Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#96 X-Rated Acrobatics

I'm exhausted. I wish I could say that my sleep is being cut short by my nightly hot and amorous love sessions, but alas, no. It's a different kind of hot. I, at 47 years old, have the night sweats, although truthfully, I don't sweat. I wake up from a deep sleep as if I am the furnace heating something as large as the Pentagon... in mid winter. There is no sweating, just a burning hot feeling, like roasting-on-a-skewer. I throw the sheet and quilt off in one fell swoop. Later, my pajama bottoms follow; sometimes my top. Then I try to fall back asleep, just to be awoken -- chilled. The sheet goes back on. A little later, the quilt follows. Then the dance starts again. I may get a few hours of "good" sleep, but in between those wonderful moments, I'm awake either covering or stripping - no sweating. Just HEAT. Why wear pajamas at all? Well, here's the paradoxical weird peri-menopausal thing; I go to bed shivering, sometimes with chattering teeth... I am COLD.

I'm in pain. And it's not that my workouts are so strenuous either. Yes, my tight hamstring makes touching my toes painful, and yes, my old rotator cuff injury to my right shoulder hurts if I play too much tennis, but this pain is different. I wake up with it. This "new" pain is in my neck, around both my shoulders and my elbows. I considered that perhaps I was causing these problems with all my pulling on and pushing off of the sheet and quilt. However, after going to my chiropractor and listening to one of my neighbors tell me about her aches and pains, I realized that I was injuring myself in my sleep. I shared my ordeal with Janice, my tennis buddy, and when I expected her to laugh, she didn't. Rather, she told me that she wears wrist guards to bed so that she can't bend her wrists while she is sleeping. Instead of her laughing, I laughed.... all the way to the drugstore to purchase my own wrist guards. Guess what? They work. For the past week, I've only had one night of elbow pain. Ironically, that elbow pain was due to one of my "heat sessions" -- I was so hot I even ripped those babies off.

Try to picture this sleeping beauty -- I climb into bed with my wrists wrapped and velcro'd straight, wearing my retainer [an orthodontic device], my night time moisturizer [which if you tried plant a kiss on my cheek, you'd slide off ending with your nose in my ear], my comfy fluffy all cotton jammies, and sometimes, socks.

Ok, the truth -- everything you just read is a lie. Here's the real story. I'm sleep deprived and injured because my wonderful husband finds all that clothing and hardware so arousing and stimulating that our nights are spent performing x-rated acrobatics -- LOL

Quote of the Day: "CAN YOU PLEASE CLEAN YOUR ROOM?!?!? THIS MONTH?!?!?!" Bobbie Rothman, Mother

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

#95 My Generation and Then Some

My brother sent this to me via email. I thought it was cute as well as pertinent to my blog since, in my blog, I write about thoughts on life, living, the pursuit of the perfect body and the inevitable aging of our finally [if one is so lucky] achieved perfect body. Below are some fun musings on then and now. I made a few changes, but it should still give you a giggle.

1978: Long hair
2028: Longing for hair

1978: KEG
2028: EKG

1978: Acid rock
2028: Acid reflux

1978: Moving to California because it's cool
2028: Moving to Arizona because it's warm

1978: Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor
2028: Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor

1978: Seeds and stems
2028: Roughage

1978: Hoping for a BMW
2028: Hoping for a BM

1978: Going to a new, hip joint
2028: Receiving a new hip joint

1978: Rolling Stones
2028: Kidney Stones

1978: Screw the system
2028: We are the system

1978: Disco
2028: Costco

1978: Passing the drivers' test
2028: Passing the vision test

1978: Whatever
2028: Depends

Just in case you weren't feeling old enough, this will certainly change things. Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of this year's incoming freshmen. Here's this year's list:

The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1992.

They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.

Their lifetime has always included AIDS.

Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.

The CD was introduced 2 years before they were born .

They have always had an answering machine and call waiting.

They have always had cable.

They cannot fathom not having a remote control.

Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.

They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.

They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.

They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.

They never heard: "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel", or "de plane, Boss, de plane.."

They do not care who shot J. R. nor do they have any idea who J. R. is.

They never experienced McDonald's in Styrofoam containers.

Most don't have a clue how to use a typewriter, but can tell you the working of a microwave.

