Good News!

imageAs some of you know, I had a total blood panel done in May. The hemoglobin A1C, which tests your blood glucose levels averaged over a span of two or three months, came back at 6.1. This meant I was pre-diabetic. Normal is 5.6 or lower. Pre-diabetic starts at 5.7, and diabetic is 6.4. And 7.0 is when organs start failing.

Well, I was bound and determined that I was not going to become diabetic, so I changed my eating and exercise habits drastically. The next blood test I did showed no change in my A1C, although my blood pressure and cholesterol tests were now normal. So I had another complete blood panel done about two weeks ago. I kept calling the doctor’s office to find out the results. They had the test results but couldn’t tell me what my A1C was yet because the doctor hadn’t signed off on the test results. Frustrating!

I called my doctor’s office again this morning. The person who answered the phone said my results were normal. I didn’t expect such good news, so I asked for the specific number. My A1C has gone down to 5.8! That’s practically normal. There are two other blood GL tests that I’ll find out about tomorrow when I go to the doctor tomorrow. But it all sounds like my hard work has paid off!

Am I out of the woods now? Heck no. I want to get my A1C to a much lower level, such as 5.2. The problem I’m having now is because of my knee, I went from exercising 7 days/week to none. The knee has improved slightly, but I need surgery.

So how do you lower your A1C?

* Lose weight if you’re overweight. This alone can lower your A1C.
* Exercise if you don’t already. All you need to do is walk. It’s that simple. Start with 10 minutes a day. Indoors or out. Just walk. Work your way up to 30 minutes of vigorous walking 5 times a week.
* Don’t consume a lot of sugar. Ditch the soda. Read labels. Sugar lurks in places you wouldn’t dream of.
* Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fiber (plant foods), protein and healthy fats.
* Eat foods with a low glycemic load and always eat protein when you consume carbohydrates.
* Take necessary steps to ensure both blood pressure and cholesterol levels are normal.

MRI UPDATE: I got the MRI done on my knee last Tuesday. I couldn’t straighten out my knee, couldn’t put any weight on my left leg, and I could barely walk. A friend drove me to my appointment. The MRI itself was OK, but because the technician had to straighten out my knee, I felt pain radiating up and down my leg, into my hip and down into my foot. I breathed through the pain, tried to relax, and hoped my muscles wouldn’t start to spasm. They didn’t. Whew! Unfortunately, my ortho surgeon appointment to get the results of the MRI isn’t until December 16. I’d like to schedule the surgery as soon as possible, so I can start recovering.

Birthday Fun

Amazing Mini Indulgences at Seasons 52

Amazing Mini Indulgences at Seasons 52. I chose the Mocha Macchiato. Only 260 calories.

Wow! What an amazing birthday! More than 90 people wished me happy birthday, mostly on Facebook.  I spent a fantastic day with my family. We went to a Cuban restaurant, Habana, then we saw Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks, and afterwards, we all went to Seasons 52 for their Mini Indulgences desserts. It’s such a pretty place. We sat in a booth in the piano bar and got to hear some Simon & Garfunkel songs.

And then my family gave me my presents. I got totally spoiled by all the girly-girl gifts. You know,  a gift card, makeup, and more makeup (a woman can never have too much makeup.) And men, before you start rolling your eyes, you guys have your toys, too. You know, little inexpensive trinkets such as sports cars, jet skis, motorcycles… pretty much anything with a motor. Well, we gals have our toys, too (makeup, clothes, lingerie, shoes, designer handbags), except ours don’t cost a small fortune like yours do. Haha!

A girl's gotta have her makeup.

A girl’s gotta have her makeup.

And speaking of designer handbags, guess what? I also received a gorgeous designer handbag as one of my gifts. Now I’m really stylin’!

Love You For You!

imageWhen I was a teen, I compared myself to other, smaller-boned girls and to models, and I always came up wanting. When one of my nieces was in grammar school, she used to grab her thighs and proclaim herself fat. I would stare at her in dismay because she was a pretty little girl with a lithe body. She didn’t have an ounce of extra fat on her. How do you convince her that she’s not fat?? Luckily, she grew up with a decent body image.

But I didn’t. And that messes with your life. So here I am, many years later, and I’m reclaiming my life. I’m exercising to lose weight and to increase muscle. I’m exercising to lower cholesterol and to help lower my blood glucose levels. People should mainly be exercising to increase strength and mobility, to be the fittest that they can be, and increase longevity, not to try to look like some model’s picture in a magazine that’s been Photoshopped. Everyone’s body is different. Some will get washboard abs, but most won’t.

