That Had To Hurt

That Had To Hurt

Everyone has different pain tolerance. Everyone has a different ‘ick’ factor-level. Yesterday, someone plucked off a strange-looking, long-legged bug from my pant leg. My ick-factor level was at maybe 2. My mother-in-law goes to the dentist for extensive work and doesn’t get numb. God bless her. I am white-knuckled at the site of a dental drill. 020513-Skiing-Lindsay-Vonn-DG-PI_20130205102303439_660_320

Today, world champion downhill skier Lindsey Vonn crashed during her first Super-G run at an event in Austria. These world-class athletes spend their lives training, re-training, suffering and healing. They are wired to perform. What’s amazing about this spectacular fall is that the woman is barely in the hospital and the writers are already saying she’ll return for the 2013-14 skiing season.

I fell down two steps while on vacation a couple of years ago and I thought my head was going to explode. I can’t even imagine the pain suffered in a spill like that. These world-class athletes are wired with adrenalin. They get high on the competition; the rush of the event and succeeding. However, there are sports psychologists who make (I’m sure) an excellent living listening and talking these athletes back to their competitive levels after a horrible injury. While many mount a successful comeback, so many do not. That must be crushing. But oh, the thrill and the joy they had during their successes. No pain – no gain. Heck, I could do without the pain.

 

 

21 Days – Update

January 21st is less than a week away. Are you keeping up with whatever you resolved to do at the start of the New Year? I have not divulged what I hoped to accomplish in 2013, but so far, so good. I mentioned in the first “21 Days” blog that the gym is always crowded right after the new year. For the first year, that is not the case. In fact, it appears there are fewer people at my gym. though my husband has stepped up his gym activity, it

Photo credit: Future Fitness

Photo credit: Future Fitness

seems during the morning hours when I go to the gym, there are fewer people than there were at any time last year. I seem to see the same faces. I’m wondering if the gym is seeing that spurt of New Year’s workout folks in the afternoon or evenings. It does seem the gym is much more crowded on Saturdays when the weekend warriors come out and try to get a week’s worth of activity in 90 minutes.

It’s all about commitment. There will never be a magic pill to lose weight or get in shape. It’s all about approaching every day resolving to not over indulge, eat the proper portions of foods – even the fattening foods; don’t deprive yourself; stay active by getting off that couch, then regroup when you do fall off your commitment. It’s never too late to get started on your first 21 days.

Unfreezing the Shoulder

The “Year of Living Gingerly” has ended for me – thanks in part to Meryl Goldstein, Erin, Mark and Rachel at Excel Physical Therapy in Cherry Hill.

I’m not a whiner, but it really annoys me that my body just can’t keep up with my mind these days. The pains of 2011 are fading away. I hope for a much healthier 2012.

During May & June, Excel’s former therapist, Jeff, coached my through PT following a total right hip replacement at the age of 52. I came through that with flying colors thanks to all of the exercises and therapy Jeff and the staff gave me during that period. Plus, it always helps to be vigilant with therapy even when you are not at the Excel office.

By fall, the more painful of my afflictions, “frozen shoulder” brought me back to Excel. After my orthopedist prescribed therapy, Meryl explained the phases of frozen shoulder – freezing, frozen and thawing. To some degree, I was fortunate since my left shoulder was not completely frozen. The learning curve on solving this problem was painful and I had to again be vigilant in my therapy sessions and exercising outside of therapy to bring my left shoulder back to health.

Twice a week for just over two months, I arrived at PT to experience what I affectionately called “Torture by Meryl.” Erin or Mark would oversee my slate of exercises, and then Meryl’s magical hands and fingers would dig into every part of my upper arm, shoulder and back to get everything moving. That’s when the pain was sometimes blinding. The “cracks” and “pops” from inside my left shoulder and back were sometimes frightening. What was at times worse, knowing how hard Meryl was working on me and that it hurt her as much as it hurt me.

All this was for the greater good. I was released by my doctor exactly two months after I was first seen by him and ended physical therapy a few days later. Meryl says my shoulder is extremely functional; I have regained a lot of strength and mobility. I will continue my exercises and will faithfully follow the stretching and strengthening sketches on the Excel sheets Meryl & Erin supplied.

What Meryl and the staff do for the patients is amazing. They expertly assess each person and compassionately work with each person encouraging them on even just a speck of improvement. I hope I don’t have to see Meryl ever again – and I say that with great affection. If I do need therapy again, I will return to Team Meryl.

The Year of Living Gingerly

I have this thing – I like even numbers; 2011 is not an even number. Despite the pains of 2011, the year is turning out OK after all.

