Weight Gain

WeightGain

We went to the doctor’s office today so I could get my clearance note for surgery to remove my parotid gland.  They had me step on the scale and I was shocked to see that I was 205lbs.  So yeah, I’m a bit verklempt lol.

One of my issues with exercising is that when I walk or ride my bike or do anything that burns calories, the Noom app tells me that I can eat more calories, so I end up eating those extra calories, but then I might even go over those extra calories because I think to myself that I did such a good job that it’s okay.  Well, that’s not how it works.  I should still stick with 1400 calories, 1500 at the most.  Even if it says I can eat 1700, I should draw the line in the sand at 1500.

I’ve been using the Noom app for my cardio, but I decided to download the Noom Cardio Trainer.  I’m sure that it will still show the extra calories in the Noom app, but I just want to see how it goes with the Noom Cardio Trainer.

I’ve been eating those Quinoa and Tofu burgers every day with hamburger buns which is not a good idea; I should be eating them without any bread.  Here is my typical day:

Every morning I will either have a bowl of Malt-O-Meal or a banana for breakfast, which by the way the Malt-O-Meal is a green food (which means healthy) and the banana is obviously a green food.  For my morning snack (second breakfast?) I usually have a banana.  For lunch I normally eat a Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinner, although I’ve been eating the Quinoa and Tofu burgers, both by the way are green, except for the bun of course.  Afternoon snack (linner?) is typically a banana or crackers or sometimes I will have a bowl of broccoli.  That has been consistent.  Dinner is typically a Weight Watchers Smart Ones, but I’ve been eating the Quinoa and Tofu Burgers.  For evening snack I’ve been eating a lot of crackers.  I need to stop doing that, but I get so hungry that it feels like I’m famished.

I’m assuming that my issue here is the bread and the crackers.  I also have to admit that I’ve been eating candy corn, but not daily.  I’m guessing that the amount that I’ve eaten so far is finally catching up to me, so I will stop eating them for the rest of the season.  If I am having this much difficulty from the candy corn, just imagine how it’s going to be when Eggnog is available in stores.  I’m going to go crazy because I just LOVE eggnog lol.

So getting back to the Noom cardio trainer, I have set up 5 days a week to go riding on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  I’m going to go out 5 days a week to do at least 11 miles per day, if I can do more, then great, but I’m not going to push myself that hard.  The app suggests 5 days a week, so I’m giving myself 2 days off, but not 2 consecutive days which is why I chose Sundays and Wednesdays as my days off.

balance ballI am also going to buy that Gaiam Total Body Balance Ball Kit which is sold on Amazon for $20.  It has an exercise DVD with it which I can watch while doing the exercises in my bedroom.  The doctor at Physical Therapy told me I should buy one so I can do exercises for my back since I only have 3 more sessions left.  My insurance only pays for so many sessions, then I’m on my own.  My back isn’t in as much pain as it was, but anyone who has, or anyone who knows anyone with scoliosis knows that the pain is really bad.  The only thing that really helps my pain is the exercises.  Pain meds don’t do anything for my back pain, they help my parotid gland pain, but not my back pain.  $20 is a small price to pay for pain relief.  I wanted to buy one at Target, but they were the same price, but without the DVD.

I really hope I can get back down to my comfortable weight of 192lbs and possibly get back on track with my weight loss so I can get down to my ultimate goal of 170lbs.  Considering I lost 70lbs this year, 35lbs shouldn’t be that difficult to lose, although it’s harder than I thought.

So to recap, my goal is to stay away from Halloween Candy and any other holiday sweets, bread and to exercise more and to try not to eat more than 1500 calories per day, even when the app says I can eat more.

Ready… set…  GO!

