Friday, October 31, 2014

Barre3 28 to Great

So how'd i do on my challenge? Well... Not too great, really. But considering the average stress load of my life this past month what with finding a place to live and assorted other drama? Pretty good.  

I did more workouts than I did in the months previous. 

I worked in more veggies at every chance.  

I took a lovely bike bike ride with a colleague and tried Zumba. 

In the middle of that... I had to spend a week at a conference center that has a tradition of Southern cooking. Tasty Bites are tasty... And I was glad to have them for rations when I had them.  Plus, conferences lead me to eat way more candy than otherwise. So the fact that I survived the month with a stable weight? Ok.  

On the super happy side, most recent test results indicate that I do NOT have an allergy to dairy after all.  All my other results are back to normal as well.  Which means my body is showing, at a chemical level, that things have healed.  This might even be a little miraculous, because my tests in Oregon did clearly indicate an allergy. 

Wow.  E.Coli. It does not kid around.  

It's now 2 years since I contracted E.Coli. Two years since these problems all started.  Two years since I started getting horribly sick every time I ate dairy. Two years since i got word that things like my blood sugar was not normal and I was anemic.  And finally, clear tests.  

This is excellent.  It means that now I can do things like start re-building my tolerance to lactose. The doc thinks I'll always be lactose intolerant, thanks to my genetics. She feels strongly that I had been lactose intolerant for a long time, and the E.Coli just made it worse. (In a way, if I'd never gotten E.acoli, I'd never have known.  I'd have lived my life just thinking I had a nervous stomach.)  So I shouldn't expect to get back to regular lattes or cups of chocolate milk or large cups of yogurt. I should not expect to have a 3 Musketeers bar. But I might- with careful treatment- get to the point where I can eat a little cheese or choose to have a tiny kiddie cone without getting terribly sick.  I might be able to try croissants again someday. Next time I'm in France, I won't have to skip all the good food.  (Though I may have to take Lactaid.). 

At this point, I have started with daily doses of low lactose stuff... We are talking a tablespoon of goat yogurt right now.  In a month or so, it may be two tablespoons.  This will be a long and slow process.  And it's likely that I have a hard limit- that at some point, I just won't be able to have any more, no matter what. But at least I know that I can start to relax.  Whew.  

Moving day rapidly approaching

It's almost here... Moving day. With just four months left in my assignment as an interim, we are giving up our apartment. We will be taking a guest room with a friend while we await formal word on next steps.  There's several good reasons.  

The big reason... We hate Tysons Corner.  Fun place to shop. Horrid place to live between Thanksgiving and January. Although I live barely three miles from work, last year, my average commute was well over an hour. The worst was one hour and fifty seven minutes...on the bus alone. Not counting the little bits of walking and the waiting in 17 degree weather. I've given up trying to ride the bus becuase it's so off schedule all the time.  

The spiritual energy of this place is also off.  It's geared towards consuming... Food, goods, luxury items.  We live next to the Tysons II, the super luxury mall.  I'm troubled by the young people I see, toting bags from the high end stores, coming to Panera for a snack.  So many of the shoppers seem unhappy, talking on a phone to people far away. It's a rarity to see two people together who seem to be enjoying each other's company. And frankly, I get weary of privileged teenagers throwing tantrums when mom won't buy them a Coach bag. 

We felt like we were living above the vat of pink slime from the Ghostbusters movie- you know,  the stuff that made everyone fight all the time.  The spiritual energy just saps at us constantly.  There's always someone moving in our complex.  There's always someone breaking up. A while back, a neighbor got evicted.  We try to go for a walk and we have a choice of walking through a canyon of office buildings or playing Frogger as we dash across roads near the mall. 

We compare that to the experience of walking through Eastern Market on Saturday and discovering the vegan cart or finding little treasures in the flea market.  We ran the Mall this summer, and it felt like miles between monuments before we had to cross a road.  We go for walks in DC and it feels like we can breathe freely. I know, ironic considering that cities are polluted heat sinks.  

Dunn Loring, Fairfax, Vienna... All these can be delightful places if you want the suburban life.  And I will not knock you if you do.  Many people love their grassy yards and their space.  But RIGHT NEXT TO THE MALL? Nope. We are joining the dozens of people I've talked to in the last year who started out for one year where we are and then moved on.  

Knowing that there are some new things on the horizon very soon, we really wanted to wait until we had more permanent knowledge before we made a where should we live decision. But we realized that we had made our decision about Tysons months ago.  We did not want to spend another holiday season having our souls sucked out by the maurading hordes who jam the roads and make my trip home into an odessy of shouted curses, road cutoffs, and stop and go traffic.  

