January 04, 2019

Starting the New Year with Bronchitis and a Biopsy

Well, 2019 is off to a rocky start for me!

But first, I have been doing really well with my goals (granted, it's only Day 4). The first week is always the hardest when making any changes, and I've managed to get through the first three days with ease. It's so interesting--when I switch from being "motivated" to being "determined", I can actually feel it. I don't even remember the last time I felt like this! Maybe 2016, when I was training for the 10K?

Anyway, to recap my three main goals for this year: 1) No alcohol for the entire year, 2) Get back down to a comfortable weight (about 140 or less), and 3) To get back in the habit of exercising at least 3 days a week for 30 minutes each time.

The alcohol goal is simple to track--it's very black and white. Either I drink alcohol or I don't. And I haven't had any, so I am on track with that. Only 361 more days, hahaha. Yesterday was actually a little tough--I wanted a glass of wine so badly! I had just finished cleaning up the house, and was ready to chill in my pajamas. Our TV died yesterday morning, so I sat down with a book. The idea of getting cozy on my couch, reading my book in my pajamas while sipping a glass of wine sounded romantic.

I realized that romanticizing the thought of drinking situations is the allure; it's not the drink itself, but more of the thought of the scenario. For example, thinking about having a happy hour drink with Jerry while we chat about what we want to do for vacation next year; or getting together with girlfriends for margaritas and Mexican food; or having mimosas on Christmas morning. Those ideas make it seem so inviting!

But the reality is never as good, and then I just wind up puffy and tired with a headache, having eaten more than I wanted because the alcohol makes my stomach a bottomless pit. I never think that far ahead, though. So, with this year of not drinking, I'm going to have to remind myself to think further ahead than happy hour. And that's what I did yesterday; I wanted the wine, and I was questioning why I even made this goal, but then I went over the reasons in my head. And it helped so much.

I happen to love tart cherry juice (I buy this concentrate and mix two tablespoons into about 6-7 ounces of water). When mixed, it looks identical to red wine. So, I mixed some in a wine glass and enjoyed that instead of wine. Once I was reading, the wine was out of my mind anyways.


I've also done really well with calorie counting. I'd tried to get back into it several times last year, but it was almost like I was spiteful about it. The last few days, it's been pretty automatic, which is what happens when my mind makes that switch from motivation to determination. It's like there isn't even a question about whether I'm going to do it or not--I just do.

I had been hoping to put together a grocery shopping list before I started, but I didn't even leave the house the first couple of days of January. I very rarely get sick, and I think the last time I had a cold was a few years ago. When I do get sick, though, it's usually pretty bad. It almost always ends in bronchitis.

And, that's where I am now--bronchitis. Aside from the coughing, I'm still blowing my nose a hundred times a day, and my sinuses are congested, but I think the virus has pretty much run its course. Hopefully in a few days, my symptoms will be nil.

I had been hoping to start the new year with a run in this gorgeous weather we've had (it's been over 40 degrees every day!), but there was just no way I could do it while sick. My friend Audrey's dad died and I couldn't even go to the funeral because it was at the peak of this cold and I was coughing constantly.

Shortly before Christmas, I noticed a spot on my forearm that looked like a patch of scaly skin--it was odd. It was directly over a tiny lump under the skin that had been there for a long time. I never really thought anything of it, but when the skin started looking weird, I consulted Google, and realized that I should probably get it checked out. It actually had the appearance of a non-melanoma skin cancer.


A few inches away from it was another lump, but it didn't have indication on the skin itself like the first one. I always associate skin cancer with moles or dark spots, and didn't realize that it can look like a scar or like a shiny patch of skin (which is what my spot looked like).

Because it was the holiday season, I put off an appointment until Wednesday. I thought for sure the dermatologist would take a glance, tell me that it's nothing to worry about and to try some hydrocortisone cream.

Instead, she said she can't know what it is unless she takes it out for a biopsy. Jerry was with me, and had been much more worried than I was. The doctor said that she would go in to the office early the next morning (yesterday) at 7:30 if I wanted to have it removed then. I made arrangements to get the kids to school, and then I went in yesterday morning.

It was super nice of her to go in early--there wasn't even a receptionist there, because it was before they opened. She injected a local anesthetic around both areas and then made a of tiny incision over each lump.

As soon as she took it out, she said, "Oh, it's a lipoma". I'd read about them, so I knew it was nothing to worry about. A lipoma is a benign tumor made of fatty tissue and they are very common. From the top of my skin, the lump felt like the size of a BB, but when she pulled it out, it was about the size of a pea. Lipomas usually don't cause tenderness or problems on top of the skin, like mine did, but they can. (She still sent them to the lab to verify, but she was certain they were just lipomas.)