Quote of the Day: "I think I've discovered the secret of life - you just hang around until you get used to it." ~Charles Schulz

Monday, March 15, 2010

#94 Cell Phone Chit Chat

I recently read an article in the Oprah Magazine by Dr. Oz. The topic, how to avoid cell phone dangers, caught my eye. Almost everyone over the age of 10 seems to have a phone, and I've heard and read that many young adults no longer keep a land line, but instead, use their cell phones. Because I have two teenagers who will have grown up using cellphones, I want to help them be smart about technology; the good, the bad and the ugly. So, I think it's important not to just find out what and if there are potential dangers to using a cell phone, but also be educated about the best ways to care for ourselves and loved ones.

Dr. Oz explains to the reader about a form of electromagnetic radiation called RF [radiofrequency]. In the article, he sites a number of studies. One study, completed in 1995, found increased risk of brain tumors in rats from RF. However, other studies show conflicting data. For example, in 2009, the Danish Cancer Society was unable to corroborate the findings showing that RF increases one's chances of brain tumors or brain cell damage. This reminds me of a story I read a number of years ago about the speed detectors that Policemen use. It seems that a police officer, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer, believed his cancer was probably caused by the speed catcher that sat in his lap when he wasn't using it. What this tells me, and what Dr. Oz recommends, is to reduce your exposure to potential dangers as much as possible... be they radiation, toxins, malodorous substances and/or chemicals.

Here are his recommendations for limiting exposure to cell phone radiation:

1. Use a headset or speakerphone - "One study shows that using a headset lowers radiation exposure eightfold."

2. Keep your phone out of your pants pocket - [paraphrased] Cleveland Clinic study found that RF from cell phones kept in pockets lowers fertility in men and an article in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery linked cell phone radiation to decreased bone density.

3. Stop talking while driving - "Using your phone in the car causes it to jump between wireless towers. Since RF is highest when a connection with a tower is first established, talking while traveling can increase exposure."

4. Don't chat with a poor signal - "The harder your phone has to work to get reception, the more radiation it emits. You should also avoid using the so-called radiation shields; they actually force the phone to transmit at a higher power."

5. Limit children's use - "Kids have a thinner skull, and their brains are still developing - which may make them more vulnerable to any potential harmful effects of RF radiation."

6. Don't wear wireless headsets as if they were jewelry - "Earpieces don't emit as much radiation as a phone, but they release some. Remove the device between conversations."

Any other recommendations? Suggestions? All comments welcome!

Quote of the Day: "Alternative viewpoints can be just as useful in treating illness, only we don't hear about them as often." Christine Northrup, MD

Monday, March 8, 2010

#93 The Magic Pill

During a discussion about habits and addiction, my friend Shelly mentioned that although alcohol is addictive and difficult to stop, people dealing with food issues have it harder because they have to "face the devil at least three times a day". Ain't that the truth! I'm not belittling the difficulty in kicking any habit, but I think she has a point. One doesn't have to have cigarettes, heroin or alcohol in the home... at least I don't think so. Wouldn't it be wonderful if breaking a habit could be as easy, painless and enjoyable as learning one? If there was a magic pill that could help you lose weight and be done with it once and for all, would you take it? Well, I thought I had found the magic pill.

I have shared with my doctor how hard the struggle is for me on a daily basis; that I have food "issues" and they sometimes get in the way of living. I told him about this blog and sharing in a public forum. He said that he's heard this woeful tail many, many times over the years in private from friends, in his office from patients, and in public from strangers.

Here's a good example of "issues" getting in the way. An acquaintance of mine, "Esmarelda", thought it would be fun to join a book club. She asked around, curious to see if all book clubs are the same. What Ezzie found out was that they may differ in how they are run, but food and/or alcohol are a big part of the gathering. She decided it would be safer and saner not to join one because she would either be desiring the food, or she would be eating the food and wishing she wasn't. I knew exactly how she felt.

I know. You're thinking it's just some nosh, and you're right. However, when my head is not in the game, when I'm emotionally fragile and a little out of control with my food choices, number of servings, etc., that's when food soothes what ails me [well not really, but I think it will].

Anyway, after years of hearing about my food issues, my doctor thought that maybe I was a little OCD. He compared me to those people who have to wash their hands 20x a day or who have to touch every doorknob until they reach their destination. He thought that maybe I had a little bit of this because on a REALLY BAD day, my thoughts sound pretty repetitious -- don't eat that, why are you eating that?, stop eating that, don't go in that store, you shouldn't have had that, and so on. He said he couldn't believe that I have this babble [my word] running in my head.

Well, I'll tell you right here and now, the pill he gave me to "help" my OCD [and that I had to take for 8 weeks to see if it worked] didn't work. It wasn't the magic pill.

