A change in direction (Week 5 & 6, Year 2)

Hey everyone, sorry for the long hiatus but it’s been crazy busy around here, and honestly I just haven’t had the time or been in the right frame of mind to write. I have so much to share with you about Vegas and my new adventures, but I’m going to try to keep things brief. 

I’ve been busy trying to get back into the groove of things since my black out, and subsequent implant. After six weeks I finally got my cast off, but the x-rays were not all that promising. The x-ray showed my thumb is still fractured but had started the calcification process. So good news…it’s healing but the not so good news is I still can’t use it and it won’t bend at all. Who knew your thumbs could be so valuable in your daily life? It’s been recommended I go to physical therapy for a few weeks before possibly being referred back to the orthopaedic surgeon. Check out the after photo of my Zombie hand!

Las Vegas was unbelievable, and I have to say a very big highlight in my life. Just to be recognized for my hard work and dedication is one thing, but it is entirely another to hear the roar of a crowd with over 15,000 people cheer you on. It’s pretty incredible, but what was even more powerful is to hear the stories, the life transforming stories, of others whom I shared the stage with. I reconnected with some old friends and made some beautiful new ones and had many many aha moments. Here a few photos of my amazing trip.

It was my first trip to Vegas and I honestly didn’t get to see very much of it. We were very busy at the conference, learning all about the amazing nutrition that’s helped us achieve our results and celebrating everyone successes. We got to enjoy a gala event hosted by Mario Lopez, enjoyed a private concert with Maroon 5, and watched a little girl get her wish through the Make-A-Wish foundation. A few more pics for you of that!

Our final night out my roommate and I decided to take on Paris, Vegas style, and went in search of a special cup for my daughter who is obsessed with Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Let’s just say it was a fun night and the giggles lasted till early in the morning.

The crazy part was coming home and having lost weight after a one week vacation. I managed to eat clean most of our trip, sticking with my shakes and bars, except for a few occasional dinners out and one special trip to the cheesecake factory. Unfortunately though, I dove into it too quickly and didn’t get a picture to share with you all, but I can say with 100% certainty that the carrot cake cheesecake is magical! I did get a photo of my very tummy dinner though. Tuscan chicken, and it was unbelievably good as well.

Coming home I had a renewed sense of purpose, and that is to help others get healthy and achieve their wellness goals. Many of us have our own justifications and “reasons” for not getting on board with our health, and for most of us, it is the same three reasons. I don’t have time, I don’t have money, I don’t have the ability. Well I’m hoping now that I’ve shared my story publicly (It’s even featured this month in the Running Room magazine), that I can help change peoples minds about all three and inspire them to start their own journey. 

I was even able to break out of my comfort zone, face a fear, and talk openly about my  own health conditions, struggles and desire to change it, on a Facebook feed which you can watch here. It was very hard to put my self out there, unedited and unscripted, but it meant that I had to come from the heart. I think sharing my story with all of you, in what I felt was somewhat private blogs, even if it truly wasn’t, helped me develop the skills I needed to go live! So thanks for that!

What this means for my blogging journey, I’m not quite sure, but I know that my heart will lead me in the right direction. I’m not saying I’m giving up on the blog just yet, but I’m making more time in my life, while trying to balance my ongoing health issues, to help people now in a different way.  I do however Invite you to follow me on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/melanie.hanson1,  for any of you missing the daily blogs, and I will see what I can do about posting updates on here as I am able.

Wishing you all the best success in your own health endeavors, please feel free to reach out if you’re needing support of any kind. Love you all and thanks for being my support over the past year and keeping me accountable to my own goals.

Back to running (Week 4, Year 2)

It’s been a pretty amazing week and I’m excited to share all the great highlights with you. It started with my first run in 4 weeks. I was super nervous about getting back at it, especially considering the last run ended in me blacking out with a broken hand, banged up knee and scheduled for a implantable device for my chest. I think it’s fair to say I had reason for the apprehension.

