Monday, December 16, 2013


I was and still am never much of a reader. I've read some complete works in my life, eg. Sherlock Holmes and many books in the works of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, etal., and my latest was the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo this last summer.

But mostly I'm a researcher reader. I read what I need learn or know about something or read about the idea, logic or theory about something to understand the background of it, some issue or whatever, and then get back to work.

I've always felt bad about this since Mom was a prolific reader, but mostly consumer or romance novels. She read a lot for work, mostly legal and/or insurance material (she was a senior insurance adjustor negotiating large lawsuits), but otherwise, she rarely read other than novels.

I never saw my father read and I doubt he read more than he needed to know about something. When I look back I'm often surprised how much I have read about a subject because I criticize myself for not reading enough, even newspapers.

I just to read 2-3 newspapers 4-5 days a week and always the Sunday papers. I still buy the Sunday New York Times, Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune and spend Sunday morning into the afternoon looking at every page and reading many articles. Nice way to spend a day.

Anyway, the point is that listening to an interview with Nancy Pearl, the former Chief Librarian for the Seattle Public Library, talking about recent books to read and where she says that the she starts ten books for every book she finishes.

She says she stops somewhere in the first chapter in those books because they don't interest her. And one in 10 or 11 books captures her attention and interest to read it through. That's nice to know about reading.

So don't feel bad, just keep reading until it holds your attention. I'm still looking for the next series to read the complete works. Someone suggested the Hunger Games. I love the Dragon Tattoo series and the movie doesn't hold a candle to it.

Friday, November 29, 2013


When I graduated from high school I was 5' 9" and 105 lbs, really, a very skinny kid. A year and half later when I enlisted in the US Air Force I was 5' 11" and 115 lbs, under the minimum weight they accepted enlistees but they agreed to take me if I gained weight in basic training.

I did and came out of basic training weighing 135 lbs, going from a 28" waist to a 32" waist. When I turned 30 I weighed 155 lbs. By age 40 I was 165 lbs, by 50 I was ~175 lbs and by 60 I was ~185 lbs. A year ago I weighed 188 lbs.

And today I weigh 165 lbs., losing all of it from walking 1,450+ miles so far this year (Jan. 1 to Nov. 29). My goal is to get down to 160 or less by spring, which is the rest of the fat I've carried on this body for too many years now.

I'd really love to get down to around 150 lbs again, but I'm one of those people who's genetic predisposes them to carry a certain amount of fat and twice in my live at 28 and 40 when I was the fittest I could be, I still carried a few extra pounds around my middle.

I know now this is my last best chance to get really fit for the rest of my life. To return to running, normally an 8 minute per mile pace runner for 3-5 miles (only did one 12K), and hiking when I hiked 8-12 miles with a 30+ lb (day) backpack for photography, is still my goal in a year or so.

Right now I'm up to 12.5-15 lbs in the backpack before my lower back reminds me later in the day what happened in July 2011 and July 2012 when I pinched my Sciatic nerve, the latter leaving me flat on my back for 4+ days.

So the idea now is to get down to under 160 when my fat is at its minimum and get surgery to get it removed (aka liposuction) so it never comes back no matter what happens. And they work to get to 150 or as close as my body will allow without problems.

And all of this will take another year to achieve, another year of walking 1,500+ miles to work on adding running and hiking with some weight training again. This is coming against the advice of almost everyone who are telling me it's ok to be a little fat and to take it easier when you're older.

Everyone except my physician who is for it because it makes my fitter, healthier and better. And what's not to like about that about yourself. At 64 I'm not going out of this life a fat, old man.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

More on Walking

Well, I'm still walking, which is good since I'm not known for being dedicated for anything this long except running which I can't do again, yet anyway, but I'm getting close. Running is still in the plan but I still get shin splints (left leg) in the first mile or two and don't want to pound my Sciatic nerve from running.

The point here is that after 4-plus months of walking 8 miles, and testing walking 8.5-9 miles, I seem stuck at 8 miles. There are places on the walk to town and the walk back where I can cut or add miles on the walk, and especially add hills.

I normally now walk 4.5 miles to town and 3.5 miles home. I can cut the walk to town to 3 miles or increase it to 5.7-6 miles and can cut the walk home to 3 miles or increase it to 4-4.5 miles. I add miles to 8.5-9 miles total 1-3 days a month but not consistently.

I've been waiting for my body and legs to consistently tell me 8 mile walks are too short and too easy, where the walks up the hills are too easy, meaning the legs feel strong and I'm not breathing harder, but I only get these days once or twice in the 5-6 days of walks each week.

So for now I'm adding days instead of daily miles. More days is more exercise and burns more calories over the long haul, which is proving better so far for improving the body, aka, toning muscles and losing fat. The question is where is the limit.

My original goals was walking 8 miles16 days a month for 120 miles with occasional additional miles or days. Then it was 20 days for 160 miles with occasional miles or days. The goal for October is 25 days or 200 miles.

My not sure why yet but the more days I walk, the better I feel mentally. I can't say as much physically as often later in the day the legs are sore or feel tired, but they always seem to feel better once I start walking the next day.

Anyway, that's the news. I'm just over halfway to the October goal, so I'll have to keep you posted if I get there.

Monday, September 30, 2013

No Wheat

I'm on a restricted wheat and really grain diet. Restricted meaning I can have some with foods which don't have an adverse effect on the digestive system, but that's only a minor issue with a little wheat. So last week I started a no wheat diet, losing the Ritz Crackers and some other small wheat-based treats.

The problem I found was replacing the crackers because the vast majority are made with wheat as the main or secondary ingredient. Rye and other grains are also off limits which leaves corn, oat and rice in flour form for crackers and oats in cookies.

In the research at a handful of grocery stores I found rice flour to the only other real choice for crackers by itself or in combination with other non-grain flours, such as corn, soy, types of nuts, etc. I found many of rice flour only crackers are effectively tastely and useless.

So far I've found two crackers, one with rice and corn (crispbread) and the other with rice and chestnut (also crispbread) flours to be good replacements and tasty with a variety of foods, such as ham, bacon, cheese, vegetables, PB&J, etc., which are my mainstay meal for sandwiche-like meals.

What I didn't anticipate was the adjustment the digestive system has to make with rice flour. Yeah, one of those types of adjustments. Lesson learned, eat small or sample-sized quantities first. Now if I can find oatmeal/flour crackers.

I'm looking at non-wheat oatmeal cookies recipes or ready made cookies. On that I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Good pain

I haven't decided if pain is good or not. Over the last two or so weeks the right knee and shin, which have been totally numb since July 2012 when the Sciatic nerve dropped me to the floor for 4 days, has been giving me pain, so I haven't decided if it's the nerves coming alive or real pain since it's just nerves.

The other pain is the muscle in both legs when and where the pain varys with the walk and later in the day after the walk. Some weeks I don't get shin splints during any of the walks that week and some weeks I get them for the first one to two miles into the walk for two or three consecutive days.