Although... With Silver Line open, I may consider doing just a day of Christmas shopping in the mall... Knowing I'll be able to go home to a normal neighborhood afterwards.  




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Barre3 28 to Great Challenge

Well, we are about halfway through the 28 to Great Barre3 challenge.  I don't have any nifty codes to share like other people who blog, but I can say this about it:

Man, it's tough.  I'm working on so much right, and the extra challenge of workouts... yike!  But it's been good.  Barre3 is all about working it into your overall life, and it's big on 10 minute breakdowns.  10 minutes here, 10 minutes there.  It's all good.  I'm definitely noticing increases in my core already.  I've been really pushing myself to the edge in those 10 minutes, even if it's all the core work I get in a day.

I am also noticing, as I work on planks, that part of my trouble is that I tend to sag into my shoulders. If I push myself to support myself with my shoulders and to lift myself up, it doesn't hurt my wrists nearly as much.  Yes, I think I'm always going to have some wrist pain in pushup position (because I always have!), but this is making it a lot less.

I've nailed down about 4 workouts a week, instead of the 6 I'm supposed to do.  But hey, given all the chaos, and the fact that I have been netting 10,000-18,000 steps a day in DC and surrounding areas checking on housing options... I'll take it with grace.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Allergy Testing

Today, I had a doctor's appointment.  I've been seeing this doc for about a year now.  She was the one who confirmed that I still had e.Coli when I arrived here last year (the bad e.Coli, not the good stuff that my body was supposed to have), and who has been working with me to use as many natural methods as possible to heal everything that got broken.

By this point in time, I'm feeling tons stronger.  Basically, after a year of chaos and tests and meds and healing, everything is finally pretty much normal... except that I am still very strictly avoiding dairy.

So she had said for a long time that if I got the point where everything else had stabilized and healed, she'd re-do the bloodwork to see if this dairy thing I am facing is a true allergy or just an intolerance.

Because, thanks to genetics, my people are prone to lactose intolerance.  The working theory is that I was probably lactose intolerant without realizing what it was.

What if this whole thing has NOT been a true allergy, but just an over-reacting sick body trying desperately to manage the bad bugs in its gut?  What if, now that that has healed and all the damage that was done seems to be healed, what if now, it's just an intolerance after all?

You know what that means?

It means if I get clear tests back, I can start doing lactose challenges to build up a little bit of tolerance.  We think I might not ever get back what I had as a kid- but no one ever does.  Most people become somewhat lactose intolerant anyway as they age.  But I might regain the ability to eat a little dairy again.  If I could never eat another regular pizza, but I could have a kiddie cone from Carl's in Fredericksburg, I'll take it!

I should know within a week!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Moving... again.

Here we are again.  In one freakin' month, we will have to move AGAIN.  

Let me clarify that this isn't exactly my happy choice!  When we moved in, I'd been under the impression that month to month renting (in the event my contract was extended) would be an option for us.  

Then a month ago, less than 48 hours before our "60 day notice" was due, we got the renewal rates.  A 10% raise in rent with a 2 year lease was one option.  (Um, no.)  Or an over 100% raise for a month to month rate!  Seriously, our rent would have DOUBLED for four months.  Oh, hella no.  

First off, we know already that we don't want to live in Tysons long term.  We feel cooped up, surrounded by plastic and chain stores.  In order to do most of our activities, it's a 20 minute ride to the first access point on the W&OD, or a 40 minute metro ride to the city, or a long car ride.  I feel like we waste hours just transporting ourselves from point A to point B.  We did the math, and between car costs and metro costs, we could afford to pay $500 a month more in the District in rent and utilities, and still break even.  M even suggested we consider selling the car.  (I maintain it's ok to keep ONE car.  I just want to pay it off and drive our little paid-off car until the engine falls out and goes bouncing away down the street.)  

Second, all the stuff we DO is in the District.  

And third, DOUBLING the rent for month to month?  I mean, I've paid a little month to month premium before.  It's what you do when you know that things will be changing and that you shouldn't get into a year long lease.  But DOUBLING?  Nuht uh.  That's so not cool.  

But getting another lease right now?  Also not cool.  I'm in process to find my next call and I'm comfortable with where I am.  I have confidence that I'm likely to have another job secured by February, and I feel the Diocese wants that as well.  So I don't worry about ending up penniless.  In fact, I'm blessed that we have enough money right now that we COULD afford another lease right now.  But since I don't know precisely WHERE I'll be just yet, I don't want to get a place that might land us with an atrocious commute.  Or worse, in the wrong city.  

All we needed was just four more months to let things come to completion in God's time.  And I have confidence that things ar about to break open.  But in the meantime, here we are, seeking a four month long place to stay with two kitties.  SO irritated.  Really, SO irritated.  

