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Back on Bare Feet - Longtail's Journey

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  • Back on Bare Feet - Longtail's Journey

    I've had a pretty rough few years. My mother committed suicide after a long illness on October 27, 2008. She was physically and mentally ill. She was a hoarder and she had 15 judgments against her estate. It's taken us since then to sort all that out.

    Before that, I weighed pretty steadily at 180 pounds. Stress kept me hopping and I needed to eat to keep me going. For comfort and energy. When you're chronically stressed, it quietly saps away your energy just as if you were exercising intensely with none of the benefits. I just had to keep going.

    We got through that, but I was 210 lbs. and my doctor asked me what happened. I told her and she nodded. Got me on anti-depressants and sleeping pills.

    I still take the AD's, but quit the sleeping pills. Thankfully, the aftermath of my mother's death is over for the most part.

    Then I lost my job back in May 2010 due to a disgustingly unscrupulous pig of a new boss that unfortunately blighted my department. With my specialty on the rapid decline, I've decided to go to be going back to school in the Fall to become a Medical Transcriptionist so I can work from home (away from office idiots sabotaging my life). My fiancée and I working hard towards our goals. We wanted to buy a small farm this Autumn and start raising our own food. We have the money saved. But with me not getting work for another year, and him living in another state trying to get a job here, that's had to be put on hold. Can't pay the mortgage without jobs!

    Not having a job has been rough on me this summer. I hate it. I love working. The daily routine kept me moving and eating well, even if I was eating a LOT of grains. I was maintaining my weight at 210 and exercising daily. I loved my job. I was happy there. Losing my job because of an unscrupulous boss was a real hard blow. It took away all the bearing in my life.

    Mostly I've been dealing with it by eating. A lot.

    I'm around 240 pounds now. I sweat bullets just walking five minutes. I've been binging on sugar and carbs and my hypoglycemia is a constant battle. I'm fast-tracking to diabetes and that scares me. I have a lot of friends with diabetes. I had to rush a diabetic friend of mine to the hospital last year because she got a little cut on her toe that got infected. Not just infected, NECROTIC. It smelled like something died in my car. The putrid, sour rotting smell of decaying dead flesh was gag inducing. We had to drive with the windows down.

    She had to have those toes amputated. All from a tiny little cut from stepping on a sharp rock.

    That episode's been on my mind a lot lately. Is this what I want my future to be? Do I want diabetes? Do I want to be so fat I can't take care of my farm? Could I handle slinging hay, building and fixing fences and enclosures, and tending a large garden in my present state? What about my love of wild foraging and rock hounding? Do I want to give that up?

    No. I don't. But I also refuse to diet. I've fought with diets all my life and they don't work. I want to enjoy my life and the things I like to do, and work on the dreams I have without keeling over in pain. I want to eat good food and go do fun things without pain and misery and restriction. I need to create a new lifestyle.

    After I lost my job, I was going nuts not moving much or having a reason to do so. I adopted a dog on May 29th. He gets me up and walking and hiking daily and I love it.

    I found Mark's Daily Apple through Poor Skill's Live Journal community. Somebody posted the address and asked if I was a member. I said no, but I'd check it out. I did and spent an entire day reading it. It sounded good. Mmm, fresh veggies and fruit? Nuts? Meat? Hey, I eat all that anyway! I can do that easily! Oh grains....oh HEY! FULL FAT! SIGN ME UP!

    So I started PB 4 days ago on August 5th, 2010. I packed up all the bread and candy in the house and put it in the freezer. If I don't make it, it's there. Or if I do, I can give it to folks I know who are less fortunate and need it. I also took up barefoot walking.

    Yesterday I ordered the book and bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers on August 8, 2010.

    So far, I'm in the midst of low-carb flu. I went from high carb/high sugar to nothing but PB foods. It sucks. I'm fatigued, achey, and craving. But I haven't given in. I know Mark has suggested cutting back slowly, but my gut instinct tells me not to touch grains, even a little bit. I KNOW I will binge and never get anywhere if I do. I've been helping my cravings with dark chocolate, raw honey, and berries.

    It seems to be working. I AM feeling better today. I have more energy and feel more clear in the head and less tired. So I think it's starting to ebb off.


    - I'm already eating less and my food is so delicious now!

    - My hypoglycemia is getting better!!! I can go more than two hours without NEEDING to eat! What a relief!!!

    - My feet, ankles, legs and back feel WONDERFUL. I didn't realize what an AMAZING workout just walking without shoes could be! My pinched feet, weak ankle, and achy low back problems are clearing up!

    - I added sprinting today. 7 seconds, 5 times was all I could manage. But I did it! That was fun. I scared the dog because he's never seen me run before. LOL!

    - I learned if you walk through a field of dandelions in Vibram Five Fingers, you'll get one stuck between each toe. <3

  • #2
    Welcome to the MDA community! Hope this works well for you. Sounds like you need a real change.

