Tuesday, August 30, 2016

my little lion cub

So, Leo went to the vet last week for a checkup, some blood work and a haircut.

I don't have the results of the blood work yet; however, the vet sent me home with more B12 injections. Apparently he will need to stay on these to ensure he absorbs all the nutrients from his food and to keep his weight steady. The dose is one shot per month, which is simple and inexpensive. 

He also got a bath and a shave while he was there. They gave me a choice of six different cuts. I picked this one (below). He was supposed to have a pom pom on the end of the tail, but they couldn't do it. They said he has something called "stud tail." I've never heard of it. Apparently his tail excretes excess oil, which causes the fur to mat. Because of that, he didn't have enough fur at the end of his tail to make the pom pom. I was worried that the vet would want to sedate him for the shave; however, they said they always make a good effort to do it without sedation. When I got the call later in the day they said Leo didn't need sedation, that was absolutely perfect, and that he purred the whole time. He was a little stressed when they shaved his legs, but he was still manageable. 

Here he is. Isn't he cute? He really looks like a miniature lion running around the house. And his coat is so velvety! I LOVE rubbing him up and down and feeling all the peach fuzz! As you can see, he wasn't too thrilled with me for making him pose.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

another vet visit: Leo and Oscar

Oscar and Leo are headed to the vet this Friday for a re-check.

I've posted about Leo's issues before. Now it's time for him to have a re-check. Friday he's going for a weigh-in and a liver panel to see if the special diet helped the issues in his digestive tract. I think the weigh-in will go well, since I've been weighing him at home and he's holding steady at 11 pounds. That's a half-pound gain since doing the B12 shots a couple months ago. :) I'm really hoping that they tell me he can come off the special diet, as the food is quite expensive: an 8.8 lb. bag is about $50.00. (Compare that to the prescription Urinary Tract food for Max, which is $50.00 for a 16 lb. bag. And dry food at the grocery store is about $17.00 for a 16 lb. bag.) Also, he's having a lion's cut. He's a Persian and has a ton of fur, so every once it awhile it's necessary to shave him down to eliminate mats and just pretty him up in general. He always looks so cute when it's done.

Oscar is having a re-check. I brought him to the vet a couple weeks ago because I suspected a bladder infection. His bladder was clear, but his urine was dark and bloody. The vet felt that he might have a kidney infection, so she prescribed anti-inflammatory pills. He also got a long-acting antibiotic shot. It's been fun trying to pill a cat. I bought some pill pockets, which are soft and are similar to cat treats. You just put the pill inside of it and the cat is supposed to eat it. But Oscar is not a real cat in that he doesn't eat canned food, treats, tuna, etc. Just dry food. Even though he has no teeth. I'm hoping his re-check shows the possible infection is gone and he's fine.

I'll be sure to report back on their progress and also post a picture of Leo with his new haircut.

This is Oscar.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

updated exercise routine: more sets of the same thing...i'm bored!

So, my trainer got me geared up for a change to my workout routine I do at home. He said he would be "making it harder." I was so excited to think I'd be doing something different--I'm totally bored with the kettle bell swings and squat jumps--but no, he gave me more of the same: one more set of everything. Needless to say, I was pretty deflated when I got the email.

So, here it is:

The new routine consists of:
  • Jogging in place, jumping jacks and mountain climbers, alternated three times for a total of 8 minutes
  • 4 sets of 20 walking lunges holding two 10 lb. free weights to do curls while lunging
  • 4 sets of 20 body squats holding one 10 lb. free weight
  • 4 sets of 20 kettle bell swings with a 20 lb. kettle bell
  • 4 sets of 15 squat jumps (I still HATE these!)
  • 4 sets of 15 pushups
  • 3 sets of 15 reverse lunges using a 20 lb. kettle bell (not liking these anymore...boring!)
  • 3 sets of 15 sumo uprights using a 25 lb. kettle bell
  • 4 sprints, 50 yards each
  • Stretching exercises for my back and hamstrings
  • Plank, as long as I can hold it
I have to say, this was really tough the first time through. I had to rest quite a bit. It's getting easier, but I find I'm still out of breath for much of the time.

