Friday, May 30, 2008

Lithium's making me bald

It was a terrible blow. The other morning, I took my shower, slicked back my hair with some gel, and prepared to style it. It was then that I noticed the unspeakable: small white patches of scalp peeking at me through my obviously thinning hair.

I knew I had a thin spot in the back but figured I had so much OTHER hair (it's about 2 feet long, very thick, and wavy) it didn't matter. It's been so humid, though, that I tried the hair gel thing. Normally I just style it wet without using gel, which makes the hair clump. When my hair dried even I couldn't tell it was thinning.

I was in a pretty bad bout of shock/hysteria (but I ate well!) all Wednesday. Thursday I was in denial. Tonight I decided to google "Hair loss women lithium" and there it was. Lithium can cause hair loss. Now, I do know some things.

#1 I'm not stopping my Lithium.
2. I'm not going bald, either.
3. Lithium uses up the body's supply of Insitol.
4. Adele Davis, a famous nutritionist, always said that she was able to help her patients regrow lost hair by supplementing their diet with Insitol.
5. I had already bought a supplement containing Insitiol and I've been taking it for about a week.

I did a quick google and found many many links stating that lost hair can regrow when Insitol is added to the diet. Which I've already done.

What a terrible blow, I am used to the fatigue, the grogginess, the thirst, the shaking hands, and now the BALDNESS?

Ay yi yi.

I'm not stopping the lithium but what a price to be sane! I know, NO ONE CAN TELL BUT ME. But I know... I'm losing my hair. Oh. My. God.

I have the most unflattering urge to go down something with an insane amount of carbohydrates. I won't. I was planning to make my whipped cream thing anyway.

BALD!

Freaky Friday

Oh, today. Today today today.

Today, Ron awoke in agonizing pain. He could barely walk. He could not bend over. He cannot lift. He's already blind and partially paralyzed on one side. He was in a BAD mood and I had to endure it.

We need a tragic little figure playing a violin so I can demonstrate I'm having a pity party. We got up at 3. He made me breakfast, very nice. We rode around for an hour on our paratransit, picking up someone else. We got to work. He could hardly get out of the van. I wished we'd brought the wheelchair. We got into the stockroom. He tries to move a few cases of soda, drops a 6-pack of RC Cola on the floor, and I'm looking at 6 little gysers, shooting up soda all over. I had to grab them and throw them into the sink. Then, mop the floor at 5 AM.

I decided to adopt a cheerful attitude. I'm a Christian and the Bible says to do your work as though you're serving God, not Man. God will reward you as a result. So, I decided I was lucky to mop up soda and did a fantastic job (mop the soda, rinse, Mr. Clean, air dry). I could eat off that floor.

At the end, I was told our delivery was here. I ran outside to view an unholy mating of my products with someone else's. We had no bottled water. In summer, we have no bottled water. They sent a box of "I'll never sell" cookies with the pick label for the $120 ground coffee for the vending machine. Obviously, not acceptable. The poor driver had to separate every item and stack all my stuff on it's own pallet. Then, it was off to the freezer section to play find the lemon pound cakes. He found them. Good. Ron likes to smuggle them into Starbucks.

I filled out the proper paperwork and sent the pallet off to the stockroom (they don't let me drive a pallet jack). I ran back and unloaded the stuff I needed onto my "snack wagon" - a rolling cart with about a dozen cases of chips.

The snack wagon rolled through, filling empty coils everywhere. After I finished, Ron needed help with some lifting. I did that. Then it was setting the coin counter. Meter readings - every single machine tells you it's total sales. I had to read them onto tape. The "pull" counting all the money and bundling it. Lastly, taking all the coins out of the vending machines and putting them into buckets. I got hungry in there and ate 2 pieces of bacon Ron had made for me earlier.

Finally, time to go. Our ride was basically on time, but we were going to the bank. We went to the bank and did our business. Our ride arrived even before we finished, very nice. I hate waiting, but I'm good at it.

Now, Cracker Barrel. We got there 2 hours before the pickup. We ate, we dawdled outside. We got our ride. I was very tired because I had taken my noon dose of 2 lithium tablets.

We rode around for almost an hour. I was so ready to go home and sleep. I got home, opened the door, went to the bedroom, and realized one of my cats had vomited in the bed. I had to strip it down to the mattress pad. It took me a while to get it stripped and remade. Then I got the offending bedding into the washer. Thank GOD I have a washer and dryer, and extra bedding. Thankfully, the vomit was the only "gift".

In the meantime, both the cats were begging. I knew one of them was my offender and yelled at them. Frosty forgave me and got into bed with me anyway.

