Monday, September 2, 2019
Thursday, July 25, 2019
This week we have been in Dallas with our daughter. She had some very extensive back surgery. I am happy to say she is doing well and it is for several reasons. One, she is in an amazing hospital with the best doctor for her back issue in the country, and two, she is in great physical shape. 5 years ago she had a discectomy (gymnastic pounding and then simple wear and tear left her with real problems) then last year the discectomy failed and she was left with bone on bone in her back and a lot of pain...constant pain. So she went in search of a cure but she had decided against any kind of surgery...no, never...nope, no surgery. EVER!!
Then as we were crowded around the TV watching the Masters this last April the announcer mentioned Tiger Wood’s back. His injury was exactly like Ashleigh’s. Same place, same problems, same pain....immediately she started researching and by Friday morning of that week she had found all the information on his surgery and his doctor. By Friday afternoon she had sent all her x-rays and history to the doctor to find out if she was a candidate. By Monday the doctor determined she was a very good candidate. Things going fast? A little too fast because she was determined to never have surgery again. But then, the pain that was always there got worse and after several consultations she decided to go ahead with it.
The surgery and everything connected with it was a success. From the front office to the nursing staff things ran like clockwork. Everyone involved kept remarking on her quick recovery...over and over they said it was because she was in great physical shape. For the last year even though she was in terrible pain she never stopped eating well and using her Peloton.
Once again life comes down to being proactive and not reactive.
Two of my friends had some serious falls in the recent past. One tripped over a hose while she was pumping gas, the other slipped and fell at work, both told me they werent doing anything out of the ordinary but from the resulting injuries both needed shoulder surgery. Simple falls that have turned into a year long recovery. I am not saying we can prevent every injury in life, accidents occur, but we can be in better shape to mitigate such a long, long recovery. A simple fact is more muscle around our bones and then just stronger bones helps us recover faster and get injured less.
Muscle buildup and stronger bones comes from exercise...weight training is the best thing you can do to build up your muscles and bones that will help prevent an injury. There is a test called a DEXA scan that I highly recommend. The technical definition is “Two x-ray beams with different energy levels, are aimed at the patients bones. When soft tissue absorption is subtracted out, the bone mineral density can be determined from the absorption of each beam by bone.” Or in Donna terms you can find out your bone density, muscle mass and total body fat. We all need to know those numbers to be able to prepare for better futures. The owner of my gym, Gene Carrillo, is offering a free DEXA scan test to anyone who calls and mentions my little blog and takes a tour of the facilities. What a great way to bribe my friends to come in and see all the fun stuff and get a painless test for free? Call Paula at 702-750-9420 then mention my name and get this great test so that you will have more information about your body that can help you have a better future.
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Until they don't.
Then I don't know quite what to do. I know things don't always work out the way I plan, but I still take it as a personal affront when they don't.
While in the course of living my life I have discovered frogs stay frogs, the end of the rainbow is often just the end of the rainbow and a handsome prince comes with a mortgage, diapers and occasional mayhem.
Again, not what I thought. My Great Expectations have always been just a tad (or a mile) above what actually occurs. Which leaves me breathlessly critiquing everything I do using my third grade teachers BIG red pencil to correct mistakes so everyone knows I fell short.
My life is covered with big red pencil marks....self inflicted.....for all the world to see.
So is anyone surprised that after almost a year of working out with weights, straps, machines, wall balls, slam balls, pushing boxes across the floor, holding a plank and slamming heavy ropes I am DISAPPOINTED that my weight loss can be measured with a teaspoon?
And this is where it gets dicey. I am so much stronger, my lab numbers are good, my knee doesn't hurt, in fact nothing hurts. When I get up from a chair I spring up from the chair. But my weight hasn't budged. Not being a science denier I know the formula, less calories in more calories out equals weight loss. I do a lot of calories out...but I also do a lot of calories in. That's right, I eat too much and with medication that slows me down to sloth pace, being older and surrounded by food all the time are reasons why it has been so hard.
I felt like I failed....
But did I?
