13 October 2016

Roller coaster ride

I am counting my blessings. Why? Well, I need to remind myself how fortunate I am - every single day.

As life tends to do, the last week or so has thrown up a variety of things, both good and bad.

Before things get difficult to write, let me kick off with the good side. I've started voluntering at a local Oxfam charity shop, done four shifts to date and it's been a lot of fun. I'm learning new things (always a bonus for me), meeting some super people, and being utterly amazed, in a good way and in a WTF way, at some of the things discovered in the donation bags. Seriously folks, there are some things that really, really shouldn't be donated.

Another good thing is that my weight seems to be creeping, ever so slowly, downwards and the scales reported 55kg once again this morning. I'm not counting my chickens as it could just as easily skip back up again, but I'm quietly hopeful.

The not so good stuff is a lot harder to write about as just thinking about it makes me tearful and angry. On a minor note I'm still looking for paid work, but my ongoing angst over that pales into insignificance given the news I've been hearing of late.

It seems like for some reason (time of life related, perhaps) that this is shaping up to be a particularly bad season, a crappy year. Several of my dearly loved friends have recently been given seriously bad news and are now finding they have heavy loads to bear.

In the main, these loads have taken the form of that bitch cancer. I won't, for their sake, go into any detail but my friends are having a truly horrible time, either themselves or with their immediate families - husbands, parents, siblings. For some, the bitch hid itself and didn't show its face so that it has been detected way too late - for them the outlook is grim indeed.

It makes me feel pretty helpless as I'm so far away from them I can't even give them a hug. I can be, and am, there on the phone, or by text or email, if and when they need to talk (and have the energy), and I'm grateful to be able to do that at least. But on a practical level I can't do zip and that's hard. I can't just pop around with a home cooked meal to take a burden off them, or do a bit of shopping, or... All I can really do is let them know they are in my thoughts and 'prayers' and be there if they need to unload.

I came across a quote from Chief Dan George which I feel is pretty appropriate just at the moment, so I've shared it below.

May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears.
And above all, may silence make you strong.

Finally, I mentioned a long while back that I'd someday post a picture of the tattoo I had done after I lost my darling Mum. Well, seems like the time, so here it is.

Onwards, as ever... but with underlying sadness.

03 October 2016


Hmmm, feels like I'm pushing that damn car, and it's an uphill slope.

I am going to try not to moan.

OK, I tried that, it didn't damn well work, so stuff it - here goes the fat lass with a whole heap of complaining. Navigate away if you like - nothing particularly cheery about this.

Firstly, this miraculous IF plan doesn't seem quite so stupendous to me right now. I'm not saying it doesn't work and it isn't that it is in any way hard to do. Indeed, neither of us feel any problem with restricting our 'eating' hours to those between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m, to 'fast' for the remaining hours. Furthermore I don't think we've been over-compensating and eating more as a result, although that isn't terribly easy to quantify.

But, (oh you just knew there'd be a 'but' didn't you) we started it with high hopes that IF would help the needle on the scales move. Now, if I'm being 100% truthful I guess this has happened. Unfortunately not in the direction I'd hoped for.

I wanted to get down another kilo to 54kg but that isn't what's happened - in fact I appear to have put ON a kilo. I am back at 56kg, and that's where my body seems to want to stay. You can imagine the less than polite words that are sliding through my mind, so for now I'll just say Grrr!

Next up is the job hunt. Well, I'm still hunting as the interview I had last week didn't bear positive fruit. I was pretty disappointed, not least because I messed up a couple of things with the aptitude tests. Nervousness mainly - I know I'm capable of better.

I have a call tomorrow to get some more constructive feedback and I really hope this will help if another similar position comes up, but...

On a marginally more positive (and hopeful) note though, I popped into our local Oxfam book shop today and have officially applied for a volunteering 'job'. Cross fingers that I'll hear more later this week. They would train me and I'd hopefully pick up a few more transferrable skills for my CV. Hey, so what if I wouldn't get paid for it - at least I'd be doing something constructive, getting out of the house with some sort of routine, meeting people and doing some good in the process.