I slept until I had nightmares, then I got up. Later on, today will be "Bench Press day". I will alternate sets of Bench Presses with lateral pulldowns and bent-over rows.

I already got over 10 thousand steps so I know I'm good in the cardio department.

What a day. It could only happen to me.

Tomorrow, we compromised: I go for my run, shower, and THEN we go to Sam's club to buy water, then work where I'll be the designated beast of burden. I will do all the lifting and bending-over stocking. He wants fried chicken (can't argue with the bad back), so we'll get dropped off there. I get a bunless burger at the Burger King nearby and maybe hit the dollar store. Then home and we get Sunday off.

Monday he sees his doctor about his back. I think he will be OK if he takes it easy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

True Confessions

I ran today with my hair braided and it worked out great. I saw the woman I term the snail. She walks very slowly, but she's out there walking every time I run. Good for her! She's driving a new car. That's how you know you're a regular in the park!

Mr. Runs-In-His-Khakis was out today too. Also Pudgy Labrador and owner (the dog's leashed). I didn't see Mr. Callasthenics, though. Maybe he took the day off. It's nice to know the regulars are there if we ever have a problem.

I have been very tired recently and I've been making a whey protien shake for dinner. I'm lazy. It tastes good. But I'm not losing so I think maybe they're a little high carb for me right now (4 grams a scoop).

Could it be that I'm only downing a quart of plain water every day? I'm drinking more sodas, "It's hoooot!". Sigh. None of that is exactly helping my weight loss. Add in the 2 Atkins bars I ate this week and it's no surprise I've stalled.

The sad thing is that I just put up a link to this from the low carb friends website. Eek.

Maybe it's just my body building muscle while burning fat. My legs are really looking great and Ron remarked on my trimmer waist this week. I feel great when I run and I'm lifting more weight. I'm doing things right. I just need to figure out the things I'm doing wrong.

Maybe nothing. Maybe my "confessions" are irrelevant. I could wake up pounds lighter tomorrow. I am eating clean - nothing I shouldn't. Ron cooked some popcorn in the microwave today. He was in the bathroom when it finished so I opened it up and gave it to him without eating a single kernel.

I could be tired from working out and the heat. I'm taking plenty of supplements so I feel OK in the vitamin department. I just get tired of the fatigue.

I wish I knew it was the Lithium. Then I could say, OK, acceptable loss. I need to just deal with the energy I have and spend it wisely. I like to think I do a decent job of that.

What if it isn't? What if I'm doing something wrong? I don't think so, but I've felt this tired ever since Dr P increased my Lithium to 4 tablets a day.

So there's my answer. Fatigue = Lithium.

On my next day off I think I'll cook up a bunch of dinners and freeze them so I have something more natural to eat when I'm hungry. My first meals of choice shouldn't be Whipped Cream Thing or Whey Protein Shake.

I get paid tomorrow, so we're going to Walmart. When I go I plan to get more celery, salad mix, etc. I'm bringing my large insulated tote bag even though I'll look odd carrying it at the bank when I get paid.

I'm also buying some lower-carb whey protein powder (2 grams) and no-carb egg protein powder when we get back from Galveston. More on that later.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I've been neglecting you

I've been neglecting you but I intend to remedy that. I have today off, not much work tomorrow, and the promise of Monday off too.

So, some developments:
Tuesday morning I got up very early to run. 5-something is very early for me. I dressed, drank my water, got my cell phone and left. As I was walking to the park (my warm up) I noticed my neck felt very tight and uncomfortable. The neckline of my running top was binding very uncomfortably. I felt the neckline and realized I'd put the shirt on backwards. I ran anyway. I'm more careful checking my top when I put it on now!

I ran 3 times this week, did weight workouts 3 times, and used the exercise bike once. That's ideal. I plan to keep doing that.

When I run, I leave the house around sunrise. The weather is tolerable and it's quiet and safe.

I noticed my thighs are firmer and nicer looking. I've been happy with my lower legs for a while but I really noticed the thighs recently. Yay!

I'm wearing a size 16/18 elastic waist cotton blend shorts. I haven't been able to wear them due to an annoying panty line issue. Today, no panty line is visible. They fit perfectly, nice and relaxed. I've lost at least half an inch off my butt since I last posted, planting me pretty solidly into the size 18 range.

I'm a little bloated from PMS but that always resolves when my period starts, which should be within a few days. I'll lose water weight and bloat. Yay! Asprin really works well for the cramps, too.

