Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Morbid thoughts

later Wednesday:

In the aftermath of winning dietbet, I have eaten some snacks I was saving specially for today. And didn't count calories. But I also walked for over an hour. And drank lots of water. My attempt to lose weight is not over, but I did have a bit of a break today after the extreme restrictions I had placed on myself.

I had quite a long talk with my mum today. She is ready for this to be all over, giving me contact numbers and wrapping up her finances. She doesn't seem to be in too much pain, but has discomfort, and is just so weak and tired all the time that she sleeps all day. With no hope of getting better, at the best only short term temporary improvement, she doesn't see any point in hanging on.

It made me wonder, as I was on my long walk, which is better: to die suddenly with no fearful anticipation, or to have warning so you can say goodbye and organise things left behind? Which would you prefer? And if you would chose to have warning of your death, how far in advance? A day, a week, a year? I had a dream a while ago that I died suddenly and then hung around as an unseen ghost because I couldn't bear not having said goodbye to my family. After many years I was finally able to get through to my now-grown-up son, and he passed on my message of love and farewell, and then I was able to leave them and move on. I think the dream accurately represents my feeling that I would like to be able to say goodbye. On the other hand I would hate to hang on for years in pain or with my mind going.

Sorry for the morbid thoughts, but this is what is on my mind at the moment. I seem to be surrounded by death. My mum getting closer, but also a popular sportsman died in a freak on-field accident and Australian TV was full of that for a week, then this hostage thing in Sydney where two people died (plus the gunman, may he rot) and now all those children in Pakistan. It is bewildering.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I won dietbet!


I won my first dietbet! My weigh loss had stalled, still 600 grams to go, even though I was eating clean and counting calories. So for two days I cut right down on carbs, which also meant a natural reduction in calories, and concentrated on drinking lots of water. Without carbs I had little energy to exercise, but I did some walking and languid dancing. This morning I got up early, too much suspense to sleep, and got on the scale. And my weight had finally dropped to the required level! 80.7 kgs. A total loss of 3.5 kgs (7.7 pounds) over the four weeks of the dietbet.

Submitted and verified, I'm a winner. I won't know how much money I've won until everyone has weighed in, because the pot is shared between the winners. I will use it to buy myself another charm for my reward bracelet - it's been a long time since I've earned a new charm!

Then I had an early breakfast. Carbs! Oh beautiful carbs. Yummy toast.

A combination of success and carbs have made me a happy girl this morning.

My plan now is to relax my diet a bit until after Christmas (I said relax, not binge). And I'll definitely do another dietbet next year. I loved the supportive chat on the forums and the whole competition thing. I loved having a finishing line to aim for, not "this is my life now". They have 6 month challenges, but that is too long for me. One month is good.

Difficult days


It's been a hard couple of days. Mum isn't any better. The new medication is helping her appetite go up from zero to low, which is good, and is also slowing down the fluid production (she thinks). But she is feeling worse and worse. Today I called several times and she didn't pick up the phone beside her bed. I finally got through to my brother when he got home and he said she's not up to answering the phone, and even talking is an effort. So that is scary. Does she need to be in hospital? Who makes that decision? I feel very helpless so far away.

Much less important, but still a burden, is that in a last-ditch attempt to win this dietbet I've cut out carbs (except fruit and non-starchy vegetables). 64 grams of carbs today, 68 yesterday. I'd been very good all week anyway with sticking to my calorie limit and avoiding junk, but my weight loss has stalled and for the past five days I've had the same 600 grams to lose, so I cut the carbs which usually does work for me. (But maybe I've already lost all the water weight I was holding on to, it doesn't seem to have helped this time so far.) I don't do well without carbs and two days without them has left me tired and weak and struggling to cope a bit. Or maybe that's just natural worry. Either way, it's been hard. My weigh out is tomorrow morning, or the next if I want. So I am looking forward to a whole additional day of low carb. Not.

