Saturday, December 18, 2010

Breast Cancer Marathon Countdown: 56 Days

Here's the deal:
Get up at 2:45
Put on the coffee.
Check the weather: 54 F & RAIN, ugh.
Remember my "patrons" and friends who faced chemo, hair loss, and worse.
Thank God for my good health. A little rain never hurt anyone.
Clip toenails. Grease up feet and toes.
Swipe at hair, teeth, face. Can't see my eyebrows, but at least I have them.
Get dressed, long or short sleeves??? Long.
Throw in poncho, towel & dry clothes just in case.
Food for the Run: 6 GU gels, Jelly Bellies, water, post-race drink, power bar. Check.
Eat english muffin with p-nut butter & jelly. Slurp of coffee!
GPS watch, heart monitor, Gym Boss timer, waist band snack pouch, water bottle, light & post-run food.
Yikes it's 3:30! Gotta leave!
In car - forgot to bring coffee with me!
Drive 40 minutes to the trail head on the other side of town.
Parking lot is dark- where is everyone? The run starts at 4:30.
Drat! It IS raining. On goes the poncho, 23 miles in wet shoes! REALLY?
Think again about my Breast Cancer Sisters I am supporting. I have it easy.
Ponchos are noisy! Friends offer a cheaper version that is more pliable. Nice.
Someone needs a poncho. Luckily I brought 3 and share.

And that is how it all begins...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

House 4 Sale: Not Foreclosure

After a year of talking about it, we finally put our house on the market. It wasn't a difficult decision: the difficult part is getting everything up to snuff for lookers! You know how piles of things and projects that might need some attention, become invisible after a while? They fall off the "Honey Do" list. We had a lot of blind spots inside and out! So then you have to find a reliable handy man to do the work...That's a challenge! Then there's the process of picking a price range. The realtor brings comps (comparing what other similar homes are selling for, usually based on square footage). You pour over them. I think the price is too high, my husband thinks it's not high enough. So we must be in the right range. Now we have a For Sale on the lawn.

Spruce up the outside, trim the palms, power wash the concrete...plant and pot a few flowers- DONE! Oh - now we have to keep it that way! Dust, straighten, mop. Dishes in the washer. No errant socks drying on the couch. Yikes! But it's not so bad when it is just the two of us, which is why we are trying to downsize into 2 instead of 5 bedrooms.

I run an eBay store and my warehouse/office is packed tightly into one room after moving, moving, moving inventory from one closet to another. I am not disciplined enough to keep an active selling and shipping area neat! The frustrating part is that no one has been to see the house since we listed it, but it's only been three weeks.

Interested in learning more about eBay? Click here for an informative, FREE newsletter by Skip McGrath, 10 year eBay seller and trainer. It's who I've turned to for reliable information.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Running for Breast Cancer Cure

You know how things come together at just the right time? I believe it's God working in my life, others think it's Fate, Karma, but some force that puts things together for our benefit. In May, my sister-in-law quietly admitted that she was training for a marathon. Not long after that, a dear friend's daughter-in-law lost her 14 year battle with breast cancer, leaving behind a devastated young family. So when I was squeezing myself into my "big" pants, I knew the time had come.

Being retired offers time to reflect on my own life, its purpose and all those other things I "didn't have time for" with an active family to care for. Here was an opportunity for me to help change myself and become a part of an effort greater than my weight loss!

So I joined the Galloway training for the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer in February 2011 here in Jacksonville. Be clear about this: I am not one of those “runners”. I have never run with a group. Phil and I “slogged” regularly in our 40’s. I did one 5 K in the mid-1970’s and one in Guam in 1998 or so, while visiting our daughter and husband. I also barely “beat the bus” in the 7 Mile Bridge Run in Marathon, FL in 2006. I haven't done anything but walk a little in the last 5 years.

The Galloway program is designed by Olympic champion, Jeff Galloway, who lives in Tallahassee and is familiar with the Florida heat and humidity. His goal is to ENJOY running! Who knew? According to the program, I started out walking for 5 minutes to warm up, then "shuffle-run" for 30 seconds and walk for 30 seconds. My feet barely left the sidewalk when I "ran", but, come on, 30 seconds! Easy, even during the hottest summer on record.

Yesterday I completed 12 miles in a bit over 3 hours. Who knew?

Running: Getting Started
Galloway's Book on RunningWomen's Complete Guide to Running

Friday, September 17, 2010

Denise Austin Kicks My Butt!

We know it's all about calories in and calories out, right? You consume calories while eating, your body burns calories while "being". It's simple math. Consume many more than we burn and our body saves those calories for future hunting and gathering expeditions.  The only problem is that we are no longer walking for hours gathering nuts and berries or jogging across the plains in search of mammoths or even sloths. Times have changed!

