Monday, November 8, 2010

Flu Shot 2010

My final visit to my PCP for 2010 went well.  Blood pressure was perfect, pulse was good, weight was down (though nowhere near where we want it to be), meds were renewed, and flu shot was offered.  Now, I've said for years that I would never get the flu shot, not unless I started getting the flu.  I've had the flu twice.  Once in 5th grade, once in 10th.  I've been out of school for 15 years, so that gives you an idea as to how long it's been since my last bout.  My immune system is in good shape, despite the weight issues and the fact that I only have one kidney.  I'm in amazingly good health.  I also have a terrifying fear of needles.  Flu shots are not an option.  Outside of a dose of prednisone that I received last year (and I must stipulate that I was in so much pain from the inflammation in my carotid artery, and I had such bad side effects from the oral prednisone I took a few months earlier, I would have accepted decapitation if it'd been offered), I haven't received an injection of anything since I was five.  That was a tetanus booster, and I couldn't move my arm for days.  So, let me state again, flu shots are not an option.

And yet, I found myself asking questions about the vaccine, and then signing the release allowing them to adminster the shot.  It's been three days.  I've had no side effects other than a tender spot on my arm (which is surprisingly more sore today than it was all weekend).  When I got to work today, campus was abuzz with new of various influenza outbreaks in the area, so I think I'm glad I went ahead and did it.  Plus, the cost was included in my copay, so that was a plus.

My doc thinks that I'm making good strides in my weight loss goals.  While the scale is not showing much improvement (I'm still at just under 10 lbs lost), I'm feeling better.  I'm also standing up straighter (almost 5'6", my dream height!), which is usually an indication that I'm feeling good about myself.  I should also send a shout out to my chiropractor here, as well, b/c I'm sure he's had something to do with that in the course of the 4 years he's been treating me!

Best of all, I don't have to go back for a checkup for another 6 months.  Woo-hoo!  Fewer visits to the doc means less of a hit to the checkbook (especially considering cost of insurance is going up, and we didn't get a raise again this year)!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Journey of 90 (ok, 95) lbs.....

has begun. My weight loss journey began in earnest a few months ago, went along very well for about 2 weeks, and then crashed. Between swimming and watching my diet, I'd lost 10 lbs, and then.....well, crazy GA summer weather, basically. It seems like every day, as I get home from work, it starts storming. It'll storm (or threaten to storm) until it is just late enough that I can't get in the pool, either because it's too dark, or because I've got to get ready for bed. Last week, when there was finally an evening that allowed me to get in the pool, I threw on my suit, ran out to the pool, jumped in......and landed in a miserably hot 90-degree pool of water. Needless to day, I didn't do many laps that day. However, I did get in the pool yesterday, and swam 20 laps. Not my usually 40, but it was something. I won't be in the pool today, as it's Wednesday, and I have a Bible meeting tonight. But tomorrow, weather willing, I'll be back in. I started July down 10 lbs, I started August having regained 5 of those. I don't want that to become a pattern. From here on out, even if I can't swim, I will find something to do inside for 30 minutes.
I've found a few more adventure races in my area. I don't truly expect to do all of these races next year, but I'm putting them all on the calendar, none the less. It's something to strive for.
Edited 2011 goals:
January - Walt Disney World Family Fun Run 5K, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL
April - Eco-Adventure Race, Sandy Creek Nature Park, Athens, GA
May - Warrior Dash, Mountain City, GA
June - My First Triathlon, Lake Lanier Islands, GA
June - Muddy Buddy, Conyers, GA
June - Expedition Everest Challenge, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, FL
September - Ditch the City, Conyers, GA
October - Mickey's Halloween Family Fun Run 5K, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL
Summer/Fall - Spartan Race, Atlanta, GA

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Well, it's of about 12 noon on Sunday, June 27, 2010, I became a certified open water diver. After years of dreams and wishes, after many stops and starts, after lots of excuses of why I was putting off getting my c-card (scuba speak for open water certification card), I convinced myself that I didn't need to wait for a buddy to train with me. I found a good school/instructor, signed up, and on Saturday, June 19, I drove to Hartwell for my first class. We did about 4 hours of book work on Saturday, followed by about 4 hours of pool work, learning the basic scuba skills. On Sunday, June 20, we did a review, followed by more hours in the pool.

For the next week, I worried and fretted about heading up to a HUGE, chilly, cloudy, dark lake and actually getting in and going under water, while relying on a tank and some hose for breathing air (it is NOT is actually dried, cleaned breathing air, which is a 79%nitrogen/21% oxygen mix). By the time I reached the shores of Lake Jocassee, I'd just decided I was going diving, come what may.

