Benchin’ the Bar

It’s been a few months since I shot this video. I can actually do three sets of five with just the bar (45 pounds). If I increase the weight to 50 pounds, I can usually get in one set of five.

Lately, I’ve been using a Swiss Bar (aka a Football Bar, aka a Multigrip Bar). The biggest reason I switched to this is because I want to develop my triceps a little bit. I have a lot of hanging skin from all the weight I lost, and that’s the part of my body that bugs me the most. My brother’s bar is a 40 pound one and I reliably do three sets of five with just the bar. I’ve started adding five pounds, for a total of 50, and that’s going quite well. In addition to working a different part of my arm, it also helps with my shoulder. Almost two years ago, I fell at work and broke my left proximal humorous. My left shoulder has been much weaker than my right, though it’s getting closer to being the same.

5K Training

I signed up for a 5K on July 3rd. It’s been a few weeks since I last went out for a walk/run. Things have been super busy at work and I’ve been working late on Tuesdays and Thursdays, not to mention Saturdays.

I had been lifting Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. And then going for a run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

But between all the crap at work and being under the weather with allergies and my second Covid shot… Well, my motivation and energy were lacking.

I think I only have 2 more weeks of insanity at work. And as long as the weather is nice, I need to at least go out for 20 minutes or so.

Getting Fitter

I think this is the first time I’m going to post a picture of myself…. actually a video. This is VERY HARD for me. I probably should post a before picture first.

This wasn’t even at my heaviest. I topped out at 440 pounds before having my first of two bariatric procedures. My treatment team saved my life. If you’ve ever seen “My 600 Pound Life”….. well, that’s where my life was going.

I ended up losing 275 pounds. I gained some pandemic weight, but I’m working on losing that. I’m working out with my brother three times a week doing strength training. And them I’m doing Couch to 5K three days a week. Sunday is my day of rest. Here’s the video from today.

Clearly a big change in the last 5.5 years. I feel better. I’m happier. I’m more confident.

Starting Up Again

It’s been many years since I’ve written here. I decided earlier this week to get back into writing on this blog specifically.

So what has been going on the last 3.5 years? A whole lot. I had a second bariatric procedure and I lost more weight. My highest weight was 440 pounds. I’m now 177. I was down to 164 but pandemic…….

I’m still working with infants in early childhood education. I’m still at the same place, though I’m brushing up my resume. I’m still coloring, though on my own. The meetup group doesn’t meet anymore because, well, *gestures wildly around*. I’m still baking and I’m part of an online baking “club”. “Club” because it’s only two of us. We are still trying to get people to join us.

A while ago, I quit therapy with Dr. D. I’m back working with her again. Dr. W (who I still see) encouraged me to start therapy again. I’m glad I did. The thing that made me walk away was her trying to dive into (what I recognize now as) my social anxiety. I wasn’t ready to tackle it and I was doing well in other ways. The break was good for me.

In terms of meds, I’ve been able to taper off the Haldol, Effexor and Celexa. In a few months, I’m hoping to start getting off either the Zoloft or Wellbutrin.

Last summer, one of the baby girls in my class at work had some possible vaginal bleeding. The way it was handled by my boss plus just the idea that maybe someone was hurting that little girl really messed with my head. At that point, I was seeing Dr. D. I ended up taking a week off to get my head screwed back on. The family left the center and I occasionally wonder what happened to her and hope she’s okay.

A couple months ago, we had a new family join the center. There are an infant boy, a toddler boy and a preschool girl. These children were removed from their mother. The toddler spent many hours just crying “mommy” over and over. The way the building is set up is there is a half door between the infant room and the toddler room. So I could hear every single scream. It broke my heart. It didn’t help that the toddler teacher was getting frustrated and would say “J, please stop crying.”. Let me say, that I totally understand her reaction. She had 6 other kids under 3 and it was overwhelming at times. I’ve been in her shoes. I was told A, the baby in my room, was born to a crack addicted mother. I need to do some reading on what the shorter term ramifications are of that. I’m probably most concerned about B, the preschool girl. She seems totally unaffected. I know she’s older than J, but she’s only 4.

I’ve been dealing with my reactions to those two incidents with Dr. D. After the baby girl, I took a week off to get my head back on the right way. Last week and this week, I’ve been on vacation. There were many reasons, one being the new family. Another is physical exhaustion. I’m still dealing with fibro. Two weeks ago we were so short staffed because of Corona. I ended up working 8-6 with a 2 hour break. It just wasn’t sustainable for me. I’m also the acting administrator for 4-6. Another staff member thinks she’s in charge and was being a general pain in the ass. I told my boss that E can be in charge since it seems that’s what she wants. My boss told me that no, you’re in charge and I deliberately chose you. And then there’s all the BS that needs to be done for Step Up to Quality. I was doing a good deal of other teachers’ work.

It’s definitely been a crazy year.

Psychiatry Monday

BTW:  I’m writing these as sort of a record of what’s going on.  It helps me keep track of changes and reactions to meds and therapy.

 

Today was a fairly normal visit with the psychiatrist.  I’m feeling a bit better.  It’s getting there a little at a time.  I’m still hearing voices, but they are less frequent and less intense.  Dr. W isn’t as concerned as she was earlier in the month.

