Quarantined

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My wife has come down with the flu so I’ve been quarantined for seven days.  That means seven days without going to the gym.  I’m glad I went ahead and bought that treadmill.  One of my daughters is here while she’s on spring break, she’s also quarantined.  In fact, her college has made the determination that school is canceled until further notice or at least until this virus is contained.  We have no idea how they’re going to do graduation.

My wife was diagnosed today and was given several shots.  I, as well as my daughter, was given a prescription for Tamiflu which I’ve already taken one.  Right now I feel fine.  My wife is not feeling well.  She has a sore throat, low-grade fever, and a dry cough.  If her condition worsens she has the paperwork to go get tested for the virus.  The doctor does not think it’s anything more than the flu.  I know that if I get the flu, because of my health conditions, I’ll probably be admitted into the hospital.  That I do not want.  I’d rather stay at home and let it run its course.  I know I”ll get more rest that way.

I hope everyone stays well out there.

3/14/2020 Weekly Update

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“Slow process is better than no process”.  This week’s totals are in.  I’ve lost a total of 5.8 pounds since I’ve started at the gym.  It’s been nearly four weeks since I’ve started and it’s still too soon for me to tell if I’ve lost weight or not.  My clothes still fit the same.  All this exercising and dieting has got to be doing something.  it’s just going to take time I guess.

I’m having to drive the misses around this week and part of next week.  My son wrecked his car last week and now it’s in the shop being repaired.  We’re hoping that it’s repaired this Wednesday.  I’ve had to make slight adjustments to my daily schedule to make sure I’m there in time for me to pick her up in the evenings.

This COVID-19 is something else, isn’t it?  My daughter’s school is closing just after spring break, my wife’s school where she teaches will be out for over two weeks, churches not having services but streaming them over the internet instead, people hoarding toilet paper (which I don’t understand), just people in a panic all over.  Personally, I’m not going to fall for the media-hyped panic that the rest of my state is going through.  I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing to keep me from being sick and I hope everyone else does the same.  Everyone needs to turn their TV’s off and calm down.

3/6/2020 Weekly Update

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It’s definitely been one roller coaster of a ride this week.  I gained a pound, lost two pounds then I gained a pound.  All in all, I lost 1.4 pounds this week.  I’ve got 15.4 pounds to go before I can get my big butt on my bicycle.

I went every day this week to the gym.  I spend on average 30 minutes each on the treadmill and the cycle.  I walk away with my clothes soaked in sweat and my legs heavy as lead.  Twice this week I’ve worked with the trainer learning how to operate the machines correctly.  Next week I’ll be adding at least some of the machines to my daily routine.

I had to change my routine somewhat to accommodate my wife.  This was due to my son having a car accident late Thursday afternoon.  It messed his car up somewhat and it had to be towed to a garage.  So, being the generous parents we are, we’ve given my wife’s car to him to drive during the next three weeks while his car is getting repaired.  This requires me to get up in the morning and take my wife to work in the mornings and making sure I’m there in the afternoon to pick her up.  This also requires me to pick her up during the day to take her to her doctor’s appointments which I had to do today.  The things we do for our kids.

Back to my weight loss.  I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t lost more weight than I have.  I’ve read that when you start exercising like I have, you tear or damage the muscles which become inflamed.  When this happens the body retains fluid around the inflammation which aids in the healing process.  This also adds weight to your body.  This is all new to me so I can’t tell you if it’s true or not.  I did read this on the internet so it’s got to be true, right? lol.

2/28/2020 Weekly Update

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As promised here is the latest on my new weight loss adventure.  I’ve been to the gym every day this week since Sunday with the exception of yesterday.  I had so many errands to do that I just didn’t have time to get to the gym. One of my errands was to go look at another treadmill.  The one I own will not work while I’m on it.  I had to make sure I find one that would carry my weight.  The one I found is rated up to 360 pounds. I checked it out and decided to get it but as luck would have it, it will not fit through the door to get into my workout room.  I’ve got to figure out how to disassemble it to get it in there.  Right now it’s in my garage and my wife isn’t too happy about it because she has to park outside in the cold.  I will be spending tomorrow removing my old treadmill and trying to get the other moved.

Last night after I ate supper, I tried out my new-to-me treadmill. It has speakers that I can plug my mp3 player into and of course, it has a multitude of workout options.  I spent thirty minutes on the treadmill and worked up quite a sweat.  Over 400 calories burned.  That may not be a lot for some but to me, that’s a lot.  The best thing is that when I woke up this morning I had lost 1.8 lbs.  I know that maybe water weight but that’s the first loss since I’ve been working out. I’m excited about it.

