Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer 2010 Update: I Am a Shadow of My Former Self, Thanks in Part to Carl's Jr.

July 4th will mark the start of my 4th year of retirement so this is good opportunity to do a 2+ year update.(Last treatment was March of 2008).

No Evidence of Active Cancer (Can I get an Amen?)
While I haven't had any recent scans, blood work done in May does not indicate any warning signs, although my platelet level is about 20% below the normal low range boundary and my level prior to chemo. At 2 and 1/4 years out I feel lucky to have gotten to this point, especially since this will now be my fourth summer that is free of work pressures. (EYHO).

I Am a Shadow of My Former Self, and Happy About It, Too.
I am pleased to say that the biggest health related development for me is not my cancer, but that I have lost 45 pounds since last October and am back to a reasonable 180lbs., give or take a few.(Would like to get to 175 by end of year).

I accomplished this (duh!) by paying attention to how many calories I take in every day. (Have no idea why it took so long for me to "get" this simple point).

Most days I have stayed below my target of 1,500 calories, or 500 below what is likely my daily need. While 500 calories a day doesn't seem like much it does add up to a pound a week, so in 9 months a loss of 40 pounds is possible.

To keep within my calorie target, I eat salads for both lunch and dinner (if I eat any more I am convinced I would start looking like a rabbit). Other low calorie discoveries have been egg whites, pickles, 20g protein bars, and 100 calorie tortillas with 12g fiber:)

A residual benefit is I have donated a lot of XXL AND some old clothes to Salvation Army, so I have some room left in my closets for first time in a long while, and evidence of former weighty self and my taste in 80's fashion no longer exists. 

I Owe it All to Carl's Jr. (Not all of it, but clearly SOME of it).
Surprisingly, the best/cheapest place I have found for quick lunch salads in a pleasant atmosphere has been a Carl's Jr off of I-5 and Boones Ferry road. It has unusual design with floor to ceiling glass walls so it feels light and open even in the winter, and I found it a great place to read newspapers at lunch in a vain hope of keeping them from cluttering my house. This Carl's has good quick service  and a friendly staff even though they must be wondering about the guy who has been coming in for months ordering two side salads with vinaigrette dressing, 5+ days a week. (OK, I have snuck in an occasional burger, but not that often). I am hoping to branch out a bit more for lunch, but suspect Carl's will remain part of my lunch regular routine.

I have kept up a pretty good exercise routine of walking and some light work with weight machines, working out 5 times a week during most weeks. I am not going to be running a marathon again anytime soon, but working out helps burn calories, keep the ticker going, and is a big positive psychological boost. (Except for a heel problem I think I could actually run again and that is really exciting to me, but I will likely put off any work on my heel, including any surgery, until the fall).

I continue to post on the Oregon Housing Blog (more than 1,700 posts in 3 years). This summer I hope to get back the Midwest this summer for a visit with family and friends (visit will include some friends from my old public housing project I haven't seen in 30+ years, so that will be a real treat for me).

I need to do some house renovations before I pay off my mortgage in next couple of years, but I think I can dodge working on those chores until the fall also. 

Thanks for all of your kind thoughts and deeds over the last 2+ years, they meant and continue to mean a lot to me.

I will try to post if and when there are future developments; I know you will understand when I say I am hoping that won't be anytime soon.

Enjoy your summer and July 4th, my peeps!