Friday, 31 August 2012

Bloggers Challenge #1: Week 1

Hi!  I'm taking part in the 12WBT Round 3 Bloggers Challenge, set up by the amazing 77Noni!  I'll continue to write my usual posts, but in addition, each week there'll be a new Bloggers Challenge topic to write about.  It sounds like a heap of fun, and hey, I'm already addicted to blogging, so this just gives me another excuse to write :)

If you're interested in taking part, check out 77Noni's awesome blog:

So, here we go for Bloggers Challenge Post #1!

1. Describe yourself in less than fifty words. What is it you want us to know about you?
Blonde.  Lover of pink.  Wear my heart on my sleeve.  Have a mega cute new niece.  Adore 12WBT.  Actress.  Open.  Empathetic.  Sensitive.  Love poking bruises.  Huge heart.           

2. This program is called a transformation. When you signed up for this round (whether is your ninth round, first round or somewhere in between) what was it about yourself you wanted to transform?
At the start, it was just my body.  With no flowery words lightening this up, I was fat and needed to lose weight!  Simple as.  What I didn't realise though, was that Mish was this amazing mindset transformer too!  And I guess what I also didn't realise, is that that was what I needed. As soon as I was in pre-season, I realised how much I had to transform in my mind before I could consider my body transformation being for life.

3. One of the phrases Michelle Bridges says that has struck a chord with me is that we should be striving to be the best version of ourselves. To me that means we don’t have to change ourselves completely in order to have a successful transformation. What is it about yourself you are happy with right now? It can be related to your mind, body or soul, and of course there may well be more than one thing you are happy with.
I'm simply happy that I have 31 years full of memories and experiences that have helped mould me who I am right now.  This gives me a foundation to have a transformation in the first place.  If I had a perfect rainbow glitter unicorn life then I wouldn't appreciate how amazing it feels to tranform myself.  And that's half of the fun of it, right there.  We all have experiences that have shaped us, both good and bad and everywhere in between.  We don't want to get rid of who we are/were.  No way!  We just want to get the best bits out of us and make them even more awesome than they already are.  

4. What aspect of this program do you think will present you with the toughest challenge. What are you going to focus on to ensure you feel successful at the end of the twelve weeks?
The toughest aspect is my mindsetTraining and nutrition and everything else?  Piece of cake carrot if you have your mindset right.  We are all capable of doing anything our hearts can imagine......If we believe in ourselves.  I struggle with this.  Well, I have in the past.  This is what I really need to work on.  I'm going to focus on strengthening my mind and resolve to go gung ho......For the 12 weeks?  Absolutely.  But mainly, for life.

5. What is it you look forward to the most in the next twelve weeks?
The entire 12WBT program - I love all aspects.  But mainly?  I look forward to smashing my goals and not letting anything stop me.

7. Can you describe what you want to see, think and feel when you look in the mirror on Sunday 18th November 2012.
I simply want to feel proud of myself.  I want to look in the mirror and know truthfully, on the inside, that I have worked my ass off over the 12 weeks.   Metaphorically....and literally ;)

Monday, 27 August 2012

You'll start happening too

WELCOME TO ROUND 3!  Today's the first day of Round 3 of 12WBT!

I have so much on my mind at the moment, I'm feeling what do I do?  I write on my blog.  No promises that this post won't be a mismatch of my thoughts, in a random order....I have no thought structure in my mind tonight so I doubt it will get into any such order in words :)

From a program point of view, I had a good day.  Calories in and out were good.  Just a few hiccups that have really been frustrating me.  I'm going to complain for a sec and then get over it.  I just have to get it out - nothing's that huge but I'm letting little things get to me, so bear with me :)

And I know you'll hike far
My Polar isn't working :(  I've known about this for a week too, since it fell off at boot camp - which just makes me frustrated at myself for not getting it fixed sooner.  I had a vague sense that the Polar fairies may have fixed it and it may have rectified itself.  No :(  It may just need a new battery, but it seems to be broken.  So I couldn't trust my calories burnt this morning when I did my 5km walk (along the river this time, no hospital visits!).  Then tonight I tried to use my old cheap HRM but it didn't work.  Then I even tried to use the one connected to my treadmill while I did Learn To Run.  I don't think those calories were right.  I was running, and it showed less calories than I burn while walking.  AUGH!!  I am so frustrated! 
My first whole pumpkin ;)
I know I shouldn't be, but I'm very numbers focussed.  I adore my Polar and live by it.  And now I have to be without a HRM for a few days while I send it away to get fixed.  I tried not to let it bother me but I did.  I had a crap day at work (it's a bit hard not to when you hate your job).  Then while I was running tonight, my shins really hurt and I don't know why and I couldn't run or even walk for as long as usual.  I am recovering from a very minor cold but I doubt that's it, I was fine with breathing etc.  Maybe my feet are just tired from walking today?  Who knows.  I started crying on the treadmill - I don't even know why.

Soup all made!
Anyway, I shouldn't worry because all of these things are fixable, I can estimate the calories burnt and the main thing is I was on track with calories and everything.  On a brighter note, I finally made pumpkin soup that didn't fail!  I've only tried it 2-3 times before and each time I have miserably stuffed up.  But I tried this week's recipe one and it worked!  Ooh yeah!

