You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2010.

I’ve been trying to live a different life for awhile now – since April of 2009 and every day it still seems like a struggle. I want to do the right thing, make the right choices and live a healthy life. I watch videos on YouTube of all these inspirational people who one day woke up and decided to do something about their life. They go out and start running or something and soon they are running more and more, eventually conquering marathons and tris. I do enjoy these videos but at the same time, in the back of my mind, I get that nag. Why does it seem so easy for them? It’s not possible that it was easy but still.. they make it look so easy.

I would love to start running, it’s a dream of mine, but I can’t seem to get past the injuries and overall poor status of my body thanks to years and years of not caring. My body is broken and I’m doing everything I can to fix it but that all takes a lot of time. I’m still learning to walk again following my latest surgery so any running I might want to do is far off in the future and that’s frustrating. I can’t even go for long walks or hikes, which is something I truly enjoy.

I pull the bike out now a lot, and while that helps – it’s not the same thing. There’s this drive inside me that I can’t seem to satisfy. This need to be doing things my body just simply isn’t ready for. Maybe I just need more muscle building first or something but I have to run. I have to do this and I have to find a way to stay focused so I can.

Rehabbing after any injury is frustrating because it’s never linear. You have lots of ups and downs and just when you think everything is getting better something else gets injured. Apparently spending 12+ weeks without using your foot can cause a lot of issues with the tendons and muscles and you can’t rush anything. Riding the bike is helping a lot with the rehab but, like I said before, it’s not the one thing I really want to be doing.

I hope in six months I can look back on this post and say, hey, I finally did it! Right now it seems like a long time out though.

It also doesn’t help that, apparently, in the last week I gained almost 10 lbs (according to my scale). I’m sticking with weekly weigh ins for the time being but I’d like to wean down to every 2 weeks and finally end with monthly weighing. I need to become less focused on the number on the scale and more on how I feel.

The last part of this puzzle is nutrition and all of that is still up in the air. Am I allergic to something? Am I not? I won’t even find out more on that until next week. I’m also tired of tracking calories and writing everything down. I want to trust my body and mind to tell me what to eat and what not to eat. There is no long term satisfaction in become so obsessed with food that I can’t enjoy life.

So while things might seem easy on the surface, they aren’t. I want to see more stories about the struggles because otherwise the picture isn’t complete.

I’ve come to the realization that when my friend Ross says he wants to do something adventurous and go exploring, he isn’t kidding. We decided to head out on a bike ride tonight to try out some new area we hadn’t biked before. Area without bike trails even. He had a trail mapped out and I just followed along.

I met Ross on Hwy 2 off Rock Island and we rode down to Densmore Park, down 14th Street to Pine Lake and back around to the South Pointe Trail. From there we took the South Pointe Trail to its end and rode through that neighborhood until we got to Yankee Hill Road.

From there we started out on Yankee Hill Road and quickly learned that it’s quite hilly and has no shoulder. The plan had been to get to 91st street and cut back over to trails and work our way back to Antelope Park. We did not make it to 91st Street, mainly because the street became a gravel road at 70th. We attempted the gravel but had to turn back and stick with pavement.

65th and Yankee Hill Road

Stopping to catch my breath...

View Down Yankee Hill Road

We did have a nice view though.

There’s one problem with 70th street, even though it’s paved out there it’s also curved, has no shoulder, is two lanes and has a speed limit of 55 mph. Ross almost got creamed by an oncoming truck that had passed into our lane just as we were about to turn on the road. 70th is also quite hilly and we made a few stops. Made it to Old Cheney and got back on a bike path. Road that until we could pick up Helen Boosalis to bring us back into town.

Sunset From the Trail

Awesome sunset from Helen Boosalis

I picked up Rock Island again at Hwy 2 and rode home as it was getting dark. I was pretty happy to get back into my neighborhood. It was a great ride overall but wow was there a lot of adventure.

I was debating whether or not I wanted to do a blog post about my latest fray into health care but I figured if anything it would be a good experience to chronicle for later. So here it goes…

About 3 weeks ago or so I started having some real problems with sleeping and breathing as well as pain in my abdomen. I finally went and saw one of the doctor’s at my PCP’s office (not my PCP but on-call doctor) and he said it seemed like I was hyperventilating due to tight upper muscles possibly from the crutches. I told my physical therapist about this and he showed me some stretches but overall the muscles just didn’t seem that tight. The PCP office doctor also prescribed me ambien to help with my sleep issues but I took it one night and it freaked me out so much that I never took it again. Also, it didn’t actually work.

A week later I’m still not feeling well so I called back and got an appointment with my PCP. We talked and he did the standard examination things and agreed with me that something wasn’t right. His first option was to send me for an ultrasound exam to make sure there wasn’t a problem with my liver/whatever. That ultrasound came back clear so when I called back again later I mentioned the idea of a food allergy. The reason I’m wondering about food allergy is that I had started eating a lot of soy again – soy milk and the likes. With that in mind he had me start a “elimination diet” to try and figure out what was going on as well as referring me to a specialist.

