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3rd week of month 5 - an ER visit, a stall, and some random stuff

Kio

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Hi, TTFam.  It's been a crazy month for me so far, so I figured why not go wild and post off my usual monthly schedule?  :)  This goes on for a bit, as usual, covering every thought that has crossed my mind for the past 3 weeks... :) 

This month so far has been all about my back.  Around Saturday last week, my upper back started hurting quite a lot.  I put it down at first to increase in exercise - I'm trying to walk a bit faster as well as a bit farther these days.  But it got worse through the day, and a lot worse on Sunday - Sunday night it was very hard to sleep through it.  I landed in the ER in the middle of the night Monday, because I woke up from pain that increased sharply when I took a deep breath.  On my surgeon's (long ago) advice when I first started the program, I went to the ER for his system - Brigham & Women's.  That meant a 3am trip into Boston with me driving, since Leah is scared of driving in the city.  Awesome!

For those of us in the healthcare professions, some quick details.  They put me on an EKG right away - no sign of heart attack.  Checked my O2 sat, which was fine.  Vitals all normal.  Blood tests normal.  Actually, my blood pressure was pretty awesome.  Listened to my breathing, and everything sounded great.  They didn't check d-dimer because I have an autoimmune condition - my d-dimer results are always slightly elevated due to inflammation from that.  They did a CT with contrast, and around noon Tuesday, the CT results finally came back - everything was normal, so I wasn't having a pulmonary embolism, either.  The clotting issue was what I was worried about, given some of the recent troubles of @Ronny and @Ladybugzzz86!  I was in the ER for a total of 8 hours, most of which was waiting.  In the end, it was ruled as something musculoskeletal, and I was referred to my PCP. 

Honestly, I was pretty sure it was something like a pinched nerve, but you just don't want to screw around with anything that causes you pain when you breathe.  PE symptoms vary widely person to person, but that's a big one.  Plus ,when you're a woman of a certain age, the list of heart attack symptoms is longer and weirder than an L. Ron Hubbard novel, so I just wanted to be on the safe side.  Also, the pain was mid-to-upper back, with no arm pain, so I felt it was likely to be somewhere in the thoracic area - and thoracic spine issues are pretty rare.  So I was a good do-bee and went in to make sure of my self-diagnosis.

They sent me home with oxy, which was a bit funny because just Monday morning I'd sent an NYT article to my team about the oxy addiction epidemic in New Hampshire.  Because I've just stopped using my CPAP without getting re-evaluated yet for sleep apnea (bad me, but the CPAP was making it HARDER to sleep, not easier), I didn't take any oxy before I slept, which was most of Tuesday.  I did take one when I woke up on Wednesday, and another when I woke up on Thursday.  That was enough oxy for me - it is beyond me how people can use that stuff recreationally.  Between feeling loopy and constipation issues, whyyyyy????  Haven't touched it since.  I am, however, now out of liquid tylenol.

Thursday and Friday were my infusion days (autoimmune thing, every six weeks I do a two-day infusion, about 4 hours a day) and blissfully, my infusions come with steroids.  :)  So right now my back is feeling mostly fine again.  I haven't really walked since Sunday, so today I'm going to start again, just at an easier pace and shorter distance. 

Unrelated to my ER trip or my narcotic prescription, I've also been dealing with some serious constipation for about a week and a half now. I'm not very good at remembering miralax, and my water intake has not been the best.  I'm going shopping for psyllium today that I can add to shakes and whatnot, and I've ordered some of the probiotic @cinwa often recommends (PB8)!  I'm also going to pick up some milk of magnesia just to kick things off right while I wait for the probiotic to arrive. 

One of my little mental tricks for handling stalls is that my current weight on my ticker or sidebar only ever go DOWN.  When I'm stalled, bouncing around between numbers, I never revise it upwards.  So for instance, right now my sidebar reads 234, but I weighed in this morning at 236.  Yesterday it was 237.  So 234 is 1) what I assume my actual weight is most likely to be, since it's common to play around with water weight in a few-pound range, and 2) my new temporary goal.  At this point I also have to assume the gain is related to constipation - stuff is going in... nothing is coming out!!  (I also tend to gain a pound or two with infusions that drains off pretty quickly, so there's that.)