I met with a trainer two times this week.  I meet with him for thirty minutes then I hit the cycle for thirty and then the treadmill for thirty.  On the days that I don’t meet with the trainer, I just do an hour’s worth of either the cycle or the treadmill or a combination of both. Today after my hour and a half workout, I got on my treadmill and did thirty minutes after supper.  I know this may be a bit much but I’ve got a lot to lose.

There’s a young lady that is standing behind the desk as you come into the gym.  She’s the one that I spoke with when I signed up.  She looks to be about 24 years of age.  She showed me a picture of herself before she started working out and I couldn’t believe the transformation.  She asked me how old I thought she was, I told her about 24 to 25 years old.  She said that she was 42 years old.  You could have knocked me down with a feather.  Today I asked her just how long it took her to lose that much weight.  She said it only took her six months to lose it.  She said that I could be fit and trim in six months if I stuck with it.  We’ll see in six months.

Perseverance

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I have been to the gym every day since Sunday.  I had not planned on it but why not, I’m not doing anything else.  I spend thirty minutes on the treadmill and thirty minutes on the spin cycle.  I walk away out of breath and with noodle legs.  Today, while on the spin cycle,  I must have hit the wrong program because just about the whole thirty minutes I was going uphill.  According to my Fitbit, sixteen minutes my heart rate was above 140 beats per minute.  About midway into the workout, I thought about quitting.  My breathing was hard, I could tell my heart rate was up and my legs started burning.  It was then I said to myself, I am not a wimp. I can do this.  What I’m doing has got to be better than quitting.  After I finished my workout on the cycle, what I felt next was amazing and I haven’t felt like that in quite some time.  The fact that I didn’t quit made me feel great.  I couldn’t breathe nor could I walk but I felt good inside because I didn’t quit.  Tomorrow I work with the trainer for thirty minutes then I’ll get back on the treadmill and cycle again but this time a little less of a workout.  My legs feel like they need to heal some.

Decisions?

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I did not go to the gym today.  I could have and if the truth is known I guess I should have. Since I’ve joined the gym on the 14th of February, I have been four days out of the last eight. I’ve been told not to overdo it.  But what is overdoing it?  I only work with the trainer for thirty minutes and then I hop on either the cycle or the treadmill for another thirty. Friday, I had gotten there thirty minutes early so I hopped on the cycle before my thirty-minute session with the trainer, then another thirty minutes on the treadmill afterward. Tomorrow I plan on doing thirty minutes on both the treadmill and the cycle and maybe some weights in between.

What is your opinion? How long should a workout last?  As much money as I’m paying out I want to get my money’s worth.  Also, and I know this is a loaded question, what sort of diet, if any, should I be on to maximize not only my weight loss but to help with getting my body in shape.

No Pain, No Gain

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imageAt least that’s what I’ve always heard.  My first appointment with the trainer was on Wednesday of this week.  Like I said in my last post, he is one of my Eagle Scouts.  My main concern was that he would use this as a way to get me back for all the hiking that I made him do.  I’m not sure if he tried to get me back or not but I’m telling you one thing; I’m sore.  He worked my chest, my legs, and arms. He said he was going to take it easy on my first day then give me a good workout on the second day, that’s today.

Two things that I’ve noticed so far.  I want to go to the gym even on the days that I’m not scheduled to work with the trainer. I definitely want to get my money worth. The second thing I’ve noticed, and I’m not too impressed with, is the fact that I’ve gained two pounds since I’ve started.  We can’t have this.  I want to lose weight not gain it.  I’m supposed to talk with someone at the gym today about a Mico diet.  I’ve never heard of it plus I don’t do well with diet plans.

There is another thing I’ve noticed since I’ve been going to the gym.  There’s a lot more people there that are in shape than those that are not.  There are a few there that their shape is round like me but for the most part most are fit and trim.  It’s like those fitness commercials.  You never see a fat guy on a Peloton.  You always see a fit man or woman giving it their all on those machines.  I know it’s marketing but I think it would give us fat guys more incentive if we could see one of our own on those machines working out.  And why is it that they usually have a gorgeous blond, who is all fit and trim, curves in the right places and always smiling behind the sign-in desk?  They’re usually married, got two kids and 42 but yet look 21. 