We sit. And we sit alot! Turns out that sitting is about the worst thing we can be doing for our health. Especially as we age, sitting is a reward for all of our years of work! Heck, I'm retired. I just want to sit down for awhile! Sit down for long and you may not get up again!

Our bodies are made for movement. Back to the calories in, calories out formula. So that we don't store too many calories (that end up around our middles or our hips), we have to make the ratio of in:out more equal. This is all stuff we know. It's in the doing that we have problems.  Well, Denise Austin has put together a great book called "The Daily Dozen" and no, it's not about donut consumption. She has laid out three weeks of reasonably easy to prepare meals as well as twelve one-minute exercises to do daily. One minute! Even better, is the Get Fit Daily Dozen exercise DVD! She advertises that you can lose 12 pounds in three weeks, which I didn' doing the twelve minutes of daily movement, it got me off my - well you know what I'm saying here!

This is a perfect combination for me. After following three weeks of her recipes, I was trained well enough to know what a healthy daily intake of food is for me.  I've added some interesting foods to my repertoire and replaced some higher calorie options with healthy, (buzz word coming) "real" foods.  In addition, I was enjoying my daily dozen exercises enough that I started wanting a little more. Like taking a walk in the morning before it got too hot. You know, early mornings are very pleasant! It's quiet, the birds are all talking about the worms they caught, the problems of the world are still sleeping...I'm feeling a bit righteous. Yep. I can do this.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Grandchildren: Making Memories

As we drove to the airport, I reflected to my husband, that visiting the grandchildren was really about making memories. Like a slap to the back of the head, the next thought was "GOOD ONES!".

Our times together are fairly short, as they live in another part of the country. We want to be remembered fondly by our grandchildren. Hopefully, our generation's living longer allows us to spend more time with them, up through an age where they will be able to recall later in life. Are we creating the kinds of memories we want?

A few general things to consider:

1. We are guests in our children's homes. Act like guests.
2. We are not our grandchildren's parents. Don't boss them around like we are.
3. Be interested in their lives: school, after school activities, sports, friends, stories they tell, even if you have to fake it!
4. Don't buy stuff for them so they like you. They'll see through that soon enough.
5. Interact and do stuff with them. Throw the baseball, play H.O.R.S.E, Monopoly. Teach them a new skill. They'll be impressed!
6. Stay in touch when you aren't there, with postcards, Skype, quick phone calls, photo websites (photobug, flickr, etc.), there are many easy ways to share your lives.
7. Be FUN, loving and encouraging! This is not a time to complain or nit pick. 

Being a grandparent is a great gift. Consider how you want to be remembered. With a little effort, you can make GOOD memories.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Exercising My Rights: Post Menopause Exercise

A dear girlfriend, who is my stay-fit mentor (for whom I am forever grateful - really), recently dragged me on foot from Ketchum to Mid-Valley, Idaho one toasty July afternoon. It was a beautiful day and I was beguiled by the dry heat and blue, cloudless skies. So enchanted, that I forgot I was at 6000' elevation and not my gentler Florida sea level. At the end of this 7 mile journey, we had to scale a quarter-mile of sheer cliff to get to the air-conditioned house. Ok, we just had to walk up the driveway...but my heart thought otherwise. I was panting and exhausted with that very short uphill rise. My core temperature shot up and my feet signaled that they had had ENOUGH! Completely, spread-eagle-on-the-bed, tuckered out.

Being the true friend mentioned above, she also set up a training session at the gym a few days later. I was keeping up just fine until I got on the treadmill. Let's just say I hit the wall again and had to stop early. Humiliated by concerned questions like, "Are you feeling dizzy? Do you need to lay down?" If I could have uttered anything it would have been "LIE, that's LIE down!" Let's put the onus on the trainer, not me! I'm fine.

Not to say that these two incidents worried my friend, BUT...she sent me this book to read. It arrived very soon after we returned home. It's called Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond . The original book was written for men, but this is one geared for us ladies in our 3rd Third of Life and definitely worth taking the time to read, absorb and live. Since I have a feeling I'm stuck here until my mid-90's, I am taking this advice seriously! It's a great philosophy. I recommend it.

The men's version: Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond

Why exercise after menopause? Click here!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oprah Weighs In On Menopause Issues

We all remember Oprah's 50th Birthday Bash. Well guess what - she's right in the midst of her hormonal uprising, too. So in wandering around the vast kingdom of Internet Oprah, I came across an entire fiefdom of information about menopause. The February 2009 issue of "O", The Oprah Magazine, covered this subject and included familiar names-such as Suzanne Somers, Christiane Northrup, M.D. and JoAnn Manson, M.D. who is chief of Preventative Medicine at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Dr. Manson was also a "principal investigator" of the Women's Health Initiative study (WHI) published in 2002 which I mentioned in earlier posts.