Let’s get the pain out-of-the-way: about four years of pain led to a right hip replacement in May 2011. Just a few weeks of therapy led to a nearly perfect summer. Then, I tumbled down the steps of our vacation house in New Hampshire and punctured my face on some boating gear at the bottom of the steps. Four doctors and many antibiotics later and the clutz who is me – healed. Finally, in my left shoulder diagnosed as frozen shoulder – has led to

Adam & his electric razor - wasn't he just needing a pacifier?

weeks and weeks of therapy that will lead into 2012 – but I’ll be fine. What is frozen shoulder? Women of a certain age can develop this real pain-in-the-joint affliction; some men and diabetics can develop frozen shoulder as well. The ligaments and tendons literally freeze which leads to restricted mobility. Try reaching up for a plate in the kitchen cabinet or scratching your back with the affected arm. You quickly learn the stages of frozen shoulder: freezing, frozen and thawing. I got to the doctor and physical therapist during the freezing stage. Now, I’m thawing. Thank you Meryl Goldstein, physical therapist at Excel in Cherry Hill. While the therapy is extremely painful – for her as well as me – I’m about 80% cured. Woo-hoo!

Enough of the pain already! Emotional pain has been the hallmark of our son’s senior year in high school. Adam is a bright, happy, overall well-adjusted young man. He’s just not as enthusiastic about life as perhaps he should be at this critical stage of his life. Senior year in high school means applying to colleges, financial aid applications, boy scout eagle project responsibilities and many other details. Detail-oriented – he is not. I constantly struggle over pushing him to get things done to completely backing off and letting him fail. Either one of these options is not the way to go. Striking the balance is extremely emotional. Somehow, I know Adam will succeed and do very well wherever his college career and career path leads.

Do you spend time looking at yourself from a distance? I wonder how I’m going to turn out; how my relationship with my husband will evolve and adjust; which hair color to choose. The thoughts go much deeper than a hair color, but I do spend time late at night or early in the morning thinking about my mortality. That’s pretty painful.

So how are things, really? I must be thankful and grateful for so many blessings: my family – both sides – and all their accomplishments and growth. I became a great-aunt late last year so I have a new family member to get to know. My physical fitness is definitely on the rise; my trips to the gym (and physical therapy) keep my head clear most days. When you see people at the gym who are a decade or two older than you and still getting there every day, you have to at least keep up.

Seeing the stories of our returning troops makes me wonder how they will spend the next year or two or longer adjusting to their stateside lives. The turbulent economy and changes in their families has to be stressful. In the end, I hope they find peace and happiness in their lives and know that so many of us are ever grateful for their service. I want to do something in 2012 to help as our service people return home.

As we opened our Christmas gifts this morning, I couldn’t help but remember that it seemed like a minute ago when my son was spitting up on my shoulder. Today, his favorite gift was the electric shaver we got him. Hearing the whir of the shaver made me nostalgic for the Christmas morning we spent wrestling with the hermetically packaged toys that needed assembly and running around looking for the right sized batteries to make the toys work.

The roast will go in the oven soon and the family will gather again for another Christmas. After the leftovers are put away and the last holiday light goes out, I wish for all the family and friends near and far a much less painful and much more happy New Year.

The Loon are Calling

View from the Moultonborough vacation house

 

It has been a long while since I’ve posted a blog. And that’s really a good thing. My business is going well; my family life has been full and busy and I’ve been around friends more often in work and play. I suppose the major delay in writing again has been hip surgery. That has been a big change in my life over the past nearly seven months or so.

Our wonderful weekend trip to San Francisco in January put me over the top when it came to the pain I was experiencing in my right hip. Doctors advise that when your pain becomes so intense that you can’t get through your everyday activities, then it’s time to do something about that pain. In February, I went literally crying to Doug telling him I was going to do something about my hip pain. He barely knew I had any problem. No one knew. I really lived with the pain day-to-day for several years until it got so bad, I could not sleep at night or walk stairs without intense pain.

Fast forward to May 9th for hip surgery at Rothman Institute. While I experienced major surgery and had a difficult time wrapping my head around that, the pain I had for so long was gone immediately. Since I had continued going to the gym leading to surgery – no matter how painful – this helped my physical therapy in many ways. I cannot imagine what it would be like to not be on board with exercise and strengthening and then have a body part replaced. I was never on a walker as most hip replacement patients are for as long as a week; I was on crutches for two days and a cane for a week. I was done with physical therapy after about eight visits and continued all of the prescribed exercises for weeks on my own. I continue to go to the gym three times a week and am about 95% of where I want to be. The remaining 5% is the healing of the nerves in my upper right leg which remain numb. It’s still a little sore around the incision which I discovered last weekend when I batted a fly off my by slapping my leg. OUCH!  So, I’m still careful not to bump into things. The incision itself  is healing nicely.

