Friday, March 29, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #13

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope your week has been a good one and you're ready to boogie on into the weekend!  I'm going to try to ignore what's on our agenda for the night.  

Let's reach into...

If You Do This, You’re Eating Your Yogurt All Wrong   (I used to do this until the Mr. set me straight)

I Had 1 Cheat Day Once a Week For 2 Months, and This Is How It Affected My Weight  (The key is not to let what happened the first month happen at all.)

Avocados Recalled In 6 States After Potential Listeria Contamination  (For all of you getting your toast or guac on.)

The Pyrex Glass Controversy That Just Won't Die  (courtesy of the Mr.  There is nothing worse than when one of those bastards shatters on you.  I swear I always wince a little when I use them.)

The Keto Diet, Explained  (Grains fo' life yo!)

Pelvic floor exercises will literally change your life and health  (Incontinence doesn't have to happen to you as you age!)

Why Excessive Consumption Limits Your Creativity  (This is so true.  I have become SO stagnant having access to so many distractions.)

The Secret to Sleeping Better and Longer Just Might Be Giving Yourself a Break at the Office  (True dat)

Deaths from dementia have doubled in US, report says   (This sh*t needs to be stopped NOW)

Her Time - Debra was diagnosed with dementia at 65. That’s when she decided she no longer wanted to live  (This article may be upsetting to those who are empaths and feel deep.)

The Tiny Breaks That Ease Your Body and Boost Your Brain  (I can absolutely vouch for this.)

Clever Dog Convinces Visitor To Play Fetch With Him Through The Door  (This is hilarious.)

We are going on a much deserved small road trip to the Mr's hometown which means some pizza we're both looking forward to.   We need to get outta here and this is well timed especially since its grocery night.  I'm still going back and forth as to whether I want to food prep Sundays.  I can steam veggies in the microwave quicker than I roast them.  I know the flavor isn't as developed but I'm not down with spending as much time as I did especially last Sunday doing that.  I might steam some like the cauliflower and broccoli and maybe just roast ones that taste better roasted like sweet potatoes and carrots.  We'll see.

What are y'all into this weekend?

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Hump Day Poll: NOPE!

When I have the music channels on in the background, there are some songs that I hated with a passion in my childhood that still makes me instantly turn the channel.  All I need is the first holding keyboard note of Livin' on a Prayer (or any Bon Jovi song) and I scream "NOPE!" and it's off before the Mr even knows what song it was.  That is why this joke by Triumph to his face will never get old.  (The audio is off from the video but it's all I could find.)

What song do you hear less than three notes of and immediately have to change the channel or skip because you feel if it penetrates your ears you may lose your hearing?

(I have Music Choice muted and I just looked up and Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi is on.  Changed the channel, even my eyes hurt reading the name.)

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Friday, March 22, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #12

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope your week has treated you well and you've got something fun planned for the first weekend of spring.  I know our beloved Vermont has a foot of snow planned for today and wish we were there to play.  *kicks pebble*

Let's kick around...

How to Do a Hip Thrust, the Best Butt Exercise You're Not Doing  (I need to start doing these to up my PT game.)

50 Best Foods for Women's Health  (Load up the grocery cart!)

Strength training may reduce fatty liver disease  (Pump that iron!)

6 Little-Known Dangers of Restricting Sodium Too Much  (Duly noted, however, I strongly disagree with the amount they suggest which is up to 2x the amount recommended by the USDA and CDC.  Check with your doctor. )

A 2-Minute Exercise That Will Change Your Life & Help You Lose Weight  (The Mr has suggested this before and I blew it off but at this point, I'll try anything.)

Tens of Thousands of Heart Patients May Not Need Open-Heart Surgery   (Good to know options if you need them.)

How to Get Your To-Do List Done When You’re Always in Meetings  (Great tips to get stuff done.)

The Dirty Secret Women Keep   (Oh good, something to look forward to.)

Fleetwood Mac members dish on Lindsey Buckingham's 2018 'firing'   (Make sure to watch the video at the bottom for Lindsey's side of the story.  I wonder if this was done before his heart surgery because it seems VERY apparent to me in his labored breathing that he should've been checked out.)

Drive-Thru Workers Can Hear You Even When You Can't Hear Them  (Courtesy of the Mr.  Refrain from calling them a dumbass until AFTER you get your food.)

We're going to a symphony this weekend which will be a nice distraction from all of the other crap we're dealing with.  (Thanks for the well wish Dalbador and those on FB, it meant the world to the Mr.)  Until then, I'm going to listen to KPOA online and pretend we're in Hawaii.  I might be getting the itch here in the next year or so but our vacays are locked down for this year.  We'll see.

What are you doing this weekend?  Anyone got spring break going on?

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Real Stress Test

It's been just over a week since the Mr went to the ER for what was diagnosed as "GERD"  (heartburn.)  They scheduled a stress test for him a week ago today because despite being told all was normal, the ECG noted "possible infarct- age undetermined."  This means he could've had a heart attack that healed itself and the stress test on the treadmill with an ECG would be able to determine this.  We didn't like that because it wasn't even mentioned and we consulted Google and were like "why didn't they mention that?"  Maybe to keep us off Google.  Sorry.  His dad died as a direct result of malpractice and that ain't happening with him.  The night before, we were doing one of our workouts, and he was pushing himself so he could prove he would be all studly on the test.  Yes, honey, I see how far and fast you did those skaters but going through the drywall into the stairs doesn't earn you points.