I have stuck with an exercise program for almost a year and experienced leg strength to a point my knee no longer hurts. I can pick up heavy trays, crates and boxes I couldn't even budge a year after my surgery. When I started exercising my core was non existent. I could only do a few setups and now I can do 60 without thinking about it. I can hold a plank over a minute 3 times in a row and literally pop up from a chair due to never-ending squats from a box holding weights. Open heart surgery is a way bigger deal than I thought, and getting my strength back has been hard. When I first got home from the hospital just walking to the kitchen was the impossible dream. Today I am SO MUCH BETTER!! But I am not thin, I'm not even much thinner, and I expected to be thinner and that seems to be my only benchmark. I guess for all my bravado being thin was what I really wanted, not just being healthy and strong. My expectations certainly ruled the day. Although I did want to be stronger and more fit, I really wanted to LOOK stronger and more fit. The problem with expectations is they tend to be a bit disingenuous. We expect things from a vacation, a marriage, children, friends, or a workout plan that often cannot realistically be delivered. But what we are given in our journey is often much better than what OUR plan was. The last year has been filled with personal accomplishments I thought were behind me. Yet I proved to myself I can still do tough physical things. I can lift heavy weights, I can do squats and push ups and pull ups and and I can work out around people half my age and call it good. And if I can do this I can other things I want to do. It is not too late! I love my trainers and friends at Xuberance who never stop trying to help me and have made sure I am safe every time I work out. I can push myself to the edge of the cliff because I know they will catch me.
So I am taking this template to everything in my life. What else have I applied an expectation to and then didn't appreciate where the road led me instead? Have I been grateful for my life even though it doesn't include the retirement plan I wanted? Open heart surgery is a pretty big bump in the road, but have I appreciated the fact I survived? And all the experiences connected to that survival? Financial ruin is horrible but do I remember the miracles we have experienced while climbing out of that abyss? Yes difficult things have occurred in my life but tremendous things have won the day each time.
I believe this is the same for everyone. Each person I know has a story to tell that will inspire and motivate. And I am talking to you....you are an inspiration. Start writing your story and see if I am not right. And while you are writing find the good in every bad thing that has happened to you. See if it doesn't turn your thinking around, if not your life. I love this quote about ships not being made for the Harbor
You aren't made for the Harbor either....get out there on the open sea and find out what you are made of!!
Monday, May 20, 2019
That is until now.
Saturday, May 18, 2019
That is until now.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
This morning I showed up promptly at 7:50 for my 8am stress test the cardiologist insists I need along with an ultrasound tomorrow.
However this test will be better because I don't have to go into the cylinder like last year and when they shot me up with something that would have been banned at Woodstock. All to make my heart race...
This time I was taking my act to the bike and I was confident and caffeine free! I didn't drink any diet coke or take an excedrin. I was ready....
I took my medications which includes a pill I cannot pronounce to slow my heart rate. I was not supposed to and when they asked if I read the papers they gave me, I had to say....Papers? Nope.
I heard no caffeine and filed everything else away. I mean no caffeine for 24 hours...what would you hear after that?
Regroup and reschedule....sigh, so dumb not to read the instructions, but whatever.
Off to the gym, but on the way I took time to think about my last 8 months and the journey it has been.Whenever I spend time in the cardiologist's office I go into a mental tailspin. There are people from every walk of life sitting in the waiting room with me. Some very, very ill, some on walkers, some on oxygen, some so overweight they can hardly move, some so thin they look like they will break in two...and some that look perfectly normal just like me that have scars only they know about. We are all equal there, none of our equality the same...but equal.
I drove to the gym without the radio...just alone with my thoughts on the journey and I went in to the gym happy because every person there cares about me. They are all invested in my success. They know how hard my road has been because they have my medical records! They see me 3 times a week trying so hard to lift that kettle bell, bang those heavy ropes and sprint on the elliptical. There have been times I really didn't want to go, times that one last circuit was just too much. I have done so many squats, so many sit ups, planks and leg lifts. But getting up from a chair is easier and not being able to made me feel so old. I can lift things, I can lift really heavy things.
