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Posts Tagged ‘AFib’

This post marks the first day of my 13th year of blogging here on WordPress.  The number of countries who’ve visited this site continues to grow and the number which haven’t continues to decrease.  North Korea and Cuba are still among them (the latter…)  I’m also still missing a belt across the middle of Africa and a few spots in Asia.  (Slowly, slowly…  Resistance is futile.)
On reviewing my content over the past year, I have done mostly two posts a day.  One is a thought, review or quote; one has been a music video.  My intent was to offer up to any who stumbled onto my blog a chance to sample some of the music which affected my life.  In the process, I’ve rediscovered a tremendous number of songs which came and went (in my life) and a core of songs and performers who have helped make me – me.  Not, physically, like food or drink or air, but spiritually…  Now that the year is completed, I doubt I’ll be continuing with the videos every day, but I will include them periodically (sporadically?).
My blog has continued to be an increasing part of my “normal” retired life.  I routinely receive about 20 to 60 emails (per day) from the roughly 300 blogs I follow.  I say “roughly” because I don’t check how many I follow.  I just looked, and I have fewer than 2,000 followers myself.  Every year there is a trade-off:  you pick up a few steady followers and a few drop off.  Those who actually post about leaving (their own sites) say they are simply moving on to other things.  Most, don’t bother and just stop posting.  A few come back after some period of time.  Many do not.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve stopped blogging.  Some just move to a hosted service to try to monetize their thoughts and don’t provide me a way to follow them.  Or maybe they did and I simply missed the link…
At any rate, I am still posting thoughts, quotes, movie reviews, book reviews, and favorite music videos.  I easily spend an hour per day reviewing the posts I get (via email subscription) and sometimes that is simply overwhelming.  It’s not always the average blogger’s fault.  If you post something interesting, I (still) will go off and investigate it further: authors, artists, locations, books, movies, science / math / history topics – they will all lead me off down the rabbit hole.  And that hole can be DEEP!  I don’t know why, but this year, less frequently, I’m choosing to delete fewer (unopened mail / posts).  I apologize to you if you are one of those authors.  I will admit to only viewing actual posts sent to me (most of the time).  I seem to get a lot of “read more” posts / emails.  I’m not sure why this is.  I guess it’s a WordPress feature I don’t use or don’t know about.  There are a few (a handful) of sites which I know are visual and I more frequently click through to the actual site, because I’m interested in the bits which are not offered in the smaller / limited / text based emails I tend to receive.  I apologize if that affects your view stats negatively…
So, besides this blog, what am I up to?  My health has been mixed.  Last year, I was back in the hospital for “jump start”.  I have AFib and every now and then I get my heart zapped (“reverted”) to a normal rhythm.  We’ve also had this whole COVID lock down, which has put a damper on things.
In January, I purchased my first guitar and I’ve been practicing most every day since.  I “know” some basic chords and scales.  I’m still having a dickens of a time with strumming and chord changes, but I’m told that will come with time.  I now own two acoustic guitars and one electric (a Stratocaster style), and I have another acoustic on loan from my brother.  I have the four on a rotation calendar, but the first is still my favorite.  I’m looking into picking up a few more inexpensive guitars and two basses.  There is no time pressure.  It’s all about my ability to save (here and there) until I can justify a purchase.  [Wife:  How many guitars do you NEED?  Me:  …One more.]
The few things I’ve learned have truly been amazing (to me).  I do seem to have a smidgen of musical ability (although it’s still buried under layers of doubt).  I’m finding the ability to concentrate on practice to be as relaxing as zoning out in computer programming used to be (in my youth).  Sixty to ninety minutes can easily seem like five or ten minutes.  There is also the complete exhaustion which results from prolonged concentration – however “relaxing” it may feel at the time.  In a strange way, it feels good to be mentally tired at the end of a practice session.
But, am I getting any better at playing?  An objective opinion would be:  Yes!  Am I any “good”?  An objective opinion would be:  No!  Does it matter a whit?  No.  Why not?  Because, like blogging, I’m doing it for the enjoyment of doing it and not for the expectation (mine or anyone else’s) of being any good at playing guitar.  Again, like blogging, as long as it’s fun and interesting and fulfilling, I’ll just keep doing it…  My not so secret goal remains to write a song (lyrics and music) for my wife.  (LoL)
My personal goals for last year (to learn some assembly language programming and to have a play with chat-bots) never really got off the ground.   I spent a few weeks looking into them and playing with some free software, but the former has been passed by history so resources are limited and the latter is beyond my means as a retired person on a limited income.  In any case, I have usually been at my best when given a customer with a problem, not when I have to make up my own problems (and then create their solutions).
So, it’s guitar and blogging to keep me occupied (and mostly out of trouble).  LoL!!
Once again…  “Excelsior!!
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On This Day In:
2020 Happy 11th Anniversary Of Blogging
2019 Happy 10th Anniversary — Thoughts On My First Decade Of Blogging
2018 Happy 9th Anniversary — Three Thoughts
Day 2 – Notes On Progress
2017 Happy 8th Anniversary
2016 Happy 7th Anniversary
2015 Happy 6th Anniversary
2014 Happy 5th Anniversary
2013 I Resemble That Remark!
2012 Happy 3rd Anniversary
2011 Is America Safe Tonight?
2009 Hello world! (See how it all began…)

