I have done something new in the past week. It is time for me to be stepping it up when it comes to my health. I was sent information from a friend in an email, about a medical study at the local university. As a person with type 2 diabetes, I was able to apply. I made a call, and I am glad I did.
When I connected with the person working on the study, I was asked some questions on the phone. They needed to know when I was diagnosed, and what medications I was taking. I went through them all and made an appointment for the first session. When I did, the person I was speaking to asked me when I would like to do the second part of the qualifying session. I chose Wednesday and Thursday this past week.
Next, I was given a brief overview of what would happen. The first session was to fill out the paperwork and to get my measurements recorded. They needed my weight, height, waist and hip circumference. Two blood samples were taken, one by a nurse, and the other by the person I would be working with. The nurse used a needle to get a blood sample, similar to when the doctor sends you for bloodwork. They needed to establish some baselines for my sugars and lipids. The second blood test was just a finger prick, similar to what I do to test my blood sugars myself. It is for a 3 month average of my blood sugars, called an A1C test. We went over the numbers, but I do not remember them all. I was assigned a number for the study.
The Bod Pod
I was told on the phone that in the first session, I would need to go into something called the Bod Pod. It was described as an oval machine, shaped like a spaceship. Of course, I asked for the details of what it was used for. It uses changes in air pressure to get an estimate of the fat and muscle percentage in your body. It sounded neat, and then I asked one more question. With the description of the Bod Pod, I asked if they played any Lady Gaga music while the test was running. I made my contact person laugh, and he surprisingly admitted nobody had ever asked him that question before.
Since I am a blogger, and I have this category, I wanted to document the interesting parts here. We will start with some pictures of the Bod Pod.
As you can see, it has a seat inside. I was asked to wear something similar to a bathing suit for the test. My Zumba clothes worked for this purpose. There are magnets to hold the door secure during the test, and there is an emergency release button if for any reason a person would want to stop the test. It has never been used, and I did ask if the person who I was working with for the assessment wanted to test it after my test was done. My offer was declined, as it was uncertain if it would affect the calibration of the expensive machine. I did not test the emergency button.
For a few moments, I could pretend I was Lady Gaga arriving at a music award show.
The person who was assessing me to see if I would qualify for the study did agree to help me with pictures for the blog. They use the equipment for their job, so they are used to it, but for someone like me, it was worth documenting the whole experience.
Since the machine uses air pressure to record the measurements, I was advised of this. I was also warned that just like my ears, the machine may pop while the test was running. Thankfully, although I felt the pressure changes when it was running, it was not a huge difference, and my ears were not affected. For statistical reasons, they run duplicate tests for certain qualifying factors. This test was run twice and will be necessary again once or twice while the medical study is being conducted.
I had to wear a swim cap also, to help with the test. It was okay for me to wear my stockings in the Bod Pod. At the same time the blood tests were run, my feet were also checked. One side effect of diabetes is neuropathy, which affects the nerves, especially in feet. I have had this test before, and I usually feel the apparatus on my feet when it is lightly pressed on the sole of my feet. After completing these tests, I was able to go home, with a pedometer to wear for 7 days, to get a baseline average of my current activity level.
The fitness test.
Day two had a new test to run. First, I was given an explanation of what to expect. I would be fitted with a heart monitor to start with. I do not have a picture of this because it was put right under my sports bra (which I am SO glad I wore that day!)
Next, I was set up for the apparatus to measure my oxygen levels. If you thought the Bod Pod was glamorous, you haven’t seen the best parts yet. I had to wear this frame over my head, which would be attached to a tube that was placed in my mouth. The air goes in on one side, and out the other, to be measured in another machine. I was advised to drink a bit of water before it was in my mouth because my mouth would get dry during this test. The paper towel was there for me to use for saliva. There was a part of the tube made to catch any drool dripping around the mouthpiece. So attractive, I know.
There were goals to beat in the fitness test to qualify for the study. A speed was selected, and the incline was increased at several intervals. I was shown a clipboard with numbers on it. They ranged from 6 to 20, and since I would not be able to talk during the fitness test, I would point at the number which corresponded to the level of exertion I was feeling when asked. I was also advised to give a thumbs up or down as answers to questions and to move my hand back and forth by my neck if I needed to stop for any reason.
To get the most accurate measurement of the air I was breathing, I also had to wear a nose plug. I walked on the treadmill, and if you know me, and you caught the musical reference above, you probably guessed that I had a song in my head while I was walking my way through this test. I will reveal it soon. First, I want to assure you that my breathing was fine once I got settled into the test. I did feel short of breath near the end, but with increasing intensity for the duration, it was to be expected. When my heart rate was checked as okay, and the machine to measure the oxygen I was using as I breathed was full, the test began.
