Staying the Course -- 04/29/19

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Superbob

Steely Resolve!
Joined
Apr 21, 2005
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Coastal Carolina
Wow, appreciate all the good wishes last week. Have decided to go with a highly recommended surgeon at Chapel Hill instead of my outstanding one back in DC area from 14 years ago. They both have knowledge and skill in dealing with aortic aneurysms. Came down to being closer to home --Carolina friends and family to support me, and a much easier journey home afterwards, if I have to have surgery, which I likely do.

So that's enough about me. Let's hear how things are going with y'all! Was so good to hear from so many of you last week!

Cheers,
Superbob
 

epstns

Premium User
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Messages
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Chicago area
Well, let's see. . .

We just came back from MA, visiting family. They are just about settled into a new (to them) house, after selling their loft condo. The condo was neat - 16-foot ceilings, exposed brick, sleeping loft area, and all that -- but it only worked when there were just two adults. The first baby was manageable. Now with two boys (2 y/o and 4 y/o), there just wasn't enough space. Also, with the one huge room, all the kids' things were everywhere, so mom and dad had to shuffle through all the toys just to get around the house. No yard or play space outdoors, either, and the nearest park was a bit of a hike. Now, they are in a small house. Enough bedrooms to go around, and the boys share their own room. Everyone likes this better. Big yard, too. This should do fine until our son-in-law puts the finishing touches on his PhD. Once that is finished, he will be on the job hunt - and that could bring another move. . . or not. We'll have to wait and see.

I'm not getting to the fitness center very much this week, as I am back in the office for my "week at work." I can get to the club once or twice, but it makes my day very long and if I go work out, then my wife has to prepare a later dinner, which means clean-up consumes much of the evening. So, to be fair, I will only go 2 or 3 days. Next week I will be back at it every morning.

Usually, when I am in the office, I plan to take long walks to make up for the lost workout time. Not going to happen this week, though. After another 4 inches or so of heavy wet snow on last Saturday (yeah - April 27), it has been rainy every day, and the forecast is for rain just about every day for the next two weeks straight. It looks like this is going to be another one of those cold, grey, rainy spring seasons that the Chicago area is so famous for. The past few years, the weather hasn't gotten really nice until nearly the end of May.

One good thing that comes with all the rain -- the grass looks great already! This year, we have parted ways with the lawn service. Since I am mostly retired, I have the time, and we just bought a new lawn mower. We have simplified the lines and borders in our gardens so that all are just straight lines. That makes mowing the grass maybe a 20 or 30 minute job. I don't mind it, as it gives me a chance to just be outdoors. I can daydream my way through it, and find it relaxing.

Keep us posted, SB, as to your plans for potential surgery. I'm sure you are not looking forward to it, but you probably are looking forward to having it behind you. Sounds a lot like valve surgery in that respect.

I have to say, since the change to the new ownership and software, the board feels more like it used to. Messages post quickly, and if both parties are online at the same time, it can actually feel like a conversation. The last few years with the old software felt like typing a message, then putting a stamp on it and mailing it.

I'll be watching for the others to jump into this thread, and hope everyone is doing well.
 

Gordo60

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Joined
Apr 3, 2019
Messages
118
Location
Australia (Sunshine Coast)
Resistance bands arrived today. Very impressed, sturdy, well designed and excellent quality. Worth paying a little extra for excellent quality compared to much of the other cheap, less safe knock offs out there. The patented anti snap design of the tubing is a great safety feature. Incredible value really when one considers that these alone can provide a full body workout. The set weighs bugger all (1.5 kgs), takes up very little space and can be taken anywhere such as on vacation etc.

Tried them out. Much better than the other various bands / cables I’ve used over the years.

Added to my existing dumbbells / adjustable bench I’ve now got more than enough to get a great workout at home.