And now I have heaps of meals in the freezer for those last minute meals.  I also love that I had to buy a whole pumpkin to make these meals - I've never bought a whole pumpkin before!  I loved it :)  Another first, I bought artichokes for the first time....I didn't even know what they were so it was hard to find them!  Ahhh the small things hey? :)
View on my walk today

Starting Round 3 today made me think of how I felt when I started Round 2.  I was terrified for one!  I loved it.  I was overwhelmed.  I did everything.  I was excited.  Similar feelings today, except this time I'm not terrified :)  I watched a video before a couple of times, it's one that I posted here once (here's a link): Today is your day  I often watch this to cheer me up (watch it, you won't regret it!)  One of the phrases struck me tonight: 

And when things start to happen, don't worry.
Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You‟ll start happening too.

It's right you know.  Just go right along....just keep going....and you'll start happening too. :)

I realised that I haven't made my commitment yet.  I've been working on it, but I haven't put it out there yet.  So that will be my next step.  I've also got to finalise my goals.  I think I'll feel a lot more on track when I do those things.  I've decided that I am moving forward and not looking back.  Enough chit chat and thinking, more JFDI and chasing those dreams until I can grab them.
I hope everyone doing Round 3 had a great first day.  I'm off to prop myself up.  I'm really excited about this round; I'm proud I didn't let little things stop me today, but I have to get a bit more cheery. :)  And I will.

Just go right along...............this round there will be no excuses.  Team, you're off to great places.

Oh, the places you'll go.

Love Coco xx

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Coco Girl's round up of Round 2 :)

After a very reflective few days, I put together a list of things that I've learnt, achieved and become aware of over the past 12-14 weeks.  I'm putting this out there for myself.  I have learnt a lot on the inside; I feel I have freedom from myself (if that makes sense) and I know I now have the tools to keep at it.  So tomorrow I will put Round 2 to rest and make my commitment to Round 3 (and beyond), and simply look toward the future.


My first 12WBT round, Round 2, 2012:

  • The boring numbers: I've lost 15.4kg (12.9kg since Week 1) and lost 52.4cm.  My BMI reduced from 46 down to 41.  These numbers may not be as much as I 'wanted' but the rest of the stuff I have gained far outweighs the numbers at this point.  But in saying that?  I am smaller than I was 14-ish weeks ago and I will own that. 

  • I've trained like a demon at times and I know that I can train more.
  • I became well acquainted with my HRM and calories as a whole - in and out.
  • I've realised that I can push myself and push through pain.
  • I'm a runner!  My first fitness test in Week 1, I felt like I would collapse after running for 200m.  Now I can run for 1km!  (And am building on that: 5km by the end of Round 3 baby!)
  • I realised how important 'military precision' or simply being organised is to this journey and just to life in general.

  • I realised that it is very easy to make a commitment / promise at the start of the round when you have a packet of Tim Tams next to you.  Actually carrying through with this commitment - that is the real test.  And I have done so :)


  • I not only attempted my first boot camp, I now love them!

  • I did many things that scared me and achieved all of my milestones (so far - one more to go next week!) :)

  • I met the most amazing people - fellow 12WBT'ers.  The things I have shared with these new friends is so sacred.  They have been pillars of strength and inspiration.  They have answered my questions.  They have been honest with me.  They have been patient with me when maybe sometimes I took a while for things to click...I've always been a late bloomer :)  I have met up with many of them - new friends are awesome.  I've had some of them offer to meet me for dinner just to make me smile after a bad day, others offered to pick me up from or just sit with me in hospital, , others who send me messages of encouragement, others who have driven an hour to cheer me on in things outside of 12WBT, others just make me feel 'enough' :) --- these are girls I've either met once briefly, or never met!  12WBT'ers have the biggest hearts.  I have been inspired by their strength and courage.

  • I had so many light bulb moments that it was like a fireworks display.  Things clicked in the last 12-14 weeks more than they have in 15 years.
  • I now understand the importance of the word 'consistency'.
  • I finally worked out where my previous weight issues have come from.
  • I finally realised that I was an emotional over-eater.  I didn't realise this before!
  • I have become comfortable with weighing myself once a week (instead of every day) and not panicking - because I trust the program and know that it will work. Weighing in is now just a tracking process that makes me smile rather than a daily mood setter.
  • My pants have fallen off a few times! (Thankfully not in public) :)
  • My fitness test results have improved every 4 weeks and I can feel that improved fitness when I train.
  • I have had fun! 12WBT is really fun- there's so many aspects to focus on, keep me entertained and help me.

  • I am learning to not self sabotage.

  • I've learnt not to eat my emotions......and just feel feelings.....and roll with the punches.

  • I am getting my sparkling eyes back :)
  • And perhaps most importantly, I now believe in myself.  I can't wait for Round 3.  Thanks Mish and 12WBT :)

Thursday, 23 August 2012

My perfect 12WBT round :)

So I lasted about 30 minutes after my last post before attempting to write this one. ;)  See?  I said this is like writing in a diary, I just had to get that stuff off my chest.

SO.  It's currently Day 4 of Week 12 of Round 2 in 2012.  Wow.  Just a few days to go until the end of the round.  I am super keen to get stuck into Round 3, but this week I've been thinking so much about how this round has been and how I have gone.

