Of Feathers and Flu Shots

I am a big proponent of vaccines in general, and flu shots specifically. I once was sick for three months with a variety of ills, including two separate instances of the flu. I was horribly miserable. Ever since, I have gotten a flu shot every year. Sometimes my company offers on-site flu shots and this year they did. I could have gone to my doctor, who offers drop-in shots; no appointment required. It still seemed a bit easier to get one at work, so I scheduled an appointment and waited.

When the day arrived for the flu shot, I drove over to the building where the nurses were there in force with the shots. The parking lot was almost full. Inside I saw two people that I work with. It was a popular time, just around lunch time. I got my paperwork and started to fill it out. It was a bit tedious, with old-school “bubbles” to fill in with a number 2 pencil. Then I got to a few yes or no questions. Have I ever had an adverse reaction to a flu shot? No. Am I allergic to eggs? No. Am I allergic to chicken? No. Am I allergic to feathers? Why, yes, yes I am!

When I took my paperwork up to the nurse, she told me that they could not administer my flu shot. She further told me that her company didn’t give flu shots to people with feather allergies. No matter that I’m not allergic to eggs, I eat them daily, or chicken, which I eat a few times a week. No matter that I’ve always been allergic to feathers and never had an adverse reaction to the flu shot. I asked if I could change my answer. She shook her head with a rueful smile and told me, quite sincerely and staring into my eyes, that even though she could not administer the vaccine, I should still get one. So, I drove over to my doctor’s office a couple of miles away and got one there. I didn’t have to fill out any paperwork, although I did have to answer whether or not I was allergic to eggs or chicken. No mention was made of feathers and I kept my mouth shut.

I am still shocked by the weird non-correlation that the company offering the flu shots had between feathers and flu shots. Either they are overly concerned with imaginary liability issues, or they want to limit coverage. Neither makes any sense to me. I looked online for an explanation and found, resoundingly, that feather allergies are not related to egg allergies and therefore should not prevent someone from having a flu shot. From the CDC Website, I found this comment about what to tell the person administering your flu shot:

 If you have any severe, life-threatening allergies. If you ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of flu vaccine, or have a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, including (for example) an allergy to gelatin, antibiotics, or eggs, you may be advised not to get vaccinated. Most, but not all, types of flu vaccine contain a small amount of egg protein.

Nothing is mentioned of feathers, or even chicken. The wording is also about severe allergies…makes me wonder how many people skip a flu shot, or are denied one, because of minor allergies.

So, I’ve done my part for herd immunity for the year. In addition to protecting myself, I help to protect the immune-compromised individuals in my community. It’s a simple enough thing to do.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and don’t let a few feathers stop you from doing what you set out to do!

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Permission to Whine? DENIED!

Just before my big run on Sunday, I could tell I was finally coming down with my daughter’s cold. I’ve been incredibly healthy since I started running over a year ago, but ultimately there’s nothing I could do once I actually caught the cold.

There was a time in my life, the first year of my son’s life to be precise, when I was sick one out of every four weeks for an entire year. I had twelve consecutive colds…I think there are only 144 colds altogether, so it was a huge accomplishment to knock-out 1/12th of them in just over 11 months. Then my son got a rash and I got even sicker.

I called the pediatrician and he was nonchalant until I described the red pimples on my son’s cheeks as a “rash”. Rash is code for “serious” to a pediatrician and soon we had an office visit lined up. I was shocked to learn that my son had a sinus infection so bad that the bacteria had erupted straight through his face from sinus to skin surface.

Next thing I knew, I had the worst pain in my sinuses I’d ever experienced. I didn’t have a doctor and none would see me as a new patient if I were sick…finally I called my obstetrician because she was my only doctor. Crying in pain, I described my symptoms to the nurse…next thing I knew, I had a prescription for a powerful decongestant and an antibiotic. The first thing I did when I was well was to find a regular doctor. Fortunately for me and my son, we were healthier after that first year.

For the most part, when I get sick I pamper myself. I get more sleep and drink more water. I am prone to taking a day off of work to catch up on my sleep and keep my germs away from my co-workers. It is a good strategy, one that I encourage in those I work with as well. But today, I couldn’t miss work. I had to cover for one of my team members to take a big deal to committee. I succeeded to get support on the whole deal. Then I had to deliver bad news to a business partner company.

