#GoTheDist 2013

Some people have asked me "Why #GoTheDist"?

Well I love competition -- but how do you level the playing field when each participant is at a different performance level, or even has a different form of exercise that they love?

That was the guiding question that led me to think about #GoTheDist.  The answer was that we can "compete" against each other only when we're measuring ourselves against our own self.  If each and every person can set a goal that represents not only what they think they can do, but more than they think they can do (maybe 10% above what they think they can do), then it becomes a competition about how well we can achieve the goals we set for ourselves.  For example, if someone says they're going to bike 1000 miles, they can compare themselves to someone who commits to running 500 miles.  The effort required might not be the same, but the consistency and drive is the same.  #GoTheDist is about measuring PERCENTAGE OF GOAL ACHIEVED, not just miles or pounds. 

With that in mind, I once again renew my commitment to #GoTheDist in 2013

How to Join #GoTheDist 2013:

1. Click on the SUMMARY PAGE (bookmarking it would be a good idea as you will be using it often).

2. Fill out the next available line on the "Summary" spreadsheet.  You are responsible for filling out your biographical information (columns A–D), your tracking modality and goal (columns E and F), your quarterly goals (columns G, J, M, and P), and your half-year and full-year rewards (columns T and V).  

3. **CREATE YOUR INDIVIDUAL PAGE** (The information you have entered in step 2 should auto-complete to an individual page.  Check your line number and then look at the bottom of the page.  Match up your line number and double check that your information is correct).

4. Rename the tab "@[twitter name]" or if you don't have Twitter "[nickname]" 

5. Fill out the sheet as you wish.  See step #8.

6. Update your own individual page as needed (if tracking is too hard, consider printing out your page and filling it out by hand and updating it online once a week). The total mileage will automatically be updated on the Summary tab as you report on your individual page.

7. Follow #GoTheDist on Twitter for support if you need it or to support others when they do, to announce achievements, and find new/old friends!

8. PLEASE DO NOT DELETE LINES OR TABS! Do not SORT.  If you want to add columns, please add them to the RIGHT of the page.  Please do NOT move your page around! You CAN bookmark your individual page using your browser to find it easily.

At the end of each month (or year) consider answering these questions:
  • How do you think you did over the course of the month?  
  • Did you overestimate or underestimate your capabilities?  Why is this?  Is this representative of a larger trend in your life?
  • Did you learn anything about yourself while doing this? 
  • Can you apply what you've learned in #GoTheDist somewhere else in your life? 
  • Did you make any new friends through #GoTheDist -- were you able to support each other?
  • What was the hardest part of the challenge?  (physical? mental/psychological?)
  • What do you think you did really well this month? (doesn't have to be about #GoTheDist)
  • What do you think you could improve on? (again, doesn't have to be about #GoTheDist)
  • No matter the numbers you already entered, are you going to finish strong, or taper off? 
  • Did you go the distance? And no, I don't mean did you hit 100% of your goal... did you put yourself out there and really try for it?  Is 80% still something you can be proud of?

Thankful, thankful, truly thankful am I.

At my follow-up appointment yesterday, I told Dr. O'Brien, that he has given me my life back.  I think I hugged him three times.  Told him that I'd bake cookies for him.  I think I even told him I wanted to give him a puppy.  I really didn't have adequate words to thank him -- I didn't have the words to tell him what he's given me once again.

I'm asking my friends and family to leave a comment to this post adding your two cents to that which Dr. O'Brien has done to help restore me to my life, to my friends, to my family.  You have all seen me on the sidelines.  You've made sacrifices and changed plans as much as I have. 

Fitbloggin -- remember all the activities I had to sit out from? 
Everyone -- remember when you'd go to hug me and I'd wince?
Weight Loss / Health Gain people -- remember how much pain I felt over each lb that crept back on?

(PS:  this is my 500th post... I find it fitting to dedicate it to the man that helped me return to me....)

