Sunday, August 26, 2007

Breaking through...

The good news: After five weeks stuck at the same weight, something finally happened.

You read it right--I lost weight! Not a huge amount, but I was so relieved to see I was down 1.2 that it didn't bother me (much). Was I hoping for more? Sure. Was I just thrilled something happened? You bet. Do I know this is something of a minor miracle considering I've been dealing with my period the past week? Absolutely.

The bad news? I now get to eat less food. My loss moved me into a new (lower) point category. I'm a little nervous about it, but I'm just going to have to find a way to make it work. Unfortunately, I didn't start the week off well. My sister-in-law hosted a housewarming party last night in her new gorgeous home and I uh, overindulged. (I can't be the only one that needs vodka to get through an evening with my in-laws, can I?). But the flex points have been counte and dedcuted and on we go...

But the fact I've lost a point isn't coming at a great time. All summer I've been dreading the return of the school year. Though I'm not a teacher and I don't have kids, my life becomes completely insane once the school year starts because of my job. At least twice a week now, I'll be coming home past 11 p.m. I'll be out of the office, out of my house, out of my comfort zone on those nights. Finding time to workout is going to be more challenging, so I'm going to have to capitalize on whatever time I do have.

Since starting this journey, I've been working out every night after work. This was perfect for me in a couple of ways--the first being Mr. CCC works late pretty often. Going to the gym after work was a good way for me to pass the time 'til he got home and it kept me out of the house (and the kitchen!) until dinner time. And let me tell you right now--I am not a morning person. The idea of waking up early to go exercise gives me the shakes. Plus, on the occasions I did that, I found myself insanely hungry the rest of the day. I'd be out of points well before dinner time. So evening workouts were perfection.

Only problem is that now that school's back, I'm going to be working late myself. So I'm going to have to find ways to make morning workouts--work. That means going to bed earlier, having dinner earlier, packing healthy snacks for during the day and planning my meals better. It's going to be a challenge, but I'm determined to make it work. I have to.

I know I can't be the only one who's got to work out in the have you made it work for you? I could use the advice and the inspiration so tell, tell!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I know what word rhymes with "stuck"...

...and it's the word I screamed (internally!!!) while standing on the scale last week.

I bet you know the word I was thinking of, don't you? Well, let's rule out some possibilities. It wasn't duck...or truck...or puck...or schmuck. Figured it out yet?

Okay, imagine your reaction after five days of relentless workouts, passing up treats and realizing you've only lost half a pound (after two straight weeks of gaining!) You wouldn't be happy, would you? Neither was I.

Sure, the weigher was all chipper and happy and "Yay! You lost half a pound!" but it took all my self control not to utter the word-that-rhymes-with-stuck while standing in her presence.

After two weeks of gaining and all the work I'd put in earlier that week, I was so upset. More upset when I realized over the past four weigh-ins--four weeks of dieting--all I've managed to lose was nothing. Exactly nothing. I weigh today, exactly what I weighed July 21.

While I can honestly say I'm not sure what happened with my last weigh-in (where I gained 4 ounces despite eating well and exercising), I know I was lucky to have some, any kind of downward progress this past week. Why? Because in the two days after Dobie's death, as I posted, I was a nutritional black hole.

If you were fried, covered in cheese or barbeque sauce, drizzled with chocolate or soaked in vodka, I was going to eat you. I didn't care what I put in my body. But less than 72 hours after losing my boy, I knew that the food wasn't helping me in any way and I got back together.

Two pilates classes in one week. Cardio and weights every other day. Not going over my points (Or telling myself I hadn't). And all I could muster was a half-pound loss? Gotta admit, it was disappointing.

But it was also eye-opening.

And it made me realize...while I can exercise my brains out, if I'm still taking in food that I have no business eating, exercise isn't going to make any difference. And maybe that's something I wasn't being honest with myself about while I've been stuck. Have I really, really counted every bite? Have I really, really measured everything out? Have I really, really journaled every day?

Or am I just coasting along, counting on my exercise to undo that bite of chocolate cake I had at my boss' birthday? Or am I figuring that because my muscles still ache from pilates it's okay to steal a few fries off Mr. CCC's plate?