A few changes today.  I’m going down again on citalopram.  In need to get off of it because of interactions with the Lupron.  With that change, Dr. W decided to go up again on the Zoloft.  The only other big change is going up on the Haldol.  11 mg at first and then 12.  I’m hoping that will have to be the last dosage adjustment up.

Psychiatry Wednesday

I met with Dr. W today.  A ton of stuff is going on with my cancer treatment and its intersection with my psychiatric treatment.  I had two options.  One was going off the Wellbutrin and going on Tamoxifen.  The other was using Lupron to shut down  my ovaries and using the drug for post-menopausal women.

I was going to start with the Lupron combo because I was having so much trouble coming off the Wellbutrin.  But…  Yes, there’s always a but with me.  Lupron doesn’t play nice with Haldol and Celexa.  I found out after looking up side effects of Lupron.  I came across the drug interactions.  There were big red stoplights next to the two drugs.  Some kind of cardiac problem that I simply don’t understand.  I guess that puts me between a rock and a hard place.

So after some discussion with Dr. W, we decided to go with the Lupron option.  The Wellbutrin was working so well for me.  I’m going to go down on the Celexa along with up on the Wellbutrin and Zoloft.  Together we decided to go up another two milligrams on the Haldol over the next few days.  That seems like a funny decision, but with other things changing (Zoloft up, Celexa down, Wellbutrin up) it’s best not to change too many things at once.  But up on the Haldol because the voices are still a big problem and are quite distressing.

I see Dr. W again in a week and half.  We’ll make some more adjustments then.  I’m not looking forward to this transition, but it’s necessary.

Therapy Thursday

Another week.  Another day of therapy.  And as usual, it didn’t disappoint (just kidding).

Since I’ve been talking about cancer treatment there, I went through what the oncologist said yesterday.  Basically I have two medical options for long term treatment.  I can go with Tamoxifen but it requires getting off the Wellbutrin.  And that doesn’t seem like it’ll happen anytime soon.  So medically, my other option is shutting down the ovaries with Lupron and treating with Arimidex.   That’ll cause menopause.  The other option is removing the ovaries and going with the Arimidex.  At the moment the choice is Lupron and Arimidex.  The long term plan is to go off the Wellbutrin and then switch to Tamoxifen.

We talked about control and losing control of my body.  Losing what makes me a women.  In other words, the ability to reproduce.  Not that I want to reproduce, but the thought of it.  I don’t know why it bothers me so much.  But it does.  Perhaps that’s something to explore next week.  The other small topic on this was going to the dentist next week.  It’s my worst nightmare.  Why?  At least I can answer that one.  Feeling exposed.   Feeling vulnerable.  Having someone (turns out it’s a woman) standing over me.  Yeah.  Nightmare.

On of my usual comments was X is my fault.  In this case letting the depression and voices get so bad without asking for some help.  I got the usual “It’s not your fault”.  Fault and responsibility is something I struggle with everyday.  I don’t even know how this came up.  But it did.

I guess it’s a matter of putting one foot in front of another.  Hopefully the increase in Haldol will help with the voices and the Zoloft will help with the depression.  And now that radiation is finished, hopefully the fatigue will subside.

Psychiatry Tuesday

You know things are bad when the doctor tells the scheduler that you are a priority for scheduling.  My chin almost hit the floor.  I mean, things aren’t good.  And there has been a lot of pain (both physically and emotionally) lately.  But I certainly didn’t think I fit into priority territory.  Priority.  Minimizing.  I do such a good job of it.

I have four appointments scheduled between now and the beginning of July.  She’s going on vacation for 6 weeks starting the middle of July.  She once to see me once again before she leaves.  Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to take what I can get off the cancellation list.  That is if any appointments come up.

I’m trying to get off Wellbutrin because I can’t take the estrogen blocker with it.  Wellbutrin renders the other med useless.  When I tried to go off before, things got dicey.  I see the oncologist tomorrow and have no idea what to tell her other than I tried and it’s going to take longer than anticipated.

So Dr. W started me on Zoloft.  Yippy skippy.  Another med to add into the mix.  She upped the Haldol and wants to be a bit more aggressive with it.  I’m still hearing voices…  almost constantly now.  Depending on how I’m doing, she may start weaning me off the Wellbutrin next week.  Yes.  Next week.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a psychiatrist that often since I was in the hospital.

It all seems so complicated right now.  Appointments with the medical and radiation oncologists.  Appointments with Dr. W.  Appointments with Dr.D.  Maybe moving up to twice a week with her.

I keep hearing people say that I will feel better once the radiation is finished.  I finished yesterday (yay me).  But it’s not like a switch.  Really recovering will take about as long as the radiation took.  In my case, four weeks.  The only one who gets how I feel is my primary care, Dr. M.  Dr. M went through radiation himself.  He said it’s not uncommon for people to get more depressed right after finishing.  I totally agree with him.  You’re in the middle of treatments and running around.  And it feels like you’re doing something active.  Now I have to wait on the Wellbutrin and see what the oncologist says.  It’s like I’m not doing anything at all.

I have some Haldol and Trazodone in my near future, so I better sign off.  I’m really fighting sleep right now.  Better to give in.