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My Superbowl

I woke up this morning with a 4-pain-power headache. For now, it is my new normal. If you know anything about me, you know I am not sitting around waiting for something to happen.

I have had some messages asking how I am doing.

Today, and as far as I know, I don't have terminal cancer. I have a friend in one of my online support groups who is not so fortunate. I have learned a lot from her long journey.

The most important, live life today.

I am sitting here trying to think of something entertaining to say. Some days I think my body hates me. Then I think about everything I have done to make it healthier. I have been on MFP since 2011.

I have quit doing just about all the bad stuff and started doing the good stuff.

I haven't had a soda pop or sweet drink since the beginning. I haven't had a host of other things, too. I eat a high protein/low carb diet; which is a balance of mostly vegetables/beans (3 cups a day), some fruit (low sugar/carbs), a little bit of dairy (cheese), nuts, and 1 egg. I have a 4-ounce portion of fish 3 days a week, chicken 2 days a week, and it's a toss-up on the 7th day.

I have lost 60+ pounds since I came to MFP - about 90+ since February 2011.  

So here's the recap on my health. I met with the urologist/oncologist to get a checkup for the prostate cancer. That seems stable - still there (Gleason 6) - but not spreading. I have another MRI in 6 months. They did find blood in my urine. It's not cancer. Follow up in a couple of months. I went to the dermatologist, no skin cancer found, just some precancerous stuff. I will see them in 6 months. I also met with the gastroenterologist, he scheduled a colonoscopy to check for any new tumors. In addition, he changed up my medication and I feel better.
So what about the scorching headaches?

After taking opioids, steroids, planetoids, parathyroids, cannabinoids, epithelioids, hypothyroids, crystalloids, hyperboloids, paratyphoids, tuberculoids, ketosteroids, diphtheroids, heteroploids, hypocycloids, hypodiploids, antityphoids, antithyroids, and a pile of other drugs, I have made little progress on the orthopedic/neurological front. I am going to have rotator cuff surgery in March. That's definite. They will reevaluate whether of not to do a spinal fusion 2-4 weeks after that. I am calling a neurosurgeon today. I heard about a procedure in my Occipital Neuralgia support group called nerve decompression.

In messaging one of the members, I have a lot of hope for this surgery to cure my chronic headaches.

What about running? I have three long runs left to do. This comming weekend a 19-miler, a 20-miler the week after, and the Tokyo Marathon. I just need to conserve my energy for those days.

I have to break it down into achievable steps.

Tokyo is my Superbowl. Now is not the time to quit. It’s the time to play the best game I am able to play, given the circumstances.  Having completed 5 World Major Marathons, all I have to do is finish one more. There will be plenty of time in the midst of recovering from surgery to rest, lay back, and somehow relax. Now is not that time.

In the mean time I have to schedule future joy in my life.

All of my kids are scheduled to visit in 2019! I will enjoy Tokyo. I will beat cancer, again! I need to be on the lookout for the little moments which bring joy - like the sunset over the river, last night; or my wife’s smile at dinner. I am not a believer in being strong. It is more important to just press on. Sometimes people question why, I only ask how.

I have to remain positive. Things could be worse.

I am not sure what the future of this blog is - it's a quite a task to get from the top of the page to the bottom. Thanks for your support. If you want to connect on Facebook, that is fine.

Resolutions and Excuses

The average person stops doing whatever it is they resolve to do by the 13th of January. Last week I joined the gym. This morning I didn't go. In fact, I haven't been once since I signed up.

Stone me with donuts.

I don't even know what to say. Mr. Know-it-all failed. Today is the tomorrow I said I would start. It is now 8:41 and I am still in bed. I should end right here.

But I have a good excuse. Honest.

In real life, I am coming to terms with the distinct possibility that I will need two or three surgeries. I have had chronic pain for five long months. There is a long list of medications and therapies I have tried.

Yesterday I had more of the scorching headaches.

My wife and I briefly talked about what surgery means for me and more importantly, us. I see the specialist on Friday. I am also going to see a neurologist before all this is over. Then I will get a second opinion and see if there is any wonder drug I have missed.

Meanwhile, I need to stop making up excuses and lying to myself.

Food is the real problem. If you are new, or even if you have been around here for a while, here is a list of excuses I won't be using in 2019. Feel free. :)

I Have Slow Metabolism:
Right, and if your body was a car, it would be in reverse. Personally, mine hit a speed bump at age 40 and broke the steering column.

My Parents Didn’t Teach me How to Eat:
Are you kidding, have you looked in the mirror? You are probably good at eating, in fact very good! For God’s sake, birds manage to get south.

It’s the Holidays!
The Bermuda Triangle: Thanksgiving Christmas and New Years. (Or Memorial Day, the 4th and Labor Day.) Flag Day, the dog’s birthday. There are lots of holidays!

