Saturday, February 24, 2018

If the body is a car, I am a jalopy!

What a whirlwind few days it has been. No, this doesn't serve as an excuse for why I am not doing this every day like I am supposed to be doing.  But, whew ... it's all gotten away from me.

So Wednesday, I was back at work and posted about being sick, yadda yadda.  After that, we were surprised by the news that the news media was coming in to take some video footage of us while we worked.  The reporter was told they were not allowed to talk to us.  Cool.  Let's get some awesome dispatchers on the news, eh?

It all went to shit.

The headline that was posted that night was my lovely face (not) sitting at my desk doing dispatchery things, and the headline above was all about how the emergency response to the big fires in October was an "epic failure".

*record scratch* I'm sorry, what?

So I watch the clip, see lots of dispatcher footage and the reporter talking about how Sonoma County didn't activate an emergency notification system that would have alerted people sooner, etc. Hmm, we don't have access to this system that he speaks of.  We used every notification system that we possibly could and got our asses handed to us for weeks on end.

Since it was my face on that horrible headline, I was enraged.  Then, to see the hard work and heartbreaking experiences of my co-workers shamed in such a fashion with some careful editing of a 'fire victim' interview where she calls it an 'epic failure' and even says "Shame on you if that is the best you can do". You better believe I was fired up as shit.

So, I did what I do best when I am angry.  I write.  And, I wrote and wrote.  Several drafts.  I let my co workers look at it, including my friend who was on the air when the fire broke out and worked tirelessly through hell on that channel. Everyone provided input and I handed it to the manager to see if we could post it on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page.  He decided they would go a different direction but I was free to do what I pleased with the paper.

I emailed it directly to the reporter, I sent it to Frank Somerville with a different news station, and I posted it publicly on Facebook.  It has since been shared 2100ish times, has 2500ish likes and 1500ish comments and it is still growing.

My first reply from the reporter was polished and basically accused me of misinterpreting his story, except all the comments from the public show that they also felt it was a slam piece on dispatch and everyone else who was involved that night.  Long story short, he was finally pressured to removed the photo of me and change the headline, because my Sheriff got involved. The new headline isn't as catchy, and everyone has seen that picture he used so it isn't as flashy.  It's no longer 'click bait'.

This is a minor victory against the media who uses careful editing to turn stories around and 'embellish facts'.  Irresponsible journalism needs to be addressed and changed in this internet age where information is available at the click of a button. 

So that was Thursday and into Friday morning.  Friday evening, I tackled my first CrossFit Open workout as the Open began.  18.1, as many rounds as possible of 8 knee-ups, 10 dumbbell hang clean and jerks with a 20lb dumbbell, and a 12 calorie row ... for 20 minutes. I've never 'competed' in CrossFit before so I was petrified.  Combine that with my sporadic attendance to my workouts and I wasn't feeling ready.  But I am SUPER pleased with my performance. 

And today ... ah yes, chemo day. The beast known as Wegener's Granulomatosis got it's major zapping by my miracle drug.

I feel like this, combined with a clean eating diet of foods used as 'fuel' and not comfort, and a regular CrossFit regime will help my disease perhaps get into a remission style that doesn't require chemo every six months.  That is my hope. 

I will use this blog and Instagram to show others with my disease that there are normal lives available to them. Yes, not everyone may be able to achieve the kind of life that I am having.  I understand this, but I want to give them hope that even their circumstances can improve.  I want to show people who might be overweight like me, that CrossFit really is for everyone, and it is incredibly empowering, it is not as intimidating as it looks.  In fact, it's probably this most positive and supportive environment I have ever been in.  Seriously!!!! Dispatchers should especially be a part of a CrossFit box.  We do a disrespected, thankless job ... and when I walk into the box ... I don't feel disrespected and I feel like I am being carried on the shoulders of everyone in there as a champion and I hope I give them the same feeling.

I feel so empowered and inspired right now.  My post has received so much support.  And, I truly feel that I would like to keep this ball rolling to bring more awareness to what it is a dispatcher really does.  Not like that new show on Fox about 911.  I want to show them what a dispatcher REALLY does.  Will I be able to make that happen? 

Right now, I feel like absolutely anything is possible.

However, this jalopy of a body is feeling terribly shitty from the meds so I am going to wrap this up and take a nap.

Have a fantastically beautiful day everyone.  Find something good in your day today.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Holy Sickness, Batman!

Well, blogging daily is off to a terrible start. What the shit. I did, like, two days. Let's get back on the wagon then, shall we?