With that major change behind me (literally), I was back to work for the summer months while Adam began his position as a first year aid teaching archery at Camp Robin Hood. As usual, the summer has been a growing experience for him. It’s great to see him happy and enjoying the transition from camper to staff member and doing well. As usual, the summer has flown by. Doug and I had our summer of dates that included trips to Toronto to see the Phillies; a weekend and a day trip in the Chesapeake, and day trips to Brigantine, Barnegat Bay and of course, the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

But what we all work for is vacation. We are fortunate to be able to adjust our business calendars to have a long vacation this year back in the land that we love so much: New Hampshire. We’ll be spending time with my family, then Doug’s, as well as Adam’s friend, Andrew joining us along with my friend, Donna.

What is it about vacation that makes the few days leading to vacation so incredibly stressful. Not that I have as much stress as I used to in broadcasting, but the “to do” list is crazy. All week there have been so many tasks and chores to do; clients all of a sudden need your help and advice on something or other (no worries..that’s a good problem to have) and I just KNOW I have forgotten to do something critical!

Now, I breathe deeply knowing the fresh, New Hampshire air and the beautiful lakefront house is just a couple of days away. The solitary call of the loon will no longer be a memory – I’ll hear that sound at mornings and at dusk; we’ll visit “S’More” Island once again; we’ll enjoy family and friends. I’ll be writing lakeside to chronicle yet another bucolic respite in the Granite State.

 

 

 

 

Summer Adventures -(or how to lose more than 2 pounds in a week)

More than likely, you can’t lose 2.4 pounds in a week without really trying, but it IS a great feat to accomplish in the middle of a holiday weekend. All I can say is – go to the gym – faithfully and eat oatmeal! Other than that, I’m shocked the scale told the story of a wonderful holiday weekend and week.

Our visit to Chesapeake Bay and the North East, Maryland area was outstanding. The joy in Doug’s face as we motored around the head of the Chesapeake and discovered new places to explore was inspiring. We anchored for a few hours around a small island off Havre de Grace, MD and by the time we pulled up anchor, there were well over 60 boats partying in the afternoon breeze (and it was quite breezy!). We took in the local flavors, enjoying crab cakes and fresh salads and the gracious, almost southern, hospitality.

Doug naps after sailing.

After sweating at the gym early Sunday, we headed to Brigantine. July 4th in Brigantine was a scorcher. Those stuck inland really sweated it out, but the sea breeze brought relief and with that, relaxation. Doug and cousin

A.C. fireworks 2010

Sean got a great sail in on the catamaran. It was a bit rocky for me. Dinner with Sean and Shelley was a comfortable affair with their home cooked turkey breast, fresh corn and salad. We went to Sea Point on the inlet between Brigantine and Atlantic City to watch the fireworks, courtesy of the casinos (glad the gambling profits provide a little “free” enjoyment and recreation for some!). After a night’s sleep, we took a long morning walk on the beach, then headed home to collapse.

The rest of the week has been quite busy with work for my business. Despite a busy work schedule, I managed three mornings at the gym this week and three oatmeal breakfasts. I carefully tracked what I ate this week and even over the holiday weekend so I was very careful. The efforts paid off when I hit the scale after the gym this morning with a 2.4 pound loss from last week. Woo-hoo! While staying physically fit is a major goal, losing some weight is also important to me. I’ve been stuck in a plateau for days, and it’s good to see strong efforts pay off.

Now, staying focused with a fair amount of work ahead and the fall semester at Rutgers closing in, I work toward August vacation. While I’ll have to do some work during the two weeks away, I’ll continue the fitness and health efforts that have been paying off.

Never give up!

Finding the Lead

We were buried in snow. That’s my excuse for disappearing from the blogosphere for a while. Really, my mind has been a jumble of topics, some of which I’ll recap. First, we’re much closer to opening day. Baseball, I mean. I snagged two tickets to the Phillies home opener April 12 which my son has been longing for, so I obliged. I just hope we don’t have a resurgence of winter and we’re sitting in our ballpark seats with blankets, hats, scarves, gloves and the like and end up forking out big bucks for a couple of cups of hot chocolate.

As I watched the first two televised Grapefruit League games from Clearwater and Kissimmee, FL, I couldn’t help but wonder how the final lineup will be cemented in the next few weeks. One of the Atlanta Braves commentators during last night’s game commented that the Phillies lineup right now is so solid, that if a player has a shirt number in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, they could be stuck in the Phillies minor league system for a long time. One of those guys batting last night looked younger than the ball boy – or is that just me seeing time march on?

