Sunday, November 10, 2013

What's YOUR naughty habit?

Wow, about a year since my last post...  Sorry!  Bet most of you wrote me off as done!  LOL

A friend's post today pointed out that November is National Health Blog Post month...  SO, an update seemed necessary!  Life is WILD here...  No real health issues for me, but many for the other half and the world's greatest grandson...  School is crazy too--teaching 6th AND 7th grade, social studies AND language arts.  Let me say that I've never taught language arts before and had no real intent to ever do so, so you can imagine that it has been challenging!  AND, I have a 6th grade class of language arts AND a 7th grade class.  Both use a different curriculum and I get zero time to plan with the other folks who teach it.  NO fun!  But, we're not here to listen to me whine!

I thought I'd ask those of you who still click over to see if I've come back to life whether you have any of those naughty little post-op habits--using straws, drinking soda/pop, taking NSAIDs, etc.  You know--all those things that the doctors and other post-ops told you that you could never do again after Weight Loss Surgery??  My habits are drinking caffeine--lots of it in the form of about a gallon of unsweetened iced tea per day.  And, to make it worse, I drink it through a straw--all of it!  And, in the evening, I use it to wash down my Mobic (an NSAID) for the arthritis in my knees and the inflammation caused by the degeneration of the discs in my spine.  

As a result of my knee and back issues, I don't exercise much at all.  I really want to, but simply can't get past the pain of the first few days to get into the habit.  Last year, the paraprofessional who worked in my ESE classroom with me got me into the habit of walking each day after school.  We stuck with it for a good while, but eventually had to stop for some reason and I never got back to it.  I bought a TREK bicycle with the pedals farther forward to make it easier for me with the knee/back issues and rode it some, but not enough to really get in the habit.  Anybody else ever managed to overcome this obstacle in a successful way??  Want to share what worked for you?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

3 months...almost!

Some of you may be wondering how I am liking my new job...  Well, I am here to tell you that I love it!  Sure, there are days when you just want to crawl back into bed and not face the world, but I had those when I was not working at all!  It has nothing to do with middle school or middle school kids!  LOL  I am really enjoying the atmosphere of middle school...  The kids are still hormonal teens with attitudes, and they still give you grief.  But, it is a much younger and still somewhat respectful grief...  The attitude you see is just kids being kids, as opposed to the high school attitude that often stems from their incorrect belief that they are "an adult" despite the way they act and that teachers disrespect them merely by expecting them to work!  LOL

After teaching social studies for years, it is funny to find myself in a mostly MATH classroom every day!  I always said I wasn't a math person, but I find it is not bad...not bad at all!  If I posted this on Facebook, Joy from LHS would "like" it!  The only bad part is trying to make these kids, who struggle daily with math that is far below their grade level, understand that they CAN do it if they patiently try and work to build their skills.  So many of them are frustrated to a point of what seems like no return...  There are times when you sit working one on one with a student in my room and when the bell rings to note that your time is up you just want to give them a hug and tell them to keep will be fine...  I've got a couple who I know may never get it...may never pass that danged standardized test.  But, they plod ahead day after day with the thought that maybe...just maybe, it will happen.  Some of my kids try soooooo hard but seem to fall flat each time a new skill is introduced.  It was great this week to see a couple of them get to new skills that, when explained better, were concepts that they "got" and could be successful at.  It is awesome to see them smile and say "ohhhhhh, NOW I get it!"

Also on the school front, Matt is loving preK.  He's come so far in this 3 months!  His speech is better.  He is progressing past the not-sharing, getting in arguments at school stage and becoming an easier going kid.  After suffering for so long with the separation anxiety due to being taken from his parent (mommy OR daddy) every 8 weeks for years, his potty training is finally progressing to the point that he can wear undies most of the day.  

Check out his first "school pic" below!

 And the whole class shot!

And, did I mention that I'm the new President for our local GFWC LaBelle Community Woman's Club??? 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The start of a new stage of my life...

3 months does that happen?  LOL

What does that mean--starting a new stage of my life, you may wonder...  Well, after more than 10 years of adult education and advocacy in special education, and 3 years teaching high school history, this year I am switching things up again!  Last Monday, I began the "middle school" phase of my life again!  And, it is at the same middle school I attended as a teen and the same middle school where I did my student teaching all those years ago....well, sort of--the same school but in a newer building at a new site all the way across town!

