Thursday, June 30, 2016

Reality comes crashing down…

We started the pills last night.  Chakotay acted perfectly normal – you would never know that he had been through a full day of medical tests.  The rest of us – including Archer – were wrecked.

Even though the testing ended up being completed in one day, we had set up camp and had paid to camp, so we decided to stay.

We spent the morning hiking a large gorge in the campground.  It was hot – newsflash – believe it or not, it was almost too hot for me!!  But the trails up and then back down the gorge were in the trees and out of the blazing hot sun.

After a eating like complete SHIT and feeling horrible about my choices, it felt good to get in some physical activity.

After lunch we relaxed – well, I stewed.  And then the call came.

I told you guys that the bloodwork was normal – actually there was a small abnormality in the protein level of his kidneys.  Good news – the additional testing on that returned completely normal.  But…

And then the bomb was dropped.

Lymphoma has two sub-types.  B-cell and T-cell.  B-cell is BY FAR, the most common – over 75% of canine lymphomas are B-cell.  The test to determine which it was took a day.

Chakotay has T-cell.  This was totally unexpected.  T-cell is MUCH faster moving, more resistant to treatment, and the prognosis is much worse.

He still qualifies for the trial – nothing changes there – BUT the hope that it will make a difference?  It is very very bleak.

And so it hit me.  In the parking lot of Walmart in Ithaca.  Chakotay is very likely going to die and it is very likely going to happen very soon.

And so I cried.  And tried to explain to Marc through my tears.

So we will keep on giving him the pills and hope against hope that he defies the odds.  And know that he will contribute to research that may save the lives of both humans and animals in the future.

But tonight I feel alternately numb and hopeless.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cornell Veterinary College…

Note: I was not able to actually post for the last few days, but wrote up my blog posts on the days and am back scheduling the posts.

If you are like me, and have any interest in research in general AND/OR if you want to know what’s going on with Chakotay, please keep reading – if not, you will have no interest in the post so feel free to skip it!

Today Marc and I got up early to get on the road.  The GPS told us it would be about a 2.5 hour trip, and we wanted to be there plenty early in case we had trouble finding where we were going when we got to Ithaca.

The woman who coordinates research studies had told me that Chakotay would have his initial appointment and then need to come back 1-2 days later for follow up testing.  So we made camping reservations in advance.  With the car loaded we headed down. 

After arriving in the hell that is Ithaca traffic and not be able to find the building in what felt like HOURS, we finally got where we needed to be and entered this huge animal hospital.

While we waited, I took this pic – Archer would be more upset and anxious about the whole day than Chakotay:


We first met with a veterinary student who gave Chakotay an exam and got a detailed history from us about when we noticed he had a problem and how he had been acting.  Oh!  And by the way, this student?  A huge Star Trek fan who ALSO has animals named for Trek characters!!!  What are the odds??!!

It was then time to meet the vet who is in charge of the trial, Dr. Hume.  I guess I thought that since it is such a large hospital and they see SO MANY animals, that Chakotay would be treated like a research subject and not much more.  Boy was I wrong.  Everyone there was so amazing and caring with us and Chakotay (and Archer, too!)

Dr. Hume then told us about the study they are doing.  It is in conjunction with Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.  If you aren’t familiar with Strong, it is a leading cancer treatment center for humans.

I have been lucky enough to not need to keep up to date with cancer research.  So, to make something very long and involved and complex very short, I will give you my understanding – apparently the new wave of research in cancer treatment is using ANTOBIOTICS to treat cancer rather than chemotherapy.

Antibiotics – in a much higher dose than typically used for standard infections - are showing promise in many different cancers, including breast cancer and, of course, lymphoma – which brings us to this clinical trial.

The goal is to extend the quantity and quality of life.  One objective is to determine what dose is high enough to KILL the cancer, without being so toxic that it kills the liver (or other organs).  Finding that “sweet spot” is where the research is right now.  Are you with me?

So, Dr. Hume explained the risks and benefits with pursuing traditional treatment for lymphoma in dogs – chemotherapy which is tremendously expensive, may or may not work at all, and almost always  the cancer comes back 12-18 months later.  Marc and I had already discussed this at length and had pretty much decided not to put him through this.  At any rate, the clinical trial using the antibiotic treatment lasts about 5 weeks and at the end, we could then decide to start any alternative treatment – the risk would be that he could be much worse or actually die during this time.

We decided to let them start the testing to see if he would qualify for the trial.  The doctor said that she believed she could get all the testing done in one day, so we left him there and went to set up camp.  It broke my heart to leave him there, but he was certainly in good hands.

We arrived to set up camp after 2PM.  I hadn’t eaten all day.  That was a bad idea, as hunger + stress led to me stuffing my face with wheat thins and trail mix as fast as I could shove it in my mouth.

