Day 1 - Where is the cheese?
Ok, it's official. We've started the Whole30. A brief recap of what we just committed to for the next 30 days: organic meats, vegetables (excluding corn and peas), fruits, nuts (except for peanuts), and healthy fats/oils (like avacado, olive, coconut, and organic lard) - and nothing else. Basically, the diet removes all foods that commonly cause an inflammatory response for 30 days and then you gradually reincorporate them to determine what likes you and what doesn't. It also forces you to take a hiatus from all forms of added sweetener and caffeine.
I'll admit that this reboot was met with a mild amount of trepidation on my part. Ian and I tried this back in April for exactly two days before I got sick and everything went to hell in a hand basket. Granted, my issues had absolutely nothing to do with the diet, but my brain still associates that period with gratuitous amounts of pain and suffering. Let's just say I'll probably never be able to eat apple pumpkin custard again. But hey, once more unto the breach.
It's only been 7 hours, but I'm already having fits. Since I've been recovering from surgery, we have unfortunately been eating a lot of food that is delivered to our front door. I've kind of been on bad food bender for the last 2-3 weeks. This morning, I made breakfast taco casserole with potatoes, eggs, beef, and bell peppers served with guacamole and fresh chopped tomatoes. This should have been delicious, but my brain kept singing the "I love sour cream and nacho cheese" song the whole time I was eating it. At one point, I actually gagged because I encountered a mushy tomato. Really mouth? Et tu?
A few minutes ago, I ate a coconut cream pie Larabar (dates, almonds, coconut), a food I usually love. Today? My brain was telling my pie whole that we wanted it deep fried in a buttery crust slathered in whip cream. I can only assume that this treachery is attached to the life altering surgery from which I am currently recovering. The best I can do is soldier on and know that, despite what my brain is telling me, fruits and vegetables are good for me and a healthy me is a me that will heal faster.
Also, our fruit sampling continued this morning with a fresh red apricot (at least I think it was an apricot). In any event, it was delicious. I'm about to go make tuna salad with ranch seasoning (no buttermilk) and fresh bell peppers. Lets hope my brain gets on board so that I can enjoy lunch!
I had a super busy week! My first distance driving adventure was a success. I stopped in Salina on Wednesday night to stay with my friend and then drove to mom's house in Mulvane on Thursday. Friday morning I went into Wichita for my last visit with the specialist. She officially released me from her clinic and said that she couldn't have hoped for a better recovery. Other than the obvious issues associated with recovery, all of my pre-surgery symptoms are gone! I'm allowed to get back in the pool which makes me deliriously happy. I still have to be careful and ease back into normal activities. It will take a good long while for my abdominal muscles to fully heal and, in the mean time, I have to take it slowly so that I don't bust a hernia.
I surpassed my step goal for the week by leaps and bounds clocking in at 15,695 (my goal was just 11,550). Since I took a road trip, chased Pokemon, celebrated my brother's birthday, and went to several different stores, you could definitely say I'm pooped and that I'm not sure I'll be able to maintain that pace this week. I decided that 13,650 would be a healthy increase and we'll just see what happens.
We're officially starting the Whole30 again on Monday. Ian did us the favor of eating all the junk food in the house while I was away so that we wouldn't be tempted (way to take one for the team). I've never been a huge fan of buffalo sauce, but I'm going out of my comfort zone and kicking things off Monday night with buffalo chicken stuffed spaghetti squash (assuming the grocery store has all the ingredients). We're also continuing our fruit foray by exploring the produce section. Last time we tried this back in April, we started with apples and bought one each of 4 different kinds. It was an apple sampling extravaganza. I think that's probably the best way to go about this - just try everything and see what happens. We're actually looking forward to it. If we hadn't stepped up and braved Thug Kitchen, we would have never known that rutabaga is delicious.
Also, randomly, Ulta was having a huge clearance sale. I got a lot of random things like bronzer, which I've never tried before. Turns out makeup is fun and a lot less permanent than a tattoo. I shall boldly go into the deepest recesses of Pinterest for the amusement/horror of all brave enough to follow me through my experiments. I'm a manatee finally cut lose from the net and man does it feel good.
The sweet taste of victory...
I made over my goal of 10,500 steps last week. I have proven that, for the time being, a day or two with more steps means a day or two with less steps. It feels good to strike a balance! This week, I'm aiming for 11,500 steps. I've got my final doctors appointment with the specialist on Friday and am breaking the trip into segments since it's such a long drive (everyone told me to take it easy, so I'm listening. Hear that mom?).
I've also decided to apply for my substitute teaching license. I'm still not sure how I feel about going back to school. I figure that it affords me the ability to work a couple days a week until I'm feeling better. Also, it gives me the chance to work with the kids again without lesson planning and grading and everything else attached to a full time position.