I am finally not in any pain

pain

I have been going to Jacobo Physical Therapy 3 days a week for a few weeks and I can’t believe it but, I am not in any pain.  I can’t say that this is a permanent thing, because I do occasionally feel pain, but it’s not a constant nagging in my spine like it normally is 24 hours a day.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, but recently in the last month I found out from x-rays that I also have scoliosis.  I was wondering why I was in constant agony, now I know why.  My doctor sent me to physical therapy and I go there three days a week.  They give me certain exercises I can do for 30 minutes, then someone comes in and gives me a soft tissue massage.

Dr. Jacobo told me that my insurance will only cover so many visits per year, so once I’m done with physical therapy, I’m on my own.  She said they will see me three days next week, but after that I can come once a week.  I am not sure if my insurance will pay for once a week, but I hope they do.

weider total body works 5000She told me that they can give me a printout of all of my exercises in case I forget what they are so that I can do them at home.  I have a Weider Total Body Works 5000 which I can use to help me.  Some of the exercises I do use weights, so that’s where my home gym will come in.  Not all of the exercises will require using the gym, so I will have to remember them and try to make it a daily ritual to keep my back pain down to an absolute minimum, if that is possible.

I’m wondering if I should set up my video camera so I can do all of the exercises so if I ever forget how to do them, I can always refer to the tape, or well, DVD since it’s a DVD Camcorder.  I think that would be a good idea because I know I will forget if I don’t make it a habit.

I bought that Weider Total Body Works 5000 in 2005 from Wal-mart’s website for $99.  Now they are $149 at Wal-Mart and $159 at Target.  It’s $400 and $1000 on Amazon, which is amazing that they would sell it for that much money since you can buy it much cheaper at Wally World and Target.

My gym is outside in our patio which makes it a miserable experience because it’s way too hot out there to use it, but there isn’t any room for it inside the house.  I’m pretty sure I can deal with using it out there for half an hour per day if it will help me with my pain levels.  Although I can’t say that I will get my massages, but I guess I will just have to deal without those lol.

The good thing about these exercises is that they taught me how to stretch my legs while laying down when I start and when I finish, so I can use that knowledge for when I ride my bike.  It’s always a good idea to stretch before and after a bike ride.

I really hope my pain levels aren’t as high as they used to be without going to physical therapy 3 days a week.  If you have ever suffered from back pain, then you know what that constant nagging pain feels like, so you understand.  Most people who don’t have any back pain never understand.  In fact, some people feel that because they don’t have that same or any pain that they don’t think we are in any pain at all.  It’s a “if I’m not in pain, then you aren’t in any pain either” type of thing I guess.

Pain meds don’t always help me.  I’ve taken Ibuprofen, Vicodin, muscle relaxers, Tylenol, Advil etc.  Nothing works.  Although when I broke my arm I was constantly medicating myself with Vicodin which took ALL my pain away.  I think that was the best vacation from pain I’ve been on in a long time.  When my arm healed and I stopped taking the Vicodin, the back pain returned.  I have taken more Vicodin since then, but it doesn’t do any good.

I think I spoke too soon because I’m getting shooting pain in the middle of my spine.  YIKES!  Well, let’s hope that it doesn’t get worse.  I think I will take something for it now.  I bought some generic “Pain Relief PM” from Dollar General for $1 to help with the pain and to help me sleep.  I really hope that doing those exercises at home will help because I don’t think I can take being in as much pain as I was before going to Jacobo Physical Therapy.  That really is no way to live.

Today I found out that I have Sialolithiasis

Sialolithiasis

I have been dealing with a problem in my right saliva gland, called the parotid gland, for at least the last 10 years.  It comes and goes at the least 2 times and at the most 5 times per year.  The doctors have always given me antibiotics, or by the time I get to the doctor it has gone down so I don’t mention it.  This time around I had the issue and I made a special appointment for it because it was too painful to ignore.

inches and centimetersThe doctor put me on antibiotics which lasted 1 week.  I saw him a week later and was still in pain and it was still swollen and he gave me more antibiotics.  Because it wasn’t going away, he sent me to get an ultrasound and when he found out that it was 1cm, he suggested surgery, but asked me if that was what I wanted.  Not everyone wants to have surgery which would scar you, so he wanted to know what I wanted to have done.  For scale, see image (left).