Although I'm not thrilled at all with having pretty much the same routine, I realize the purpose of it: to build endurance and strength. I'll admit to sometimes changing it up once a week, though, and just doing my own thing. I just pick several exercises I do at the studio and do three sets of each. I do that in order to avoid the boredom. If I'm bored, I'm much more likely to quit. And I don't want to do that when I'm so close to being ready for skin removal surgery.

Monday, August 15, 2016

woo hoo! free books for me!

Recently Amazon settled a class action lawsuit with Apple, which involved the overpricing of ebooks.  The settlement resulted in Amazon customers getting credits in the form of an electronic gift card.  I got about $35.00.  It didn't take me long to figure out what to buy.  I'm an avid reader, so books, of course!  Two of the books I bought used, so I was able to stretch the $35.00 and get all three.  And this is what I got.

Thug Kitchen:  The Official Cookbook, Eat Like You Give a Fuck
(Yes, that's the name of it and that last part is their tagline.)

If you want a good laugh, appreciate profanity and want to make some good vegan food, check out Thug Kitchen.  The authors are vegan and this website is all about vegan recipes.  But it's written as if you're sitting in the backyard just shooting the breeze with a friend.  Warning, though:  If profanity offends you, don't visit this website.  But if you want to laugh your ass off, go for it.  Anyway, they've created a few cookbooks and I've wanted one for the longest time.  I'm not vegan, but most of their recipes look pretty good.  And, I have to admit, I like the entertainment value they bring. If you want a laugh, watch the trailer for the cookbook here.  Hysterical!

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

I got this book on the recommendation of several people that post on a blog I read.  We've made the decision to get ourselves out of debt.  Bob and I sat down to figure out the numbers last weekend...and it wasn't pretty.  We're up to date on everything, but we owe quite a bit.  So, now we need to get out of debt so we can stop worrying about every little unexpected expense that comes along.  It will be very tough, but we can do it. We've already stopped using the credit cards. Now we just need to make a plan to start paying down the balances.  I read the book and I think it has some useful advice, like the Debt Snowball; however, some of it just doesn't make sense to me.  For example, stop contributing to your 401k while paying down debt, even if your company matches 100%. WHAT???!!! NO!  Why would I give up free money? Besides, this is my future retirement.  I'd lose the advantage of free money from my employer, as well as the advantage of time and compounding interest.  I'll use what I can and disregard the rest.  Here's an explanation of the debt snowball method of paying down debt:  debt snowball explanation.

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

I found out about this book through a Facebook post I saw on someone's wall.  It's a true story about a stray cat living on the streets and a man who is down on his luck.  They cross paths and become the best of friends.  I haven't read it yet, but my cousin did and she really enjoyed it. He's written other books about his life with Bob, as well as some children's books. And, yes, I also bought this because it's about a cat. No surprise there.  I was very excited to learn that they've made this into a movie, which is due for release in the US November 18, 2016.  That's not too long after my birthday, so this might have to be a belated birthday celebration. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

a visit with a plastic surgeon

I posted a few weeks ago that I was going to visit a plastic surgeon to talk about excess skin removal. Well, I went last week and I'm here to give you the low-down.

Bob went with me so he could hear what the surgeon had to say about the procedure and recovery time. Since he's the one the burden falls to after surgery, that makes sense.

I started getting a little nervous as we walked into the waiting room. I was second-guessing myself as to whether this is something I really want to do and is necessary. Then when it came time to go into the examining room, I had a flight urge. But once the doctor came in, I was fine. 

When I walked into the examining room, I saw a cabinet, which had a bunch of saline breast implants on top, all lined up from smallest to largest. (Yes, I touched them! Although I waited until the doctor stepped out for a minute.) It was pretty much what I expected, as I had watched Botched the night before for the first time.