As I mentioned earlier, I was a bit disappointed on Wednesday.  In essence, my results were not what I wanted.  All I've been thinking about since, is that quote: "Don't complain about the results you didn't get by the work you didn't do."  This quote couldn't be more true.  Although it didn't say you couldn't be upset or beat yourself up!  I haven't complained to anyone other than myself.  I have been thinking about my stats and have been staring at my 'after' photo a lot (note to self: don't study before and after underwear photos on your phone in the lift at work (!) - that was a close call yesterday!). 

My results are not exactly what I had planned.  My distorted mind can't tell whether my photos show a difference - I think they do.  Either way, I have been thinking about how this round has gone for me.  Miss Perfectionist here promised that I would not be perfect.  So why did I still beat myself up this week?  I was never going to be a washboard stomached Size 10 after 12 weeks.  Yes, I will be a washboard stomached Size 10!  But it'll take a little longer :)  I knew that, but I guess I also thought that I would have gone crazy into it and wowed myself.  What I wasn't giving myself credit for, is that I am human.  And I have 15 years of weight issues to quash.  Mish is brilliant and 12WBT is a life saver and I am a smart girl.  But there's no easy fix.  I've had so many ups and downs this past 12-14 weeks and I thought that was bad.  I didn't have a perfect round - I thought I had failed.  But I lost weight, gained a mountain of knowledge and had so many wins.  I've been soul searching and reflecting on this and it kind of made sense when I watched Mish's mindset video last night.

She said something along the lines of that she doesn't expect people to be perfect.  She said that there will be ups and downs and blood, sweat and tears, and the clincher: and that that was perfect.  I've thought about this heaps and I love this.  The ups and downs?  That is perfect.  In my way of analysing this, it means that it's a whole lifestyle thing.  It's a life thing.  Life isn't perfect.  We all have rollercoasters in our life, the highs, the lows, and as I have been saying, the good times and the punches.  It's about managing things as a whole - being realistic - and being open minded - and being flexible.  If we attempted to be perfect we would surely fail.

If there was a magic pill to 'solve' my weight issues then I would have bought it long before now.  It was never going to be easy.  But if we can get to a place where we're ok - and that we finally 'get it' - no matter how many fist pumps and falling down with skinned knees up and down episodes there are on the way, then I think we can say that we have won.  And as Mish said, this is perfect.

Bring on Round 3! 

Punchy week

Hiiiiiii guys :)

Hope you're having a happy week.  I'll be honest, I'm not.  I wish I could be all happy chappy and perky and GO TEAM GO motivating tonight but I am just going to be what I am with this entire blog, and that is, honest.

View from Tuesday's walk
I won't bore you with details but I just felt the need to write. :)  I'm hoping this can be like a Dear Diary moment, I can get stuff off my chest and then go back to cheery Coco tomorrow.  Well that's the plan anyway ;)

I was back in hospital this week.  And that's really pushed my emotions to the edge.  I was so excited last week, I thought the whole* debacle (*aside from long flight injections) was behind me.  I think that's why it hit me so hard.  I was only in emergency for 7 hours or so, it's not like I was admitted, but still, another trip up there?  I think this is Visit #8 in as many months - I've actually lost track.

By the way, this is a little lesson about why exercise is bad for your health!  I'm joking, of course, but read on.  On Tuesday on and off through the day, I had minor chest pains, shortness of breath and pain in my left arm.  Umm, warning sign??  You'd think.  I waited the whole day at work to go to the doctor.  Yes, you can slap me - but I've just started a new job, and I didn't want to overreact.  It's the same pain I've had on and off throughout 'Season PE'.  I even walked my 5km back to my car before going to the doctor - probably not the best idea.

Anyway long story cut short but the GP gave me an ECG, it was fine but it looked a little odd, and especially because of my recent history, he asked me to go straight to hospital to get checked further and so they could compare my records.

They ran heaps of tests and in the end they said it wasn't cardiac and highly doubt it's new PE's as I only just had the VQ scan which is clear.  After some discussions, it was suggested that probably it was from my 5km walks!!!  Can you believe it?!  Who can tell for sure, but essentially it was believed that the pollution in the air (which I could actually feel coating my lungs after walking) caused the SOB problems and the pains could be muscular from my beloved (but heavy), backpack.

So there you go folks, don't exercise!  I'M JOKING.  But seriously?  I think you need to make sure you choose exercise in healthy environments!  Or maybe I should just stick to my 12WBT exercise plan only and not do anything extra like these walks! :)  Who knows if it was the air / backpack that did it.  I do doubt it but that's all they could tell me and I can't do much else except go by what they said.

I was enjoying my walks too - and this was only Day 2 of these ones!  It's all ok though, I've worked out a new plan.  I work alongside the Brisbane River and it's beautiful down there.  Also, if I get to work early enough, I get free parking - so I'm going to drive to work earlier, and walk along the river for 10km split throughout the day, morning, lunch and after work.  Cleaner air, accessible car at work, time out before, during and after work, and I don't have to carry my backpack with me

Anyway I got a bit sad the next day about it all.  I'm so sick of hospitals and worrying about my health.  I'm sick of feeling scared if I'm going to die.  It may sound dramatic but it's a real fear of mine when I'm lying there with these symptoms etc.  On a side note, I also hate my new job.  I am so unhappy there.  The last thing I felt like doing after hospital was go to work.  I got home at 2:30am-ish and told work I'd be in late, but I just wish I could have taken the day off.  I just really want a break - the last 6 months has been full on and I just want to stop and reconnect.