I am doing things I thought I would never do again.
I do admit I have called my trainers Caligula
|I am the biggest complainer....|
And I often I feel like Sisyphus. But I am better than I was 8 months ago
This is Joanne one of my workout buddies....not only is she doing a minute plank, but she has a huge weight on her back. Her core is going to be made of stone!! I waited until she did it again and took her picture because she has to keep this near her always as a reminder of how amazing she is.
There are tons of success stories at the gym. My friend Brian is sticking his finger in the eye of age and has recorded 18% body fat. 18%! When he left the gym the other day he went straight to hockey. He can do that because he works out. There is my friend Crystal who is on her feet 10 hours a day, she works out so she can work. When I first started working out my core was nonexistent because of my surgery....today my posture is so much better, my endurance is better, and I know I'm not as worried about getting older. My blood pressure goes from 144/83 before I work out to 119/77 after I work out. (For me lower blood pressure is key -high blood pressure will cause big problems with my aorta.) A combination of lifting weights and cardio is the key....and your life will be so much better!
Then there is Gene Carrejo the owner of the gym...He is a happy, effervescent man in his 60's who is there every day. He doesn't ask anything of us that he doesn't do himself so he works out right along side us, sweating and hoping to make it through the circuit. Our trainers, Caligula (Sarah, Anthony and Joshua) treat him and his lovely wife Lisa, just like us.😓 I asked him today to share his fitness journey. And what a star - he sent it right over!
We have been in business close to 18 months in the beautiful city of Las Vegas. Xuberance has evolved into a home for people who are looking into establishing longevity and vitality to their lives as they move forward in this hectic world we exist in. Lisa and I are not only invested in the financial and operation aspect of our business, but are totally involved in the actual process of adding vitality and longevity to our personal wellbeing. My journey to anti-aging began after the holidays in 2018, I have been very diligent in following the fitness protocol that Sarah and her team have built for me and thoroughly enjoy the creativity and thought that goes into my MWF workouts. Once I established a baseline through the formal evaluation process and realized I had plenty of room for improvement, I made a personal commitment for fitness. The sense of accomplishment in the gym is very important but if you are not entrenched in the rest of the process the results you are looking for will not materialize. (He is so right, food is my nemesis)
Our doctor suggested hormone balancing to help with metabolism enhancement and energy along with mental focus. Jeremy (the nutritionist) and I have regular dialogue on what I should be eating also he adds a very creative twist that doesn't not become tedious. I am a sugarholic and have substituted fruit as my sugar fix. I have watched my cravings go away as I watch my energy improve. Simple fixes and a commitment to listen and implement are the keys to success.
I started the process at 209 lbs with a 28% body fat ratio, I am now 178 lbs and 20% body fat ration and I added 6 lbs. of muscle. It definitely works and the bottom line for success is a personal commitment. We need that same thing from our clients which gives us the opportunity to guide and counsel them through the process.
I'm proud of what we are accomplishing and our clients are reaping the rewards with our recovery methods. Yes, massage and ozone therapy are also part of the process!
Thank you Gene....
This process has been such a blessing to me; hard, hard work but a blessing. With so many people invested in my success I know I will eventually get to all my fitness goals. I have achieved a great many so far, but as they say, "Life isn't a destination, it's a journey!" So Wherever you are on your journey please keep moving and don't stop. For me getting older is a blessing that was almost taken away so I don't mind the aging process at all. I also know for a fact that working out is a price I am willing to pay so I can have a few more birthdays. I can validate every excuse you may have because I have used each one, but working out is better, lifting weights is better......it's a better way to live.
Now get out there and move!!!
Monday, April 15, 2019
We all remember this picture of Tiger and his father who was always by his side, so happy he won the most prestigious golf tournament there is.
Watching Tiger confidently walk the fairways yesterday was inspiring. It made me feel like I could do anything also! He looked like the Tiger of 15 years ago and honestly I felt better just watching him.