We knew from some research that it takes the average person 6-7 minutes to get to their max heart rate on the treadmill test.  I think he needed numbers to beat.  So they go in and do an ultrasound of his heart at rest.  They said the walls were a bit less defined than they'd like for a clear pic, so they were going to have to use that dye which then turned it into a nuclear stress test.  He used to do the treadmill all the time when we owned one and did a 5K on it, so he's no stranger to it.  Many people can't do a traditional stress test because of bad knees and such, so they can give you a medicine that speeds up your heart rate and they image you then.  (No thanks.)  It took him 10 minutes and 9 seconds to finally get up to a heart rate they could image, and his recovery rate was so fast it stunned the nurse.  Obviously, that's good for his overall health.  He has the heart of a runner recovery wise.  The test results were in the same day, and the lady left a voice mail explaining all of it.    "All normal (blah blah blah) first degree AV block  (blah blah blah) aortic root dilation...high end of normal is 4, and you're 4.2 (blah blah blah) follow up with family doc."

(Accurate reaction via

We both hop on the laptops and begin Googling.  AV block is not an actual block of anything, it's an electrical issue.  "First-degree heart block generally does not cause symptoms and does not require treatment. This type of heart block is not uncommon among well-trained athletes who have slow resting heart rates."  Our previous doctor, the crunchy granola one that was the size of a twig and blamed everything we had wrong with us from hangnails to possible skin cancer to weight diagnosed that condition about 10 years ago and said it was no big deal.  In case you're wondering why we don't go to her anymore, she had a stroke and had to close her practice. Not sure if there was family history there or not but it came as quite the shock to us because she was the picture of supposed perfect health.  Thankfully, the Mr had no family history, or so we thought.  We'll get to that.

So then it was time to Google the other thing.  Basically, the size of 4.2cm puts him on a yearly monitoring protocol.  Your aorta grows with age anyway but some people who have this never have it grow, and others do.  This is not something that they specifically look for so had he not had this GERD episode, we may have gone the whole rest of his life not knowing this existed.  For those wondering, this undetected condition was what John Ritter had.  If you've been here for any length of time, you know that I choose to bring attention to that very cause on 9/11, the date of John's passing to know the Ritter Rules to have doctors check for it with heart attack symptoms.  It is not something they will check for routinely and can only be ruled out via CT scan or MRI.  An EKG or ultrasound will not detect this.  John was able to save his brother's life when he got tested for it and found out he had the same issue, had corrective surgery and is now fine.  Corrective, preventative surgery is the only treatment for this.  Obviously, keeping your blood pressure low (which the Mr. does have that of an athlete along with his resting heart rate which is excellent), not regularly drinking or smoking (he does neither) are also important.  The only other thing he can do is lose weight.  Shocker but with all of the other factors, he is still a low-risk patient, even with the family history, he didn't know he had.

We had to come up with a way to ask his mom if there was any family history without saying what was going on.  Until we know more, we don't need him being the topic of discussion with every family member, friend, neighbor, and grocery bagger.  I suggested he tell her he's having a big ol' midlife physical and they ask a lot about family history especially with heart stuff so tell him everything she knows if there's anything to tell.  She did.  They all have "good hearts" except you know when his grandma died of a bacterial infection that can only attach to the heart if there is damage and she had a heart attack that healed itself?

(Actual reaction to email via

They ended up treating his grandma's infection with medicine she was allergic to and killed her, which I knew so you can imagine with two cases of medical malpractice in his family that *I* will be on a doc like brown on rice.  He's either going to have to deal or piss off and on to the next person.

So on Friday, I spent all day researching cardiologists.  I found my top three that all rated high from patients and sent them to him.  We decided to wait to see what our family doc said Monday before making an appointment with him in case she recommended someone specifically.  Well, that was a friggin' waste of time just like we thought.  She mainly just looked at the chart real quick and said: "everything looks good, looks normal."  The Mr said his previous doc discovered the AV block about 10 years ago and she said that was normal and most people who exercise and have really good blood pressure on their own have it.  She seemed to be ready to dismiss us at that point, and I said, "yeah but then there's the aortic root dilation."  She said, "yeah, just maybe touch base with a cardiologist and establish a relationship there to get it checked out and monitored yearly."  That was the extent of it.  She really seemed to act like she didn't know why we were there either but wanted to make sure we scheduled our wellness visits before we left.  Gotta pay for that new office, ya know?  (I know, we do need to do it, it's been a few years.)  The only thing we did get was the full doctor's version of his test results for everything, not the dumbed down version for patients.  He noted a few things on there that he didn't like and got himself a little riled up, but I pointed out key words he left out and hopefully eased his mind.  We highlighted anything that caused us concern that we want clarified with a cardiologist.

He made an appointment and we couldn't get in for just over 2 months.  I had him call to get on a cancellation list and hopefully we can get in there sooner than later.  I hope to get him on a schedule of another scan in 6 months then 6 months later to see if there is any growth that we should be concerned about.  I also want to get clear answers on if he needs to cut back on any specific type of exercise since we do HIIT and strength training.  It's those very things that have kept his heart healthy enough for three docs to see his results and call his heart "normal and healthy."  I know his dreams for Mr, Olympia have now come to an end...

(Pec pump brought to you by

... but we want a recommendation based on his specifics, not someone on the internet.

So that's where we are right now...being told he has heartburn to looking for cardiologists.  We've been doing a lot of praying, and we are very much looking at this as a blessing even though it's scary as hell.  This is not screened for, and I think I read in 80% of cases they find it accidentally as a result of something else.

The lessons you should take from this:

1)  If you have chest pain, get it checked out.  If they offer a stress test, do it.

2)  Search reputable sources if an issue is discovered to gather important questions to ask a specialist.  (Like I was unaware that if a general surgeon does vascular surgery, death rates can be as high as 76% versus only 5% if a trained vascular surgeon does it.  Therefore a general surgeon won't come within 10' of my husband.)

3)  Share your family history.  If you're a parent, daughter, sibling and you have a heart or major health event, you need to share it with your family so they can update their family history!!!  The thing that has seemed to shake the Mr the most during this whole ordeal is that he was lulled into a false sense of security that 'at least my family doesn't have heart issues.'   That stuff is very important to share and especially if you have an aortic dilation, there is a 20% chance others in your family might have it as well.   They should be tested so they can begin a prevention plan of their own.