The morning after hospital was our last Weigh In Wednesday.  (I seriously almost tried to do my fitness test in hospital!)  Anyway I got really down this day about the whole Week 12 results too (I'll write a new post about this).  I've been doing so much reflecting about this whole thing so will enlighten you very soon once it settles in my mind.

Sunset on Tuesday
Sorry for the down and out post, but I told you this blog would be truthful!  Hospital/my new job/wanting a break/Week 12 is just proving a bit too much for me this week.  I want to settle everything and I will, I'm just having a sad week.  I don't usually let myself get so down about minor things, and let's be honest, it's all minor, but I just am down and can't seem to help it.  Or just blame the fact that I'm a girl - we're allowed to use that as an excuse for anything ;)  I'll try to rejig myself very soon.  It's all good - this is just one of those punches that we roll with, isn't it? :)

I'll write more soon about Week 12 / end of my first 12WBT round :)  And then, we start our beautiful Round 3 on Monday!

Love Coco xoxoo

Monday, 20 August 2012

Just one foot in front of the other

I did something today that scared me :)  It probably won't sound like a big deal but it was to me.  For a while now, I've been driving to work and walking 1.5km from my car to the office and back again - it was free to park if I did this, and it gave me 3km of incidental exercise - because I had to get to work, and I had to get back to my car.

3 weeks ago I started a new job and I decided to 'up' the walking to 5km each way.  This is because this is the closest to the office that I can park for free, and of course, I would then get 10km of walking 'incidentally' a day!

I've been putting it off for 3 weeks....I get so nervous walking in public and this was the main reason that I, I'm sad to admit, made excuses for 3 weeks why I should drive to the office (and pay $8 to park there each day).

Well today I JFDI!  It went fine!  Exactly 5km each way.  Well, it was actually about 300m short of 5km, so when I got to work I walked around in circles until I reached 5km.  A guy from my office saw me and must be thinking that I was having second thoughts about going to work today, because I'd walk up to the door and then walk away....walk, still not 5km, walk away... hahahaa :)

To make myself do it today, after my 2 boot camps day on Saturday, I drove straight to Big W and bought a backpack so I couldn't use the excuse of it being 'hard to walk carrying my handbag and lunch etc.'.  I love my new backpack by the way!  (Side note, I carried a few heavy things home from work- out of interest I weighed it when I got home and it weighed 9kg - probably helped me!)  So yes - I had my new backpack, my headphones and my shoes and I was off!

I was pretty nervous walking --- it was peak hour in Brisbane City....I walked around some of the busiest intersections....eeek!  But I listened to Mish's podcasts the entire way and that really helped.  (Side note: these podcasts have become my new music - I hardly listen to songs anymore!  I listen to them constantly.  In the car, walking, even at work.  I'm actually really unhappy in my new job :(  but I pop in my headphones and podcasts cheer me up!  Loving them).  Anyway I listened to them, and tried to focus and not worry.  I had a few moments where I got really anxious but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.  I also took a lot of photos (of course). :)

I didn't manage to leave work this afternoon when I planned to, I stayed back for an hour so the sun set only 1km into my walk back to my car, so it was dark for most of my walk.  I don't want to make a habit of that as it's not entirely safe, but I was fine and walked back to my car for 5km.

Unfortunately I think my Polar HRM is broken :(  It fell off at boot camp the other day and has been playing up since.  My heart rate this morning was 110 then jumped to 210 and stayed there.  Then it wouldn't budge, then would drop as I walked up hills.  So I can't believe the calories it picked up unfortunately.  But I tracked the time and speed it took me (morning and night):

I wasn't trying to go fast, I was just testing the waters and I also had to work with a lot of pedestrian lights.  But in saying that I would like to try and improve on the time going forward.  5km is my magic number to run in Round 3 - also I'm doing my first 5km fun run/walk as my major milestone next week so it will help to do this twice a day.

I am planning on doing this every day apart from days where time wise I just can't fit it in.  I don't want that to become a regular excuse though.  It is though, about 2 hours extra in my day...when I thought of that tonight I did stop and think.  But that's the plan for now and I'll see how I go.  In a lot of ways it was nice to walk, I got some time for myself, I could update things on my phone and just chill out for an hour each way.  And some of the views on the way home were so pretty...check out this photo I took - just snapped with my iPhone.  I felt really lucky to see this view just by walking home :)

When I got to work this morning, I changed the desk calendar quote that a friend gave me - I choose a random one each day.  And I kind of liked today's quote.  It made me think of how much this is true - it's all within me, and these powers have been aroused :)  I'm feeling quite reflective this week, being Week 12 of my first 12WBT.  I'll write another post soon about my thoughts on this, as I have been thinking about it a lot.  But for now I just wanted to share with you my little 2x 5km journey that I started today. :)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Cadet Coco!