All I really wanted to do all day was lie down and take a nap. No such luck. After work, I ran my daughter around to appointments and volleyball practice. Finally, on the way home I told her that I was giving myself permission to whine, after all it had been a tough day to get through with or without a cold. She immediately nixed that idea telling me that if SHE wasn’t allowed to whine, then neither was I! Touché.

So instead, we went home and had a late dinner. We watched an episode of our latest favorite TV-on-DVD show and went to bed. No whining involved.

Find the Joy in the Journey…sometimes it doesn’t come until the end of a long day.

Sometimes I’m Too Tired To Go To Bed

I came across the idea that it takes a big burst of energy to go from lolling around before bed to actually getting up and getting ready for bed earlier this year from a post by Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project. It really struck a chord with me. She wrote about it in, Epiphany: It Takes a Lot of Energy To Decide to Go To Bed.

I find this to be very true for me. It is something that I need to work on so that I can overcome the negative spiral of being tired, then too tired to go to bed, only to be exhausted the next day and repeating the cycle. Dissecting this a bit more to understand my own situation, I find several reasons that I stay up too late.

I Have So Little “Me Time”

Often I stay up late to do what I don’t otherwise have time to do day-to-day. Frankly, this isn’t a big reason, but I will occasionally stay up to read or to write; things I want to do but for which I have little time. Instead of staying up late, I need to find time for things I love to do on a regular basis during the week without staying up late to do it.

I Never Get Anything Done

This is a big one…except that staying up late doesn’t make me very effective at getting things done, nor leave me any energy to get things done on the following day. I will try to untangle my finances by entering my receipts in Quicken. I will fold laundry or load/unload the dish washer. Frankly, I stick to the mindless tasks, since being tired makes me less sharp.

I Was Busy All Day and Need to Relax

Sometimes I just want to hang on Facebook and play Words with Friends. Sometimes I want to sit down with one or more of my kids and catch up on one of their favorite shows. Mostly, I’ve found myself rushing around after work grocery shopping, making dinner, and cleaning the kitchen. Lately, I’ve found myself rushing from work to get my younger daughter to a game and then finding us slipping home after 10 p.m. There is no time for much after that, but I need a transitioning activity, but maybe “screen time” isn’t the wisest choice.

I Lose Track of Time

This usually happens when I’m on the phone with a friend or family member. Catching up makes time disappear…or so it seems. Sometimes it happens while I’m watching the news…it never ends. Usually when it starts to repeat I’m jolted into the final push to get to bed.

The problem is that once I delay getting ready for bed it just gets harder and harder to make the first step. I try to take it one thing at a time…I change. Then I tend to have a snack (a habit I need to break!). Eventually I wash my face and brush my teeth…sometimes at two separate times. Meanwhile, I play a few rounds of Words with Friends, throw a load of laundry in, or check Facebook “one last time”. Eventually the lights are off and I drift away.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and put your oxygen mask on first…GET SOME SLEEP!!

The Return of the Sniffles and Sneezes

Mornings, evenings, and weekends when I gather with my kids, I hear a lot of sniffling and sneezing and some of it is coming from me. This spring allergy season hit me pretty hard, but I’m managing with a daily allergy pill and occasional decongestants. I’m watching my kids closely, and they all have symptoms. My youngest, a very stubborn gal, insists she just has a bad cold…but I am not fooled. Allergies run in our family and without intervention, lead to ear and/or sinus infections. The older two are proactively taking an allergy medicine, but the youngest tried for one day and declared that it didn’t help.

Last summer, in between the spring and fall allergy seasons, I stopped getting my allergy shots. I had gone off of my anti-histamine prescription the prior year and was working my way towards a “cure” from allergies. I can’t say that I am cured, but I am better than before I went on the shots, over 17 years ago.

I managed fairly well through the fall allergy season, but this spring has been a doozy! News reports everywhere declare it the worst allergy season on record. Earlier springs have led to longer allergy seasons, and therefore more misery. I don’t regret going off of my immunotherapy, and most of the year I am fine, with symptoms only when I eat certain foods.

I know my food-triggers, which cause respiratory allergy symptoms in me, so I’m pretty careful to stay away from them. Some are hidden in many foods, barley being the worst as the surprising secret ingredient in processed breads these days. It boosts the fiber content without changing the color or texture of the bread…the infamous “whole grain white bread”. Every once in a while I’m surprised to find a new food allergy, most recently red grapes.