We got the call that the initial test – the blood work – looked great.  All levels looked normal.  So with that test passed, it was time for x-rays and ultrasounds.

This took a long time, and we finally arrived back at the college at 6:30 PM.  First off, we were told that Chakotay was so well behaved – he had to be flipped onto his back for the ultrasound and they didn’t even need to sedate him – which is apparently very unusual – because he was so compliant.

So the good news was that there was no sign that cancer had invaded his organs.  The bad news?  They lymph nodes are severely swollen internally, showing signs of pushing/blocking his lungs.  There are also severely swollen nodes in his chest area near his heart.

So, he qualified for the trial if we still wanted to go through with it.  Dr. Hume explained everything in detail and didn’t treat us like idiots which I appreciated.  The reason not to go through with the study would essentially be if we wanted to pursue the more aggressive and traditional route of chemo, which, as mentioned, we had pretty much decided against.

So, after many signatures we left the center with a bag of meds and some hope.


Back at the campsite we were exhausted physically and emotionally.  But that was only the beginning…

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Random thoughts…

Well, don’t expect me to be too focused right now!  My goal is to get some semblance of being on track while also being on vacation and, of course, worrying about Chakotay.

Yesterday it was raining and Marc needed to take his father in for a doctor’s appointment – FINALLY, some good news!!  He is once again cancer free!!  So they are comfortable letting him go 6 months before a re-check!  That man is a wonder at almost 98 years old!

While Marc was there, I was running on the treadmill and did a longer run than I have been doing – 10 miles.  It felt like an accomplishment.  My eating?  Not horrible, but also not where I would like it to be.  It is always super-hard, obviously, but when I’m at home and the food is right there all the time – ug.

But today, I had some success – for lunch I took some leftover lentils that were cooked last week and cooked them up with 2 eggs, some spinach and tomatoes and let me tell you people – it was DELICIOUS!  The lentils – which were a few days old – were the texture and tasted almost like hamburger.  Try it sometime!

Marc and I then went for a 40 mile bike ride this afternoon.  It was windy and warm and we were in no hurry.  We talked about a lot of things but carefully avoided talking about what was really on our minds.  That was a-okay with me – I imagine there will be a lot said on that topic all too soon.

Hopefully I will be worn out and will sleep well tonight.

Tomorrow is the appointment at Cornell.  If you happen to look at the clock around noon, send some good vibes to my wonderful boy, would ya?


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Altered state…

On Friday, my co-worker said to me “You must be SO excited!”  “About what?” I asked.  “You are on vacation in a couple hours!!”

And I am happy to be on vacation, but this isn’t exactly what the plan was. 

Chakotay is still acting fine.  But every time he seems remotely not-normal, I over-react.

I had been planning one of the days of vacation to stain the deck which was badly faded, and there is no time like the present. 

A couple before and afters:

















It took the two of us almost 6 hours – painting each of the spindle things is not easy!

It was an accomplishment and a welcome distraction. 

Today it was 91 degrees so we hit the beach.  The dogs swam and swam.  They will be exhausted tonight. 

I tried swimming the distance that the triathlon requires in August.  It wasn’t pretty – it has been a long time since I have swam open-water for any distance.  So I may give up on that dream.

Of course, right now I am so off track eating wise and exercise wise, I feel like I don’t know who I am right now.

I need to suck it up and get my shit together.  I KNOW that.  I am wasting time mired not so much in pity, but in fear.  And being self-destructive?  That doesn’t help me, it doesn’t help Chakotay and it doesn’t change the circumstances!

So tomorrow will dawn and I’m going to try to let go of fear and remember the serenity prayer…


Friday, June 24, 2016

Do you think it’s weird?

As I thought about what I was going to post today, I thought “Jen you can’t post this, people will think you are CRAZY!” And then I realized that you guys already know that I am crazy in many ways, this will just add to it...

When I was probably around 12 years old, I went with some family to a local “Field Days”. You guys know those things? They have greasy food, some small rides and games of chance and LOTS AND LOTS of drinking - usually the proceeds benefit the local fire departments.

The field days were just starting up, and one of the woman yelled at us to come over for this game of chance - there were DOZENS of colors lined up on 3 sides of a booth. You put a quarter on whatever color you wanted and then the “carnie” would spin a wheel and if it landed on the color you had put your quarter on, you won a huge stuffed animal.

I have a super crappy memory, but I can remember that day like it was yesterday. My aunt was with my brother and I and we wandered over to that booth and my brother grabbed a quarter out of my aunt’s hand and excitedly searched the perfect color to put his on. My aunt was digging in her purse to find a quarter to give me and I was half looking at the colors and all of a sudden my eyes landed on the color “candy stripe” and I knew - I knew - that this was going to be the winning color. “GIVE ME A QUARTER” I practically yelled at my aunt and then I went over and set the quarter immediately on that color. The carnie spun the wheel - we were the only 2 playing - and it ticked slower and slower and landed on candy stripe.