(Schoolhouse Rock fo' life!

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

When Your Childhood Bully Resurfaces

The other night while I was finishing up some food prep, my bestie that I've known since 7th grade sent me a message.  In it was an article detailing how a mutual childhood bully of ours and countless others, was in custody for robbery.  This doesn't surprise me in the slightest, and honestly, I figured he was already in jail, so the bigger surprise was that he was at large a state or two away.  His rap sheet was long with petty crimes, enough to keep him in and out of jail for most of his adult life. 

Our history with him goes back to when I met her.  Back then middle school was typically where several elementary schools in the same district all funneled their kids into one big school to make up 7th and 8th grade before transitioning into high school for grades 9-12.  My 5th-grade bestie changed districts in 6th grade which left me heartbroken and taking on "filler" friends to mind the gap until I saw her again in 7th grade.  When I saw her on the first day of school, she had a new friend, Leeann.  (This is the same friend who incessantly repeats the fart story from last week in case you were wondering.)  I don't remember too much about our meeting, but she does.  The one thing she'll never let me forget is apparently upon meeting her, I busted into Kelly LeBrock from Weird Science and said: "don't threaten me, Al.  You're out of shape, I'll kick your ahhhssss."  From that point on, she was both a little intimidated by and loved me.  What the three of us quickly learned in our environment is that this walking meadow muffin, Dick, had a thing for torturing anyone he thought wouldn't fight back.  Basically fatties and geeks.  I heard countless stories from my two friends about the things he would say and do to them.  It was enough to make me steer clear of him because no one wants to be the target of a very clear future (and probably current at that time) criminal.  I might've gotten the occasional fat insult thrown at me by him when he was in the mood but I was taller and louder than him and if I'd reacted in the same mousy way my friends did, I'm sure I would have more stories to tell.

I only had one major run-in with him that left any real imprint.  We shared homeroom together due to last names, and when I was talking to a friend in there, he saunters in late, as usual, plops down at the table behind us and looks at me and yells "what's up fat ass?"  Of course, everyone looks, waiting to see if they should join in and laugh at me or if I'm going to say anything.  I laughed and said "ooooh!!!  Fat ass.  How ORIGINAL!!!  How long did it take you to come up with that!?"  Everyone busted out laughing, and I think it was less at what I said and more out of relief to not have to go along with him to stay out of his crosshairs.  "Shut up, bitch," and he slithered away never to really bother me much again.  (If so, I've blocked it.)  What I love is that none of the teachers ever did a damn thing to stop him.  He was constantly in the principal's office, but that's like a vacation to a ruffian like him.  ( love the word ruffian.)  Thankfully, it was either the end of freshman year or the middle of sophomore year, he transferred somewhere, never to be seen again.

Until the jail thing.

So, I guess there are some alumni social media forums my friend is a part of and that is where she saw the story about his arrest.  She sent me a screenshot of a story someone there told as part of his torment from him.  Barry was a bit of a typical nerd in school.  Nice kid, nothing remotely threatening about him which is just how Dick liked 'em.  He preyed on the weak and Barry was no exception.  Apparently, Dick liked to stab Barry in the leg "only 1/2" deep."  He would go to the bathroom, pack his wound with toilet paper and go about his day.  Dick threatened to kill him almost daily in 7th grade.  Yes, he told the school.  No, they didn't do a damn thing.  One day when he'd had enough, he brought a knife of his own to school and was going to defend himself.  He thought about rushing Dick and ending it for him but he thankfully didn't and now can get a bit of satisfaction knowing he'll be in jail.  It would only be for 5 years max, and then he'll be back out again to menace society.  Another visit to the ultimate principal's office but this time he gets free room and board.  His rap sheet proves he will offend again.  Theft, B&E, drug possession, etc. and he's even escaped custody.  I know it's a drain on taxpayers to keep what they consider a petty criminal behind bars for life, but there needs to be a three-strike law regardless of the crime.  He has been traumatizing people his entire life, and he will continue to do so. 

It killed me to hear how fresh the pain was that my friend still carries with her.  It broke my heart to know that one person was violently assaulted by him often and still carries scars both emotionally and physically from those encounters.  I'm sure there are many more that haven't come forward out of shame and embarrassment.  My friend said all of the people he bullied should go visit him in jail or show up at his hearing.  I told her he didn't deserve a single second of our time and I would never give him the satisfaction.  It would make a walking POS like him feel good to know that 30 years later, we still know his name and who knows, when he's out, he could look you up for old time's sake.  No thank you. 

For now, those of us who were his victims whether emotionally or physically can only dream of the retribution he may get being someone's prison bitch.  My friend said she hopes he gets shanked and I know she wasn't kidding.  He physically and emotionally abused her, and no one of authority did a damn thing about it.  "Ignore him."  How do you ignore someone coming up to you, yelling an insult at the top of their lungs two inches from your face and punching you in the arm daily!?!?!  That is the problem with a blanket solution of telling kids to "tell an adult."  The authority didn't stretch that far and that was then, it stretches even less now.  You tell someone then the bullying gets more intense and often more violent to "teach" you a lesson as it did with my classmates.  This is why suicide rates are higher now than they've ever been because kids feel like there is nowhere to turn and the prospect of years more torture seems too much to bear.  My friend told me she didn't know what she would've done without me and my other friend to turn to in those days.  I have little doubt that if Barry may have had suicidal thoughts thinking about the possibility of 6 more years of hell at the hands of this monster.  It has stirred feelings in me I thought were long buried but I refuse to let him steal another minute from me.  The universe or Gunter the Reaper doing three life sentences can sort him out.  Physical scars may heal and be hard to reopen, but the emotional wounds that we thought we'd worked past are always vulnerable to burst open without warning.  I checked in on Leeann the next day to see if she was okay and she acted like why wouldn't she be?  You go from wanting a tormenter shanked to smiling saying you're fine in the span of 14 hours.  Coping mechanisms, gotta love 'em. 