For the elimination diet I had to start out eating a very bland diet of mostly rice, bananas and apple sauce. After I few days I was able to add in another food and was instructed to add foods back in one at a time and see how it went. I was to avoid fresh fruit, most vegetables, greasy, fatty, spicy foods and all soy and milk products. Pretty much avoid all the big 8 food allergens to start. So far it’s been pretty boring and eye opening about how much processed food contains things you wouldn’t think about.

The Big 8 Food Allergies

  • Cow’s Milk
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Egg
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Seafood

I actually have two referral appointments coming up – one with an allergist and one with a gastroenterologist. The GI specialist couldn’t get me in until Oct 20th and the allergy appointment is for Oct. 6th. I’d really like to just get the testing over with so I can move on with life.

Once you have been on the elimination diet for a few days or more, basically once the symptoms have subsided, you can start doing “challenges” which basically means eating something and seeing what happens. On Sunday I decided to try some scrambled eggs and though I can’t directly connect them I did have the return of my weird inability to sleep that night.

This hasn’t been easy and the hardest has really been on my social life. It’s not a lot of fun to go out to eat when you aren’t suppose to eat anything out of your control. I was able to irk together an OK meal at Village Inn by ordering the fresh fruit, apple sauce and a plain baked potato. I also learned that Village Inn uses soybean oil to cook all their foods.

The scariest thing that seems to be happening is that feeling of being unable to breathe will sometimes happen when I’m at the grocery store, especially near the bulk food bins. It’s also scary to know something isn’t right but not be able to figure out what it is or why. Hopefully one of those doctors will have an answer for me.

Well I finally might one of my biking milestones today, I rode to Eagle, NE and back on the MoPac trail. We started at the 84th Street trailhead so the ride was around 20 miles round trip. As with any adventure it can’t all go perfectly but at least we get a fun story to retail later.

Late last night when I should have been sleeping already I was trying to cram my bike into my car so I could just drive to the trail head instead of riding there. I was complaining to Ross via text and he finally agreed to pick me up and just drag my bike over there on his trunk carrier. We were all supposed to meet at the trail head at 7:30 so of course thanks to both Ross being a little late and my inability to give correct directions, we were late. The group actually left with out us which was ok because we got caught up to them pretty quickly. Turns out one in the group had his tire puncture or something and they had to stop for a bit.

MoPac at 84th Street

MoPac Trail Head at 84th Street

Riding out actually went pretty well and it was a nice casual ride with a low pace since a lot of our group were beginner riders. The weather could have been better but it’s hard to complain because that also meant the trail was mostly unoccupied. It was in the 50s with a breeze and lost of mist and a few rain drops. We were wet but not getting soaked so it was ok. Last time Ross and I tried to ride to Eagle it was actually pouring rain and we had to call the ride off. I did not want to call off yet another ride.

A little after the 5 mile mark we stopped and regrouped. It was at this point that 4 of our group turned around and headed back to Lincoln and 3 of us (Nick, Ross and myself) headed on towards Eagle. The ride was nice because I was getting on trail I hadn’t ridden on before and I loved the feeling of accomplishment of rolling into Eagle and knowing I did it.

Welcome to Eagle, NE

Welcome to Eagle, NE!

Casey's in Eagle, NE

We stopped at Casey's, nice bathroom

So far my foot/legs have been holding up well to riding the bike so long as I remember to get on the bike from the left, which I’m not used to doing. The only really issues I had on this ride was just prior to riding over to Casey’s I stopped in front of the car repair place next door to put my phone away. That place has a steep driveway and it was wet so the bike slipped out towards my right foot and in order to stay standing and not drop my bike I had to put quick weight on to my left foot and it was not fun. It was a little sore for the ride back but nothing major.

Once we were done goofing around in Eagle, we rode back towards to Lincoln but did have to stop a few times to rest a little. Ended up stopping for a little in Walton because my ankle/foot were acting up and I just need to get off the bike for a minute or two. We made it back in pretty good time and Ross convinced me to just let him carry my bike home and I was tired enough that I agreed. We were planning to hit up NuVibe for smoothies but the universe had other ideas.

Bikes on Car Rack

They look so secure here....

Finally get the rack on how we think it should go, get the bikes on and bungee corded together and then pull out of the trail head parking lot. We got less than half a block before the bikes took a plunge and pulled the rack with them. I’m not sure how much they hit the street but Ross lost his brand new bike light and my chain came off. We ended up making an emergency stop in a random driveway off 84th Street, much to the amusement of the child at that house who watched us.

Chain Off Bike

Yep, that's not right at all...

Two bikes plus the rack adds up to a bit of weight when you are trying to get everything sorted out. I decided maybe it was better if I just took my bike and rode it and Ross could throw his bike in his car. Thankfully I know how to get the chain back on so that wasn’t a problem, the real problem was that I was tired and still 5 miles from home. Finally we decided to just go to Juice Stop which was maybe a mile or 2 away. It was then we noticed our friend Jennie had tweeted offering to come rescue us with the truck. We decided that was the best idea and had them meet us at Juice Stop.

Many thanks to Frank and Jennie for coming to the rescue and getting me and my bike home safe and sound! It was a pretty awesome day despite everything and at least no one got hurt!