Click on the site below to connect to Oprah's website. There is useful information there-a lot of it. It is a bit disconcerting and sad to read the comments left by readers. Many of them are pleas to find local physicians who know how to deal with HRT and BHRT. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Who Knows the Truth About Menopause?

Who can we believe? A well-known fact is that in the past most medical studies have only involved males and male medical issues. As more women entered the medical field, that has changed. Perhaps because so few studies included women's issues, it was quite common in the 50's and 60's to prescribe Estrogen to menopausal women to reduce symptoms. It wasn't until 2000, that a study was completed, with the conclusion that standard HRT (hormone replacement therapy) may cause breast cancer in some women. Women were confused. And still are.

Doctors have prescribed bio-identical hormone compounds for years. This was considered "alternative medicine" and not part of the mainstream AMA-approved regimen. There are many good books written on the use of Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT, as Lynn mentioned).

This blog is not meant to offer detailed medical advice, but I can recommend some reading by reliable authors that covers the subjects of menopause and BHRT pretty thoroughly. 
  • Remember Suzanne Somers from Three's Company? She had breast cancer and chose an alternative therapy treatment that seems to be successful. If you can erase the t.v. image, this woman is a great researcher! I've also read her recipe books and she has dedicated herself to a healthful lifestyle. Suzanne is not the air-head Christy!
  • Dr. Christiane Northrup is an OB/GYN who wrote the original menopause reference, The Wisdom of Menopause. I refer to her book often. She's been on PBS and has written several books.
  • A smaller, similar book written by another physician, Dr. C. W. Randolph, is easy reading and informative. He is adamant about getting your bio-identical hormones from reliable sources and lists those compounding pharmacies he trusts. I started following Dr. Randolph's advice and it has made a huge difference in my physical comfort. I sleep better, my night sweats are less frequent. I feel happier and I have a more positive outlook. Not saying it's for everyone, but you owe it to yourself to be informed.
Start here:

Friday, July 9, 2010

What Our Mothers Never Told Us!

I received this email from a dear friend and today at lunch with some girl friends, the subject came up again!

Lynn gave me permission to share this with you. She started out by say that she was glad that I had started this blog for opportunity for us "to share openly your experiences with something our mother's only whispered and/or cried about. As you know bio-identical hormones have made all the difference for me. The funny thing about menopause was I began reading and attempting to be prepared in advance but it still blindsided me. I think because I did not understand peri-menopause. I went through a major round of cardiovascular tests due to heart palpitations. It turned out to be a girlfriend (not a doctor) who told me that is a common symptom of peri-menopause. The depression came next and then the synthetic hormones. After three years of menopause jungle I found my mentor in a young woman in Ocala working as a hormone consultant in a compounding lab. I am now an official, card carrying, t-shirt wearing proud member of BHRT.4.Me

Deanne Bauman is happy to do telephone consultations (352)622-2913 (cost is $50 per hour). Best money I have ever spent. I believe one of the biggest misconceptions women have is they think if they are not having hot flashes they have no symptoms. Menopause can be a great time in your life or it can be hell. It quietly robs you of many things you take for granted when you are young. Bio-identical therapy can keep that from happening. The best thing we can do is be our own advocate, read, speak openly and support your kind and loving spirit of doing this blog."

Amen to that! Thanks, Lynn~

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No Juice Boxes: Food and Wine

This is a great Blog about wine, by a friend who has been in the business for awhile.  Due to the economy, she has a bit more time right now to write about it! She has a great descriptive list of wines for under $12. I'd suggest emailing that article to yourself so you have it available on your phone when shopping.

Take a look at  No Juice Boxes: Food and Wine and enjoy!

Sweaty sleep less nights Part Two

Flipping to the cool side of the pillow was probably the first thing that worked for me...for a while...but like many women, I have one arm under the pillow, so that side is warm, too. I've seen a product called the "Chillow" and was wondering if anyone had tried it out? Apparently it doesn't plug in to anything and doesn't need to be refrigerated. The "Chillow Plus" is advertised as more flexible with "Soothe Soft" technology. It's also good for cooling down sunburns, for headaches, back pain and I'm thinking about those nights when my feet are hotter than the rest of me!  Share your experiences with us! 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sweaty sleep less nights

Since the early 1990's I have been plagued with the night sweats. If you are a woman over 45, you are probably at least aware of this phenomenon. Over time we all have developed our own coping methods that do not include separate bedrooms or sleeping in the freezer.

Common strategies I've used:
  • the two-handed pillow flip
  • the one-legged comforter toss
  • the not-so-personal, personal cooling fan (Honey, do you really NEED that noisy thing going all night?"
  • bedside ice water stains
  • sleeping in the nude (which can end up with a hotter bed than you started with)
I'd love to hear from you if you have your own suggestions for cooling off at night. There are thousands of "power surging" women out there.

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