Wednesday, May 13, 2020

This is the End

Tomorrow marks my 12th year of blogging, and with that, I've decided that it's time to close shop.  I think I've said pretty much everything I had to say over this decade-plus of blogging, and while I'm sad to lose the connection with you guys, it's time to let this blog go.

I started this blog when I started my weight loss journey, and it evolved into something much more than a diet blog.  It ran the gamut of family life, running, fashion (remember Fashion Friday?), knitting, decorating - you name it, I've probably blogged about it.  Of course the most important subject matter has been Paco the Wonder Dog, and it always made me laugh when someone would mention that they hadn't seen him on the blog lately.  So here you go, one last picture of Paco:
I will miss you guys bery much.

While I'm glad to have this online record of my last twelve years, I'm equally glad to have made so many blog friends.  The support you've given me has been amazing and I will miss you all.  And while my blog will be dormant, I'll still be around reading and commenting on your blogs.  If you want to keep in touch, I'm only an email away; please don't hesitate to write me -

Thanks for reading, my friends.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Seizure Update

It's been five and a half months since I had my first-ever, and hopefully last-ever grand mal/tonic-clonic seizure, so I thought I'd update you on that saga.

I was diagnosed with focal epilepsy based on my seizure and abnormal EEG.  It feels weird to say that because except for what happened on November 24, 2019, I've not had any epileptic-like symptoms.  That doesn't mean it couldn't happen again, which is why I've been very careful with taking my anti-seizure medication every 12 hours.  Thankfully in this day and age of carrying a portable alarm with me, aka my iPhone, it's pretty easy to remember to do so.  Last week when Jeff and I were going on our walk, I knew that we'd still be out when my medication alarm would go off, so I made sure to bring my pill box and some water with me.
It's a process to fill a month's worth of medication into my rainbow of pill boxes, but at least I know that I've taken my medicine based on the empty box.  (Also included are OTC allergy meds because grass and pollen have declared war on me this year)

As I said, I don't feel like I have epilepsy.  But, I'm not taking chances that I don't, so along with diligently taking my medication, I'm also not doing things like taking a bath, or swimming alone, or riding my bike.  That last one was a hard decision because during this pandemic, riding a bike in my neighborhood would be nice.  But it would be a hard fall if I suddenly had a seizure, and it could possibly happen in front of a moving vehicle, so biking is off the table for me.

Regarding medication:  I've ramped up to my full dose of Lamictal and am completely off of Keppra.  I'd hoped, since I was at the full dose of Lamictal before I tapered off of Keppra that I'd be finished with side effects, but it's been several weeks without Keppra and my side effects have gotten worse.  It's irritating because I cannot find words when I'm trying to speak (and write), I can't remember things, I make typos like crazy, I'm super clumsy and can't tell you how many drinks I've knocked over and other things I've spilled.  It's fun being me. 

The only other side effect of Lamictal that scared me was when my eyes suddenly started moving rapidly from side to side.  I happened to be sitting down the first time this happened and called for Jeff because I wasn't sure if this was the start of another seizure.  Nothing else happened, and in the meantime he was looking up Lamictal and rapid eye movement and sure enough, that was connected.  Of course, I'll let my epileptologist know about this and the other side effects when I see him - well, via a telemed video, thank you coronavirus - later on this month. 

All in all, things are back to normal for me.  Yes, I have some side effects that I'd like to go away, but the fact that I've gone this long without another seizure is promising.  And I'd like for it to stay that way.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Friday Mishmash

Puzzles puzzles puzzles!  To give my hands a break from knitting quite so much - I'm still knitting but my thumb joints hurt if I knit for several hours every day - I've been doing jigsaw puzzles to pass the time.  At first I did a 500 piece one, which was fun and completed fairly quickly.  Then I opened a 1,000 piece one.  Holy cats that was hard.  So many pieces had the same colors throughout the puzzle, and the pieces were small and sometimes fit just enough in spots to cause make it even more tricky.  It took me well over a week to complete:
Mother Nature.  Beautiful but a beast to finish.

Then I decided to rebuild my puzzle confidence by doing a 500 piece puzzle:
Larger pieces made for a much more fun time with this one.

Now I'm doing another 1,000 piece puzzle, sorting the pieces by color, and it's already coming together easier:
Jane Austen's Book Club.  I moved my puzzle to the coffee table because the glare on the dining table was really bad.


While I'm doing the puzzles, I've been listening to a new podcast that I really enjoy - it's called Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach and Donald.  You might remember them better as J.D. and Turk from the TV show Scrubs.  I loved Scrubs back in the day, and it's really cool to hear about each episode with all of the little back stories.  Once I started listening, I caught up on the particular episodes on Hulu and am watching for all of the things they referenced in the podcast.


