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Tomorrow Is a Big Day

When I get up tomorrow morning I have to head to the doc's office bright and early. First I will have a battery of blood tests and then I will get my yearly physical exam. We'll begin by yours truly proudly reviewing my list of medications and vitamins.

I am secretly looking forward to discussing the possibility of reducing my medication if my BP is low enough. I used to be on 6 different heart medications including: Coumadin, Spironolactone, Lisinopril, Losartan, hydrochlorothiazide and carvedilol.

Now I am on one!

The nurse will shake her head and look a little confused by my low pulse - I'm a runner and she might think I am dying. It's worth a smirk after she looks at her watch 2 or 3 times.

It's 46 to 48 these days. It used to be 72. In ICU it was 112.

Then we get on the scale. I'll be completely dressed so it will be over 200. But I am down 7 pounds since past year. And I am going to leave my cell phone in the car!

Then it's strip down to my Calvin Kleins and wait for my doctor. He will check my joints and talk about arthritis. We've been doing that for years. He will look over my skin trying to find sores that haven't healed. I will take a few deep breaths while he listens to my heart and lungs. I usually get a smile when he reads over my chart and sees that I had congestive heart failure.

Then it's time for the guy stuff. You know rubber gloves and some coughing while your testicles are in a death grip. Then it's bend over and be #1.

I am going to have breakfast and take a long run after that.

I'll have my post skin surgical cancer check at one o'clock. Even though my regular doctor took a good look, I will be getting a very thorough exam at the dermatologist; also in my Calvin Kleins. I have a couple of nodules that seem to have appeared since I had surgery in August. Who knows, right?

At three I am off to a pre-op appointment for my yearly colonoscopy. I cancelled in August because I just couldn't handle it this summer along with everything else. It will be more of the same I am sure. We'll talk about the tumor they took out last time and what will happen if they find another one this time. I'll need to get a letter from my cardiologist. They will do my BP and tell me what anesthesia they will give me. Then I will tell them that I got sick last time and they should listen to me.

I effing do this every year, plus I have a surgical biopsy two times a year. I know what works.

After all that I am going to wait for the doctor to call me with my PSA results from the morning blood tests. This is a prostate cancer screen and it was very elevated last time. If it doesn’t go down, they will schedule an MRI to see what they missed in the needle biopsy.

I am praying it's lower, much lower.

Then I am going to go out for Thai and have yellow curry followed by a trip to the shooting range with my buddy. All in all, it's going to be a good day.

10/5/2015 My PSA did come back lower. Yay, no trans-rectal MRI for me this time.

I Still Suck at This

I have logged in to MFP everyday for 1565 days. Some may see this as commitment, others as a waste of time on social media. And there are some that probably think I don't need a crutch and should do something else with my new found skinniness.

I wish I could forget about MFP, counting calories, and getting encouragement from others.

The truth is that I don't really have anyone in my life that cares if I am fit. Oh sure, they have noticed the changes. Click on a few pics, the evidence is there. Hey, 297 pounds down to 197 shows on a guy my size. It seems like everyone, everywhere wants to know why I don't eat pizza, mashed potatoes and rice. I only drink water, unsweetened iced tea and coffee on a daily basis. I also have an very occasional bottle (not a couple which often = 6) of non-alcoholic beer. Its 76 calories. Less than a handful of grapes. ;)

As a live-alone-divorced-guy-with-adult-kids-3000-miles-away, there is no one watching any of my daily moves. Early on, I made some rules for success. I have broken a few of them and it bothers me. This is not a case of, "You failed, so start over." I lived that way in the past. I made a commitment to a fit lifestyle and I have gotten a little slack.

I don't believe in giving yourself permission to fail. It's too easy to do again tomorrow.

Sure, I have a lot going on with cancer knocking at the door, checkups and blood tests every 3 months, a daughter getting married next year (read that asking for a lot of cash!) and managing a pre-teen post divorce. (see rule #12) And just a few weeks ago, I logged my lowest weight in well over a decade - maybe 2!