The last pain is the lower back. It fades in and out over the weeks from the normal mild pain from sitting too much later in the day or too long in one position too long at a time to the moderate pain where it hurts in the first few steps of walking but then fades with walking.

What I have noticed is that whatever the back pain, it always goes away during the walks, and only returns after the walk. I also noticed that during walks I noticed I can't stop for more than a minute or so because the legs feel tired and sore when I start walking again, and sometimes it fades with walking and sometimes not for the rest of the walk.

So I haven't figured out if the pain is just my body communicating with me for a variety of reason and it's not really pain as just noise or whining. At my age, some days that's all the body knows what to do, whine, and you have to tell the nerves whining and more so yelling doesn't help the conversation.

Other than the pain, I balance problems with both legs but especially the left leg, fades and returns, but overall is getting better. Not what it was before the Sciatic nerve problem by any measure, but better after all the ups and downs of it.

Anyway, that's it. It still sucks as hiking didn't happen this year and likely won't until next spring or summer. I'm still limited to 8+ miles where the legs hurt too much later with longer walks and 15-20 lbs with the backpack and even then there's back pain later.

On the plus side, I've lost much of the fat around the body and am slowly losing it on and around the abdomen, albeit slower with this fat, but it's better than a year ago. And no, I don't weigh myself to know if and how much I've lost. I'm trying to find a place (clinic, etc.) to weigh myself for free.

That's it for now.

I Thought

Update II.--It's been about three weeks since the toenail came off by itself and the toe in healing fine where I don't always need to keep it bandaged. I read it can take over a year to grow a new toenail, so it will be interesting watching the toe and nail return to normalcy.

Update.--Well, after taking the tape off the toe protecting the open blister and toenail, the toenail came off without any effort leaving the toe and skin underneath. Fortunately I've been treating it with Neosporin and bandages, so it's healing with what appears to be a new toenail.

I thought from all the walking my toes couldn't get worse. I've read and heard the stories of runners, hikers and ballet dancers and their toes, and realize I've been lucky to have had just black toes (3 middle toes on each foot). Or so I thought last week.

Well, for some reason I got a blister on one toe at the base of the toenail and when it drained it left an opening completely through the skin and the base of the new toenail growing over the old black toe. Right now I keep putting Neosporin in it with bandages while the skin heals to secure the nail to the toe.

Otherwise, the only thing holding the new toenail on is the scab of the old black toenail. Yeah, sorry for the yucky post but it's interesting to see how the body heals. Surprisingly the toe doesn't hurt, or at least not yet because it's bandaged to keep the toenail in place.

Hey, at least there's no pictures.

Friday, September 20, 2013

To and away

This month the walking hasn't been good for the walks, for the weather, the legs and feet being sore or tired, or whatever, but I kept walking to try and make a 20 day 8-mile per day month like August. I'm on track for that goal.

The point here is that even though the walks haven't felt physically good, except while I noticed I'm losing the weight (aka fat) where I want (aka abdomen) since much of the fat on the rest of the body is almost gone, the walks have been mentally good.

And that's because I feel I'm walking away from my thougtht of being old and death to thoughts of living. I suffer with genetic, life-long Dysthymia where there is no cure and the treatments vary from a lifetime of drugs or finding activities to keep it at bay.

With the walks this month, I haven't had that many thoughts about death and have had far more about what I want to do with the rest of my life. I have a lot to do, far more than I have time, and I haven't fully embraced the motivation to do much yet as the Sciatic nerve still reminds me who's in control of my body.

But it's slowly getting better, both the body and the mind, as long as I keep walking and hope to resuming other activities, meaning running again, hiking in Mt. Rainier NP with a 30-40 lb camera pack, and hauling my camera gear to locations, within the next year.

For now I'm walking away from past ghosts and to something I know not what yet, but I'll keep walking there. It beats what I'm leaving in the distance behind me.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Seven Years on

I retired December 31st, 2005 and spent much of the next year following a fairly rigid fitness route and schedule so that by September, after turning 57 I could spend a few years on a personal project. Despite some setbacks I managed to get progress until March 2008.

From then for the next 3 1/2 years I spent the time chasing a number of health issues, first with a cardiologist trying to understand some issues with my heart which turned out to be a partial blockage of my pulmonary artery and a heart which is very healthy except a super fast acceleration time.

I did have a high cholesterol level, but it's been above normal most of my life. A small change in my diet, switching to lactose-free, fat free milk and dropping most dairy products rich in milk fats and cream got the level to the high end of normal.

Then it was my digestive system which took a second gastroenterologist in December 2011 to tell me they didn't really know the cause the adverse food reactions and bleeding small intestine, but then suggested changing a radical change of my diet, following a FODMAPS free diet, worked most of the time.

You can search Google for FODMAPS, but it pretty much wipes out most common foods, like wheat, most grains, most dairy products and many common fruits and vegetables. Add to that no beef, poultry, pork, and most fish and seafood, and no eggs, along with no green or leafy vegetables, you can see it's restrictive to the extreme.

That has helped a lot but still left an extreme food sensitive digestive system, and living on a restricted diet with occasional food experiment, which most fail with miserable results. It's still a healthy diet with supplements, but wow, extreme is an understatement. Then came the problems with my Sciatic nerve.

In June-July 2011 I pinched my Sciatic nerve which left my left leg, especially from above the knee to the ankle numb and weak where I couldn't put much weight on it without it collapsing. Nothing hurt, it just didn't work.

Then in June and especially July 2012 I pinched it where I was flat on my back for 4 days and took a month to walk short distances without pain, or sit or stand for more than a few minutes without pain. It took until September where I began walking.

During that time listening to specialists and doing research I discovered the only real treatment they recommend and that works for mild-to-moderate pinched nerve is walking. Something you can do as much and often as you can without any help.

You don't need drugs, specialists, or even a gym or trainer. Just get out and walk. And in the last year I've gone from walking 2.5 miles 3 days a week to 8 miles 4-5 days a week. I still can't carry more than 15 lbs without pain, carry big things (eg. laundry basket) without mild pain, or work bending over for more than a few minutes.

I'm progressing and that's the point, get my health and fitness back to something resembling normal, except I'm now 7 years older and the personal project which we (physician and I) discovered was part of the digestive problems (excerbating symptoms) has been on hold for nearly two years now.

I don't know when I'll get back to it, I hope to someday before I die, but it's one of those things you just don't know. Only time will tell and it's completely in my hands to accomplish and why I'm working on my health and fitness and getting out of debt.

It's frustrating to have lost the years not working on the project and find myself back to square one, only smarter but not better, but it beats the alternative of having it trash my life, my health and my fitness in the process.

The goal this coming years is to continue the walking, but trade some days (now 16-20 days per month) for running and add back weight training I dropped a few years ago. The running will take work as I have reoccurring shin splints and the legs still aren't 100%  with balance and numbness problems.

But it's a goal, and sometimes you can only keep trying and hope the opportunity isn't lost.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


On Sundays I look at the week and count the days I want to walk, less Sunday if I walked to Starbucks to get the Sunday newspapers, and what days I need to run errands, go to appointments, do stuff around the place, or just work on the Website and photo guide projects.