As the carnie took down the huge stuffed toy to hand to me, she gave me the strangest look. She slowly handed me the toy and said “How did you know?” she said. I told her I didn’t know.

I certainly don’t think I’m psychic. If I had that gift, my life would be dramatically different. But I have had other incidents similar but not the same - I think just about everyone out there has had that “sixth sense” where they knew something they shouldn’t have been able to know.

At any rate, Marc and I are very predictable people. Without fail, for the last few years I have been scheduling my vacation for the last week of June and we make reservations to go camping. This year, I took the time off but didn’t make any plans - camping or otherwise. Nope. I don’t know why. We just didn’t. We said that we would play this vacation by ear.

And now we have this appointment for Chakotay. Weird, isn’t it? I think it is, anyway.

In other notes, I did force myself down into the basement and ran on the treadmill while watching Bones last night. And I bet you can’t guess what I weighed this morning? The exact same number that I weighed in April.... All things considered....

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Me and my big mouth…

I want to clear something up.  When I said in my last post that Sandie had told me to stop medicating with food and I commented that I was whining that I want to eat whatever I want, I DID NOT mean that Sandie was wrong for telling me that or that she was being critical or judgmental.  Maybe she SHOULD have been either of those things – because, after all, she is right!!  BUT I didn’t think that’s what she meant.  So, Sandie, if you are reading this, I apologize if I made you feel bad. 

I know that I am not the only one out there who is an addict.  And, what does an addict do when you tell them to stop using?  Well, in my experience they lash out.  And that’s what I was doing.

Because right now I am seeking any comfort I can find, and unfortunately, that is food for me.

I can’t use what’s going on with Chakotay as an excuse – after all, I’ve been pretty fucked up for a while now.  This has just exacerbated it a little.

And I’ve been BEYOND stressed at work – when it rains it pours as they say.  I love helping other people, but when you’re emotionally drained to have to be there for others is hard….really hard.

So tonight I will try to summon up the willpower to run on the treadmill.  It’s at least something to relieve stress and feel like I’m doing something to stay on track…

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A tiny light…

It is admittedly hard to give a shit about my weight right now. Eating right and keeping up on exercise has fallen from high on the priority list to rock bottom.

Yesterday morning involved being on auto-pilot. And thinking - too much thinking. Thinking stupid things like how Archer has never been an only dog and will be devastated by Chakotay’s loss. Thinking about getting a new puppy and then HATING myself for even thinking about it. Almost like I’m hastening Chakotay’s illness by thinking of the future without him.

As you might imagine, I have also been scouring the internet for any and all information regarding lymphoma.

I then got to thinking - we live not too far from a very prestigious and well respected veterinary college - Cornell University. So I looked and was shocked to see that they have a clinical trial going on right now for dogs with lymphoma.

After some phone calls we have an appointment for next week to take him down for some testing and, if he qualifies, he will be enrolled in their clinical trial. I will know more next week, but based on what the trial involves, I’m not expecting any miracles. It seems that the goal will be to prolong the length and quality of his life, not to outright cure the disease.

But right now, it presents a glimmer of hope. He still is eating, drinking and appears to feel good, but I also feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. That tomorrow morning I’ll get up and he will be deathly ill.

This situation calls for being flexible, adaptable, and staying in the moment. Could I suck any worse at any of these things?? And Marc is not good at it either.

And now I have to find balance - there is a part of me that finds this situation a perfect excuse to continue to eat like shit and not worry about exercising - I mean who would blame me right?? At least that’s what Fat Jen is telling me. And when Sandie commented about my last post that I need to not medicate with food, she is absolutely right! And yet - there is that I am having a melt down and will eat whatever the fuck I want, leave me alone!!

Finally, I want to thank every one of you who has offered me kind thoughts and caring. It means more than you can know. And I’ll apologize in advance if this blog goes completely in a different direction for a while. Hopefully you’ll bear with me.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The worst is confirmed…

As you might have guessed, I don’t handle things as well as I should. Everything caught up with me Saturday night. I crashed. At least that resulted in me sleeping well, and Marc and I slept in very late.

It was forecast to be hot and humid. We decided that we would head out to the beach. Marc asked if I wanted to get in a short bike ride before lunch. We headed out and my whole body was just tired. Probably some of this was the result of the previous days duathlon, but no doubt the emotional upheaval played a role.

We headed out to the beach. At least Chakotay does not appear sick. He is eating, drinking, playing - the dogs played in the water and swam out for their toys over and over again and he showed no signs of fatigue.



















