Long overdue....

Wow...I haven't posted in a while!  My sister, Amanda, has reminded me periodically that she is waiting on a blog post so here it is.  I guess this one will be a little of this, a little of that.

I just came back from an appointment at the pain center for my chronic neck pain.  I'm really getting nowhere fast with this.  I've been seeing a physical therapist twice a week for myofascial release (which is basically a really painful massage that attempts to get rid of my impressive muscle knots and spasms), but I can't tell a difference in overall pain.  I still hurt and my muscles still stay incredibly tight.  Maybe if I went everyday for a while it would help, but that is pretty much financially and logistically impossible!  My pain center appointment today was rather frustrating.  I like my doctor there, but the office staff is hard to deal with.  I brought paperwork with me to have filled out for intermittent leave at work (so that if I need to stay home from work due to pain or procedures related to my neck pain I won't get points on my time and attendance record).  My insurance company gives me 15 days to get this filled out and back to them, and that includes the time it took to get to me.  Well, the pain center staff acted as if I had asked them to do the impossible.  They informed me that the cost to fill out the paperwork is $50 and they would have it ready in 30 days!  I told them I only have 15 to start out with and needed it by next Friday.  I ended up having to pay ANOTHER $50 to expedite the paperwork.  Ugh!  I need a new job filling out FMLA paperwork--it seems to be fairly profitable!  So then I asked the girl at the desk if she could ask for a printed prescription for me since my employee pharmacy at work that I am required to use doesn't accept escripts.  I was attempting to save them a step since I had been through this last time.  She came back and said, "Yes, they are sending it by escript."  I mean, really?  Did you not listen to what I just told you?  Doctor's offices would really benefit from employing more RNs and other college educated employees.  Surely they could afford to pay higher salaries on FMLA paperwork kickbacks alone, right?  Otherwise my appointment was uneventful.  Dr. Vijay suggested that I start taking my zanaflex (muscle relaxer) during the day when I can in addition to at bedtime.  That should be interesting since it effectively knocks me out and makes me stumble around when I try to walk!  He said to take it during the day when (since this happens so often) I have nothing to do but stay around the house! Ha!  And, he ordered for me to have another MRI of my neck since it has been a couple of years.  I dread this because I don't do well with MRIs.  I don't consider myself a claustrophobic person, but when I get in that tube I realize that I must be.  Plus, it is very hard to be completely still for such a long time.  Hopefully this MRI will show something, anything.  I'm tired of no one being able to figure out what's wrong with me!  I go back to the pain center in a month.  He told me it is my choice about continuing physical therapy.  I will talk that over with my therapist tomorrow.

In other news, I started back doing Weight Watchers.  I've done it in the past with success and it is especially easy now since I can do all my points tracking on my iphone!  I mainly started it to be a guide for how much I should eat each day.  I know which foods I should eat, but have trouble knowing how much is too much or too little.  I have been on the plan for 3 weeks now and have lost 7.8 lbs!  I'm happy with those results.  I have a long way to go but I am at least headed in the right direction.  The program is extremely simple and not hard to stay on.  During these three weeks, I have had movie popcorn, eaten out a couple of times, and been to a picnic for the Cherry Blossom Festival.  None of these things have affected my weight loss because I am able to plan for them and also control my portions.  One product that I have really loved lately is Vega Chocolate Smoothie.

This product can be found at The Vitamin Shoppe and also online from Amazon.com.  It is a plant-based powder that has 11g of protein, 7g of fiber, and 1g of Omega-3.  It also says that it has the equivalent of two servings of veggies.  I love to put it in the blender with ice, water, and a banana.  Yummy to my tummy!  And only 2 Weight Watchers PointsPlus! 
In addition to Weight Watchers, I have become addicted to spin class!  My gym offers the Les Mills classes, so the spin class is called RPM.  I've been going at least 5 times a week, including two mornings that I get up at 4:40 am to make the 5:30 am class!  Yes, I love it that much!  I have problems with my knees, so this is a perfect form of cardio for me because it doesn't put stress on my joints.  Also, I feel that it might help some with my neck pain because I have to focus on keeping my shoulders back and down and this helps with my posture.  I've saved for a while and finally bought myself some spin shoes! 
The spin shoes are sold separately from the clamp that clips into the bike pedal.  I purchased my shoes from a bike store here in Macon and the clamps were $20 extra.  The man that helped me at the store installed the clamps on my shoes for no charge.  Most bikes use the standard SPD clamp by Shimano.  I had previously thought that spin shoes were not necessary but I can tell a huge difference when I used them.  I can put more resistance on my bike, I can go faster during sprints without bouncing, and I feel more work in my hamstrings and calves.  I recommend spin shoes for anyone who regularly attends a spin class. 
More later!  This post has gotten long enough!

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