This year I was going to take up the job of mowing the lawn, but a broken mower and a rampant allergy season led me to hire a service. I was surprised to find it very affordable, so now I will close the doors and windows to grass and tree allergens. I’ve saved enough money in medical costs to pay for seasonal lawn service, a hidden bonus. Too bad it’s not enough to cover a housecleaning service too!

In my quest for a healthier lifestyle, reducing my dependence on medications and immunotherapy has been mostly successful. I know that getting into running and a more active lifestyle is also great for my health and will reduce the need for medications in the future. If I stay fit, I’ll be much less likely to need drugs for cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, and a number of other problems that are aggravated by poor diets and being overweight and underactive. I thought that this part of my journey would be too hard, but I’ve found that anything is doable if I take it one step at a time.

Find the Joy in the Journey…take that first step, then take the next, and keep on moving until you accomplish your goals!

Related Posts:

No More Allergy Shots!

 Withdrawal or Kicking the Anti-Histamine Habit

My Health Experiment Fail—Next Time, Just Give Me Drugs!

Hay Fever–Day 285 With No Anti-Histamines

I Am Not A Meth Queen…Now Give Me My Little Red Pills!

Back Cracker–Chiropractor

A few weeks ago I went to a home show with a friend and just before it closed down we passed a booth with people in medical garb and a sign offering a free diagnosis for spinal alignment. I don’t know why I fall for these things; I think “sucker” is written all over my face. I dutifully turned around and stood on the footsteps painted in front of a simple frame with strings across it. When I stepped away and turned back, I could see that my hips are level but my shoulders are not. Typically I stand with my weight on my right leg, so I’m kind of surprised that my hips are level. The shoulder was no surprise.

15 years ago, I used to travel extensively and would be running through airports pulling my rolling bag with my right arm and hauling my laptop computer bag over my left shoulder. Eventually I developed a lot of pain in that shoulder that has never really left. Originally, my doctor told me it was a muscle tear…but it never got any better despite ibuprofen and favoring it for weeks at a time. I got used to the dull ache and never had it looked at further. I assumed that the diagnosis of a tear was accurate and didn’t really want to go down a surgical path to get it repaired.

I stood at the booth and soon realized that it was for a chiropractor and they offered a full assessment for $20. I was skeptical to say the least, but $20 seemed like a small price to pay even if it turned out to be a hoax. I met the chiropractor, a petite woman with a doctorate in chiropractic. She seemed sincere enough, and not at all like a snake oil saleswoman!

I showed up at the doctor’s office and she immediately put her hands on the exact spots that were causing me trouble. She explained that the nerves for that area of my back ran through the upper bones in my spine, below my neck. She then had me hold out my right arm and she pushed down on it while I pushed up with equal force. Then she tried my left arm and it dropped like a stone. I was shocked and suspected some sort of parlor trick. She explained that only 9% of nerves have to do with pain, and that the pinched nerves in my back could also cause muscle weakness.

I don’t know if chiropractic works, but I’m giving it a try in an attempt to eradicate 15 years of shoulder pain. My insurance will cover most of it, lending the practice the aura of medical respectability. I delayed starting treatments until after my recent business trip, because it’s important to go frequently in the beginning. I’ve had six adjustments and I do feel complete relief from pain for a few hours after each.

While I was traveling, I happened to notice someone take their laptop bag and slip a sleeve in the back of it over the handle of their rolling bag. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so stupid…I always wondered what that “open pocket” was on my bag. Sigh. For the rest of the trip I got along quite well with my roller bag topped by a secured laptop bag…no stress to my shoulder at all.

Find the Joy in the Journey…Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Running Sick

I have become a very cautious person when it comes to being sick. I rest when I am sick, end of story. I figure that keeping myself in good health means knowing when enough is enough and not trying to push through an illness. I have suffered dozens of secondary infections in my life, especially before I had sinus surgery. I would have a cold or an allergy attack, or even the flu and then when I was recovered, I’d be struck by an ear infection, throat or tonsil infection, or a sinus infection. Nothing like being sick for a week only to come down with something worse!