But that’s OK. Just be the healthiest and fittest YOU can be. And do it for yourself and nobody else.

Get Rid of Negative Thinking

I had posted about suicide on Facebook last night and surprisingly, I got numerous  comments. I was blown away by the number of people who had been affected by a loved one’s suicide or had contemplated suicide themselves. Then I read another post today that someone was contemplating seeing a therapist in the near future, but she assumed that the therapist would insist that she talk about the distant past, which she really didn’t want to do.

Some people who are tempted to seek therapy are often reluctant to do so partially because they’re under the impression that the therapist will pick apart their childhood and focus on the past. However, therapists today do not focus on the past, but on the present. Many practice cognitive behavioral therapy. The therapist will want to know about your current issues, and will need to know something of your history, but then you’ll be dragged right into the present. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is used in many scenarios, such as depression, anxiety, etc.

This article tells you how to get rid of negative thinking. This is written for those who are suffering from depression, but really, it’s for anyone who wants to get rid of the negative self-talk and turn those thoughts into realistic thoughts.

Read this article that discusses cognitive behavioral therapy for those with anxiety, which may prove helpful to many. Again, the techniques used are similar for depression. The goals are the same… How to replace negative self-talk with realistic self-talk.

Blood Tests? An MRI? What’s Next?

The MRI machine that I'll likely be using.

The MRI machine that I’ll likely be using.

Ack! Tomorrow is my blood panel. I’m confident about everything but my A1C and other glucose tests. Those numbers better have come down! I’ve been exercising, getting fit, I’ve lost 13% of my body weight so far, and I’ve cut way back on carbs and sugars… But ya never know. Plus, the last time I had my blood drawn, the gal had to ask me to come back cuz my veins refused to give up one drop of blood. So, keep your fingers crossed for me.

I got my referral for my MRI for my knee, so I called yesterday to make an appointment. Took the first available. I’m going next Tuesday at 7:45 PM. Well, the MRI is scheduled from 8-9, but I have to come in early to fill out paperwork. Weird to have it at night, huh?

It kinda feels odd to have an MRI at all. I’ve heard how some people are claustrophobic, etc. Well, I was looking for some information on getting an MRI for your knee, and I found an article that mentioned that sometimes a dye is injected. I’m not a happy camper AT ALL! I better not have to have a dye injected-??!! Waah-!!

Hey, has anyone reading this ever have a torn meniscus-?? Did you have dye injected when you had your MRI done? A couple of people told me that when they had their MRIs done for their knee or back, it was in an open-sided machine. Unfortunately, when I Goggled the place I’m supposed to go to, the only pic they showed was a traditional MRI machine. 😦

I wish I had asked Suzanne, my water aerobics instructor, what to expect when she had an MRI done for her torn meniscus.

Anyway, please keep those positive thoughts coming! It’s greatly appreciated.

Rowdy Navy SEALs & other musings

imageThis post will be a bit different today, and will cover several topics. The last bit will be all about some crazy Navy SEALs, so stick around for that amusing and true anecdote.

Last night, a Facebook pal and I stayed up too late Messaging each other. He’s a night owl like me, and we have fun chatting. But I sure didn’t want to get up today when 7 a.m. rolled around way too early. Then my exercise partner texted me saying she wasn’t going to water aerobics. I was SO tempted to go back to bed. I even told her I’d probably go back to bed.

But as I was texting her that, I knew. I just knew I was going to go. And I did.

It’s so odd for me, but I’ve been exercising regularly since June, and now it’s become my new habit. To NOT go would feel like a sin. And if I can exercise regularly, anyone can. Seriously folks. I know all the excuses. But you’re only sabotaging yourself, only hurting yourself and your loved ones by not exercising or eating healthy.

It’s a matter of making up your mind to accomplish a goal and sticking to it. That drives it. Is it easy? Sometimes. Sometimes it’s not, especially when life gets in the way.

The temptation to slide back into old habits niggles at me once in awhile since I’ve had a setback with my knee. I even got mildly depressed about it. But I didn’t close up and go inward. Instead, I posted and blogged about it and received many uplifting, encouraging, and caring comments from people.

Thank you again to all those who helped me rise above my “woe is me” state of mind. You guys made a difference.

Today is a pretty day. Blue sky, warm sun. 80 degrees. The pool was warm. We only had four people in our class today, so it was nice.

