Sunday, July 19, 2015

SEO Click Bait

For all the people who find my blog because they have Googled "fat girl bikini" (and its various permutations) here you are.  I even put a filter and a frame on it for you. Artistic, right?

Rocking It.
(Buy the bikini here)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sympathy Pain

Sometimes I say things flippantly and it takes a moment for it to set in and I realize how profound I can be when I'm not trying.  I just tweeted about how I'm in pain right now:

I realized two things in this moment.  

First, though I know my body is physically connected to each other as a dynamic machine, but I never paused to consider that my body parts may be emotionally connected to each other.  That some deep part of my reptilian brain (the one that says stop, relax, heal) is trying to override my hominid brain (keep moving and rehabbing).  

Second, I quite often say "Until you understand, you don't understand back pain. And I wouldn't want you to understand."  Part of me realizes how shitty this is -- that I'm limiting other peoples' ability to relate to me and to my injury.  The other part feels that it's completely legit.  Spine pain is kinda unlike any other physical injury--it doesn't localize itself.  

When my neck was really bad, my left arm got the worst of it.  I'm still dealing with the continual tinnitus.  I was constantly dropping things (I sometimes still do on days when I'm tired and not paying attention to my posture). With my lower back, I can feel the heat of inflammation over L3-4, L4-L5, L5-S1.  But I also feel it in my hip.  I feel it down my legs.  I'm quite often unsteady in certain positions (like when in the shower washing anything below my hips, or flipping my hair over so I can put it in a towel), sitting becomes painful at work (it's impossible to make my desk a standing desk without losing all my working space b/c it's a circular cockpit). when at the kitchen sink washing dishes, etc. 

I realized that I identify more with people who have full body injuries, diseases, and chronic pain, than people who, for example, just sprained an ankle or dislocated a shoulder. When I talk to people with chronic pain, chronic diseases and injuries, there's this pause of recognition where we just understand there's the pain of the injury/disease and the pain the injury/disease causes. 

In the discussion that Janet and I led at Fitbloggin (Living with Pain:  A Survival Guide), we had two posters:  one of a really badly drawn (mea culpa) body for corporeal/visible pain and the other one a list of "invisible pain" (I would share photos, but we had people put their names on them--so it's not for me to share really).   When we were talking about visible and invisible injuries, there was almost this collective sigh of relief when we could say to each other that we were depressed, anxious, scared, embarrassed, disappointed, and just plain exhausted.  

What a beautiful release to not have to be strong and perfect. 
What a beautiful expression of grace to be able to hold each other in our hearts for just an hour. 

(now that I'm in full on tangent mode....) I think that's what sympathy pain is really about -- the ability to allow someone to be in pain and be in their presence and not try to fix them, to cultivate empathy in your body and your mind and be able to shoulder their pain for a short time. 

Maybe my body is trying to spread my pain in a thin layer, rather than a big glob of pain right over my back. Maybe my legs are saying "we're strong enough to take some of this."  Or maybe it's my back saying "I can't handle all of this." 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Getting my tires rotated

Wow. Fitbloggin15...

I don't even have the words.  It's like a family reunion where everyone is gloriously bonkers.  And yet, we're all what we need to be for each other and we find what we need for ourselves.   I love that there were a bunch of people worried about my back (yeah, I was pushing it -- but when "THE BIG ONE" can be from sneezing, you learn to use your body when it wants to be used and to give it a rest when it needs it. This past weekend was a good weekend). 

There are plenty of recaps out there (@DubyaWife, @TheDailyMel, @NoThanksToCake, @Tradledee85, @MyRootsToGrow, @AHealthyFitrMe, (among others) and of course the live blog to my session with Janet Oberholtzer -- Living With Pain, a Survival Guide) so I won't attempt to do what they've done.  But here are some fun photos of yours truly (the whole album is here): 

My favorite photo; exceptional jackassery.
I came home from Denver and both Jack Cat and I had physicals the next day.

