May 102013
 

13043_180464084665_5355595_nIf I was put on the spot and forced to choose, I would have to say that the picture here on the right is my favorite of all the pictures that have been taken of me in the last few years.

 

My mother took it a few years ago when we were spending a family weekend out at the Tradewinds resort on St. Petersburg Beach. It was one of those “snapped it at just the right time” pictures, as I looked up right as Mom took it. I’m comfortable, relaxed, not posing, and…thin.

Well, about as close to thin as I’ll likely ever be.

I don’t like the pictures that are being taken of me these days. I don’t like them because they are evidence of how far I’ve slid since that picture was taken. They are reminders of the fact that I’ve stopped running, hell that I hardly ever get off my ass to exercise these days. They are evidence that I’ve stopped paying close attention to what I eat, and I’ve gone back to my habit of twos (always ordering two of something, always have seconds, etc…). I don’t like them because they show, indisputably, the 60 pounds or so I’ve put on since it was taken.

I’ve talked at length about all the excuses I have for the weight I put on, my health “problems” being the primary culprit. I put “problems” in quotes because, really, the things that I’ve dealt with have been more annoying than anything else. I haven’t been incapacitated, just…inconvenienced.

I kept things up pretty well through the run of Biloxi Blues last year, but after that I went downhill pretty quickly. I could, of course, pull out other excuses for that. Oh, I dunno…like “major life changing events” maybe? This last year has been a roller coaster of extreme highs and extreme lows in my personal life. Some of that is still going on now, and there are still nights when bad food and alcohol are the only things that seem to bring any comfort. I started smoking again around February of last year as well. Because, you know, if you’re eating like shit, not exercising, and drinking too much? Ya might as well throw cigarettes back on the table while you’re at it, right?

I’ve managed to put the cigarettes back down again by replacing them with an e-cigarette, but beyond that? I’m still pretty much looking at starting over from scratch as far as my diet and exercise are concerned. No, I still haven’t put back on ALL the weight I lost after my strokes back in 2000 (I’m still 109 pounds less than I was back then), but I’ve put enough weight back on that I’m noticing it. A lot. Physically and mentally. I’m not moving around as well, and I’ve got aches and pains I haven’t had in years. Most of my clothes fit poorly, and the ones that fit properly have sizes on the tags that make me cringe.

Oh, and I hate having my picture taken.

So I suppose this is yet another in a long line of “I’m really trying to do something about this” posts. I’ve re-upped my membership at LA Fitness and sometime within in the next few weeks I’d really like to start training to run again. I’m especially motivated to do so because there’s a show coming up next year that I’d really like a shot at being in, but it’s another military role. In my current shape? Not thinking it would be very likely I get cast.

I guess…I dunno? Wish me luck?

A less than stellar ending to this post, I admit.

May 192011
 

Earlier this year I made the decision to get back into running. I had never officially gotten out of it, to be honest, but my routine had seriously fallen by the wayside. I made the commitment to re-start the Couch to 5k program from CoolRunning.com, and with the exception of one run managed to do so. While I never got really good at it as far as speed or distance were concerned, I love running and it made me very happy to think that I would be back to doing so again several times a week.

Right around the time I finished the program, though, I noticed that my left foot had some weird swelling issues going on. The longer I wore shoes the more swollen my foot got. It wasn’t ever horribly painful, but it was very annoying and uncomfortable. I backed off the running for a bit to see if that helped the situation, but there wasn’t any significant improvement. I went to an urgent care clinic to have it checked out and they gave me some anti-inflammatory pills but the situation did not improve. I eventually went to see a foot specialist who took an MRI of my left foot and pointed out that I had inflamed tendons. He made me wear a god-awful brace for two weeks and had me get some blood work drawn. When I went back a few weeks later the swelling was still there, although it had gone down a bit. The blood work was back, though, and the initial results seemed to indicate that I had gout.