It’s Vacation:
One of my personal favorites, lots of eating out and lying around (actually that sounds more like work). Staying in the hospital is not a vacation. You can trust me on this one.

I Don’t Like Healthy Food:
Let me know when the pity party is over. Trust me; you are not going to like heart failure either.

It’s Emotional:
WTH? It’s food, nothing else.

I Can Eat Anything I Want!

I’ll Start Over Tomorrow:
Tomorrow is here, now what?

Water Makes Me Gag!
Well, it’s a good thing you are not a dolphin, I guess.

I Have Bad Knees (bad ankles, bad hips, bad a$$):
From here it looks like they can get you back and forth from the store, the bathroom and the refrigerator.

How about you, can you share some your most creative excuses for staying the way you were?

Disclaimer: Look, there are people who have legitimate medical reasons for being where they are. However; if you can get out of bed, you can probably begin to exercise. Seeing as diet is probably 90% of weight loss, you can make better choices.

Happy New Year - I Am Making Resolutions!

2018 Was a crazy year. It had the usual ups and downs. I lost my mother-in-law to cancer. I celebrated my first year of marriage to Ruth, cruised the Mediterranean and ran the London Marathon.

I lived another year with cancer.

In mid-August I developed scorching headaches, neck and shoulder pain. You have been following the updates. Yesterday I had round two of cortisone injections in my spine and shoulder.

Not fun.

 I have been disabled by the headaches. Due to the pain, I really can't think - at least not in very much detail. The opioids and muscle relaxer didn't really work and added to the confusion.

We'll see how this turns out.

The facts are the after two rounds, they are recommending surgery. One is a shoulder repair. Labrum and bicep stuff. The other is a spinal fusion at C6-C7. The third is up in the air. It will have something to do with either fusing the occiput and C1 or opening up the occipital nerve channel.

So, what are my resolutions and goals?
- My only 2019 goal is run Tokyo.

I am resolving to take better care of my body, mind and spirit.
- Joined the gym again and I plan in do light weight circuit work to keep arthritis at bay. I need to retain the motion and weight bearing exercise is best.
- Get back to drinking more water. I have been slacking at two or three 8 oz glasses a day.
- Stick with my eating program despite what the steroids and scale have to say. I still need to hit my calorie goal of 1600-1800 a day. Period. Anything else is an excuse.
- I resolve to live everyday like it is one of my last. The includes resting, running, coffee, and engaging with my family and friends.
- Continue to grateful for what I have.
- Exercise my faith knowing the plan and calling are already established.
- Write 10 minutes a day regardless of the headaches.
- Call a friend or kid and step away from the keyboard.
- Continue to not be anxious over biopsies and cancer tests.

If you find me being negative, send me an IM. I appreciate those. If you can exercise virtually pain-free and don't, I am jealous!

Happy New Year

Stuff That Won't Kill You (but you might wish it did)

The truth is what doesn't kill you can really hurt and cause mental anguish. As most of you know, I have had chronic headaches since mid-August. How bad? Well, they thought I was having a stroke.

I wasn't.

After 4 ER visits, weeks of physical therapy, chiropractic care, message therapy - CT scan, MRIs, and x-rays, they found pretty much nothing to explain the headaches. Oh yeah, they found a dehydrated disc, a torn labrum in my shoulder, and not a whole lot else.

They gave me steroids, Cortisone injections, NSAIDs, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, and opioids. And NARCAN.

They diagnosed me with cervicalgia (not a city in Italy), spondylosis (arthritis), and finally after asking them to check, occipital neuralgia. Yeah, the nerve in the back of my head is impinged. (medical term for f*&ing hurts like a SOB) 

So how am I today?

Well, I got up at 7 am and had a cup of coffee. It's 1:24 PM and so far I have my underwear on and I brushed my teeth. I was supposed to meet a friend, which included wearing pants and a shirt.

I didin't go.

I am going back in for spinal injections on the 7th. I hope to get a little more relief. I also heard of a new miracle painkiller which I seems to work for this particular condition. I called my doctor to see if he can prescribe it. It could make this manageable.

Currently, I am spending 3 or 4 hours per day trying to be productive.

Some of it is running because I HAVE to no matter how much it isn't fun. Some of it is focused on taking care of the house. Other times it is paying bills, or spending some meaningful time with my family and friends. The rest of the time, I zone out and am seriously unproductive.

Tokyo is paid for, so I will be there. Period.

For now, that is my only 2019 goal. Finish the damn race and get my 6-Star medal. I am scared I might not make the cut off time - but I am going to try.

I did have a wonderful Christmas in my new home, visited my kids in Boston and San Diego, and slept through the ball drop. Oh yeah, and I lost 5 pounds! Just 17 more to go!

Happy New Year!
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