With one month to go to find a place to live, I know it'll be ok.  But I'm frustrated by the impermanence and the transience.  I sort of knew this was a risk of the clergy life, and I knew this was a risk of the Interim life, and while I love interim work and how exciting it is, I don't love this stage of wondering what happens next.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I'm not a cat person... but...

Today, we take our little Origami cat to the vet to have his belly palpated.  By "little", I mean 15 pounds.  So he's sort of a big guy.

A few weeks ago, we noticed he was straining in his litter box, and then he started peeing on his little bed, which is NOT like him.  He was listless and stopped jumping up on the furniture.  When he was found lying underneath the couch and refusing to come out, we knew things were very wrong.

Off to the vet, where they diagnosed a urinary blockage and Origami spent three days being cathed and staying at the Chez de Vet.  He is back to normal now, and is eating special prescription food which (hopefully!) will dissolve the stones in his little kitty bladder.  He'll then switch to a different prescription food for the rest of his life, which will hopefully prevent stones from reforming.

Man, has this been an education.

I don't believe in doing extraordinary interventions on most animals.  Sure, surgery to repair a broken leg, or bladder stone surgery on a 2 year old if their life expectancy is going to be 15-18 years.  But bladder surgery on a 13 year old cat when it'll only give him 2-5 more years, and when the vet says the surgery will be pretty major on an old man like this?  Nuht uh.

Learning that Origami had a major illness that could kill him, and that might still kill him if this treatment doesn't work, and that surgical options are not wonderful... I was startled at how much that scared me.

Sure, I say I don't like cats.  I don't appreciate their hair.  The purring constantly is a little odd.  The way that Snowbeast wakes me up at night by petting my face is just creepy.  And when they walk around talking to me with their little meows, I just don't understand.

But I did learn that I really do like THESE cats.  It was so awful to talk with M about when we stop interventions and at what stage we'd decide to let Origami go if he wasn't healing. I don't like knowing that my kitty is hurting.

And now that he's home, I can rub his little head and see how much grey has crept into his fur, and I can struggle to convince them that the all-wet-food diet they've been switched to is really the best for them.  I can wonder how anyone could ever give up their senior animal to the shelter (which happens ALL THE TIME when people decide old animals are too much trouble or too painful to care for).  And I can hope that his remaining years are pain free and healthy.

I'm not a cat person.  But I'm definitely Snowbeast's and Origami's person.

No worries about Snowbeast.  He is eating the prescription food too because it's too hard to monitor two separate feedings for a bonded pair.  But he's had no issues so far.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

28 To Great

So today, I am going to do another round of the 28 to Great Barre3 program.  I discovered this fabulous group while I was living in Oregon.  It's a barre-based workout program using bodyweight and light hand weights, Pilates and yoga moves, and tons of repetitions to strengthen and tone.  I find it is super-helpful as a cyclist and a runner and swimmer.  It works me out, but doesn't break me down so I get leaner, more flexible, and stronger but I can still do a big ride or a run without dying.

The last time I did it, I followed the meal plan.  And while the meals are yummy, I am in a different place nutritionally right now.  I'm working closely with a coach to get the right balance of nutrients into my body (plenty of good vegetarian protein, good carbs, good fats), and to learn to eat dairy-free without resorting to fake food or crying.

So this time, I'm going to follow the 28 to Great workout plan and my coach's meal coaching.

Last time I did the 28 to Great, I was still struggling with e.Coli, so I was not very consistent with the workouts, and I was pretty sick from the illness, so I was fighting anemia, low vitamin D, low vitamin B, and a host of other minor nutritional deficiencies.  Now with the e.Coli all healed and my body built up to a strong baseline, I don't have that uphill battle to fight.  So I'm expecting to really concentrate on the workouts a a strong person.

I want to regain my core strength (I used to have abs!) and to get strong enough to do a plank and some pushups.  Arm strength.  Chicks can have it, too!  Ideally, I'd like to work my way back to a baseline of how strong and fit I was the year I did Leadman.  I climbed a mountain on my bike.  That's what I'm looking for.  And then from there, I'd like to get even more fit.

M wants to do some obstacle course races.  I want to do another half-Iron next year, but I'm also intrigued by those obstacles.  I always thought they'd be too hard for me, and then I watched him and his friend do one.  And I thought, "Yeah, I could do these..."  and "If THAT girl can do it, hellayeah, so can I."

So it's one month to really focus on strength.

And month #2 of relearning how to eat with my nice coach.  WHO MADE ME A SPECIAL RECIPE FOR TOMATO SOUP THAT I CAN"T WAIT TO EAT!