I got the most delicious whey protien powders recently from ON nutrition. http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/opt/whey.html Look at all the yummy flavors! I got the 16 flavor sample pack. The mocha flavor was so good I ordered a 1-pound jar as soon as I had the money. I also ordered my sister a sample pack too. They are low carb. Yum! They taste so decadent.

My hair is getting aggravating in the heat. I've begun braiding it (just a plain boring braid - not french or anything). It works well. Today, I had it in a ponytail during my run and loose hairs were coming off and getting stuck on my sweat-soaked skin. Then they itched. Yuck. The braid gives my back and neck some air.

We've had recordbreaking heat recently and high humidity. I've begun lugging a water bottle everywhere I go.

It's sunny right now. I'm listening to a fool doing yardwork in this heat, sun, and humidity. Sounds like a good way to get heatstroke!

Bubba cat brought home a dead gift for Ron on 2 different days. Ron is not pleased. It's a good thing we love Bubba. His pet door priviledges are being restricted.

That's it for now! You take care!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The B vitamin experiment

I know I mentioned this earlier: a few weeks ago, I was running depressed. I bought some supplements. I purchased Acetyl L-Carnintine, some CoQ10, and some B vitamins. I took them and was highly impressed by the quick results.

I faithfully put them (and a few other vitamins) in my days of the week pill divider. It works great for me. I took them for about a week and then I began getting a little manic. Not too bad, just talkative. I could shut up if I noticed or Ron called attention to it.

"Maybe you should lay off on the B vitamins, Heather." OK. Seemed reasonable. The mania went away after a few days (so far all of this is standard for my illness, even with medication). I decided, this past week, to go to one tablet every other day.

I've felt pretty fatigued but again, that's normal. Today I was extraordinarily tired. About an hour ago I took a B vitamin and I went from "Dead Exhausted" to "I'm tired". I'll take it.

When I prepared my vitamins for this week, every day of the week got a B complex. I feel a little odd taking a heavy-duty "B-50" but I need it. That's apparent.

Here's a general idea of my supplements:
These opinions are not designed to diagnose, cure, prevent, or treat any illness. The FDA will get me if I say otherwise.

Generic Brand "Woman's Multi"
Chromium - take this in the morning because it can cause insommnia.
CLA and Borage oil - it's supposed to help with fat loss. I have lost an inch off my waist since I started taking it. Would I have done so without? I don't know. They are bulky and a hassle so I'm indecisive.
Coenzyme Q10, 50 mg. It's really good for your heart, energy level and weight loss.
Acetyl L-Carnitine 400 mg. The capsule I take has 100 mg of ALA. The last two are my big energy buddies.

Noon - I take a GLA with my lithium but I am not impressed. The Dandelion root tea I drink is far better for my particular PMS symptoms (water retention). I doubt I will purchase more.

Evening:
I take a Glucosamine supplement - one tablet. All my joints are happy but running puts a lot of stress on the joints.
2 Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc tablets. They are the first thing I gave my husband after his accident, and the only supplement I sent to my brother after his. They are great.
Vitamin E, 400 mg.
Antioxidant blend - a little more vitamin E in this one. 200 mg, plus other good things
The CLA and GLA.

I've also started taking Valerian root about an hour before bedtime. It helps me fall asleep easier.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The hair question

This is the first time I've engaged in a serious weight loss program while I had long hair. By the way, I'm down to 201.5 today. I have high hopes of being in the 100's by this time next week.

Before, I had short hair, I could wash and dry it easily. A small dab of shampoo and a rub with a towel, and I'm done. Nowadays, it's not so easy. My waist-length hair requires brushing, shampooing, conditioning, and deep conditioning. It takes FOREVER to dry. Normally, I wash it every other day.

It's getting to the point where I'm planning my workouts around my showering schedule so I don't end up washing my hair twice! Today's a good example: I had to wash my hair this morning. I had planned to lift some weights, then shower, then get ready for work. I slept poorly and it didn't work out that way. I was lucky to shower and get ready for work.

I did my weights this afternoon. While I was working out, lying on my bench doing bench presses, I lay on my hair. When I got up, it was dripping with sweat. YUCK! Then it kept slapping me as I did other exercises.

I'm going to try braiding it. That might help. I might even try something like a shower cap, no one can see me when I'm in the garage working out. If it works, it works. I may have to improvise a way to pin it up out of the way so I can lift weights (which requires moving around a lot) without my hair falling in my face. My other attempts have not been promising.

I'll probably just end up washing my hair a whole lot more. I'd rather pay for shampoo and conditioner than be fat.

Sometimes, if I didn't know it would devastate my husband, I think I'd just cut it off like I used to have it. I won't, though. He loves it.