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My wife isn’t sure if I’m having a mid-life crisis or just going into my second childhood…
This year I’ve been watching A LOT of YouTube.  Well, okay…  It started last year, but that’s just a detail.
I was viewing a bunch of videos on working out and I found myself going through reams of “30-Day Challenge” videos.  Of course, I decided to give one a shot.  My choice:  the “30-Day / 100 pushup per day challenge”.
Day One (Test):  Zero.  That’s correct.  I could not do a single pushup from the floor.  I could get into a plank position, (with effort,) and lower myself to the floor, but not get back up off the floor.
Obviously, some modifications would be necessary…  Inclined pushup from the back of the sofa.  Five.  Okay.  It’s a start.  First day:  20 sets of five, spread through-out the day (and evening).
Days 2 and 3 were more of the same.  Day 4, I was able to do 10.  So, 10 sets of 10, spread through-out the day.
To make a longer story shorter, about day 10 I was finally able to do ONE pushup from the floor.  By then, I was doing five(5) sets of 20 inclined.  At the end of 30 days, I could do 5 pushups from the floor.  (And shorter again…)  At the end of 60 days, I was able to do 15 pushups from the floor.  By way of comparison, Google says an “average” 65 year old man should be able to do between 6 and 16.  In other words, I went from abject failure to the top end of “average”.
And then I got hurt…  (But that’s another story.)
While browsing YouTube, it started feeding me boxing and martial arts videos (over and over again).  So, (of course) I started watching them…  Because I wasn’t able to do much other than walk, I started shadow-boxing in front of a mirror…  And then I bought gloves…  And then I bought hand-wraps…  And then I bought focus pads…  And then I started making home-made (read: inexpensive) boxing targets.  It turns out YouTube has videos on how to jury rig most of the expensive kit you need to practice boxing.
Here’s some pictures of my gloves…  They are RDX F12 Training Boxing Gloves (16oz.)

Fresh out of the box and still in plastic

Palm side up

“Business” side up

And, after trying them on a few times a week for the last month or so…  Today I did my first “workout” with the gloves.
Now to be fair,  I did actually try them on and use them for a few minutes when I would set up a new target and once for a few minutes of shadow-boxing in front of a mirror, but until today, my wife had put it down to another one of my “phases”.  When approached on the possible purchase, she did insist on a $50 limit on my gloves because she was convinced they’d be gathering dust by now.  So, yes, they’re an inexpensive pair.  Not “cheap”, just inexpensive.  And, no, they are not leather.  They are “engineered” leather.  (LoL!)
Today’s workout was about 45 minutes long, sweaty and exhausting.  But, it was loads of fun and I felt terrific after my hot shower.  Tired and relaxed and starting to get sore in strange (and not so strange) places, but all things considered – terrific!
I’m really not sure if this is a “phase” or not, but I’m going to put up a post every now and then about this “journey”.  I’ll try to come up with a way to let you know in the “post” title when I’m on this topic as I have no idea how many of my blog followers have the slightest interest in this side topic.
A final note (reality check):  I am a 65 year old man, morbidly obese, with a heart condition (AFib) and on blood thinners.  So, NO, I will NEVER be in a fight or EVER sparring.  This is just a way to try to add some fun to my efforts to raise some sweat (and maybe learn a bit about the “sweet science” while I’m at it.)
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On This Day In:
2019 I Think I’m Repeating Myself
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like X-mas!
2018 No Reason To Turn
2017 Talking Knuth
Seeing It Through
2016 Hoping For The Best Come January
2015 Adaptive Security
2014 Wants
2013 Side Effects
2012 Just Trying To Earn A Living
2011 Productive Worry

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Health Update:  For those who haven’t been following my blog for long, I’ve spent most of the last decade suffering from non-continuous Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), which is an irregular and rapid heart rate that occurs when one or both of the two upper chambers of a heart experience chaotic electrical signals.  Basically “AFib” is a fast and irregular heart beat.  The heart rate in atrial fibrillation may range from 100 to 175 beats a minute.  My most common symptoms include: chest palpitations, sweating, a shortness of breath (difficult to fully inhale) and a “feeling” of weight on my chest.  Most of the time my symptoms are brief – a minute to a half hour.  My most frequent symptom is the chest palpitations.  Occasionally, the symptoms double up or last longer.  Rarely, the symptoms go to three and or last more than 90 minutes.  When that happens, I go to the ER.
Just to be clear, many folks live with continuous AFib for decades.  As my cardiologist told me: “Most AFib patients don’t die from AFib.”  They die from blood clots and related illnesses: stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism.  My AFib has been non-continuous.
To make a longer story briefer, on 24 September, about 3am, I woke up with very strong palps.  I take my blood pressure (BP) three times a day.  In the morning, I still had the palps and my blood pressure and pulse were elevated, and my pulse was irregular (in AFib).  That evening, although not experiencing additional symptoms, I went to the ER.  They gave me a top-up on one of my meds and sent me home with instructions to contact my cardiologist ASAP.  I called the following day and arranged for the first available appointment – which was the following week (Wednesday, 30 September).
So we met and he put me back on a blood thinner (to prevent blood clots / strokes) and scheduled me for a COVID test and a visit to the hospital for an Electrical Cardioversion.  An electrical cardioversion is when the doctor uses a defibrillator to zap your heart to disrupt the electrical misfires and set you back into a normal heart rhythm.  In computer terms:  “A cold re-boot.”  This will be my second zap.  My first was back in November 2017.  In cat terms:  I’m on life two with seven to go…
I had the COVID test on Monday and today I got the “all clear / negative” results back.  I am scheduled for the “DFib” on Friday (in two days), so please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.
One thought can produce millions of vibrations
and they all go back to God… everything does.
   —   John Coltrane
From his poem:  “A Love Supreme
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On This Day In:
2019 …And Bullet-Proof Suits
The Bottom Line (Is No Surprise To Me)
2018 What Do You Hear?
2017 I’ve Got A Pocket Protector
Word Up!
2016 Better Value
2015 Any Port In A Storm
2014 Babies (II)
2013 Why The Young Stay In College Longer These Days
2012 Perceptions Of Worth
2011 Flavor
2010 Giants Win 1-0 !!