SO, what is this new middle school phase?  After all those years in advocating for the rights of children with disabilities, I am now a full-time ESE (Exceptional Student Education) teacher for 7th and 8th grade here in LaBelle.  That means that I am the "special ed" teacher for all of our LaBelle Middle School students who have a 504 or IEP (Individualized Education Plan)--whether in an ESE class or not.  I am the one who helps keep up with/monitor their IEPs.  I am the resource room teacher and the one who does the consults on the kiddos who don't spend any time in an ESE classroom, but have special needs.  We had our first round of IEP meetings this week and everything went great!  The Staffing Specialist for our side of the county (the ESE person from the Board of Education) is an old friend and teacher of mine.  She was a science teacher when I was in Middle School.  She was a CHADD member when I founded the first CHADD Chapter of my CHADD career (anybody remember the "duck tape" story?), and she's a great friend and parent of 2 pretty ADHD kiddos...well, young adults!  We've worked together over the last 3 years while I was the "regular education" teacher for lots of children with special needs at the high school.  Now, we'll be working together a bit more and with a new focus--for me at least!

On other fronts, I need to get my butt moving--literally...  I spent too much time on the road and eating out this summer.  I need to lose about 20 pounds to feel the way I used to feel...  I know HOW to do it and I know I have the tools to do it.  What I am lacking is motivation.  Snugly fitting clothes is about to do it though!  I refuse to buy new clothes instead of taking the weight off!  The bike tires are pumped up...I just need to get them rolling!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nothing new...just an update!

And it hasn't even been 3 months!  LOL  I thought I'd take a minute to let you know that I am still here and kicking!  No further medical issues other than going in for an iron infusion.  My numbers were crappy again and we decided to head it off before it bottomed out...  Thank you to my employer for providing me health insurance so that this is possible. 

Our school year is winding down...last day for the kids is June 7th.  Teachers work one more day and get out on June 8th.  No big plans for a great vacation or anything, so not much to say there!  I will be traveling to Peoria, IL for a few days to attend a program called "Congress in the Classroom."  That should be fun!  I'm currently participating in a National Writing Project workshop on Web 2.0 technologies that finishes up on June 18th with a presentation day for the summer institute portion of the National Writing Project at Florida Gulf Coast University.  And, I may go to FSU for a week this summer for a 4-H Legislature workshop...  That is a trip with some local 4-H  members who will be the actual participants.  And, there's the possibility of spending 2 or 3 weeks on the truck with hubby...  We'll see what actually happens! 

Note to potential home invaders--there's plenty of folks going to be home even when I'm gone!  I just can't seem to get those grown children (and now grandchild) to move on and find their own place!  Oh day!!  Maybe then we can afford that fancy vacation!  LOL

And, the world's greatest grandchild will be home tomorrow after he spends the day at "Goofy's House" again... (Disney World!)  So, things are looking better by the hour!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Just shy of the 3 month mark... UPDATE!

On Saturday, Feb 25th, I was sitting in a movie theater with my hubby when I suddenly felt pressure in my abdomen. It wasn't bad--more like the feeling you get when you need to find a bathroom soon for a BM. But, after leaving the theater and finding a restroom, it rapidly got worse. It went from a bit of pressure to feeling like food poisoning in less than 5 minutes. We'd just come from lunch at hubby's favorite fish place before the movie. We both had the same thing, so I'm starting to think that hubby may be in the same situation soon...

It rapidly went from bad to worse and I was hit with the worst pain of my life. I'm talking within 40 minutes I was having abdominal pain that trumped the pain of labor and delivery! After about 20 minutes in the restroom, I finally made it back to the theater and sat down next to hubby. He was getting anxious and would have come to find me if it weren't for all my crap I left in the seat next to him. He said he was about to walk out when I showed up... He asked me what took so long and I gave him a simple answer--I don't feel good. He asked immediately if I wanted to leave. I told him yes. He then asked if I wanted to go to the hospital and again I responded with a yes. Now he KNEW something really bad was wrong because I have a very high tolerance for pain and would never go to the hospital if it weren't serious. We were less than 5 miles from the hospital. He went to the parking lot and got the car and picked me up in front of the theater as I couldn't make it to the car. We went to the hospital and they took me back within 20 minutes, which NEVER happens at this hospital! After that, they left me in a room waiting, and waiting, and waiting and all the while the pain was intensifying. By the time I was writhing on the gurney and had tears rolling, all the while breathing like I was breathing through a contraction, hubby ran one of them down and told them that they HAD to give me something for pain. A few minutes later, they gave me a dose of Dilaudid which relieved most of the abdominal pain, but didn't touch the pain I had across my lower back.