So I raise my water bottle to you, Dick.   May they throw the book at you and give some emotional justice to the victims who reach far beyond the crimes for which you're currently charged.  Salud.

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Monday, March 18, 2019

Random Weekend Recap

Monday already, eh?

The Mr and I were highly irritated with the metal thing in the basement that spits at us along with its tape measurer friend.  We know we're still in the "adjust" stage of things where you have to let your body get used to things but yeah.


Then I did some research because my sodium levels were ridiculously low last week and borderline low the week before.  There is actually a lot of scary crap that can happen to your body when you go under 1500mg, so I'm going to be keeping a close eye on that to make sure I'm at the 1500-1800mg range.

Friday night was grocery night.

Our cart looked like that, but our enthusiasm was nowhere near JT's.

Saturday was not a shining day for me.  Lots of stuff swirling in my head on many, many fronts that all came out in a batch of bitchiness that was not fun for either of us.  I have so many things needing my attention and may need to step back from this for a bit.  It depends on the day, so if I'm not here as much, that's why.  If I'm here like normal, I'm not taking my own advice.  Saturday night we rented Instant Family with Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne.  We were excited to see Julie Hagerty from Airplane! was in it as well as Margo Martindale.  Love that woman.  It was overall a good movie but just continues to reinforce the life decisions we've made.  We dove into the last season of Catastrophe and finished that off Sunday.  We both felt like it needed one more episode and one of the episodes really sucked given what we're going through right now.  Art has a way of throwing life's challenges in your face at just the right moment.

Sunday was rather mellow in the scheme of things.  I got beans in the crockpot early and got the Mr's eggs for the week done while I made breakfast which incidentally looked like a dog's breakfast to quote Ina Garten.

(Bacon, whole grain toast, cantaloupe, and leftover food prep scramble.)

I had to get some eggs out of there for all of the crap for food prep to fit.  Stuff was literally falling out at us.  I planned to do prep later in the day because it was so nice earlier on in the day, but we ended up wasting it by just getting on it.

(Curried cauliflower with a squirt of lemon juice and garlic broccoli)

I know I won't think it's a waste when I scoop and eat, but I really do need to not cut and roast on the same day.,,you know, like I said last Monday?  Oh, another thing I learned from meal prep last week is don't roast carrots with anything else on the sheet pan.  They release a buttload of water when crowded together and will make anything they're with potentially mushy, i.e.- my sweet potatoes.  I will use parchment paper next time as a few of you suggested, but I literally didn't care yesterday, so one old sheet pan got the brunt of it all.  It took even longer than last time because I wasn't running both ovens and just kind of doing it here and there, so I hated it even more the second time around.  This week's veggies are broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes and various peppers and onions. If last week is any indicator, that natural gas reliever arriving today will be right in time.

What did you guys get into this weekend?

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Friday, March 15, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #11

Happy Friday, my lovelies!  It's been a week between getting our butts handed to us with workouts and the ER visit and results.  We need a good weekend as I'm sure you do as well!  

Let's get right to...

Low-Carb Diet For Weight Loss Linked To Atrial Fibrillation  (Something to consider.)

This Is How Much Salt You Can Have A Day  (It may be less than you think!)

8 Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms Your Doctor Won't Tell You About  (Incessantly tricky and often not caught until it's too late.  My grandpa passed from it.  If you're BRCA positive, your risk is higher according to my doc.)

4 Keys to Fat Loss Beyond “Eat Less and Move More”  (It's not that simple, and people need to stop perpetuating this blanket way of thinking.)

These Handy Tricks Get Rid Of Tension Headaches In A Minute Flat  (I don't know about a minute, but I can vouch for this.)

How to Actually Get Your Doctor to Listen to You   (I don't see putting them in a headlock when they dismiss you based on your size on the list.)

5 Weight-Loss Rules You Can and Should Break  (Yeah, I'm sorry, but salads are the worst if they're the main meal IMO.)

This Is Why You Need to Keep the Cap on When Recycling Plastic Bottles  (Holy crap!)

Make Sure You Don’t Keep This One Thing In Your Junk Drawer   (My grandma kept those in there all the time!)

Olivia Newton-John Opens Up About Recent Health Scare, Death Rumors and How She’s Really Doing with Cancer  (Absolutely love her.  Was so obsessed with her as a kid!)

Bride Goes Viral For Her Hilarious “Office”-Themed Bridal Shower  (Fact...this is funny and good for her bridesmaids for going all out!)

The Great Star Wars Heist  (Scandalous!  For real.)

Sadly, it's grocery weekend.

It looks like once the winds pass today, we're supposed to have a streak of better weather.  I'm sure just acknowledging that will jinx it. 

You have anything less terrifying going on than circling Trader Joe's and Whole Foods parking lots?

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Kevin Smith/Luke Perry Effect

A little over a year ago, director Kevin Smith had a massive heart attack.  Kevin plays to kind of a specific audience of the 420 crowd and those with a proclivity for sailor mouths, count us in the second group.  While his on-screen alter ego, the loveable Silent Bob, is known for being, well, silent; everyone knows Kevin more than makes up for it when letting loose on TV, podcasts, etc.  He's the director that makes any man or woman think they can be a director and you get the feeling he truly believes it.  Kevin was known for getting a little on the pudgy side and played to it by wearing shirts like Fatman riffed off of Batman in that self-deprecating way all of us carrying more weight are familiar with.  The whole 'say what they think before they can say it' that almost always wins you the rep of 'funny fat guy/girl' and everyone loves you.  *raising hand*  He lost weight in recent years by walking his sweet lil old weenie dog Shecky, 80 lbs I think he said which you all know is no small feat.  Kevin has a family history of heart problems, so I'm sure that was motivation to help him get started.  He had his heart attack in between shows, and we just recently got to see that show in his release Silent but Deadly.    It was probably the best gabfest he's done and the most like actual stand up he's done over "story time."  When you watch it knowing what you know about what was going to happen to him an hour later when the show starts, lines he says like "dude, you almost gave me a heart attack" and his closing bit about how you don't have long on this Earth, so go out and do what you're passionate about regardless of your age were a bit surreal.  You can hear a very detailed, NSFW account of all of his symptoms and what they did to him as he had his widowmaker heart attack here.   It's a good listen for the men in your life to be aware of symptoms because of the details he gives, including what saved his life.  It made a significant impact on us because we've always felt like he was our crazy stoner friend that's fun to hang out with from time to time.