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Last Saturday, was my 65th birthday.  Ten years ago, I took the week to jog 55 miles.  Because I’ve been having issues with my AFib, I haven’t been in a position to even consider trying to do the same thing for this birthday…

65K on 65Yrs

Instead, I decided to try to march-in-place for 65,000 steps.  As a subset, I did do my 30 minute dog walk and of course there is the regular amount of steps one would take in a day.  (I try to do a minimum of 7,500 steps.)  My prior FitBit maximum for a day was 50,000 steps which included the dog walk and a 5K jog.  Anyway, it was a long haul, but I made it.  I got my first 55K, my first 60K and then my 65K!  Sore back and sore knees at the end of the day, but otherwise no significant issues the following day.  And, yes, 544 minutes is over 9 hours to get it done.  LoL!!
Life can be full of small, daily achievements…
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On This Day In:
2019 Tomorrow’s Bread
2018 Impeach 45: Make America Great Again
2017 Training Shoulders
2016 You Just Have To Care
Day 4 – Blending
2015 My Slow Education
2014 Great Service
2013 You Really Should Wear More Sweaters
Here I Am God
2012 The Serenity Prayer
2011 The Victory Of Life

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The following is the monthly update on my attempt to lose weight and get healthier.  It’s a longer post than my “normal” daily post, so if your not “into” reading about “another person’s” diet (again!), I’ll understand if you stop here and come back another day.  You’ve been warned!!  Here goes…
(As in previous posts:) On September 16, 2019, I switched from my 18 days of “juice / blend” fasting / diet to an Intermittent Time Fasting (ITF) “Diet / Lifestyle”.  My starting weight on 29 August, for the juice / blending fast was: 373lbs.  My starting weight for the ITF was: 356lbs.  My current weight (this morning) was: 329lbs.  Basically, I’ve lost 44lbs from the end of August, 27lbs from the start of the ITF and 11lbs in the last 30 days.

Calories Chart from last 30 days (Nov / Dec) of ITF

The observant among you may (again) notice in the above chart I had three(3) days where my calories-in exceeded my calories-out…  This is one less (per month) than I did in the first two months, so slightly better.  Still, essentially it’s demonstrating that about every other “all-you-can-eat / anything-you-want” day, I blow my caloric allowance.  I’m on a three day cycle, so this means about once a week I lose it.  Interestingly, it’s not necessarily on the OMAD that I blow the calorie balance.  It seems, sometimes “life” just happens and I go with it.
As mentioned in my prior monthly updates, when I switched to the ITF, I also began using my FitBit (FB) to begin tracking my food and gauging my calories-in versus my calories-out.  I’m not sure why, but the FB has set my calories-out “objective” at 3,800.  The on-line BMR calculator I use said my initial BMR was roughly 2,370 calories.  At my current weight (329lbs), my BMR is 2,289 – (again) about 40 fewer calories lower / less than the prior month and 80 from the starting calories.  This means I have to burn an additional measure of 1,510 calories during my waking hours to reach the FB objective.  In any case, FB is showing my daily calories out for the last 30 days at 4,167 (about 200 calories less than prior month).  By this reckoning, I am exceeding the FB calories (3,800) by 367 per day and my BMR by almost 1,800.  Multiply this by 7 days in a week and we get 12,579 – which works out to about 3.5lbs per week of weight loss.  My actual weight loss for the last 30 days is about 11lbs.  Divided by 30 days and multiplied by 7 days is 2.57lbs per week of “actual” loss.  So, the FitBit is either scoring my calories-out to high or I’m not inputting the calories-in correctly.  I am diligent about the input, but I may be underestimating the portions and therefore the difference isn’t as great as the charts suggest.  It is also possible the difference is in both cals-in and cals-out.  Finally, it may just be my body is not burning the calories at the “normal” rate (meaning my calories burned is lower than the heart beat is suggesting it should be because of my AFib).