At any rate, this bouncing has been going on for less than a week, so I'm not even really calling it a stall.  Just ... an annoying occurrence.  :) 

Switching gears for some good stuff - the reason I tried to increase my walking speed and distance is that I signed up for the Boston Winter Walk for Homelessness with a team at work!  It's February 11, and it's just 2 miles around the Copley area downtown, but this is the first time I've ever - like EVER in my life!! - signed up for anything like this.  My normal dog-walking distance is 1.9 miles, which I do every day that the weather is nice enough, so it shouldn't be a stretch for me.  But dog-walking speed with my dog is not good enough for public viewing.  Sadie isn't happy with a walk unless she has sniffed all of creation on the way.  I wanted to be sure I can keep up with the pack!

I also sat down on the floor last night and got up again without help.  I probably could have done this two months ago too, but it's one of those things that it didn't occur to me to try.  For so many years, the impossibility of that simple action just made it... not a thing I would even consider.  But I'd like to be doing more exercise, and I don't want to pay for a gym, so in addition to walking, Leah and I are going to get some exercise mats and work out together to videos - weights, sit-ups, push-ups, planks, core stuff. 

And... I'm practicing with stairs.  Right now I can walk up a few short steps without holding onto anything, but it's uh... not pretty.  After years of having to hold on for support, my balance is totally non-existent, and I don't have any strength in the muscles that keep you from wobbling all over the place when climbing.  Every day I do a short "step routine" on the bottom step of our stairs - up and down as many times as I can without falling over.  Just being able to do one is new.  Now I can do like... fifteen or twenty.  :)  When I can do more, without effort, I'll try going all the way up without holding on.  But I'm deathly afraid of falling, so that's still in the future.  How great will it be, though, to be able to actually CARRY STUFF UP THE STAIRS.  Some of my workarounds to get stuff from the first to the second floor of my house over the past few years have been extremely MacGyveresque.

Finally - and this is super exciting for me - I can now access the Brigham patient gateway again!  Something went wrong with my account in mid-October, and after months of waiting, they finally were able to fix it this past Wednesday.  I have a LOT of doctor's appointments in my life due to my autoimmune condition. I have to see my dermatologist every three months, and now every ONE month since I'm on accutane; also because of accutane, I have to get a pregnancy test at my PCPs office every month; I have to get my eyes checked by an ophthalmologist every six months because of one of my autoimmune meds; and now I have bariatric appointments all the time - nutrition, psych, PA, surgeon. So being unable to access the patient gateway has been a huge problem for me.  I organized my life through that gateway, and I've felt blind without it. I'm SO EXCITED it's back and I can just look up when appointments are again, and print out schedules!

And what I have learned is that my next bariatric appointment is with my actual surgeon, and it's on March 29.  I haven't seen him since the day after surgery - I see his PAs at my regular check-ins.  As much as I would love being under 200 by the time I see him, that is an impossible dream.  But if I lose even 10# between now and then, I'll have lost over 60% of my excess weight - so he should be pretty happy with me!  (and if I lose 20# by then, I'll be around 215 - within spitting distance of Onederland!!!  I won't make it there by my birthday (April 9, first day of Month 7) but May is not out of the question...)

I don't know if my weight loss is actually slowing down, or if my weight loss timing is just weird - most of my weight loss happens right after my period, and then I stay stalled for a bit, then lose again after the next one.  Sometimes this bridges the end of my months in a weird way.  But the first flush of BIG loss months seems to be over now.  It looks like I'm in a 10-12/month range now, and I just hope that continues - I can take a slow down, as long as it doesn't stop!

 



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Sorry to hear about It the pain/ER visit. Hope it doesn't return when your steroids wear off. Glad it wasn't a blood clot!  

Awesome about the Boston Winter Walk!!!  I also think signed up for a 5K before Bc it was on my 50th bday and it was for autism support and my youngest has autism and I walked and was in decent shape, but then for some reason it scared me, and i thought "I am not a 5K kind of a person!"  (Which whow would I know?!?  Just negative self talk :angry:). But you have inspired me....maybe I shall sign up when the spring comes. 

Also great abongetting up off the floor. I was just starting to struggle with that this passed year, so I understand the excitement!  And I haven't had balance issues on the stairs, but I can imagine that must feel awesome improving on them. I did have to teach a balance class at the gym I worked at and I was shocked when I was learning it that my balance wasn't he greatest. (It did improve with the classes though, so it can be worked on).  Can't wait to hear about the day you carry something up those stairs!!!

i hear you about the patient portal.  My hospital uses MyChart and I am on there constantly and would be lost without it.  Good luck at your next appt with the surgeon and I like your minigoals, but know you have done fantastic, so he will be pleased no matter what the number is!!!  I kinda wonder if I can r a huge my Dr goal by my 6 month checkup.  I only have 25# to go and just over 3 months, so it's possible.  Of course it doesn't really matter, I will have down well anyway, I just like to feel extra proud! 