Me again!  So much still to say :)

I'm feeling really good today, I actually put some time aside and sat down and got some things organised.  I have started on my Round 3 pre-season tasks and plan to get up to date today, I sat down with my diary and to do list and got through some paperwork that I have let pile up, I cleaned my house and did some other as equally boring sounding but important stuff done.  I feel so much more focussed than I did just 2 days ago.  Mish said the words 'military precision' in one of her tasks and it has been buzzing in my ear ever since.  It is so true!  I need to have military precision in my life when it comes to training and being organised.  The last 6 months or so have been so crazy for me and I have seen what can happen if I don't stay on top of things.  I want to continue on 12WBT for Round 3 and beyond and do so many other things, and it's only going to work for me if I organise myself with militray precision.  So - I had a clear mind this morning which may have helped why I feel like I do today:

I went to boot camp this morning............and loved it.  Umm?  I really, really enjoyed it!  Some perspective: as you may have read, my very first boot camp was the day before Day 1, Week 1 of this round.  I was terrified and shed some secret tears when I got there.  I had never been to one before, the words 'boot camp' were always really scary for me.  It was something that my very fit friends did and I truly believed they went through torture with it.  I really had to push myself to go that very first day.  When I eventually got there, everyone else 'appeared' to be boot camp pros, and I was extremely unfit.  It did actually go well that day, but I was just very overwhelmed and wasn't great at it.

Fast forward 11 weeks to today: I haven’t been able to get to another boot camp since, instead I’ve been of course doing the 12WBT exercise plan plus my own training for 11 weeks.  I was strangely excited this morning about going along to my 2nd boot camp.  That confused me ;)  But I wasn’t disappointed!  I really enjoyed it!  Like, really enjoyed it!

I loved the boot camp itself – I loved pushing myself to beat my own reps – I loved the atmosphere and group – I loved the trainer (Ange, she is awesome) –  I loved when I looked up at the trees in this park and felt at peace - I LOVED that I could feel how much fitter I was today than 11 weeks ago – I LOVED that when we were asked to jog in a circle to warm up, I didn’t stop – whereas at Boot Camp #1, I could barely jog for 20 metres before feeling like I was going to collapse.  I couldn’t stop grinning either!  Seriously, what the? :)

My calories were 490 in an hour.  Not bad...I need to finish SSS today though.  So on the way home, I even considered doing another boot camp this afternoon!  (Ange is running a few today).  I am purposely still wearing my training gear, I have a few things I have to get done today so if I can go hard and get things done, I think I will go to this afternoon’s boot camp too!  From tears at boot camp #1 to wanting to do 2 boot camps in one day in just 11 weeks?  What is wrong with me?  Mish, I think we need to chat.  What have you done with the real Coco Girl? ;)   These two events really showed me clearly how much I've changed.  Everything else may seem more gradual to me right now, but when I look at Boot Camp #1 to Boot Camp #2, it makes things really obvious for me.  My life has completely changed over the last few months and it continues to.  I am loving this so much and I have so many aspects of it that I'm reflecting on this week.  I'll leave that for another post.  But I am loving this and have the biggest smile on my face.  Bring on Week 12 and then Round 3!

Sharps containers and chainsaws


So much to talk about!  I'll try and keep it short (well, short for me) ;)  And I think I'll do a couple of posts today to stay on topic. :)

I had a big week.  I had my GP appointment to confirm that I could come off the Warfarin.  Firstly, it was great news.  I was taken off it immediately, the PE's are gone and there is no scarring in my lungs.  Awesome :)  I was so excited before I went in, it felt so monumentous.  But I felt a little deflated afterwards.  I think because I thought everything could return to normal after, but he said any time I travel long distance for the rest of my life, I need to inject myself with Clexane or take a massive dose of Aspirin.  My clots were caused by being on the Pill which I am now off, but anything to reduce the risks for me is worth doing.  He said if I travel overseas, or go on a long bus trip, or (he actually said this): "for example, if you ever go to Perth".

I'm going to Perth in 3 weeks for finale!  Quite funny.  Anyway, so I have to do this for my Perth flights.  I did not expect to have to take needles with me on the flight!  I was pretty upset about that.  I don't know why exactly but I think it was just a little disappointment: for 6 months now I've believed that everything will go back to normal in 6 months, and now there is still one thing I have to do.  The words 'for the rest of your life' are quite daunting too.

But really?  I know this isn't a big deal.  It's not like I go to Perth or overseas every week!  (Or every year for that matter!)  In the grand scheme of things - it's nothing.  Everything else goes back to normal!  I'm alive and very lucky and if that's all that I have to put up with?  That's pretty damn good, isn't it.

I have some questions I didn't think to ask him and I am going to have to keep an eye on my anxiety with headaches etc. but overall it's awesome.  As one friend reminded me that night, I am off the 'poison'!  (That's the nickname for Warfarin because it's so full on).  She also said I can now go and eat broccoli and play with chainsaws!  hahaa I love her.  Ok, so I haven't done that yet but the point is, I can if I want to. :P  I can take the pink Post-It note out of my wallet that warns people that I'm on Warfarin (if I'm in an accident) and I can do so many other things (see my Rollercoaster post for the long story).  As another friend wisely said, life would be very boring if everything ran smoothly with no bumps.  So true.  I think I was expecting an internal fanfare in the GP's office that day and I initially found it hard when I didn't get that.  But 'retrospective perspective' is a wonderful thing and I am cool now.

I may have to keep my sharps container but maybe that can just be a reminder for me of how lucky that I am.   My new motto that I recently developed is "roll with the punches and love the good times".  I'm definitely loving this time.  Bring on the broccoli!

Love, Coco :) xo

Friday, 17 August 2012

My 12WBT inspiration

Below is a link to a video that I made to say thank you to someone who inspires me very inspirational 12WBT'er xo

Who inspires me?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Bring it on!