BMR on 16 Dec 2019 at 329lbs

Anyway, the chart below shows I still have a calorie deficit of about 1,000 calories per day (for the last 2 weeks in Dec.).  That times seven(7) days is 7,000 calories.  Divided by 3,500 calories (1 pound of human body fat) equals to 2 pounds of loss per week.  My actual weight loss over the last eight weeks is 18lbs.  Divided by eight(8) is 2.25lbs per week.  This is roughly the same average weight loss per week as recorded at the end of four weeks.  Over the last 2 weeks I’ve lost 3lbs (1.5lbs per week) and over the last month (as mentioned above) 11lbs (2.75lbs per week).

Calories Chart for Year

The goal of my long-term weight loss is (remains) to drop 1.5 to 2 pounds per week.  In theory, this will prevent the two worst parts of extreme weight loss: a permanent (and excessive) drop in BMR (which makes it easier to regain lost weight) and a large amount of floppy / saggy skin (pure vanity).  It looks like I’m continuing my promising start from the first two months.

Weight Loss Chart (Sept – Dec)

Equally important: how does it feel?  Today I am almost done with 5 weeks (out of 6) of “slogging” (VERY slow jogging).  My goal is to get to 3.2 miles per day and then begin dropping the time (slowly).  I’ve been “pretty” consistent although I’ve been slipping lately (hence the “5 out of 6”).  I’m mostly sticking to my goal of 3.2 miles per day, but yesterday I jogged 4.12 miles (one “extra” mile) and for the first time my overall pace was under 18 minutes at 17:59.  Yes, just barely, but still under AND with the extra mile – so I’m pleased.  I am planning to keep it to 3.2-ish miles per jog.  This is just over 5K (3.11 miles), and now that I’m good with the distance, I still need to start to drop the times.  When I (finally) get below 300lbs, I intend to add in some body weight exercises to improve my flexibility and strength.
As per my last two monthly reports: I am still working on my secondary goals going forward – smoothing out the “calories-in” numbers and to eat more healthy on my one-meal-a-day / all-you-can-eat day.  I am still “abusing” the OMAD opportunity, but… during the last month, even though I was over my calories limit (“in” vs “out”) three times, I didn’t eat beyond feeling stuffed to the point of feeling sick on any of the three “overs”.  So, I am improving there, too.  Slowly, slowly…
A final observation: although it is theoretically “impossible” to spot lose weight (or spot gain weight), I seem to be losing “size” in areas which correspond to my activity.  My waist is not shrinking much, but my legs, ankles, shoulders and forearms “feel” like they are getting smaller to me.  At least my clothes feel more comfortable in those spots.  As all I am doing for exercise is walking my dog and going for jogs, this makes sense, even though it contradicts all the “theory” of fat loss distribution I’ve ever read about (i.e. fat loss is supposed to be proportional across the entire body).  It’s not that big a deal, except it would be nice to imagine I was losing fat around my internal organs and not just legs and shoulders.  Oh, well, time will tell…
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On This Day In:
2018 And Some Never Do
2017 When We Know We Are Loved
2016 Good Acts
2015 Will You Be Leaving Soon?
2014 Just Long Enough
2013 R.I.P. – Tom Laughlin
Seeking Success?
2012 All Aboard
2011 Sail On, Sailor