Suzanne, our instructor, noticed my fuchsia-colored taped knee. I couldn’t wait to tell her about my torn meniscus cuz she had had the same thing! So she told me about her surgery and the aftermath. She told me that she could see I was stubborn like she was and that it would be hard to keep me immobile. I kinda grinned at that. Yep. I’d probably try to do too much too soon. But, I listen to my body too, so we’ll see.

Water aerobics was good today. Suzanne had us swimming freestyle across the pool, keeping our heads above water. I took off fast and was determined to speed across as fast as I could. Now that’s a good workout. Talk about cardio!

I stayed after class for 15 minutes and did more laps and worked on my abs too. Suzanne said I could stay until 12:30 as that’s when lap swimming ends. Gee, all this for $5. So cool. I’ll try to stay longer next Saturday.

Freestyle was my best stroke as a kid. My form used to be stellar. But now my form needs tweaking. When I told Suzanne that, she offered to stay after class the next time she teaches in three weeks and help me with my form!

I was excited and accepted readily. I’d like her to tweak my backstroke and sidestroke too. They’re good, but form can always be improved upon. She made her offer to the rest of the class, too.

So now I have to buy a bathing cap and goggles. Really? I wore bathing caps all up to my teen years and swore I never would again. Hate those things. But I can’t have my hair in the way when I’m taking a breath, so I guess I have to suck it up and buy one.

Where is a good place to go? Anyone?

I love swimming, and it’s something I’m good at. I started off my exercise regime doing water aerobics, knowing that I love swimming, that I move easily in the water, that it wouldn’t put stress on my joints… All this set me up for success.

Start with something you enjoy. Biking, swimming, walking, whatever it may be. Keep at it, build up your strength, and then branch out when you’re feeling stronger and more confident.

Now for the SEAL story. You see the building way at the end in my picture? Well, it appears that a bunch of rowdy Navy SEALs leaped off the roof and into the pool at the base one midnight during the summer. Upon hearing this, I immediately wondered out loud if they had been drunk. Suzanne offered that there was a pub nearby, so it was a good possibility.

Can you imagine? Well, these big idiots damaged the roof during their escapade… they actually put holes in it! There was a work crew up there fixing it today, and it looked as though they were also adding a barrier to prevent these testosterone-fueled Big Children from doing this again. Men! Right?

Pretty funny. Except if they had hit the pavement…? Not so funny then. And these guys are defending our country?? LOL! They’re fearless risk-takers and they thrive on that adrenaline rush. I guess that’s why they’re SEALs and we’re not.

But I’d say that was a stupid thing to do. OK, I’m going out on a limb here and saying it was DRUNK and STUPID!

Now, I’d never jump off a roof. For one thing, I’m too sensible. For another, I’m afraid of heights.

I’m a water baby. I’ve told y’all that before. I’ve been swimming since I was a tiny kid. Took swimming lessons, entered into competitions for two years (won 2nd, then first). But when the instructor took us up to the high-dive platform… I was like, uh-uh. Nooooo. I had to jump off it several times, but I never enjoyed it.

It sure didn’t help that my grandfather told me later that night to make sure to keep my legs together when I jumped into a pool from a great height or the force of the landing would RIP me in two!

Can you imagine Grandpa actually told me that? Complete with hand gestures, too. R-I-I-I-P!!

I didn’t tell my parents what Grandpa had told me until many decades after he passed away. They sure weren’t happy that he had scared me like that. But yeah, it’s maybe why I’m not fond of heights-???

But then why did I go up in a glider when I was 22 years old? We are talking no engine, ya know? I was up there for 40 minutes and loved every second.

I think my natural personality is outgoing and adventurous, but it’s tempered with caution because I had older, overly protective parents. It’s an odd split. But hey, I’m not complaining. I’ve never had an urge to jump off roofs into pools anyway!

Have a great weekend, y’all and Happy Exercising!

Preventing Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's... Such a terrible disease.

Alzheimer’s… Such a terrible disease.

This is an important article to read. I think everyone knows someone who has Alzheimer’s or who has died from it. I do. It’s a horrible disease. And it’s so important that people pay attention to their diet, exercise and get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

I know several people who exercise, and some who eat healthy foods, but most people I talk to do not get enough sleep. Many have a sleep disorder, but they’re not seeking help for it. Please go to the doctor if you suffer from insomnia, even if you feel you have enough energy. But do not let them give you sleeping pills. They’re addictive and do not tackle the issue at its root cause.