Where have I been the last couple days? My couch. Or, the easy chair. Or even in my bed. Sick. Sick sick sick.  I felt a little off Wednesday evening when I headed to CrossFit. I was off work earlier than usual that afternoon and had stopped at the store on the way home to get something to make for dinner so there would be food to eat.  The entire time, I felt not right but ... I wasn't going to miss this! So I went and worked out.  It was a hard one, harder still because I felt so terrible.  Afterwards, I felt even more weird but I figured I was just tired.

I woke up in the middle of the night (OK, it was 11:30pm but to someone who gets up at 0330 that is the middle of the damn night).  I felt HORRIBLE.  I was clammy, nauseous, and good lord, I couldn't swallow to save my life. I made myself get back in bed and try to sleep it off but an hour or so later, I was awake again even worse so I called in sick to work.  I was awake until about 5 am when I finally drug myself back down the hall to bed.

I slept most of Thursday, alternating from the chair to the bed. Finally, after no relief, I called the doctor. After a phone appointment he decided it was Strep throat.  He seemed overwhelmed by my disease (I love when I get doctors who don't know what it is ... that's always fun!) and over-reactive.  He told me to get antibiotics to treat it, etc. I called out to work for the next day and got the meds the next morning, etc.  By the end of Friday I was feeling worse.  Long story short: even if I didn't have Strep, the other options are only treatable with rest, fluids, etc.   I waved the white flag for Saturday and stayed home.

Thank goodness for the Winter Olympics because I could sleep and lay miserable around the house and have something to watch that I was OK falling asleep for.  When I am sick like that, I don't like to "binge shows" because I'll miss whole episodes and wake up to Netflix asking me if I am still watching.

Sadly, this brought me to Saturday evening when I had hoped we would be doing something for our anniversary but I was miserable so we didn't. Even all Sunday I wasn't happy.  I ventured out to get a cup of coffee and found myself desperate to get back home.

Our anniversary outing consisted of going to Oliver's to get stuff to make for dinner. Even that wasn't a good idea.  We retreated back to the house and Dan made dinner super early. I wrapped myself up and tried to sit outside to feel better but it wasn't working so ... I had to call in sick again.

Anyway, it's Tuesday, I am back at work ... and I feel a smidge better but not much.  Not much at all.  I can't swallow that great again.  I was doing alright this morning but not now. It's just not fun.

And, I don't even know if it is actually Strep throat, or tonsillitis, or my friendly neighborhood autoimmune disease wreaking havoc on me. Because, when I look in my throat, that right tonsil is still half the size of the opening of my throat.

Will I go to CrossFit tonight?  Probably not.  Coming to work for a 10 hour shift is a big step.  Maybe tomorrow, I will feel more like stepping into the box. Tonight, I need to retreat home, to my pajamas and rest for the rest of the evening.

The CrossFit Open starts Friday.  FRIDAY! I will be there for that ... if my first workout is absolutely abysmal .... so be it.  I get my chemo saturday morning which means that next week's workout will be amazing!!! I truly believe things are only going to get better after next Saturday.

I wasn't exactly fantastic on eating this weekend. I couldn't swallow anything with edges so ... it was a lot of soft foods and not exactly the best of them. Chinese because it was all soft or coated in sauce. Or a taco salad because the guts are soft.

Today, I've been pretty good.  Lots of liquid foods though.  Meal replacement shake for breakfast and for snack (with a cup of frozen berries tossed in for snack).  I am being very aware of what's going in, making sure that I don't consume too little as well. I just need to get to where I can swallow again.  On workout days, I will be eating more ... trust me, I know I will need it.

Only a few more days and, hopefully, I will be putting all of this behind me. Being sick with whatever this is ... and hopefully making Wegener's shut the eff up.

Side note: have you seen Vikings, the TV show?  OMG.  We started watching it one evening (Hubby isn't a sports fan so while he tolerated my Olympic binging the first couple nights ... I gave him a reprieve on Sunday).  We are hooked.  Ragnar is amazing ... so dreamy.  And, I am not usually a blond hair, blue eyed fan.  Except for Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy.  The two look a lot alike.  That could be what's saving him. 

OK, that's all from me for now. Onward and upward, right?

Pounds lost: not a one!  But ... nothing gained so that's a win!

Have a great Tuesday everyone. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mind and Body

Good afternoon everyone!

I feel like my mind and body are two completely separate people.  Who doesn't have this issue, right?  It's your mind telling you to stop when it hurts, even though your body is capable of continuing on whatever it is you are doing.  For me?  My body is the one saying I need to stop.  And, I am not even doing anything all that strenuous.