I look at the calendar on the wall and count 4 or 5 days of walking and then hope I can walk those days if I don't get sick from food (common problem now). When I get to Saturday and look back at the week and realized I walked the days, I feel good that I walked the 32-40 plus miles.

Then I realize I have to do it all over again in the coming week. Yeah. I'm stuck at 8 miles per walk most days with some 8.5-9 mile walks when the body and really the legs feel good which I decide at the halfway mark leaving the cafe.

And I'm stuck at 15-plus lbs in the backpack as 20 lbs hurts the back later that day and often into the next day or two, sometimes three. The goals of 10 miles with 20-25 lbs seems distant and running again even more distant, let along hiking with 30-40 lbs of gear.

But then I realize I started a year ago at 2-3 miles with no backpack. And I realize the higher the goal, the harder and longer it will take to get there as I get older and the Sciatic nerve slowly heals. And all I can do is keep walking as many days as I can.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Not Smart

The hardest part of some walking days is realizing your legs are giving out followed by your body running out of energy when you're still over a mile from home and all you can do is still walk. Like there's a choice and something will magically teleport you home.

Surprisingly if you just keep walking you do get home, your muscle and body will surprise you even if you're exhausted and every muscle hurts later. You can in your 60's still surprise yourself by being totally worn out and feel good too.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Walking Route

This is typical of the 8 mile route I walk now. It's in the rural part of the county where some parts of the road has a shoulder for bikes and walkers, one half mile part has a sidewalk, but much of it is this. Only the short part around and in the commercial area is visibly developed.

Monday, August 12, 2013

What I have learned

What I have learned walking is that there is a period when you increase the effort either by adding weight to the pack or distance to the walk that I'm tired afterward, often for much if not all of the rest of the day.

In May I started walking 8 miles consistently at a 15-16 minute per mile pace. And I was tired for the rest of the day and had to take days off for errands around town, to catch up on stuff at home or work on the Website.

That has slowly changed in August as I found I'm not completely tired later in the day, which leads to two choice. I can either stay at this level and do more work, or I can up the effort to get better and fitter, and go through the cycle of being tired all over again.

And when does the latter stop? I've added another 0.5 to 1.0 mile some days and added another 5 lbs on other days and I'm back to being tired later but less and recover to work later in the day. This tells me the body is, albeit slowly, getting back to some sense of normal, but still some ways from normal.

So, that's where I'm at with the walking. Since hiking is usually 4-8 hours and roughly 6-12 miles roundtrip with significant elevation gain and loss, the walking still isn't sufficient to return to hiking more than 4-6 miles with a larger, heavier backpack.

The plan was to increase to 10 miles with 20 lbs, so I still have some ways to go, but the effort is reminding me that as you work, the effort is harder and longer, but the rewards are greater and better. And it's why maybe stopping at a level you're "comfortable" with maybe isn't enough.

Something to ponder on the walks, where do I stop to get better.

Friday, August 2, 2013


This week after walking 10 of the last 12 days at the end of July and taking a day off July 31st for errands and laundry I really didn't want to walk yesterday and today, but I know I had to walk the first 5 days of August to take a few days off next week.

The goal is to walk at least 15 days a month and 120 miles and add when the spirit and really the legs and feet were up to it. Walking 8 miles now and working on adding 1-2 miles, cuts the days from 20 to 15 to reach the minimum and adds days or miles for more exercise.

The goal here is first to get back into shape from health issues since the spring of 2008 when the digestive system went south and it took almost 4 years to discover it was caused by two different sources, one a drug I was taking and the second was food itself.

In addition I had to go through several other health issues, a number of expensive test on my heart to remove any problem as the source now and into the future. It's really a strong, robust heart with minor related issues, all manageable without drugs.

The other issue was the Sciatic nerve I pinched in June 2011 and again in 2012 which put my flat on my back in early July 2012, and hence the walking, which is the best treatment for it. It's free, minus appropriate clothes and shoes but nothing medical, just yourself.

I also had problems with my prostrate which took $1K to discover it's an infection and a higher PSA level they like but within the normal range. That's resolved now, leaving justs the Sciatic nerve and walking.

Which is the reason for the post here. In walking yesterday and today I realized I must keep walking whether I want to or not, it's the dedication I need to practice despite how I feel and the weather. Just walk. That's all, every day I can.

I realized walking is my escape from the world, but mostly from myself. When you walk, as I used to do with hiking in Mt. Rainier NP, it's the act of walking (or hiking) that's the sole goal and purpose of the time. Just walk and observe.

It's also my escape from the many things I should be doing. For the nearly three hours, the walk there, cafe and or errands, and walk home, I don't have to face the things at home, some long overdue. I'm a great procrastinator and walking reinforces it with benefits.

By the time I get home, shower and eat lunch, much of the day is gone to focus on a few thing in the afternoon and evening before calling it a day. Walking is my excuse I don't have to do the other things except when it fits into the remaining time.

So walking is great for the body and the mind, if the latter is avoiding other things. In short, escaping my own reality.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Dream & A Goal

When I retired in 2006 I had a dream and a goal. I had money for one but not both, as there wasn't enough to do both. I chose the goal in hopes the dream would fit into the plan. It did for awhile but then  it got to the point I couldn't go any farther without money.

The goal, however, kept costing more than I had thought, more than I had planned and more than I had money. And then life snuck in to steal what extra money I had, to where today the dream is still a dream but it's 2-3 years away before I can even think about it than do anything.

The goal is still a goal, albeit I'm much of the way there but it keeps growing and taking more time and energy, and yes, more money. The business is part of the plan and while it's a legal, licensed one, it's not a reality beyond a name and a few photo products.

And life is still sneaking it and stealing the money away from both the dream and the goal, and all I know is to keep going and survive and hope the dream I've had since I was young becomes real and the goal becomes more a reality and than just a lot of work it is now.

And life will stop stealing my time, energy and money. Ah, we can hope and reality can and will take. It's all I have left that I can call mine and my life.

What I Know

What I know about myself. Being thin is genetics, something I don't have. Getting fat is easy, do nothing and eat, it's my genetics. Getting thin is hard; hard work for my body which my genetics doesn't want to do. So it's the choice, work hard and maybe the body will lose the fat or not and get fatter.

Sometimes you can't fight your own genetics and the best you can do is keep trying. It's all you have.

Monday, July 15, 2013

How Do You Stop

How do you stop your small intestine from bleeding? Really, it's not a hypothetical question. It's one of the effects I have from drugs, food, and occasionally stress. And when it starts I can only suffer the effects and wait until it heals enough to eat again.

Yeah, sucks royal and a small amount of food, two pills or some lingering thought or feeling sets it off, and later come all the blood clots from the bleeding with occasional blood. I wish there was a treatment or I had a cure, but I don't, and now since Saturday I suffer from eating.

How do you stop your small intestine from bleeding? Besides the obvious, don't do what causes it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I Can Not Change

Things about my life I can not change.