Hi guys!  Just wanted to say hi....I don't have much to report, but I just wanted to say I am feeling SO inspired and SO excited about my journey :)  I've spent the night working out some new goals for myself.  I'm still working it out but to help me out I've made a new page on this blog where I can list my goals, and to then tick them off!  It's here:

We have a public holiday here in Brisbane on Wednesday (mid-week - best thing ever - I CAN NOT WAIT).  And apart from 4 small things I have on / have to do, I am spending the day planning my goals moving forward, and working out mini goals to get me where I want to be.  

I'm so excited, I haven't felt like this for a long time and I can't wait to smash out some great results moving forward.  I've turned a corner over the last week, LOOK OUT! :)

P.S. This is a photo of my HRM from SSS on Saturday.  I was struggling to reach high numbers in my calories burnt per hour (usually max 500-600.)  I pushed myself on Saturday harder than I usually do, and whatdya know, I was able to!  And I ran more!  This is the quickest I've reached 1000 calories so far.  Now, to beat that time! :)

Friday, 10 August 2012

Almost off the rollercoaster!

Hi guys!  I have an exciting post tonight.  Well it's exciting for me anyway.  Hope you like it too :)  (I will explain the Willy Wonka pic in a sec).  Just quickly though, thanks so much for reading this - all who are reading it and for people who have been commenting and sending me messages.  I haven't had a chance to respond but I will do.  But I wanted to let you know how much they mean to me.  Loz and KD today, you made my day.  Loz I was listening to this song when I got your comment and I was dancing around (as much as I could in my seat at work ;)  It's such an upbeat song, I love it.  It's a bit random but I thought I'd share it with you.  And KD thanks for your encouragement, and feel free to stalk away baby! ;)  Will respond to you both soon. xx

But for my other you may have read on here, back in January I was diagnosed with 2 Pulmonary Embolisms (blood clots in the lung).  It was caused by being on the contraceptive Pill (Coco side note: GIRLS BE AWARE OF THIS!  It's one of those things the doctors probably mentioned when I first went on the Pill, and also one of those things that you ignore because you think it's one of those side effects that is so rare and could never happen to you.....hmmm.  It can, and it did to me).  Anyway :)  (If you don't want to read about blood clots I'd stop reading now, otherwise this post may bore you sorry). :)  I split this post up into headings, so if you want to just skip to the final headings which tells you the gist of this story, go ahead.  But if you are interested, then read on....

What it was like:
So for 6 months I've been living with them, having them monitored and trying to get rid of them.  A little babbling about what it's been like so you can understand why I'm excited today:

It's been both terrifying and annoying.  I've been in and out of hospital, I think I'm up to 6 times; pathology and doctor appointments almost weekly....have had to have regular blood tests to monitor my INR started with daily, then every couple of days, then in the last little while it's just been weekly.  I had lunch with the lady who collects my blood the other day - we've gotten to know each other that well!  I get SMS'd my blood results, new medication quantities, and next blood test date.  In the first week I also had to give myself  2 injections each morning.  I'd get to work at 8am and would have already had 3 or 4 needles :(  I have my own sharps container!  Something every girl wants!  Not! ;)  I used to have a phobia of injections called Trypanophobia - I'd (literally) run from nurses holding needles and needed to be sat on to be injected.  Man alive have I had to get over that phobia quickly!  I had a regular blood test today and watched it for the first time ever.  Kind of a symbolic thing to prove I could do it ;)  (I think it was my last blood test for this whole thing).

Because of my medication, I haven't been able to drink more than 1-2 alcoholic drinks at a time since January.  I am actually not a big drinker.  I used to be, but in the last 5 years or so I could easily go months without one drink.  But do you know how much you want to drink when you're not allowed to? haha!  It's been so annoying.  There's been a few times where I want a few drinks and have to stop myself.  One night I had 2 drinks but I was sneaky and made them very large my mind I was only having 2 drinks! :P   I ended up in hospital from that. :(  When this is over, to be honest I think I'll have one night of having a few drinks (ie more than 2) to celebrate and that will do me for a few months.  I don't need to drink, I just get frustrated that I can't, and I just want to be allowed to! :)

I've had to monitor how many green veges I eat.  That's been one of the most annoying things.  This is because green leafy vegetables contain a lot of Vitamin K, which is what I have to be careful with because it helps you to clot.  I remember one day I ordered a salad at a work lunch - practically a plate full of spinach, without thinking.  I rang a friend who is on the same medication as me, almost in tears to check if I should eat it.  One night I was in hospital right at the start of this whole thing and one of my beautiful brothers and his girlfriend brought me in a home cooked pasta and salad so I wouldn't have to eat hospital food.  The salad had spinach in it and I was panicking while eating it.  I've calmed down with the whole green veges thing since but I'll never take eating spinach for granted again!

I've been on Warfarin, which is a very effective yet very dangerous medication.  It's dubbed a 'blood thinner' - it's been trying to dissolve my clots.  It's basically saved my life so I am very thankful for it.  But it has to be monitored very closely (therefore all of the blood tests).  I carry around a pink Post-It note in my wallet, explaining that I'm on Warfarin just in case I'm in an accident.  I've had to be really careful with any knocks or being hit in case of internal bleeding because my blood is very 'thin'.  I have to be careful it's not too thin also - just find a happy balance ;)  It's amazing how many people know someone who is on Warfarin.  Every person I speak to seems to have a parent/friend/grandparent/themselves who is on it.  It's a wonder drug and I am thankful to it.  It was kinda strange though when I was comparing medication with both of my grandmothers who are on it!