They then did a CT scan to see what there was to see. Because I've experienced sensitivity to iodine, they did it without contrast and could only see that I supposedly had some unexplained fluid in my abdomen. Next, they did an ultrasound to see how much fluid and checked my gall bladder and assorted female parts for potential clues. Nothing to be found there, so they told me they were admitting me for observation. At this point, it had been 2 hours since the Dilaudid, so I asked if it was possible to get something for the back pain. They got me up to a room before that happened. Once in the room, I asked again and they brought me something, but didn't tell me what it was--just put it in the IV port and left. Shortly, the back pain was finally letting up. I thought they'd given me more of the same drug and that all I'd needed was a larger dose in the first place.

After all this strain and stress and combined with the narcotic pain meds, I was getting sleepy and it was getting late. Hubby had my daughter drive over with things I would need and then they both left about 9:30. I passed out with the next dose of pain meds. When they came to give it, they asked if I wanted the Dilaudid or the morphine again. Apparently the second dose was morphine and it worked so much better than the Dilaudid had, despite the fact that I was told it was much stronger than morphine. I stuck with the morphine and passed out for about 3 hours of much needed rest.

They kept me on the morphine ever 4 or 5 hours for over 2 days. Over that time, they redid the CT scan with the contrast and yummy (ugh!) barium. Though he doesn't normally use this hospital, my bariatric surgeon showed up Sunday evening to see me. He said that the CT scan showed nothing out of the ordinary. The abdominal fluid was a very small amount and nothing to be concerned with--not the cause of my current issue. He checked my tummy and found that I do have a hernia deep below the belly button--again not the cause of this. He told me that their best guess on this was that I had a kink in my bowel. That was the cause of the great discomfort and the pain. Over the time I was in the hospital and on the morphine, it straightened out and the pain was decreasing, but not gone. This he said was due to the fact that this was a strain on the bowel and that LIKE ANY OTHER MUSCLE, when strained, it bruises and will take time to heal. Bowels as muscles...never thought of it that way! He went ahead and ordered a full round of bariatric labs ("since you're here anyway...") and told me he'd see me in the AM.

SO, the outcome--it happened, we don't know 100% why and it could happen again. Their instructions? Don't eat any meals that are too large as it could cause the bowel to strain again... Uh, hello! I had an RNY and don't eat large meals. I don't normally eat till I feel full! I hadn't eaten till full the day this all happened! I don't really know what happened. I don't really know what caused it. I don't really know how to keep it from happening again..... Double UGH!

I can honestly say though that this is the very first time I've had any sort of issue since my RNY in August 2006. I was in the hospital from Saturday evening till Monday afternoon. Thank the school district for United Healthcare! As a teacher, my health insurance doesn't cost me anything, and it sure saved me on this one financially. Preliminary billings show a bill of more than $15,000 so far. I will have to pay my deductible of $1000 and they'll take care of most of the rest.

Long story short--sudden extreme pain led to a hospital stay of 2 1/2 days and no real answer/explanation.

Other than this incident, life is good. We've had the world's greatest grandbaby home since Jan 28th. He's a handful, but so much joy. He's growing like the proverbial weed... He's currently quite obsessed with the WWE--particularly John Cena, Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio, and Sheamus. He finally learned how to ride a bike with coaster brakes. His first bike had pedals that would pedal frontwards and backwards alike. Now, we get a bike that only goes forward...what's up with that? LOL

We only have him till March 24th... Then he goes back to WV for 8 weeks again. The BEST part though is that he comes home on May 19th and won't have to go back to WV till Christmas! He would go back on July 14th, but school will start in August and he is to start school in a pre-K program this year. According to the divorce decree, once he starts pre-K at age 4, he is home all year. His father only gets him for a week of his Christmas break, a week of his spring break, and 8 weeks in the summer. We want him to know his father...don't get me wrong. It is just that all this back and forth every 8 weeks is a huge mental strain. He will be 4 in July and is still in pull-ups as they don't work on potty training while he's there. We get him almost trained and it is time for him to go back to WV. He comes back totally back where we started... His speech is still not where it should be. I want to cry sometimes when I am out in public and hear some kid talking to his mom or dad and their speech is SO clear. When I ask how old they are, I get answers like 2 1/2... Matt's speech starts to be clearer and more developed each time he's home. Then, while he's at his father's home, he regresses. I honestly don't think they TALK to him there! Oh how I hate this cruel situation he's been put in. He's so smart. He deserves better. Now, he'll finally get a chance to live a normal life. Granted it is the normal-for-a-child-of-divorce life, but he'll finally be fully potty trained. His speech will grow in leaps and bounds. He'll be in pre-K and socializing with others his age, not just adults.

