Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One more shopping trip

Hard to believe it's been almost a week since I've updated this!

Though I still have some goods left from my last shopping trip - I decided I wanted more than salad and scrambled eggs, so I went out shopping for the week - AND kept it under $30. AND bought different stuff. Impressed yet?  ;)

So, here's this week's haul. This time, I stopped at 2 different stores:

Not bad, eh?
I didn't bring a list with me this time. I knew what I was looking for. Another pack of crumpets, fruit, and another lean source of protien other than eggs. Something to liven things up wouldn't hurt too since I'm out of salsa and other spicy finds. 
Trader Joes (Total: $4.98)
1 packet blueberry crumpets
1 16oz bag of Turkey meatballs

Henry's (Total: $21.54)
1.91  lbs of Gala Apples
1 bunch celery
12 oz salsa
12 oz Colby cheddar cheese block
(I saved over $1 by not paying for the slices which cost an extra dollar for only 8 slices of cheese!) 1 lb Roma Tomatoes
(I still have 2 tomatoes left from last week's run, but I use 'em up quickly, and always by them a little on the firm side, so they last and are more flavorful.)1 package cloversprouts
1 Red bell pepper
(Eating colorful foods makes you feel more satisfied - that's why you can eat a TON of golden fried food. It's all one color!)
2 green bell peppers
(2 of these because they were on sale and are very versitile)1 Hass Avocado
1 package whole wheat pita bread
(My splurge since they were out of my favorite greek yogurt - the sale stuff went fast!)16oz extra firm tofu
(Under $2 and will last at least 2 good stirfry meals. I still have some Bok Choy to use up from last week.)1 Yellow onion
(I was out of my dehydrated onion I season things with, so why not go fresh for under $1?)3 Luna Bars
(Yum! $1 each)$.05 bag credit (since I brought my own shopping bag.

Grand total of groceries this week:

Yes, I could have cut out a few items and kept it under $20-$25, but I'm okay if it's just around $25. ;)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The grocery list

I've been asked "What's on your grocery list?" several times lately when people hear that I eat at least 6 times a day, eat healthy, and spend around $20/week on groceries. Oh yeah - and I purchase very very very few prepared foods. Due to my recent medical condition, I stay away from highly processed or hormone laden food. (Betcha didn't know that soy has an artificial estrogen in it that can really screw with women, and increase things like inflammation!) Even when I was married, it was rare that we spent more than $60/week on groceries. In fact, looking back now, I see a lot of areas where we could have saved more, had we taken the time to make more.

So here's my shoppers creed:
Spend money on QUALITY fuels for my body, not just QUANTITIES of food. Since I buy nearly everything fresh, I rarely "stock up".
I use up what I have first. That means if there are still veggies enough to make a salad, I'm not going to buy more.
Become sale savy and brand-name-blind. Ask yourself, "Do you really NEED chicken every week? Or can you do the pork chops that are on sale? What about eggs?"

NEVER EVER EVER shop hungry. Treat yourself to a latte or something while shopping to take your mind off your stomach. It's an investment your wallet and your waistline will thank you for.
Be open to trying new things.
Aim to stay balanced - buy fiber, protien, and greens.
Keep in mind what you are paying for. Often, it's convience. For example, you will get more for your money buying actual APPLES rather than packages of APPLE SLICES.  You're paying extra for LESS apple, and the convience of a bag to throw away instead of a core.
Shop around.
Bring your own bags. Most places in California will credit you $.05 each time you use your own back. Those nickles add up.

So, today was grocery day. Here's how it usually works:

Step 1:
Take stock of what you've got.

Step 2:
Decide on what you NEED. Not what you want. Not what you might need. Decide on what you NEED. What is a staple you can't go 2 days without? Buy that.

Step 3:
Know your local stores.
Today I went to Trader Joe's, Henry's, and Target. Notice NO major chains are on this list. This is often the case. Sometimes they have good deals, but I find that often times smaller markets have better, less expensive fresh foods. I use places like Target for dry goods that Target usually buys in such a bulk that I save money going with them.Here was my list:
Luna bars (?)  -
These make a great pre work out meal, BUT they can be more than I want to spend, so this was an "if they are available for a decent price and I feel I'd like them" item. NOT a staple. Often, I skip this item.
Fruit - This means I'm looking for a snack. Rule of thumb - must be under $1/lb. I find what IS on sale (sometimes it's several things) and go with that. Many times I've discovered new types of apples that I adore!
Cereal - This I am particular on. I've found that a tasty, crunchy, fiber filled cereal must also have protien to last me through the morning. I also have had problems with binging on sweet cereals or extra light cereals in the past. Yes, Rice Krispies may be cheaper, but they aren't filling, so I eat more of them adding not only useless fuel to my body, but end up spending more on my groceries since it takes several boxes to even come close to this particular cereal.
Crumpets - Love love love these little puppies. They are filling, tastey, low-cal treats - and usually under $3 a pack.
Eggs - This is on the list as a place holder for "inexpensive protien source". Eggs usually take the cake here, as long as they are under $2/dozen.
Frozen Veggies - I was considering these for a possible stir-fry w/ the tofu I have already in the fridge from last week's grocery run.