1A2AF84C-AB4B-4F2E-A4C6-FA981EDE7636.jpeg
 
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Duffey

Me and Granbon
Joined
Sep 29, 2004
Messages
5,193
Location
Far side of the moon
Ok, Gordo, you’ve convinced me to order the same. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to stay fit to deal with three grandchildren, 5, 1 and 1, plus a 10 year old. Our 16 year old granddaughter will be driving soon so that requires more mental toughness than physical fitness. In addition, Darling Husband is scheduled for ablation to correct his newly acquired afib so he can discontinue meds taken for blood clot suppression, in order to undergo cancer surgery. Lots of challenges ahead. I’m trying to keep my immune system strong, and I think that perhaps over the years, too much exercise lowered it and left me vulnerable to illness. Any thoughts on lower immune levels and aging? I know that I require more sleep than ever before.
 

FredW

Premium Level User
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
249
Location
Rochester Mills, PA
Well, let's see. . .

That makes mowing the grass maybe a 20 or 30 minute job. I don't mind it, as it gives me a chance to just be outdoors. I can daydream my way through it, and find it relaxing.
Steve, we live close enough that the weather you get today, we get tomorrow. And I agree it has been difficult this spring to get outside work done. I am envious of your 20 - 30-minute grass-cutting job. I'm working on getting mine down to under six hours. I agree it can be relaxing and a good time to daydream. I have enough time on the tractor to dream up a full novel and enough time behind the walking mower to put miles on my fitness tracker.

I may be the only one left who is still working on the challenge SB made six months ago to lose 10 pounds. I don't give up easily. However, I also don't make progress easily. This winter my weight went the wrong direction, which is normal for me. With the beginning of outside work, I'm down to where I started. It is darn hard when I sit at a computer for hours to write or do tech work. Also, I'm still struggling with my love and addiction to sugar and some bad foods (potato chips, ice cream, popcorn). One thing I did realize is that when my wife is away, I eat much less healthy but since I hate to cook or eat the bad food I do cook, I eat less. Double edge sword kind of thing. I'm am gradually making changes to my 'wife-away' diet. I have swapped peanut butter for my homemade yogurt. Not a big improvement, but movement in the right direction.

I do hope everyone is staying the course, even if that means they just stay in touch. This new forum makes that easier.
 

Gordo60

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Joined
Apr 3, 2019
Messages
118
Location
Australia (Sunshine Coast)
Any thoughts on lower immune levels and aging? I know that I require more sleep than ever before.
So sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing.

Immune levels but much more so recovery time seem to be reduced with age in my case. I’m one of those too that suffer the consequences from overdoing things. Although most of my overdoing is mental, too much of a thinker / worrier! That wears me down immunity / energy wise more than anything physical at times. Hence why I have also added daily meditation back into the mix, it has made an enormous difference. My wife really notices the changes in me. A great immune system builder as well.

Exercise wise I restrict myself to two resistance training sessions a week and keep them to about 30 - 45 minutes. On the 3 - 5 other days I usually do moderate aerobic exercise for around 30 minutes. This works well for me in that it is over time progressively energising rather than increasingly tiring.
 

Gordo60

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Apr 3, 2019
Messages
118
Location
Australia (Sunshine Coast)
Also, I'm still struggling with my love and addiction to sugar and some bad foods (potato chips, ice cream, popcorn).
Know the feeling and if it’s there the glutton in me will try to demolish the lot in one go. Only way I can beat this one is to not have any in the house.

That said I’ve cleaned up the diet, especially alcohol consumption, having lost around 8 pounds in the last month.
 

skeptic49

VR.org Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
Messages
2,987
Location
Philadelphia, PA and Cherry Grove, Fire Is. NY
SB, glad that you have selected a surgeon in whom you have confidence. This week I'm at our small cottage out on Fire Island getting the house ready for summer. Next week we're traveling to Japan for our third vacation there. Previous trips to Japan were in 1986 and around 1995. I've been dealing with knee issues for the past couple of months. Apparently I damaged soft tissue (meniscus,) it's not osteoarthritis (which I have) causing the pain. It is healing with time. Efforts to lose weight continue with restrictions on sweets, alcohol and portion size. I don't do resistance training but I lift weights three times a week, nothing too heavy, rather 25 lb dumbbells. My weight is at the top end of normal, but I'd prefer to weigh less. I have to really work hard to get lower. Here are a couple photos from the beach...sunrise and a house finch at the bird feeder.