BTW, thanks to Randy for nagging me to post!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Nothing since MAY!

Wow, I feel bad! I have been crazy busy this last 7 or 8 months! Work is, well, work. I love teaching and it is what I want to do for the rest of my "work" life. I've been teaching only world history this year and if you are a teacher, you know how great it is to be able to focus your planning time this way!

My Mom passed away at the end of July and started another crazy ride in my life. Between working towards settling the estate and refurbing the house I grew up in so that my family could move into it, the last 3 or 4 months have been a struggle. Just when you think you've got something fixed and finished, something else pops up to drive you insane! Don't even ASK about the hot water heater! LOL

I wanted to pop in and say hi and let you all know I'm not dead! And, I'm going to repost an old favorite recipe as it's what's for dinner tonight! The recipe is Frank's Buffalo Chicken Dip and I hope you all like it!

This one is actually a repost of a repost... I am making it tonight, so when I thought about it, I thought I'd reshare it for anyone who may have missed it! This is an awesome bake and take dish for covered dish stuff--especially with WLS postops! Tasty and full of protein! I double the recipe, but I only use about 2/3 cup of the buffalo wing sauce as no one here really likes too much spice! I've made it with the canned chicken AND with freshly cooked chicken breast that I shredded myself. Either way, it is delicious, nutritious, and a hit with any group--family or potluck!

Servings: 3 1/2 cups dip | Prep Time: 5 min. | Cook Time: 20 min.

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese or ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup FRANK'S® REDHOT® Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cans (9.75 oz. each) SWANSON® White Premium Chunk Chicken Breast
in Water, drained


1.HEAT oven to 350°F. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir until smooth.
2.MIX in salad dressing, Frank's RedHot Sauce and cheese. Stir in chicken.
3.BAKE 20 min. or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

1.Microwave Directions: Prepare as above. Place in microwave-safe dish. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 5 min. until hot, stirring halfway through cooking.
2.Tips: You may substitute 2 cups shredded cooked chicken.
3.Slow Cooker Method: Combine ingredients as directed above. Place mixture into small slow cooker. Cover pot. Heat on HIGH setting for 1 1/2 hours until hot and bubbly or on LOW setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir.
4.Tailgating Tip: Prepare dip ahead and place in heavy disposable foil pan. Place pan on grill and heat dip until hot and bubbly.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nag, nag, nag... LOL

Do I know how long it's been since I posted??? Yeah, I do! A friend from WV (hey Randy! hey Alice!) emailed that he and his wife have been watching here for some sort of update... It is great to know that folks still think about me from time to time! But, life has been too crazy to get here very much. It will be 3 months since I posted on May 21st! SO, I guess it is time?? LOL

I'm still teaching high school social studies. As you may recall, I got handed a class of Advanced Placement (AP) world history students this year--literally the week before school started. This meant that I got NO time to prepare for teaching this college level class and I had to start doing it without even the time to read and get a chapter or two ahead of the kids. It is a challenging course to teach under any circumstances. THESE circumstances made it more so. I have spent every week from August 16th till last week running just a few days ahead of the kids. There is so much to read and learn as you go through the course for the first time. And, there are no answers to anything to help you be sure you've come to the "right" conclusion yourself! I've found many valuable resources as the year has gone past. The largest of those has been a group of other AP world history teachers who offer support and resources via an online listserv. I can't tell you how much of my sanity those folks have saved this year! And, it will continue as I've been informed that I'll have 2 classes of AP world history next school year. I've got 51 students registered now, so that will be classes of 20 to 30 students each. That is a WHOLE lot of essays to score each week!

In addition to learning how to teach the course, the course itself is a race from the first day of school to the world history AP exam in May. You have only so many weeks to get them through 10,000 years of history and then review it all in the short time between finishing the covering of the material and the exam date. We had 2 weeks left for review. We'd originally planned about 3 1/2, so we lost over a week due to various things.