The doctor came in and asked me what I'd like done. I told her I has gastric bypass a couple years ago and would like to have the excess skin removed. She donned her gloves while I stripped. She then proceeded to poke, prod, and feel the excess skin on my abdomen to get a sense as to how soft and loose it is--that's how she can tell if there's still a lot of fat under the skin. She then recommended a panniculectomy and abdominoplasty. She explained that a panniculectomy would only remove the skin, not tighten it. I have a lot of loose skin under the breasts, which can only be tightened by abdominoplasty, so I would need both procedures done at once. There would be some liposuction also to remove any lingering fat in that area--the more loose skin she has to work with the better. It was weird to hear her say that my excess skin would be "in a bucket." But that's what they do. It's waste. The upper portion would be lipo-ed and pulled down like a shade and the belly button would be relocated (that freaks me out!). I would have two drains for about two weeks in order to drain the excess fluid. I would be totally out of work for about two weeks. Then it would depend on how I feel. She then took a bunch of pictures to include in the insurance file. For one of them I had to hold my abdominal skin up so she could see underneath it. She answered my questions and was very nice and informative. Overall, I'd say the exam went well. It was a bit embarrassing, though. I know Bob has seen my body a million times, but it's totally different when it's in a clinical setting.

The next step is to see if the insurance will approve it, which will take about a month. If it's approved, I then have six months to have it done. I'm thinking January/February. The doctor said that they've been having good luck with insurance approvals lately, so we're hoping for the best. It's possible that the panniculectomy will be approved, since it's medically necessary, but not the abdominoplasty, which is cosmetic. If nothing is approved then I will need to put it on hold and save the money. 

I've decided I want to do this and I feel it's necessary. I've had some rashes under the excess skin, it's sometimes uncomfortable to sleep since I'm a side-sleeper, and it limits my range of motion when working out. Some exercises I can't even do yet and others are difficult. Also, it's a real pain shopping for pants. 

Wish me luck!

Friday, August 5, 2016

a weekend on the Jersey shore

No, I wasn't at the beach and I wasn't hanging out with Snooki and Pauly. 

Last weekend I met my cousin in New Jersey to see Straight No Chaser, an a cappella group we like. The show was great. The guys were perfectly on point and as handsome as ever. We spent Saturday in the casino before taking in the show Saturday night. I was doing well before the show, but my luck started to change afterwards, so I called it a night.

We had a really nice steak dinner on Friday night, courtesy of her wonderful husband.  I couldn't eat as much as I would have liked, but that's life nowadays. When I go out to eat now, I'm always torn between ordering what I really want and what will make decent leftovers, since there are always leftovers now. Steak isn't usually good in the microwave so I was leaning towards lobster, but the market price for just the tail was completely ridiculous. Plus, I knew I couldn't finish it anyway and thought that would be worse as a leftover. I ended up with the smallest steak possible:  the 10 oz. filet mignon. Normally I'm not a fan of filet because it's very mild tasting and over-priced, but I couldn't fathom ordering an 18 oz. sirloin. So, I got the filet. Actually, we both got the filet.  It was delicious! Cooked perfectly, not overly mild, and very tender. It was served on top of a giant hash brown with demi glace underneath. I was worried the sauce would be on top--I'm a naked-steak-lover--but it wasn't. It was underneath and it was the perfect amount. I ordered sautéed mushrooms and onions on the side, which were also delicious. Needless to say, I had enough for three more meals. I snacked from it throughout the weekend:  no fork or knife, and fresh from the fridge. Surprisingly good! We started off with garlic bread with cheese fondue and a Caprese salad, which we had some left over there, too.

I'm happy to say that I worked out both days while away. As soon as I got to the hotel Friday, I dropped my bags, changed my clothes, and headed to the hotel gym.  I spent 35 minutes on the treadmill:  15 minutes at 3.0 MPH at 1% incline, followed by 20 minutes of sprints. I ran six sprints and alternated between 3.0 MPH and 7.0 MPH. My sprints are about 15 seconds long, which mimics the distance I sprint in my backyard at home.  I then went to the room and did three sets of each:  20 walking lunges, 20 body squats, followed by pushups. I was wiped out when I was done! On Saturday I went to the gym around 7:30 am and walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes. I then went to the room and did 20 walking lunges followed by 20 body squats. Since I actually didn't have to exercise that morning I took it easy.

The best part (other than seeing the cuz, having a great steak and seeing Straight No Chaser) is that when I got home and weighed myself, I was down to 211.2--I lost 3 pounds that weekend! Probably because I spent so much time in the casino....