Then came Luke Perry less than two weeks ago passed away from a massive stroke.  I'm not going to lie, I was never a 90210 fan even though I was in the demo for that show.  Matter of fact, I loathed that show, and I thought his character was a little too on the nose for me to ever take seriously.  Then we had the opportunity to briefly meet him in 1999, and that man was the sweetest dude ever.  His big smile radiated as he said hello to screaming fans and was genuinely happy to be at the party.  He changed my mind about him, and while I wasn't a fan of Dylan, I became a fan of Luke.  The Mr and I both agree that his death has hit us particularly hard for reasons we can't quite understand.  I shed some tears, and I think a lot of that is just thinking about that brief meeting and how sweet of a guy he was and so gracious.  Then came all of the stories from those who worked with him and how that initial impression was not only correct but went so far beyond that.  You got a sense that a truly gentle soul this effed up world so desperately needs, slipped away.  For signs of stroke and what to know, see this article.

I told you that to tell you how we spent Tuesday night.

The Mr has had a panic attack before, the crushing heart attack kind.  He has also dealt with anxiety showing up as a pit in the stomach feeling where he could breathe through it and be okay.  When he mentioned something about a weird pressure in his chest that he couldn't shake, I asked if we needed to go to Urgent Care because he didn't seem to be in distress to the point of needing a hospital visit.  He said no, and it would probably go away, and it seemed to, or at least he didn't mention it again that night.  Tuesday he said he was sore in his left arm, but we'd done a strength workout, and that feeling was back.  I asked if he was stressed about anything and he said no, he was fine.  He wasn't taking into account the incredibly stressful week he had both at work, and with family BS he had to deal with once he was home.  He said it didn't feel like anxiety the way he usually feels it and said he'd see if it felt better.  He said after he ate, he felt better but didn't care for the pressure in his chest before that. Since I've dealt with a stress disorder for just over 20 years, I know how this works if that is what he's experiencing.  What was once your "go to" signs of stress and anxiety shift to a new to you symptom and the same feelings of pressure in the chest he had, I'd also been experiencing the last month but daily the past 2 weeks.  I knew they were stress related because when I'd do something like listening to a favorite song or exercise, it was completely gone.  I told him to tell me if he wanted to go to the doctor and he said he would.

Around 4pm, I was gleefully doing dishes and be-bopping around the kitchen when he came down and asked me to take him to Urgent Care.  He just didn't like that it wasn't going away and after what happened with Kevin and now Luke, he thought it better to be safe than sorry.  I agreed, and we headed over which is thankfully three minutes from the house.  When they were taking his vitals, his blood pressure was really high, for him.  143/90.  The nurse chalked it up to being nervous and asked him to think about something calming, and I told him to think of Daisy Fuentes.  His BP went down to 122/70.  I said, "see, she worked!"
We all laughed, and he got more info from him.  The doc came in casually asked some questions and then said he was referring him to the emergency room up the street.  This is apparently a new thing where they're building free-standing ER's that aren't attached to hospitals.  (??)  So basically, we totally wasted our time going there.  Duly noted for the future.  The fact they were referring us got him worried they saw something.  I knew from all of the info they had, which were all normal BP, oxygen and resting heart rate levels that they were just referring because they don't deal with that anymore but couldn't dismiss it either.  So if you have a potential cardiac issue, just go to the ER and save yourself the time wasted.

I headed up the street to the ER, and they got him right into a room.  Two nurses came in and slapped on the BP cuff, and the other started hooking up electrodes to run an ECG.  I'll admit, the nose started stinging when that happened, and I had to tell myself to knock it off.  I wasn't worried as I was 98% sure he didn't have a heart attack, but it's that 2% that'll get ya.  His vitals were all excellent.  Oxygen at 97% but even that was probably due to more shallow breathing, BP was the same and resting heart rate of 60.  According to the Mayo Clinic, "a normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness."  So you can see he was a-okay there.  They took him for a chest x-ray, and when he came back, the doctor came in with him.

He was pretty laid back, asked him questions about his symptoms.  He changed his description from pressure like he'd been saying to the 50 people who had asked to pain with the doctor.  He also moved the area he'd previously been pointing to, and you ladies out there will share in my frustration when that vague mansplaining comes into play.  I try not to say anything when we're there for his appointments, but I did clarify and say he'd been describing it as pressure all day which he agreed with.  There is a definite difference between the two in the eyes of the medical profession, and I wanted the doctor to be clear about what he'd been saying for 2 days.  Because he moved his area of discomfort down, the doctor was no longer thinking heart attack but was now thinking ulcer or reflux.  I internally shook my head and banged it against the wall whilst keeping my resting wife face strong.  They drew blood to check for levels that could tell them if he had a heart attack.  The doctor came back in about 15 minutes later and said everything from x-rays to bloodwork looked good.  No heart attack or anything like that.  He thought its reflux and wanted to put him on two meds.  Well, he's had reflux before and knows what that feels like, and in my head, I thought "I know he's not taking those."  I was right, especially after seeing all of the side effects.  He did say he wanted him to schedule a stress test with ECG so that would need to happen within the next 72 hours, so he'll be going today at 1pm.