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epstns

Premium User
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Messages
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Chicago area
It seems that semi-retirement actually helps my weight control efforts. When I am in the office (one week each month), I eat more, and have less-healthy options. I constantly struggle at lunchtime to find something that is small enough to not over-fill me. I could never stand to bring my lunch, and anyway, if I try to eat at my desk, I never get a break. Even if I close my office door, that is just a magnet for everyone to knock. That's the culture here. I usually try to get out of the office for lunch, and if the weather is good enough, I take a 1 to 2 mile walk. Lately, though, it has been cold, windy and rainy, so no walks.

I call myself a "survival cook." If my wife is away, I can cook well enough to survive, but I wouldn't serve that stuff to anyone else. If I don't toss something on the grill, I just go out. Fortunately, with her retirement two years ago, the only time she is away is when she is off for a weekend with friends. I can survive that.

This winter, being semi-retired, I haven't gained my usual extra 5 pounds. I am hopeful that with increased activity in the summer and lighter fare at the table, I just might be able to lose that last 5 pounds I've been lugging around for years. I know I'll never get down to what I weighed 10-15 years ago, but if I can get back down around 150 lbs., I'll feel better. That's my target, and I'm sticking to it!
 

Gordo60

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Joined
Apr 3, 2019
Messages
118
Location
Australia (Sunshine Coast)
Well today didn’t go to plan. Was intending to do my usual weight training but postponed it till tomorrow.

I went for a blood test this morning after fasting overnight and like usual looked at the blood being drawn from my arm. Despite never being effected by this and seeing blood etc in the past I blacked out completely waking up in a lather of sweat in a bed in the doctor’s minor surgery room next door. Been absolutely wiped out with a headache and looking pale all day since.

My blood pressure has generally been normal around 120 / 80. However a few years ago my cardiologist put me on a small 25 mg daily Losartan tablet to reduce the risk of blood pressure spikes and given that although inconclusive and Marfan specific there’s a possibility it may slow down progression of the aneurysm so no harm in trying it.

But with an improvement in diet and exercise recently my blood pressure has now gotten down to around 98 / 66 when this occurred this morning. Although in theory blood pressure over 90 / 60 is still considered normal. So perhaps not a contributor to this event.

So all that I can assume is that I’ve turned into a wimp and the sight of drawing blood caused me to black out. Very unusual for this to happen to me though.

I go for my annual echo and checkup next week so hope nothing unexpected is on the cards.
 
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epstns

Premium User
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Dec 26, 2002
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Chicago area
ooooops! Let's hope that was just an isolated anecdote.

My daughter used to be one of those who couldn't stand the sight of her own blood. She said that having two babies cured her of that. . .
 

Superman

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Oct 3, 2009
Messages
745
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Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Been a while since I checked in. SB, I was sad to see your news. However, we do live in times where we go into the shop, get some new parts, then get on with life. Best wishes and prayers for you and your family as you navigate this.

Things have been fantastic up my way. Almost to where I’m wondering where the next speed bump will come from. Kids are doing well in school. Figuring out college for the oldest who will be a senior next year. Just took a new position at work that netted a raise better than half my first years income post college. Now that was an embarrassingly bad year, but still. Allows us to loosen the belt a bit anyway. Will reach 20 years of wedded bliss this fall. Looking the two of us getting a away for bit without kids for the first time since kids.

Took a great trip to Florida this spring and stayed out of the Disney bubble. Did some hiking, kayaking, ran daily with my wife. Beautiful time.