I keep telling myself that there are a lot of unknowns right now - how long he will feel good - how long he will be with us; but what we can control is giving him the best life we can right now and to enjoy it.

I tell myself that, but it is hard for me to not think about what the future may bring.

I know so many people that when they are under stress they lose their appetite.  Unfortunately that is not me. I’ve been doing a ton of mindless shitty eating. Which then makes me feel guilty and angry at myself. It also takes toll physically - the more I eat like crap, the worse my body feels. So forget about formal exercise - it took tremendous effort just to force myself to do laundry yesterday.

I know that I have to stop feeling sorry for myself and making things worse. I know it. But getting out of this hole I’ve dug for myself was beyond hard before - now it seems impossible.

Just as I was making this post, I received a call from the vet’s office.  The pathology results have returned and Chakotay has lymphoma.  I knew this was going to be the case, but there was still a part of me holding on to hope…. Please keep us all in your thoughts….

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Longest Day Race…

Today was the local Longest Day event to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

This is only the second year that they’ve had it, and there were 4 options – a 5K run, a 25 mile bike, a 10 mile bike or a duathlon – the 5K run followed immediately by the 25 mile bike.

Marc and I have never done a duathlon and I’m considering doing a triathlon later this summer so we chose this.

When we signed up, I was all excited, but after the terrible news this week, I have been eating horrible, have fallen off the wagon exercise wise, haven’t been sleeping well and am pretty much a wreck mentally.  Not exactly the ideal recipe for success, right? 

But we were signed up and it was for a good cause so we almost resolutely got ready this morning, and we each tried to have a positive attitude.


We arrived at the venue and were not surprised to see there was not a large crowd for it only being the second year.

We started the run – it was already about 80 degrees and sunny at the start.  Marc and I ran together and despite telling myself to slow the hell down, I ran at a much faster pace then I’ve been running.  We got back to the start at 3.62 miles – oops they ran a little long.

We hopped on the bikes immediately and took off.  The first 5 miles my legs felt like lead – we were on a slight uphill the entire way and I was shocked how tired my legs were after only a short run.  The sun was blazing hot, which I normally love, but it takes its toll physically.

It took about 12 miles to get my second wind, but that was okay because the second half was really fun as Marc and I rode along together - even though there were some very challenging hills I was actually enjoying the ride. 

We pulled into the start/finish line at 25.34 miles and a total finish time (including the transition period) of 2:11:09.

And guess what??

We got first and second place!!!  Aren’t we impressive??

Um…. NOPE.  Ready for the punch line?  We were the only 2 that did the duathlon!!

So, maybe our finish times were not that impressive, but we still did a duathlon, right?


So, I’ll go ahead and keep my medal… I need a little pick me up…


Friday, June 17, 2016


If you are a reader who also follows my associated Facebook page, you probably know what this post is going to be about.

While I focus on weight loss, exercising and eating right, I have also shared with you guys various aspects of my personal life. And I have some terrible news to share.

On Tuesday night I was laying on the floor playing with the dogs which I often do. I suddenly felt a huge lump under Chakotay’s neck. I began feeling around his whole neck area and my blood felt like it turned to ice as I noticed that every one of the lymph nodes in his neck were hugely swollen and felt like rocks.

If you know anything about Boxers, they are one of the breeds extremely prone to lymph node cancer. I felt sick and terrified.

I didn’t sleep much that night but tried to convince myself that it was allergies or something else - not the dreaded C word.

I headed into work on Wednesday and it was an insanely busy day. I couldn’t concentrate as reality started to set in. I tried to do my work and focus but I felt like I was disconnected from my body.

After work I got home and felt Chakotay’s other lymph nodes and found a swollen one on the back of his leg. I called my vet’s office - who are amazing - and they agreed to squeeze him in right before they closed.

I went in knowing that I needed to know but also dreading what I was going to hear.

The vet confirmed that it is most like cancer. A sample has been sent to pathologists to confirm and the results will come in next week.

Right now, he is acting perfectly normal. He is eating, drinking, playing, and shows no signs of sickness. If it weren’t for feeling the lymph nodes, you wouldn’t know anything was wrong.

But the prognosis is very bleak.

And my heart is breaking into a million pieces.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hit the trails…

Last night when I got home, neither peace nor motivation had caught up with me. It was cool but the sun had come out, and although I wanted curl up on the couch - preferably with the blanket over my head - I knew that being out in the sun would be good for me. Besides, if I stayed inside I would either have the news on or be reading stories on my computer which would not be good. Or I would be seeing how much of my head I could fit in a jar of peanut butter.


I didn’t want to go too far from home. Not sure if this is just me or an instinctual thing, but when bad things happen, I want to be at my home. I remember the morning of 9/11 and I kept thinking that I wanted - needed - to get home.