And I laughed about your explaination about posting your weight  I s the same thing which is why I don't change my weights on there more often, I decided when I go down, I'm claiming that number and won't worry about it going u, I'll just get back down again and still own the weight ....otherwise I think it would be demoralizing. 

Keep on keeping on you're doing fabulous!!!  Love reading your updates!

 

 

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Sounds like everything is going to plan WLS wise! I'm another that "claims" the lowest weights here. It's too annoying to change them constantly for what most of us realise is mostly water variation anyway. I'm up almost 3# from my lowest weight at the moment, but we're in another heat wave here so I know I'm hanging onto fluids again. I remember at one stage last year I gain 5kgs (11lbs) in one day during a heatwave. It took a few days to come back down....but it did drop once the temperature calmed down.

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4 hours ago, Aussie H said:

Sounds like everything is going to plan WLS wise! I'm another that "claims" the lowest weights here. It's too annoying to change them constantly for what most of us realise is mostly water variation anyway. I'm up almost 3# from my lowest weight at the moment, but we're in another heat wave here so I know I'm hanging onto fluids again. I remember at one stage last year I gain 5kgs (11lbs) in one day during a heatwave. It took a few days to come back down....but it did drop once the temperature calmed down.

I'm going to remember that on those languishing hot 90 degree days in our New England summer.... lol!  I'm so sorry, your summers sound terrifying.  I lived in Houston, TX for a couple of years just after college, and we made it up to 113 one August, and I thought I was in hell.  Last summer in Massachusetts it hit 90 for about two weeks straight and I was a sweaty, miserable mess.  That was 120 lbs ago, though, and I'm determined to sail through this coming summer like a cool northern breeze.  :) 

Things are indeed moving along... I did more walking today than I planned, but I went pretty slow, so I think it was fine.  Tomorrow I'll do it again!

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6 hours ago, CheeringCJ said:

Sorry to hear about It the pain/ER visit. Hope it doesn't return when your steroids wear off. Glad it wasn't a blood clot!  

Awesome about the Boston Winter Walk!!!  I also think signed up for a 5K before Bc it was on my 50th bday and it was for autism support and my youngest has autism and I walked and was in decent shape, but then for some reason it scared me, and i thought "I am not a 5K kind of a person!"  (Which whow would I know?!?  Just negative self talk :angry:). But you have inspired me....maybe I shall sign up when the spring comes. 

Also great abongetting up off the floor. I was just starting to struggle with that this passed year, so I understand the excitement!  And I haven't had balance issues on the stairs, but I can imagine that must feel awesome improving on them. I did have to teach a balance class at the gym I worked at and I was shocked when I was learning it that my balance wasn't he greatest. (It did improve with the classes though, so it can be worked on).  Can't wait to hear about the day you carry something up those stairs!!!

i hear you about the patient portal.  My hospital uses MyChart and I am on there constantly and would be lost without it.  Good luck at your next appt with the surgeon and I like your minigoals, but know you have done fantastic, so he will be pleased no matter what the number is!!!  I kinda wonder if I can r a huge my Dr goal by my 6 month checkup.  I only have 25# to go and just over 3 months, so it's possible.  Of course it doesn't really matter, I will have down well anyway, I just like to feel extra proud! 

And I laughed about your explaination about posting your weight  I s the same thing which is why I don't change my weights on there more often, I decided when I go down, I'm claiming that number and won't worry about it going u, I'll just get back down again and still own the weight ....otherwise I think it would be demoralizing. 

Keep on keeping on you're doing fabulous!!!  Love reading your updates!

I want to be a 5k kind of person!  I'd really love to be able to do stuff like that.  I don't think I'll ever run it - I have some arthritis in one foot that seems pretty intractable - but I think I could definitely work my way up to walking 5k or more.  In fact, I think that will be my new exercise goal!  I went further than intended today - I hit about 2.3 miles - so we'll call that my baseline.  5k is just 3.1 miles anyway!