An excerpt from the article:

Preventing your own decline
Isaacson runs one of the few Alzheimer’s prevention clinics in the country, and he also stresses the need to look at the disease holistically. “We now have research that shows very specific types of exercise, brain stimulation, taking control of diabetes, even in the pre-diabetes phase, can all make a difference.”

Tanzi agrees, and even lists his recommendations in order of priority: exercise, at least seven to eight hours of sleep, which helps the brain clear debris, an anti-inflammatory Mediterranean style diet, adding good quality Omega 3 oils (he likes krill), intellectual stimulation and social engagement.

READ: Alzheimer’s is a young(er) person’s disease — so get to work, By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

The Watermelon Phenomenon


Thinkin’ that WATERMELON is the new crack cocaine. Seriously, you could offer me a piece of New York cheesecake on one plate and watermelon on the other, and I’d choose the watermelon. It’s also a mood enhancer. Maybe I should get a grant to research “THE WATERMELON PHENOMENON and Its Effects on the Brain.” Bahaha!

Surgery? Who Me-??

imageSome of you may have read about my struggles with my left knee. It’s been problematic for a long time, but my knee started buckling in October, after my first PT knee appointment. Last Thursday, I stepped over a pile of laundry on the floor with my left foot, and well, let’s just say that it didn’t go well. At all. It really swelled up and even after constant icing, the swelling hasn’t decreased one whit. My physical therapist suggested I get an MRI. Luckily, I already had a referral to an ortho surgeon.

I called the doctor’s office on Friday afternoon, and they were able to get me in early Monday morning as they just had a cancellation. So Saturday, after water aerobics, I went to the imaging center in the hopes of getting a copy of my knee X-rays. I was sent from one floor to another. An attractive Asian lady told me I was at the wrong office and that the office I wanted was closed. I explained that I was told to come to her particular office and that it was urgent I get those X-rays.

She called downstairs and chewed out the staff over the phone. “Why you send her up here?” she demanded. Her tone and accent reminded me of the owner of the dry cleaning establishment where TV’s Mr. Monk took his clothes to be dry cleaned and repaired. Anyone remember her performance? Very funny. Anyway, if it wasn’t for this lady, I wouldn’t have gotten my X-rays.

So I went to see Dr. Stein, the ortho surgeon, today. The staff weren’t a bundle of laughs but Dr. Stein was nice. I gave him the disc with my X-rays on it, so he was able to see my sexy knee joints. LOL!

It seems my right knee has moderate to severe osteoarthritis, while my left knee only has moderate osteoarthritis. Meaning, my right knee is worse than my left. Was I surprised! But my right knee only bothers me occasionally and it rarely swells. The doc had me walk across the very small room. Then he had me walk on my tippy toes (harder), then on my heels (easy). My left knee clicks sometimes. He had me lay on my back and bent my right knee. Tested it. Was OK. Then he did the same to the left. It didn’t hurt but the skin on my kneecap was very tight (edema).

He believes I have a torn meniscus! He said it’s a 15-minute surgery where they clean it out. He seemed to want to skip the MRI and go right to surgery. I suggested we do the MRI first to make sure we knew exactly what we were dealing with. (Yeah, no way was I gonna do the surgery first.) He agreed. The surgery would be done at a surgery center, and I’d be put completely under.

That’s the part that makes me nervous. Hey, I saw the Paul Newman movie, The Verdict. I know s**t can go wrong… Or the anesthesiologist gets drunk the night before, has a horrible hangover, and accidentally overdoses the patient… OK. Maybe I’ve seen too many movies and I’m whipping myself up into a paranoid frenzy. But seriously, anytime a human or animal is put under, there’s risk involved.

Here's what we're likely dealing with...

Here’s what we’re likely dealing with…

It will take awhile to get the approval for the MRI, so my next appointment with Dr. Stein isn’t until December 16. The doc said the recovery time after surgery won’t be too bad; I think I read that recovery time is 4 -6 weeks. But I know that some people get very sick after anesthesia, which I bet is a barrel of laughs. The good news is that I’ll be able to walk after the surgery with the use of my cane. However, I would think that stairs would be out of the question for at least a few days, so I’ll need to find somewhere else to recover. I know that it’s important to get full range of motion as quickly as possible, so I think I’d be able to tackle my stairs at home a few days after surgery.

In the meantime, I can continue exercising, even doing leg presses at the gym, as long as I don’t encounter any pain. I’m not sure if the surgery would take place before or after Christmas. My guess is afterwards.