So I decided to try running on the trail that Marc cut again - get some exercise in, but stay at home. I’ve only tried trail running a couple of times now, and I can’t say that I love it. You see, trail running, much more so than “regular” running requires 2 things - mental focus and self-control.

If you were on Jeopardy and the answer was “Mental focus and self-control” and you buzzed in and said “What are two things that Jen sucks at?” Alex would happily yell “Correct!!”

When I run in general, I tend to zone out. But on the trail that Marc cut, the ground is uneven and there are ruts and raised areas and rocks. So, unless I want to fall and/or break an ankle, I have found that I have to be focused on where I am stepping at all times. Plus, I have to run much slower which actually takes - at least for me - a lot of patience.











So I changed my clothes and went outside and began to slowly run that trail. And it wasn’t easy to navigate and I found my frustration getting more and more intense. By two laps around - .66 miles exactly, I was like “FUCK THIS!” But I decided to keep going.

At 6 laps, or 2 miles, despite the slower pace I was breathing hard and tripped over a rock and turned my ankle pretty good. Which made me ANGRY. The dogs were not mirroring my frustration. They could run at their own pace - into the field at times - ahead of me, behind me - lagging, catching up. A couple of times they even “cheated”- running from the front directly to the back yard skipping the trail and taking the shortcut. The little shits.

Speaking of the dogs, I remember watching Cesar Milan talking about dogs running on the treadmill. He said that it is not just good for them physically. He said that while trotting along at a steady pace is pretty instinctual and natural for most breeds due to how they evolved, running on a machine is not and takes intense concentration. So it is extremely good for them mentally as it teaches them discipline and wears them out both physically and mentally.

Turns out trail running did that for me, too. I planned to stop at 3 miles. It took about 2.5 for my head to settle down and for me to just patiently jog and navigate the minor obstacles instead of fighting it. So I went a couple more laps than intended and stopped at 4 miles.

I was then in a better place. Tired emotionally and physically. Today I am trying to focus on the good stories - trying to believe that there is GOOD in the universe as well as evil...

And my weight? Back to the Exact. Same. Number. Sigh....

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Miserable Monday…

Mondays suck. They just really suck.

But this Monday was set up to be a good one. This weekend was great for exercise. I ran, biked and walked. I even got some of the house cleaned.

Exercising well on the weekends is not new for me. But here’s what is - after running over 14 miles and walking an additional 9 I wasn’t in significant pain. The foot - despite my refusal to rest it - is getting better. It’s not completely fixed, but it’s much better. And here’s what’s even better - this weekend was the first weekend in far too long that I wasn’t sitting there on Sunday night regretting most of my food choices and vowing to do better this week.

I certainly wasn’t perfect this weekend - with either the amount I ate or the foods that I chose - but I didn’t stuff myself silly which has become an all too routine pattern. I ate good foods in reasonable portions for the most part.

The weather was pretty crappy all weekend, but after another cold and cloudy day, the forecast is wonderful straight through next weekend - including a hot and sunny Saturday for our first duathlon.

But then last night, as I watched coverage of the horrific shootings in Orlando, I started to get really depressed. A NORMAL person should feel pretty upset about a fucking madman shooting up people for no fucking reason. But I got really depressed not just about the murders but about all the stupid bastards on Facebook and Twitter. It is hard right now not to take a dim view of humanity in general... I probably shouldn’t watch the news - ever...

So after a fitful night’s sleep, I got up and stepped on the scale to see that I apparently ate 20,000 calories yesterday, as my weight is up 5 pounds since yesterday’s weigh in. Really? I’ve been at this long enough to know this isn’t a “real” gain and there are lots on reasons for the scale to spike, but in my current mood, it was a true slap in the face and so incredibly discouraging.  And then, of course, I was then mad at myself for freaking out over a couple pounds when so many lives have been turned upside down.

Getting to work, it was busy, which made the time fly, but I felt so worn out - even the smallest thing seemed so daunting and I felt like I was moving through molasses. As lunch approached I looked out to the cold, cloudy and just dreary conditions, and the thought of running made me want to curl up in a ball - I usually can fight this lack of motivation, but not today.

So I stayed inside and began lifting weights, hoping that the endorphins would kick in. I even had “Hair Band Radio” cranking but still felt like shit mentally. Let me tell you my fine peeps, if Warrant, Bon Jovi and Ratt can’t get me out of funk, nothing can!!!

I have some pretty strong opinions and thoughts in the wake of the Orlando killings, but I have tried to stay away from blog posts about issues like this.

But I will say that my thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims and certainly with the survivors.  And one more note that I think many people need to be reminded of:

Ck2v5W0UkAAugiO (1)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I’ve created MONSTERS!