There was a short warm-up period, to adapt to the treadmill and the breathing apparatus. Once I found my groove, the incline was increased. It was increased by one increment until it reached 11.0. At this time I was asked if I wanted to keep pushing or stop, and I chose to stop.
I qualified for the study.
The good news is, although I will need to repeat the measurements and tests, it will not be every time. I will have to wear the heart monitor every time I go, but that is not an issue for me. It is the lease intrusive piece of equipment I have to wear. Except for testing and measurement days, I will be working with a trainer to help me work on my treadmill game. I will want to push myself as I get used to walking regularly again. It is going to be a good change for me, and my hope is that I excel while I am participating in the study. I will not be getting paid for my participation, but if I can lose some weight and increase my activity levels, it will be worth it to me.
The study is testing to see what the impact of regular exercise is on the A1C levels in people diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and people like me, with type 2 diabetes. As the study progresses, I hope to have more to share here. At this time, I am glad I Trusted My Gut and applied for the study. I needed a change, and this could be just what the doctor ordered.
The song I had in my head when I was on the treadmill on day 2 was Good As Hell by Lizzo. As I finished the test on day 2, after I was unhooked from all of the apparatus, I told the people in the room, “I would like to thank Lizzo for getting me through this fitness test.” My statement was met with laughter, as it was intended.
Weekend Warrior this week is being written during Superbowl 52. I watch for the commercials and the halftime show, I’m not going to lie. I understand a touchdown if I see it happen, and that’s about it. I am not a football fan. I am a huge fan of comedy and music, so I enjoy the extras that go along with the game.
I usually make something special to eat during the game. This year I made tacos and taco salad. Nachos and wings could be an alternative, and we had chili last week. So I chose to make tacos and taco salad. Guess what’s for lunch tomorrow, and maybe supper, and maybe even lunch on Tuesday? Good thing I enjoy Taco salad.
Yesterday was busy with some errands. Mixed into what had to be done was a trip to the mall to try on glasses. I had a friend with me, and he took pics. When you are as blind as a bat without your glasses on, trying on new glasses is challenging, because either you really trust the person that is picking out the frames that you try on, or you guess. One time I was given disposable contacts to try them on. It was the one and only time I ever had contacts in my eyes, and it was really cool! I got to see what I was trying on!
I have a few more places to go in the next few weeks while we sort out the cost and fit it into the budget. I have coverage, but it has a price limit, and we have to pay up front. So it requires planning and shopping around. When you only get new glasses once every 2 years, it is nice to have fun trying on glasses, picking some just for fun, and then narrowing down the choices until you find the right pair. I have more places to shop, and I am going to see if I can’t find the best ones in the current fashion trends. I want to look smart, and stylish, like an up and coming author, should look.
Earlier today I met a friend for lunch. We went to the Northside Market, and she got me to try something new. I had noodles, with veggie ground meat, and spring rolls. it was a combo, and I skipped the curry flavoured meat. Spices and I do not play nicely together, and even though it was the milder choice, I found a spice in it that set me off. I recovered quickly, and the meal was very good. I wish I knew exactly what that spice is, that cuts off the air in my throat. I would be happier if I could ask if that spice was in the ingredients before trying new foods, and it would make me feel a little better about trying new things.
We met because I am lending my Outlander book to her. I have lent that book to several people since I first read it back in university days. I loved Diana Gabaldon for many years, but I have had a new favourite author take that place in my heart. Jacqueline Carey is now my favourite author. Kushiel’s Dart and the whole sets of the Kushiel and Namah trilogies, two each, are the most amazing books. Her writing was so captivating to me. Some people have joined me in the love for these books, but not everyone. I keep telling people about them because I enjoyed them so much.
With the Outlander books, there is the Scottish history with a little bit of fantasy and romance. With the Kushiel and Naamah books, it is like a whole new world, just left of what the real world is, with mystery, and intrigue that just mesmerized me, as a reader. I couldn’t put them down, and want to make time to reread them. I am reading some new to me Sci-Fi, by Karen Traviss (Ally), and my first Stephen King novel (Bag of Bones) at the moment. I love to read, and that is one reason that I am really working hard to become an author. It is something I can do.
I also write lyrics, and the sad truth is that I am not cut out to be a singer. It makes my love for music all the more appreciative of the artists that are blessed with the ability to sing. I am still waiting for that chapter of my life to move forward. As a dreamer, I want it to happen. As a writer, all I can do is let people know what I can do, and what I am looking for.