She stitched up the incisions with a few absorbable sutures, and that was that. Jerry was relieved, but he's still nervous because he wants the lab results. I'm confident that the doctor knows her stuff ;)


20 comments:

  1. I'm glad that your arm bump turned out to be nothing serious! I have had a lipoma in my left shoulder for years. It's on the back side of the top of the shoulder, right where my bra strap likes to cross, which often makes it uncomfortable. When my doctor originally looked at it, she ordered an ultrasound for it, which is when we discovered it was just a lipoma. Mine feels like it's a lot bigger than a pea, but who knows! haha

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    1. From what I've read, if it seems large, they'll do an ultrasound. Since mine were so small, it made more sense just to remove them. I'm glad yours isn't anything to worry about! But if it's a nuisance, I bet your doctor would remove it if you ask. Mine was really sore.

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  2. Hope you feel better soon and your test results are fine. I was diagnosed with an ear infection and bronchitis in December, went back today as I'm still sick but it seems to be just the end running it's course. Hopefully it just go away soon.

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    1. Isn't it awful?! I always forget just how miserable it is to be sick. The clogged ears and not being able to smell/taste drives me the craziest. I was painting a door last week, and the fumes from the paint and mineral spirits is always really strong--but I couldn't smell it at ALL. It was so weird!

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  3. Glad the arm was fine! And kudos to you for going alcohol free for the year.....don't think I could do that. Given your history I have every confidence you'll nail your goals for 2019. You go Katie!

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    1. I'm not sure that I can do it for a year! It's going to be VERY tough, especially when I travel. But I like the idea of working on one very difficult challenge throughout the year. If I hadn't made it public, I probably would have caved already! haha

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  4. I stopped drinking a year and a half ago. I highly recommend a book called This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. It just took away my desire to drink, like magic.

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    1. Several people have recommended the book, and I did download the podcast. I'm going to order the book now! I started reading a couple of memoirs about people who make their way to sobriety, but I found them to be triggering more than anything else. I like to follow some Instagram accounts of "teetotalers".

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  5. So glad nothing to worry about with lipoma!
    Also, I was appreciating your decision to abstain from alcohol this year. I have made the same decision, though I am not always happy about it. I have found, as did you, that alcohol affects my motivation, my sleep and I am pretty convinced that the weight I need to lose is closely related to my alcohol consumption over the years.
    Thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing how things go for you in 2019!

    Amy

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    1. Thanks, Amy! It was a hard decision to make, because I definitely feel in the minority among my friends--and I really hope that I don't get excluded from things because of it. But the negatives of alcohol outweigh the positives for me, so I wanted to use this year to see if giving it up resolves a lot of the issues that I think alcohol plays a roll in (anxiety, sleep problems, weight, etc.). Good luck to you!!

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  6. I have a question: what is the difference between jogging and running? I know you mentioned when you started running that your brother told you to run really slowly at first - is that jogging? I'm probably overcomplicating things, but as I overcome my fear of starting to run, this issue came up. Best of luck with your goals - you're such a motivator!

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    1. The two words can really mean whatever you want them to. Technically, you are no longer walking when, at some point, both of your feet are off the ground (even for a millisecond). Personally, I consider it jogging when you're just running super slowly as part of a warm up or cool down, or in between speed intervals. When you're out with a goal in mind, even if it's to run a mile VERY slowly, I consider it running. But it's really up to you! A lot of runners HATE the word "jog" ;)

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  7. I had one of those on my shoulder right under where your bra strap sits...When I had it removed it was the size of a golf ball. Dr showed it to me afterward and it was really weird looking. They sent it off to get tested and results came back with everything being normal.

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    1. I'm glad it came back normal for you! It's interesting how many people have had them, and I'd just never heard of it.

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  8. I'm just starting with sober January and I agree with everything you said. Also for me it has been a habit - like on a Friday or Saturday, the baby goes to bed and I have a glass or two of wine...this was my first weekend in I don't even know how long to not pop open a bottle after bedtime and it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I drank some water, watched some TV shows I liked and had the exact same amount of fun I would have had if I had had that wine. I love hearing your journey, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes, a habit for sure! It's so symbolic for relaxing after a long day or just something to look forward to. I found I've been looking forward to my cherry juice every night now! I definitely miss the wine, but I hope over time it will get easier.

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    2. Agreed - I bought some fancy sodas for those nights when I just want something special. It hasn't been easy but also not as hard as I thought it would be. Always keep moving forward!

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  9. I always find my weightloss so much easier when I abstain, or really really keep a limit on it. It does so much to your inhibitions and appetite. I feel like trying to do some sort of goal in limiting alcohol for a while again. Like you say, limiting it works as long as you keep the long goal in mind.

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    1. Yes, my good intentions with my food intake go right out the window after a glass of wine! I'll have no problems pouring a second glass and getting a snack or two that I hadn't planned on. A hard habit to break! But I feel better about not overeating--that part is easier without the alcohol.

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  10. I had to quit drinking due to medication I take. It was hard for about a year, mostly because people always forgot I don't drink and asked me if I wanted one or tried to convince me I should just have a drink even though I told them I couldn't. Eventually, people quit asking/badgering me and started to appreciate what I could offer - a designated driver at every outing. I have also reframed my thinking from "I can't drink" to "I don't drink" so it's more just a thing about me that's true and not a decision I always have to make. I also just discovered Welch's has a bunch of different non-alcoholic sparkling juices which I've started buying to treat myself.

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