There is a part of me that KNOWS that dogs cannot tell time or know what day of the week it is.


Every Saturday night, I give them a special treat.  Usually it’s a Bully Stick.  They chow down while Marc and I watch a movie.  It’s kind of our thing.  (Yes, I know, my life is terribly exciting!)

And, unfailingly, around 8:30 PM on Saturday nights, if they haven’t been given their bully stick yet, they stand in front of me and STARE. 

They don’t do that any other night.  So, how the HELL do they know it’s Saturday AND time for their weekly special treat??

And now – Sunday mornings.  Since I haven’t been doing long runs (because I suck at life), I’ve convinced myself that running with the dogs is just as good.

But I woke up this morning with ZERO motivation.  I mean, NONE.  It was cloudy and 55 degrees.  CRAPPY day for someone who loves hot and sunny, but almost perfect running weather.

So I sat here playing Spades on the computer while Fat Jen made her valiant pitch why Sunday should be a rest day.

And she might have won.  But I got this look:


He just stood there staring.

And when I got up and went to the pee?  Both dogs practically chased me into the bathroom and stared at me expectantly.

So, guilt got the best of me and we got into the SUV and drove to the trail and made it happen.

This is 8 miles later – they always look so much better than I do after a run!


Incidentally, I got there just as another woman was arriving.  She was dressed in running clothes but started walking just as I was pulling into a parking space.

We were running behind her and she started running at .25 miles in.  We passed her, but her pace was pretty close to mine, so when we turned around at 4 miles to do the trail again, she was almost back. 

I wondered if she was surprised that I was heading out again instead of leaving.  I often see these people that I consider AMAZING runners – so motivated and running such long distances – and I wonder if they ever battle motivation.  If they ever have to argue with themselves to get out the door and run.  If they ever want to say fuck it.  I tend to assume that they always are happy and excited to get out there and run.  I wonder if people assume that about me.

Because clearly that assumption is wrong. 

When I got back my weight was the same as yesterday.  Is it possible that I have actually dropped a couple pounds finally?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Going down?

So yay!!  I got on the scale today and YEE-HAW I have lost 3 pounds!


I am a CHEATER Smile


Ok, let me back up.

I got up this morning and there was a massive rainstorm – I’m talking torrential downpours and WIND.

This was the day to do a practice of sorts.

Next week, Marc and I are participating in a race for The Longest Day for Alzheimer’s awareness/fund raising. 

There are a couple different races within the same event, so we decided to do our first duathlon.  It will be a 5K run followed by a 25 mile bike ride.

I have never run and then immediately rode.  So I headed down to our basement and loaded up the dreadmill.  I ran for 10K and then hopped on the exercise bike for 10 miles. 

Not the same as doing it outside and not the same distance but an approximation and a good workout.

It was cool in the basement, but humid and the small room we have our exercise equipment in got warm quick.  So I was DRENCHED in sweat.  I mean, it was pretty gross.

I immediately went upstairs when I was done and started the shower and it was then that I stepped on the scale. 

So, yeah, it was probably all water weight that I “lost” and if I got on now it would be back to


but DAYUM – it was nice to see a drop!  So I’m going to live in the delusion a little!

And hopefully I’ll do well in next weekend’s race!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The more things DON’T change…

So after celebrating my birthday – and by celebrating I mean eating as much crap as I could get my hands on for 3 days straight – I was absolutely sure that I had gained about 30 pounds.

That’s the way my mind works.  I irrationally think that off plan eating instantaneously makes me pork up and, on the other side, I irrationally believe that running 6 miles burns enough calories for me to eat TONS of food without consequences.

So I have been avoiding the scale but stepped on this morning to – GROUNDHOG DAY.  Yes, my weight remains absolutely steady. 

I have known a lot of people who have stayed what – from appearance anyway – appear to be the same weight for years.  In fact, I was just thinking about this recently when I walked by a guy who is fairly infamous in our town thanks to the buttons and stickers he wears all over his body in support of a famous evangelist.  He has always had this pudge of a belly.  Certainly overweight but not grossly obese.  I walked by him and observed that his “pudge” appeared to be the exact same size as when I first encountered him about 20 years ago. 

And then there are those people of normal weight and slim weight who it seems like anyway, stay the same weight with no active effort made to increase or decrease their weight.

And, of course, there are those that lose weight, but regain, but seem to regain very close to where they started. 

That would seem to back up the opinion of some experts that believe the body has a “set point”. 

But remaining a stable weight is a foreign concept to me.  I was a fat kid who turned into a really fat teenager, and whose weight climbed and climbed and climbed.  Then, I spent over 2 years gradually losing.  The next 2 years or so was going up and down around a range of 5 pounds – but not without effort – it was a constant vigilance and effort to maintain in that range.