When I returned after the 8 weeks, we talked some more. I told him that food was an emotional crutch, and that I ate beyond "normal" to push down feelings. However, over the years [and we're talking 3 decades-ish], I've learned to use food for lots of reasons, and that at this point in my life, I'm just tired "dealing". And when something tastes really good, like a piece of chocolate devil's food cake, I want more... even after eating 2 pieces... even if I'm full. I know a lot of people who feel this way, and yet, don't give into their desire to have another bite. I know how to teach my kids healthy eating habits, but I don't always listen to my own wisdom. Well, after getting an ear-full, my doctor thought that perhaps what I really needed was something to help me suppress the desire to eat.

He prescribed Phentermine. On the first day of this drug, I thought I had found THE magic pill. It did just what the doctor ordered. I described this new feeling to my friends and husband as one of "turning off the switch". I didn't think about food, period. When I got hungry I ate. Sometimes when I got hungry and didn't eat right then and there, I forgot that I was hungry. In the past, I have tried to use activity to "quench" my hunger, but this was different. Ten days later I was down six pounds, without even trying - I Swear! I had found the magic pill.


About 2 1/2 weeks later, a despondent me called the doctor because the pill's magic was waning. My switch was no longer turned "off" all the time. When I explained how I felt, my doctor said that he had given me the lowest dose and that he could give me the next level up. YES - I almost screamed over the phone. Alas, about 3 weeks on the new dose, I started to experience the same results as I did with the lower dose. In the end, I had lost 8 pounds, which is 2 more than I wanted to lose, but I was sad. I had experienced what it felt to be normal, and now that I had had normal for the first time since I was 13, I wanted to keep it; Not possible. This drug didn't come in a higher dose, and to take it off label would be very dangerous and stupid.

This is what the doctor recommended - that when I felt that my eating [and eating thoughts] were beyond my control, I should take the Phentermine for 3-5 days so that I could remember what "normal" feels like, and try to ride that wave for as long as I could. Although this is not what I wanted to hear, it was better than nothing. I find myself using my un-wonder drug 2 or 3 times a year. It's not the perfect solution, but it reminds me of how good normal felt.....

Quote of the Day: "When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change." Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#92 Mirror Mirror

I own many mirrors. These mirrors, of all shapes and sizes, are hung around my home in almost every room. Yet, my favorite one sits on the counter in my bathroom. It has its own light and magnifies to 15x. Needless to say, I also hate this mirror. However, I wouldn't be able to pluck my eyebrows, floss my teeth or check my nose pores without it. If my sister lived nearby, I could probably rely on her to tell me when there was something amiss [like something hanging from my nose, G-d forbid], but since she doesn't live near me, I need my mirror. Recently, and to my horror, my mirror showed me something new and terrible... Let me back up here.

As a kid, I remember watching my mom check her teeth in the rear view mirror. The first time I saw her do this I asked what she was doing. She told me that at a certain age one's gums begin to recede and food gets stuck between your teeth. I remember thinking that I was glad I wasn't old. As a kid, I remember a family friend kissed me hello and told me that my skin was very soft. I thought her skin was pretty soft too. A few years later I kissed this same friend hello and felt a sharp pin-like jab on my cheek. Later that night when I told my mom about that "pin", she said that as women age, their hormones change and sometimes they get facial hair. Yuck, I thought. As a kid, I sometimes slept over at my nana and pop pop's house. In the morning, my nana would have a cup of hot water with lemon and a bowl of prunes. I asked her why she didn't drink coffee or tea with her hot water. She told me that she had figured out that the combination of the hot water and prunes kept her regular. I don't think I need to explain that one, but at the time, I couldn't imagine that a person needed help making a poop.

Well, here I am at "that age", I guess. I find myself checking my teeth in any mirror available after eating. Sadly, eating pistachios in public [without an accompanying fluid] is no longer an option since what doesn't go down the food tube loves to hang around between my front teeth. However, since I brought up "something new and terrible" in the first paragraph, I might as well blurt it out now. Facial Hair. There, I said it. I'm the lady that now pokes people when I kiss them hello.

As is abundantly clear, my hormones must be a-changin. Here I am, at forty-seven, with my 15x mirror showing sporadic hair growth. I'm not talking beard and sideburns [jeesh!], but a few hairs [more than 2, less than 5] of the darker shade. What's a girl to do? Shave? Wax? Laser? Tweeze? Are you all reading this with horror? Or are you laughing? Perhaps some are commiserating??