I set up to record the Superbowl 52 Halftime show, but I was not impressed. Apparently, I am not alone with that sentiment. It was OK. Meh. I do want to thank Scandal for playing 2 Janet Jackson songs this past week. I really enjoyed hearing some of my favourite Janet songs. Don’t fool yourself, it was timed very well. I appreciate the message I got from enjoying Scandal this week.
In light of all of this, I was quite torn about taking the Superbowl Selfie with Justin Timberlake (on my TV) this year. I thought about it for a few minutes, and I made a decision. I want to relive last year’s fantastic Halftime show and share the selfie that started all of this. So here it is, she is still one of the best artists to have the Halftime show in my opinion.
Matty & I pose with Lady Gaga for the Halftime show of Superbowl 51.
You had better believe I won this weekend! Next year, the Superbowl had better pick someone that doesn’t have to play it safe or tick people off. One last thought, if they let him back, is Janet Jackson next? I would love to see that! If not, it is a double standard that is just wrong, another thing that people just aren’t fixing to make the world a place of truth and equality for everyone. There is a lot of work to do yet, to make changes like this happen.
I am going to get ready to watch This Is Us. It is up after the Superbowl. I may have some more salad before packing it up for the night. I have my kleenex ready and am expecting to be sad, it is advertised as being a sad show. We have waited 2 seasons to find out how the father in the show died. It was hinted at as a fire. I am going to apologize now for being tired tomorrow. I took a nap before. That will help. How do you enjoy the Superbowl? What are your favourite party foods that you make for the event?
I spent a bit of time cat sitting this weekend. That happens sometimes. I like cats, and there may be a time when we need help from our friends, so I make sure I am available. I watched some movies on Netflix with the cats. Movies my husband has not expressed an interest to see. I watched the Gaga movie Five Foot Two. I enjoyed it. It gave the fan a look from the outside into her creative process, showing her as a person that has issues like everyone else. It also gave insight into the thought process behind her last album, Joanne. Wow. I didn’t know what that song was written about. I had an idea, but the documentary really explained a lot about the title song. There is so much more to her heart than I knew. I also watched Hidden Figures. That was a really good movie. It made me mad sometimes, about the way things used to be. I am glad that things are different, now, but I don’t think that they are better. People are people, and we need to work on being nicer to each other. Me too.
I watched the documentary Long Time Running too. As a Tragically Hip fan, I was sad to hear the news last week that their frontman, Gord Downie, died after fighting his battle with cancer. It followed the band and a bit of his solo project in the last year. They had a concert that was aired commercial-free last year, and any show they were in since, whether it was on CBC or CTV has been aired the same way. The last concert of their last tour was broadcast across the country in its entirety pretty much everywhere. I watched it on a big screen with several hundred strangers and a few friends. It didn’t matter, we all sang, watched and cried together. I am glad I made a point of doing that, as I never got to see them play live. This was as close as I was ever going to get, and it was such a memorable evening.
I have reflected about the musicians that have died in the last few years. I don’t know of any that took a fatal illness and fought it head on to raise awareness for both the illness and a cause close to their heart. Gord has made Canadians stop and think about many things this past year. He had the support of his medical team, his band, his family, and his fans through it all. What a legacy to leave behind. Last night another Gord Downie hour took up my attention. It was the concert of his mission, The Secret Path. It is not my story to tell, but it made me sad to watch it last night. It wasn’t that it was being aired after he passed away, but the raw artistry displayed in telling the story along with the animation and song moved me to tears. It was not a story with a happy ending, and it has me wondering what I can do to make things better. I cannot fix the past mistakes made in Canada, but I can try to help and heal. Someone said to just reach out and be a friend. I think it is an excellent place to start.
Around all of this, I had a really busy Saturday. I had 2 separate events.The first one was the annual Boston Terrier Rescue Canada Recycling for Rescue Event. I showed up and helped separate some cigarette packages for recycling. I helped hang a poster and went on a coffee run. I donated to get a BBQ lunch. My husband also enjoyed lunch and had cashed in some bottles a neighbour donated for the rescue. I got someone to tell him about a dog that needs a home through the rescue, but he said no. We have to be in agreeance when we get a dog, it has to work for both of us, and for the dog. So no dog for me yet.
I then jumped in my car after bringing him home and getting my laptop. I went to the first NaNoWriMo Meet & Greet of the season. I had a little too much caffeine in me, and I chatted everyone’s ears off. I hope I didn’t scare anyone off. 😉 I was a little bubbly, and if I am saying I was talking a lot, I was. I think it went well. We all answered questions when asked, and I think it was a success.