Despite the nurses being told he's lost over 150 lbs and works out 6 days per week, this info obviously was not relayed to the doctor.  He wasn't at all condescending in that way of "oh yeah, fat man in da house.  Of course, you're having a heart attack" like so many doctors tend to be.  He asked if he thought he could handle the stress test and the Mr's like "yeah."  The doctor paused and said, "because they'll put you on a treadmill and increase it and you'll be on an incline."  He said, "yeah, I know, I've been on the treadmill before."  The doctor smiled in a way that irritated me, and I said, "we exercise 6 days a week.  He's lost 155 lbs, I've lost over 200 lbs.  He can do the stress test."  He smiled real big and said, "alright!  Getting your walk on to get it done!"  The Mr said, "uh, no I do plyometrics and strength training."  I chimed in and said, "he does HIIT."
The doc grinned from ear to ear and suddenly morphed into Shaun T and was like "well, alright!  That's what I'm talking about.  getting it DONE!"  Look, there is absolutely ZERO SHAME in starting where you are to build your fitness and walking is often that for many of us.  However, I am all into busting the stereotype that people who are at or around 300 lbs can't do more than that.  Every single time we go to a new doctor or an appointment like that, it's a new fight to get them to see the whole picture which is more than just I've got a fat couple here."  It's about them seeing that we eat right and exercise 6 days a week and that our workout schedule is challenging even for a conventionally "fit person."

Twenty minutes later, one of the staff came in and said, "the fit people!"  We kind of laughed and she said, "you're the talk of the lobby with your weight loss and exercise routine!"  Well, good!  If it stops one more fluffy person from being instantly judged then it's worth it to spread our stories.  The one nurse who was a little overweight said, "I can't even get off of my butt to do one day of exercise much less six!"  So if nothing else, we schooled about five people on not judging books by their covers.

I am glad he is okay and while I'm sure we'll feel differently when the random bills start rolling in, I'm glad we were on the safe side and checked it out.  We have insurance for a reason and are always griping about our premiums when we never use it for much so knowing we have it available is a blessing I don't take for granted with so many uninsured.  That was literally the first question urgent care asked us when we walked in.  When we left, the Mr. said, "oh, you may be having a heart attack...are you insured?  Are you employed!?"  What would they have done if we said no?

Did you know these are the top five causes of death at publishing according to the CDC?

Heart disease: 635,260
Cancer: 598,038
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 161,374
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 154,596
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 142,142

Get heart smart and always err on the side of caution.

Have you or someone you know had a heart attack or stroke?

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Hump Day Poll: Same 'Ol Story

There are stories that stick with us no matter how old we get and will probably be told at our funerals whether we want them to be or not.  You know the ones you've heard 100x that you grin and bear through it. 

The Mr probably knows by the heart the story of how the first time my friend and I had a sleepover in 7th grade that I laughed so hard, I farted against the wood floor, and it reverbed against it.  I very calmly said, "I only fart for my best guests."  It will be on my headstone if she had her way and I'm surprised she didn't repeat it when I met her fiance for the first time, but she probably didn't want me spilling the beans on any of her embarrassing stories.

My favorite one is how Grandma used to tell me I was her first grandbaby, and she said it with such love in her eyes.  I'm glad she retold it so many times because I still hear her in my head when I think about it and smile.  I'm thankful my mom took a pic of her telling that story at my birthday dinner celebration a year before she was diagnosed.  My head was laying on her shoulder, and we were holding hands.  It's my favorite picture and favorite story.   Way better than the fart one, but whatcha gonna do?

What's a story told about you by others over and over again much to your delight or chagrin?

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

What I Learned from My First Meal Prep Session

Last year, I bought Fitness Blender's meal plan just so I could get some recipe ideas and what to be able to throw together for lunches and dinner.  There were a lot of plant-based meal ideas, and much of it centered around having items ready to be assembled like beans, sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, etc.  We have no plans for going vegetarian or vegan, but I would like to get a lot more of those meals in our rotation particularly on cardio or active recovery days.  I decided to dive into meal prep without a real plan and here's how it went.

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Preheat ovens to 425 degrees.

I have to cut veggies but can also get the rice done while I do that, so I used 3 cups of brown rice and 1 box (32 oz) of chicken bone broth without extra salt.  I put it in a Dutch oven and added some black pepper and garlic powder.  I wanted more universal spices so if we wanted to make it Mexican, Italian or plain, it wasn't already overpowered with spice.  I prefer using bone broth over chicken stock because there is less sodium and 9g of protein per cup or 36g (3g per serving) of extra protein in the rice.

While that was going, it was time to cut the veggies I was going to roast.  I started with the ones that would take more time first.

(Broccoli, Carrots, Asparagus and Sweet Potatoes)

I lined two big sheet pans with foil and a squirt of canola cooking spray.  I started with the carrots.  I peeled and sliced the ends off and weighed them on my food scale so I could calculate calories later.

I like to cut my carrots on the diagonal.  A chef friend of ours said it's the quickest way to make an ordinary dinner or lunch feel special and he's right.  I cut them about 1 1/2" on the skinny end then down to 1" at the thicker end.  I tossed in 1 tsp of grapeseed oil which doesn't have a flavor to it and a high smoking point.

I put the carrots on one half of the sheet pan.

I checked on the rice, and it looked about like this:

I added a cup of water after a texture taste, turned the heat down to 3 and set the timer for 10 minutes.

Then onto the sweet potatoes.  I cut them about 1/2" thick and then into like sizes so they would roast evenly.  These are the only veggies I tossed with 2 tsp of grapeseed oil due to volume.

I placed those on the sheet pan with the carrots and got them roasting and set the oven timer for 10 minutes.

(I put a little chipotle powder on the sweet potatoes because I like the contrast)

The asparagus is easy.  Cut off the woody ends by chopping just above the bottom rubber band, then cut into four sections

Those go on half a roasting sheet.