Looking about, I don't need to think too hard to realise that there is another blessing to count too. This is that my lovely hubby had his diabetic review this morning and all of his blood results (HbA1c, triglycerides, cholesterol, kidney and liver function) are good, great, and super. Even if the IF isn't assisting in this, it certainly isn't hampering either.

OK, I think the moaning and mithering is over - there is something cheery to report after all. Onwards, ever...

21 September 2016


Blessings indeed!

Jay heaven. Not only did we have not one, but two, of these beautiful birds outside our window this morning but there have been dramatic developments with lovely hubby's head overnight. 

He got up in the middle of the night to find that some of the hard, scaly crust on his forehead had begun to come away, leaving behind what looks like nice healthy (albeit rather pink) skin.

We're seeing the GP tomorrow for a check and I hope she'll be as pleased as we are.

19 September 2016

Drama in the Shires

Well, this morning has been 'interesting' to say the least. We set off early today to see our GP to check the progress of lovely hubby's treatment. I'm really rather glad that we did.

We didn't quite get the response we'd anticipated. We've been pretty laid back about the state of his head, and had expected a calm 'yeah, that's all going to plan' type of reaction. What actually happened was that, when hubby took his hat off to reveal his scabby, crusty forehead, our GP looked horrified, asked us for a detailed recap (no pun intended) of what had happened and when, and then said she wanted a dermatologist to see him a.s.a.p. Oh!

She called in another GP (who had seen hubby at the start of the treatment) to have a look, who seemed equally horrified. They both felt this was a much more widespread and 'severe' [my word, as I can't remember hers] reaction than was expected. They were concerned about the likelihood of infection, and also a possible allergic reaction.

She said she'd ring the hospital immediately to speak to a consultant, and asked us to be on hand to pick up a letter to take to the hospital for an appointment - pronto. Alright, no problem, so we retired to a coffee shop and awaited her call.

When it came, no dermatology appointments would be possible for a few days, but she was sufficiently worried that her instructions were for us to go straight back to her so that she could photograph hubby's head and send pictures to the consultant for a remote assessment.

OK, back we went and, on arrival, bypassed the receptionists' desk (a first, if ever there was one - here in the UK the doctor's receptionist is a gatekeeper par excellence!) to tap on her door as instructed. Moments later we were in to see her again.

After a few technical difficulties - it proved impossible to get her phone to attach and send said pictures - we gave up and used my phone to send the photos instead. Then we sat in the waiting room until the consultant could respond, and did what you'd expect - waited. Not for long though. Amazingly, after only twenty minutes or so she called us back in to talk to us and tell us what the consultant had reported.

It appears that hubby has had some sort of allergic reaction to the medication we'd been using (this is now clearly marked on his medical records!), and it was this which had caused the rather dramatic appearance that we'd thought was 'normal'.

Normal, eh? I'm so glad we stopped the medication when we did!

Somewhat reassured, it was now possible to come up with a game plan. She has sent us away with a prescription for an antihistamine for hubby to take for the next month, and a large tub of a 'highly occlusive emollient' ointment, which is basically a thick, oily 'goo' to be applied up to five times a day for the next two weeks at least.

Oh yeah, also with strict instructions to see her on Thursday for a visual check, and to get in touch with her (which she really stressed) if anything changes. She also advised against him having the 'flu jab for a while. It appears his system has quite enough to cope with, without adding that to the mix!

I cannot express how grateful I feel. We are so lucky to have such a fantastic GP surgery, and such on the ball and caring doctors. Lovely hubby could not have had better treatment if we'd paid a King's ransom for private treatment. This is a very clear case of following my lovely Mum's advice to 'count my blessings'!

Addendum - if you are not of a squeamish disposition and would like to see pictures of hubby's 'progress' then the 'Inspirations' link at the right has a link to 'Gwilym' where he's been posting regular photos of his poor head.

18 September 2016

Keeping going

Yippee, that grotty buggy thingy seems to be finally running it's course, thank goodness, and although not yet back to 100% I'm pleased to report that I do feel a bit more human.