And then a steady gain until I ended up here.  So what if this is a set point?  Is it possible to reset it lower where I would like to be?  Happily if this is a set point, it is wayyyy lower than the 344 pounds I had made my way up to. 

And I can’t deny there is some naughty satisfaction in being able to pig out and not gain.  But I asked myself today – what if you HADN’T eaten all that food over the weekend?  Since you didn’t gain, would you have LOST a couple – so was it worth it?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Little tiny steps…

Well, I wanted a fresh start this week and - a whole days in, it feels like I have it. Yesterday was extremely busy at work. I slipped out the door for my lunch and ran. I was really sore for some reason. My foot is not completely normal - there still is some pain, but most it was my hamstrings that ACHED.

I am wondering if I pushed it really hard during the bike race on Saturday. I didn’t feel like I was riding really hard, but it was a little faster per mile than I normally ride and we didn’t stop once. Usually we’ll stop about every hour-ish for a break - and to stretch a little.

So I only went 5.5 miles, but I managed not to meltdown that I was “supposed to” run at least 6.

And then, another miracle. I wasn’t hungry. And I am always hungry. I surveyed my lunch and ate it - slowly. I know that some would suggest that if you’re not hungry, don’t eat, but the only thing I had eaten that day was a 100 calorie oatmeal pack, and I thought that if I didn’t eat I would end up being so hungry that I was plow my way through anything and everything when I got home.

As soon as I get home from work, I usually pick out what I’m going to wear the next day. Staring at my clothes I eyed this floral dress that I love. But it is a tighter one - and it has a dreaded zipper. I pulled it on and tried to zip it up, but the zipper kept getting caught. I figured it just wasn’t going to fit. I asked Marc if he could zip me up - you know, I love my husband and there are rare things that I don’t share with him - but I have to admit that it was terribly embarrassing to ask him to try to zip me up and admitting that I have gained so much weight, I wasn’t sure I could still wear it.

Marc fiddled around and determined that the zipper was stuck - not on my fat, shockingly, but in a imperfection in the zipper. With that remedied, it actually zipped up.. Ok, so it’s not like I lost weight and could fit into it, now, it’s just that I haven’t gained SO MUCH that a favored dress didn’t fit. So I took it as a victory anyway.

So all totaled yesterday I ate “off plan” once - I had a strawberry. ONE strawberry.

This morning - another test of will. It sounds so ridiculous to those people - like my co-worker - who don’t have to or choose to obsess about calories and weight and whether things “should” be eaten - but I believe that some of you will get what I’m talking about. A person came in to talk to us about a treatment center. And she brought... wait for it... BAGELS. A normal person would just either have a bagel or not. I, of course, wanted, a bagel. Not because I was hungry, but because it was a BAGEL.

I had already eaten breakfast. I didn’t have one. But when she left, she left the bagels there. My co-worker took a couple and left me with a couple. On a normal day, even if I didn’t eat one, they would CALL TO ME. Today? I put them in a bag and they have sat there waiting for me to take them home. No wrestling in my head or negotiating with myself about whether to have one.

So look, let’s be real. It hasn’t even been 2 full days. But in a one day at a time life, which mine needs to be - 1 day of better choices is a day I will take!!


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Older but not wiser!!

Friday was my birthday.  So I took the day off and Marc and I and the dogs were off early – heading down to hit some trails to hike.  We spent morning and into the afternoon hiking through the woods.

Not everyone’s idea of a dream birthday, but that’s our thing, ya know? 

We stopped and got pizza – yes, pizza - and ate it on a bench overlooking Lake Ontario while the boys relaxed in the shade. 

We headed back and had just enough time to drop the boys off and then headed in to watch a huge parade they have locally every year. 

As we stood there, I looked to my left and saw some people singing to a young boy.  I realized they were singing Happy Birthday.  I snuck over after a few minutes to tell him he had the best birthday in the world.  I then realized he was somewhat challenged, and I was glad I had gone over because he was so excited to meet someone who shared his birthday and proudly showed me his gifts.

Saturday, Marc and I got up early again to participate in the annual Shelter Box Ride.  Last year, I rode on my hybrid bike and it was during this race that I decided I was going to spring for a road bike.

The weather was GORGEOUS.  Hot, sunny, with almost no wind.  I rode a full 2 MPH faster for 25 miles than last year.  And I won a door prize – wine  LOL. 

13319697_10208103080709331_581439635137985074_n (1)

I feel like I have a LOOONG way to go when it comes to being a great cyclist – maybe I’ll never get there – but since I’ve only been riding a road bike for less than a year, I was pretty happy with a finishing time under 1.5 hours.