UPDATE:  I got to the gym about thirty minutes early.  My trainer was busy with another client so I hopped on a spin cycle and for thirty minutes my legs had a decent workout. When it was time for my turn with the trainer we mainly worked on my upper body. It was already sore from Wednesday but I made it through. After my workout with the trainer, I spent thirty minutes on the treadmill.  When I left there, everyone knew I had a decent workout because there wasn’t a dry stitch on my body.  Maybe I can see a difference on my scales tomorrow.  At least I hope so.

I Joined a Gym Today!

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Well, actually I joined last Friday but I hired a trainer today.  I had no idea a trainer was so expensive.  Between the cost of joining a gym and signing up for a trainer, I’m spending over $300 a month.  Wow, that’s a lot of money.  But, if I can get in shape and lose this weight it will be worth it.  The gym membership is right at $40 a month for a year.  The trainer is $289 a month for six months.  I figured I could do without a few things for six months.  I will be seeing a trainer twice a week for an hour.  I had my free assessment today and the trainer walked me through the paces trying out all the equipment and letting me get familiar with them.  We didn’t really work out per se but I can tell we worked out. My main issue and I made sure I told the trainer this, is my breathing. 

I have three main causes of my breathing issues. One is I’m really over overweight.  286 to be exact.  My body fat is close to 40% and that’s really bad. Two is I have congestive heart failure.  My heart doesn’t pump enough blood through my body to carry enough oxygen needed when I exercise.  And three, the medication that I take for my CML causes fluid to accumulate around my heart and lungs.  When I have an issue with this it causes bad breathing problems.  Luckily, I haven’t had any issues with this since last August.

My plan is to work out three days a week, two of which will be with a trainer.  Funny thing is that my trainer will be a young man that was in my scout troop.  His mother also works there.  I just hope he doesn’t try and get me back for all those times I made him work.

I”m really looking forward to working out and getting back in shape.  Maybe doing it this way I will be held more accountable being that I’m forking out all this cash. My goal is to reach 225lbs before September of this year.  My short term goal is to get down to 275 so that I can get back on my bicycle.  It has a weight limit so I don’t want to get on there and break it.

I’ll try and post something every Friday to keep everyone updated on my progress.

See you then.

Life Has its Ups and Downs.

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K

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A shelf I built for the kitchen but ended up in the garage

Life has been so stressful lately and I guess I eat more when I’m stressed.  I thought when I retired my life would be less stressful but lately, it hasn’t been the case. I’ve tried to stay on my diet but that hasn’t worked out so well.  The good news is that I’m back on it and I’ve already lost six pounds.  I’ve set mini goals and I’m about four pounds before I reach my first ten-pound mini-goal.  My twin daughters will be graduating from college in May.  They want to go on a cruise in June so this has given me an incentive to lose about twenty pounds before the trip.  I really hope I can do it.

As I’ve stated last time I wrote, I had applied for Social Security disability.  I had my hearing and I got a favorable decision.  I’m still waiting on my backpay as well as my first check.  This whole process has me concerned somewhat.  I’m not surer If I can explain it or not but it makes me feel inferior or worthless.  I’ve worked all my life and over thirty-two years at my last job, not they’re telling me that I can’t work.  I feel like I can do something but I’ve got to be honest with myself, I do have trouble breathing when I do anything.  No one will hire me at my age with all the issues that I have.  So I guess I’ll just have to get over it.

The last two days have been dry and I’m glad it has because the few days before that it rained at least four inches in less than two days.  The next four days we’re supposed to get at between six and seven more inches.  There will be a lot of flooding and trees down.  Let’s hope that the severe weather that is projected for Wednesday is not too bad.

Tomorrow will be a hard day for me.  One of my friends worked for Kimberly Police department and was shot and killed the other day while on duty.  He will be buried tomorrow.  If you’re a praying person please pray for Nick O’Rear’s family.

It Was A Tough Decision

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February 14th, 2014 was a date that I will never forget.  One reason is that it’s the date that I asked my wife of 28 years to marry me.  She said yes, obviously.  The 14th was also the date that I was diagnosed with CML, Cronic Myeloid Leukemia. My life has not been the same since.

Prior to being diagnosed, my weight had increased over the years and my diabetes had gotten out of control. My doctor sat me down and told me that I had better start doing something about it or I wouldn’t live to see my kids graduate high school.  That woke me up a bit.  I started watching what I ate, I started walking some and a friend of mine got me riding my bicycle.  In 2012 I started riding my bike religiously; up to 20 miles a day and up to 30 miles on the weekend.  Even after my diagnosis of CML I kept riding.  In 2015 I rode over 7,000 that year.  But that would soon change.