I can not change the fact of my Sciatic nerve has left me with a life I didn't plan and one I lost. I can not change the fact it can worse anytime, doing anything and I lose all the work I've gained and face starting over.

I can not change the fact the only solution is to keep exercising as many days as I can and hope the nerve heals to get my life back, but until then I can't risk reinjuring it doing the things everyone else does and I used to do.

I can not change the fact my digestive system and body is hyper sensitive to food and prone to intestinal bleeding, and I live with a diet, while still healthy and tasteful, is limited and getting smaller than larger.

I can not change the fact that my annuity, although promised to increase with the cost of living, hasn't kept pace and I'm slowly losing and moving into the gray area between a sustainable life and poverty where you have to make financial decisions about the normal things of life.

I can not change the fact I also dug a financial hole trying to build a small personal business and am facing 3-5 years before I dig out of that hole and still keep the business.

I can not change the fact that health insurance and healthcare has been costly the last few years chasing a host of physical problems, and while I know where I am and what I live with physically, it's come at the cost of half my savings.

I can not change the fact, like many people and families, I'm one expensive problem away from financial disaster.

I can not change the fact I made decisions going back 25-30 years which has left me with stuff few people are interested in and fewer want to buy, so it's sits because its interest or usefulness is long behind me.

I can not change the fact my parents made decisions about me and I made some decision about them, both long dead, which we never resolved and caused them to be angry enough with me to cut me from their estate, albeit what it was.

I can not change the fact my Dysthymia isn't curable and treatment is chasing an imaginary solution which doesn't exist and it's a daily struggle to keep it in check, and some days I don't win the battle, and know it's a war I'll fight the rest of my life.

I can not change the fact that this year and the next few years will be about just existing and getting through a period that circusmstances, other factors and I created, and at 63, it's hard knowing better may only be when I'm in my late 60's.

I can not change the fact a personal goal and plan has been put on hold for 2-3 years because of the problems (above) I'm living with and the realities that my body reacts adversely and excerbates other existing problems to treatment for this change.

I can not change these facts and can only make decisions and do things which only slowly improve my life and hope the economy, life and other events don't damage, or worse destroy, everything I've gained by the things I can not change.

I can not change what has happened and can not change the vast number of events which effect my life. I can not change the body and mind I am left with now. I can only change what I am willing to do and strive for with the rest of my life.

That I can change and live with the rest as it happens, hoping I survive and maybe get better, knowing hope and maybe isn't a good plan, but knowing I still have goals.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I Can't Eat Eggs

I can't eat eggs. I can't eat fried eggs. I can't eat scrambled eggs. I can't eat poached eggs. I can't eat boiled eggs, soft or hard. I can't eat an omellette. I can't eat baked eggs. I can't eat quiche. I can't eat eggs souffle.

I can't eat eggs with ham, bacon, seafood, mushrooms or anything. I can't eat eggs, except eggs in a mix to cook something else, when the eggs are lost among the other ingredients. Otherwise, eggs and I, or rather my digestive system and eggs don't get along.

Much against Dr. Seuss, I do like eggs, even green eggs and ham. They just don't like me. And being sick from eating eggs is no fun. So sadly, I won't eat eggs, ever again.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Year Ago

A year ago today (July 2nd) I woke up as usual and when I got out of bed and took two steps my right leg from above the hip to the toes suddenly burts in to pain so intense I couldn't stand or walk and had to lie down on the floor for 15 or so minutes until the pain subsided.

When I went to stand up, after two more steps it happened again and slumped to the floor where the pain subsided. I stayed there the longest time I could remember noting any movement caused pain. It was like all the nerves from the right hip to the toes were burning and yelling at me.

I can't remember now how long it took to just get to the bathroom but I couldn't stand, sit or walk. I did manage to use the bathroom and get to the living room couch where I stayed for some time before trying to get to the kitchen.

The whole morning was like that, lie down for a long time to get maybe a minute of doing something or going somewhere in the house. I did manage to get the air mattress out along with the light sleeping bag to put them on the living room floor.

I spent the next three days there, quietly lying there with the TV on and not moving anymore than I had so there was no pain. But any attempt to stand, sit or walk was met with the intense pain. By the 5th the time window was 3-5 minutes where I was able to get ready and get to the clinic.

They diagnosed pinched Sciatic nerve. Apparently I had pinched it to the left leg a year ago where the leg was weak and numb for nearly two months before going away. I may have pinched it again to the right leg a month earlier when the right leg went numb, but everything else was ok.

It took until early August where I could walk without a lot of pain. I discovered during this that addictive pain killers don't work on me along with drug to induce intense or excessive happy feelings. Those parts of my brain don't work normally so the Oxycodone was useless on me.

I took one pill and waited, and waited some more. Four hours later with the pain barely dented and feeling nothing else but slightly sleepy, I ended up reducing the pill to halves and then quarters to get some sleep but eventually stopped taking them where there's still over half the bottle left.

I wasn't until September I could walk any reasonable distance without pain and could sit or stand for awhile without more than mild pain in the lower back. But it left my front of my right leg from above the knee to the ankle numb.

That part of my leg is still numb and the left leg was left weakend with balance problems which persists today. At this time I can't rely on the left leg for anything which stresses, even small things like running up stairs two at a time. The left knee sometimes wants to buckle.

And while walking has improved the strength in both legs, it has not improved the numbness in the right leg except every now and then some of the nerves wake up to whine and then go back to being numb.

The hardest part is that the improvement is intermittent and sometimes doesn't improve but worsens. Some weeks it's like it was months ago but I know to just wait and sure enough the legs come back to where they are now.

It's just weird but clearly nerve related. I don't lift anything heavy and still find I can do anything which requires carrying anything in front (eg. laundry basket) without the back hurting the next day. And remember pain killers don't work beyond mild relief. Yeah.

The doctors initially said it would easily be 1-2 years before the Sciatic nerve improves and longer to get back to normal, if it does, and exercise is the only treatment. That may not be true as I'm research other methods than drugs or similar conventional medicine.

Anyway, that was a year ago today. A year later, it's obviously better but it has taken its toll on my physically but more so mentally. I still haven't gotten through the lesson of human fragility where one day you're fine and the next you're not.

My goal is still to get back to running (they don't recommend) and hiking with some weight. For now I'm restricted to 15-20 lbs and even that hurts some days for hours afterward, so hiking is out too. And that's the mental side, it changes your goals and plans.

That's the state of affairs a year later.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mid-year Review

Ok, I've been walking a lot, 140 miles in the last four months of last year and 627 in the first six months of this year. I've almost worn out my 5-10 Dome shoes I bought last January with about 600 miles on them and maybe only 100-200 miles left before I wear the soles.

The upper part of the shoe is still in good condition, but I have an mild underpronation with both feet and wear out the outer heal and toes of shoes faster than normal wear, often where it's through the sole before the shoe is half worn out.

But I've found that 5-10 shoes are the best for wear. They weren't always as I've had shoes wear out in 2-3 months but lately their shoes have been great, especially when I've worn them through a winter, spring and now summer weather. Yeah, from the worst rain and snow to the hot days here.