I just had my follow up appointment. After a month of being on daily medication to treat gout and a week of giving up alcohol and animal proteins (I spent two weeks in NYC and Vegas right after my initial diagnosis…not the best way to start healthy living), my uric acid levels have barely moved. There is no question. I have gout. I am in the middle of a flare-up right now on my right foot. During my visit today the doctor says that the gout has resulted in a level of arthritis in both of my feet, and that it has also done permanent damage to the joints on both of my big toes (the right being the worst one…my range of motion is minimal on that toe). I have had my medication dosage doubled, and I’ve ordered a $300 orthotic shoe insert to help alleviate the pain and any future damage that this condition may do to my joints.

To say that I am feeling frustrated, angry, and depressed over this situation would be a huge understatement. I have done my best to lead a healthy life for over 10 years now. I exercise on a regular basis, I don’t drink often, I eat my fruits and vegetables…hell, I even quit smoking back in November. Still, my body continues to betray me with conditions that are incurable. First Roseacea, now Gout. Not fatal conditions, but not shit I can fix either. Both of them conditions commonly associated with alcoholics as well, and while I enjoy a good drink as much as the next person my family will attest that I am FAR from an alcoholic.

I’m not gonna lie…There’ sa part of me that just wants to say “fuck it” and give up this whole healthy living thing. If I’m going to be in pain and miserable I may as well be enjoying myself, right?

I don’t mean that…but it’s how I feel. I’ll get over it soon enough, but right now I’m kinda having a first world pity party.

Oct 312010
 

It is October 31st, 2010.

Halloween.

In the grand scheme of things, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It is, however, also a holiday that often makes me feel very awkward when it comes to actually participating in the traditional method of celebrating it.

I have costume anxiety.

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Sep 212009
 

There are four of us on my insurance policy.  It’s a good insurance policy, by all accounts.  It’s certainly much better than not having insurance.  Most of the time, anyway.

This whole H1N1 scare, though?  If you’re following all of the CDC best practice guidelines if you think you’re exposed you should go immediately to a clinic and be tested and start on Tamiflu.

The Urgent Care clinic co-pay on our plan is $50.

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Aug 022009
 

My son suffers from diabetes.  A little over a year ago he went into a state known as diabetic ketoacidosis.  He almost went into a coma and if we had not gotten him to a hospital there is a good chance he could have died.  When he got out of the hospital he was told to follow up with his specialist, so I called to make an appointment.  The earliest I could take my son in to see his specialist was four months later.

I have been using Prevacid for years to control my acid reflux.  A condition that, if let unchecked, can lead to Barret’s esophagus and, subsequently, cancer.  This is the condition that killed my Father.  When my insurance providers switched at the beginning of the year I was told that my medical provider would no longer cover Prevacid, the medication my doctor wanted me to be on, and that I had to switch to Aciphex.

I have also been using Metrogel for years to control my Rosacea.  Recently my insurance provider decided they would no longer pay for that medication either and I had to switch to another one.

There is no generic equivalent available for the type of insulin my son has to take for his diabetes and my insurance provider considers it non-formulary.  That ONE medication of his is $60 per month.  This does not include his other insulin, his needles, or his test strips.  There IS a generic equivalent of his second type of insulin, but it does not work as well and we will be switching back to the non-forumlary kind after his next appointment with his endocrinologist.

Alex had a problem throwing baseballs and was diagnosed with a condition called little league shoulder.  My insurance company would only pay for about half of the visits that his physical therapist suggested.  After we had run out of therapy his condition still persisted and he still cannot properly throw a baseball without causing himself some pain.   At this point we’re holding on to hope that he will grow out of it.

Should I go on?

All of you people who think this shit only happens in countries where they have “socialized medicine” are fooling yourselves.  Insurance companies get in the way of you and your doctor all the time. They deny treatments.  They deny medications.  They tell you what doctors you can and cannot see, even if said doctors have huge waiting lists.

Is socialized medicine better?  Damned if I know.  What I DO know is that all this bullshit being spouted about how there is nobody between you and your doctor right now is a bunch of lies.