    Sorry to hear about your mom, and all you had to deal with associated with that. Sounds like the financial turmoil is resolved now, at least. Emotionally, well, I'm sympathetic. That's not always as resolvable, at least not in this amount of time...

    Heheh, I'll have to try the dandelion thing when my VFFs show up in a week or so.
    "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."


    • #3
      Longtail: I'm so glad you're here. You have had it pretty rough. I can somewhat relate, although not exactly. My parents both died young, but not from suicide -- from illnesses (breast cancer and polycystic kidney disease). It is really hard, but I'm glad you're taking control of your life. You seem to have a positive outlook. It's so hard when you know you need to change your life, but just can't seem to do it. It sounds like you're taking your health seriously and that's commendable.

      I'll keep an eye out for you on here.


      • #4

        My mom smoked 3 packs a day, was an alcoholic, and ate the most disgusting foods imaginable, and I watched her suffer for YEARS for it. There is no reason she should be dead today. She was only 65.

        I nearly lost my brother too back in February. He had alcohol induced hepatitis, heavily jaundiced, and had acites so bad he looked nine months pregnant. I took care of him while he was recovering, making sure he got good nutrition and that helped him a LOT in pulling through it. The pain he went through was excruciating.

        After all that, it's time I took care of myself. I've got Primal oxtail soup simmering on the stove right now.


        • #5
          Today is kicking my rear.

          I went to bed last night and my whole body ached. I hadn't done anything particularly strenuous yesterday. I slept really well though. This is a positive change I'm seeing from PB...I've suffered from chronic insomnia since I was 16. I'm 33 now, if that tells you anything.

          This morning was so hard to get out of bed. I feel so fatigued and wiped out. I was going try to "lift heavy things" today, but I'm just going to listen to my body and take it slow and easy instead. It was hard enough just walking the dog this morning. Stupid low-carb flu.

          I spent time worrying earlier about how to handle life avoiding grains. I'm seeing the results for myself that they just aren't good for me so I'm not too upset about not eating them anymore. But I worry about going out with friends, and how to tell people I don't eat grain products anymore. I know there are some posts in the forum and on MDA about that, so I think that's what I'll look up today. I guess if I say I stopped eating them because I don't tolerate them very well and they make me sick, it's the absolute truth.

          I took a long nap this afternoon. That helped a lot with the bone aching and fatigue.

          Breakfast was a couple of scrambled eggs and a banana. I need to use up my bananas. I continue to marvel at how little I'm eating and being satisfied with.

          Lunch was a Big Ass Salad with turkey deli meat, blueberries, mixed nuts, dark leafy veggies, red, yellow, and orange peppers, and a couple radishes drizzled with olive oil.

          Dinner was a thick sirloin steak with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and garlic cooked in butter, olive oil, and a splash of red wine. I threw a glob of non-fat yogurt on top because I need to use up my non-fat yogurt. Leftovers will go in my salad tomorrow.

          Snacks today were an apple, few squares of dark chocolate, and a little 8 oz glass with a little juice and mostly club soda.
          Last edited by Longtail4711; 08-10-2010, 06:42 PM.


          • #6
            Note to self: Do not eat a big steak for dinner unless you want an energy buzz till 2am.

            Breakfast: Leftover steak, mixed dark leafy greens, broccoli and water to drink

            Lunch: A little more steak, whole Roma tomato.

            Dinner: Bacon and eggs with a little coconut oil, half an avacado

            Snacks: Three squares of dark chocolate, 8oz water with a splash of fruit juice

            I tried my "Lift Heavy Things" today. I lifted a 3 pound weight and worked my biceps, triceps, and deltoids. I did wall-pushups and lunges, and tried to focus on form and sucking in my stomach muscles to help build my core. I feel the burn in my arms, abs, and pecs, so I think I did a good job. Glad I could remember what to do from all the way back in college!

            I only lasted 9 minutes. But I did 9 minutes!
            Last edited by Longtail4711; 08-11-2010, 06:02 PM.


            • #7
              Right, if you say you don't digest grains well, it's 100% true. "A sensitivity" is also a good explanation -- the fact that most people seem to share an unrecognized sensitivity on that front is beside the point.

              If all else fails, being presented with a totally non-primal meal is just your excuse to do a spontaneous IF (intermittent fasting). Beg off and blame your appetite, stomach, whatever.

              I'm not as strict with primal yet so in my case, an occasional grain-including meal is part of my 20% as a social concession. But I don't have the kind of overt negative reaction you do. I just feel philosophically and overall that more grain-eating would be a bad trend for me.

              Your last few meals all sound great! Yummo. No way could this be bad.
              "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."


              • #8
                Heee, thank you Jenny! I never knew I WAS having negative reactions. I've been a chronic insomniac for 17 years and all doctors EVER told me was it was "all in my head." I always knew they were wrong on that.


                • #9
                  Well, hello, Longtail!