Weight is staying managed. Hovering around 200 - 205 depending on my focus. Still roughly 30 down from my high.

Feeling really blessed. Have to contemplate how to give back. I do some things already but should probably step it up.
 

Superman

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Joined
Oct 3, 2009
Messages
745
Location
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
epstns, we are fortunate in our downtown. I have an indoor skywalk that connects a bunch of buildings. I can go 2 1/2 miles at lunch with only a quick walk outdoors across the street to access.

Which I do even in nice weather because we have a lot of nesting Red-Wing Blackbirds in the area. And if you don’t know about these little feathered terrors if the sky, google or YouTube “Blackbird Attacks”!
 

Duffey

Me and Granbon
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Sep 29, 2004
Messages
5,193
Location
Far side of the moon
Superman, it all sounds great! Gordo, I never watch while they take blood. I’ve become more of a wimp over the years. Too many surgeries, childbirth x 5, heart procedures, etc. Next time, look away!
 

epstns

Premium User
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Messages
5,080
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Chicago area
Superman - I haven't been in GR for too many decades. Used to go there during the 1960's for the custom car shows - I was a traveling judging supervisor for the show promoter during my college years. It sounds like your area has some great improvements since then.

During the week (one week per month) when I am working, I can hop over to the local recreation center and walk on their indoor track when the weather is bad. I usually just wait and go outdoors when the weather is better, though. The other weeks of the month, I do make it to my local fitness center 5 days/week before breakfast. That has helped me to get my weight back to my target range, even staying there over this past winter.

I do look forward to being able to be active outdoors, though. Even though I do my workouts indoors, there is still something wondrous about being able to just be out in the great outdoors. Maybe my inner cow loves to see all the green. . . MOO!
 

Superbob

Steely Resolve!
Joined
Apr 21, 2005
Messages
8,225
Location
Coastal Carolina
So wonderful to see all our friends returning to our reborn site here, most recently Superman! Sounds like all's going well. Great to hear.

Probably I should start posting on PreSurgery -- but just briefly, yeah it's on, after son and I visited surgeon at UNC/Chapel Hill yesterday. Was enormously impressed with the surgeon -- I'll just say he is to aortic surgery as Coach Dean Smith was to UNC basketball -- in demeanor and knowledge. Briefly my ascending aortic aneurysm is around 5.5 cm (measured yesterday during visit) to 5.7 (measured by my previous surgeon of 15 years ago as a favor to me)...this is especially dangerous in terms of catastrophic dissection to someone bicuspid like me. Family and I face enormous challenges over next month in prep -- all dental work to be done plus cath and other tests.

I'll probably keep chronicling here and doing week-openers, but please don't let me be a distraction from happier news. Keep sharing YOUR stories. Love the good vibes here. Cheerio, Superbob
 

skeptic49

VR.org Supporter
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Aug 8, 2008
Messages
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Location
Philadelphia, PA and Cherry Grove, Fire Is. NY
Superbob, sending you hugs and best wishes. The aneurysm has to be addressed for sure. The tissue might be flimsy; mine was. If you want to share, I'd like to know who your surgeon is, and what did he or she say about your valve and the plan for your surgery. We're all pulling for you!
 

dornole

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Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Messages
638
Location
Minnesota, US
Best wishes SB. I hope will go as smoothly as possible for you and yours. Definitely rooting for you.

I'm doing great. Strong meditation habit established, up to 80 sessions now. A short 1.5 mile walk in nature to start every morning. Weather is perfect, 40-60 degrees most mornings and birds are singing their hearts out. Strong "Just Dance!" hilarious and fun video game dancing gives me a boost in the afternoon. I have never felt that exercise boosted my mood or energy before but this definitely does, an immediate effect. Grateful. And have lost about 8 pounds by not being so depressed and stressed and binge eating. Love it.
 
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