Thanks, George

I love working out, but I'm not a hardcore gym rat by any means. Example: I did deadlifts as part of my workout today. It's an exercise that gets you a lot of exercise for your money. It gets everything I want to work on, back, butt, legs, abs, shoulders, some chest, and arms. If I could only do one exercise, it would be deadlifts. Downside: you have to perform the exercise correctly or risk hurting your back, and it's incredibly difficult. If you aren't grunting and sweating, you need a heavier barbell.

So, I did this exercise: pick the barbell up off the floor. Bring to waist level. Lower the bar. Repeat. I did it until I couldn't lift the bar off the floor. I rested, and then I repeated the whole thing twice more. I did other exercises, and then I came back and did deadlifts in a different fashion. I did one set, barely. I took some weight off the bar. I did it again, and again.

I like being strong. I like the feeling of knowing I am sculpting my body. I like knowing that I'm burning fat. I like knowing that if I had to drag my husband away from something dangerous I'd be able to do it. It's intoxicating.

I only work out with weights about 2 hours a week, but they're an integral part of my fitness program. I love my weights. When my husband wants to spoil me, it's generally a fitness item I want. Recently he bought me a plate tree and dumbell rack "just because".

Do you know how I got started? I was working for a guy who ran his own business. He was terrible about paying me on time and I ended up quitting after about 8 months. While I was there, I met George, the hot dog vendor. He had his cart set up across the street. He was a bodybuilder and encouraged the then 180 pound something me to give it a try. He even gave me a set of 5 pound dumbells. I didn't use them much at first. I found an old magazine with a dumbell workout. By this time, I'd quit my job and lost George.

I know he'd be proud of me, deadlifting today. Thanks, George. I don't know how I'd have done it without the weights.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lithium and Salad Don't Mix

Things have been going pretty well. Nice stable moods. It's been quiet at work on the snack machines. I guess potato chips are the first to go during a budget crunch, or perhaps it's the imminent arrival of swimsuit season.

I've been working out regularly and cutting back on the diet sodas reaped some amazing rewards, I lost 4 inches off my belly and an inch and a half off my chest. I also lost a couple of pounds, and I'm only a few pounds from the 100's.

Last night was a tough one. I told Ron I wanted to get to sleep early so I could run before it got hot. We also had a Walmart trip planned a little later in the morning. Ron thought he was being quiet, but he kept waking me up. I had to yell at him a few times.

Once I finally settled in (well after 11 PM), I was awakened yet again by loud meowings, banging, and crashes from the living room. Apparently the cat brought home some kind of prey and was having a delightful time chasing it. More on that prey later.

I forgot to set my alarm (6:30). I woke up at 6:45. I was tired, cranky, and hostile toward the insensitive males in my household, be they human or feline. I went for my run anyway.

It was incredibly humid! I am so glad I ran when I did, I don't think I could run 4 steps in a row right now. I ran during a "feels like" of upper 80's. I drank a lot of water when I got home and that fixed me up pretty well.

Having just went for a run, I took a shower when I got home. My hair was covered in shampoo and I could barely see. I reached for something. All of a sudden HELLO! A big green frog jumps out at me. It was hiding from the cats behind my body wash. Of course I let out a blood-curdling scream worthy of a horror movie. Poor Barky, the dog who lives behind us, sounded the alarm as well.

After I finished my shower I ate my sausage patty and took my pills. We went to Walmart. I found some good stuff - a fitness magazine I enjoy, a new pedometer, and some supplements. We came home.

Ron asked me what I wanted to eat for lunch and I told him I wasn't very hungry. I was thinking about a salad and some bacon. He fixed my bacon for me. I ate 2 cups of salad with dressing and four strips of bacon. I took 2 Lithium tablets, as ordered, and took my nap.

When I woke up just now I had the worst heartburn. Lithium and Salad don't mix.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Second thought: I'm wearing a fat suit

I was taking a shower today after my workout. I had lots of fun during the workout. It involved squats, chest presses, several kinds of deadlifts, barbells, and dumbells. Then I did a cardio workout on the exercise bike. Fun.

I enjoy the workouts for themselves. Secondly, I want to be strong and healthy. Thirdly, I'm doing them to lose fat. I think I've got my priorities right.

I was taking my shower and wondering about my next run. Could I run tomorrow (I'm a little stiff from my earlier workout)? Would it be too hot? Maybe I should just walk, because every workout involves me wearing a fat suit. What a great concept.

I'm wearing a fat suit. It's about 65 pounds over my ideal weight, but nearly 25 pounds lighter than it used to be. It slows me down some but it also provides plenty of additional work in my workouts. I'm not just squatting with a 30 pound barbell, I'm squatting with a barbell and 65 extra pounds of flab. When I run, I'm carrying 65 pounds of cat food on my back. Wow. I'm doing great!