Random other things: I wasn't allowed to fly for a month and had to cancel a trip to Sydney to attend my sister-in-law's baby shower :(  I have to take kids multivitamins.  I really wanted to start taking multivitamins but there's a whole list of herbs and ingredients that I can't have while on this medication.  I saw a Naturopath and Chemist who determined the only ones I could go on were kiddie ones :(  I want to try a bit of protein powder and that Natures Own Rest and Restore vitamins (I think it's called) but I haven't been able to.  I can't eat cranberries and random foods like that because of what's in them.  Not a big deal, but it's just taken a lot of getting used to when you've grown up being able to eat anything you like.

I've had a few 'freak-out' moments...when you're on Warfarin you tend to bleed a bit more.  Let's just say I've had blood...where...I haven't seen blood before.  I've called my GP several times almost hyperventilating because of moments like this.  They're just side effects.  But it's scary when it happens.  It's probably because of this that my GP said I developed a bit of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from this.  I accept that, but to be honest I don't know how avoidable it is.

That's pretty much what it's been like.  Apart from that it's just been extremely terrifying, moreso at the start.  The night: It all started when I had heart attack like symptoms.  I had a sore left arm and very slight discomfort in my chest and very slight shortness of breath.  The latter two were so minor that I thought I was making it up.  I had the sore arm for 5 days before I did anything about it.  I didn't think I had to worry as heart attacks symptoms are 'tingly' or pins and needles in the arm, right?

Ah, no.  Apparently not.  Any pain or tingling, associated with chest discomfort is a reason to call an ambulance apparently.  I didn't believe that so after 5 days I rang 13HEALTH for advice as it was about midnight.  They called an ambulance who did an ECG on me (for my heart).  It came back clear so I thought "great - I can go back to bed!"  One of the ambos said they should probably take me to hospital to get checked just in case.  I live life at a million miles an hour so this was quite inconvenient for me. ;)  I went along but I watched the clock all night as test after test was carried out.  Even at 3am, I thought I could still make it to work on time the next morning....if I could just have 1 hour sleep...

The next morning there were more tests, and finally at around midday they had a diagnosis: 2x PE's.  (Blood clots).  The first time I got really scared was when I was in the Nuclear Medicine department in the hospital (seriously, that name scared me enough!) to get a VQ scan.  More on that in a sec.  But this was the test that determined what I had.  An orderly wheeled me up in a wheelchair to get the scan.  After the scan the orderly was ready to take me back to my bed, but someone said we had to wait for the 'nurse escort'.  I thought: ok.  If an orderly, pushing me in a wheelchair, in a hospital, isn't safe enough and they need a nurse to stand next to me while doing this, then there's something seriously wrong.

It was just precautionary but, yeah, that's when the scare factor started :)  I have never been so petrified in my entire life.  I was fine now, I was being put on medication immediately (and being taken off the Pill immediately!) but I didn't understand what it all meant.  I kept thinking what if....what if I hadn't called 13HEALTH or what if the ambo hadn't said casually to get checked over.  What if the ER doctor hadn't ordered 1 more test in the early hours of that morning....  I was so lucky.  PE's are treatable but if I hadn't gotten treated, to put it simply, I could have died.

I feel fortunate as I had about 6 people at work who had the same thing (crazy, I know - it's so common).  Two people connected to work had died from this in the last year also and that really scared me.  But these people gave me advice and gave me some great tips and were so helpful.  I've had some good support and my family and friends have been fantastic.  But there's also the other side that I've never let anyone see.  No-one knows how I would (and still do to be honest) get so scared when I get a headache on the left side of my head.  I must have had a headache there in hospital once and now I associate that with it.  A few times when I've had a headache there, I get scared about there being a blood clot that's moved to my brain (it is possible).  And I get scared about dying.  I've had other pains and scares that have petrified me too.  And it's really upsetting when you just don't stop bleeding.  Most of it is emotional crap but at the same time it's hard to determine what to get checked out and what to ignore.

So.  This has been a really long story about PE's, hasn't it?  This wasn't even what I came here to talk about would you believe?  Well it is, but I just meant to talk about the last 2 days, not the last 6 months! :)   If you're still reading, I am impressed :)

Yesterday's scan: The standard time frame to be on Warfarin when you have a blood clot in your lungs is 6 months.  Apparently it's just standard, and the clots should be dissolved by then.  I got an appointment letter from the hospital to come and get checked over last week.  Unfortunately I was so busy, I didn't read the letter properly and didn't realise that I had to confirm this appointment.  They then sent me a letter a week later saying that they had cancelled the appointment as they hadn't heard back from me.  I rang up to see if I could make another time but the earliest they can get me in is October.  I was so upset at this.  I was so mad at myself for not reading the letter properly, and then just upset at having to wait 3 more months.  I've waited 6 already, I know 3 months isn't much, but it is.  

I went to see my GP and asked if he could take me off the medication - he can!  He sent me for a VQ scan which I had yesterday - this would determine whether the clots had gone.  This is my 3rd VQ scan so I knew what to expect but I was a bit nervous.  The 2nd one I had, I panicked and almost started to scramble out of the machine.