In 2016, I spent a total of four weeks in the hospital.  Not all at one time but through the year.  My cancer meds were causing fluid to be collected around my heart and lungs.  This was also the time I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and diastolic heart failure.  This was also the time that my vision got blurry and I was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. I had to take injections in each eye to remove the blood that was pooling up behind my retina.  Because of all my health issues, I had to take off from work a lot because of doctor’s appointments and hospital stays.  Some of the meds I was on also caused memory loss and I started making mistakes at work.  One was a bad mistake and I was given a choice to either get fired or take a lower position.  I took the lower position which I also got lower pay.  Since 2016, I have been in the hospital at least 2 times a year spending at least 4 days each time.  I missed my daughter’s high school graduation because I was in the hospital with the flu and pneumonia.  I also missed my wife’s birthday twice because of hospital stays.

Some years back the company I worked for raised the age at which you could retire.  Because I had been there so long, I was grandfathered in and I could retire at the age of 55 because I had over 30 years of service. When I got grandfathered in, I had 42 months until I could retire.  I counted each day.  I couldn’t wait.  On August 15th, 2018 I retired.  I retired because I couldn’t do the work they were asking me to do.  My memory had gotten bad, I couldn’t walk without having to stop and take a breath and it was taking me too long to complete my jobs.  I knew if I didn’t retire I would eventually lose my job.

Since I was diagnosed in 2014 with cancer, I was asked several times why I didn’t try to file for disability. For me, disability is for someone who can’t work.  Even now I still think I can do something.  In reality, I know I can’t.  At my age, now 56, I doubt anyone will hire me with all my health issues.  It took some convincing from my wife and some of my other family members, I filed for disability in Septemeber of 2018.  Of course, with any filing, the first attempt is always denied, at least that’s what I was told.  And with that, my first filing, I was denied.

The simple fact that I can’t do anything but short term because I get so out of breath.  Walking, climbing stairs, going up an incline, carrying anything of any distance; things such as these I get so tired with fatigue and afterward I have to go and lay down for a while to get my energy back.  I can’t see any employer letting me go lay down after I do a job.

So, I got denied.  I immediately called a lawyer that had been highly recommended to me. When I filed for disability myself, I had to send in a lot of documents from all the doctors, the hospitals and such that I had.  It took me about two months to gather all of the information.  After about a month after I filed, they wanted more information.  Another month goes by gathering more information.  So, I had saved all of the documentation that was requested by the Social Security office and I sent all the documents I had saved to my lawyer.  After one year and six months, I had my hearing with the Social Security judge.

I met with my lawyer right before the hearing and he basically told me what not to say and what to say to the judge.  He told me to tell the truth and to tell him exactly what was going on, and I did.  They had a doctor on the phone that was representing the Social Security office.  To say that I was concerned would be an understatement.  My lawyer tried to calm me down because he could tell I was nervous.  The judge asked me a series of questions all of which I answered the best way I could.  The judge then turned to the doctor on the phone.  My anxiety levels hit the roof.  The judge asked him a series of questions regarding my work record, my work skill level and then he started asking him questions like, can he lift 50 pounds, can he crawl on his hands and knees, can I stand over thirty minutes without difficulty, can I sit for thirty minutes without difficulty.  The list went on and on.  To my surprise, the doctor said NO I can not do these things.  The Judge thanked him for his service and said I’m done.  That’s all I need to hear.  And with that he said we’re done.  I was in his chambers for less than 10 minutes.  The guy before me was in there for nearly an hour.

After I left the judge’s cambers my lawyer came and spoke to me.  He said that he felt really good about my case.  I am to call him in three months.  The decision could take up to six months.  But here is the kicker.  If I receive disability, I am supposed to get back pay from the date I filed or somewhere near that date.  He mentioned a figure of $2,100 a month for the backpay as well as my monthly payment.  I know he’s supposed to either get 25% of the back pay or $6,000, whichever is less.  I have a lot of need for this money so I hope I get it.

After all this, I still think that I don’t deserve disability.  I know a lot of people who are in worse shape than I am and they can’t get it.  The system is totally screwed up.  I know I have issues but I feel like I can still do something.  I’m not sure what but I think there is something out there that I can do.  The trouble is getting someone to hire me.

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