Thursday, January 28, 2010

Keeping Up with Exercise

I have been traveling for work all this week. Whenever I travel for work, the first thing I do is check the area to see what my exercise options are. I have a gym membership with 24 Hour Fitness and I can go to any facility. I usually check their website to see where the closest facility is located. As luck would have it, my hotel for this trip was less than 2 miles from a 24 Hour gym. I set a goal to go everyday. So Monday I headed over to the gym, only to find that while I can go to most facilities, I could not go to that one. Bummer. They did let me use the facility that day as a guest, so I was able to get in a good workout. I then was stuck using the hotel's gym. The only equipment I would use in there is the treadmill, which I don't tend to use in my normal routine. But I thought I would make the best of it. I walked 45 minutes yesterday and 20 minutes today. At least it is something. It is hard being away from home and doing my normal stuff. Like tonight was my water aerobics class.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Charlie Simpson

Charlie Simpson is a 7 year-old boy from London who made national headlines today for his charitable work to raise funds for children in Haiti. He asked people to sponsor him in a bike ride around a local park, (about 5 miles), so he could raise funds to aide the children of Haiti. He did this all on his own, it was not part of an organized fundraiser. He has raised over 200,000 pounds (about $140,000). What a wonderful child to have in this world. He is inspiring and a reminder to me that there are still people in this world who want to do good. It is also a reminder to always let children be free thinkers and to let them try out ideas. Thank you Charlie.

Here is Charlie's website if you want to know more and make a donation.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Vacations 2010

Ethan and I love to take vacations. We love everything from a week in Hawaii to an overnight on the coast. This year we have three vacations we are planning for: Spring Training in Arizona, WonderCon in San Francisco, and possibly Seattle.

Spring Training is an annual vacation. This will be our 5th year going, March 10-14. I am very excited because family from Chicago will be joining us this year, so it will be a great time. We go to a baseball game everyday and usually see a different ball park each day.

WonderCon is a comic book convention in San Francisco, April 2-4. This will be Ethan's third year going and my second. Ethan loves comic books. He has a group of friends that he meets up with each year. They are a great group of people, a lot of fun to hang out with too. Its great to see Ethan with friends that he has so much in common with. The convention is near Union Square, my favorite part of San Francisco. So when we are not at the convention, surely we will be shopping, bar hopping, or riding the trolley car.

For our fall vacation, we are thinking about taking the train to Seattle, WA. I did a little research on the train ride. It is about a 22 hour trip. It just seems like a relaxing way to travel. We would book a sleeping cabin which is very small, but cozy. Once in Seattle, we would go to a baseball game and see the sights of the city. He have been wanting to take this vacation for a few years now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Fill In

1. You have a chance to make a difference.
2. It is raining right now!
3. There is a huge storm passing through Northern California.
4. Buy now and pay later.
5. It's time to plan our WonderCon vacation.
6. Weekend plans are up in the air but I am open to do anything.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching The Hang Over, tomorrow my plans include nothing and Sunday, I want to relax!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Back to my Routine

I just spent the last week and a half sick. It was a very strange cold. The first five days I carried around that "I-have-that-feeling-in-my-throat-that-I-am-going-to-be-sick" feeling. I was tired and had no energy. Then Friday I woke up and I felt like I got hit by a truck. Nasal congestion, cough and sinus pressure, along with no energy to do anything. I sat on the couch for the next three days and watch movies and the entire season 2 of The Office. Monday I was feeling much better, but even today I am still congested. I hate being sick because it usually leads to infection and antibiotics. It seems like I take forever to get over a cold. This time things seem to have worked itself out and I think I will escape this cold with no additional meds.

It is also hard being sick because I get so far off of my routine. No gym, means no exercise, and that is the best mucus clearance technique I use. So, I switched to using the vest everyday. I also increased saline rinses to four times a day, as it provides a lot of relief.

Yesterday I was back at the gym. I went straight to the elliptical. I spent 40 minutes with my elliptical friend, burning 275 calories and I went just over 3 miles. Not bad for my first day back after being gone almost two weeks.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Protein Snacks

Last March I had the unpleasant experience with taking Prednisone for three weeks. While it really helped with chronic headaches/sinus inflammation, it was also an instant weight gain program. It was difficult to be working out and gaining weight at the same time. So, once I was done with my treatment I was determined to loose the weight I had gained.

I found an article in a fitness magazine about a "Protein Diet." While I wan't interested in going on a complete "diet," I thought the diet was based on a good principle: Eating protein rich foods keeps you fuller, longer. So, you end up eating less in the long run. So what I decided to do was cut out all snacks in my diet, except protein snacks. It was really hard to give up some of my favorite snacks, like pretzels and pizza gold fish, but I realized I would eat these snacks and still be hungry, so I would eat more and more. I am happy to say that I lost 11 pounds with this change in my diet. Additionally, I only drink coffee and water (no soda, no juice) and no snacks after dinner.