                  I perked right up when I read that you are trying to get into medical transcription. Well, well, well. I've been an MT for 15 years and am the lead MT at Southwest Washington Medical Center, the regional referral center for this part of the state. Ten years ago, I'd recommend this field, but can no longer. There are all sorts of changes afoot (from the coming of the electronic health record to offshoring to India) that do not bode well for us and are placing very real downward pressure on wages. This is the ONLY field I've ever heard of where the demand is huge but the wages continue to go down. My whole department is likely to be outsourced/offshored within the next six months as part of a coming merger with Peace Health. Peace Health in Bellevue let go 38 MTs in one day last year and sent it to India. I can get an MT job virtually immediately, but not at anywhere near the same pay or benefits. I've worked too hard for too long and I have too much data rattling around inside my brain to go backwards.

                  So, at the tender age of 41, I am going back to school! I am going to become a court reporter (or a closed captioner .... still not exactly sure which, but the program is the same until the last semester and internship). This field is so much more highly valued than transcription, and the pay reflects that. And it utilizes the same basic skill set that makes a good MT (ability of focus intently for long periods of time, excellent English/grammar skills, a natural curiosity about words, and superb hearing). Court reporting is always listed in those "Surprising 6-Figure Jobs" articles that Money Magazine publishes every year. Closed captioners work from home. AND one of the best court reporting/closed captioning programs in the country is just outside of Seattle (in Auburn). This is really saying something, because there aren't that many schools to begin with and there are even fewer that teach closed captioning. If/when I lose my job, I'll be moving up there for CR/CC school. In the meantime, I'm hunkered down and squirreling away money.
                  "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


                  • #10
                    Oh, NO!

                    I literally burst into tears when I read that TigerLily. I already have knowledge of medical terminology because I worked at an Institutional Review Board reviewing medical reports and entering critical data about patients conditions.

                    I'm already paid for school and enrolled. I feel like I just can't win.
                    Last edited by Longtail4711; 08-12-2010, 10:50 AM.


                    • #11
                      I'm going to try to keep this journal going for at least a month to track progress and add notes. I'll keep coming back over the day to edit my journal posts to track the foods I eat and exercise I do.

                      Breakfast: Pork blade steak and a tomato.

                      Lunch: Sliced fresh tomato with mozzerella slices and fresh basil

                      Dinner: cauliflower crust pizza with mushrooms and dark leafy greens

                      Snacks: 3 squares dark chocolate, my fruit juice/club soda drink

                      Exercise: 1/2 hour walk in the morning and in the evening with the dog.

                      I slept well and woke up well this morning. As I was getting dressed this morning, I noticed I've lost a little off my frame. Since it's only the first week, it's probably just bloat with a little fat, but I definitely see a slight change in appearance. I certainly FEEL less bloated, which is a relief.
                      Last edited by Longtail4711; 08-12-2010, 06:37 PM.


                      • #12
                        I'm so sorry to disappoint you.

                        I would say if your heart is absolutely dead set on this (although a desire to work from home is the worst reason to get into the field), you have GOT to learn how to edit/transcribe (we actually do very little actual typing any more these days) the hardest of the hard operative reports, specialties, and trauma .... all by doctors who can barely speak English. The more rote clinic notes are now being done in the electronic medical record directly by the practitioner him/herself with pop-down screens. And work for a hospital. Please, please, please don't mess with any of the outsourcing services. There, you'll be making minimum wage, with no benefits.

                        Just know that a lot of experienced MTs see the writing on the wall and are bailing left and right.

                        Any experience you already have in medical terminology would be helpful in court reporting. In fact, medical terminology is part of the CR/CC curriculum.
                        "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


                        • #13
                          *sigh* Ok. Since I'm stuck in this course, I'll go for it for now. I'm unemployed and on UI, and I just got approved by UI to do this course. So I need to at least get started somewhere.

                          Then I shall see about saving up to go for the CR/CC curriculum.

                          Thanks for the warning, TigerLily, I'll keep working on it!


                          • #14
                            As I was washing dishes tonight, I thought, "You've just crushed that woman's dreams."

                            I feel awful about it. But I am telling you the truth. It's a time of great change (and not in the best interest of MTs) within the industry. Wish I could have gotten to you three months ago.

                            I'll keep my eye on you here on the boards. Let me know if you ever need any help with anything.

                            "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


                            • #15
                              Don't fee bad, Ginger. I REALLY appreciate that you spoke up. You gave me a very important warning, and I'm taking it very seriously.

                              The problem is, I don't have a lot of recourse right now. I thought this was a logical progression from working in clinical research because I already have half the skill set for this and all the research I found pointed that the industry is growing. Unemployment accepted it readily so I could get worker retraining and extension on my benefits. I'm all registered and accepted to classes so I have no choice but to go forward.

                              The very idea of people sending something like this to India scares the bejeezus out of me. I've worked with medical reports for a long time now, and know exactly how the wrong word or grammatical mistake can cause serious damage.

                              Like, the one where guy that went into a coma AFTER he died. That was because someone messed up their commas!

                              I'm wondering if it would help if I learned foreign language to English Medical Transcription. Like Spanish or Chinese. What do you think?

                              I live in Lynnwood, btw.