I believe I've mentioned a time or two that I am a bit of a Chapstick fanatic.  Wearing a mask makes the mask stick to my lips, which is kinda gross.  Of course I forget that I have Chapstick on when I put on my mask - I'd wipe it off if I could remember.  Small annoyance in the time of Covid-19, I know.  Here's our new masks, sewn by my childhood friend Russell:
If we can't go to Hawaii, at least we can wear Hawaiian-print masks!  Russell ordered the fabric from a shop in Honolulu, so the masks are totally authentic, LOL.


I am still so thrilled with how well Bobo Corona is doing.  He's getting so big and draping beautifully over the table - I wish I could go to the cute nursery we discovered last summer and get one of their interesting plant stands for him, as he's going to be touching the ground pretty soon.  Also I want that table back for setting drinks on, but I'll gladly let Bobo live on it right now:
Sometimes I go outside just to admire ol' Bobo.


Diane is back in town after having been gone for more than two months.  She came over so we could have a socially-distant visit:
It's a lot like our post run visits, when we'd all sit in lawn chairs on the clubhouse driveway.  Of course back then we were a lot closer, but hey, this worked quite well.


We have, not surprisingly, nothing on our agenda for the weekend other than me running a little bit, and hopefully Jeff will be able to run as well.  That is it.  As it has been for the last eight weeks now.  Hope you all are staying safe and well - have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

WWW - Finally, Some Improvement

It feels like I've been writing a Wednesday Workout Update forever, oftentimes when I don't actually have a WWU to report.  But today I do, yippee!

Running is feeling a little bit better.  Somewhat easier.  Still only doing a mile, but that mile is showing improvement so I'll take it.  Doing a decent warm up walk is helping a lot, too - I usually get anywhere from a third to a half mile of walking before beginning my run.  After my run on Saturday, I recovered for a few minutes and then ran five short sprints in hopes of improving my cardio.  It's all baby steps but hopefully everything is working together so I can run successfully again.

A big victory for me, but sad at the same time for Jeff, is that I ran by myself yesterday!  You all know that I am a social runner.  But he'd gone out early in the morning for his normal 3 mile run and his calf ended up hurting so badly at one point that he walked home.  I was proud of him for not trying to run through the pain; he iced and rested it yesterday and will take the rest of the week off from running and hopefully it will get better.  Getting back to ME (haha), since I was dressed and ready when he limped home, I decided that I would go ahead and run.  It helped that it was daylight so I felt comfortable running by myself.  Jeff was my water station at the halfway point.  It was very warm and humid, and the sun was out, so my goal was to just get through it, and I did.  All. By. Myself.  I couldn't tell you the last time I ran solo.

Previous to his injury, on the days that I don't run, Jeff and I walk anywhere from 2 - 3 miles.  I look forward to the day when our scary statue park reopens and we can walk there because we pretty much know every inch of our neighborhood by now.

That said, you'd be wrong in thinking that between the walking and running I'd be losing weight.  My corona candy says otherwise.  One of these days I'm sure my anxiety will level off and I won't need it so often, but it's a weirdly odd and uncertain time to be around, so whatever it takes to get through a day is fine by me.

Speaking of uncertain times, our governor has started to allow certain business to reopen.  Not sure I agree with that (OK I don't) because reports are still coming in showing increased cases, but I can choose to continue to stay home and that's what we are doing.  Gyms have not been allowed to open yet; once my gym reopens I think I'll still wait a while to see how things play out with people huffing and puffing in a close environment.  Maybe I'm a little on the more paranoid side, but better safe than sorry, right?

Monday, May 4, 2020

Herniated Disc Update #9 - One Year Later

It's been just over a year since my L3-L4 disc decided to blow up so it's time for a final update on my saga. 

After trying pain management with medication and epidural steroid injections as well as physical therapy for over five months, nothing improved enough to make it through the day without extreme pain.  I was finally ready to consult with a neurosurgeon about this.  My neurosurgeon came highly recommended by a number of people I trusted, so when he said he could fix this and make me feel better, I decided to try a surgical intervention.

Seven months ago I had a laminectomy and discectomy to relieve pressure on my nerve.  While the surgery went well, it took much longer than my neurosurgeon predicted for me to feel 100% again, which made me question my decision to have surgery in the first place.  You hear so many tales of back surgery gone wrong, and the longer it took for me to feel better, the more nervous I became.  Had my surgeon said something along the lines of "your nerve has been compressed for so long that it will take quite a while for it to settle down" I would have accepted the continued leg pain as part of the recovery instead of worrying that the surgery didn't solve anything.