Here's what I got:

9.23 lb seedless Watermelon ($1.00/5lbs = $1.85) Henry's
1 package Crumpets ($2.49) Henry's
1 dozen large eggs ($1.19) Henry's
2.13 lb Boy Choy ($1.68) Henry's (I opted for this instead of frozen veggies. It gave me something different and versatile w/o making me adding 1 more stop to my grocery run. It was definately cheaper than the frozen veggies too.)
4 different flavors of non-fat greek yogurt (4/$5) Henry's
5 different flavors of Luna bars ($5.94) Trader Joe's (A box of 6 bars costs this price at Target, however they are all the same flavor. This was a treat purchase, so I opted to pay the extra few pennies to add some variety)
16 oz package of store brand frozen turkey meatballs ($2.69) Trader Joe's
16 oz jar of Peter Pan Crunchy Peanut butter ($1.89) Target (Low in sugar and cost, high in protien)
1 box Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal ($2.89) Target
DISCOUNTS: $.10 for use of my own bags.GRAND TOTAL OF THIS WEEK'S GROCERY RUN: $25.52Many of these things will last me well over a week. The peanut butter is to replace the one I am almost out of. Pair this with any veggie or apple and you've got a healthy snack.

So ladies and gents - that's how it goes!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Take a deep breath and...

As most of you readers know, my medical journey has taken up most of my thoughts in my free time for the past couple months.

Well, it’s finally happening.

Surgery is scheduled for 7/12.

Yes, I’m hopeful that everything will turn out okay once they biopsy the hell outta this nasty ovary and figure out what’s going on.
I already know I don’t have to worry about Endometrial cancer. That’s a relief! One down, one to go!

Yes, I’m nervous. I’ve never had ANY sort of major surgery before. A few minor procedures, but that’s about it. So this will be a new experience for me.

It is a light at the end of the tunnel, which is the positive I’m working on focusing on right now (over the stomach-roiling-anxiety any major surgery brings). It’s a laparoscopic procedure, but it will most likely result in removal of my right ovary (oopherectomy), though I asked him to see if he can just remove the cyst and growth instead IF possible. At least it’s not a radical hysterectomy!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Doing for others what we should do for ourselves...

I haven’t updated this blog in a while, so here’s a brief run down of the latest:

I am now officially working from home. Yeah! It’s a bit isolating, but I love saving money on commuting! My budget is still tighter than I’d like, but it’s progress! I will really see a difference in about a month.

On the medical front – my Endometrial Biopsy came back completely normal. Yeah! Now I’m just awaiting surgery scheduling. I put in a call to the scheduler, so hopefully I’ll have a date set by the end of the week.

On the other fronts -
  I had an interesting discussion with my parents recently. We talked about my lack of long term goals. Sure, I’ve always been a big dreamer, but things like worry and every-day-concerns have a way of building up and robbing us of those big aspirations sometimes. And lately, that’s where I’ve been living.
  Getting the biopsy back normal really helped me put things in a healthier perspective. It reminded me that I don’t have to put my life on hold for this surgery. Odds are that I will live through it just fine (and may even feel better after all this is over).
  But that didn’t remind me why I wasn’t setting goals.
  Well, I have always been a big dreamer/goal setter. And many of those things have become a reality. But I realized that many of those things were what they were because I had someone to share it with.
 For example: How many times have to done something that was really good for your spirit, because you were enabling someone else’s dream? My personal example is the Disney California Adventure Danskin Women’s Triathlon I did. I NEVER would have considered doing it myself. I did it because my friendship to Bonnie more or less demanded it of me. And it changed my life. I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. Now I train for all sorts of events, and I see the deep spiritual value in becoming in tune with your body. I don’t doubt I never would have had that experience if a good friend hadn’t come up to me and said, “Will you do this with me?” During that race, I found a confidence I didn’t think I had. Even today when things feel tough, I’m reminded, “You’ve done TWO freakin’ TRIATHLONS! YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!” I’m better for the experience.
  But after a few strong disappointments, I realized that others I cared deeply for don’t work in that same “go get ‘em” mind frame. They have been disappointed so strongly and so regularly though life that they truly believe it’s better to live without expecting anything of themselves or anyone else. Afterall, isn’t it better to be pleasantly surprised than brutally disappointed?