Some of my favorite protein snacks include:

Non-fat chocolate pudding cup with 1/3 cup of mixed berries
2 cups of microwave popcorn (no butter) sprinkled with 1 Tablespoon of Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup black bean (warmed) with 1/4 avocado wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla
1 ounce of reduced fat cheddar cheese with 4 whole wheat crackers
2 Tablespoons nonfat peanut butter with 4 whole wheat crackers
Hard Boiled Egg

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Very Happy with my New Insurance

I had my first doctor appointment today with my new doctor with my new health insurance. While I cannot comment on the quality of care at this point with the new facility, I can say that in this new system is so much easier in terms of managing my health care. I now have Kaiser, which is like one giant all-inclusive medical campus. I cannot believe how easy their system is. Need to see a specialist? The primary care doctor enters the referral directly into the computer system and then you make an appointment, right there in the doctor's office. No paperwork, no wondering if the doctor takes your insurance, no pre-approval. Same goes for tests, like blood work. All ordered right from a computer in the doctor office. Need a prescription? The doctor entered all my meds into the computer and the pharmacy is right across the hall. No more driving to another location. Need refills? Go on-line and have them mailed to the house. I cannot believe I dealt with the hassle of the traditional HMO, when this wonderful system has exist for years now. The main reason Kaiser works so well is they manage all of their health care digitally. Its beautiful.

This new doctor was so responsive and helpful. He gave me all the referrals I requested and wrote prescriptions for all my meds, no questions. He even ordered PFTs for me and I didn't even ask him to. Additionally, he wants a chest x-ray on record and order an EKG. He just wants to make sure that the right side of my heart, which pumps all the blood to my lungs, is healthy. Above all that, I was the doctors last appointment and he spent well over an hour getting to know me! I do have a complicated medical history, but I couldn't believe how much time he spent with me.

It will be interesting to see how I assess the quality of care as I continue to meet new doctors. I am just thrilled I don't have to deal with the hassle and frustration of my old insurance. Actually I have an example of the level of frustration the old system had:

On October 23, I saw my CF doctor. Only when I got to the office, they asked me to see a different doctor, my docs new CF Clinic partner. I had no problem with that. The visit went fine. I knew it was going to be my last visit with the insurance switch, so I said my good-byes. A few weeks later, I got a bill. The bill indicated that I did not have insurance on record. I called my doctor and they said there had been a mistake (duh) and it was now fixed. Disregard the bill, they would be billing my insurance. Fast forward a month, I get another bill. This one shows that I had insurance. So, I called the insurance company to see why they didn't pay. They were never billed. I called my doctor. Again, they made another mistake as they didn't have the current billing address of my insurance. Once again, I was told to disregard. She told me either way I was not responsible for the bill (yeah, that is why I have insurance). On December 31 I came home from my holidays to a voice mail from a collection agency asking why I had not yet paid the bill. I thought I was going to go through the roof. After speaking with someone about this (twice) and being told (both times) it was corrected, I get a call from a collection agency? While this seems to have been fixed, this is the type of thing Kaiser eliminates. All the doctors work for Kaiser, they all get paid by Kaiser.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reflection of 2009

As we enter into the new year, I am reflected on 2009 and all it offered me. Here is a run down of the year, as well as looking forward to 2010.

  • Ethan and I took many trips including Las Vegas, WonderCon, Spring Training in Phoenix, San Francisco, Chicago, Boonville, South Bay, and L.A. We made a trip up to Milwaukee to add on another ballpark to our Quest for 30 Parks.
  • I suffered a relapse of headaches after sinus surgery, but continued my battle and won! Even thought I still get a few headaches here and there, it is nothing like it use to be.
  • In April I changed my snacks to protein only snacks and stuck with it.
  • I started networking with CF via CF forums, blogs, and facebook.
  • At work, I was given a new responsibility which came with many challenges, which I faced head on.
  • Also at work, I got a project moving after being stalled for over 10 years.
  • I made the major decision to switch health insurance. My first appointment with the new doctor is Thursday.
  • I have new people in my life to love: Jacob was born February 25, Christian October 20 and Hunter December 16.
  • I began volunteering at the animal shelter. It is a lot of fun, very rewarding, and is a great form of exercise.
What is in store for 2010? I hope to continue networking and meeting new CFers, continue with my dedication to exercise and health, annual Spring Training trip in March, WonderCon in April, embrace my new health insurance and the new doctors I will meet along the way. I hope to find a new set of challenges with my career.

Finally, here is a review of 2009 in Numbers:

2-Times I went to Chicago.
4-Wedding I attended.
5-Seasons of The Office I watched.
9-Number of books I read.
11-Weight I lost (in pounds).
16-Number of people who follow my blog.
16-Days spent volunteering at the shelter.
32-Number of candles on my birthday cake.
32-Number of blogs that I follow.
84-Number of blogs I wrote.
2640-Minutes spent at water aerobics.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Friday Fill In First in 2010!

1. Last night I went to bed before midnight.
2. I have new health insurance this year.
3. The funniest thing is my husband.
4. It's a new where do we go from here?
5. He said think positive; she said think realistic.
6. There is no cure for CF and it's up to us to find it.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to being at home, tomorrow my plans include putting away Christmas and Sunday, I want to scrapbook!