Of course I could question if it is worth it. This current diet is not sustainable for me, I am only doing it to lose weight temporarily for this weigh out. Why do it to myself? I guess I just want to win this dietbet. And every day I eat healthily is another day I'm not stuffing myself with junk. Even if I binge a bit after it's over. Aside from these past couple of days, I've been eating a healthy sustainable diet. The dietbet has really helped me to stay on track. I've found it very motivational, and the chat on the website is great. Everyone is very supportive.

But right now I just want it over with.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

All about the anacondas


Only a couple of days to go on dietbet. 600 grams (1.3 pounds) to lose. Because of the time difference I can weigh in any time from Tuesday night to Thursday night - but I'm aiming for Wednesday morning my time. I've already been very good all week, with great success so far. I am going to have two very strict, very low carb days and see how I go. Down to the wire!

Since I'm not hosting Christmas this year and all my shopping is done for both presents and food contributions (except for helping my husband finish buying for his relatives, but he is nearly done too after a big shopping weekend), I am in a low-stress Christmas mode. Apart from my sick mum (obviously a big stress) the only thing I have to worry about is how to fit all the presents and food and boxes of crackers (those things take up a lot of space!) in the car. But we manage it every year, tucked under the kids' dangling feed or perched on laps. Everyone but the driver gets packed in! We have put a few presents under our tree and it looks exciting and very festive.

I've been listening to music by Rock My Run while exercising, often tracks I don't usually hear. That Nicki Minaj song Anaconda is weird. The rapping guy saying he isn't interested in sex with a girl unless she has a huge butt? I sure hope everyone is turning down his "anaconda" with an attitude like that. Shallow much?

But then I listened to the lyrics of "All About That Bass" and I don't think it's any better. She sings that she is not a stick figure silicone barbie doll or photo-shopped, which is fine (although possibly skinny-shaming), but then "I got that boom boom that all the boys chase" and her mamma told her "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night." So it actually has the same message as Anaconda. Be this exact shape so that boys will want to have sex with you. Great message for my ten year old daughter.

I realise that being attractive to the opposite sex is actually biologically imperative - to propagate your genes - and there is nothing wrong with wanting to look good. But I just don't like the message that your physical shape is all about attracting random sexual partners. Not about health, or feeling good about yourself, or being fit. And there is no hint that sex is about more than physical attraction, that there is/can be/should be also aspects of love and companionship and security for future children and all sorts of other things. The female body is just there to attract as many anacondas as possible, apparently.

That is my rant for the day! Maybe I'm not getting enough carbs...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Up and down


Today I finished my first edit of my novel and then printed it out and had it spiral bound. It's nowhere near "book" yet but I have a physical copy! Now I will do another edit on the printed copy. Sometimes I prefer having a real page in front of me. Then after that my husband gets to read it and comment - tactfully of course.

My mum had her abdomen drained again today. Only nine days after the last time and it was nearly as bad. She doesn't feel like the new medication is helping but it's only been a few days. She says she doesn't need me to go and stay there at this stage, maybe later. I don't think she has much hope of getting better now. She is being very practical, like giving me phone numbers of her friends to notify if she dies.

Life is full of good and bad, up and down.

More Christmas shopping


After a thunderstorm last night that cooled the air, I had a much better sleep last night. I only woke a couple of times, and had my CPAP on for around 5 hours. I might have had around 8 hours sleep for once. Awesome!

I had another long session of Christmas shopping today. I am very close to finished, apart from helping my husband chose things for his side of the family. Mum had asked me recently to print out some photos for her (I rarely print out photos anymore, I just have them on my computer) and I decided that my Christmas present to her would be a digital photo frame. I spent about three hours yesterday sorting through a few year's worth of photos for the ones she would like (family, no silly faces). I hope she likes it, but she is not that keen on technology so if she doesn't like having the screenshow on the digital frame I'll just print them out for her. She can chose the ones she likes best.