The run itself went about as expected. I knew it would be tough, given the fact that I had been doing nothing for four weeks. I was slow, my knees were sore and stiff, calves felt tight and my newly inserted body part was uncomfortable when I was running. I could feel it almost shifting in my chest. But I was running, and it felt great to be back at it, even if I had lost a lot of my running gains.

My daughter and dog accompanied me, making sure I was safe and staying on my feet this time. I had to run with my cast still on so that was my reminder to take it nice and slow. And slow it was. I cringed a bit at my stats after the run, but I guess I have to look forward to beating some new PBs.

It’s all in the mindset right!!! I can and WILL get back to where I was.

Get back on the bandwagon (Week 3, Year 2)

So it’s actually the start of week four, and I have been late getting out my posts, but with surgery and visiting family, things have been slightly hectic. So here is week three in review.

 I need to get back to regular blogging, as I’ve missed it and some of the accountability it brings. I have to admit this past month has been rough and I’ve fallen of the proverbial fitness, clean eating and weight loss bandwagon. It’s been a bit of a setback to say the least.

I haven’t done any real cardio or exercise in almost a month and I’m feeling the effects. My knee was injured from my fall and with a broken hand and healing chest incision from surgery, I have been limited in what I can actually do. That’s not to say I couldn’t have been out walking or riding a bike, but to be honest my heart just wasn’t into it (no pun intended) and the struggle was real.

I had also been hoping that I would’ve had my cast off by now, but a new X-ray only revealed that the bone had not healed in the slightest over  the past three weeks, and as a result had me having to get a new plaster cast. The plaster cast made me really appreciate the fibre glass one,  they are so much lighter, but whatever it takes to heal the bone. It certainly wasn’t as visually appealing as the pink one, but it didn’t take long before my daughter  and others were decorating it.

My diet has also been a little out of control. Desserts and sweets have always been my weakness, and during the fat to phat program I had been really good at keeping it under control and only allowing myself small indulgences every now and then, but the past few weeks every now and then has become almost daily.

I’m still keeping up on my nutrition by having my daily shakes, vitamins and supplements. That’s never been an issue. It’s the after dinner sweet tooth or late evening snacking that is causing the problem. I’m not running in the evening and instead I find myself watching TV, while feeling midly depressed about not running, and then eating foods that are on my do not eat list.

We also have eaten out a fair bit since my parents arrived and I haven’t stuck to my usual cleaner and healthier choices. Nothing has been off limits including bakery items, fried food, desserts and junk food. The scale has also seen an increase, albeit slight, it’s still a gain and I need to get back on track. I didn’t work this hard to fall back to old ways.

Thursday evening was my Pub Night Fundraiser for Team Diabetes. I didn’t raise quite as much money as I had hoped, but we still all had fun and enjoyed our evening. My running partner, whom I can’t even begin to thank, was amazing at helping organize and sell tickets while I was I recovering from my blackout. My parents were also great at helping sell 50/50 tickets at the event (thanks mom and dad).  I still have a bit to go ($500) to meet my deadline in two weeks, but I’m a whole lot closer. If you want to help me get there you can make a donation online here.

The fundraiser helped to remind me of my goals and my why. The people that had attended and were supporting me in my journey were counting on me to follow through. It was time to get back to my program. It was time to get back to the fat to phat program of clean eating and exercise.

I have only one week before I will be celebrating my 100lb weight loss on stage in Las Vegas and I want to make sure I’m back to my 100lbs loss before I get there. I have gained a few lbs this past month and I’m determined to shed them. 

I’ve had my time off to rest and recover and now it’s time to get back in the game. I will attempt my first walk/run tonight. It’s been exactly one month since I’ve ran, and I’m a little apprehensive about how it’s going to go, but I know if I take it slow and easy I’ll be back up to speed in no time. It’s like having a bad fall on your bike and you know you just need to get right back on again. So I’m grabbing my daughter and were hitting the pavement for a slow and short 4km walk/run.

Hope your all having a great week and I’ll talk to you all after Vegas! Super excited!!!