All in all, I think the year has gone well. My evaluation by my principal was awesome and I am looking forward to doing it all again next year. The good part, though, is that I will be attending a College Board sponsored AP world history workshop for a week this summer. The workshop is conducted by one of the well-known names in the AP world history game--Bill Strickland. He's been a wonderful fount of resources this year and I look forward to this face to face chance to learn more. Even better, the workshop is 2 hours from home in the lovely St. Petersburg, FL area and the funds were available to cover a hotel room, so it is like a mini-vacation with the workshop!

BTW, we won't find out how the kids did on their exam till July some time...UGH!

The AP world history that I taught was in addition to various other social studies classes--American history, regular world history, and American government. I also taught a whole trimester of reading back at the beginning of the year. Next year is supposed to be (fingers crossed) the two sections of AP world history and 2 sections of regular world history, which will run sort of parallel to the AP world history if I work it right... Plans are underway!

Life... Well, it has been crazy as I said! I'll celebrate 5 years since surgery on August 29th and I must report that my weight is up as a result of not taking enough time to take care of me... I did have my annual labs done in April and those were good. My iron is holding in the low range, not slipping lower. I'm sitting uncomfortably in the 240s these days. That is a gain of about 35 to 40 pounds over the past 2 years. I maintained between 205 and 210 for a very long time--like a year and a half. Then, the pounds started slowly creeping on about the time I started teaching full-time. I know that part of the problem is that I am not eating protein snacks like I did when I was home all the time. And, I can't blame anyone but myself. I haven't taken time to exercise. I haven't addressed the food choices and schedule. I do an okay job when I am at home, but the carbs have sure creeped back into my diet. And days when I forget to bring lunch to school means eating the school lunches. I swear those kids probably have feathers sprouting in their armpits from all the chicken they eat, but it is always breaded... Ugh! And, the school lunches are always carb-laden... One that they do regularly is terryaki chicken (which isn't too bad), but they serve it over white rice with a roll on the side and it is accompanied by either broccoli OR black beans AND a syruppy fruit cup. I hate paying $4 for some chicken and some broccoli or beans! I can tell them to keep the rice and the roll, but if I am hungry, I don't always do it. If the roll is whole wheat, I choose that. Otherwise, I eat some rice...

Good choices? No, not so much! I still keep sliced cheddar cheese in my mini-fridge. I still keep pepperoni slices in there, but it isn't the turkey pepperoni because it isn't available in a store brand here like it was in WV where we had the Kroger brand... I still keep my iced tea unsweetened and add Splenda. I don't drink ANY water...just the tea and I know that this can be a factor for weight loss/maintenance. I've gotten back to keeping protein bars in my desk again--just the Atkins Advantage chocolate peanut butter ones, but they're affordable and better than some out there. If I get hungry mid-morning OR if I fail to get breakfast before school, I can grab one of those towards the end of my second class and get me through to lunch.

What can I do about this weight gain? What do I plan to do? Well, school gets out on June 9th and teachers' last day of work is June 10th. Then, I have 10 weeks to figure it out!
Step 1--cut the carbs! I'm working on it, but every time I have a really good day, I cave in at night to the salty cravings...
Step 2--get back to exercising. Hubby's been home lately and I've got him talked into getting back to walking in the evenings... He was up to almost 2 miles per day at the time he was 3 months postop from his quadruple bypass. Then, once he was back to work full-time, he all but stopped walking any further than from the tractor-trailer into the truck stop and back again... He feels like crap and he's gained the 30 pounds that he lost right back again. SO, he's getting on the bandwagon with me when he's home. I got a new bike back before Christmas and haven't put 15 miles on it I bet... That is going to change! Between walking in the evenings and some afternoon bike rides, I hope to see that scale start to dive again.
Step 3--Planning a protein snack regimen for next school year...and finding some stuff I like to keep it going. I also need to get back to eating more salads... I like salads. I missed them SO much during that first 6 months postop! I'm going to get those back into my diet again and keep them there.
Step 4--More of the same! Getting the stuff back in place is one thing--keeping it there is another. I know that I learned all this stuff during my weight loss. I kept the weight off for a long time by just staying on track. I wasn't dieting. I wasn't going out of my way to not eat anything, but I was EXERCISING and I was getting the protein in...everyday, no matter what... Before my surgery, I was clueless how to lose the weight and keep it off. I can't say that anymore. I know what I have to do. I know how to do it. I CAN DO IT! I will do it...
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