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The end of day two and the middle of day three…   End of week 1 already looks to be in sight!
Morning weight: 365lbs. (on Day 3)
I am down “6/8”.  As in, 6lbs down from yesterday and 8lbs down from my fasting start weight:  373lbs (morning of Day 1).  Obviously, a 6lbs weight loss in a single day and 8lbs over two days is not sustainable.  It was mostly stomach content (digesting solid foods) and some water weight.  Most adults hold between 7lbs and 15lbs of stomach content, so the first few days of any “cleansing” diet will be mostly the elimination of that content.  Most fruit juice and veggie juice diets tend to be “cleansing” diets by default.  So, the loss was expected and no big deal.  Losses of 1/2lb to 1-1/2 lbs per day tend to be more realistic (from my experience).  Managing the fasting to stay near the bottom end of that range (.5lb / day) is where the “art” of fasting comes into play.  Most of that “art” is listening to your body tell you what it wants / needs.
Yesterday I walked the dog (30 minutes) and went for a swim (60 minutes, Breast Stroke.  44 lengths X 25 yards == 1,100 yards.  18 laps == 1/2 mile. 1 lap == 2 lengths.)  The swim felt much more difficult than normal because I felt like I ran out of energy about 45 minutes through.  After that it (swimming) was just a gut check to finish the time.  Anyway, I got it done.
I was very tired for most of yesterday, but the flip side of that was I felt I got a good night’s sleep.  My FitBit (FB) doesn’t really agree with that assessment, but whatever.
I have a FitBit Blaze.  It’s my second FitBit.  The first was a hand-me-down belt attachment, which I only used for a couple of months.  I didn’t feel it was accurate and it was difficult to remember to keep moving it between clothes.  My latest (the Blaze) is a wrist-watch style and was a present from my daughter (Rebecca) for Christmas 2017.  So, I’m about halfway through my second year of wearing it.  I got it more as a Heart Rate (HR) tracker, but it is only of limited use in that regard.
My Blaze is VERY accurate on providing my current heart rate.  Since I suffer from Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), this is important for me to marry up with my sensations of palpitations.  This allows me to exercise cautiously.  The problem I have with the Blaze is it actually doesn’t record your heart rate by the minute.  I downloaded and reviewed my HR for the first couple of months and found the information was recorded at set intervals which have nothing to do with AFib or exercise.  I don’t remember (this was Jan / Feb of 2018) anymore what the interval (5m, 10m or 15m) was, but I remember being dissatisfied enough to stop downloading the tracking.  I don’t expect 60 second per minute tracking, but this seems to me to be periodic “snapshotting”, not tracking.  As a person who also suffers (a bit) from Obsessive / Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and from years of practicing “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”, you can kind of guess at my initial level of frustration.  LoL.
My second “issue” with the Blaze is that it doesn’t “stay” on what it’s set to do.  I swim.  The Blaze doesn’t “track” swimming.  This means I have to tell it I’m “working out” to get it to track my HR an calorie effort while swimming.  Fair enough.  The Blaze doesn’t support swimming and it says so in the documentation and on the company web site.  The site says the Blaze is “water resistant”, which means okay for heavy sweat and a quick shower, but not bathing or swimming.  In fact, over this last 20 months I’ve used it while swimming for over 150 hours and never had a single problem.  Well, almost none.  Remember the “staying” mentioned above?  Randomly, when water brushes against the Blaze it turns off or pauses the tracking.  The result is I am forced to pause between pool lengths to check if it is still tracking.  Yeah, that’s annoying.  I guess that’s what you have to live with to enjoy touchscreen activation.
This is my first wrist-based HR monitor and other than the two bits mentioned above I REALLY like my Blaze and I would definitely recommend anyone looking into buying a HR monitor consider FitBit’s line of products.  Having said that, I don’t think I will replace it when it finally dies.  One, the Blaze is no longer offered by FitBit.  Two, I feel their products are inordinately expensive.  The regular cost was $150.  My daughter got it as at a closeout price of $99.  Maybe it’s just the dinosaur in me, but I can’t see paying $100-$150 for a watch with a pedometer and a HR tracker – particularly if the tracker doesn’t really “track”.   In fairness to FitBit, their newer models DO “track” swimming as an exercise, but since I don’t own one of the newer models, I can’t speak to how they do it or how functional it is when doing the tracking.  But, if you are in the market for a good Heart Rate monitor, I guess you’ll get what you pay for.
Well, those are my thoughts about Day 2…  I hope I haven’t bored you all too much and you’ll come back for (and enjoy) some of these longer posts.
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On This Day In:
2018 Ryan, McConnell & The Republican Controlled Congress
The Proud Dad
Day 35: Five(5) Weeks Completed!
2017 Serving Is Proving Harder Than Winning For #DumbDonald
2016 Come Again…
2015 At Five
2014 Touching The Past
The Supreme Question
2013 Children Will Judge
2012 Liar, n.
2011 Freedom To Doubt

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If you’re planning for one year, grow rice.  If you’re planning for 20 years, grow trees.  If you’re planning for centuries, grow leaders.  If you’re planning for eternity, go to confession.
   —    Australian proverb
[One year ago, I had my heart stopped and re-started.  The procedure is called: “electrical cardioversion”.  Basically, the doctors zap you with electricity to “re-set” your heart rhythm from AFib to normal.  I’m still here a year later and Thanksgiving is coming up.  …One more year to be thankful for.  So far, good to go!  I’m hoping to plant a few trees this year.   —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Small Hands, Small Grasp
2016 Two Murrow’s
Election + 1 Week
2015 Not Mine, Anyway
2015 South By South East
2013 Don’tcha
2012 I Hear A Distant Thunder
2011 A Poison Tree