I think a lot of my mobility problems stem from how fast my weight came on.  It was slow and steady incremental gain until about 10 years ago... but then I got laid off, and was unemployed for about 1.5 years.  During that time, I essentially spent all my waking hours eating at my computer.  I probably gained about 80 lbs in that year and a half, and my body just couldn't handle it.  And then I was miserable and couldn't move much and ate my feelings about that, and it got worse... so now I'm coming off of about 8.5 years of what I privately thought of as unofficial disability, and it feels amazing. 

Like - this will sound lame - but I used to have these dreams where I'd be walking a long way, or running, or climbing stairs, and suddenly the dream wasn't about whatever was happening, it was just about my sleep-brain acknowledging how amazing it was to be able to do those things.  And then I'd wake up and be really super sad because there was just no way. 

As for my doc, he BETTER be pleased!  I feel like my face has lost an entire face since I last saw him!  LOL  :) 

Love the idea of a balance class - I have been thinking along those lines, like maybe trying to get into some light/easy yoga.  Work all the kinks out! 

And I will totally post when I carry something up those stairs... in fact, I should make a post of my NSV/Physical goals now, just to have them down somewhere and check off the list! 

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So glad it is nothing serious, and good for you for going to get it checked out,! Always better to be safe than sorry :) I did find it interesting that your weight loss is usually cyclic around your period. I am just starting to get mine back, so I will have to keep this in mind going forward. As 'glad' as I am to be having a period again because if the added health benefits, I will miss not having to worry when my monthly visitor will appear :huh::D

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2 hours ago, Ladybugzzz86 said:

So glad it is nothing serious, and good for you for going to get it checked out,! Always better to be safe than sorry :) I did find it interesting that your weight loss is usually cyclic around your period. I am just starting to get mine back, so I will have to keep this in mind going forward. As 'glad' as I am to be having a period again because if the added health benefits, I will miss not having to worry when my monthly visitor will appear :huh::D

Like @Kio mine is definitely connected to my cycle.  I'm just finishing mine up now and my weight has dropped everyday since it started....which helps me hate the week less ;)

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3 hours ago, Ladybugzzz86 said:

So glad it is nothing serious, and good for you for going to get it checked out,! Always better to be safe than sorry :) I did find it interesting that your weight loss is usually cyclic around your period. I am just starting to get mine back, so I will have to keep this in mind going forward. As 'glad' as I am to be having a period again because if the added health benefits, I will miss not having to worry when my monthly visitor will appear :huh::D

Actually, I was in the same boat - mine had been gone for years, and just came back recently.  It's not every month yet, so my doc ran some tests to be sure it wasn't abnormal menopause bleeding because of my age, but apparently I have not yet been visited by the joys of menopause.   :)  And yes, I feel the exact same way - I felt distinctly off while I wasn't having it, because I knew it was unhealthy, but I am NOT a big fan of all the fuss and nonsense that goes with it now that it's back again!

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34 minutes ago, CheeringCJ said:

Like @Kio mine is definitely connected to my cycle.  I'm just finishing mine up now and my weight has dropped everyday since it started....which helps me hate the week less ;)

It's all in the water retention.... ugh!  But at least knowing that helps a little in the stall weeks....

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the PROOF IN THE PUDDING:

I just went and screen shot my weights.....I ovulated on 1/15,  then AF started the afternoon of 1/24. Here it is so you can see what it does to me and I have a feeling Ia m not the only one!  I was at 198 for 11 days, then it just started coming off again!  Now, if I can keep that in mind and only schedule my dr visits for after AF, I am good to go! hahaha!

(I have no idea when I hit menopause how it will still come off or if I will be in a forever stall :D So, I will get off what I can before that day comes!!! :)

 

week.JPG

Edited by CheeringCJ

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Sorry to hear your back has been so painful, but very glad indeed that it was not something urgent. "the list of heart attack symptoms is longer and weirder than an L. Ron Hubbard novel" :lol::lol::lol: I was on a very long beach holiday in a foreign land once (well, unemployed and waiting for a new job to start up...) and there were only about 5 English language books at the hotel we were at. One of them was Dianetics, so not only have I read it, but I read it twice because I read all the books twice. 

So glad to hear of your gains in mobility. I think that has got to be the thing that will make the most difference in your life - everything is just easier when you can get around without having to work so hard at it. I'm picturing you dashing up and down the stairs soon, balancing random objects on your head. 

Keep up your hard work. You're doing great!