Since that weigh-in on Saturday, I've tried to make sure I do keep track of everything. I'm writing down every bite before I even swallow. And if I go over my points for the day, I flip to the page in my journal where I mark off flex points and there they go.

To make this work, I need to be real. I need to be honest. I need to be as on top of my eating as I am on top of my exercise. Simple as that. I can't tell myself that because I don't weigh what I did when I started this journey that I've got a handle on this eating thing. Because I don't.

Maybe that's what's happening. Maybe I've just gotten comfortable. Or maybe I really am stuck on a plateau. I can't be 100% sure yet. I think this weekend will give me more of an idea. Here's to hoping there's not something more serious going on.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Face to face with the reality...

From the moment I was a little girl, I've had an unhealthy mental image of what the ideal woman should look like.

Of course, I didn't realize it was an unhealthy image until I got older, but when I was 6, 7, 8 years old, few women in the world to me, were prettier than the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders.

Are you cringing yet? The 29-year old me is. But the little girl I used to be just saw pretty faces, big smiles and shimmery outfits. Who wouldn't be fascinated?

I first encountered the Dolphins cheerleaders because of my mom. Prior to opening her own business, she worked in sales in a male-dominated industry. This meant part of her job often involved entertaining clients. She took her female clients to spas to discuss business. Her male clients often got tickets to Miami Dolphins games. Her company used to set up quite the pre-game tailgate and since she was a single mom hard-pressed to find a sitter, I'd get to go down to the Orange Bowl with her and her coworkers to help.

It was hard work, but when you're 7 and your parents are in the middle of a divorce, a Sunday afternoon at the Orange Bowl with all that yummy food and a football to toss around was bliss. And inevitably, someone would always prefer to stay at the tailgate party, giving my mom and I their tickets and into the game we'd go. (No wonder I fell in love with football...)

To make their tailgate even better, the company would often pay the Dolphins to have the cheerleaders make appearances at the tailgate parties. So hours before the game kicked off, those women would show up with their shimmery pom-pons and their shiny white boots. In my mind, they were glamorous. Even as a kid, I knew there was something about them...after all, why would all the cute sons of my mom's clients rush off from playing football with me to pose for pictures with those glamazons?

Is it any wonder that when I was young, if you asked me what I wanted to be my answer was "cheerleader"?

But as I got older, I realized there was more to aspire to than being a professional pretty dancer. Soon the answer to the "What do you want to be when you grow up?" question went from "cheerleader" to "pediatrician." (My mother, understably, was relieved.)

I started getting good grades in school and got a little bit heavier. Inevitably, I was one of the outsiders looking in...the cheerleaders at my school were thin and pretty and popular. And some of them weren't all that nice. But I still wanted to be like them--be liked by them, so for two years, I was on the squad.

Eventually I gave up cheerleading, telling myself I wanted "more" than to just be on the sidelines. In reality, the cheerleaders intimidated me the older we got. I ran from my pompons and embraced my bat and ball. I was a softball player now. But the cheerleaders have always been those girls I've looked up to and thought had the 'perfect' lives. Like the head cheerleader who dated the quarterback of the football team (who I was secretly in love with). Or (again), the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders who could make a crowd of 70,000 (mostly) men go crazy with one toss of their head and one shake of their hips.

The older I got, the more critical my view of cheerleaders became. I viewed them as nothing but eye candy (especially the ones that did nothing but dance...I know quite a few cheerleaders do more than that and train and perform like athletes...I'm not talking about them). My bitterness only grew when while we were dating, Mr. CCC got a job with the Dolphins' marketing department.

Part of that job? Accompany the Dolphin cheerleaders to appearances throughout South Florida. While the cheerleaders would lure the fans (err, men!) in, Mr. CCC would try to sell them season tickets. I hated that he was around those cheerleaders in their skimpy outfits for hours at a pulled at every self-esteem issue I had and I worried that one day, Mr. CCC would come home and tell me he was running off with one of them. And why wouldn't he want to? They were tall. Thin. Beautiful. Voluptuous.

I was not.

Yesterday in my Pilates class, I came face to face with my childhood goal/adult nemesis. There was a new student in class and as the rest of the chubsters and I sweat and groaned through the new moves our instructor demanded, the newbie flew through the routine with the kind of grace and precision you just don't see from newcomers to Pilates. She barely broke a sweat.

Our instructor must have noticed the fact so many people turned to look because she pointed out for the rest of us not to worry--that the new student was a dancer and had been training professionally for years. As I was leaving the studio, I overheard the chatter...the newbie was a Miami Dolphins cheerleader.

I glanced over and wasn't surprised--perfect body, perfect hair, perfect smile. For a moment, all I could think was, "Damn...I can work as hard as I just worked and I can cut back to eating absolutely nothing and I will never, in my wildest dreams, look like that." And part of me internally rolled my eyes---if she was so advanced and so flexible, why the heck was she strutting her stuff in a beginner class? I go to Pilates to escape my body issues. Not run into them head on.

It was rather depressing and took me right back into junior high mode--where the cheerleaders were the ones with the perfect lives and I was alone. But as I recounted the story, to a (very wise) friend, she told me I had to STOP thinking like that...and how we women are so hard on ourselves and overly critical of everything regarding our bodies. She had a point. For the first time since taking Pilates, I left the studio feeling down about myself...not proud of what I had just accomplished. And that bothered me.

That's my cross to bear, my issue to work through. I shouldn't be placing value on the person I am by the way I look. I shouldn't see a beautiful woman and roll my eyes, telling myself internally that she's automatically a bitch or that she's bound to be mean. I shouldn't look at a woman with a perfect figure and rationalize she has a perfect life. Because I don't know her. For all I know, she's lost her job, her husband, a child and is burning with pain inside.

For all the times we preach to our children and our friends about how looks don't matter, how often do we really believe that ourselves? I know I have issues. And I also know I need to find a way to stop that negative thinking.

Instead, I can (and should) look at that Dolphins Cheerleader and think, "Wow...I bet she has to work really hard to look that good." Because I'm sure she does. She's probably passed up cookies and cake her entire life. Or she spends six hours a day exercising. Is that something to be envious of? I don't think so. Would I want to skip some of the fabulous meals I've had in my life to be that thin? I don't know that I would. Am I willing to spend hours upon hours cooped up in a gym, instead of enjoying time with my family and friends? Nah.

But more power to those that do...that have to for their jobs. There's nothing to envy have to just admire their self-control and their willpower. (Unless of course, you discover her dinners consist entirely of chocolate, wine and cheese and her exercise is limited to walking outside to get the mail. If that's the case, then yeah, I'm gonna be really, really jealous!)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Picking up the pieces

It's been three days since Dobie left us and I have to tell hasn't been easy. Not when it comes to adjusting. Not when it comes to seeing my stepdad's face. Not when it comes to walking into their home and not being met by a cold nose nudging into my arm, my legs, my anything...

It also hasn't been easy when it comes to my diet.

I've been a nutritional black hole since Saturday morning. I was too upset to eat on Friday night but by Saturday morning, when the ravenous physical pangs of hunger hit, I was all about eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and however I wanted. McDonald's for lunch, nachos and baby back ribs for dinner...Sunday wasn't much was my cousin's birthday and the whole family got together. I didn't indulge in the cake, but it was pretty hard there for a while to pry the guacamole out of my hands...and the wine? Well, let's say my uncle is a wine distributor. Between my love of wine and my desire to avoid all talk about Dobie (because of course, my family asked), I drank...oh, maybe, 5 glasses? Yipes.

But I put an end to the weekend pity party as soon as I woke up today. Figuring that I've already blown past my weekly allotment of flex points, I've realized it's going to take some work and planning to make sure I only eat my 29 points per day. And since I probably ate more than my allotment of flex points, there will be no skipping out on exercise. I told myself if I got my act together today, maybe by Saturday, I'll be lucky to maintain my weight from last week.

But talk is talk and midway through the afternoon, I was hit with one of those waves of pain that just shows up out of nowhere. I can be sitting there, working on a project or reading a book and it just pops into my mind that he's gone...and suddenly, I'm sad all over again. Combine that with a dull craving for chocolate I had been successfully fighting to that point and I was on the verge of disaster.

But then I stopped...and pulled out my class schedule for Pilates...turns out there was a class starting in less than 15 minutes. I knew if they had an opening, I could make it. I called, there was lots of space, I went, figuring it'd take my mind off the pain for a little while.

I was right. The Monday afternoon class is a lot less full than my regular Wednesday morning class, so my instructor was able to give all five us real one-on-one torture. No one got away with slacking. I was working hard. I was sweating. I wasn't thinking about anything was just what I needed.

I felt good when I got home...because I'd avoided stuffing myself with empty calories. Instead, I'd sought relief in exercise. I need to start doing more of that.

This weekend did teach me though that no matter how much progress I make, I will always be an emotional eater. I will never be one of those women who doesn't want food when the world is crashing down. But I need to learn how to manage it better. If not, I'm going to be sunk...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A heart that's just too big...

I don't even know if blogger picks up timestamps on posts, but if it doesn't, I'll tell you I'm writing this at 5:30 a.m.

Few people are ever on the computer at that time of morning for a good reason. My reason? I just can't sleep. Even though I am mentally exhausted and physically drained, I can't sleep.

My sweet, precious Dobie is gone.

His surgery on Tuesday went well and he didn't have any complications at all that day. Wednesday we went to see him and while he looked a little mopey, we knew that was to be expected...he'd just had some MAJOR surgery! Again though, no sign of complications. He was on a heart monitor and things looked good. His vitals were good.

But yesterday morning, my parents got a phone call that he had taken a turn for the worse. His heart rate was elevated, his breathing was labored, he didn't want to eat and he was unresponsive with the doctors and staff. He was alive, but didn't acknowledge them. She suggested then that we all head down there and bring him some of his homecooked food to see if we could "perk him up."

I called Mr. CCC in tears and we both left our respective jobs to meet my parents at the hospital. I was fully prepared to say goodbye to my dog, but what I got instead was what I consider Dobie's last gift to us.

When he walked into the room, he practically ran and jumped to us. His tail started wagging like crazy, he licked us all. He didn't know who to go to was happy dog overload! We spent two hours with him and while at first he didn't want to eat, when I sat down next to him, and gave him a piece of chicken from my hand, he took it and looked up at me like, "Well? There is more, isn't there?"

The doctor came into the room while we were with him and looked visibly relieved. She told us Dobie had given her quite the scare and that it appeared what he really, really needed were his people. She then told us if he didn't show any complications overnight, he would be ready to go home.

My mom got the call Friday morning to pick him up and they brought him home. But he was a shadow of the dog we'd seen a day earlier. He didn't want to eat. And during the day, he would respond to them and try to get up and follow my parents around until finally, they just sat in the room with him because they knew the activity wasn't good for him. He just didn't want to be by himself.

When I got out of work and went to their house and saw Dobie on his bed, I knew he was slipping away. He barely lifted his head to greet me. I tried to get him to eat like he had the day before, but nothing. It was the only time in his life that Dobie has ever turned his back to me when I've spoken to him.

Things got worse not even an hour later when while on his bed, Dobie lost control of his body and went to the bathroom all over himself and the bed. My parents cleaned him up, put him in my car (since it was easier for him to get into) and rushed him to the ER.

The doctors did everything they could, but Dobie went into cardiac arrest in my car. He died moments after reaching the hospital.

My parents and I had a long discussion as to why they let him come home today, but I got my answer when I saw his discharge papers. His painkiller dose was double what he'd been prescribed after his biopsy last week. And the first instruction on his "medicine" listing was, "Give Dobie lots and lots of love!" with a BIG heart on it.

I believe in my heart that his doctors knew yesterday when they called us that he wasn't going to make it. But instead of keeping him separated from his home and his family anymore, they sent him home to spend his last days with us. The painkiller dose meant he felt nothing--something the vets in the ER assured us...Dobie knew his body was failing him, but he did not FEEL his body failing him.

It's been a little surreal. This is the second time in less than a year that my family has lost a dog. Cancer took our Papo last October and I think cancer again played a part with Dobie, although technically, what took him was his heart problem---an enlarged heart.

Dobie did have a very, very big heart and of course, I find it ironic that that's what caused him to leave us. He was truly a special dog who always showed us he cared. Even today, in his final hours, he tried to be with us as much as he could. He was as noble, loyal and kind as you could ever imagine.

People were always stunned when they learned we had a Doberman Pinscher. And I can't tell you how many times people would cross to the other side of the street when they saw me walking him. He looked ferocious. Until you got up close and he would nudge with his cold nose. Or offer you his paw as an introduction--we showed him how to "shake hands" as a pup and eve yesterday, when I asked, "Give me paw?" he always put his paw in my hand.

Dobie never growled or complained, even when in pain. He never bit anyone or begged for food. Whatever you asked of him, he did. He loved to roll around the in the grass of our backyard or play hide and seek with us. (We always did the hiding, he did the finding). We used to joke in our family that his eyes and his face told us more than words ever could and that he was one step away from being human and all he needed was to physically speak. I can never and will never forget that face.

It's been incredibly hard on my stepdad. My mom and I got Dobie for him as a Christmas gift six years ago because he had always wanted his own dog--a big dog. And while Dobie loved us all, there was a bond between he and my stepfather that could not be broken. I often used to joke I was jealous, because with my parents out of town so much for work, I did lots of dogsitting for Dobie and he'd just up and leave my side as soon as my stepdad walked in the door.

When my parents got home from the ER tonight, my stepdad stumbled through the door wearing Dobie's collar around his neck. He just held onto me and cried, sobs shaking his entire body saying, "My dog is dog is gone...why is my beautiful dog gone?" It was heartbreaking in a way I can't describe. He ended up throwing himself on Dobie's dog bed and sobbing and we just had to give him his space.

The only consolations I have right now are that so many wonderful people, including those of you who stop in on my blog, have sent our family so many good wishes and so many prayers. To know Dobie was in so many thoughts is incredibly special and I am eternally grateful. My other consolation? That this happened while my parents were home.

They're both travel agents so on most weekends, they're not here. I can't tell you how many times over the past few months while Dobie's health was deteriorating and Mr. CCC and I had to rush him to the ER alone I've asked God to just let Dobie stay with us until my parents got back. I don't even want to wrap my head around the idea of having to call my stepdad and tell him his boy was gone.

Dobie's last minutes on earth weren't ideal and yes, he was rushed back to the hospital but his last days and his last hours were with his people. He wasn't alone when he passed and he was in no pain, surrounded by just love. When all of our times come, we should be as fortunate.

I truly believe God needed a really, really, really good dog in heaven, so he called Dobie home. And more importantly, when he did that, he ended Dobie's tough medical road and healed his little body in a way no one on earth could.

I'm pretty sure that his little brother was waiting for him and that the two of them are having a great time together. And I bet just like it happened here, the little one is already pushing Dobie around...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Grazing my way through the day...

I have to admit, when I'm nervous, or scared or emotional, my eating can go either way.

Sometimes, the mere thought of food when I'm bothered is horrifying. It doesn't help that on some occasions, when I've eaten while upset, I've gotten sick. So as I sat down to eat my lunch today at work, I quickly wrapped it up, put it back in the fridge and told myself I'd only get sick if I ate it. After all, with Dobie in surgery today, my stomach was doing its best impersonation of an Olympic gymnast. Flips and turns and somersaults all over.

But as I get ready to make dinner, I'm smacked in the face with the reality that no, I haven't had a big meal today (save breakfast), but I am just about completely out of points. There was the small order of fries I got from Mickey D's when I picked up my lunchtime salad. There was the yogurt I ate around 2 p.m.; the bag of chips I inhaled around 4 p.m.

I told myself at lunchtime that if I ate a full meal, I'd likely make myself sick. But I've probably inhaled more calories with my nervous grazing than I would have had I just eaten the darned salad. Where's the logical explanation there, CCC? Ah, right...there is none.

By skipping my lunch for fear of losing my lunch, I was powerless to stop the cravings when I got hunger pangs. And no, the damage wasn't horrific (I still do have 8 points left for dinner...) but I know what I did today wasn't healthy.

It was as if every time the phone rang, I jumped, expecting news on Dobie's surgery and when there was no news to get, I ate something. Anything. How that 100-calorie pack of cookies that is still sitting on my desk made it through the day I'll never know, but thank heaven for small miracles, right?

The only thing keeping me from losing my mind is the fact that in about 24 hours, all the worrying and stressing should be over. Dobie was a real trouper in surgery and the doctor said it went well. She found some smaller masses on his liver and spleen that she removed and sent to be biopsied, but she told us those could be nothing more than "old dog changes" since Dobie is a few months shy of his 7th birthday (rather old on the Doberman Pinscher scale).

But because Doberman's have blood clotting issues and Dobie has a heart condition, the next 24 hours are crucial. His body needs to adjust to what the doctors did and the doctor said she doesn't foresee any problems, but we need to get him through the next day.

To deal with the fact that I'll probably still be a nervous wreck tomorrow, I'm going to plan ahead.

Here's the gameplan:
1. Pack lunch. Not only will I save money, I'll save points (Since lunch will likely be a homemade sammich or a WW frozen meal).

2. Pack snacks with said lunch. Healthy, point-friendly snacks. This will deter me from inhaling another bag of tortilla chips that weren't even worth the points I spent on them.

3. Leave the money at home. If I don't have singles or change, I have nothing to use at the vending machine. If I have no money, I can't buy junk. If I need something, there's an ATM downstairs from my office that dispenses $10 bills. You can't use those in vending machines, so there!

4. Pack gym bag and return to workout routine immediately after work. I'm back into the groove, went yesterday, have Pilates class in the morning, but I skipped the workout today to go to the hospital and meet with Dobie's vet.

5. Distract myself with any and all things possible while at the office. Get work done, start on projects that aren't due for a while, email Mr. CCC and friends to avoid noshing. Heck, blog if I so see fit and I have a few minutes. Whatever. Just do not mindlessly eat.

That oughta do it, right? RIGHT! And I know my buddy's going to be perfect tomorrow evening and this long process will finally come to an end. With a saner CCC and a happier, healthier Dobie!

Am I hard to read?

Alright, so this is more a housekeeping post than anything else...

Tinkered around with the page, the fonts, the colors and because I'm such a girly-girl, this is what I came up with...

It's not hard on anyone's eyes, is it?

I just wanted to spice things up, but I don't want anyone to stop reading because my format is far more annoying than my words :)

Let me know!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Hot fun in the summertime...

Okay, so South Florida is in the middle of a heat wave. Even by our standards, it's warm out there right now. Miami had a record high yesterday and even the simple task of walking from my condo to the car leaves me feeling sweaty and gross.

Combine that with the fact that this afternoon has been non-stop ridiculously busy for me, and it was time for a Starbucks run.

I've been avoiding Starbucks like the plague since getting back on the Weight Watchers wagon. Sure, I know they have healthier options and you can get anything you like made with non-fat milk and no whipped cream, but let's be real.

That's the stuff that makes Starbucks sooo good.

But today, I had to have some caffeine and I needed something cool (plus the escape from the constantly-ringing phone was essential) so I took a short stroll and immediately started drooling at the sight of one of their new summer drinks--the raspberry mocha frappuccino.

As you know, I'm a sucker for anything chocolate. And raspberries + chocolate = a little slice of heaven for me, so I figured I'd indulge. After all, I've been a good egg all day--working out in the morning, drinking my water, having a sensible WW frozen quesadilla for lunch. I had the points to spare.

I was happy to discover I could get the drink made in the "light" version using skim milk and I asked for the lightest bit of whipped cream possible (ie, I had far less whipped cream on my drink than the picture up there!) As I sipped and took in the chocolatey-raspberry goodness, I had to melt a little bit.

It was yummy in a plastic cup!

My best friend (whom I have the extreme pleasure of sharing an office with!) eyed my drink suspiciously (enviously maybe?) and asked if I'd checked the points out on it. I hadn't yet, but when we got back to the office, I had to gloat.

A tall, made with skim milk had only 140 calories and 1 gram of fat. SWEET!

On my WW point slider, it drops in right on the line between 2-3 points. Since I'd added a small touch of whipped cream, I went with the higher number. And enjoyed every sip.

I know Starbucks is trashed a lot for the number of calories and the amount of fat in their drinks, but there are some healthy choices there and we all need to remember that (myself included!).

If you like raspberries and you like chocolate, get thee to Starbucks.

Someone please let me know if it's as yummy without the touch of whipped cream. I bet it is...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Up and down

Another day, another emotional roller coaster ride.

Despite the fact I haven't worked out over the past week the way I would have liked, once I got back into Pilates on Wednesday, I was back on like crazy. I did cardio that night. On Thursday I did cardio and weights; same thing for Friday.

And I have to admit, I was pretty proud of myself for not doing the emotional eating thing...the leftover birthday cake has sat in my fridge--untouched--all week. I've stuck to my points. Picked the evil goodies out of a salad I'd ordered figuring it was healthy. You put all of that together and the fact I had a slight gain last week and I figured once my weigh-in came, something good would happen.

So when I stepped up the scale and saw I was up another 0.4, I lost it. It's the first time in this journey that I have gained weight two weeks in a row. It was the first time I'd gained weight and had no good answers. I didn't cheat. I journaled everything. I was so upset at the unfairness of it all and I'm not proud of this, but I stormed out of my Weight Watchers meeting, sat in my car and sobbed. When I got home, the words, "I'm going to be fat for the rest of my life!!!!!!" were uttered (okay, yelled) to Mr. CCC.

I was livid and so tempted to stuff myself, but instead I figured I'd punish my body. By working out. I went and pushed myself on the stairmaster, pushed myself on the treadmill and came home drained.

A few hours later though, all the rage I'd felt at my disappointing weigh-in evaporated when my grandmother called and told me Dobie was not eating and throwing up. With my parents on the west coast for the day, I knew this was my issue to deal with. And I remember when we picked Dobie up from the hospital after his biopsy, the doctor told us discomfort would be normal. If he didn't want to eat or drink, that was normal. But if he threw up, we had to bring him in immediately.

I hightailed it from Fort Lauderdale to Miami, and called the vet to let her know we were on the way. The nurse then informed me that when we got in, Dobie's vet had gotten the results of the biopsy earlier that day and she'd meet with us about them. (Gulp!)

Mr. CCC, who had been working, met me at the animal hospital because with my parents not there, I didn't want to be alone when I heard the biopsy results. After all, the vets had painted a pretty grim picture earlier in the week. And his episode at the moment wasn't making things better.

As we rushed him in, the doctors took Dobie away to do some tests. The diagnosis? A bad (nauseous) reaction to his medications. Then the vet informed us she was going to prescribe something else for the tummy issues, but that we couldn't take him off the medicine that was making him nauseous, because she was scheduling him for surgery on Tuesday and he needed that medicine beforehand.

I looked up and said, "But surgery? I thought you said that wasn't an option for him?" And then we got the best news we've had since Dobie's ordeal began.

Despite the fact all signs pointed to cancer, his biopsy results had come back benign. When I heard her say "benign," I literally started to sob. Now all signs pointed to Dobie being cancer free...he still has to have surgery to have the tumor removed. The vet also said it was time to neuter him because if we didn't, these problems would likely continue.

Talk about complete and utter joy...the doctor said Dobie's case was really surprising her because that kind of growth just isn't normal in a benign tumor. To make sure, she was going to do another biopsy of the tumor once it is removed, but she said to us, "Your doggie just may be the miracle dog."

After that, how much could I let a 0.4 gain bother me? It didn't. It's amazing how quickly things are put into perspective for you. Hours earlier, I'd thought that gain was the end of the world. Now I realized it was anything but.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not going to accept what happened. I'm going to keep working hard and maybe the fact is, I can't afford to work out just three times a week. I had been going five times a week before Dobie got sick. I need to get back to that.

And I really need to assess what I am putting into my body. Every bite, every calorie. I don't have any room for error. Since coming off from my rage, Mr. CCC and I have had time to talk about my gain a little bit. And as he pointed out, it could be some leftover effects from my birthday weekend. It could be the fact I've been doing weights. Either way, the trend is still ultimately downward and I need to focus on that.

I also need to accept that there are going to be ups AND downs on the scale. And I just can't let one (or two) bad weeks deter me. I have too much at stake to give up.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A donut STILL can't fight cancer...

A few months ago, I wrote about my run in with a chocolate-glazed donut when my family and I learned my grandfather's cancer had returned.

I have to admit, that was incredibly hard and it remains incredibly hard, but we're encouraged by the fact my grandfather's tests have not been alarming recently. He's due back for another check next month and we'll know more then.

But last night, I had a flash of deja vu, and another fight against emotional eating when I got news about Dobie and his surgery.

I was sitting at work when my mom called and she started hedging right away...asking if I was in the office, if I could talk, that she didn't want to disrupt me. So I outright asked, "Is the dog alive?"

She was a little taken aback and said, "Well, of course he is...but..." and that was when I cut her off. Because as far as I was concerned, if Dobie was still with us, the day was a good one. With his heart condition and some of the blood issues Doberman Pinschers have, I truly was terrified my beautiful bud wouldn't even make it through surgery. So for me, hearing he had was the best kind of news.

Until my mom finished speaking. Apparently, before putting Dobie in, his vets did another x-ray and a physical exam. In that, they discovered the tumor on his prostate had grown. Rapidly. They opted not to perform the surgery on him and when my mom said that, I could only choke out the words, "It's cancer, isn't it?"

Hey, I was pre-med for two years. And I'm pretty sure I remember reading that benign tumors don't grow that rapidly. That Dobie's had meant that well, it was a malignant tumor. My mom whispered, "Yes" and that was when I just felt rage. I barely listened to the rest of what she had to say, but I gathered that the vets decided to do a biopsy to determine what kind of cancer he had, how aggressive it was, and what--if anything--could be done for him.

We'll get the results in a week. So basically, we have another week of waiting and wondering and worrying.

But I was so angry because this is incredibly unfair. So incredibly unfair. Last October, we had to put our other dog down because of--you guessed it, cancer. Then in May we learned my grandfather's cancer was back. Now at the end of July, Dobie had cancer. How many times can this same disease cause havoc on one family? Seriously! And that's in the past year. I've lost my cousin and my uncle to cancer as well. Cancer is just hitting below the belt right now and I'm really beaten up.

I made arrangements to meet my mom and stepdad at the vet to pick Dobie up. All the way there, I fought the urge to stop at McDonald's and get fries. Or onion rings from Burger King. By the time I passed a KFC, I was just about ready to stroll in and sate my pain with an entire bucket's worth of fried chicken.

Why I didn't stop, I'll never really know. I don't know if it's the fact that my brain understood food wasn't going to help or if it was just that I was in a hurry to get to the hospital and see my boy. Either way, today, with a little bit of perspective, I can just say I'm grateful I didn't find solace in food.

When I finally saw my Dobie, he was still groggy from the anesthesia, and his eyes were a little glazed. But when he saw us, his little tail started to wag. He ran (well, as best he could) to us and licked us all. I had to fight back the tears. No one deserves cancer. Not my grandfather, not my cousin, not my uncle and definitely not this dog...this dog who has never done anything bad to anyone. Ever.

For the past week, I've soaked up every minute possible with Dobie. I'll be honest--once his surgery was scheduled, he became my priority. Instead of going to work out when I was done with the office, I'd rush to my parents house (ie, the Den of Evil Food Goodies) and see him. This morning, I finally put a stop to that and went back to my Pilates class.

I feel almost mean and selfish for saying this, but it was probably the most peaceful hour I have had in the past day. I was done with the worrying. I was done with the crying. The only thing I could think of was the physical pain I was feeling--the burning in my thighs, the stretching in my hamstrings, the straining in my arms. Never in my life have I been as grateful for a workout as I was for my Pilates class this morning.

It reminded me that no matter how painful, how difficult life gets to be, I need to take care of myself. I need to find relief for me. I need--for at least a little bit--to think of no one but myself. And I can only hope my lack of exercise doesn't catch up to me when it's time to face the scale on Saturday (Because more honesty--I have been a little naughty, what with the birthday and the fact a few--okay, two--chocolate chip cookies found their way into my mouth last night.)

Today has been about regaining my focus, regaining my control. There's nothing I can do, or eat, that will make Dobie better. Nothing I can do, or eat, that will make my grandfather better. I can only stay positive and pray for them and that is what I shall continue to do.

I've gotten so many positive messages and wishes for my family, my dog and I and I really wanted to say thank has meant a lot to me to know so many people have kept us in their thoughts and prayers. There's still a very, very slim chance it won't be cancer, and I'm not above asking God for a miracle.

But for the most part, right now, I'm just continuing to pray that my amazing dog isn't in any pain. That he doesn't suffer and that his doctors and my family do the best we can for him. If that means we have to send him to be with his brother, we'll deal with that then. But for now, I just want him to be happy and painfree and enjoying the world around him...