And now we have a new picture of a father and son. But this picture, of Tiger and his son, is not just one of redemption, but of grit and determination to come back from an injury that could have ended his ability to ever play again. But he did it. We watched the final round not just to root on Tiger, but to instill hope in our own "injuries". Where do we need to make a comeback? I know all of us have one to hope for. We can indeed make a personal comeback also, regardless what it is.
Sunday, April 7, 2019
One minute my home is bursting from the seams...the next minute I can hear the clock tick. It never fails to make me a little sad when a great event is suddenly over and everyone leaves. I am not complaining because this weekend was so much fun, but when it’s over.....what am I saying? We will just plan another!!
Last weekend started off with a book signing Friday night. And it was gift to me. Joan Snyder, now Joan Moran, was my high school speech teacher, the one teacher who took me seriously. Last year I saw her on facebook and timidly asked if she remembered me. After assuring me she did we had great fun catching up. In January I saw her newest book was about to be published so I mentioned if she was ever in Las Vegas I would love to host a book signing for her. She told me she was coming to town in April to visit family so we quickly arranged a date.
We all had that “one” teacher, didn’t we? The one that changed how we look at ourselves? Mrs. Snyder was that teacher for me, she was the gold standard at our high school where she taught drama and speech. One day she asked me to be in a county wide speech contest and I was thrilled thinking it would be fun but knowing I didn't have a chance. I worked on the speech in front of her, our class and the mirror! I came in third and called it good, but not Mrs Snyder. After the results she flipped her cape around her shoulders and moved with “loud heavy steps” right up to me. I thought her obvious displeasure was because I hadn't placed higher. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "If you were a boy you would have won!" A moment that forever changed me because someone I looked up to so much thought I should have won. Coming in third was the best thing to happen to me because I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much from a first place finish. Now I knew I was a good speaker and boys had an advantage. I have used my speaking ability throughout my life and I never let the boys get in the way!
Raymond did flowers and provided incredible food...it was a perfect evening. (Thank you Ray Ray!)
And little Scout..
Monday, March 4, 2019
Friday, February 1, 2019
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Play your favorite music..the music that gets you moving if you need that, or music that relaxes you, or makes you feel young... . but think about taking some time to discern your best music and make a playlist and then just enjoy it.
Laugh - Who makes you laugh? Can you stay sad or stressed if you are laughing? There is a comic, sadly he passed a few years ago, but he just makes me laugh and through the magic of youtube I can watch John Pinette any time. Every time he says, "Get out of the line!" I roar!
Hold a Baby. Is there anything better? And with so many babies in the hospital who need someone to hold them babies are easy to find. A sweet baby right from heaven...it is just joy!
Essential oils....there is one called Whisper by Doterra that completely relaxes me and never fails to make me feel better all over, I love it.
Inspirational talks...I am a sucker for Ted Talks, Les Brown and Tony Robbins. And about a million in between...I also have become a big fan of Mel Robbins and her 5-Second Rule, admittedly well after the crowd, but I still love it.
Scriptures - There is a healing power for sure in words that edify. I find something rewarding every time.
Exercise...the folks at Xuberance will be the first to tell you moving around regularly is the best anti-anxiety drug there is. There is something amazing about holding a plank for a minute when you could barely get in the position 6 months ago...then do it 3 times! Feeling yourself get stronger while you continue to challenge yourself is simply inspiring. I have had lots of conversations with people who tell me they really want to get stronger, feel better and challenge themselves. This is the place to do it.
Contacting someone who has helped you - write a note, make a call, send some flowers...but contact someone who has made a difference in your life and let them know how much it meant to you. You will feel amazing not to mention how happy you will make the the person you contact.
Pet a dog or a cat - it forces you to sit down, breath and relax....you love it and the dog/cat loves it!
Take a nap - So many people tell me its a luxury but is it? You could be on your phone or shut your eyes for 20 minutes...I offer you, the nap!
Believe with all your heart it will be ok - yes you had a disagreement, or you were misunderstood, you were cut off or your pants don't fit...you burned the toast, forgot the bill, left the water running in the tub and didn't water your geranium....it will be ok. All will be forgiven, folks will see what occurred, traffic is traffic and tomorrow don't eat the cake...you will have another chance to make toast and you can afford the late fee, mop up the water and buy a new plant....it will all be ok.