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The end of day thirty-four and the start of day thirty-five…  End of week 5 in sight!
Morning weight:  313lbs.
I am now down “60/67”.  As in, 60lbs down from my fasting start weight: 373lbs, and 67lbs down from my highest weight ever (two days before I started the fast): 380lbs.  Today’s loss is a 2lbs loss, down from 315lbs yesterday.
Today I had my colonoscopy / endoscopy at the local hospital.  They took my vitals and my weight (on their scale) was: 330lbs.  I asked how accurate the scale was since it is different than my home scale and, at my visit to the urologist on Monday, his office scale put my weight at 309lbs.  The nurse said it is a professional-medical grade scale and is calibrated every quarter by the State hospital inspectors because it is used to calculate the anesthesia for procedures.  He said it should always be within 1 or 2lbs of totally accurate.  This weight is significantly different from my scale, but I don’t have access to their scale on a daily or weekly basis, so I will continue to use the weights from my own scale.  As an experiment, when I got home I tried to duplicate the weight by moving my feet and leaning forwards, backwards and to the sides.  I was not able to get within 5lbs of 330lbs, no matter what I did.  As I said, I’ll just have to stick with the girl I came to the dance with…
Results:  I don’t know.  The doctor said he found a single, small polyp in my colon, which he removed for biopsy.  He also said he found something in my throat / esophagus.  Unfortunately, I was still pretty doped up and didn’t catch what he was saying.  My wife said she didn’t either – except I’m to call next week for a follow-up appointment.  By then the results of the biopsies should be back.  So, time will tell…  My wife also said the doctor said I won’t need the procedures again for five(5) years.  Since I am currently on a three(3) year follow-up, that’s a good thing.
Prep Notes:  Just a quick recommendation to anyone who has to take the “Suprep Bowel Prep Kit” for your own future colonoscopy, it is foul tasting at room temperature with tap water.  The mixture says to keep it non-refrigerated and to mix it with cold water.  I had the first batch (there are two you have to take) at room temperature with “cold” tap water.  EEYYUCCKKK!  It makes you want to retch.  This morning, I mixed the second batch with ice water (sans ice), and it was tolerable.  The flavor is cherry cough syrup with a healthy bit of sea water mixed in.  Still yuck, but not as bad as when warm / room temperature.
A second thing I feel worth mentioning is the main / first ingredient is Sodium Sulfate which is considered a “neutral” salt.  Now, because I’ve been fasting, I’ve had very little salt in my diet over the last month.  (Yes, I know my “veggie-broth” contained salt and pepper.)  The “salt” is considered to be an electrolyte – similar to what you would find in Gatorade.  There is a caution in the attached medication guide that the kit can cause arrhythmia in those persons subject to them.  Well, I have AFib, which is a type of arrhythmia, and guess what?  Last night I woke up with severe palpitations which lasted from 12:30am until just before 4:00am.  They were bad enough I had to get out of bed and sit up to feel comfortable.  Which is why you should ALWAYS read the medication guides before you take the meds and ask your doctor about them.  In my case, didn’t and did.  I didn’t read and I did ask my doctor.  However, I didn’t ask him specifically about this Rx.  I did make sure he was aware of my AFib in advance.  Next time, in three or five years, I will be a little more aggressive about my questions.  A word to the wise…
Tomorrow at noon will be the end of week five(5).  With the news from the hospital scale, I’m now a bit disappointed.  I know I shouldn’t be, but facts are facts even when they are ugly.  If I am really 30lbs away from 300lbs, I won’t get there in a week or two.  If I choose to go with my home scale, I’m within a couple of weeks of breaking 300lbs and being able to think: “I lost 80lbs!”  This is where ego and vanity and a sense of accomplishment intersect and get twisted.  What started out as a seven(7) day juice fast to jump start a change in behavior is becoming (between my ears) something else.  The question I have for myself is:  “Okay…  Then when is enough, enough? 50 days?  100 days?  80lbs?  100lbs?”  Perhaps I’m just tired from last night’s lack of sleep, but I don’t have a good answer.  At the moment, it’s still Saturday at noon…
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On This Day In:
2017 And The Future Is Now
2016 I Am
2015 Positively Aiming Higher
2014 Suspicious Minds
2013 We Are Not Alone
2012 Lawyer, n.
2011 Each Day Remember…
2010 Impossible Dreams of Camelot

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The end of day six and the start of day seven…
The last 24 hours was a bad day which may have had nothing to do with the fast.
Yesterday felt like a real good day.  I felt good getting up.  I walked the dog and even went for a late morning jog to end day 5.  After noon, I started day six still feeling pretty good.  I even went for an evening swim (tread water for 60min).  Except while in the pool, my heart started palpitating.  This happened multiple times during the time in the water.  When I got home, I took my blood pressure (BP&HR) and pulse and found I was in active AFib.  Generally, this means my heart is beating erratically.  In my case, too rapidly (accelerated) and not with regular timing (sinus rhythm).
This is all quite “normal” for me.  I tend to go into and out of AFib often if not regularly.  Most times I feel the palpitations for a minute or two and then they go away.  This time they didn’t…  Go away.  In my particular form of AFib, my heart doesn’t accomplish a full beat.  It flutters.  This means I have “stale” blood in my heart and / or in my cardiovascular system.  When blood doesn’t circulate, it tends to clot after a bit of time –  usually about 4 to 7 minutes.  If the clot stays in your heart it may block other blood and then you have a heart attack.  If the clot moves or a chunk of it breaks off and runs around your body, then lodges, you have a stroke.   Depending on where the clot lodges, that’s how serious the stroke is.
What does one do about this?  Well, I mostly wait.  I wait to see if I will get additional or continuing symptoms.  I wait to see if I drop back into normal heart rhythm on my own.  If I get more symptoms or I’m in AFib for too long, I go to the Emergency Room (ER).  This is what happened to me in the last go round.  The rhythm never reverted back to normal and it lasted almost three days.  When I finally went in, the doctors ended up giving me an electro-cardio inversion treatment.  Basically, they electrocuted me to stop and restart my heart with the hope that: 1)  it will restart; and, 2)  that the heart with come back with a normal pulse rhythm.  Mine did.
Day 6’s palpitations (the AFib) lasted all through the night and finally ended about 4:30 pm this afternoon (into Day 7).  The good news is I have been checking my BP&HR almost every hour since then and it’s now after 9:30pm and I’m still in normal sinus rhythm.  So, it looks like I’ve dodged the bullet another time…
Tomorrow at noon is the end of day 7 of my juice fast.  This is the goal I set myself when I started this (juice fast) last week.  This morning’s weight:  363lbs.  That’s down 2lbs from yesterday where I stalled and didn’t lose any weight from the prior day.  As of this morning, that’s 17lbs down from the starting weight of 380lbs.  And, again, subtracting out the “assumption” weight (10lbs), I’ve now lost 7lbs in six days.  I am feeling good and have enough veggie juice to last me at least until Monday which would make it a round 10 days of juice fasting.  I think from here on I will take it one day at a time and just see how far I can go.  At the minute, I feel like I can make the 10 day mark with no problem…
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On This Day In:
2017 The Soul Of Victory
2016 Getting Furrowed?
2015 Pretty Good So Far
2014 Still Learning?
There Ain’t No Thing Like Me, ‘Cept Me!
2013 Little Lives
2012 Evolution
2011 Excellence At Performance = 10,000 Hours
2009 A Brief Poem…
Crater Lake Trip with James