So here are my rules for success. In the past week I have broken #1, #2, #3, #4, #8, #9 and #12. the good news is my profile is up to date and I have lots of pictures. :)

-1 Schedule your workouts like you would a gynecology appointment. You may not want to go, but you need at least to take 30 minutes 3x/week to move as much and as fast as you can. Fitness includes some strength training - details in my book (which you should buy!)
-2 Log all your food and set your activity levels properly. If you can't count, Google easy math. ;)
-3 Try eating your exercise calories as recommended. It might NOT work, so try not eating them! Just don't make another post in the forums about it! Nobody likes forum Nazis.
-4 Weigh your food portions. I suspect you didn't get to where you are by knowing how many grams/ounces a rib eye steak weighs!
-5 Get rid of all the junk foods and trigger foods in the house. I will even let you log this as Cardio exercise, "Cleaning with Maximum Effort!"
-6 Take pictures now, you'll be glad you did. If you are serious, take some ugly fat pics! 50 pounds from now you'll be glad you did.
-7 Use the tape measure often and the scale sparingly. If you are doing the cardio and strength training (not body building), some weeks your weight is going to move around. The sign of true weight loss is lower body fat percentages (not lower body fat, like your butt jiggles.)
-8 Plan for success - know what you are going to eat as far in advance as you can. A weekly meal plan, lunches made and frozen before the work week, and planning for holidays and parties is essential. A flight plan will save a lot of complaining and looking for sympathy on the news feed. :)
-9 Visit your favorite restaurant sites NOW, and make a list of suitable meals at each of them. You really can get out of most places with a 400 calorie meal if you plan for it. bookmark them on your PC and/or Smartphone.
-10 Fill out your profile, otherwise you won't have any friends.  Friends are essential.
-11 Remember most people eventually fail (well over 70%), but you don't have to be one of them. Dieters are usually the first one to fall off the circus wagon, followed by those that were doing it for a special occasion and then those who did not maintain
-12 Never make excuses, it's your life. :)

ICU to Marathon - Prologue

ICU to Marathon - Diaries of a nearly dead man, ended with the finish of my first full marathon; the Cape Cod Marathon. As you are aware from reading the book (if you weren't too cheap to purchase it), you know that the underlying theme of my marathon experience was to run Boston. At the time of publication, I had the application for 2014 in hand. It was pictured on the last page.

I trained all winter (2013-14) for Boston, sometimes braving the sub-zero cold and 77" of snow accumulation. I fell on black ice, finding the perfect way to make my collarbone scream in pain! I kept on training. After all, it was Boston! In fact, I ran too much and sustained a calf injury after logging 180 miles in the month of February.

I love my chiropractor and Kensio Tape!

You may also know those weeks before I ran Cape Cod I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. As my marathon training progressed, I began meeting with my urologist, a radiation oncologist, and a urological surgeon. I even went to a Christian healing room.

I was tentatively scheduled for a prostatectomy the week following Boston.

I guess that it is fairly lucrative business. The surgeon was booked weeks in advance doing 16 or more a week. Robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is surgery done pretty often, but the side effects are not a lot of fun. In fact, most men would say they are life changing.

I joked with my friend about walking to Mass General Hospital right from the finish line. 

What could I expect from this surgery? According to the WebMD website: "Surgery means removing the prostate and the tissues around it, including a set of nerves to the penis that affect the man's ability to have an erection. Some tumors can be removed using a nerve-sparing technique. This means carefully cutting around those nerves to leave them intact. Nerve-sparing surgery sometimes preserves the man's ability to have an erection.

Up to half of all men who have a radical prostatectomy develop urinary incontinence, ranging from a need to wear urinary incontinence pads to occasional dribbling."

Somewhere in there I had moment of clarity and decided to get a second opinion. My new surgeon told me I was a great candidate for something called active surveillance. Instead of rushing off for surgery, they would wait until the last possible moment.