Fortunately, I’ve been very healthy for the last year, and I do consider that all the dieting and exercising I’ve been doing has been a contributor…not to mention the flu shot I got in September. Now I find myself struggling with a minor sinus infection. I say minor because it doesn’t have me running to the doctor for antibiotics, but it does wake me up in the middle of the night with pain that requires some over-the-counter relief and it has me dragging during the day.

With my next 5k race coming up on Saturday, I’m anxious to get in a couple of practice runs, but I’ve held off so far. Now I’m wondering if I’ve been too cautious, so I did a little research. I read this piece by Runners World, “Should You Run When You’re Sick?” and at first thought I’d made a mistake by skipping workouts due to a minor illness. The general rule is that if you no fever and all your symptoms are above the neck, you are good to go. Then I got to this part about sinusitis:

“With a full-blown sinus infection, you rarely feel like running. But if you do, consider the 72-hour rule of Jeffrey Hall Dobken, M.D.: “No running for three days,” advises the allergist/immunologist and ultramarathoner in Little Silver, New Jersey. Even without the presence of a fever, says Dr. Dobken, some sinus infections, when stressed by exercise, can lead to pneumonia or, in extreme cases, respiratory failure.”

I’m back to listening to my own body and using my own common sense. It’s not such a big deal anyway, I’m talking about a 5k, not a marathon. Even so, as I build up to longer races, I want to do so in a healthy and fun way, not in an obsessed way! I’ve been working hard since my last race in September and I know that my time will be much improved, even if not the 30 minutes I’d hoped to achieve. I will likely not even beat my personal best since I’ve slowed down my training and I’m not 100%, but I will surely achieve my best race results so far. As smart runners say, there’s always another race!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the peace of mind to trust your own instincts.

Getting Serious About Fitness

I’ve been getting serious about my fitness and health more and more over the last year, and many of you have followed along as I’ve tried new things, failed, succeeded, and hit a big plateau. It’s tough enough for me to do, having never been an athletic person before, but for a person with cancer, it’s even more daunting but even more important.

Recently, fellow blogger, Melanie Bowen, approached me about writing a guest post on my blog about the subject. She has a web page and blog, about mesothelioma where you can read more in depth about the topic. Although I don’t know anyone who has been stricken by this disease, three out of my four grandparents died of cancer, mostly due to exposure to toxins, so her site struck home with me. Please read on about the importance of fitness, especially for cancer patients:

Fitness Helps Cancer Patients Live Longer and Live Better by Melanie Bowen

For many people who have just received a diagnosis of cancer, an exercise program may not be at the top of a to-do list. Experts in the area, however, suggest that exercise can maximize the long-term health of a cancer patient.

When to Begin a Fitness Program

Exercise does not have to be put on hold until treatment is complete. Unfortunately, when faced with a new cancer diagnosis many people actually decrease or stop exercising. Many understandable factors contribute to this trend, including depression and the physical issues associated with treatment. The problem is that people tend to continue their inactivity beyond remission, too. The best course is to begin light exercise as soon as possible. Walking and stretching are just a few great ways to begin.

What the Studies Show

A number of studies conducted by oncologists and fitness experts point to an increased sense of wellbeing with an increased level of exercise. That improved wellbeing is accompanied by a lower incidence of cancer recurrence and an increased survival rate. Studies of breast and colorectal survivors who make exercise a regular part of their daily routine, show that these people live longer. This is also true of other cancers, including mesothelioma and melanoma, for instance. The fatigue that can be a very real part of this disease can be alleviated through exercise. Just like exercise imparts benefits to the general population, exercise imparts benefits to cancer survivors. Some of these benefits are weight control, muscle strength, healthy body mass, and a better attitude towards life.

Improved Quality of Life

Recently, a cross-discipline panel of researchers in fitness, weight loss, and cancer met to discuss how physical activity can enhance the lives of those undergoing cancer treatment. An article in the National Cancer Institute Bulletin, discusses the conclusion that, in addition to the physical benefits, cancer survivors had a dramatically improved quality of life when exercise was added to their daily regime.

It is time that all cancer patients, at all points in their treatment should seriously consider how to increase the amount of exercise and physical activity in their lives. Fitness appears to be associated with both living longer and living better so talk to your doctor today.

Find the Joy in the Journey…even when the going gets serious.

Out-Patient Is Not The Same As Quick…

Over the holidays when my son was home from college, a doctor visit followed by a visit to the ER unearthed a problem requiring out-patient surgery. Next came the double-logistical nightmare of doctor visits and out-patient surgery in one town when school is in another and my son being an adult physically, mentally, and per the law, but not emotionally or by way of experience.