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Earlier in the week (Tuesday & Wednesday), I went in to the doctor’s office for a “nuclear” (Adenosine / Thallium Study) stress test on my heart.  I suffer from AFib.  Anyway, yesterday I met with my cardiologist for the results.  I am all clear with no blockages at all.  Yippie!!
This was my second nuclear test in five years.  (I’ve also taken the standard treadmill test twice in the last 10 years.)  The last one was the same results.  I was having (again) radiant pain in my left chest / shoulder / arm / elbow / wrist / hand, so the test was just to be on the safe side and make sure nothing had changed since the last test.  Same results as last time, so that’s even better.
I told the doctor I’ve started going to the pool as he advised and I’m feeling a lot better for it.  He said terrific.  He added, he would like me to eat a little healthier and try to get my weight down.  We discussed it and I (of course) agreed to try.  I see him again in six months – unless something changes…
The not so good news is that while boiling water for dinner (ravioli) last night, my wife spilled a pot of boiling water on her lap.  So, after a visit to Urgent Care, she got some pain killers and instructions for taking care of the 2nd degree burns.  Fortunately, instead of rising, the blisters all but went away during the night, so we got away very lucky.  I had a terrible night (lack of sleep) worrying about accidentally touching hurting her.  My Fitbit, said I got a little over two hours of interrupted sleep.  It needs a minimum of three hours to identify the types of sleep (deep / light / REM / awake).  Hil, on the other hand, got over eight hours and slept like a log.  LOL!!!  How do you spell relief?  (SLEEPING wife = happy husband!)
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On This Day In:
2017 Forms Of Conservation
2016 Oh, So Lacking
2015 e pluribus unum
2014 Nothing So Far Removed
2013 Positions
2012 Two Errors
2011 Long Live The King!

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Last Friday (10 November 2017), I entered continuous AFib (Atrial Fibrillation).  This is a condition where your heart has a kind of loose electrical connection, and the top part of your heart (the atria) fails to pump smoothly – essentially it flutters (fibrillates).  If left unattended, the flutter can cause your blood to pool in your heart and eventually the pool coagulates and forms a clot.  Then, since your heart is still beating,  your heart can push the clot to other parts of your body and you can end up with a heart attack (if the clot lodges in your heart) or stroke (if it lodges in your brain).  The clot can cause various other issues depending on where it finally settles.  (Obviously, the is a VERY simplified explanation).
Anyway, I hoped it (my heart) would revert to a normal rhythm on its own.  It did not, so Tuesday (14 Nov 2017) I went to see my cardiologist, who in turn, admitted me to the hospital for electrical cardioversion.  Basically, they hit your heart with an electric charge which “in effect” re-boots the electrical system of the heart.  Yes, it stops your heart, but only for a fraction of a second (everyone hopes).
The procedure (yesterday – 15 Nov 2017) was successful (big shout-out to all the staff, nurses and doctors at John Muir Hospital in Concord, CA) and I was sent home with my heart in normal rhythm.  I’ll be chilling out for the next few days / week to make sure I don’t slip back into AFib and then I have to concentrate on dieting and exercise to lose weight and strengthen my heart.
Knock on wood…  That’s the plan, anyway.  In the meantime, it’s no added salt, adjusting to lots of new pills and it’s back to being a “blood-thinned” hemophiliac.  Still, it is much better than the alternative…  Please keep me in your prayers (if you are that way inclined).
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On This Day In:
2016 And Bloggers?
2015 Ethical Energy
2014 Are You Likely To Defend It?
2013 Might As Well
2012 The Long And Short Of It
2011 Bravery