Then time to cut the broccoli.  I don't like big honking florets, so I cut them into nice one-bite pieces.

I tossed those in 1 tsp of oil and onto the sheet pan they went.

The rice was done, and I wanted to tend to that for a second before moving on with the veggies.

I turned off the heat and transferred it to a big bowl where I could weigh the whole thing.

I knew I had 12 servings of rice dry (1/4 cup) so I divided that by 12.

So basically 4.9 ounces when I store or divide these up for meals.  I covered the rice with plastic wrap and stuck it by the back of the stove where it would stay warm with the steam coming from the vents of the oven.

I put the broccoli and asparagus in the oven and tended to the carrots and sweet potatoes so they wouldn't stick.  I set them both for 10 minutes.

Back to the cutting board for the more delicate ones.

I cut up two red onions, a poblano pepper, and a green pepper and put them on a sheet pan for the top oven.  When the timer went off for the other veggies, I stuck these in.

When the timer went off, the broccoli and asparagus were done.

I'm not gonna lie, this is where I was so over it all, and my back was hurting a bit after being hunched over the veggies then playing musical sheet trays, but I knew I was close. I flipped over the onions and moved the peppers around.   I set the timer for 10 minutes and started getting rice portioned out.

I love using these BPA free containers that let you really take advantage of your meal prep and have them all done for the week.  Then the peppers and onions were done, so I took those out.

Five minutes later the carrots and potatoes were done, but I was juggling too much to take a pic. 

I began assembling some of the containers.  I put the pre-measured rice in with a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime, then I added 85g of black beans I already had made and frozen.

I added 5 ounces of cooked chicken with a squirt of hot taco sauce (about 1 1/2 tsp) then I added some roasted red onions and some roasted green peppers and a key lime cut in half, so the Mr had a chicken fajita bowl for lunch.  I had one pretty much the same but slightly different.

I subbed poblano pepper for green pepper and added some roasted broccoli and topped it with 2 tbsp of homemade habanero salsa and ghost peppers cuz I'm spicy like that.

Time ended:  6:50pm

So that took two full hours which was a little exhausting, but I know I can improve. 

What I would do differently:

1) Write a detailed shopping list.  I haven't gotten to the part where I have specific meals planned ahead which is kind of the point.  This was more to have stuff on hand that I could throw together lunches and just have to heat them up.  More detailed meal planning is likely in the future.

2)  I'm definitely cutting the veggies beforehand, and not the same day I roast them.  That was a lot to juggle, but I consider it a rookie mistake and part of the learning curve.  It'll save my back too.

3)  Start the crockpot with my proteins in the morning so they're done by evening and I can put all of it away at the same time.  (Or cook them on low overnight from Saturday into Sunday)

4)  Dedicate 2 or 3 old sheet pans to roasting.  I don't like cooking with foil but only used it because the pans were new and I didn't want to ruin them. 

5)  Start earlier.  Depending on what I have going on for the day, I think I'd like to do this sooner than later.

I know I'll get better at this and because the Mr was installing insulation is the only reason he got out of cutting.   Next time he won't be so lucky.  😉  Two people whether it's you and your spouse or you and your kiddo(s) will make it go even faster and make it not seem so overwhelming.

I do crockpot beans overnight on low just before bed so I can have them ready for chili, bean and cheese burritos or to throw in rice bowls for extra protein and fiber.  Buying a bag and doing them yourself saves you a lot of sodium and some moolah.  Put those slow cookers to work for you! 

Any meal preppers out there?  Any tips you want to share?

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Monday, March 11, 2019

Time Change Weekend Recap

For those with delicate sensibilities, there will be more swearing than usual below as I wrote the first part in the moment to avoid screaming and waking the Mr.

Saturday morning:  My biggest joy in life is drinking more water, making an effort to change up our meals into being even more healthy than they already are (particularly lunches) in a calorie range well within what every calculator out there tells me I should be eating, doing hard new to us workouts and gaining a friggin' pound

I'm not quitting on our current plan or anything, but this is exactly why I've given zero f**ks the past few years about killing myself meticulously tracking, obsessing over HRM numbers, and taking the time to plan because I feel like I just get crapped on for my efforts.  My body goes against every single law of physics regardless of the scenario.  No, I should not let a piece of machinery make me this friggin' angry but THIS is the part of the fight that makes me want to throat punch people when they're like "calories in/calories out", "move more, eat less" or my favorite "just lose weight" like it's the easiest thing in the world to do.  Maybe it's easier for skinny folk that are genetically blessed and their efforts seem to pay off more than the rest of us who struggle with weight (they would read that as an excuse), but for those of us who have to kick, scream, and fight for every damn ounce, it's frustrating.  Our downstairs calendar reads like a gym schedule.  You saw the March workout schedule last week, I sent it to someone else doing Beachbody on Demand, and their jaws dropped so I know we're not fooling ourselves on the intensity.  I know there could be a myriad of reasons why that bastard from hell shows me gaining, but when you still have 9 lbs now of vacation weight to get off, and you feel like crap about yourself already, it needs to get with the program.  I sure have, so step in line @sshole!

On a major high note though, the Mr lost 4 lbs!!!  I'm genuinely ecstatic for him because I really urged him to track this week and up his calories because I thought they were way too low and he was in the same boat I'm in so to see this drop for him is awesome.

We did 21 Day Fix "Dirty 30" which was a mix of compound weight exercises, and it kicked our butts.  Before that, I got us each 2 pitted Medjool dates stuffed with a few walnuts so my blood sugar wouldn't drop out from under me afterward and thankfully, that did the trick.  It doesn't hurt it tastes like pecan pie either.  If you haven't tried that, I highly suggest you do.  It is an awesome pre or post workout snack.  I have to say it stinks not having that Friday feeling of "yes!  Rest day tomorrow!" and if we're road tripping, we'll have to flip back to Sunday but it'll take some getting used to.  It did feel nice last Sunday to not have to get a workout in even though we still walked just under 2 miles at the park, we weren't focused on "we have to do one more lap for it to count."