As yet I still don't have all that much of an appetite (slight sore throat, a bit of a cough, and nothing tasting quite right sees to that) and I seem to become sated pretty quickly, without having eaten a whole lot of food. However, I can feel my interest in food increasing and my desire to eat returning, bit by bit, each day.

That's a good thing in one sense, but let's not break out the champagne just yet, eh. Looked at from another perspective it really ought to sound a teensy bit of a warning. Now this here life isn't all about weight, but - as a reminder to the fat lass.

Where I'd reached mid August: 59kg [9 stone 4 lbs]
Where I am currently: 55kg [8 stone 9 lbs]
Where I want to be: 54kg [8 stone 7 lbs]
...or perhaps just a little less

I still have some of that flubber to shift to get back to my former 'happy' weight, and stay there. So, as I do get back to feeling fine and dandy and being rather more active than my still-buggy body can handle right now, I'll need to make a conscious effort to be 'sensible' about what I eat. That is, I need a plan, a strategy if you like, to not go gung-ho crazy once my appetite is back.

Unpleasant as it's been, this bug's provided a welcome period of grace and enabled (er, more forced) me to get my weight down, from my 'aaaargh shock, horror' moment of a few weeks back and get closer to those old long-term comfortable levels.

What I was doing pre-bug was patently the cause of my steadily gaining weight, so I need to be honest with myself about my behaviours and set myself some clear limits, i.e. cutting out that sneaky 'comfort' eating (I know it really doesn't help with the worries) and restricting how much I consume.

So lovely hubby (who had also gained some weight and wasn't overjoyed about it) and I have put on our thinking caps, done some reading and decided that, in addition to being much more vigilant about our portion sizes (bye bye piled plates - let's see a bit of that rim!) and carb intake, we'll also give intermittent fasting (IF) a try. There seems to be some evidence that it might give us a little more help with shifting those last stubborn pounds, and keeping the beggars off, so why not!

There appear to be a variety of ways to 'do' this intermittent fasting business, but only one of them feels workable for us, particularly given the constraints of hubby's Type 2 diabetes, however well 'under control' it might be. That is to set ourselves a 'fasting period' and an 'eating period' every day, rather than consider skipping whole 24 hour periods of food to fast for a day or couple of days each week. While I'm sure the latter works for some folk, it doesn't sound attractive to us.

So, we've chosen a daily 16–hour fast followed by an 8–hour eating period. The exact timing may shift over time, especially if I start full time work again, but right now it suits us.

We're a few days in and so far, so good. We decided to skip our customary early morning breakfasts (I can almost hear the sharp intake of breath), exchanging them for 'brunch'. In practice, this means we eat nothing until after 11 a.m. We'll still have our main meal in the evening usually around 18.00 (6 p.m.) or a tad later, then we make sure we do not eat anything after 19.00 (7 p.m.). If we want to eat between these times then we could have a little snack, but so far we haven't felt the urge to do so.

Neither of us are feeling 'deprived' in any way, nor hungry in the morning (as long as regular cuppas are forthcoming!). Lovely hubby is monitoring his blood glucose every day and, happily, is seeing no signs of IF causing any problem in that respect. In addition to this we are both keeping track of our weight and will test our urine weekly to check that we remain in dietary ketosis. Every little tool helps!

Speaking of things helping - a slight side-track, but on a related note - starting IF seems to have simplified our day a bit too. We're not juggling fitting in preparing/eating our usual three meals a day with the time-consuming palaver which goes in to looking after poor hubby's skin. While we're confident that things are going to plan with his treatment, it is pretty hard on him. Anything we can do to lower daily stresses in other directions has to be a good thing.

The proposed finish line where my weight is concerned (and hubby's, for that matter) isn't too far off. If IF can help us reach it, and stay there, then all power to it. We'll keep you posted.

So for now, dear fat lass, you know what you have to do. You just have to keep going. Onwards, ever... and all that jazz.

based on a design by suckmylolly.com