Anyway, all this has had a significant improvement in the body with the muscle tone, especially the legs and weight, if I ever weighed myself, which I don't but I know in January at the doctor's office I had lost 15 lbs from the first four months of walking.

That, however was probably the easy fat, and over the last 5-6 months, the easy fat is almost gone and I'm left with the fat my body loves, sort of the genetic fat level, which takes more exercise, hence the longer walks with hopefully more weight in the backpack.

That said, the goal was to get to 160 or less lbs from my initial 180+ last summer. I think I'm getting close as the clothes are fitting better but there comes a point the body is so big and won't get smaller, just healthier and fitter. And that's the goal, wherever that weight is but with the least amount of fat.

The second goal is to get back to running. That goal, however, is more a dream or hope for now as I've tried short jogs during the walk home, but never the walk to town as I get shin splints so easily with stress on the legs with running.

This is the reason for the longer walks, for two purposes. The first is to build endurance back into the leg muscles. The second is aerobic exercise, to burn calories and get the body into fat burnning mode. And the distance was to make it comparable to my old running distance of 3+ miles.

I've done that with walking 2+ hours at a 15-16 minute pace with some weight. To get back to running, I'd have to start with shorter distance and build back to the distance I had and maybe longer runs down the road.

But all of that is a goal for now while I walk. And walk a lot, but at least there's a cafe with a coffee drink with my name on it along the way.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


One thing I've learned on my walks, now 8+ miles to and from the commercial area just off highway 16 in Gig Harbor. I know where every blackberry bush is along the way and I've often cut the branches which grow into the walkway along the road or the bike/walk lane on the shoulder.

Sadly, however, blackberries are on the on-eat food list of FODMAPS, but there are some black raspberry bushes along the way too which I can eat and love in small quantities. They grow in small patches anyway, so there's not a lot of them along the route.

Anyway, it's one of the joys of the walks, watching the fruit grow and when I can carry a containter to harvest them along the walks to have later in the day. Nothing beats freshly picked ripe fruit with cream or whipped cream.

If you're interested, it's easy to tell the difference from the leaves and vines, but especially if you pick them. Black raspberries are smaller and pick like raspberries, leaving an empy inside the fruit, where blackberries are larger and have a core inside the fruit. And they taste different.

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Father's Word

When I was 19 after my first year of univeristy at the College of Engineering at the University of Denver, both the college and university he picked and made me pay a third of the tuition and all my books which was why I worked fulltime while going to college, the College informed me I was on academic suspension for low grades.

Like that was new or news because I didn't like some course and wasn't good at others, my dad read the letter, handed it back to me and said, "Son, I want you to have a life, just don't have it here." He gave me three months to move out and be gone from the family.

I didn't know at the time, it was history repeated as it was what his dad did and said to him when he was 20. It was 1940, and it doesn't take much to realize what his choices were. He enlisted and spent the next 23 years in the Army and Air Force.

For me it was 1968 and it doesn't take a genius to realize what my choices were when the Army sent me my letter to take a physical and then a letter informing me I as 1-A and would be drafted. I enlisted in the Air Force but left 4 years later.

My dad and I rarely spoke after that, about once or twice a year and rarely met, only every few years for family gatherings and reunions. Later in life he told me I was planned for in their (Mom and Dad) life since they had the two children they wanted.

He told me they chose to simply let me grow up by myself with little attention from them. In all the years I knew him and we spoke he never said, "I love you.", even the year before he died when he stayed overnight at my place with uncle Jim.

All he said was thanks for the stay. I don't know to this day why I went to his funeral because it didn't do anything or provide any closure but only kept a deep wound open which has never healed. He fought his own demons until he couldn't and then died.

Sorry if I don't say, "Happy Father's Day Dad", because I won't get an response.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Try Eating Out

Since I've discovered the limits of foods I can eat which my digestive system will tolerate, and while I still have one or two food experiments a week, mostly small portions of new foods or old foods which didn't work, I've found it's hard eating anything in cafes, etc.

The reason is that the first food which is eliminated is wheat and other grains, anything except cornmeal. I've had people in cafes push non-wheat foods but it's gets to the next group I can't eat, anything with nuts or seeds. Those foods and other rough foods causes the small intestine to bleed.

And that is followed by the can't eat almost any vegetable, starting with anything green or leafy, and add from there, and almost all fruits, especially ones I love, like apples, peaches, pears, apricots, etc., and recently I learned oranges are now on that list.

To that add starches, like potatoes with my favorite food potato chips, along with the whole variety of uncommon fruits or vegetables, eg. dates, grapes, etc., you can see the picture of what I can't eat which is almost everything cafes, etc. serve.

Then there is no eggs except those in baked into dishes, no dairy except lactose-free non-fat milk and some hard cheeses. Add almost all spices and you can complete the picture. It leaves a list of acceptable foods I can write on a post-it note and even those are often brand specific as I learned from other brands.

It sucks. I love the food these places have and know there isn't anything can't eat that won't remind me later, sometimes a few hours and sometimes over a few days. Yeah, really fucking sucks. For now I carry my food with me I can eat and then don't eat anything to have only coffee drinks.

In the end, it's what I live with like it or not. The lesson is enjoy all the foods you can when you're young enough to do so when and where they won't hurt you later. Feast to your heart's delight. Savory every flavor. And remember it all, before you can't eat it again.

The Tradeoff

I've written about my Sciatic nerve problem ad naseum and my walking to help it and get better along with getting fitter again, having been a regular jogger and hiker. In the last two months I've increased the walking from the distance I walked for 3 months of 5.5-6.5 miles to 7.5-8.5 miles.

And while the increase has helped the exercise, especially getting the legs stronger and fitter, as well as slowly losing the fat I've gained over the last few years of health issues and not exercising regularly let alone frequently, it's come with a tradeoff.

The tradeoff is that at the shorter distance I was getting a good exercise but I had reached the maximum gain except as an aerobic exercise where I could walk faster to a point the body stopped improving. I was also feeling generally good physically, but I didn't see any improvement in the lower back and Sciatic nerve.

I had planned to add other exercises, like weight training along with some stretching I do now, but those impact and sometimes hurt the lower back as I've learned from some stretching lifting, situps, etc or stair climbing. The added distance helps that and improves the lower back.

The tradeoff is that while the longer distance are better physically it's come at a price of feeling physically tired, often sore, and always mentally tired, usually the rest of the day. It seems I have a quota of combined physical and mental energy and the longer distances drains the quota where there's little left for anything else.

In short, it's been hard work just to work on anything related to the Mt. Rainier photo guide where I'm long behind on projects and the regular monthly stuff is late again. Reading is a chore and chores just aren't being done outside of the minimum like the laundry, cleaning, etc.

The idea is that like the increase from 3-4 miles to 5.5-6.5 miles which took a month or so for my body to get used to it and feel better physically and mentally,  I was hoping the new increase would do the same, but two months later, it hasn't, yet anyway.

