Convenient inconveniences
Monday, September 17, 2007
I just ate a peanut butter & banana "quesadilla" for dinner. Well, 3/4 of a small one anyway. I'm sure there are numerous people out there who would be horrified to hear that, including my nutritionist, but you know what? Fuck it. There were 10 grams of protein in it, and I need more of the fat that peanut butter has since my HDL cholesterol is lower than I'd like. (I am of course not ignoring the fact that oh my, I am so, so full; peanut butter is filling like cotton stuffing for me.)

Food's been on my mind a lot today, mostly because it was the farthest thing from my mind for most of the weekend. See, I'm one of those people who has a hard time saying no to charitable causes so when my friend asked me to be the Parking Chair for the San Diego Heart Walk, I said okay. Of course, I said okay BEFORE finding out that being one of the chairs on the planning committee meant that I would be doing manual labor for basically 36 hours straight when the walk finally happened. And that was after months of planning meetings and diagram making and discussions with the city and the parking company and the shuttle company.

So I was up at 4:30 in the morning on Friday, and from 7am to 9:30pm I was lifting parade barricades and loading boxes and driving golf carts. And every so often I would remember that hey, I needed to eat. And so I'd eat a few almonds, down a quick protein drink, pull the filling out of a Subway sandwich. I'm positive that I was nowhere close to 50 grams of protein, because I kinda forgot to eat dinner. (I also forgot to use sunblock, which...ouch.)

Saturday was even worse. Out the door at 2am, onsite at 2:30 and I hit the ground running. I spent the next 7 hours literally moving nonstop, forgetting to even bend over every now and again, much less remember to eat. I ate a handful of almonds, slugged down some Nectar, scarfed a few spoonfuls of yogurt. I had carefully packed some hardboiled eggs and string cheese and yogurt in a cooler but then I just didn't have the time to stop and eat. I really have no idea how I managed to keep going through all of that with basically nothing in me, but I did.

And then I enjoyed some chips and guacamole with my fellow committee members and called it a day.

Needless to say, this was not the best food weekend. It was not a good food weekend and yet I am not beating myself up for it anymore than I'm beating myself for what I ate for dinner tonight. And that right there is amazing, isn't it?

Even more amazing is the fact that tonight I bought a bunch of organic beef jerky snacks to take with me when I go on vacation this week. Look at me, all planning my protein and shit. Man, vacations were already hard enough, what with my packing lists and need to take at least 8 pairs of shoes with me wherever I go. Now I have to worry about things like vitamins and protein so I don't keel over and die or something.

But you know what? It is totally worth it, and not just because the bridesmaid dress (the dress I ordered 2 sizes smaller back in June) totally needs to be taken in. It's worth it because I was able to do manual labor for 36 hours straight and actually have fun doing it rather than be miserable the whole time because everything hurt. It's worth it because I am actually looking forward to spending days and days wandering around Newport and Philadelphia taking pictures and playing tourist because my god, I can walk for days now.

Yep. It's totally worth packing my suitcase full of beef jerky and Nectar packets. See you in a couple weeks.

Trying to step away from the ledge
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
My body is not a wonderland so much as it is a creepy House of Mirrors these days. There are times when I stand naked in front of my mirror and I imagine that I can actually see myself melting, that I can see the skin and fat oozing downwards along the lines of my body. I have watched myself shift from a woman who could only be defined as having an hourglass shape to one who is most definitely pear-shaped. There are saddlebags where there never were before, a result of fat disappearing and making my thighs start to sink. I can fold my belly up onto itself, resembling nothing so much as a Gordita wrap. Warm, pillowy flatbread indeed.

When I type, I am constantly distracted by my hands. My rings are always all akimbo, turned the wrong way with my wedding band spinning one way and my engagement ring spinning the other. And when I reach down to fix them, I can't help but gape a little as I watch the tendons that run the length of my hands dance just below the surface of my skin. I never used to be able to see them move, I just assumed that they were there; now I have visible proof of how my fingers are able to move. And my knuckles are sharper, pointier, deadlier. I should be careful about punching people now.

There are 22 less inches of me now, and a bunch of pounds are gone. I never know how to answer when someone asks how much I've lost. My surgeon would use my starting weight from my consultation and say 45 pounds; my PCP would use my highest weight and call it 48 pounds; I tend to qualify it and say I've lost 30 since the day of surgery. And as awesome as all of those numbers are, as fan-fucking-tastic as it is to be able to say "I've lost 30 pounds in 8 weeks!", I'm having a very hard time not comparing myself to other people, having a hard time convincing myself that 800 calories is not too many, having a hard time convincing myself that this is not all going to stop any minute now, causing my body to stop melting and my inches to stop disappearing and my pounds will stay right where they are, soft and comfortable on my hips.