At my last PT session he gave me the clear to go ahead and try riding my bike again so of course I was more then willing to give it a try. On Friday and Saturday I just did some short rides around the neighborhood to get a feel for it again. I can tell that I have lost muscle in my left leg and my pace is a lot lower but it’s still great to be out and about again. I still rely on the boot for walking but for biking I can wear two shoes again which is nice.

So then this morning I was looking for something to do and Ross suggested we meet up and go for a bike ride. I wasn’t sure how far I could realistically make it but he suggested meeting near the zoo and biking out on Billy Wolff to Holmes Lake. I figured that was all close enough to home that if I needed to turn back I could. We made it to the lake with no problems except that big hill leading up to the dam. I hate that hill and had to kind of walk/bike the last bit of it but I did make it.

Holmes Lake Dam

Top of the Hill - Holmes Lake Dam

From here Ross suggested we ride around the lake and that seemed like a good idea. The crushed limestone/gravel whatever on this path isn’t great though and there were places where I was sure I was going to wipe out. I didn’t but apparently at one point (or more) I may have almost clipped Ross’s bike. Ah well, such is the hazards of riding with me I suppose. I decided that I wanted to keep going down Billy Wolff because I had never taken it passed 70th Street. We found the underpass and went up by the dog park and around. I convinced Ross to keep going on the trail with the promise of stopping for lunch at Sam and Louie’s. On our way there we ended up stopping to take a trail survey and chat with the ladies taking the survey. I didn’t realize how hungry the ride had made me until the food got to the table.

Sam and Louie's

Waiting for Food at Sam and Louie's

After we ate and refilled our water bottles we swung by Cycle Works so I could ask them about problems I was having with my chain and random unwanted shifting. Luckily for me, they weren’t too busy and he was able to look at it right away. I decided to just go ahead and have him replace the chain and he made some adjustments to the rear derailer and I was back in business. The bike ran super smooth after that and I can’t wait to go riding again and again.

Waiting at Cycleworks

Waiting at Cycle Works

Getting a new bike chain

Getting a New Bike Chain Installed at Cycle Works

Once I had my new chain we headed back towards our starting point via Billy Wolff. I’m still not sure exactly what happened but for some reason when I was coming out and around from the underpass on 70th Street I took the curve to tight and ended up colliding with the retaining wall. The weird part was I basically ended up sitting on the wall and only had some very minor road rash/bruising. I’m thankful that I was wearing both jeans and my compression socks. I may hate those socks but they truly saved my skin this time.

Once we got back to the starting point I ended up following Ross part way home down Rock Island because I was really enjoying being out and being active for a change. We parted ways at Highway 2 and I took Rock Island a bit further to Essex Street and then turned around for home. I was super tired by the time I got home but it was so worth it. I also got a bit of a sunburn because for some reason I can never remember to put on sunscreen.

Part way into the trip my bike speedometer/computer stopped working so I don’t have the normal ride stats that I like to have. I did go map the trip out on Dailymile and it came out to close to 21 miles. Not too shabby and I still feel great!

Other highlights from this weekend included hitting the bike swap meet and random shopping with Toni and riding around the cemetery.

Lincoln Bike Swap Meet

Lincoln Bike Swap Meet

Cemetery Ride

Enjoying the Shade During a Cemetery Ride

I am still alive, which is good, but I haven’t been feeling much up to writing in the blog. There’s something about recovery that I didn’t expect and that was set backs. When I had my knee surgery everything recovered quickly and I don’t remember having major setbacks. With this foot and ankle surgery I haven’t been having as great a time. I get filled with doubts as to whether I should have even done the surgery. The foot still hurts and I still don’t have the muscle strength back like I’d like.

Last week I was actually back in two shoes and walking around, with crutches mostly, but still it felt like progress. We were doing a lot more at PT and I could actually get back into some amount of an exercise routine. Then it all fell apart last Friday when my foot decided it couldn’t handle it any more. The pain was high and it became clear that I was going to need to wear the boot again for awhile. I made that decision with some advice from PT and now we are “re-grouping” and going to start again.

To add to the fun my calf muscles, which have a history of problems, decided it was time to act up again. So part of my time spent at PT was getting the muscles massaged out and that has helped. Now I have to focus on keeping them stretched and started using my heating pad at night to keep the muscle warm.

With all this my mood has defiantly been down and I haven’t been able to sleep very well. I wake up about every hour and I’m guessing I’m also batting either a virus or allergies. I haven’t worked much this week because I just don’t have the energy and I’m having issues keeping up with pain management. I know I need to pull myself out of the funk but it’s really hard to keep doing it because each time it’s a bit harder than the last.

I’m going back to PT on Friday afternoon and hope we will have a new plan in place. While I know the doctor said this could drag out to 6 months I just couldn’t understand how that would be possible. It’s been 9 weeks since my surgery and I really thought I’d be much further along. I guess there’s nothing I can do but keep up with my rehab and do things to improve my mood.

Vital Stats

Name: Angela
Age: 36
Height: 5'8"
Total Weight Lost: 46lbs

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