The other part is that I'm losing the fat I've gained, but almost everywhere on the body except my abdomen, aka stomach. That fat hugs me like it really loves me and doesn't want to leave. It is slowly reducing but not very fast where the fat elsewhere is reducing visibly and rather fast too.

That's the story for now. Life is a tradeoff, and we all make decisions accordingly.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Not So Bad

I thought having a pinched Sciatic nerve was bad, but recently I met someone who quickly and easily made me feel my situation wasn't so bad after all. The Sciatic nerve is between the L4 and L5 vertebra in the lower back, which is why a lot of people have problems after 40, it's two of the lowest vertebra which takes a lot of compression and pounding.

The person I met told me thge story he recently had back surgery which essentially rebuilt the L3, L4 and L5 vertebra. They weren't fused or locked as often done with surgery to relieve the pressure and pain of the compression and pinched nerves, but the pieces of the vertebra removed, remixed into a compound and put back in to fuse with the old bone.

The goal is to build new vertebra which doesn't pinch the nerves and won't compress over time. The person said it was the last resort before having the three vertebra fused or locked to relieve the pain. If it doesn't work, then there's nothing left for them except another surgery.

And his specialist told him the same advice mine told me, get out and walk. Get the body moving and the back muscles exercising to build the strength in the lower back. He said that's a dream for a long time as they can barely and very slowly walk more than a few hundred feet with a cane.

So, being able to walk with only occasional mild pain and sore or tired muscles and an occasional sore lower back, I don't feel so bad. I can walk 8 miles now, albeit with some mild problems most days, but still walking is walking.

I just can't convince my feet it's good for them too, but then they remember the 8-12 mile day hikes I did in Mt. Rainier NP years ago, some with 3-4,000 feel elevation gain (and loss coming back) with 25-40 lb backpack.

That's my goal again sometime later this fall, to do a 6-8 mile hike with some elevation gain to return to hiking over the next year-plus. They said it would take 1-2 years minimum. It's been less than a year now, so time is there and I am getting better, albeit I can't carry or lift very much without pain or soreness.

But it beats the alternates I learned recently.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Finding Balance

Since the first of this month (April) I've increased the walking distance to 7-8 miles 5 days a week. The legs (and body a little too, meaning losing fat) are getting stronger ever so slowly with the Sciatic nerve which still rears it's ugly head to be a problem with both legs.

What I've learned though from this increse is that I'm more tired physically and mentally, so I've discovered I can get better physically, meaning get stronger and lose the fat by pushing the exercise, but not better mentally by feeling tired most of the time, or I can reduce the exercise and not gain much if anything physically but feel better mentally.

I notice this when I take two straight days off from walking instead of the normal walk 3 days take one off, repeat. When I take the two days I actually get work done, run errands and take time to enjoy things. I mentally come back to life.

And that's the conumdrum now. Finding balance between physically improving just to be where I was a year ago before the Sciatic nerve problem left me flat on my back for 4 days and hurting for two months, and even better to where I was physically a few years ago, and mentally feeling good to be productive again.

I'm not sure there is a balance per se between the two, but more time spent more on one then the other and hope for the best. The goal is to get better physically to resume hiking I quit a few years ago from other physical problems and issues while working on the photography guide and history project for Mt. Rainier NP.

But that's easier said than done these days as walking two hours a day now takes more to recover when I get home and then focus on the errands around the place and in life. There's always too much to do and too much not getting done while I try to get better.

Such is life these days. No answers and progress is variable depending on the day and what issue. And finding balance harder than either of the two.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Better & Worse

For what it's worth, after a day off Tuesday for appointments and errands because I can't walk and run errands on the same day, it takes too much energy to walk and then go out around town or to appointments, I decided to increase the distance.

On each leg of the walking, the way to Gig Harbor and return I've looking for additional routes which I check the maps to see if I can add distance in quarter, half or whole mile increments to the route. As I've noted I had identified two additional routes of 1-1.10 miles on each leg.

Recently I found another which added 0.5 and 1.1 miles to the route to town increasing the distance there from 3-3.2 miles to 3.7-4.2 miles. This includes a long hill of a quarter mile which is a good test of the legs.

So yesterday I added the longer route making the whole trip 7.5 miles and suffice it to say it made for some tired legs, but today it was easier, which shows me the choice is that I can settle for what I have and live with the results and slow improvement, or I can push the legs and body and see what happens.

This means the leg muscle will get better with the exercise but also will be tired more each day. Since the legs strength, coordination and balance aren't where they were a year ago, to me it's not much of a choice, the more I walk the longer distance the more the legs and body will improve and the back hurts less.

Just an interesting change discovered while walking.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Hardest Thing

After pinching my Sciatic nerve in June 2011 which left my left leg numb for 2 month, I recovered, but pinching it in June of 2012 and worse in July, I haven't recovered. So the task right now is working just not to get worse and only hope I can get better, but now I'm not what I was a year ago for walking and carrying a backpack.

And that's the hardest thing mentally, working hard and hoping I can get better, but not knowing if I will or make matters worse. The specialist said it would take 1-2 years at best and likely a permanent condition to some degree. That's what sucks, having been better and knowing I may not get back there again, and all I can do is try, which leaves me tired most days.

When they say getting old sucks, believe them.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

An Update

In September of last year I wrote a piece, 307 Hours Later, about shaving my full beard in November of 2001 (actually the Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend) and then getting tired of shaving everyday and starting electrolysis in July 2005.

And 307 hours later, my face was finally, but only inititally, cleared. There always is followup appointments for regrowth which is common, which varies with the electrologist and their technique and equipment.

They can do a really good job the first time, getting the needle right down to the root to kill it, but it's very painful, and tedious, taking far longer to clear an area let alone the face. The other method is to go light with the technique and less deep, but this takes repeated tries as the hair root regrows shallower each time.

In short, it's about the same amount of time, and money, and produces different effects during the time but the same effect at the end. My electrologist, only one I've gone to the whole time, was the second, go lighter and more often. This means more regrowth.

Since September I went twice a month for the rest of 2012 and once a month in 2013. This gives the hair more time in between to regrow and pretty much consumes the hour appointment with less left each time. We expect by next month I'll be clear again and the regrowth will be minimal for a few periodic visits.

I know many people try laser treatment for this and it works too, but the techniques doesn't produce permanent hair removal and is dependent on the type and color of the skin and facial hair. It does however work for the whole face in between sessions and is near permanent for some who don't have a lot of facial hair.

Anyway, this is just an update. I'm at 316 hours now with only a few more to go. And yes, it's still worth it not to shave anymore except the last few remaining hairs, like one swipe of the razor.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Food Envy

Today I stopped by the local REI store (been a member since 1982) to buy a few things and found myself standing in front of two rows of food. First was the camping food, you know the bags of dried food you heat and eat, from breakfast to dinner. Second was the snacks, yeah, from bars to chewy things.

First, I can't eat almost all of the camping food for the ingredients. Some I'd love to try but when you take out all the foods I can't eat, there's nothing really left to eat. You see, most camping food relies on one set of main ingredients, spices. Lots of spices.