That said, surgery was the key to healing my herniated disc.  I can say that now.  I can't even remember when my leg pain finally went away thanks to my other medical event, which was a grand mal seizure two months after surgery.  As I was dealing with a new set of issues, the leg pain went on the back burner.  I suspect it was somewhere around January that it finally resolved.

As for my back, my physical therapist told me that after having surgery - any surgery on any part of the body - it's changed forever.  So I need to be aware of that and not do anything that might bring on another disc problem.  I will not do any kind of jumping/high impact exercise ever again.  And that's OK - better to lose the jump rope than to go through that painful hell. 

I've been gently easing back into exercise.  I walked for about four weeks before adding in a little bit of running.  I like running and want to do it.  My hopes are to build up to running three miles.  However, if I start to have pain, I will stop.  It's not worth getting hurt again.  I don't see myself ever running long distances - I think my days of doing a half marathon, or probably even a 10K are done.  But if I can run a few miles and feel good, I'll be content with that.

There is a happy ending to my herniated disc.  It took a lot of trying different things to get to this point.  It was the most painful thing I've ever gone through; pain that was 24/7, pain that hurt so badly that I was ready to hurl myself out of the car at one point.  It's not something I would wish on anyone.  But if you've discovered my blog while searching for someone who has gone through this and come out OK on the other side, I want to give you some hope that it can get better.  Hang in there.

Friday, May 1, 2020

FMM - Odds and Ends

I figured it was time to do a few updates on some things I've posted.  First up is the last piece of our bedroom makeover - the throw pillow sham that was backordered until April.  Worth the wait:
It's from the Del Mar Coastal collection at Pottery Barn.  I love how the slight touches of dark orange pull everything together, from the art on the wall to the throw blanket.
One more shot - I am so happy with how the room turned out!  This was such a fun makeover.


Looking goooood on that coral blanket, Henry!


In case anyone is interested in my herniated disc saga, and my seizure saga (2019 can suck it and 2020 isn't much better, sheesh), I updated the bar under my blog header with links to all of of those posts.  It took me a while to get all of the herniated disc posts in the correct date order because there were so many of them.  While I didn't reread any, just seeing the titles reminded me of how much I went through with it.  Yes, the seizure was very scary, but the pain of the herniated disc is something I'll never forget.  That said, I hope I'm done with health issues now.  Enough is enough, right?


I've been meaning to show you my little ocean-themed air plant collection for a while now, so here you go:
They are hanging in my kitchen window - the puffer fish and the rainbow octopus are from a craft gallery in Capitola, California, and the sea urchin came from a local succulent shop here in town.


Have a great weekend!  Stay safe.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

WWU - Motivational Shoes

You see why I had to get these, right?

It seems I've gone full circle with my running shoes - I started out with a pair of Brooks Addictions back in 2009, and I've gone through many different brands over the years, with the Hoka Cliftons being my go-to shoes for the last five years.  I did stray to the Brooks Levitates in 2017, and wore them off and on, but usually kept with the Cliftons.

Once I started running again, I've had different things pop up, like the side of my baby toe bugging me, and my arch zings me once in a while during a walk and run, and my left knee began talking to me late last week.  I think some of this is due to me finding my form after not running for a year plus having had back surgery, and as I move forward I expect these to resolve, but as runners know, new shoes can fix everything, haha.

First thing I did was to start wearing my Levitates again.  I'd forgotten how comfortable they are!  So that was working nicely, and then Karen texted me a picture of these Hawaiian-soled shoes.  My eyes suddenly had hearts in them and after quizzing Karen on the model - the Revel 3 - I ordered a pair.  It helps that she and I are shoe-compatible, down to the same size and same level of comfort on everything from sandals to running shoes, so I pretty much know if a shoe works for her, it'll work for me.

Side note:  We have tried on each others shoes many times over the years, swapping them anywhere from the driveway at the Renegade clubhouse to our table at Blue Baker.  Just one more thing to miss while we are all quarantined, sigh.

Anyway, I love them!  I'm gliding on air, like a gazelle.  Well not really.  But they are super light and comfortable, so it feels like I'm running better.  It also makes getting ready for a run more exciting.  The rest of my running gear is several years old, so it's nice to have a brand new pair of shoes to put on.  Sometimes the little things are big, you know?


Regarding running.  I'm making progress, although it's in very small increments.  Last week I managed to get about 3/4 of a mile done (with 30:30 intervals) before gasping for air, so that's good, right?  With our weather warming up, I know that we're heading into the hardest time to run, regardless if you've been constantly running, so I know that I'll have to take this for what it is and just keep plugging along.

I'm in no hurry to get anywhere - my big goal for the year was to run a 5K in the fall and earn a medal with 2020 on it, but at the rate we're going, there may not be any races before the end of the year.  Who knows.  I hope I'm wrong about that.  But I have a suspicion that may be the way things are headed.