Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Someone forgot to tell the meteorologists what season it is. They keep telling us we're in for a week of snow. That is soooo not fair. It's been spring for almost two months and we keep getting dumped on with white stuff.

Today I got out while it was still in the 40s but windy, before the snow moved in, and did a little over 6 miles. First I took Iris walking for a couple of miles, then I brought her home and went out, determined to get MY workout in. Even if it was only an hour. I woke up with no pain in my back today, as I have the past three days.

I'm afraid to start any weight workouts or even any core work without weights, because it seems like everything has been aggravating it. After I am pain free for a few weeks then I will start. I am getting so tired of feeling like a flabby limp noodle.

I wish I had more to report. I am planning to run/walk for 12 hours and 9 minutes on March 21 in Arvada at a Fat Ass event. Ready or not, I'm going down there and plan to stay out all day. I don't care how many miles I get in, either. I'm taking my music and dancing around the lake all day. Catch up on my vitamin D, hopefully, if it's a nice day.

My dad is starting on oral chemo, even though they don't have all the results back from the bone marrow biopsy. His hematologist thinks it's the same leukemia that he's had for years and is starting him on methotrexate. I guess it won't hurt him even if it turns out to be something else because it's the same class of drugs they give in the thing we're hoping it isn't. We'll know in about a week or less. What drives me crazy is the lack of thorough education that they do with patients, even at the big name hospitals that are supposed to be the top cancer clinics. They're all the same as far as I can tell. All trying to make a buck and not paying attention to the needs of the entire person and family members. I always want to bang my head against the wall... but thankfully I can give him the information he needs to know. I hope he does well on this stuff, it won't make him lose his hair but it can cause diarrhea and nausea and mouth sores, and making him more susceptible to infections.

I always wish I could tell people in public they should be more considerate of the fact that there are people among us who have weak immune systems so please keep your boogers to yourselves. Like the guy at the airport last week. Dennis and I were waiting for our flight out of Phoenix to come home, and this guy sat down next to me, blew his nose into a paper napkin, then deposited the napkin on the seat next to me. GROSS! Or people who cough or sneeze and don't attempt to cover it or wash their hands.

I am much more of a germophobe ever since I became a nurse. Watching people is really interesting, and disgusting. People don't realize how filthy their hands are, and what they touch. Cell phones are gross. Did you know that E. coli are found on cell phones? People take them to the bathroom, and those surfaces are full of E. coli, and who knows if they ever wash their hands, but if it gets on the cell phone and you don't disinfect the cell phone, might as well not wash your hands because it's all going back on your hands. And then you shake someone else's hands after touching your E. coli-infested cell phone. Computer keyboards are the worst. I always used to freak out when I'd see a nurse typing on the computer and not washing their hands before touching the patient again. And these days the way nurses have so much more documentation to do on the computers and so much more work to do in an understaffed setting, there's even more likelihood of contamination. Just FYI. Always make sure the person taking care of you is keeping their hands clean.

I am excited about launching Fighting Dinosaurs. Nursing evolves March 1. I can't wait to see what kinds of stories will come out.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Yes I'm Still Alive...

Just busy Fighting Dinosaurs, and a few other things...

Dennis and I made our usual February trip to Arizona to see my parents. Usually I would run the Pemberton Trail 50K, but this year, and right now I am lucky to be able to run 50 minutes. My back has been steadily, but slowly, improving and today I actually ran for a solid hour without walking for the first time in about a month, or more. I'd have to look back to see when this happened.

This time we stuck around, just hung out with my dad and stepmom. My dad hasn't been feeling so great lately and had a bone marrow biopsy yesterday, so we're waiting for the results. We're all stressed and scared and everything is uncertain right now. The problem with blood cancers is that they can undergo this transformation into a different disease, that is treated differently than the original diagnosed cancer.

So we're waiting to find out if this is just a flare-up of the primary leukemia he's known about for 6 years, or if it's something different and more serious, that needs treatment with chemotherapy and/or transfusions eventually. I know too much about this stuff and I'm afraid for the worst, but optimistic for the best. We are waiting for the send-out labs which take the longest, about 10 days. Nail-biting for me. There's so much more to say on how I feel about all this, but I'm waiting to hear what the next step is.

I've been pounding the vitamin D supplements religiously and I already feel less dizzy than I was, ha! As if I was never dizzy? But I do feel better- just a little- enough to notice. I don't have a lot of energy but I am trying to be more consistent about getting out and walking and running.

I am looking forward to crewing Bob at Badwater this summer, so we're waiting the announcement of who got in the race, then we can start planning.

The big project I've been working on is Fighting Dinosaurs. It's a new website/blog that features guest submissions about nursing-related topics, with a focus on solutions and changing the current dysfunction of the profession itself within a dysfunctional health care system. I just wanted to give nurses a chance to get their voices heard, because so many people are afraid to post on Facebook and Twitter since their employers spy on them. I am allowing anonymity when a person is concerned about it affecting their job. I am hoping it will spark some lively discussion and commentary. There is also a Facebook Page.

