It’s probably overdue on a personal update, but a lot of stuff’s being bouncing around and a bit crazy. First, a couple of really quick updates:

And having had the electrical and plumbing in the house reworked this summer, I decided to be a glutton for punishment and next week, the HVAC folks are arriving to install a new furnace and rework some of the ducting to help us fix some forever airflow problems here in the house. The current furnace is fine but 20 years old, so as long as we’re fixing the infrastructure of the house, it’s time to put in a new one before this one breaks. So that’s two days of watching the experts do their work without cussing (much) around here.

When we’re done with this, the house should be more comfortable, and we’d down to needing to do more cosmetic work rather than in the guts of the place. And the bathroom. And the kitchen. but… that’ll be in 2017, after the holidays. I think.

No other travel on the docket, except for short trips out to photograph on the refuges this winter, which I’ve been trying to set up but I seem to find my calendar booked… But I’m hoping to get up to Sacramento NWR before Thanksgiving and see what’s happening.

On the photographic side, this photo earned a Merit Award in the annual SFBBO photo contest, which made my day, because I really love it and I enjoy supporting that organization.

The Job Search Continues

Quick update on the job search. Hey, did you know I was looking for my next job? Know someone I can solve their problems for? help me get in touch with them…

I have been pursuing a few things, mostly what I’ll define as moon-shot opportunities that involve some kind of pivot from what I’ve been doing, things with relatively low chances of coming through but high value if they happen. And so far, none of them have. But I have the ability to be patient.

And that means that I’ve been evaluating and mostly declining other opportunities, some of which I’d be happy to pursue and might after the first of the year. I like being able to be really picky and explore what’s possible, that’s been rare in my life and career to date.

I’ve said no to two recruiters this week, one very reluctantly, and I’ve been in any number of interesting conversations on top of that, but beyond that, there’s really nothing to say. Yet. But I’m encouraged about the possibilities and thinking through where I want this to take me.

So, asking for a friend…

So, asking for a friend, but how would you feel if you decided to go on sabbatical to focus on getting your weight down and your health under better control, and you spent months fighting this and failed miserably at it?

Yeah, kinda like that. Every time I tried to ramp up the fitness, the body broke down. Every time I tried to lose weight, the body laughed and it crept up a bit further. And over time, what comes out of that is frustration and a loss of motivation. I ended up putting some projects on hold, because, what the hell, they didn’t really matter anyway. There was a time when I lost a lot of motivation and had to grind through.

I have a great doctor, though, and he and I sat down and talked about all of this with him, and we did research into the treatment plans and the drugs and we looked at opportunities — including bariatric surgery — to see what we could do to change things.

What we found was interesting. Two of the drugs I was on both have history of either discouraging weight loss, or actually encouraging weight gain. That was an eye opener.

And that’s why we made the changes to the drugs a while back that I’ve written about. And then we went on vacation and unplugged, and Laurie and I had a great time up in Washington, and even better, I felt great, my activity levels were up 20% from earlier, and I could see a path forward.

And came home and got hit with one of the worst attacks of edema in the legs I’ve had, which basically put me in a chair for a while. We knew this was likely to happen with the new drug mix, but it’s still not fun, so we decided to restart the Lasix. And over the last couple of weeks we’ve been experimenting with dosage and frequency and now we think it’s dialed in. Overall it looks like I was carrying 5-6 pounds of water weight again, most in my legs.

Lasix, if you aren’t aware of its purpose, is the drug that makes you fond of fire hydrants and jockeys, and it can have its own challenges, especially since I’m sensitive to dehydration anyway — and more so in this new drug regime. But it works and I tolerate it well.

What’s most imprortant those, is this: I’m seeing seeing results. I lost ten pounds in October. I’m down almost 15 pounds from June. 12 of that from when we made the first switch in the drugs. The legs don’t hurt. Walking doesn’t hurt. I’m still woefully out of shape, but I can see improvement. My activity levels are up 7% over before the drug changes despite the edema (and despite a pulled groin muscle I’m nursing that I did to myself somehow).

This puts me at five pounds lost for 2016, and within 10 pounds of where I was was when mom died. And I see a path forward again.

Talk to your doctor

The key? Talking to your doctor, even if you think it’s silly or irrelevant. He wouldn’t have known to research the drugs if I hadn’t asked, and I wouldn’t have even considered that the drugs were impacting my metabolism in ways to make weight loss basically impossible.

And because we had those talks, we made changes, and I can tell I have more energy, I don’t tire as quickly, and from the results of the scale, my metabolism is much closer to normal. And my attitude is a whole lot better — and if I ever get past this stupid groin, I’ll go for a walk. Or two.

Just eat less

Here’s the other poisonous thing: I come from the time when we were all taught that a calorie was a calorie and to lose weight you eat less and exercise more, and if you don’t lose weight, you’re weak and it’s your fault. And many people still push that agenda on you, and honestly, some days it can be really frustrating. But my researches into all of this has made it clear life (and your body) is a whole lot more complicated than that, and this new round of exploring these new drugs has pointed out your have to think through and be aware of the side effects of the drugs you take, not just their primary purpose.

So it’s important to consider all of the things in your life, and how they affect your weight and your mood, and not just count calories and wonder why it’s not working. Something may be kicking you in the pancreas without you realizing it.

An interesting side effect of all of this? As soon as my weight loss kicked in, my blood sugars went up a bit. Not to bad levels, but higher — and that seems to be tied to the biology of the body tearing down and disposing of now excess fat cells. Something I’m monitoring, but it seems to have stabilized at this new number for now…

Better late than never

So while I’m a few months behind where I want to be in my weight loss, I feel I’m at a place where it’s finally happening in a sustainable way: ask me in a month or so, but I’m hopefully. And finally at a point where I can push the fitness agenda a bit more (hint: icing a sore groin muscle sucks).

And finally feeling like there’s a path forward.

All because I talked to my doctor. Talk to yours.