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The Enemy (2004©)  —  book review
This book is #8 in the Jack Reacher series written by Lee Child.  Yes, I admit it.  I’m coming late to the party…  (More on this later.)
A couple of years ago, I borrowed the movie “Jack Reacher” from my brother (review here).  I enjoyed the movie so much I actually watched it several times in the weeks following and then looked up the character on Wikipedia.  There I “discovered” the movie was based on a series of books by Lee Child.  This book is the eighth book in the series, but it is the prequel to the entire series.  That is, the first book starts with Jack out of the Army and goes from there.  In this book, Jack is still in the Army.
The book is about a series of murders (duh!) and some missing papers which might lead to a “problem” for the Army.  To say more is to give away much of the book.  (Sorry…)  We also learn about Jack’s family.
I bought this book with a gift voucher my Hil gave me for my birthday back in March.  I also picked up the first volume in the series, so there will be a review of that in due time.  I was reading the book in the waiting room of my blood testing facility.  I have to give blood every month because I’m on blood-thinners for my AFib.  An older lady (I’d say seventies or early eighties) was sitting next to me and she was also reading.  She asked what I was reading and I showed her the spine and said: “One of the Jack Reacher series…”  She interrupted, “I’ve read them all.  They’re terrific!  If you like that series, I also recommend James Patterson (and she held up the paperback she was reading).  My reading club loves both authors and get them as soon as they come out.”  How’s that for a personal recommendation from a stranger?!?  (My wife got a chuckle out of this, too, because, as she says, I’ll talk to anyone…  Including random, little old ladies I sit down next to in a waiting room.)
Anyway, final recommendation: strong to high – a fast, fun read.  Because I’ve seen the movie and now read a prequel, it’ll be interesting to see how I like the series from the start.  For now, this book is very much like the movie – a fast experience (read), with lots of mystery / who-done-it, intermittent high-action and a sprinkling of non-graphic sex.
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On This Day In:
2015 Getting The Story Right
2014 Like Shells On The Shore
2013 More And Why
2012 How To Gain Effective Fire
2011 Patriot Act

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So, this last July 6th, I began my latest attempt to reduce weight.  My starting weight was 363 lbs.  As of yesterday, August 6th, I weighed in at 335 lbs.  So, I have lost my initial goal of 28 lbs (two stones).  Now, because of the way “juicing” works as a form of dieting, I have to lose another 8 to 12 lbs to legitimately say I’ve lost a full 28 lbs.  This is because the body normally holds about 5 to 7 lbs of food matter in the stomach when there is food available (when you’re not juice fasting) and (from experience) I’ve found normal eating generally adds about another 1/2 gallon of water to your weight due to the addition of salts and sugars back into your diet.  That’s another 3 to 4 lbs.  The bottom line is I need to drop another 12 lbs by Hil’s birthday (the end of October), before I can legitimately says I’ve lost the weight I promised to lose by her birthday.
General Observations:
I feel terrific.  I don’t have a tremendous amount of endurance energy, but I feel capable of most routine activity.  My “fast / diet” consisted of 1 to 2 days of “pure” juice, and then 1 to 2 days of “smoothie” juice.  My smoothies consisting of the left-over fiber from the vegetable roughage mixed with “no-added sugar, no-added fructose” fruit juices and water.  The intent was to prevent the stoppage which normally occurs if you aren’t passing fiber for an extended period of time.  I dislike enemas and this works for me.  Another benefit of this is “smoothie in, smoothie out” – my hemorrhoids are a lot better and the is no straining to pass.
Interestingly, I’m not experiencing any passage of grains of sand (tiny kidney stones) which I have a habit of passing every few weeks.  Of course, four weeks is a small sample size, but it “feels” like good news.  I also have almost no bloating in my hands or ankles.
Practically speaking, 28 lbs translates into four notches on my belt (at the waist), so all of my clothes fit much more comfortably.  Strangely, the weight loss is not at all evenly distributed.  The loss of four inches on my waist doesn’t mean I can wear smaller pants, only that my current pants are more comfortable.  That is, I can wear “normal” fit as opposed to only “relaxed” fit pants of the same size, but again, the waist size hasn’t decreased.  My best estimate is that I’ll need to lose another 15 to 20 lbs before I can switch to smaller pants.  That’s definitely not encouraging, but it is what it is…
Physically – I’m still walking for 35 to 45 minutes almost every day.  I walk my dog in the evening, before getting ready for bed.  Also, last Friday (7/31) I joined my local YMCA.  I reckon I’ve given my body enough of a break adjusting to just the juicing, so now I can add in a bit more exercise.  At the moment, I’m starting off with 30 min slow jog (or elliptical), 30 min of rowing on a machine, and then a final 30 to 45 min of weights and stretching.  I originally started off with 30 min of shooting around on the basketball court, but I sprained my left knee on the second day, so I’ve given that up indefinitely.
The bad news is that yesterday (8/6/15), I had another “bad” day with my AFib and had to spend the afternoon in the ER.  I reverted to normal rhythm on my own, but it remains a cautionary event to prompt me to lose weight and get into better shape.  So, onwards and downwards…!!  (Keep me in your prayers!)  🙂
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On This Day In:
2014 Tough Journalism
2013 Things I’ve Learned
2012 Abstainer, n.
2011 Rain, Rain, Rain
Test Your Strength
2009 End the mistakes…

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Today I made a minor change to my blog.  Last year (1 Jan 2011), I began including a journal of my exercise habit(s) so I’d have a record to look back on.  The record has been as hit and miss as my routines, but it is accurate.
Now that we’ve started 2012, I’ve changed the main tab at the top of the page to read “Sweat Equity” and I’ve added extra pages to show the new year’s record.  I don’t imagine anyone but me will find them very interesting, but the main benefit of creating my own blog is I get to include what I want to…  Just another facet of a very rough, uncut diamond.
My goal this year is the similar last year:  to walk at least 30 minutes each day.  I didn’t last very long on the objective last year (to jog 30 minutes each day) because I ended up going to the ER / hospital with AFib.  Hopefully, I’ll do better this year.  Wish me luck…
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