Fighting Dinosaurs is where my energy will be focused when it comes to healthcare, nursing, and so on. If you've been following those posts, you will find more of it at Fighting Dinosaurs. You can also follow us on Twitter at either @AleneGoneBad or @FightingDinos. By the way, National Public Radio has had an excellent series on workplace injuries among nurses lately. I wrote to them to ask if they'd include a piece on psychological injuries and PTSD among nurses. That is one topic that will be covered extensively on Fighting Dinosaurs, you can bet on it.

Tonight I'm speaking at a cancer support group at the hospital where I used to work, talking about exercise and cancer, along with a friend who is talking about nutrition and cancer. On March 2, the book Empowered Nurses will be released, and I have a chapter in it. I'm excited. I'll include a link to it as soon as it's available.

I'm ready to get back into a more physically active routine. I am up 14 pounds, but I will lose it once I get my act together. This winter has been extremely difficult, but it really is spring, and I am looking forward to the warmer weather.

After this weekend's snowstorm.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My Anaconda Don't...

30 to 51. It's not betting odds, a temperature range or a bad Superbowl score. It's the name of the new purpose in my life.

Today I went to the beach. Okay, it was Warren Lake, but it does have sand, and water, and driftwood, and today it had sunshine and 70 degree temperatures. But it was a wake-up call.

Faced with today's 70 and sunny reality of my fat pants being tight, and having a hard time finding a pair of shorts to wear that didn't chafe or fit too close to my approaching-Kim-Kardashian-proportioned buns, hon...

I decided it is time to get with the program. Vitamin D deficiency, less-than-stellar mood, sore back, inability to run, raging hormones, and blinding white legs be damned, I have 30 days until my 51st birthday and I know I can lose a chunk of this blubber by then, at least get to where I can fit into most of my clothes again. I think I just came up with a new hashtag: #runthepaws
I woke up this morning with a sore back again. I was doing better, got up to a total of 40 minutes of running in my walks. I've been walking between 6 and 8 miles a day, and every other day I've been running parts of the walk. I think it's something to do with the position I sleep in, if I wake up on my stomach that kills my back.

I took Thursday off, then I walked 5 miles Friday, without running. My back was fine. Then this morning, it was as painful as it was the first day this happened. I woke up face down. I don't know if there's anything else I could have done to prevent it from being this sore. Friday afternoon I went out with a friend for a beer so we could have some girl time and dinosaur talk. Dinosaur talk is when we talk about healthcare stuff. You know, the dinosaurs who run things in health care.

I have been indulging in the beer more often than I should, and eating things I shouldn't, like bread. Actually bread probably has been my biggest downfall lately. But it also leads to slacking on other carbs. When I don't feel like making breakfast, I've been eating PBJs. Bad, bad, bad. It would be one thing if I were running a gazillion miles, but I'm not.

I'm back on the floor with the ice pack again. I'll have to give up the beer, quit slacking on watching the carb intake, and do SOMETHING until my back feels strong enough to handle regular running.

Now that I'm committed, I need to think about where I'm headed, at least a climb of Mt. Whitney and a few miles of a little jaunt across the desert this summer...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Groundhog Sees A Shadow

I don't care what Punxsatawney Phil says, it's spring.

Over the last week things have improved considerably in many ways. The sun has made an appearance more often, for one thing. I started supplementing with vitamin D and while I can't tell a difference yet, just knowing that there is something really wrong and it's an easy, though slow, drawn out fix, getting my vitamin D level above 11 will surely help things.

My back is still sore most of the time, but I'm able to move better and with less pain. Friday I went out on the Spring Creek trail with some of the running club runners and did about 20 minutes of running before I had to stop. I walked back, and got about 4 miles in. Since then, each day I have walked 6 miles a day, some with the girls, then more on my own.

Saturday I added some very easy yoga stretches, and on Sunday I threw about 20 minutes of running in to my walk, here and there, a few minutes at a time, and that seemed to be okay, and the next day it didn't seem to make things worse.

So I will continue that. Maybe I can build up by adding more running into my walks. I've been plowing through the drudgery of some necessary tasks for work, which will be done by next Monday and then I can move back to the good stuff.

What really has me excited is my new project, Fighting Dinosaurs. It will be launched sometime this spring, I have no date set yet, but I'm working on it. It's going to be a blog guessed it...nursing and healthcare. It will be very different from this blog, though. I'll keep you posted, or you can check back at the URL.

Also, the book Empowered Nurses will be released March 2 and I have a chapter in it, so be on the lookout for that one. I'm being interviewed this Friday and that will be on the book's website when it is released.

Finally, on the running front...I spoke with my friend Bob Becker in Florida yesterday and he is applying for Badwater. He's already run the race twice, we actually met for the first time in both of our rookie years, 2008. If he gets in, he is planning to do a double, to celebrate his 70th birthday. I am going to crew him on the return part of his trip. So I have a running purpose again. It all helps my overall outlook. Now I need the weather to cooperate!