimes it takes a couple of days before I feel it. I have some interesting tan lines, a stripe around my ankles between the compression sleeves and my socks. And a farmers tan on top, raccoon eyes, and the beginning of my annual watch tan.
I feel "normal" again.