My implantable device (Week 2, Year 2)

It seems like forever since I last blogged and so much has happened. It’s been difficult to get back to it as everything has been a little crazy. I’m actually closer to week three but I’ll update you all on what’s been happening anyway.

I went to Vancouver and successfully had my Reveal loop recorder implanted. My husband and I flew down on a Thursday, had the procedure on Friday and I was back home with my family by Saturday. The procedure itself was fairly simple, but I was still pretty nervous going in. It could have had something to do with the fact that it was a Friday and the bed that they gave me was number 13.

I was told that because I was attached to the heart arrhythmia clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital and they received research grant money, I qualified for a newer smaller device than the ones currently being used. The device I was originally shown is about the size of the USB key, but the one they inserted was much smaller and about a quarter of the size, making the procedure that much easier. The first photo is the standard device used and the second one is the one I have implanted.

It only took about 30 minutes for them to insert it into my chest, and most of that time was the actually prep work, scrubbing and gowning up. I was awake for the entire procedure, a local was given, and I have to admit it was pretty scary at the time. Having a doctor cut into your chest while you’re awake can be a little nerve racking! 

The benefit though of not having to go under anaesthetic was that I was up and out of the bed shortly after my procedure. I was enjoying a glass of red wine and a steak dinner by 6pm. I think the hardest part of the surgery was the actual fasting I had to do. No food or water makes for a contrary girl. I was definitely feeling hangry by the end of it.

After dinner I was feeling exhausted and we headed back to our hotel room for a long nap. I had some pain and discomfort along the incision, but nothing that a Tylenol wouldn’t cure. Later that evening when we woke up, my husband and I decided to go enjoy the warm weather and the city lights. It was after all just the two of us in the city with no kids.

We grabbed a specialty coffee each at the little Italian coffee bar in our hotel and decided to take a late night stroll. Along our meandering we found a crowed cordon off street with hundreds of people hanging around. There was music playing and I thought maybe it was some kind of concert. That was until I realized that all these people were staring at their phones. It is at this point that I realized they were all playing Pokémon GO.

My husband and I whipped out our own phones to check out what the big deal was and that was it, we were hooked too. It was a great location with 3 Pokestops, lots of lures, and a gym. There were tables in the street and food vendors around, a live band, and it was a great place to just hang out. 

This was the first time my husband had played Pokémon GO, and the first time I have played without the kids. It felt rather silly to be honest, but I didn’t care. Here we were, two grown adults playing video games at 11 o’clock at night, in the middle of the street with about 200 other people. When I looked around I could see people of all ages and walks of life, from 6 to 60, playing, interacting with each other and having fun. It was a little crazy and surreal and had me wondering if the novelty of it would eventually wear off or if it was here to stay. 

We enjoyed our evening together and felt like teenagers again, sneaking back into our hotel room in the early hours of the morning. I have a curfew now, as the new addition to my body comes with special equipment that requires me to be within a few feet for it to transmit the data to the hospital. 

I will have this implant for up to three years, and hopefully it will give the doctors the information they need to help prevent any more blackouts or serious cardiac events. My husband has now referred to me as wife 2.0 and was wondering if I was going to come with any new firmware updates. I told him that was still a work in progress! 

Upcoming surgery and the Pokémon go app (Week 1, Year 2)

Welcome to year two of the fat to phat program. I’m a little late in getting my weekly post out, but things have been a little crazy here. So as many of you already know, I had a cardiac event two weeks ago, blacked out, broke my hand and injured my knee. I am scheduled to have a loop recorder implanted this Friday in Vancouver and I’ve also been switched to a new beta blocker, Nadalol, which should offer some better protection against any potential arrhythmias. 

My parents arrived this evening to watch the kids, as my hubby and I will be flying out early tomorrow morning. I’m a little nervous about the procedure, but I’m looking forward to getting back on track with my running and fat to phat program.

The past two weeks I really haven’t done a whole lot but rest. I did manage to get out for a few walks the first week out of the hospital, but my knee was still pretty swollen and painful, so I decided it was best to just lay low and let it heal. I was also dealing with the side effects of the new medication, which was making me feel pretty tired and groggy for the first week. It’s a little better this week, but fatigue is something I have to battle regardless I think.