I'm sure Google can offer you a more technical way to describe what it is, but in my words, it's like this: it's a test that measures the amount of blood vs oxygen in your lungs (this can determine if you have a clot in your lungs).  The first part of the test involves breathing in 'radioactive stuff'.  I don't know the technical name.  But you have to breathe it in and breathe out, until you get the right amount of radioactive stuff in your lungs.  I found it really scary, as you have to breathe in this gas through a tube, and breathe out into the same tube, without taking your mouth off the mouth piece WHILE wearing a peg on your nose.  And you have to do this continually for 3-4 times.  It's kind of like being breathalysed over and over with your lips glued to the police straw, with a synchronised swimmer peg over your nose.  

You feel like you don't get any oxygen for 3-4 breaths, but I'm sure there's oxygen in the tank.  I'm a bit claustrophobic - and I found this quite scary.  The issue is, you can't just take the mouth piece out and breathe normally if you panic.  Noooo.  You have to tap the radiologist on the shoulder with wild, crazy, panicked eyes, and she has to make you breathe out into the machine and then turn the machine off before you can catch a breathe.  Apparently this stuff you're breathing into your lungs is too dangerous to breathe out into the room, but it's safe enough to breathe directly into your lungs??

So that's Part 1.  Then you go into a machine that looks like an MRI machine.  I had an MRI last year and due to the claustrophobia thing, I was so scared beforehand that I got put on Valium.  I survived ;)  Anyway the VQ scan is similar, but you don't get completely submerged into the 'tunnel' - the machine 'goes' around you but you're partially out in the open.

When I had my 2nd VQ scan in hospital, for some reason I panicked and felt like I couldn't breathe and almost started to (involuntarily) madly scramble out of the machine.  It was really scary.  I calmed myself down and stayed in there but I'll never forget that feeling.

So when I had the one yesterday I was prepared.  The place where I had it done has a really hot radiographer who I was hoping to get as I'm sure he would have made the experience more pleasurable....but no, I had a middle aged lady...she was nice :)  but she wasn't my hot doc I was hoping for.  Oh well ;)

Anyway I told her how I was the last time; we took it slowly and even though I panicked during the breathing thing, in the machine I was fine.  I even thought "wow, what was I worrying about" when I suddenly remembered.  The machine went 'around me' and then I forgot, and the lady forgot to tell me, that the machine pulls you into the 'tunnel' after it goes around you for 20 minutes.  It was like that scene from Willy Wonka where Augustus gets pulled up into the tight pipe.  I felt like I was being swallowed into a tight tunnel and wouldn't be able to breathe.  I panicked and turned my head to see the radiographer, but she wasn't there!  And before I knew it, I was in a panic, and almost scrambled out of the machine.  It sounds weird but basically you are lying down outside of a 'tunnel'.  And the bed then moves you into the 'tunnel' - the 'tunnel' is really quite small so for any claustrophobic person it would be tough.  But when you're also very overweight?  I was terrified I'd very truthfully, get stuck!  I started to scramble again but the reason I couldn't see the lady was that she was on her way inside to me to tell me it was fine.  That's all it took and once the machine stopped and I was in the tunnel and still able to breathe, I was fine. :)

Then she injected me with some radioactive dye thingy and then I had to go into the machine again.  This time I was prepared for my Willy Wonka tunnel moment :)

The results: Anyway.  So today I picked up my results.  They should be sent straight to my GP but he is on holidays (another thing that almost made me cry - another wait!) so they allowed me to pick the results up.  And this is the very exciting thing that I read this afternoon:

I am SO excited, relieved, happy, thankful.  There's still 2 more steps to go through, I have to see my GP to get taken off the medication, and I have to go to hospital one more time, but this time just as an outpatient.  And then it'll be over!  So even though I'm not there yet, I feel like I am THIS close, because my lungs are clear and I no longer have the clots. :)

So 2 more steps in this journey and I will be back to normal.  It's been the scariest thing I've ever experienced, but it's also made me realise how strong I am.  I think of Kelly Clarkson often: "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" :)  I think of other people going through much, much worse than this - and my heart just spills out for them.  I am so lucky - this was treatable, it got discovered early enough, and I am ok.  As much as I'm excited, I am actually quite scared to come off Warfarin.  It terrifies me that I was walking around with these clots and had no idea.  I'm scared, what if I get another one?  It makes me wonder how many other people have them.  So my little Coco advice for the night is: aware if you are on the Pill..........if you are concerned about any pains, call someone - if you're in Australia call 13HEALTH - they are amazing......don't ever ignore the left arm / chest thing.  I've read about it and been trained in it before, but when it happens to you, it's easy to think you're imagining it.  All of my doctors and ambos since have told me since to never worry about being asked to be checked.  You just never know.

The Pill isn't the only cause of PE's.  I believe that Serena Williams (tennis player) got PE' many people do each day.  Friends of mine have had them from: a genetic condition, a long plane trip, an operation and an accident.  It's more common than I realised. Of course, please know that this is just my story and has no medical basis other than what I have been told.  If you are interested from a professional point of view than please speak to a doctor or at least Google a medical website! :)

But I just wanted to share with you my exciting news for the day.  I'll let you know on Thursday after I see my GP whether I am off the medication, but for now let me tell you I am so relieved that my lungs are clear.  A weight on my shoulder has been lifted :)
To celebrate I bought Mish's One Active red jacket (see photo).  Who am I kidding, I've been wanting it and would have bought it anyway! ;)  It was just an excuse but it's a kind of nice excuse.  Clear lungs + Mish jacket + Friday night + hope = a happy Coco :)   Hope you all have a great weekend xoxoxoo