Want to know what I am doing?  Existing.  Yup. Saturday morning, I felt a little twinge in my back as I was backing out of my driveway to go workout.  But, it didn't feel bad after that.  I worked out, lifted some good weights, heavy weights too.  Everything felt good.  Last night, when I was backing out of my parking space at work it came back with a major vengeance. I didn't sleep good, I tossed and turned and felt every bit of my back.

It feels like a rib is out of place, or ... I don't know.  Something else.  It's between my right shoulder blade and my spine and when I take a breath a certain way or move a certain way ... BAM pain.  I gasp. I cry out.  I breathe heavy through my teeth.

But what the frig is it? Do I go to the regular doctor?  Do I just skip the doc and go to the chiropractor? What? Do I wait it out? SO many questions! Like, is this a bone issue?  Did I somehow tweak some tiny ass muscle that's buried in that area?  I don't think it's muscular as when I press on that area with my fingers, it doesn't hurt.  When I have a pulled or sore muscle, it hurts to the touch when I press on it.

Ah, the mysteries of the human body and the many ways it can be a total pain in the ass.

I'm still going to CrossFit today.  I didn't go last night because of my back.  I got home, and Dan was sitting out back with the dog playing in the yard and I was in pain and figured I would rest and go the rest of the week. It still gives me 4 days so I am not beating myself up about it.

I had a wonky eating day.  I waited too long for lunch so I didn't finish what I brought and I ate too much dinner.  I am being more conscious of that today. Made some Kodiak Cakes this morning with the cute little mini waffle maker I bought just so that I could do it successfully ... and then had some cottage cheese and fruit.  Now I am having a salmon burger and some broccoli rice. Feeling pretty good about how things are spaced out.

Last night's sleep was terrible.  Sleep is something I need to prioritize because it helps the body recover, shed pounds, etc. But the wind was insane, and something kept banging somewhere in the area.  Then, don't even get my started on my damn cat and his obsession with trying to climb into the window above my head at 2am EVERY SINGLE MORNING!  I feel slightly like a cast member from The Walking Dead today. The husband brought me coffee so I am feeling a tinge more human-like.

I really would like my body to shut up for awhile.  I have goals and they include doing the Open starting next Friday and not being a total uncoordinated gimp while doing it. I am not missing this!!!!

This is sort of kind of day 2 of being fully focused on my end game, no matter how damn far away it is. I feel invigorated and motivated, like I am on a journey and you are all coming with me. I don't have to do this in silence, I can do it with a team! Even if you're just eating popcorn and watching me from afar.

It's our anniversary this weekend so I may allow myself a tiny sliver of dessert.  I don't know if we will be able to actually do anything because of it also being the weekend after Valentine's Day. It's going to be packed wherever we want to go but ... we'll see.

I'll check back in tomorrow with an update about tonight's workout! Stay tuned!!

No Soda: 3 days (I'd been up to 50 days but then I had a Coke Zero on Saturday)
Eat Clean: 2 days
Pounds Lost: possibly 1 but it usually fluctuates so I am not counting it!!!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Hit the Reset Button and try again

When I was off the last two days, I got this idea in my head that I would start a blog about weight loss, fitness (or my attempts at it), and nutrition. I love to write, have a mad case of writers block when it comes to books, and feel like I need to stretch my writing skills even with the writers block.  People have blogs. Who doesn't have a blog, right? You can find a blog about literally E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.  But, what I did find was a lot of super fit people blogging about eating healthy and working out.

I'm certainly not super fit, skinny, naturally beautiful, etc.  I'm certainly not what would be considered a fitness model or role model in any world but ... I am going to put myself out into the world in the hopes that there is someone out there, like me, who is trying to find some sort of motivation or inspiration to get back on track and get it moving.

So, I will re-direct this blog that was started about my fall into the world of cancer and autoimmune disease to how I am going to get my life back under the careful control of my own two hands. It's going to be an incredibly LONG journey.  It certainly won't be a quick fix. There will be ups and downs.  OK, I'll be upfront right now and say there will be a lot of downs.  I am my own worst enemy sometimes!!!  But, it will be real and honest. I'll be perfectly blunt and upfront with y'all because I am ready for full accountability.

In October of 2016, I started the Kaiser Medical Weight Management program. Fast forward like ... mmm 4ish months and I was down 80 lbs. An even 80lbs exactly. Wow!  What a feat, right? It was fantastic but ... it was also super easy because I was just  drinking fluids.  Liquid diet! While on the surface that sounds terribly hard, I found it super freaking easy. All I had to do was drink six times a day. There was ZERO thought into planning my day.  Grab six packets and head out the door. Bam. Full day planned.