The time off has been a welcomed break though and I’ve used it to focus on my family and fundraising for Team Diabetes. I only have so many spoons in a day, so the break from running and blogging allowed me to focus on these two other things for the last two weeks.

I was able to manage a table/booth at Summer Fest (a community event) to help publicize the Pub Fundraiser event. My daughter and running partner both decided to help me out and took on face painting for the kids, which was an extra fundraiser during the event. 

They did fairly well considering we were only charging between $2.50 and $5.00 a face. They cleared over $100 (after the cost of the booth and supplies) that will be donated. I also have been out the past few evenings selling tickets at our local drug and home hardware store for our event. It’s been a tough sell for the pub night and I’m not sure why. I thought this one would be easy, but it could just be the time of year. So many people on vacation and what not. 

I have a few more events planned coming up like a bottle drive, car wash and possible BBQ, so hopefully these events will be a bit more popular. I’m still about $1000 from my deadline goal, but I’m not giving up. Donations can be made online at Team Diabetes.

I’ve also been able to do some bonding with the kids playing the new Pokémon Go App, and I have to say it’s been a lot of fun but we were all a little Pokémon crazy for the first week. After hearing about some of the craziness and aftermath of the game on the news, I was a bit worried, but this game has come with some wonderful side effects for my family.

My youngest son, who lives with sensory processing disorder and has a real aversion to rain and getting wet, was happily playing outdoors in the pouring rain, oblivious to the fact that he was soaked, and having the time of his life. This was almost like being in a parallel universe for my husband and I, and we were in disbelief that this was even possible. Our son exhibited no signs of anxiety and when we brought up the fact that he was out playing in the rain he just smiled and said “I was having so much fun it (the rain) didn’t even bother me.”

I’ve even gone on a few one on one dates with each of my kids playing the Pokémon app. It’s been a great bonding experience, especially with my middle son Joshua, whom I stayed out super late with playing the game and laughing hysterically with as we battled a young couple repeatedly for a gym. Finally I had to convince him we had to let it go and head home to bed. 

And the fact that my kids are wanting to go for 5k walks now, just so they can hatch a Pokémon egg, it’s just something unheard of in our house. My kids begging me to take them on long walks?!

We are certainly creating some wonderful memories with this game and the added benefit is that my kids are wanting to be outside playing more and are becoming more physically active and even more social as a result. This is great to see, especially considering  how I’ve been able to witness the lessening of anxiety in my youngest.

So as much as we hear many of the negative stories around the game, there are bound to be more positive ones that just aren’t being reported. And to be honest, I’m not a big gamer or anything, but I have to say this has been so much fun and I’m really enjoying the time spent with the kids playing the game.

Well that’s my week and a half, in a nut shell. Nutritionally speaking I haven’t been the cleanest eater, but I have been watching portion control. I have opted not to weigh in this past week, mainly because I haven’t been working out and I don’t want to torture myself with numbers on a scale. I will wait until after my surgery and once I’m back working the program, I will start tracking my weight again.

Well it’s super late and I still have packing to do, so I’m going to sign off for this week. Hope this finds you all well, and I will try and post sooner next time to let you all know how everthing went in Vancouver. Have a great week!

The leap year bonus post (Day 366)

So it’s official, my one year anniversary weight loss journey is finally here. My kids were excited and thought we should celebrate in some way. I thought it would be fun to let them pick how we celebrate, since this was just as important to them as it has been to me. They are constantly reminding me of the fact that this change has also impacted them and they like the healthier version of me.

So I found it ironic that they wanted to have cake as part of my one year celebration. When I started the fat to phat journey one year ago I was eating cake. 1/2 of a Black Forrest cake to be more precise. I don’t think I even tasted it, more like inhaled a bazillion calories without batting an eye. 

One year later the thought of that makes me cringe. Don’t get me wrong, I love cake, especially black forest cake, and it’s still very tempting to over eat this stuff, but the new me was happy with just a small slice. 