I was so busy I am feeling like I am forgetting something. I had to scrub my BTRC t-shirt in between events as it decided to be a magnet for coffee and mustard. Then I found out there were puppy paw prints on it too. LOL. There were dogs a the event, and they were friendly. I really don’t know how I got all that done in a weekend, but I fit it all in. I am feeling rather tired still, so I am hoping to have a chance to rest up around the other project I am working on.
I KNEW I WAS FORGETTING SOMETHING! I am hard at work on the website. I want to launch it on November 1st. The blog has moved, and I will be adding this to the other location and the other stories up until November 1st will be in both locations. Then I will be working on the website for the blogging and other new adventures from then on. Don’t worry, it won’t be hard to find, and I am going to share the links when it is ready for the launch. I am finally pushing forward with this project, and I am getting excited about it. It was a super busy weekend, with ups and downs, full of challenges and progress. Next weekend is busy with Halloween parties, and if we are lucky I will have some pictures for the story next weekend. Until then, sorry it was a little late, but I was definitely a winner this past weekend! How was your weekend?
It struck me funny today when we went to a local hardware store for some home improvement items and odds and ends that by the time we left, we each had our own shopping carts. My husband had a short list, of exactly what he needed for his project. He is working on the man cave, and it’s his thing, so I have no worries about it at all. He is installing a shelf between two bookcases for the TV to be on the shelf. It is not a large TV, and it shouldn’t be too heavy for what he wants to do. He thought we would be only gone for an hour.
I wanted cube storage shelves. It was another weekend where the gumption wasn’t there to keep working on the cleaning, and we just got the new headboard installed yesterday. Bye bye milk crates, I’m a grown up now. It is curious to me that it is designed to be an inch or so above the floor. It is nice. When my room is all clean and neat, maybe I will take a picture.
So off we went to the hardware store. His list involved getting wood cut to his required lengths for his project. I wandered. One of the employees saw me going up and down the middle aisle, and asked if he could help. I replied, “Nope. I just hope my husband comes back to find me at some point.” He hoped so too. I don’t think he really knew what to say. I get that reaction from people sometimes. It’s OK, I am used to it.
I found my shelving unit, but it was too heavy for me to get into the cart. I found collapsible fabric cubes, but they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. Then I found the cutest plastic bins that have an aqua pattern on them, with white. And they were on sale! That sold it for me. While I was wandering, I found the sliding cupboard drawer inserts for organizing the cupboards, and one for pots and pans. We can’t afford everything all at once, those are on a wish list. We may find a more affordable solution if we keep looking.
I also found a wall art display for just clipping pictures on. It is exactly what I have wanted for YEARS to hang various postcards on as an art display. It found its way into my shopping cart. At this point, I found my husband, and he had his supplies. I showed him what I was able to find, and he lifted the white 9 square cube shelving unit box into my cart.
By the time we were done, I had decided to go to the next store also. I wanted a cleaner they carried. I also got a desk drawer organizer, which I am in desperate need of, it is scary in there. I got a magnet stick from the canning supplies to fish out the mason jar lids that vacuum seal to the plug in my kitchen sink, and the cleaning product I wanted. He had time to go to the dollar store for a pop and the frame I needed there for something I printed earlier that needs a frame.
We then ran to two different grocery stores to pick up a few things, and then to a restaurant for take out. Our one hour errand was three hours long. It was Superbowl Sunday, after all. I am not the biggest football fan. I watch it every year, and I enjoy the commercials and the halftime show. My friend is the biggest Little Monster I know, and he wasn’t going to be able to go to his other friend’s house to see the halftime show. So I recorded it and drove over to get him. Nobody enjoyed it more than he did, and we had fun watching it. More than once. We discussed the song choices, all great, and the outfits and the whole presentation. We agreed that it was an awesome halftime show, and Lady Gaga did a phenomenal job. I loved her entrance, and the exit was perfect. I did sense a Bowie influence in her first costume, and that was fitting for her to still pay him tribute in that small way. He was a big influence in a lot of musicians lives, and she has performed his music in remembrance to him. I liked that choice. My friend also pointed out that in the last song, the group of dancers moved to be in the shape of a football. I saw the helmets, but that never dawned on me, until he said it. Overall, I think it may be one of my favourite halftime shows, and they are always good. Here is a selfie with Lady Gaga, my friend, and me.
It was a close game, and the Patriots came back to win it in overtime. So for the fans, I am sure the game was a big hit this year. Whomever they choose to play the Halftime show next year has some mighty big sparkly boots to fill.
All in all it was another productive weekend. We got some chores done, even if it wasn’t progress on the kitchen, it is progress. Sometimes you need to take the detour to get to where you really needed to go in the first place.