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3 hours ago, CheeringCJ said:

the PROOF IN THE PUDDING:

I just went and screen shot my weights.....I ovulated on 1/15,  then AF started the afternoon of 1/24. Here it is so you can see what it does to me and I have a feeling Ia m not the only one!  I was at 198 for 11 days, then it just started coming off again!  Now, if I can keep that in mind and only schedule my dr visits for after AF, I am good to go! hahaha!

(I have no idea when I hit menopause how it will still come off or if I will be in a forever stall :D So, I will get off what I can before that day comes!!! :)

 

week.JPG

That is exactly what happens to me!  I have no idea about when I ovulate (or if I even still do?!) but my weight stays the same for a week or so and then plummets during/right after my period.  The annoying thing is, my cycles are not regular... so sometimes I may lose my weight just at the wrong time to get normal numbers for a month!

How do you track your ovulation?  I know people trying to have babies do complex things with their body temp, etc, but I suspect there must be some easier way???

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3 hours ago, CheeringCJ said:

the PROOF IN THE PUDDING:

I just went and screen shot my weights.....I ovulated on 1/15,  then AF started the afternoon of 1/24. Here it is so you can see what it does to me and I have a feeling Ia m not the only one!  I was at 198 for 11 days, then it just started coming off again!  Now, if I can keep that in mind and only schedule my dr visits for after AF, I am good to go! hahaha!

(I have no idea when I hit menopause how it will still come off or if I will be in a forever stall :D So, I will get off what I can before that day comes!!! :)

 

week.JPG

OMG I do this too! I'll be stalled and CRAAAAAAAANKY and then I'm like "oh." But I've started to weigh once a week instead of daily now. I was driving myself nuts with the daily weighing. 

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2 hours ago, Kio said:

That is exactly what happens to me!  I have no idea about when I ovulate (or if I even still do?!) but my weight stays the same for a week or so and then plummets during/right after my period.  The annoying thing is, my cycles are not regular... so sometimes I may lose my weight just at the wrong time to get normal numbers for a month!

How do you track your ovulation?  I know people trying to have babies do complex things with their body temp, etc, but I suspect there must be some easier way???

I use an app, and it figures it out....FMC (free menstrual calendar).  

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2 hours ago, Cardamom77 said:

OMG I do this too! I'll be stalled and CRAAAAAAAANKY and then I'm like "oh." But I've started to weigh once a week instead of daily now. I was driving myself nuts with the daily weighing. 

I am fine w/ daily weighing for now.  I used to be a nut w/ the scale...if it was really good, I'd "treat" myself to something yummy, if it was up, I'd beat myself up and then eat something because "why bother"....but that was my old life.  I haven't done that this time around.  At first I got discouraged, but I have found by my pattern, that it DOES go down eventually if I just keep going, so i do.  If the scale ever starts bothering me again, and making me crazy, I will have to put it away!

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"Honestly, I was pretty sure it was something like a pinched nerve, but you just don't want to screw around with anything that causes you pain when you breathe."

AMEN to this. I can't tell you how many times I've argued this point with patients who refuse to go to the ER. Thank you so so much for not risking your health. I'm so glad it came out okay, but so often it doesnt. Thank goodness for the steroids helping you out, as well.

Getting up without help and working on your stairs is AWESOME. You've had a crazy month, but you're working hard and its showing!

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On ‎1‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 1:52 PM, Kio said:

That is exactly what happens to me!  I have no idea about when I ovulate (or if I even still do?!) but my weight stays the same for a week or so and then plummets during/right after my period.  The annoying thing is, my cycles are not regular... so sometimes I may lose my weight just at the wrong time to get normal numbers for a month!

How do you track your ovulation?  I know people trying to have babies do complex things with their body temp, etc, but I suspect there must be some easier way???

You're ovulating or you wouldn't be having periods.  But apparently ovulating irregularly, which is pretty common.  The time between first day of last period to next  ovulation varies among women but the time between ovulation and menses is usually right around 14 days.  There are some subtle signs you can watch for, most common and easiest to observe is a change in secretions.  Cervical mucous thins out and becomes "stringy" (that's a fancy medical term lol).  So, it would be observable as an increase in clear stringy discharge.  Some women also notice increased libido at or right before ovulation and/or pain in the ovary area, usually one-sided.  It's really only important to track ovulation in relationship to pregnancy (either trying to or trying not to) but if you're curious these are some things to pay attention to.

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