With spring fast approaching, it’s been terrific to be outside with just a light jacket. I gave the interior of my car a fabulous cleaning the other day, but had to go to the neighborhood car wash to clean the exterior. My husband is sure (and I agree) that turning on the hose faucets would ensure a deep freeze followed by the chance of a bursting pipe. I do love washing my car in the driveway with the portable radio tuned to Phillies baseball. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s sort of like when I’m at the gym. I absolutely have to have something on the TV when I’m doing cardio. These days I’ll watch the Today Show for a while, then flip to Bravo where episodes of The West Wing run from 8-9 a.m. Before I know it, 50 minutes have ticked by as I sweated on the elliptical.

Finally, my son and his room have been bothering me. You can tell me until the cows come home that it’s normal for a 15-year-old to shove things under his bed (including his one and only dress shirt) and continually put all the stuff he should put away on the other side of his bed (not easily seen from the hallway). But I’ll never understand why at some point, the mood doesn’t strike him to straighten things up. We have tried NOT saying anything; we’ve nagged him; we’ve fallen somewhere in the middle and still, he lives in what becomes a pig pen over time. Yuck. Sometimes I think we should remove all furniture and let him live on the carpet. I think he’d be OK with that.

It’s like brushing your teeth

It’s tough enough to keep a commitment to go to the gym a few days a week. To commit to keep a journal, online or otherwise, every day, is nearly impossible. While my career has changed in the past year, I get to do so many new and different things, that there are days I simply run out of hours. I could sit at my desk for hours and get a multitude of things done. The next thing I know, it’s 2:30 and I haven’t had lunch.

Tuesday, I heard a report that you shouldn’t sit at your desk more than 45 minutes or face the problems of being overweight along with other health issues. That apparently applies even if you regularly exercise. The rule of thumb, the report says, is get up every 45 minutes and get that blood going.Not much moss grew under my feet Tuesday. I was out of the house at 9 a.m.; driving to a client meeting and stopping on the way to pick up a gift for some friends; took some photos for the client; the meeting in Ocean County at 11 a.m. lasted until 12:15; I made a few stops on the way home; downed a quick salad for lunch; got ready for the first day of teaching business communications at Rutgers-Camden; left the house at 3:45 to stop to drop off the gift for the friends; got to class just before start time at 4:30; taught until 5:50 p.m.; answered some students’ questions; talked with the next teacher in the room; motored back to Cherry Hill to pick up my son from his bowling match; got home; stir-fried dinner I had prepped the day before; grabbed my Sustainable Cherry Hill notes and got to an executive committee meeting a couple of minutes after 7 p.m.; the meeting lasted until 9 p.m.; collapsed at home by 9:30 p.m.

It wasn’t a record, but I certainly wore a lot of hats yesterday, leaving me with hat-hair. Wonder why I didn’t get to write a blog post?

Today, I caught up. I’m getting some great media exposure for Sustainable Cherry Hill and efforts to link the suburbs with Camden and the Center for Transformation. Cross your fingers that you’ll be seeing the story on TV – soon. Don’t want to jinx it.

Making Progress

Winter can be a dark hole. The daytime hours are so short. before you know it, you’re looking out the kitchen window into the black hole of winter. Now the holiday lights are just about gone, it feels as though it’ll be dark until the end of March when daylight saving time kicks in again. So, how do you get through these short days and long nights? Plan for something — anything. Maybe it’s a great work project you’ve been putting off or something fun like a party or better yet, a vacation.

It seems we always plan our vacations in the winter. It’s very smart, because we always have something positive to thing about and look forward to. Not only is there vacation to get ready for this year, but the launch of our unofficially named vessel, “Mid-Life Cri-Seas.”

Mid-Life Cri-Seas is wrapped up for winter

(Doug had better come up with a better name, because that one is really starting to stick.) I have promised Doug I will get my boating license so I can help him navigate the boat when he wants to water ski. That’s on the winter to-do list for the coming weeks.

I’m also on a mission to stay fit and gosh is that getting more difficult. It seems as though my body wants to fight me every step of the way, but I’m kicking and screaming back at my body every step of the way. My lousy left knee and funky right hip (especially the hip) want to ache and moan as I get on that elliptical two or three mornings a week, but I won’t give up. When I had some personal training sessions for a birthday present a couple of years ago, he recommended this sort of massage gizmo that you use to massage out your muscles. I pulled my quadriceps  last week and thought between that and my right hip I would be on crutches the rest of my life. Well, I used that massage gizmo and “poof” – my quadriceps is better and my hip is not bothering me.

What’s next? Well, the What’s Next Productions, LLC web site is finally up. It’s nothing fancy, but the basics of my consulting services are there along with success stories I’ve managed to carry out for clients in the past months. I also put up a What’s Next Productions Facebook page. Thanks to the “fans” for checking out my page.

Now, if I could only kick my craving for those holiday cookies I baked. Heck, I’ll just have some of that sweet cantaloupe in the refrigerator. Healthy means happy!