I know some adults don't exchange presents but we love it. And it's (usually!) not a matter of getting a whole lot of things you didn't want. During the year we don't just go out and buy everything we want when we want it, we save up our desires for Christmas and birthdays, and spend a lot of time and thought on getting a mix of things we know the other person would want/have asked for and random good ideas that we hope they will like. I don't think it is (totally) about commercialism, it is a way of showing love and caring. And why should the kids have all the fun?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014



I was tossing and turning all night (even more than usual), stressed and worried about mum. I'm going to put it all down here to help get it out of my head. This is not to moan about my hard life, poor me, (I'm not the one with cancer!) it's just that I think better when I write it down.

Firstly of course I am very worried and sad and scared about my mother. She may only have months to live; and even if this medication helps, between now and the end there will be all the pain and indignities of a terminal illness. And the indignity is not a minor thing for her. I'm a bit surprised she is even talking about me coming to live there and help her because when we've talked about it in the past she has always been horrified by the thought of a loved one seeing her humiliated by things like help toileting. She would much rather an impersonal nurse. But she is not at that point yet so maybe it will still come to professional care. Our family tends to live a long time, her own father is still alive at 96 and living in his own home, so her probably dying in her early 70s is a big shock. My children will grow up without either grandmother.

My other big worry is leaving my husband and children to cope without me. It won't be so bad in a couple of weeks as we'll all be on summer holidays and they can come with me to Sydney or travel back and forth or whatever suits us, but for the next couple of weeks my husband is still working long hours and we'd have to organise after-school care for the kids. Maybe different friends could take them each day. It would be hard for my husband to get more time off right now, he has just been borrowed by parliament house for some important work for a couple of months and he already insisted on taking his Christmas leave right in the middle of it because we'd already made plans. (Of course we may have to cancel our beach holiday, I have already warned the children about that.) If mum needs me soon, it will be a real scramble to organise. And Tim is very out of practice in the kitchen - I am imagining them all eating at midnight every night. And when will he have time to shop?

Staying at mum's house is a big problem in itself. My brother lives with her. He is two years older than me, 46, and has never had a life. He has OCD - obsessive compulsive disorder - with a germ phobia and no empathy for others and strong resistance to change. My daughter recently realised he is very like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. Except Sheldon manages to have a job and friends. It is funny to watch on TV, not so funny to live with. He has also become a hoarder in recent years, mainly of food. He is gradually filling the house and garage with rotting food that he never wants to throw out. The bags of out of date packaged food in the spare room aren't so bad, but the meat and dairy and vegetables gone bad are just disgusting. Slimy, fly-attracting, and horrible smelling. Since mum got sicker it has got more out of control because she just can't deal with it. She had a cleaner come for a while but when they left she didn't look for a new one. Too embarrassed. If I am living there, there are going to be lots of stressful fights with him about it. Of course I will throw stuff out when he is asleep, if necessary, but I know he will just buy more. I'll need some space in the fridge for me and mum, he had taken over both fridges with just one tiny corner for mum.

Even once I get rid of the rotting food, the kitchen is falling apart and horrible. Mum was never very interested in cooking, and she knew Darren would just destroy any new kitchen if she renovated. He opens cupboard doors with his feet, stuff like that, because he doesn't like touching things with his hands.

The inconsistency between him having a germ phobia and hoarding rotting food is obvious to everyone but him. Mental illness isn't logical.

We only have one car and I am very out of practice with a manual like mum's, so I may be quite trapped once I get there. Luckily the shops are within walking distance.

And the bed. I took my single bed with me when I moved out and I'm not sure where she got the spare bed from but it is so saggy it is quite difficult not to roll out during the night. Very uncomfortable. I will have to organise buying a new one as soon as I get there.

Ok, I have got that all out of my head and onto the page where I can be less emotional about it. I can cope with any or all of that stuff. I'm glad to be able to look after mum when she needs me. I need to get on with getting things organised here so I can be ready whatever happens.