Jul 302009
 

Saturday, July 25th and Sunday, July 26th

I didn’t do any “official” exercise over the weekend.  Instead I counted the 8-10 hours of physical labor I put in on the new room as my workouts.  Pretty sure it’s a fair trade.

Monday, July 27th

5×5 Assisted Pull-Up – 160 pounds

5×5 Pull Down – 100 pounds *

5×5 Dumbbell Row – 50 pounds

5×5 Bicep Curls – 25 pounds

20 Minutes Elliptical

50 Minutes Treadmill

Tuesday, July 28th

5×5 Vertical Chest Press – 160 pounds

5×5 Pectoral Fly – 180 pounds (up 20 pounds)

5×5 Rear Deltoid Fly – 110 pounds (up 10 pounds)

5×5 Shoulder Press – 120 pounds

5×5 Complex Dumbbell Routine – 10 pounds (Upright row, Bicep Curl, Lateral Raise, Shoulder Press, Bent Over row)

20 Minutes Elliptical

Wednesday, July 29th

1×5 Assisted Pull Up – 150 pounds (down 10 pounds)

4×5 Assisted Pull Up – 160 pounds

5×5 Pull Down – 100 pounds

5×5 Dumbbell Row – 50 pounds

1×5 Bicep Curl – 30 pounds

4×5 Bicep Curl – 25 pounds

20 Minutes Elliptical

50 Minutes Treadmill

* Yet again, I have finally found the proper form on this exercise and needed to modify my weight down as I was cheating.

Jul 242009
 

Thursday, July 23rd

5×5 Vertical Chest Press – 160 pounds

5×5 Pectoral Fly – 160 pounds

5×5 Rear Deltoid Fly – 100 pounds

5×5 Shoulder Press – 120 pounds

40 Ab Crunches

5×5 Complex Dumbbell Routine (Upright Row, Bicep Curl, Lateral Raise, Overhead Press, Bent-Over Row) – 10 pounds

20 Minutes Elliptical

Friday, July 24th

5×5 Assisted Pull-Up 160 pounds

5×5 Pull Down – 110 pounds

5×5 Dumbbell Row – 50 pounds

5×5 Bicep Curls

20 Minutes Elliptical

Jul 232009
 

Monday, July 20th

3×5 Assisted Pull-Up – 160 pound counterweight

2×4 Assisted Pull-Up – 170 pound counterweight

5×5 Pull Down – 110 pounds

5×5 Dumbbell Row – 50 pounds

5×5 Bicep Curls – 30 pounds

20 Minutes Elliptical

50 Minutes Treadmill

Tuesday, July 21st

5×5 Vertical Chest Press – 160 pounds

1×5 Pectoral Fly – 180 pounds

4×5 Pectoral Fly – 160 pounds

5×5 Rear Deltoid Fly – 100 pounds

5×5 Shoulder Press – 120 pounds

5×5 Complex Dumbbell Routine (Upright Row, Bicep Curl, Lateral Raise, Overhead Press, Bent-Over Row) – 10 pounds

20 Minutes Elliptical

50 Minutes Treadmill

Wednesday, July 22nd

5×5 Assisted Pull-Up – 160 pounds

5×5 Pull down – 110 pounds

5×5 Dumbbell Row – 50 pounds

5×5 Bicep Curl – 25 pounds *

20 Minutes Elliptical

50 Minutes Treadmill

60 Minutes Walking

* One of my co-workers pointed out that my form was way off on my curls and that I needed to keep my arms closer to my side to maximize the benefit I was getting AND prevent myself from getting injured.  Doing them properly has forced me to back off on the weight.

Jul 222009
 

I started writing this post a few days ago.  I figure I’ll just go ahead and append on the end of it with the understanding that, perhaps, my head space is a bit different than it was when I first began this ramble.

Not only do I feel the need to break up the utter and complete monotony of posting nothing but my workouts here, I also have a compulsion to simply talk about a few things.  Get some stuff out of my head and out there in the ether as it were.  As a result this may end up being an incoherent post at times, so I apologize in advance.

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