I'm in a place where I am not always comfortable. I don't know this body, I don't know this life where I eat nothing but healthy food and have a cholesterol number that's dropped 75 points since last November (141, people. It hasn't been 141 since I was in high school, I'm pretty sure). I don't even recognize myself right now. And I'm not talking about my reflection; I'm talking about my SELF, my being, the person that is living this life. I am not the woman with the tendony hands, I'm not the woman who counts out 6 Cheez-Its to satisfy a craving, I'm not the woman who plans workouts at 9pm because that's when they fit into her busy schedule.

The smaller jeans have been easy to slip into. The entirely new life is going to take some breaking in.

Insert linktastically random entry here
Monday, September 03, 2007
I've got just over 2 months left to finish training for the Breast Cancer 3-Day (feel free to donate/pass on the link!), and I'm so far behind the recommended training schedule it's not even funny. On the other hand, I've already started working out about 10x more than I did the last two times I did it, so I'm pretty sure I'll be okay.

Anyway, I've started trying to participate in more of the actually organized training walks. So Thursday I was doing a little 5-6 mile walk with a group (despite the super horrific humidity that we've been dealing with) and about 3 miles in I was suddenly way behind the group and really, really struggling. And I had no idea why, other than the fact that good lord, the women who were there that day were all speedwalkers! It was really incredibly frustrating, because come ON, it was just five miles! It should be no problem! I had no idea why I was freaking out, but I was.

That night I got home and found a message from my doctor's office; my PCP had ordered some bloodwork to be done around the 2 month mark and she'd gotten the results from the blood I had drawn on Thursday morning. And my potassium was low enough (3.1 when it should be at least 3.5) that she had called in a prescription for me for potassium supplements and wanted me to come in again on Friday for a second blood check. So I looked up low potassium levels and voila, the answer to why my walk was so hard on me appeared.

And then OF COURSE my potassium levels were fine at the next blood check, but since that was after eating versus the fasting first one I'm thinking this is something that's going to reappear whenever I do endurance-type exercise that involves a lot of sweat. Things like...oh, walking 60 miles in 3 days. So before the 10 mile training walk on Sunday (in 85+ degree weather with 70% humidity no less), I went ahead and took the potassium supplement and between that and the sugar free sports drink mix that I found (which amazingly does not taste like ass!), I was okay afterwards. No muscle cramps, no sore butt, and I only had to take a 45 minute nap that afternoon.

So I'm thinking that potassium before a really sweaty outdoor workout (like a training walk or a session with my favorite exercise class ever) will keep me healthy and happy and in general, not dead.

I'm assuming that all my other levels were okay, since she didn't say anything about those. I'll find out the other results when I see her on the 11th, I suppose.

In other news, people in my life have started asking me what I can eat, what I do eat, occasionally asking "Can you eat that?" I feel like I eat SO MUCH; I'm averaging 600-800 calories a day and man, I have got to stop thinking that anything over 800 is gluttony. Because COME ON! 800 calories is nothing! I can burn half of that in 30 minutes on the elliptical! And really, self flagellation is both unattractive and unproductive for me, especially considering that A) my nutritionist doesn't worry about calorie levels until 12-18 months out and B) I exercise a lot.

Today it was super hot and humid and gross and I mostly survived on sugar free creamsicles, cold watermelon and cheese. In other words, I totally snacked my way through the day, with a couple Nectar drinks to round things out. So I'm not a perfect eater by any means. But here's a few of my meals from last week. I have found that I have to be awake for a couple hours before I can handle anything other than a protein drink or water in the morning, so I take both my breakfast and my lunch with me to work. I use one of these to hold all my food; with some ice packs in there, I can keep it in my office and not have to worry about anyone questioning my food. (By the way, I highly recommend the Laptop Lunch box; the little containers are the perfect size for post-op meal planning.)

And just for shits and giggles, here's my vitamin stash. And also, there's this:

This was taken last month, at the BBQ we threw for Kevin. I'm hot and sweaty and red but holy cow, there's collarbone dimples showing! And my eyes are suddenly bigger, what the hell is up with that?

I guess all this gut rearranging and food measuring and vitamin taking and sweaty exercising is working or something. Cool.