I friggin love my doctor.  She's thorough, takes good notes, follows up on what we talked about at previous appointments, and is so awesomely tech savvy.  She emailed me today regarding some of the partial results of my blood tests:
  • Most of my results were normal ("red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets...glucose, calcium, sodium, potassium, kidney function, protein levels, and liver tests are normal"), cholesterol looks good (has improved since my ob/gyn physical in November 2014). 
  • Ferritin (iron):  "You are not anemic but the ferritin (marker of iron) is very low at 8 [ng/mL]. The goal is over 50[ng/mL]."  Eeep!  So yeah... going on an iron supplement post haste. 
  • B-12:  "The B12 is lower than last time. One of the tests to determine if this is a clinically relevant deficiency is normal and the other is still pending."  So we may consider a supplement there too.  
  • My Vitamin D levels are on the decline, so I'll be going back on that supplement too. 
My "just weighed in at my physical" weight is 15lbs heavier than my "I'm comfortable at this weight when I'm injured, but would rather not be this heavy" weight.  It's funny -- I mentioned this on Facebook and got a bunch of comments that seemed to relate beauty with my weight.  I have talked before about my weird body image issue:  until otherwise confronted with reality (i.e., photos) I don't think I'm as heavy/fat as I am.  And please don't say "but you're not fat" (though, I thank you for the sentiment) -- cause I know my body and I know this fat suit that I'm wearing.  I don't think I'm ugly when I look at a photo and think that I'm fat:  I see my injury that's preventing me from living the life that I want to live. /tangent

So my doctor and I tried to reframe the dialogue -- my goal isn't to lose weight, but it's to be as healthy as possible so I can be a good surgical candidate when the Globus Triumph finally gets FDA approval OR when I can't wait anymore and have to get the L5-S1 fusion.  If losing weight is a part of that, so be it.  But the focus is on getting my behaviors right, acing my blood tests, and focusing on my "pre-hab." (thanks Kelly for that term!)

Jack's lab results should be in tomorrow.  His vet called him "middle aged" and I almost swooned.  My little one is middle aged?  Anyways -- we're taking a close look at his urinary data to make sure his kidneys are healthy.  He's been on special food for the past 2 years or so to help avoid having bladder stones/FLUTD.

And yes, he chose to go to the vet in the California Avocado bag.  

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Screw FOMO (fear of missing out); I have LOPMIAAMO (lack of planning means I am already missing out).

In the first few Fitbloggins, I think we were all still getting to know each other and we really saw the hotel as our space to connect. In more recent times, I feel like the hotel is the cruise ship and everyone is going on shore excursions (tea, Rockies baseball game, Red Rocks, etc.).

My LOPMIAAMO usually stems from the pre-Fitbloggin dread of not feeling like I have done enough to earn my spot here cause I haven't exercised enough or lost enough weight.  Or hell, I haven't even blogged a lot/at all lately.  I know it still shocks you all to find out that I am an introvert. (No lies, I really am.)

Then there is the always-present nagging voice in the back of my head that no one wants to play with me.  Last-picked for kickball kind of stuff.  When that LOPMIAAMO sets in, I usually just wander off by myself. I have done a lot of walking in Denver cause of that.

This year my LOPMIAAMO is a bit of the above with also having had a busy month leading up to Fitbloggin15. I just didnt read any of the "ZOMG LET'S DO THIS!" posts.  I signed up for Fitbloggin and the hotel months ago and then tucked that away in my brain only to unwrap it to book my flight and get packed.

Last year the LOPMIAAMO really got me down. And this year, I didnt plan any better.  LOPMIAAMO is worse than FOMO because it means i could have done something about it and just didn't for whatever reason.

The solution is finding a way to reengage. I will get there.

[Edit:  I realize now that had I planned better, I would have taken a day trip to the Anschutz Wellness Center....]

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Pre-Fitbloggin Post

So... I don't want to surprise/shock any of you all if you see me using this at Fitbloggin.

I don't always need it, but certain things like traveling and sitting down for long periods of time exacerbate my lower back pain.  Lately, I have either had this or my big umbrella with me when travelling just in case.

I freaked out a little while ago about how people would handle seeing FGvW with a cane.  Kelly/@CurvyFitGirl reminded me that I can't control how people react.  But please don't be too worried if you see me using this prop.  I assure you that I am fighting every day to get through this.

Who knows... I may use it to up my Zumba game.
My other yearly pre-Fitbloggin post and disclaimers:

(1) my brain is a sieve when it comes to names. Please forgive me when i forget your name the first, second, and twelfth time.

(2) I am actually an introvert.  Sometimes I need some quiet or a good cry. Fitbloggin is an emotional place. But when I am out an about I am good for hugs.

(3) I back dat ass up. Beware. (Ask @DubyaWife.

Okay, almost go time. See you in Denver.