Fortunately, my son’s school is only an hour and a half away by car. Even so, I have to work and my son has classes five days a week; doctors, especially surgeons, don’t hold Saturday office hours. I tried to mix it up a bit…he missed classes last Thursday to consult with a surgeon, but he got back for Friday classes. The surgeon was understanding about my son’s schedule and agreed to book him for Friday the following week. He had to miss Friday classes, but could get a full three days of recovery over a holiday weekend before going back to school on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, although I am his mother and he is on my insurance, I have no legal right to know what is going on unless my son asks for my presence. I cannot confirm his appointments, nor take pre or post-op information on his behalf. For some reason, the surgeon’s office gave the hospital my cell phone number rather than my son’s, so they dutifully left voicemails at our home and called me on my cell. On Wednesday when they called, I immediately called my son and gave him the number to call. On Thursday, the hospital called again, meaning my son had not called them back. This time I gave the hospital my son’s cell phone number and left voicemails and texts with my son telling him to contact the hospital or they’d cancel his surgery. By some miracle, he got the message and even navigated hospital phone trees, instructions to call another number and leave specific information, etc.

So, he came home Thursday evening and at 7 a.m. Friday morning we were headed for the hospital. By 7:15 he was in admitting. Things ran on schedule throughout the morning and right on time, he went into surgery at 9:30. He was out within an hour, also as planned. I had thought we’d be home by 1 p.m. and had even contemplated going in to work for the afternoon. In reality, he wasn’t discharged until 5 p.m. Seems out-patient means only that you won’t spend the night in the hospital, not that you’ll be able to go home a few hours after surgery.

Fortunately for me, I had a new book to read and it kept me occupied for most of the day. I also had magazines with me, plus my iPad…I had hoped to write my blog in my downtime, but the book took up all my free moments. Besides, there is no WiFi at the hospital…I look forward to the day when there is free WiFi everywhere…or maybe I should just get one of those personal hot-spots…

Meanwhile, when I was in pre-op or post-op, I even had to turn off my phone. No family updates through text or calls. Occasionally, I would be sent away and I’d turn my phone on and try to respond to inquiries by family and friends about his condition. Around 11, the nurse gave me a prescription for my son’s pain medications and I set off to find the pharmacy.

The coordinator in the waiting room was getting off of her shift, so she said she would show me the way. This turned out to entail her going down to the main floor with me and pointing me towards the main part of the hospital. She told me to go straight down the hallway, then turn and keep on in that direction to the tower elevators and the glass walkway. Fortunately for me, I had a vague idea of where I was going, since there is no such thing as a long, straight hallway in the hospital. Halls jaunt off in all directions, often not at right angles.

I finally made it back to the operating area and saw my son once again in post-op. At 1:40, the nurse ordered a lunch for my son and advised me that the cafeteria stopped serving hot lunches at 2. So, I set off to find the cafeteria. Upon my return, I was told that my son was sleeping with a bump-up in the IV pain medications due to pain and nausea issues. I finished my book in the waiting room and eventually was taken back to see my son.  He was finally released, and after 5 p.m., more than 10 hours after we left home, we arrived back and settled in.

Find the Joy in the Journey…In this case it was just knowing that my son was ok and getting the medical attention he needed, even though it came with a lot of pain. And also, the book I read was amazing!

Drop a Dress Size–From Large to Medium

Every week since I started my diet and pumped up my exercise, I’ve taken a picture of myself in my running tights and quarter zip. Week-to-week, I can’t always see a difference; over time, the difference stuns me. Last week, the top was positively baggy and the tights wanted to slip down my hips as I ran. It was time to buy a size smaller—No more larges!

Fortunately, I was able to find cold-weather running tights and a bright quarter-zip to coordinate. Ok, ok, I also found a running jacket and a cute skull-cap in pink and grey with a hole for my ponytail. This morning, I suited up in my new clothes and they fit. So, here I am, pseudo-anonymous, before and after 11 weeks.

Drop a dress size--After 11 weeks Drop a dress size--Before

I ran effortlessly this morning in the chilled air. It felt good to be outside in the light and not inside on my treadmill. Between my weight-loss and setting my treadmill to 5 mph, I’ve managed to drop my natural running speed to close to a 12 minute mile; so much faster than my almost 15-minute mile when I finally got up to a distance of 3 miles.