  After this discussion with my folks, I realized that I had bought and internalized that mindset more than I thought myself. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of disappoints. I could list them out here – but that seems self defeating. If you’ve read my blog or know me personally, I’m sure you’re aware of what they have been through my life. So here’s the conclusion I came to after mulling over the words of some of the wisest people I know:

It’s OKAY to expect things of yourselves and others.  Yes, you’ll get disappointed, but if you don’t risk it, you’ll never know.
Build a plan and work your plan. Make it realistic and doable. You can’t account for everything, but you can have a plan in pencil.
Get support and accountability!  If you’re married, you probably already have this built into your life. I know it’s an aspect of partnership that I was better for, and look forward to sharing again with someone someday.
TRUST YOURSELF. Just like my body knew it could finish that triathlon, but my mind doubted it during each event – if God really has something I’ve banked on in my plan, than it’ll work out. If not, then the journey will have been part of my ultimate path anyway and I can learn from it. What’s the WORST case scenario? I learn something I didn’t know before. That sounds like a Win Win to me!

So my goals aren’t “get through surgery”. They are grander, yet doable things. Most of which require some changes in my lifestyle.
But change isn’t a bad thing.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Endometrial Biopsy - the audio drama

Today I went in for an endometrial biopsy. 

My specific medical journey of late has shown me just how far Women’s Medicine has come – but it’s also made it glaringly obvious that we’re still not far from the Dark Ages.

One of those things is that everyone handles pain differently – male or female. Pain is different for everyone. Some people scream. Some people cry. Some people cry AND scream. Some people get quiet and breathe shallow (me). Others get angry and cuss.

Well today, I underwent an office procedure called an Endometrial Biopsy. To spare you the gorey details, I’ll share these few bullet points:
*There is NO anesthetic given. This is a procedure that takes no more than a few minutes, and sticking a long needle up your hoo-ha to get poked in and have drugs injected into those sensative places would probably be more painful than the quick “snip snip” of the biopsy.*Think pap-smear. But instead of taking a small brushing or swabbing, they clip bits of tissue from the same area.* Usually there is already some sort of discomfort in this area in order for a woman to necessitate this procedure anyway. (I fell into this category.)

So, if you had been listening at the door, here’s what you would have heard going on inside (from what I can recall – funny how the female brain blocks out painful experiences in no time):
Doc: “Just like a pap smear…”
Me: “okay…”
RN friend of mine: “Going anywhere fun on vacation this summer?”
Me: “Well, I might end up spending a weekend in Chicago, depending on how things go here.”
RN friend of mine: “Cool. Any special reason?”
Me: “Yeah. A friend of mine is graduating from Navy Boot Camp. He’s worked really hard to get in, so it’s totally worth supporting.”
RN friend of mine: “Southwest has good flights right now. Do they fly there?”
Me: “Yeah, close anyway. I might get some frequent flier miles hook up from my dad, but…”
Doc: “Okay, you might feel a little pinch here.”
Me: “Okay. We’ll see what he can do about getting me some free…You ain’t kidding! Pinch?!”
Doc and RN: “Yeah. You might feel some cramping...”
Me: “OW OW OW OW OW… Holy cow!”
Doc: “You can cuss me out if you need to. Go ahead. I know it hurts. “
RN: “Yeah, go ahead. You can Cuss if you need to. It’s okay.”
Me: “OW OW OW OW OW….” (at this point, breakfast was threatening to be blown all over my RN friend)
Doc: “Okay done with that.”
Me: (starting to breath a sign of relief) “Whew….”
Doc: “Now just one more…”
Me: (under my breath) “You’ve got to be kidding me…” (Cue huge deep yoga breath here)
Doc: (a few quiet moments later) “Alright done. Time to close that up…”
Me: “….okay…” (weakly)
Doc and RN: “Now, we want you to rest for a while. Don’t get up right away, okay. DON’T GET UP!

I’m glad they warned me not to get up. I don’t think my knees and legs would have cooperated, though I couldn’t WAIT to get outta there.

You gotta wonder how many of the expecting mothers-to-be in the waiting room would have canceled their appointments and left if I HAD taken him up on his offer to use very… “un-Disney-like” language!

So we’ll see what happens in the next couple weeks, but odds are in my favor that this will turn out negative for Endometrial Cancer.

Here’s a funny thing though – I’m really irritated that I can’t think of a way to safely work out tonight! I'm still a little loopy in the brain - which is a decidedly odd feeling since all I've had are over-the-counter pain controllers.

Does it make me a real athlete now that I'm irritated that I can't blow off steam in any of my usual fashions (P90X, running w/ the dog, etc.)?
And is being a real athlete anything like being a real boy (girl)?