Monday, April 19, 2010

The John Nelson Weight Loss Challenge: Week 12

While us MABRA guys have been blowing our time, skin, money and muscles at Chantilly and Dolan, John has been hard at work raising money for the Wounded Warriors, still losing weight and working toward the May 20th weigh-in. I had him over to a BBQ yesterday just to be a big jerk and test him, and he spent the whole time munching on a carrot stick. I was impressed.

Here's this week's report...

A week ago today (Monday), I had re-started the plan that got me to this point. I rode to work at a pretty fast clip, feeling good, sun shining, and birds singing. On the way home it was a different story. There was pain. That was the start down a spiral of events that made a diet a secondary thought.

On Tuesday morning at 8:20 a.m., I was in the doctor’s office with my heart racing, and my pants folded over a metal chair in the corner. I was swinging my legs off the table while nervously waiting for the doctor to come through the door to examine my (manly parts), where I sat on the bike seat the day before. They (the manly parts) hurt. “Stung” was the word I used. But it was a constant stinging that worried me. Besides that, there was a lump on the lower sit bone part, and another on the (right manly part). All this time I was thinking of the picture of Lance Armstrong in the hospital bed, a scar on his shaved head, an IV drip of what is likely steroids being pumped into his arm, and him explaining to the doctor that he felt good at the start of the ride last week, but then felt horrible the next minute. Just like my Monday afternoon.

After a moment of “Hmms” and “Uh-huhs”, Doc said, “Let’s take some blood to test to see if the Alpha-fetoprotein are in the blood and urine. I doubt it, but we should check anyway.” He then told me that there are different kinds of testicular cancers, and they differ in the level and kind of marker that is elevated.

Though his bedside manner is great and he knows the subject, somehow all the information coming out of his mouth silenced to a muffled hum, where I could only hear my own heart beating at about 160 bpm, and random words of doubts shouted inside my head, now filling with panic. When that happens, a joke pops out. “Maybe the chemotherapy will allow me to lose a lot of weight and I’ll become a climber like Lance Armstrong.” It just blurted out, interrupting Doc’s explanation of how long the results would take.

The rest is a blur.

Funny though, how my thoughts weren’t about survival. They singularly focused on losing weight and riding bikes. Yes, the co-incidence of Lance Armstrong and testicular cancer played a part. But we should remember that he also had lung and brain cancer as well. But it is the sitting on the bike seat and swollen man parts that triggered his success story. Nevertheless, because of that story, I had no doubts about surviving it. I just wanted to lose weight to become a climber.

The rest of the week flirted with more news that came close to that of a mortal disease. But Thursday, while my wife was driving our dog (Slyder) to the vet’s for his rear-leg, torn tendon surgery (yes, I know--don’t get me started) I had whittled myself into a funk. Sitting at work, I tried to focus on the job, (now enhanced due to the pending departure of my boss). Still, focusing on paperwork wan’t any good. My thoughts kept slipping back to impending doom and gloom. Who is going to take over as Chief FOIA Officer when my boss leaves? Who is going to take care of Slyder? Who is going to take care of me? Damn, this is not the time to be on a mood altering diet. Or is it?

Saturday morning, after being up all night with Slyder with his high pitched whining, low toned growling, and moaning, a ray of sunshine poked through the blinds in the den. I realized that I spent the entire night rubbing Slyder’s belly and not eating. In fact, the entire night, with food, beer, wine, and other snack type items just upstairs and to the left, I never faltered from the plan, leaving me to drown my sorrows and whoas in meals and snacks. The whole week, I never indulged in feeding myself to regain a good mood, or drowned in calories, or felt like deviating from the plan. In fact, it was just the opposite.

All this week, the one thing I had control over was the diet. Though I could not work out, and my stomach was empty from taking the prescription of antibiotics my doctor handed me on Tuesday, I didn’t deviate from the calories in, calories out menu. That was the one thing I could work on for myself and not find disappointment. Knowing that I could not get on the bike or elliptical due to the swelling, I reduced the calories that I was taking in. Four chicken wings instead of five. A bowl of soup instead of the chili. A salad instead of the meatloaf. Little things the reduced the portion of my intake, the calories, and the need for more food later. I stuck to the one thing I could do this week that would hopefully give me a satisfactory outcome. I stuck to the plan.

In the end, by this morning, the dawn broke into everything good. I stepped on the scale and it blinked 300 pounds. So I dropped three pounds from the same time last week. That’s good. A good sign of hope that the plan worked and I’m back on track toward negative numbers. Slyder walked up to me on the scale. Well, hopped on three legs while holding the injured leg up by his side, then put his leg down on the ground without putting much weight on it. But that was a good sign of hope. We both now have our wheels back. And, my doc called to say that he confirmed that it isn’t a cancerous lump. ”Just continue with the antibiotics and let me know if it improves.”

In the end, all’s well that ends well. And, to make things better, I didn’t lose faith in the plan. So now, “Maybe the plan will allow me to lose a lot of weight and I’ll become a climber like Lance Armstrong.” It just blurted out. It blurted out as I stood there on the scale, Slyder walking off to go back to bed, my mind content that I’m not going to have to start chemotherapy, and while thinking of the cold, 35-degree ride I had to do this morning. I’m back! I’m back on the plan full scale (pun intended). Time to ride to work and burn some calories out. Then, make sure I don’t take too many calories in. Another week. I re-started the plan that got me to this point. I rode to work at a pretty fast clip, feeling good, sun shining, and birds singing.

Thirty days to go…


qualia said...

Great news. Keep it up!

Wendy said...

Congratulations - you are doing a great job!

tome said...

nervous-making post, Major, but a very happy result in the end. Keep it up!