So at their request, we had cake tonight, a hazelnut chocolate cake I picked up at Costco.  Costco size desserts are usually a no-no, but this was a pretty safe bet. My daughter was having a few girls sleep over this evening, so I knew it wasn’t going to last long in the house.

It was a nice way to end out the year, back at the table, eating cake, but in a new body with a new perspective. I knew exactly how many calories I was consuming before it even touched my lips.

It’s been a tough few days. Everything is still pretty sore and I’m back to fighting the fog and fatigue, but I’m focusing on the fact that I’ve been down these hard roads before and come out the other side a better me, and I will get through this too.

My running partner and I were suppose to walk tonight but her injury has been lingering so she decided it was best to ice and rest. This left me in a bit of a pickle because I have been asked not to exercise alone at the moment. Well my boys knew I was disappointed as their dad was working this evening and also couldn’t accompany me, so my youngest piped up and offered to walk with me. This made my heart smile.

My kids are all very aware of the risk that comes with having a heart condition. They are all currently being followed by their own cardiologist and have had age-appropriate candid conversations with their doctor. So it was great to know that even my youngest was thinking ahead about a plan should something happen. He thought out a safe route for us to walk, just in case, and jokingly asked me that if I was going to faint if I could do it close to the fire hall. Love this kids sense of humour.

My husband and I took a few moments to discuss the plan with both the boys. Safety is always on our mind now and I think if anything this event has made us all a little more aware. We’ve even had the discussions about getting an AED for the house. It’s an expense, but should the need ever arise, it will be well worth the price.

The walk was nice, just the three of us enjoying the fresh air and each other’s company. The boys kept asking about trying to get the Pokemin Go app and how other people have it, even though technically it’s not supposed to be in Canada yet. 

Once we got home from our walk one of my daughters friends showed me how to get the game on my phone. It didn’t take long to convince the boys to go back out walking, actually it was them convincing me. We played for a little bit and the bonus of the night was when we caught Pikachu. Now they’re asking if we can go walking again in the morning. I think I’m going to love this app!

In other news, the Isabody challenge finalists were announced, and unfortunately I’m not a finalist, but I will still be going to Las Vegas in August to celebrate my 100lb loss. I won’t let that stop me and I do plan to do another challenge though, so watch out! I’ve still got a lot of work to do and the best is yet to come.

So this is my final daily post. It’s been quite the ride,and I just wanted to thank you all again for the amazing support this past year. I will continue to keep you all updated once a week with my ongoings. Onward and upwards as they say. Welcome to year two of the fat to phat program! 

A year of fat to phat (Day 365)

Wow, day 365 of the fat to phat program. Almost a year, but technically, since it’s a leap year, I do still have one more day. There wasn’t a whole lot of celebrating today. I’m still very tired and my mood is still pretty low. I miss running, have not met my fundraising goals and the new betablocker is doing nothing for my energy levels except zapping it. 

I did want to share with you something that has brightened my day though. It is very special and I received it from my BFF D. Hope you don’t mind D, but this was too great not to share. This arrived just the other day and brought tears of joy. What a ride it has been..

So my one year journey resulted in a very special medal, the one I’m the most proudest of. This will be my reminder for days like today. I read this letter again and looked for the positives in my life, despite my blue mood. Then I decided I wasn’t defeated yet and started to work on my fundraising campaign. It ain’t over till it’s over and I still have a few more weeks to reach my $2500 deadline for Team Diabetes.

What I do want to let everyone know is that I’ve decided to make a change to my blog. Starting after tomorrow I will be only posting once a week, instead of daily. While I have enjoyed the accountability, support and friendships over the past year it is time to make some nessecary changes to allow time for other things. I will still be blogging,  but I’ve decided that once a week is what I would like to commit to moving forward. 

I want to thank all of you that have stuck with me on this amazing journey and cheered me on along the way. Words simply cannot express what it has meant to me and how it has carried me through some of my darkest days. I hope that by sharing my journey I have been able to help some of you on yours.