The only spices I can eat is salt, and maybe a small pinch of pepper. And when you take out the dairy, the wheat, the meat, and the vegetables, there's no much left except the bag itself. Even pudding or other simple foods are out.

Gee, what's next? Well, the snacks, you know all those bars of some brand and type. I have to scan the ingredients there two because I have to first eliminate those with wheat - really grains, nuts, seeds and most fruits, which includes dates the most used fruit in non-wheat bars.

In short, the whole aisle of all those snacks, which some nutritionists argue aren't really good for you for all the fat, calories, etc you don't need in one food, is like standing in front of Nieman Marcus with $10. It doesn't get you very far.

So, in the end I've been relegated to Clif Shot Roks, which were discontinued last fall and is supposedly scheduled to return soon, and PowerBar Energy Blasts. I found a few other brands today but they don't seem that different and cost more.

Such is life somedays. It doesn't pay to shop when you can't buy and really can't eat the food you really want to eat. But I did get the rest of my stuff.

Better but not Good

I've written enough about my Siatic nerve issue, especially in the last two months when the front of the right leg from above the knee to the ankle remains almost numb, the shin is improving a little but the knee is still totally numb, and the left leg is slightly worse with balance problems which wasn't there before.

The walking is improving my overall health and fitness and slowly rebuilding the leg muscles but it's still the message, it's better but not good. I spent the weekend moving boxes around and carrying bags of stuff to the trash, meaning lots of work for the lower back, and I felt it.

I still walked but both the back and legs were happy I took a day off for errands. That's the problem, on days I walk to town or elsewhere trying to get my 5-6+ miles in I'm usually tired the rest of the day, and with the flu 2-3 weeks of the last month, I've been tired on tired.

But it's still the message, better but not good. I'm still trying to arrange the work and errands around the walking and increase the walking from the now 5 days a week to 6 days or adding 1-2 miles in the 5 days, to increase the total distance for each week.

I'll see what happens, it's just frustrating it's all I can do now without causing more harm or injuring muscles where I can't exercise. Yeah, sometimes life just sucks.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Auspicious Start II

Well, I wrote about the auspicious start to being 63. February has been an interesting month in the on-going saga just trying to stay healthy and fit with a body which has issues with being older. And what has happened this month?

For one I continued walking and got up to 5 days a week on the weeks, and even got up to 7 miles to town and back, 3 miles there and 4 miles back. The goal is to get to 7-8 miles or an hour each way. It was on track until the second week when I got the flu.

I had a flu shot last September but the Center for Disease Control (CDC) wrote recently they've finding the flu shot is only effective about 60% of the time for "older" people, namely 50+ people. Yeah, so much for the shot when I got the flu.

But the flu itself was short-lived, about 3+ days but the lingering flu has lingered to the last week with intermittent 1-2 day bouts of it of lesser severity. But I did manage to get in 11 days of walking so far (up to today) of 6 miles each time.

The good news in this was a doctor's visits, one early in the month for blood test and discussion and another for the blood test results and exam. The body generally is still pretty good, meaning nothing obviously wrong, and the blood tests showed the kidneys and livers are "perfectly" normal.

I know my heart is better than normal for my age from the last 2 years of test with a cardiologist, but the blood test showed something even better from the change of diet, reducing milk fats to a minimum with hard cheeses and occasional whipped cream, meaning drinking lactose-free non-fat milk.

The diet now includes reducing or eliminating FODMAPS, with one main food from the diet, wheat. Yeah, try it. Almost everything we eat is a wheat product or uses wheat. This isn't just eliminating gluten but almost all wheat where I'm down to one brand of cracker, and no bread!

That also meant a very limited diet of fruits, vegetables, meat, and other foods. What has it wrought? Well, a lot. My cholesterol is lower, not the total number which is normal, but the LDL is at the optimal, the HDL is even higher above normal, and the triglycerides is in the low end of the normal range.

What's even cooler is my insulin resistance number is 3 on a scale of 0-100 where, higher is worse. I have always had a slightly higher than normal glucose level (tested annually last 8 years) so all these number indicate the walking and diet are helping.

Now the issue is my weight, mostly being my fat. I weigh about 170, down from ~185 last fall. The goal is to get it down to 160-165 losing the fat I have (about 10-15 lbs) which I've had all my life. Yeah, the genetic fat my body loves to hold on to.

Since running is still out but in the future plans, it's all about walking and adding weight training again once the Siatic nerve heals, whenever that is if it is. So that's the plan, lots o' walking but then keeping one last measure open, yeah, liposuction of the fat the body doesn't want to lose. Sometimes you do need help there.

The Siatic nerve has stablized for now, or so it seems, leaving both legs still weaker than a year ago but the muscle improving with walking. The right leg is still numb from the above the knee down the front of the leg to the ankle. The left leg still has balance problems. All they can say is give it time, lots of time.

That's it for this month.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

An Auspicious Start

Well, so far since turning 63 around last Labor Day weekend, it's been and oddly auspicious start to this  year, but in ways both good and bad. It didn't start out good, in fact badly with a bladder infection which evolved into Protratitis, an infection of the prostrate. Yeah, real fun.

Anyway, two weeks later, all was well with the world again and the lesson was learned to always wash all fresh vegetables thoroughly. Over the next few months I slowly worked with the drugs I was taking for another issue and discovered by November the two drugs, but one specifically, has been part of the digestive problems.

Ok, stop taking the one and lower the dosage of the other and most of the problems went away. Only most since the other half of the digestive problem is food itself, meaning my system is very food sensitive and finally finding a gastroenterologist who actually had useful information to help, the problems lessened dramatically.

What it left me with is a short list of foods I can eat which don't cause problem and time where I can have food experiment days to try old foods, in moderation of course, and new foods, in sample sizes, and judge from the results with my body.

That list makes shopping hard and eating harder most days as it excludes wheat and most grains, most common vegetables, especially all leafy or green ones, most common fruits, all artificial sugar/sweetner,  etc. Just Google "fodmaps" and you'll see. You can see what it eliminates at the grocery store, cafes, etc.

Anyway, by January it's helped a lot where I've been walking 5-6 miles 4-5 times a week to get back in shape as much as the Siatic nerve allows my legs, which isn't much some weeks and more other weeks. They said the Siatic nerve could easily take 1-2 years to heal and considering my lower left leg is still numb after 6-plus months, I believe it.

And also in January after facing my frozen annuity 2 of the last 4 years and the other two years with only small to modest increases, the cost of living has found me where there's not much extra spending money anymore, especially repaying the money investing in my small photography business.

But I dug the financial hole and I'll fill it up over the next 2-3 years and be even, or near what I can achieve and if nothing financially disasterous happens. That doesn't include surgeries I'll need within the next 3-5 years, for which there is no money right now.

Yeah, not good news, so why auspicious? Well, knowledge is power and now I know where I'm truly sitting and what it takes to have a life. And that's auspicious to me and a better start than the last few years.

And as a friend always said, "It's beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A simple problem made complex

In 2005, the year I would retire on the last day to start a new life and career, I decided with my physician to get a more complete checkup than the standard annual physical which I didn't have very often anyway.