The rest of the day was spent just stopping at random stores because we didn't want to be home, then the storm came through, so we headed home.  Then we ended up getting into deep conversations around 11pm and didn't go up until 1:45am which by the time we got done with bathroom necessities became 3am due to the time change. 

I woke up at 9:00 am (to my body) and checked email and all that jazz and didn't haul my butt outta bed until 10:30 am.  It was a cloudy, crappy day that called for grilled cheese and tomato soup to get things started as we woke up from our emotion filled and time change stupor.  The time change never used to affect me, but I find the last year or two, it has taken me almost a week to get on schedule.

We had some crap to get at grocery stores including Whole Foods which is always a joy on the weekend, and the Mr wanted to get insulation to finish off the garage.  It was weird for it to be a rest day but my Lord after Dirty 30, I needed it.  My abs and chest were sore.  Let me peek at today's workout...Core de Force-MMA Shred.  Here's some random chick that recorded herself doing some of it if you want to get an idea of what we're in for.  At least it's not strength.  I couldn't do that today.  I did a buttload of meal prep which took a goodly amount of time.  I was so glad dinner was heat and eat then we crashed hard.

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, March 8, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #10

Happy Friday you saucy wenches and uh, what is the dude version of wench?  Denches?  I am ready for the weekend as I'm sure you all are as well.  It's been quite a week for the Mr at work, so I know that boy is ready to run screaming nekkid down the street.

But first, let's streak into...  

Healthy Dinners in 40 Minutes or Less  (Yum!)

How Eating Too Little Is Wrecking Your Progress  (I think I've read this before, but obviously it was on my mind this week.)

The Weird Benefit Of Mouth Taping That You Should Know About  (Color me intrigued.)

How to Disagree with Someone More Powerful than You  (Good for those needed a push out of the people-pleasing zone.)

When It Comes to Fat Loss, a Study Says HIIT Beats Cardio by Exactly This Much  (OMG, for real?  Hard eye roll on the percentage.)

The Weird Hack That Will Eliminate Back, Jaw, And Neck Pain  (Don't toy with my emotions!)

11 Affordable Reef-Friendly Sunscreens for Your Beach Bag  (Spring break is coming up!)

15 Common Pains You Should Never Ignore  (Well, #6 freaked me out since that's been me the past 3 weeks.)

Google Warns Chrome Users to Update ASAP After Bug Discovered  (FYI)

100 vintage home hacks that are still brilliant today   (Some good suggestions!)

100 Car Maintenance Tasks You Can Do on Your Own  (Don't pay for labor if you can DIY!)

The 1975 Break Down 'A Brief Inquiry'  (In case there are any fans out there.  I'm a behind the scenes nerd, and this is right up my alley.  I love seeing how tracks come together and the layering George the Genius does.)

The MudBuster Will Stop Your Dog From Tracking Dirt Inside the House  (Pretty clever if you have a dog that will let you do it!  (Ours wouldn't have!)  I love how the Instagrammed dog looks like it's plotting its owner's murder or at least pissing in their favorite shoes.)

I don't know that we have anything specific planned but I'd like to have a less irritating one than last Saturday where it got sucked down the tubes, and I was Hulk hangry all day from a morning workout.  Currently, I'm listening to the Mr go back and forth with the awful customer "support" from Nvidia for his Shield TV.  The fan is dying after only 2 years, and it's a known problem listed on Reddit, Amazon, and their own forums and the dbag rep is all "we don't know about this problem."  So yeah, if I ever recommended that in a previous post, consider them unrecommended unless they fix the issue instead of telling us to spend another $200 to replace it.

What awesomeness do you have planned for the weekend?

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

New Blood in Da House

I must say, it's so nice to have new workout blood in this house via Beachbody on Demand!  I made a schedule for March that I shared on Facebook the other day but I'll share it here too.

(click to enlarge)
As you can see, there's a good variety of programs in there because I want to try them all.  There are some programs that just aren't going to be possible until we've got another 50 lbs off or so.  Even though we're way more fit than most fat people our size and we've been much fatter, I don't have the cartilage of a 20-year-old anymore and need to protect it.  But it gives us something to shoot for in the future too.  So far we both really like the LIIFT 4 program.  Joel has a sweet but tough personality and sets a good pace.  There's another weightlifting program that is geared toward meatheads and it doesn't remotely appeal to me.  When dudes are so big, they look like a cartoon, I can't concentrate.

(Seriously not far from the truth with that dude.)

I also like Autumn Calabrese's different programs like 21 Day Fix, 80 Day Obsession, A Little More Obsessed, etc.  She's a much less abrasive Jillian Michaels personality wise and isn't afraid to joke around but is never demeaning or screaming in your face.  She is a real butt kicker and most of her stuff is weight-centric.  There is still a lot we have to check out but for now, these are good ones.  I know a lot of these programs are old but if something works, it works.  I still love Tae Bo 20 years later and it gets the job done.  But our muscles definitely needed some new blood because we've been doing most of these workouts for 5-10 years and I think we reached our peak with them long ago.

We both agreed if we felt broken that we need to take an active rest day and walk or stretch or something even if something is scheduled.  We have a habit of just pushing through the discomfort and there's a difference between being a little sore and hobbling.

I've also added some new to me lunches.  I cooked some quinoa then froze it to thaw the night before needed.  I roast some veggies I would normally eat raw (broccoli, cauliflower and yesterday, red onion) then add it to the quinoa.  I made some black beans too and add some of that.

The eggs were yesterday and I did salmon with a squeeze of key lime juice over the top on Monday,  I am having those on lift days so I can have protein right after my workout.  Yesterday was Back and Bi's from LIIFT 4 and I got my bulbous arse handed to me!

You have any new blood workouts you are doing?

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