When it comes to my run tomorrow, I'll see. If any joints are sore, it's off. If it's just muscle aches and pains, I'll walk. If I feel fine, I may very well run. I like the flexibility, I used to be fairly rigid about my workouts. I would get very upset if I couldn't get "My" workout.

Take today: pouring rain. Obviously, the (planned) run is off. I had a good weight workout in the garage, and then I did the bike. Great workout. My butt hurts. I want it to trim down and tone up so that's a good thing.

I'm wearing a fat suit, and every day I'm doing more and more to peel it off. I only drank 2 cans of soda today. I drank lots of plain water. I ate smart. I "should" have had a salad but I just wasn't in the mood.

This fat suit is peeling off, slowly but surely. For a long time, I've been afraid to get to goal. It's me. When I get to goal, my body is still me... just without the fat suit.

I'm an athlete

I had two "Aha" thoughts today that I thought deserved mention in my blog.

First of all, I need to let you know I've been cheating on you. I have a low carb blog as well. I may or may not put a link up, but if you've noticed my posts tapering off that's why. I kind of like having a "secret" blog for now.

I was watching an ad on TV. It featured Gatorade, and men playing basketball. I thought, basketball would be fun but I don't have the coordination and skill to do that. I do love "sport" - working out, lifting weights, challenging myself on the track or a fitness machine.

I love doing what I do. I love that I can squat, bench, and deadlift. I love the fact that I own weightlifting books and use them regularly. I love that I'm the kind of woman who isn't afraid to look sweaty and focused while I'm lifting/running/whatever. I love that I have a whole drawer full of sweatbands and sportbras. It's an integral part of my identity.

I used to look at all the things I couldn't do. I can't drive. I can't hold many jobs. I have terrible coordination - throw a ball at me and I'll duck. I can't control my emotions without medication, for God's sake!

Now I look at what I can do. I am a strong woman. I learned what I needed, researching from my husband's Intensive Care hospital room, to care for him properly. I learned to be everything he needed. I stayed with him, keeping my wedding vows, when many women would have run screaming. I couldn't have done anything else.

I lost 70 pounds through Atkins, managing, in spite of myself, to get down to 152. When I got sick and gained it back, I knew just what to do. I did it. I'm doing it every day.

I'm the woman whose goal is to bench, squat, and deadlift her own body weight. I like to play with heavy metal in my garage. I'm the woman who likes to run and challenge herself.

You don't want me playing your team sport, but I am an athlete. I love what I do.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Why suffer if I don't have to?

I hate the depressions more than anything. It affects everything in my life, from my food choices to my performance at work. Ron can always tell when I'm having a bad depression day; it makes him almost frantic to help. I hate knowing that my illness is hurting him, too.

When I was depressed today I tried to soldier on through, but it was bad enough that I took an extra pill today. It helped, but not as much as I would have liked.

I had been playing with the idea of getting some supplements, so after work, I did. I don't have my Dr Atkins Vita-Nutrient Solution but I was certain that all of these would help with the depression AND the weight loss, too.
B-50 complex - that always seems to help with the depressions
Co-Q10, 50 milligrams - I don't know why I thought it would help, but I was sure I needed it
400 Mg Acetyl L-Carnitine with 200 mg Alpha Lipoic Acid

I also got some Antioxidants and a generic brand "Women's" Multivitamin. I took the first three after I was done shopping. It's horrible to be depressed at Walmart. Absolutely horrible.

I ate a small meal (2 small hamburger patties, cheese stick, bacon) and took the supplements. Ron and I went outside and waited for our ride, which arrived about 10 minutes later. By the time we got home (another 10 minutes), I felt absolutely fine. I felt 100% my normal, happy self.

I've tried caffeine and depression - bad combo. I've done over the counter diet pills and caffeine, bad combo. Even the Lithium and the depression - well, the Lithium keeps the "Wanting to hurt myself" at bay but I still feel miserable.

But THIS. Wow. It was literally miraculous. I am thrilled. The only thing that makes me happier than knowing my experiment worked is the fact that I have at least 29 more of each capsule! They were very affordable at Walmart, I spent $30 for everything, including some heavy whipping cream for me, and canned cat food.

Ron noticed almost as quickly as I did. He was so happy. He hates watching me suffer.

Thank God. I found something that can help me even more.

Why suffer if I don't have to?

"The perfect combination"

I didn't sleep well last night.  The Claratin was alive and well in my system.  It will probably come as no surprise to you that I would...