We parked the truck and trailer, unpacked our gear, and set out to assemble our rigs. BC strap over tank (air nozzle facing BC), measure and tighten....loosen and remove booger plug from 1st stage, set on tank nozzle, with reg and octo to the right, inflator hose and gauges to the left....tighten 1st stage onto tank....test regulator - air flows easily through exhaust on exhale, none leaks in on inhale....clip octo, gauges onto BC, plug inflator hose into air nozzle on tank, test reg and octo on inhale and exhale, check pressure in tank - - check....fins - check....mask and snorkel - check. Buddies are assigned, and Pete runs through our pre-dive briefing. We pray. Three dives: 15 minutes at 15 feet, everyone does regulator removal, reg recovery, buddy breathing (giving and receiving), swim around platform, ascend using safe ascent procedures, simulate buddy breathing ascent. Ten minutes on surface. 15 minutes at 25 feet, more swimming, mask clearing skills (my biggest worry...take mask off, put it back on, clear water out of mask, all while breathing normally through the regulator - in 25 feet of 65degree water), safe ascent. Ten minutes on surface. 15 minutes at 30 feet, work on bouyancy, keep an eye on your buddy, swim, safe ascent. I've done it. I've completed three honest-to-goodness dives! We hike back up the ramp, through the parking lot, back to the truck, all the while with our rigs on our backs. I estimated about 50lbs, but a divemaster buddy of mine said what we were carrying was probably closer to 70lbs. Either way, the walk back sure felt longer than the walk in. We disassembled our rigs, and put everything back where they belonged. Written test was given, and then we all headed home (or in my case, to my cousins' house in SC).
Sunday, we started an hour earlier. Assemble, pre-dive, pray. Three dives: 15 minutes at 25 feet, water sure seems colder today than it did yesterday. Ten minutes on surface. 25 minutes at 44 feet, visiting the skeletons - unfortunately, I hit 41 feet, and couldn't get any lower. Air pockets in my BC were holding me up, as the team disappeared below me. I started to panic. Breathe, Laura, breathe. DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH! Jeremy, my Belgian buddy, noticed my plight (good boy, Jeremy), and started to swim up to me. Another attempt to drop down below 41ft, no luck, we decided to surface. We waited for the rest of the class, and then finished cruising along at a respectable depth before leaving the lake for an extended surface interval. We'll attempt the skeletons on the next dive. After 69 minutes on the surface, we strap on fresh tanks, and hit the water for an extended dive along the rocky shoreline, watching schools of bream, and the occasional catfish. I was still a little shaky after previous dive, so I elected to stay above 40ft, while half the class went back to the skeletons. The rest of us cruised along, gazing at the rock formations, sunken trees, and other sights in the murky blue lake. 35 minutes later, we surfaced, and our weekend of checkout dives came to an end.
It was all over. I'd done it. I was - I am, at long last, a scuba diver.
After all the gear was stored, dive logs were completed, and we were all preparing to head our separate ways, Pete (realizing I was still thinking about my panic episode) asked if I was planning on diving again.
Sure, I got nervous. I couldn't see my group, it was the deepest I'd ever gone, and it was DARK, with visibility at only about 10 ft. I'd fully expected to start panicking on dive one. It didn't happen until dive 5. I panicked, recovered, and continued. So, will I dive again?
There is no other way to say it: HELL YES!!!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Journey of 100lbs.....

.....begins with just one step. I've decided that it is time to lose this weight that has slowly piled on over the past years. About 7 years ago, I'd gotten down to within 20lbs of my high school graduation weight, but after the loss of my cousin, grandmother and great-aunt, 20lbs crept back on. In 2005, after the death of my father, 65lbs raced on. I'm tired of it, so I'm doing something about it.
Last month, I started listening to the All About the Mouse Disney podcast, as well as the WDW Radio podcast. The gentlemen who host these two shows are always talking about their experiences training for and participating in the Walt Disney World Marathon and 1/2-Marathon. One of them, Mr. Lou Mongello (oh, Lou!), has used this as his avenue of losing weight. So, I've decided to let their stories and advice aid me in my weight loss travel.
So, I am about to begin training for the WDW Family Fun Run 5K.
As I journey toward better health, this blog will take you with me, through my struggles and triumphs. Along the way, we'll visit the things that mean the most to me: my faith, my family, Disney, geocaching, and swimming/scuba diving.
2011 Goals:
January - WDW 5K, Lake Buena Vista, FL
April - Eco-Adventure Race, Athens, GA
May - Warrior Dash, GA
June 4 - My First Triathlon, Lake Lanier Islands, GA
June - Muddy Buddy, GA
Summer/Fall - Spartan Race, Atlanta, GA
All abo-oard!