The main reason is that since the early 1980's I had been plagued with a simple problem, or so I thought but never worried or wondered about it. Whenever I started my run for the day my heart would race quickly and I would be out of breath in the first quarter to half mile.

I usually slowed down to a walk or even stopped and after a minute or so, I would be ok. My heart rate lowered to the normal rate during the run and my breathing was consistently normal for the run. This has lasted ever since doing anything physically stressful.

Well, the cardiologist found my heart was fine with no blockages except on very one small artery on the bottom of the heart and really inconsequential, normal pumping volumes and only a small leak on one valve indistinguishable from Rheutmatic Fever I had when I was 3 and the normal wear and tear of age.

Then she said I had a ~20% blockage of my pulmonary artery from the heart. It's the artery which carries the oxygen deprived blood to the lungs, which explains why I was running out of breath shortly into exercise or activity. She noted my body found ways to compensate for this blockage.

First she said there were a few extra arteries around the blockage to the lungs which helped restore the blood flow. Second, after looking puzzled at the test results, said it's likey there are extra nerves to the heart which causes the rapid increase shortly into any exercise or activity.

This is because they found in the tests my heart rate can accelerate from normal to over 180 beats per second faster than normal, in short a straight line up on the heart rate monitor I wore for 24 hours including during runs.

She said it was a way the body compensated by increasing the blood flow to the lungs to get the necessary oxygen into the blood and out to the body. They also found my heart has a slower than normal return rate, it just doesn't want to slow down after going faster.

The test results also showed the blockage was caused by a high cholesterol level, over 200, probably going back 20 years or more when the blockage originally started. Ok, easily solved with diet and drugs, or so it seemed.

And this is where a simple problem became complex.

Well, I changed my diet and dropped my cholesterol to below 200 and it's continues to drop with each successive test, but not where it will help reduce the blockage enough, not without drugs. So she put me on statin drugs.

But we discovered my body and mind can't tolerate statin or the over-the-counter equivalent (Red Rice Yeast). They make me tired, too tired to run, and excerbate my Dysthymia into depression. So, that experiment ended where the only course was diet and exercise.

And that's where I'm at, just diet and exercise, and have routine cholesterol tests to see if we can get it to below 100 and hopefully near 70 where the body will start to dissolve the blockage and reabsorb the plague into the blood stream where it will be removed.

And that's the plan and what I'm doing. I'd love to get back to running but with the Siatic nerve and shin splints it's just walking. I've tested the body and legs running for short distances and it's ok, but getting back to the 3+ miles 4-5 days a week I was 5 years ago is something for hope than reality for now.

But it's a good future considering everything and sure beats the alternative.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

More on Walking

In June of 2011 I pinched my Siatic nerve (the L4 and L5 vertabra), a mild pinch which left my left leg numb for two months. In June-July of 2012 I pinched the nerve again which left me flat on my back for 4 days and the whole right leg numb. It’s still numb, bad enough it has no reflex from above the knee to the ankle.

That said, I walked, on and off from September through November but then started walking 5-6 miles 4-5 days a week in December and now January, minus a week off each month to recoup and get other work done.

The point? Well, what I’ve learned as I lose weight, aka fat, is that the more days I walk, the less I eat and the longer distance I walk, the less I eat. I was reading that exercise increases chemicals responsible for your appetite, meaning feeling hungry to eat and more, but also increases the chemicals responsible for suppressing your appetite, not wanting eat.

It’s the mix of the two which determines what, how much and when you eat after your excercise. They found the amount of calories you eat before your exercise also determines how much you eat after your exercise and the rest of the day, and less actually increases the appetite after exercise but a little more suppress it.

And that’s the point, I’m not at the point I can resume running or other excercise beyond light routine exercise, eg. warmup, stretching, situps, etc., and so walking it is until the Siatic nerve gives me my legs back. Until then, yes, I’ll walk as often and as far as my legs will take me.

Sometimes it’s that you give your hardest and best with the cirumstances you have. It’s all you can do.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Thought

As I've written, I've been walking 5-6 miles 3-5 times a week to recover from a pinched Siatic nerve, both to the left leg, which is weaker than year ago, and the right leg, which is numb in the front from above the knee to the ankle. Yeah, sucks.

But that said, on the walk I often take routes along the rural roads around Gig Harbor, some to add distance to the walk with some amount of elevation gain and loss, my home being at 240 feet above the Narrows Strait and 400+ feet for commercial area or sea level for the downtown area of Gig Harbor.

It's cool to see the changes over time along the routes, especially with the seasons. But there are times when there will be no cars and almost silence, the only noise being the weather itself and occasional distant sounds of animals, airplanes, trucks on the highway.

It's interesting then to stop, just absorb it, and get the feeling of being totally alone, and there are moments I wonder if I wasn't standing there, like I suddenly just disappeared, what would happen. No one would even know I was there at that moment.

It's like you never existed. What would happen and who would be effected? Time, life and the world would go on like nothing happened. In the silence gone. And then I walk on. But it's an interesting thought experiment, what you sense and your existence.

And to just stand there in the silence, feeling alive.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 Goals

So, a short ways into 2013 and I have no resolutions. But I do have a few goals after looking at my life, my finances and my work and projects, and I can put some goals together, although I've never been good a meeting goals, just always adjusting them.

The first goal is to get my fitness back after the last two years of health issues with the digestive system problems and pinched Siatic nerve, the former a permanent condition for life and the latter a semi-permanent condition for now as time is the only thing that heals it provided I don't make it worse.

So far, it's working, which is walking 5-6 miles 4-5 times a week. Unfortunately, this takes a lot out of me where the walk in the morning means I don't get into working on the Website and projects until late afternoon into the evening. Not the way to be productive.

The second goal is get myself out of the deep hole of debt I'm in from the last 2 years. My debt was manageable and shrinking until two years ago and I invested in my computer system and communications devices for the upstart business that hasn't gone anywhere let alone earn any money.

That's my fault for not working harder on it and the best I can do is give reasons or excuse but neither accomplishes anything. Words don't pay bills. But then I haven't worked hard on the business side of the work, something I plan to improve but no much since I didn't plan the business to be profitable, just legal.

The third goal has been the same the last 3-plus years, finish the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide. Granted it's balloned to something far greater than I envisioned years ago, even imagined was possible, and there's always work to do on it for the rest of my life.

But the goal is to get the basic photo guide done to turn it into a book-style format for users and hopefully a publisher. Like that's not stretching my imagination these days? But I can turn it into some type of e-book or PDF, an iPhone/iPad application/format, and whatever else people need for it.

I want to also work on the rest of the projects around the photo guide. There's years of work there with more project ahead, and yes, the rest of my life. It's why I started it, to spend the rest of my life on it and fit everything else around it.

There is another goal but it's on hold pending the finances and my health. It ran into a wall this last fall over health complications with the treatment and then again this winter with the finances. There's no money to finish it as I'm at the point where money is the only thing preventing me from finishing it.

So, that's it for now and 2013.