I'm also thinking about filling out a few volunteer applications around Hays. It would be nice to get out of the house and be involved in the community. I'm kind of out here in the middle of nowhere as far as my friends go. The closest lives in Hoisington, the next in Salina, and yet others in JC and Topeka. I love my husband, but sometimes it's nice to have a change of scenery.
Well, I think I might go take a cold shower (a hot flash is upon me), and lay out in front of the air conditioner. I've got big plans for tomorrow - those Pokemon don't stand a chance.
It's so fluffy!
Pretty sure I'm just going to sit here. All day. My friend came up yesterday and we chased Pokemon for a long, long time. Ok, so I hobbled and caught a few from the passenger seat of her car, but still I got over 3,000 steps yesterday. I took a pain killer last night and slept like the dead. I'm sincerely lucky I even woke up when I had to pee. That game is wildly addictive and now I know how I'm gonna get my steps in until I can go back to personal training. Today though, I rest ( I kind of over did it and I'm feeling it everywhere).
I found a Pokemon in Hobby Lobby. I was trapping the little jerk while the nice associate cut my fabric - tulle to be precise. I'm making a fluffy, multicolored skirt out of tulle for my birthday party. I always wanted one as a kid and now I have the power to make it happen! Right now, the plan is to wear it with leggings and my hot pink docs. Now all I need is the perfect unicorn t-shirt (I found one by Lisa Frank but everywhere on the internet is out of my size). My 10 year old self would be so stinking proud. I'm going to put a unicorn horn on my stuffed animal pet llama Henry. He'll be a llamacorn for my birthday party! Only 72 days and counting until I hit the big 37. Clear your calendars, a party is coming. It's going to be epic!
So much food...
I almost made my 14,000 step goal for last week, but as I stated in my last post, it caused some pretty significant discomfort. I'm scaling back to 10,500 steps for this week and just trying to focus on resting and getting ready for my next big challenge - driving my car. Technically, I was cleared to drive at 2 weeks post op, but only if my range of motion wasn't limited by pain. I'm hoping to be behind the wheel again by the end of this week as I have to drive myself to Wichita next week.
My friend came up to visit this week end and we ate so much food (really, my stomach is now eating the band of my underpants). It was so nice to hang out with a friend and just have fun! She told me that she isn't surprised that I haven't been feeling well because all I do is get up and down up and down. So, there you have it; my idea of doing nothing may not indeed equivocate to actually doing nothing.
I have another friend coming up this week to teach me the ins and outs of Pokemon Go. I never actually watched the TV show, but I am deeply amused by how the little critters show up on my sofa. I'm also hoping that the game will help me transition into walking outside and eventually into getting more steps and a safe work out while I'm waiting to heal enough to go back to the gym.
My husband and I are hoping to start back with the Whole 30 in the next week or so. He's gonna help me prep ingredients so that it's easier to get everything put together during the week. Eating more fruits and veggies and cutting out sugar can only help me get better (and hopefully stronger). Right now, I look forward most to sleeping on my side and shaving my legs.
Slow down there sparky...
Ok. I have to reevaluate my step goal. I know that 2,000 seems like so few to begin with, but I may or may not have over did it. I am unable to stand for more than a couple of minutes today without the burning pain returning to my stomach. It's all just so frustrating. I just want to run around in circles like a crazed wildebeest, but I can't. See, I had this all figured out: 14,000 steps this week, 16,500 next week and we build up and build up and pretty soon I'm running those circles. No dice.
I know that there is some lesson in all this. I can only hope that someday I will look back and tell the story of how this period of my life was a ride on the struggle bus and thank God I finally burned up that ticket. Right now, I'm a girl on a couch, with a computer listening to her dogs snore. Right now, I'm thinking that I scale back to 1,500 steps and hope for the best. We can't win them all, but we can keep floating (just like a manatee in a warm ocean, under the stars).
Keep on Keeping on...
I did it. I got 2,427 steps yesterday and I'm not quite dead yet. The overage caught me up for the week and I'm right on track with just over 8,000 steps so far for the week. I did have to take the strong stuff before bed and I slept like a hibernating bear. We got our Hint subscription delivered yesterday. If you've never tried it, you really should. It's flavored water, but lightly flavored (think squeezing lemon in your water). It has no calories and no added sweeteners of any kind. We decided to start buying it again because it tastes delicious and I really need to boost my hydration (I get really bored of tap water). Anyway, the Fedex Ground delivery guy stacked all four of the very large boxes right in front of the steps to our porch. He didn't even bother putting them on the porch, just right in front of the steps. There are twelve 16 oz bottles per case and three cases per box, no chance I was lifting those bad boys by myself. Luckily, we also had a Fedex Express delivery later that day and he not only brought his delivery into the house, he also moved all the boxes sitting in front of the steps. What a nice guy!