Enjoy Great Friends! This picture is of one of the best days I have had in a long time. Having dear friends from High School come over for lunch. We haven't done that in a long time and I adore these women! We laughed, we cried and we counted our blessings.
Breathe - My phone tells me to stand up and tells me to breathe, I didn't think I would have to be reminded but I do. Yesterday I was so stressed and my short breathing made it worse...I stopped, I started focusing on my breathing (I swear this works) I began to feel better. one minute of walking around and 1 minute of breathing....it works.
You are going to have disappointments and successes, great days and not so great days....but when you find ways to take care of yourself even the worst days have some great moments
Thursday, January 3, 2019
It all started when I had an important meeting with Channel 13 and the Golden Knights about a lunch we were helping with at a local Elementary School. I was putting things away and not really thinking. I didn't see it coming at all when a 5 gallon cast iron pot fell on my head from the top shelf. The first moment all I could think of was how stupid that was, the next second? oh my gosh! That hurt so much!!! Luckily for the first 2 days I just had a numb face and a huge bump on my head, I got through the meeting and the lunch without frightening small children..but the third day? 2 black eyes that just kept getting worse! A couple of days later the headaches started and it was enough for me to get a cat scan...no brain bleed (yikes) but a pretty bad concussion. During this time I lost my debit card (finally found it in a plant, luckily I had to water it) and my only car key...I looked for 3 days until I absolutely needed my car and the second the locksmith pulled into the driveway I found it in my apron in the clothes hamper.
I went into this season knowing (hoping) we would be busy so I decorated early. I put up the new Snowman tree
As I take things down this year I vow to reduce...I vow to reduce....I vow to reduce...
What I also learned this season is how much more energy and strength I have. Although eating is my bailiwick (Oh how I wish I were that person who said, "I'm full" and then moved on...however I seem to be this person...that tastes good and that tastes good and that tastes good...urgh!!!) However I will not give up and I take as a win the fact it was easy to keep exercising - (until I couldn't exercise while my head was repairing from the concussion) The pattern I have started with exercise has served me well, and when I went back after a couple of weeks it wasn't painful. Exercise is such a great deterrent to so many things that make us feel old. I will be the first to admit I get depressed when I don't do something physical. And I am excited that I have become the queen of squats! So much so that people send me information on squats which I pass along to everyone. My mantra is-
The last one sent to me was from a crossfit post Chelle sent me.
"The squat (sit to stand) is essential to your well-being. The squat can both greatly improve your athleticism and keep your hips, back, and knees sound and functioning in your senior years."
So I guess my mantra is a good one. Go and do some squats! And if you don't have the discipline to do them on your own go to a class, find a trainer, hop on youtube, but do some squats every day!!
Veggies and fruit
10 minutes of sunshine
Learn something new...it can be anything even if you have to go online to "Obscure facts"!!!
It's a new year and although I am not big on resolutions (usually broken by January 16th accompanied by a feeling of failure) I am a big fan of starting over, new day, new way of thinking, forget the past...
We can do anything we set our mind to...But you must believe you can do it. Until now I have not believed I can lose weight. I have been negligent of my health for so long that it is taking me a bit of time to dig out of this hole. But after proving to myself I can exercise, lift heavy weights and bring
down all my numbers I now realize I can also lose weight. I do believe I can do it.
I can do this...Watch me...
I am amazed at the changes so many of my friends have made at Xuberance, they are thinner, stronger and much healthier. A dear friend that we do a Christmas party for every year told me how intrigued she is with what I am doing. Although she is very thin she admitted she isn't very strong and she wants to be stronger. I hope she comes down to Xuberance (702-750-9420) to meet the amazing people there, people who want to help, guide, encourage and teach everyone who comes in. I know how hard it is to get started, so let someone else do the hard work of figuring out what is best for you. It is an experience that is worth every effort to get there.
Happy New Year, my wish for you is you achieve everything you want. Believe it!!!