It got hotter and more humid after we got home, so after weeding the garden Marc got out the hammock so we could relax.

Laying there, relaxing, I asked myself who I am… Am I the Jen who hikes and runs and gets up for fun on a Saturday morning to do a 25 mile bike race?  Or am I the Jen who eats a massive amount of pizza and gets her free birthday sundae from Friendly’s and sucks it down like it’s nothing?  And that my friends, was one of MANY indulgences this weekend!

With my birthday over and done with, I want to believe that I can start with a clean slate.  I’ve fallen off the wagon – HARD – in terms of eating and running.

I didn’t run hardly at all last week – my excuse being the blisteringly hot weather we’ve been having.

So with the prediction of thunder and lighting storms all day today I went to bed with the absolute resolve that I would get my fat ass on the treadmill this morning and run.

When I got up, it had rained hard during the night but had let up and I was happily surprised to see a 2 hour break in the storms – just enough for me to head over to the trail I like to run.

With the cooler weather, I thought that Chakotay would be okay, and we headed out.  We ran it again twice – both dogs did great!  8 miles with an average pace of 9:23 per mile.


So I’ll go to bed tonight with mixed feelings.  I’m a year older.  10 years ago, if you had told me that the year I turned 44 I would weigh under 200 pounds and would ride a bike 25 miles and run 8 miles that weekend – I would be shocked and thrilled.  By the same token if you had told me 2 years ago what I would weigh this birthday and that I would only run 8 miles – slowly – I would be crushed.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Being normal…

Way back when I first started this journey, I used My Fitness Pal daily to track my meals and exercise and to “talk” on their forums with other people who were actively losing weight. As someone who was new to food labels and thinking about calories, I found that it helped a lot to keep on track.

I also valued the discussions from others who were trying to lose weight. Some were people who had always been thin but were trying to lose weight that had crept on, some were people who had yo-yo’d up and down, there were people trying to lose massive amounts of weight and those that had only 5-10 pounds to lose and there were teenagers and older people - it ran the full gambit.

For the most part people were supportive of one another, although occasionally there would be a random asshole who felt the need to trash other members - their choices and opinions.

I remember being on one forum and this middle aged woman asked the other members if they thought it was “okay” if she didn’t try to lose weight down to the “ideal”. She was short like me, and weighed well over 200 pounds. She had some minor health issues, but nothing acute. She wanted to look better but mostly to feel better and be able to be more active with her kids.

She said that to fall into the “normal” BMI range, she would have to get down to under 130. She did not feel that this was realistic and was aiming for more in the 155 ish range. She felt that this was “doable” and sustainable whereas the 130 was not. But she was concerned that it wasn’t “okay” (okay by whose standards?) that her goal weight was still in the technically “overweight” range.

Some asked her what her doctor thought, a tiny few were critical of this choice, but the vast majority told her that she shouldn’t judge herself at whatever weight that she chose to be and if she thought she would be happy at 155 she should stop there. They also noted that she might not want to decide right then - just work on a healthier lifestyle and when she got to 155 she might want to stay at that weight or maybe she would aim lower.

I was with her at that time as I weighed well over 250. The fact that I had gotten under 300 pounds was shocking. 250 seemed so far away and to even THINK that there as a possibility that I could get under 200 - a weight I hadn’t been since age 16? That would take nothing short of a miracle. So being okay with being less obese seemed very reasonable.  Forget about being “normal”!

And we all know that while BMI is a general standard, different people look very different at the same BMI numbers. Some look normal in their BMI range, some look very thin at even the high end of BMI and some look stocky. And that’s just cosmetically. Some people don’t feel good physically unless they are at a very low weight, where some people need to be technically overweight by BMI standards to have energy and feel good.

If you are not grossly unhealthy - either sickly thin or obese to the point where you are facing health problems, I guess you need to find what works for you.

I totally believe that - and yet....

After all my whining and bitching and self-pity and recriminations against myself for continuing to have primarily weekends full of eating too much and doubting that gardening is as “real” of an exercise as running, and pictures that make me think I’ve gained about 300 pounds, I got on the scale today to find that I am exactly the same weight as the first week of April. Ok, that’s not true - I am a WHOLLLLEEEEEE .1 lower.  (Go me with my bad self)

Perhaps this is just where my body wants to be. But I keep questioning if that is “OKAY”. Again, OKAY by whose standards?

My friend Christyne - who is not quite as fucked up in the head as I am - says that many of us work SO HARD to be “normal” - just NORMAL - but then we don’t even enjoy it when we get there. Although I don’t think that is always elite to those of us who have played the weight loss game.

And then I look at some people like Meghan Trainor - so young and so brave (in my opinion anyway) who acknowledges being “less than perfect” in the eyes of many and yet she loves herself anyway.