Even though the average eye can't see these hairs, if I dare to kiss you hello, you may feel a pinch [I apologize now]. Over the course of the last 6 months, I've been [shhhh] plucking when I catch one in my 15x mirror. I also tried shaving, but that seemed a bit extreme. Since I was shaving an area that included my blond peach fuzz, wasn't I chancing stimulating unknown [over] growth. Recently, having had enough plucking and worried about future hair growth, I took myself to a local plastic surgeon's office for some laser hair removal. The aesthetician used a YAG laser to zap the areas where there was hair. Surprisingly, it wasn't too painful. Attached to the zapper was a very cold wand that she gently rubbed on the spot prior to and post zap. Afterwards, those areas were pretty red, but by the time she put on some moisturizing sunblock and I paid my bill, all the red was gone.

For those who care, I'll keep you posted as to the success of this procedure. Let me just say here and now, this aging thing sucks!! Oh, and can you please keep my hirsutism a secret? Thanks!

Quote of the day: "I am simple, complex, generous, selfish, unattractive, beautiful, lazy, and driven." Barbra Streisand

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

#91 A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

My very good friend recently lost a lot of weight. He'd been carrying these extra pounds around for some time, and although it bothered him, he was unable to lose it all, and when he did lose some, he was unable to keep it off. Somehow, somewhere he dug deep down and got back on the "I want to be healthy wagon". Below, he shares his personal journey.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words... and more than a few pounds!

After I attended a Halloween party this past October, I experienced one of my more embarrassing moments of recent times. As is often the case, my wonderful hosts circulated amongst their guests, camera in hand, snapping away to
memorialize the evening's festivities. Seeing as I was fair game, a few choice photos were taken of me having a great ole time. The trouble came afterwards, when much to my shock and dismay their photos were, like so many photos are these days, posted on Facebook for the world to see. Oh My God! To say I looked awful would be an understatement! Not only did I look bad, I looked HUGE! No, I WAS huge -- distorted, bloated, and unhealthy looking! Sadly, it wasn't an unflattering angle or bad lighting that could be blamed.

I was, for the first time in a good long while, being slapped in the face with a reality I had been aware of, but had chosen to avoid, ignore, minimize and downplay. Because of this photo, I had to admit to myself that I could no longer pretend I looked or felt o.k. I finally had to admit how acutely aware of being FAT I really was. I also had to admit just how damned tired of it I was as well. This extra weight had been screaming at me from my waistline, tight shirts, bad back and wobbly knees for a good long while, but now there was a bull horn in my face announcing full tilt from the pixels of my computer monitor... You are FAT!

I hated that moment, I really, really hated it. I felt the "weight" of acknowledgment come down on me like the infamous anvil falling from the sky to crush the coyote. I had a palpable sense of anger -- at myself -- for allowing my body to go from its normal 153 pounds to a whopping 224 pounds. Did I actually do that? Did I gain 71 pounds? How could this have happened? How?

I know the answer. We all know the answer! I ate, and I ate, and then I ate some more. I won't go into detail about what or when or why. That's a whole other story. What I will say is this: It was fun while it lasted, but not fun enough to be worth this harsh reality.

As is true with many things in life, irony was afoot. While at the same time I was experiencing the frustration, embarrassment and anger of this reality, I was simultaneously having an epiphany. Now I don't know about you, but I love a good epiphany. This doesn't happen very often, but what a wonderful thing when it does. And so it was, that within seconds of feeling so dark, down, overwhelmed and just plain lousy with myself and my situation, I was given the wonderful gift of resolve. Seeing myself in that place, knowing that I did not have to be there and feeling an overwhelming sense of being sick and tired of being ove
rweight, crystallized within me the desire, determination and motivation to make a u-turn right then and there to get myself on track to lose the weight. I found that by eating very, very low carbs and mostly protein, I was able to stop the cravings and slowly [like over the last 4 months] lose the weight.

And that is exactly what I did and continue to do. As of this writing I have lost exactly 30 pounds, which I find totally amazing and am so grateful for! The weight loss and the way I feel are both wonderful motivators, just in themselves, to keep me on track to my goal. So, no matter what it is that motivates you, find it, hold on to it, and use it to force you to do what it is that you really want to accomplish. I hate the weight loss process, but I hated being exposed as a great big fatty on Facebook even more! Thank G-d for vanity!

Quote of the Day: “If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll