Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Life in Motion

The first three photographs I'm using were taken when Bill's car was in fast motion and I was snapping pictures in the passenger seat. I kind of like the effect. When I started this blog, I was very focused on getting back into motion. I crashed my blog and lost my first 2 or 3 weeks of posts. Those posts were primarily concerned with regaining lost ground physically and I still hoped that I would be able to jog again. I even did a little jogging. I was pushing to walk fast and as far as possible. Then I crashed physically and ended up doing a lot of physical therapy and started over again with the rounds of specialists. I had some funky scans and was focused on the possibility that I might be having a cancer recurrence. When I went back and started this blog again, after the crash, I devoted the first few posts to summarizing the melanoma diagnosis and surgeries. Off and on throughout the past 16 months or so that I've been blogging, getting back into motion physically has been a theme that keeps cropping up.
Last December, I decided to have a fresh start and begin with day one. The reason for that is that I had kept running and exercise logs prior to my melanoma diagnosis and I kept looking back at my old logs and thinking, I was jog/running over 5 miles most days and adding swimming and working out with weights around the time I was stalled by surgery. One reason I kept looking back is I maintained the same logs after surgery that I had maintained prior to surgery. My emphasis was on getting back to where I was before. The problem was that even without all the physical issues, I had gained back a lot of the weight I lost when I was aiming towards turning 50 in the best shape of my life. Until middle age, I was always slim but I used to be a smoker and didn't have a very healthy lifestyle in some regards. When I decided to lose my middle age bulge, the goal wasn't just to be lean. I'd been lean for the first 30 some years of my life without being particularly healthy in other ways. Then between 30 and 40, I started having weight issues but I had trouble being active because smoking was affecting my breathing.On June 3, 2001, I smoked my last cigarette. Never say never and all of that but it's been 6 and a half years since I've had a cigarette so I'd be surprised if I ever did that again. At the beginning of 2003, I decided it was time to deal with my weight gain and I started keeping a food diary and trying to be more active. During the next 2 years, I got down to a healthy weight and worked up to jog/running over 5 miles most mornings. I started adding other things like swimming and weights to cut back on the running. I was reaching a plateau where instead of gaining ground, I was tired all the time. It was very odd but I started associating feeling bad with the dome like lesion on my hip/thigh which a dermatologist had said was nothing when it was much smaller in 1984. It hurt to sleep on the side where I had the lesion and it caught on my under pants. I finally went to a new dermatologist in February of 2005 and I was diagnosed with melanoma. Every step of the way my big question was when can I start running again. The minute my surgical drain finally came out after the groin dissection I did start walk/jogging and for a few months I thought I would regain lost ground. That's when the neurological symptoms and chronic pain I've fought ever since hit hard.After that, it has been an ongoing struggle to become active again. I haven't been able to make myself deal aggressively with the weight gain, although I know that doesn't help. I keep feeling like that will happen by its self when I'm active. Last December, I decided to make a fresh start and stop looking at old exercise logs I used to keep but to start brand new ones with day one. I had just finished physical therapy at an out patient hospital facility and had made some progress. My goal was to try to walk as much as possible and build my strength back up. I did pretty well until this summer when I used the heat as an excuse. I say it was an excuse because I belong to a YMCA with a great facility and I could have done water walking or walked on the indoor track. I've tried new fresh starts which I've discussed, each time I started again, on my blog. Which brings me to my current life in motion. I am going to use my exercise logs and numerous fresh starts as kindling. My resolution is to forget about any attempt to build up, do more, record, motivate, or any other method which adds to a feeling of defeat. What I want to try now is to keep moving. Try to take pleasant walks with my camera as much as possible. The camera is good because I will stop and start. Every time I try to move faster and faster, I ultimately am slower and slower so forget that. I need to stay in motion in ways that I enjoy and forget the rest. I've tried setting goals, I've tried keeping records to motivate myself, and although that was very effective before I had the physical issues I now have, that's irrelevant. It no longer helps me so I'm not going to do it anymore. At least that's how I feel about it today and it feels great.


Theresa said...

Life style changes are tough- as you know I am trying to lose weight and keep it off this time too via a lifestyle makeover.

Yeah those mid 30's are when it started for me, I used to eat whole pizza's and whole boxes of donuts with no effects- know I even look at a brownie and it seems like I gain a pound.

Congrats on being 6+ years smoke free, I am very anti smoking, so I am glad to hear this news.

I think encorportating your exercise with your fun daily activities is a great plan- all the best to you!

Carver said...

Hi Theresa,

Smoking was a big one for me. The irony is I hated smoke too from the time I was in my mid 20s. It was a major nuisance too because I mostly smoked outside or out a window after I had a child. The only time I could control it was when I was pregnant and nursing but when I weaned by daughter I went back to being a heavy smoker, even with the nuisance of trying to keep it away from her.

Congrats to you on the weight loss. You are doing it the best way, losing 1 to 2 pounds per week. My experience is that stays off much better than losing it too fast.

Take care, Carver

Anonymous said...

I am glad you retold your story here as I was wondering the progression of your disease.
I am very glad you quit smoking I quit when I was pregnant - over 24 years ago but still managed to scar my lungs. I would dream about smoking for about a decade after I quit.
Your photos in motion are very nice; like lively oil pastels. I always like the way you combine story and image; the image comes just at the moment one needs to remember to breathe so I think it is very well done and reflective of your self care now.

Carver said...

Thanks Ascender, I don't think I could blog at all without posting photographs. It helps me calm myself down when I'm writing to think about a picture to put in. That's great that you stopped smoking when you were pregnant. I tried to but it didn't last until years later when I stopped permanently. Carver

jmb said...

I didn't put on any weight till fater I turned fifty, then it started to creep on. I was working full time and playing badminton twice a week and very active. Not long after I found I could not keep up everything and exercise was the thing to go. Just a few pounds, which I lost, then all the original ones came back plus more. It's been a battle ever since.

Anyway Carver, good luck with you plan. I hope it is very successful for you.

Carver said...

Thanks JMB and I hope the plan you blogged about is going well. I intended to join that one but for whatever reason haven't. I may have to break down and start doing something else soon but for now I'm going to try to stop worrying about it and move as much as possible. If I gain any more weight I'll have to deal with cutting calories though because I'm at least 30 pounds over weight which causes it's own set of problems. Take care, Carver

Diane Dehler said...

I came to visit via ascender and I love the photographs you posted and the bright red flower. Congratulations on changing your life style. That has to be one of the hardest things people can do.

Carver said...

Thanks so much for visiting and for your comment princess haiku.