He referred me to an Ear Nose Throat doctor who sent me for a cat scan with contrast and when I saw him on Wednesday, he told me that I needed to go to yet another doctor.  Are all these doctors getting a kick back for these referrals?  I mean honestly, why do I need to have so many referrals?  Anyway, he was trying to send me to Los Angeles and I told him that I’d rather go to a doctor here in Bakersfield because I don’t want to have to drive (well, I don’t drive, I’d have to be driven) all the way to Los Angeles just for a consultation to be told that I have to come back for the surgery and then after surgery.

So I went to a doctor at Kern Medical Center today for the consultation and he told me that I have 4 options

  1. Live with it.
  2. Ultrasound which they don’t do there and my insurance doesn’t cover.
  3. Surgery where they use a scope to go in there with a camera and grab the stone and pull it out, which is also not available there, I would have to go to LA and most likely make several trips, which we can’t afford and my insurance might not pay for it.
  4. Have him do surgery to remove the entire gland and give me a huge scar.

I decided on option 4, but when I told my partner out in the lobby he said “Oh no tell him you want to go to LA.”  Without thinking I went back to the counter and said I need to tell the doctor that I want to go to LA.  Then we got to talking, my insurance company probably won’t want to pay for that because I bet you that will cost more than having it removed.  Plus, we’d still have to go all the way to LA and probably make several trips.  I can’t afford that dammit!  If I could have afforded that, then I would have just done that in the beginning.  Sheesh!

Well, the doctor at KMC told me that before he can do the surgery (when I had told him I was up for option 4) he needs my doctor to sign off on it.  So I made an appointment for Tuesday of next week so I could talk to him and tell him that I need him to call that doctor’s office and give them his okay.

This is what I have.  It’s called Sialolithiasis.

parotid gland “Sialolithiasis (also termed salivary calculi,[1] or salivary stones),[1] is a condition where a calcified mass forms within a salivary gland, usually in the duct of the submandibular gland (2) (also termed “Wharton’s duct“). Less commonly the parotid gland (1) or rarely the sublingual gland (3) or a minor salivary gland may develop salivary stones.”

This is what he said will happen.  They will have to start cutting right at the edge of my sideburn just at or near the top of my ear which is where my glasses are, go all the way down below my earlobe and turn towards my neck and go down my neck.  It’s a big gland as you can see in the image above, so naturally they have to cut a lot.  He said there will be a pretty big scar, but I’m okay with that.  Neosporin has a cream for scars to help them disappear.

I have no issue with scars.  In fact, I feel scars give you character.  Perhaps the doctor will let me keep the stone so I can have something to show when I tell the story of how I got that scar on my face.

As always, I will keep updating this blog on the progress.

Health Update

Health_Update_rainbow

In my previous health update on my back I mentioned that my recent x-rays showed that my spine was curving like a parenthesis (.  Today I had my appointment with the physical therapist who told me that it was like that on the top, but the other way on the bottom, so basically it’s in an S shape.  ( on the top and ) on the bottom.  I like to think that I am such a huge Superman fan that my back is turning into the Superman S, which means hope on his planet, of course.

The physical therapist office wants me to come in 3 days a week for my therapy.  They gave me some homework exercises to do in the morning or at night, but at least do them daily.  She also suggested that if I could go swimming, I should.  I told her I didn’t have a pool and because I have a weak immune system already, that it’s probably not a good idea to use a public pool.  I get bronchitis if someone coughs 30 feet away, I can’t imagine how sick I will be if I’m in a pool with children lol.  She suggested that my bicycle is a better alternative since it doesn’t cause pain.