Instead of dreading the loss of the ability to have an erection and the new ability to pee my pants without laughing, I chose that option. Of course, there are risks in taking that route too.

Again, from WebMD website: "For men younger than 65 who have early-stage cancer (stages I and II, also called localized prostate cancer), those who had surgery lived longer than those who used active surveillance."

As you can imagine, every day that I live with cancer could also be shortening my life. It's a sobering thought. It's an even more difficult existence.

I began to focus on running Boston.

An exceprt from The Pathetic Runner Guide.

Running is Dangerous

Has anyone told you that running is dangerous? Well, it can be. Even though it's not always about injuries, it can still be deadly. You could have a heart attack, get run over by a car, or eaten by a bear. The latter is a good reason to choose a run bud that is a just a little slower than you are at a panicked pace.

Not dying should be a high priority if you are running. Actually it is a good life motto. "Don't die."

Now that I live alone, I have different habits for living in my apartment than I did when I lived with a family in a sea of progesterone. For instance I don't have dog gates because I don't have a dog. I won't be tripping over that ever again. I also don't have French Roast coffee because I don't drink it.

In spite of my new freedom, I still can't seem to leave the toilet seat up, but I would like to learn how.

Although my apartment is pretty big, the kitchen and bathroom are side by side at one end. Because no one else lives there, I don't need to shut the door so as to not terrorize my daughters. Heck, I don't even have to wear anything if I don't want to.

The down side is a stinky bathroom (why I don't do cleanses!) as it comingles with the smell of baked salmon in the kitchen. Thank God for a fan and a door when it's needed.

Because the bathroom is on the small side, there isn't really any place to put my clean clothes down when I take a shower. In fact my bathroom is too small to change your mind in.

So, I leave my clothes outside the door on the kitchen counter next to the stove.

I am not a morning person. I make coffee by Braille. It can take up to 2 cups of coffee and about an hour to even know if I have my glasses on. Some days I have my contacts in and my glasses on; without the coffee, I can't tell.

I am a little OCD about things - well, a lot of things. I seem to create routines that make me feel comfortable. Moving really shook me up. I had new locks, new storage places and new furniture. My previously stacked-to-the-ceiling apartment was now spread out. The clutter of one-room-living was finally gone.

Everything has a place!

One day I locked myself out  because I live in a new town where I felt the need to lock the door. When I lived in the city, I used to lock the door with a key so this would never happen. I even drove past my own driveway at night 3 or 4 times. Who needs street lights, right?

It's taken a month, but I am unpacked and seem to have a routine for getting up, going to bed and keeping the place neat and clean. I have even cleaned the toilet once. I still put the seat down.

I forgot where I was going with all this...

Right. One morning I got up and successfully made coffee with milk (not OJ or beer). I was feeling pretty wide awake. I left my bedroom and picked out my work pants, shirt and underwear. I tossed a pair of socks on top of my work shoes and carried the rest to the counter top by the stove. I was planning a post work run, so I got all of that out too.

I flipped on the bathroom lights and tossed my boxers on the stove.

I admired myself in the mirror, brushed my teeth, shaved and took a shower. I dried off, put on deodorant, brushed my hair, took my medication and popped in my contact lenses; then I headed for my clothes.

Standing in the kitchen, I was thinking about what to have for breakfast. I like food. Eggs and corned beef hash sounded good. I know you can't eat it over the sink to avoid dishes, but it still sounded good. I flipped on the burner and went to grab a frying pan.

Then there was the smell of something burning.

Yup, there they were, a pair of hot smoking plaid boxers. I grabbed them like one of the girls had walked into the room and I was naked. I threw them in the sink and turned on the water.

Then I thought, is this how a runner dies?

The rest of the morning was uneventful and I bought a fire extinguisher on the way home from work. Then I went for a run without locking myself out.

I didn't die.

An excerpt from my new book, The Pathetic Runner.
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