6 day post operation

My surgeon said that my operation "couldn't have gone any better."

He said that I can try a few minutes on the elliptical next week once my soft collar comes off. (I still have to wear it most of the day and while sleeping, but not while eating or showering.)
We start talking physical rehabilitation in 6 weeks. Not bad, eh?

He also said that I can remove the surgical glue over my incision.  My first reaction was "ewww" but as I said to two friends on Twitter, " I have a seam in me now. Where there was once perfection.... a second chance."


Looking stylish with dad.

Per instructions, I took the bandage off of my incision. I don't think I was ready to see what was underneath.  My initial reaction was the same one that I had the night before surgery: "my poor perfect neck!" But the truth is that it wasn't perfect. Thee were problems with the foundation that needed to be addressed. So I was just left with "ewwwww gross!!!"

I have received cards and well wishes from many of you. They are are greatly appreciated. I am still on pain meds. Night time/morning is hard. I need to keep my head moving in order to keep my neck muscles from cramping.

My surgical follow-up is on Tuesday. I hope that the doctor has good news for me regarding the incision and the operation as a whole.

So please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I recover. They got me through the toughest part!
The furry nurses taking care of me
From my boss

Victory is mine!

Survived surgery!

T-minus 7 Days

Seven more days until my surgery.

Everyone has been asking me if I am nervous. The answer is both yes and no.

I'm not nervous about the actual procedure or even the outcome. I'm not nervous about all the rehabilitation that I will have to do. Nor am I nervous about being in the hospital in general. I have the greatest faith in both my doctor and even in my own body to get through this.

However, this is the first time that I will be staying overnight in a hospital since I was born. Yes, I have been to the hospital for various issues (migraines, the time I sprained my foot in two places, for my hemorraghic ovarian cysts) but I have never had to stay over night. I have also had anesthesia before: when I had my wisdom teeth taken out. So I'm not nervous about that.

I am a little bit anxious about all the needles. I have my pre-op screening tomorrow and they will be drawing blood. Yay! *eyeroll*

I am also feeling a little bit anxious about the words "advanced directive."   I mean, they are good to have for everyone. They leave no ambiguity as to your wishes in the instance that you are incapacitated. However, they just bring to mind my past. I have seen many of my family members become diminished or incapacitated to the point where other people need to step in and make some very hard decisions. I would like to save my family members from that by having my wishes commemorated in a legal document. And yet, when that form is in front of me, I feel so utterly unable to fill it out. It is so much easier for me to say what I do not want: I do not want to languish for a period of time with no expectation that my condition will improve (catastropic brain damage/brain death); I do not want to be trapped in my own body with full mental capacity and no physical ability (locked-in syndrome); and I do not want to be kept on life support for anything longer than 30 days.

Do I think that any of this will happen next week? No. But ever since witnessing my grandmother die (I was 8), I have had an acute sense of my own mortality. I think it is why I'm not afraid of having surgery or any of the serious complications that can happen.

And so, I'm not focusing so much on the day of the surgery though I'm counting it down, but I am trying to focus on what my life will look like the day after surgery:  will the pain be gone?

I can handle being sore for a few days and even having to limit my range of motion until my vertebra begins to grow into the metal plates and is stable.  What I cannot handle is if by the end of January I am NOT sleeping well, or I can't exercise. Then I will feel like the surgery was a wasted effort.

But for now, I am choosing to focus on the positives and especially that we are doing the surgery in a proactive manner, not a reactive one.

I am trying to think about all the things in my life that I have had to give up because my neck injury dictated it be so. I'm trying to think about being able to sleep through the night and feel well rested in the morning. I am trying to think about dating and not worrying about a man reaching behind my neck when he goes to kiss me. I am trying to think about being able to read a book and not getting a headache from the way my head is positioned to read it, etc.

So am I nervous? No. I am excited to get on with my life. It is waiting for me not in 7 days, but in 8 days.