Today I also went to have a cat scan with contrast, which by the way… ick!  All I taste and smell is Iodine lol.  They will hopefully find out what the problem is with my swollen parotid gland so they can fix the problem.  My regular doctor suggested surgery, but the ear, nose and throat doctor doesn’t know my doctor’s diagnosis and isn’t exactly sure why he should care.  At least that’s how it seemed to me by the way he spoke to me.  He didn’t seem to have any of my doctor’s notes or even know why I was there.  I basically have to start from scratch with him as if I have never come to any doctor with my problem.  It would be nice if when a doctor refers you somewhere that they tell that doctor why they are being referred.

I will see my regular doctor this Friday and the ENT doctor on Monday.  The place I went to today for the cat scan said it would be released to both doctor’s offices in 2 business days.

I woke up in the middle of the night with THE worst headache and pain from my saliva gland.  I was also sick to my stomach so I had a PB&J.  Right now I have nausea and all I smell is Iodine still.  I hope that goes away soon lol.

More updates as they happen. 🙂

Swollen Parotid Gland

swollen parotid gland

There is this strange thing that happens to me at the very least 1 time and at the most 4 times per year.  My Parotid glands swell up because there is a blockage and it hurts like a mother effer.  I wouldn’t normally use such profanity, but it really hurts lol.

What is the Parotid gland?  Nobody has ever heard that term, but apparently it’s a saliva gland.  This is where your saliva comes from, well, one of the many glands anyway.  I am not a medical professional or even a student so don’t listen to what I’m about to say if you expect to get an education from this, this is only my assumption based on my experience with this.

So you have these glands that produce your saliva.  They release saliva through veins that run from the gland to the inside of your mouth and it oozes out into your mouth.  If there is a block, your gland fills up with saliva and you can literally push on it and you can feel, and even see saliva squirting out of the inside of your cheek either into your mouth, or on the bathroom mirror depending on the direction of the vein and the position you are facing the mirror.  No joke lol.

When I feel it filling up, I push on it and it releases the saliva which gives me some relief, but sometimes the block is so bad that even pushing on it won’t release the saliva.  This happens to me all the time.  Although, pushing on it really hurts until the saliva squirts out, but then it still hurts, but it does give me some relief for a while until it fills back up.  I try not to think of anything that will make me salivate, but then everything makes me salivate.  I can’t win.  It’s like trying to think about baseball when you have an erection, it doesn’t always work.

About 2 weeks ago I could feel swelling and pain from my Parotid gland and we went to our regular appointment and the doctor gave me some antibiotics which was supposed to help.  The doctor told me that if it doesn’t help then I may need surgery.  When we went back a week later it seemed like it had gotten better because it wasn’t as swollen.  The doctor asked me if I wanted surgery and I said it wasn’t necessary.  Oh boy was I wrong.

Saturday evening the Parotid gland had swollen up again so I pushed on it and the saliva went through the veins, but then got stuck so there was a little bubble with saliva sitting in that vein and it couldn’t exit.  It’s still there.  That one little tiny mistake has given me massive amounts of pain since Saturday night.  I’m not the kind of person who cries when he’s in pain because I am literally always in pain so I’m used to it.  When I broke my arm earlier this year I didn’t cry once.  This swollen Parotid gland and saliva bubble pain is so bad that I want to cry.  I haven’t, but I want to.  Or maybe I’ve just bottled my pain emotion so much that I just want to let it out lol.

So I called the doctor’s office yesterday and they scheduled me to come in today at 11:30 a.m.  The doctor gave me a prescription for Norco as well as 2 antibiotics which he said I don’t take right away, he said to wait for it to get worse.  WORSE?  Holy crap!  I went to Truxton Radiology and had an ultrasound then went back to the doctor’s office to have blood drawn for a test specifically for this problem.  He said I will get a letter in the mail with the information for the surgeon referral which will most likely have the appointment in the letter with an address.

I am ready for this thing to go away.  You have no idea how ready I am lol.  I am just sick and tired of being in pain all the time.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another.  If it’s not my curving back which turns out to be scoliosis, then it’s my freakin’ Parotid gland.  I guess that means I’m getting old lol.