It’s still my goal to get to a 10 minute mile by spring time and then start working on increasing my distance from 5k to 10k. Slow and steady seems to be the best course of action, which is always the best advice even though it is hard to take. It took me 9 weeks to work up to running a 5k at just under 45 minutes. It took me 11 weeks to lose 22 pounds and drop to running a 5k in just over 36 minutes. By April, a total of 50 pounds off of my body and running a 5k in 30 minutes seems reasonable.

It’s wonderful how these two goals go together and create a virtuous cycle of fitness and weight-loss. Even though I have been much thinner than I am now, I don’t think I’ve ever been as fit. The other day my younger daughter was saying that she couldn’t turn a cartwheel. I used to love gymnastics, not that I was any good at it, but I could turn a mean left-handed cartwheel…or rather left-legged. (I do blame much of my clumsiness on being right-handed but left-eyed and left-legged.) When she mentioned cartwheels, I thought to myself, hey, I’ll bet I could do one. And I did. It wasn’t pretty…but it was genuine!

Six years ago, my son, older daughter, and I took fencing lessons.  For Christmas, I bought all of us our own gear…I see the bags hanging in the garage everyday when I pull the car in after work. The other day I thought, I’ll bet my jacket fits me again…wouldn’t it be fun to take up fencing again? My younger daughter is old enough now to take fencing…hmmm…I may have an idea!

Little did I know when I started running that it could lead me to have more energy, help me manage stress, and even make me feel like I can try new things (or re-try old things). It’s one thing to read about the benefits of exercise and another to feel it with your own mind and body.

Find the Joy in the Journey…it always starts by taking that first step!

Goodbye Fat-Girl Pants!

The weight came on at about one pound per month. I really didn’t notice it at first, but eventually my work clothes got tighter and tighter and I knew I needed to buy some new pants. Tops were easy, but pants are tough to find even for fit women. For a woman in denial about her real weight, it’s excruciating. So, when I found a pair that fit, I bought it in three colors. It turned out that the black pair was a slightly different style and actually a bit looser than the other two. They became a staple in my wardrobe.

The pants served me well for the last 5 or 6 years. I called the black pair into service twice a week…sometimes three times if I needed to wear business casual on the weekend. Now they are well worn, and tattered at the cuffs. About 4 years ago, I lost 25 pounds and bought two new pairs of black pants…but I promptly gained five back when I went on vacation and the pants never fit. Eventually the other 20 pounds returned and I was back to my fat-girl pants once again.

When the cuffs first started to fray, I took to snipping off the frayed ends with a pair of sharp scissors. This worked fine, but I knew that they couldn’t last forever. More recently, I’d noticed they were getting a bit shiny in places and even though they’ve worn like iron and stood up to two or three times through the washer and dryer every week for years, they were on their last legs (so to speak!).

As I’ve lost weight over the last ten weeks, I would look longingly at the two pairs of unworn black pants in my closet. After about a month, I tried them on. I was encouraged that I could get them past my thighs and hips, but I couldn’t button them. After two months, I could button them, but they were still too tight. Finally, a week ago, they fit and they fit me well. That is when I declared that I’d dropped a dress size.

Last night, I took this picture of the waistbands of the fat-girl pants and the new pants. Then I promptly tossed the fat-girl pants into the trash. The fat-girl pants stood me in good stead and got me through countless days of work when it seemed impossible to find time for exercise or enough energy to cut back on my calories. Those are the old days and this thinner woman needs no reminders of her fat days and no enticements to re-gain the weight.Fat Girl Pants

Someday soon, I will have the energy and desire to clear out my closet and get rid of anything too big, too out of style, too worn, or too ugly. I’m sure I’ll discover some treasures that fit and some that will fit soon, great encouragement to keep on going with my weight-loss plan.

Just throwing out that one pair of pants makes me realize that I am never going back to my fat-girl days. I’m enjoying the energy I get from exercise. I am stronger and can run for longer than at any time in my life, even as a teen. The weight is coming off slowly, steadily, and consistently. That is fine with me! After all, I need a chance to wear my new pants before they themselves become my fat-girl pants!

Find the Joy in the Journey…focus on the next step, but keep your eye on the horizon!