With the boxes in the house, I calculated that I could fit 36 bottles of water on the top shelf of our fridge. I decided to do 6 each of 6 flavors which is half a case of each. Now, I had to get inventive because I couldn't life the whole case, so I carried 4 bottles into the kitchen of a single flavor followed by the remaining 2. I repeated this for each case which left only 6 bottles (does this feel like a math problem yet?). I set each of the half cases on the chair, threw the empty box on the floor, sat on another chair, and lowered each half case into the box. In total, I consolidated two boxes into one and now have 6 half cases in the fridge and 6 half cases in a box. This whole process took me over 2 hours. I had to sit down after every single trip to the kitchen in order to relieve the burning/pinching sensation in my stomach.
Before you yell at me, I have to say that I'm really not overdoing it. I've had this same sensation every since I woke up from the operation. There are internal sutures and the doctor told me that the burning happens when they pull. It doesn't require me to lift too much weight or to do anything specific. Sometimes, I can walk around the house or sit in a chair without any issues and other times, my tummy just starts yelling at me until I achieve a reclined position and relieve the pressure. I'll be so glad when this stops.
I am officially 4 weeks post op as of yesterday and in 2 weeks I will drive myself to Wichita for my final doctors visit. After reading accounts from other women who have had total abdominal hysterectomies, I feel a little less insane. I've heard that it can take 6 months to a year for your body to really bounce back. Oh, and I've developed a new symptom (we'll call it that anyway). I get ravenously hungry at random intervals. I actually woke up the other night after sleeping for about 30 minutes with a burning need to consume everything that wasn't nailed down. As soon as I had eaten a single serve bag of organic popcorn, a handful of cashews, a cheese stick, and 8 oreo thins, I felt fine again and went back to bed. Yesterday, around 3 p.m. after I had put away the cases of water, I had the all consuming need to devour BBQ pulled pork nachos. So, I called Taco Shop and made it happen - then I was fine. I was so full that I didn't eat anything the rest of the day.
I've been monitoring my weight just to make sure that my eating patterns stay somewhat in the healthy range and that I'm not gaining or losing in a dramatic way. For the last few weeks since I've been home, I've stayed in the same 3-4 pound gain/loss window so, despite my epic appetite surges, there have been no concerning changes. Who knows. Maybe I'm just hungry. I've heard that healing yourself is hard work.
Adventures in eyeliner...
Today I was feeling pretty good. I even put on pants (elastic waist exercise pants, but still pants). Now to perfect picking things up with my toes...
Sometimes things seem really simple in your head and then the execution turns out to be so much more complicated than you imagined. Getting 2,000 steps sounds easy enough, right? The American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps a day and 2,000 is just a tiny fraction of that. I know that I had surgery, but this is seriously a struggle. Tomorrow is 4 weeks post op and I just keep thinking that 4 weeks is a month and that I should be out there lifting buses off of babies right now. Actually, I know exactly why I'm like this.
Just last night I had a conversation with my mother. She has horrible food allergies that zap her energy and make her tired when she doesn't eat well. Anywho, she came down to help my brother move on Saturday (which is a 3 1/2 hour drive one way). They spent all of Saturday and part of Sunday cleaning and packing AND they ate pizza and Freddie's, then drove all the way back home. Last night, she tells me that she doesn't know why she's so tired because she "didn't do anything this weekend". You know why this is funny? Because in the same conversation I lamented being so tired and struggling to get 2,000 steps and she reminded me that I just had major surgery and that it might take up to 12 weeks for me to really get back to "normal".
It's funny that I had to explain to her why it's her "fault" that I'm like this. I get my pension for being hard on myself, pushing myself excessively, and jumping on the back of a bear like a spider monkey (figuratively speaking) from her. My mother is a superhero and she doesn't even realize it.
So, here I am, dealing with my mortality and staring that 2,000 steps in the face. I did 5 consecutive minutes on the treadmill yesterday at 1 mile per hour (didn't remember that speed burning rubber, but it sure felt like it). I also cleaned my sink and put some dishes in a cooler because I can't load the dishwasher or do a proper load of dishes and this way they are all out of the way and neatly sorted for my wonderful husband to load into the dishwasher. Oh yeah, I also did my make up and you would not believe how much work it is to sit up for 20 minutes in a regular chair.
I guess I'll take my victories where I find them. I'm doing what I can, not doing what I can't (which is SO hard for me) and 1,990 steps is not a bad start. And guess what else? The last of the steri-strips fell off yesterday which means that I can put the lotion on my skin again and that feels better than a bear rubbing up against a tree. Life is good.
What is up with my eye?
Creating my own sunshine 🌞