When we started to incorporate food back into our days, I started to wobble. *sigh* I can't cook. I can't! I can do many things ... cooking is certainly not one of them. There is nothing more frustrating than working forever on something, making a massive mess, and then it tastes terrible. I started with a simple meal and that was OK.  But ... it didn't go well beyond that.

In March of  2017, I added CrossFit into my life.  I'd gained probably 5-6 lbs by then and figured with CrossFit 3x a week, I would get that 5-6 back off and then some.  However, doing CrossFit meant I had to eat more than I was because I was doing incredibly hard workouts with not a lot of food going in to fuel my body for those workouts. And, I was picking up dinner for my husband after working out (which was never something healthy!).   I'd leveled everything out pretty well.  I wasn't gaining weight, but I certainly was NOT losing it.

Around August, my body started to revolt. Hello, autoimmune "friend". Wegener's Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis.  Say that 10x fast!  It's my lifelong companion.  My every two months-giving up 8-12 vials of blood-friend. August was about the time to go  get my blood work done so I did. I realized I was struggling through workouts, and sometimes even opting to skip them because I just couldn't move. Sure enough, the B cells that I had killed off six months prior had started to return. So, I was scheduled for another round of Rituxan/Rituximab.  Yay for being happy about shooting chemotherapy medications into my body.  What sounds terrible is my miracle drug and I was happy to know that another few months of heaven were around the corner.

Round 1 went well.  I was back on the working out horse, snagged a 300lb Deadlift PR (personal record) and felt really good. Shortly after that, I was able to yank up a 320lb PR on the same lift. And then it was time for Round 2.  Round 2 did NOT go well.  I did not bounce back from it. I struggled hardcore with it as we rolled through September. I even end up in the ER feeling incredibly dizzy.  Well ... that didn't go as planned.

I had a hard time getting back to the regular workouts. Which would be OK ... except I was still eating like I was working out 4x a week.  Yes, I'd ratcheted those workouts up to 4x a week and was hoping for 5x a week in the future when my chemo treatment didn't go well.  Grrr.  The pounds gradually inched their way up.

And then, the kicker to end all kickers.  October 8th 2017. The North Bay Wildfires exploded onto the scene.  I flew to work in the wee hours of October 9th, and basically worked 12-15 hours a day from there on out for about 3 weeks with about 2 days off spread out in between.  I couldn't sleep, and for the first couple days I couldn't eat but then ... I found my 'stress eating' abilities and ... the food was in abundance both from work bringing us food and the public showering us with edible things! 

Because that is what you do for people going through a hard time, right? Feed them.  Food soothes the soul!!!!

It soothed my soul and padded my ass a bit too much. All the food wouldn't have been an issue but my 4x a week of working out that had already taken a hit was now down to no times a week for like a month. And it's been a battle to get back on the horse ever since.

I have never felt 100% since that last chemo treatment.  Never. I feel like it never really had a chance to really give my disease the 1-2 punch it usually does. And then, the stress from the fires just sent my system into a tailspin and old habits of stuffing my face took control once again.

Altogether, since April, I have gained 40 lbs of my 80 lb weight loss back. Going from a liquid diet to regular life is bound to bring back some poundage. But, I went above and beyond and there isn't a morning that I see that number on the scale that I don't get mad. 

This is no one's fault but my own. Fire or no fire, bad chemo or not, I was the one who put food in  my hand and craned it into my face. I didn't have to. But there's that fat girl voice in my brain that says ... 'you've earned it ... you're going through something terrible.'

I need to stop letting that little voice make decisions for me.  She's going to squawk at me probably a thousand times a day, but I need to let the fed-up girl who wants to be fit and athletic yell louder than her. 

I need to be back in control.  So here I am, facing down my demons. I gained 40 lbs from my liquid diet. I could call myself a failure but that is more negative self talk. I know people talk, and people are saying "i knew this would happen" but that's on them for needing to find comfort for themselves in cheering my failures.  I need to stop having negative self talk.  We all fall down, I need to accept that I will fall, but to not sit there and wail about it.  I need to just get back up on my feet and keep moving forward.

I will be down 100+ by the time I turn 40.  That's just under two years away.  It's not a time limit, I don't HAVE to be down that much by January 14th, 2020.  But, I am determined to be damn close.  Am I going to be 100% perfect the entire time?  No friggin' way.  I know me. I know I will slip up, trip, fall, smash my face into the ground, or a donut, whatever.  It's going to happen.  It's how I react to those falls that is going to change.

Care to join me on this journey?

Follow along in Instagram at @nicolealison  - watch my Instagram stories (clicking on my main picture or on the little circle at the top) and here on this lil bloggy thing.  Find me on Facebook at Nikki Grace.

Anything is possible if we try hard enough.