The needle and the damage (un)done…

Yesterday I had an ultrasound-guided injection of local anaesthetic and steroid into my right glenohumeral joint (in my shoulder). Last night when I went to bed I realised how much I must have accepted the pain; it was so weird to have none.

A couple of months ago I had a similar injection into the swollen bursa. It had absolutely no effect at all.  Some time later I realised that the reason it didn’t work at all is because the pain was in a different location. The anaesthetic didn’t even make a difference – I should have at least had a couple of days pain-free if the injection was in the right area.

This time I’m pain free for now. I should know by about Friday whether this injection has worked. The doctor still isn’t certain, not a lot has shown up on the MRI’s or x-rays. He’s hoping and so am I.

It’s great to be able to lift my arm above my head, to pull off a top over my head, to take off a shirt, without the action causing pain in my shoulder. I’m not allowed to use my arm for a couple of days. I have to remember that for now I’m free of pain because of the anaesthetic, not because the problem has gone away.

Her intentions fall to the floor…

Well, I’m at the end of my 12WBT challenge and the weekly blog updates, that I fully intended to post, just didn’t happen. It’s been a busy 12 weeks and things didn’t go quite as planned. I went progressed well for the first 6 weeks. I stuck to the program, was amazed at the amount and quality of the food on the vegetarian nutrition plan, and lost weight. The last 6 weeks haven’t been quite so good.

  • I went to Melbourne for 10 days for a dog training workshop for the course I’m doing (Cert III in Dog Behaviour and Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation). For the most part I ate well, shopped carefully and planned my meals, but I succumbed to the vending machine in the training room on most afternoons.
  • The weekend after I got home I attended a four day tai chi instructor’s workshop in Perth. Morning and afternoon tea were provided  and for some weak-willed reason I just had to partake of the cake more than the fruit. I did take my own lunch, so didn’t fall into the trap of ordering from the menu at the cafe.
  • A couple of days after that workshop I came down with the worst case of the flu I think I’ve ever had. I was pretty much out of action for 2 weeks, but only off my food for the first few days. After that I craved comfort foods: chocolate, toast with butter and jam (Maggie Beer’s Burnt Fig Jam), chocolate, toast with butter and vegemite, chocolate…you get the idea.
  • Since recovering from the flu I’ve tried (and mostly succeeded) to cut back on the toast with not-so-good toppings, but I’m still eating too much chocolate; or more specifically, too many snickers bars – they are a current weakness. I do also have a fondness for Green & Blacks 70% Dark Chocolate 100g which I tell myself isn’t so bad because I only eat small amounts.


So I might not have had as much success on 12WBT as I could have but I’m not too disappointed with my results. I lost 4.6kg (that’s 7% weight loss) and nearly 6kg since the end of March. I haven’t taken new measurements or an after photo. I may do those things later today. The photos won’t be published on the blog, though.

The dog training course is going along fairly well. The first couple of days at the Melbourne workshop were a disaster. I really thought I was wasting my time and (not a small amount of) money. The trainer was terrible and she not only gave us incorrect information, but she failed to set us up properly for training we had to complete as a group through the week. She was more interested in telling us about her family and her life with dogs than training us properly. The poor dog she had with her was terrified of putting a paw out of place. The trainer was proud of the fact that she shows her dogs no affection. Luckily things improved from there on with some really exceptional trainers who made the whole experience really worthwhile.

Skatergirl Jet

Skatergirl Jet

I’ve been having a great time training Anzac and Jet. I have some training I have to complete (and video) for a couple of the units in the course, but the dogs are loving training so much that I’m throwing a few other tricks in as well. Truth be told, I’m loving the training as well so I’m much more focussed on doing that part of the course than completing the theory components and working on the reports and assignments. I do need to find a dog to train in targeting. That’s the first practical (videoed) task that I’ll have to submit. We’re supposed to train a dog that hasn’t been taught to target before, though I could train a different type of targeting than what my dogs know. I must admit I haven’t done much targeting at all with Jet so I could probably work with her for that one.

Princess Jet

Princess Jet

I’m keeping a dog training diary over at Walking With Dogs if you’re interested in reading what I’m up to or seeing some video of our training sessions.

Sleeping after a hard doggy day

Sleeping after a hard doggy day

The next workshop for the course will be held in October so I’ll be back in Melbourne for that, and will probably spend a few days in Geelong as well.

The tai chi worksop was great. It was actually two workshops, each two days long, run one after the other. One of Dr Paul Lam’s Master Trainers came over from Melbourne to teach the Tai Chi for Arthritis and Tai Chi for Osteoporosis instructor courses. I’m going to be teaching Tai Chi for Arthritis for Arthritis & Osteoporosis W.A. I’m all booked to start a class in the marquee at Leapfrogs Cafe in Wanneroo in a couple of weeks. Hopefully I’ll get the numbers I need to make a go of it. I’m hoping there’ll be an article in the local community newspaper this week.

The Master Trainer who conducted the Perth workshops is holding a Tai Chi for Diabetes workshop in Melbourne the weekend before my next dog training workshop so I’ll go over a week early to attend that. I’ll also have time to do friend and family catch-ups in the few days between the workshops while I’m over there.

In other news I’m on a continuing quest to find out why I have so much pain in my right shoulder. An injection into the swollen bursa did nothing to alleviate the pain, so I’ve been to see an orthopedic surgeon who has sent me for x-rays and two MRIs and has now ordered another ultrasound-guided steroid injection – this time into the glenohumeral joint. He’s still uncertain about the cause of the pain, so this is a bit of a trial. I have to keep a pain diary after this injection. I also have an appointment with a rheumatologist to investigate the cause of my various arthritis’ (in the words of my G.P.), particularly the pain I have on waking. The shoulder pain may or may not be related.

A vego, over 50, female attempt at 12wbt…

When we first came back to Australia almost 10 years ago I weighed 12 kilos less than I do now. My body fat was probably about 2/3 what it is now. I was lean and fit and fairly strong. I had been spending a lot of time in the gym, I’d had a set-up in my own home that rivalled some small gyms I’ve been in, and I was a bit of a food nazi. I liked the way I looked and I felt great, but food was too much of an issue for me. I had followed a 12 week body transformation program that was very popular back then and had good success – even entering the transformation competition and making friends that I still keep in touch with now. The biggest problem with the food side of the program was the lack of vegetarian options. It was a typical high protein/low carb program which really doesn’t allow much variety in a vegetarian diet. I gradually began to increase the variety of food in my diet (not always in a good way) and I reduced the quantity and intensity of exercise that I was doing. I no longer had the equipment that I’d previously had – though that’s just an excuse, I still had more than enough for a decent workout. I slowly started to put on weight.

A few years later we moved from the remote Northern Territory to Perth. I had great intentions of joining a gym and getting my fitness levels back up there but, what with the daily commute to work and a few other excuses, that didn’t happen. Oh, I joined a gym a couple of years ago – really enjoyed the environment – but that didn’t last as my work situation changed. Once again I’d reduced the amount of home equipment I had, but still kept the essentials. I only used them sporadically. My main form of exercise has been walking the dogs. I’ve gone through stages of walking 7-10 or more km per day, to hardly walking at all.

Over these past couple of years menopause has added itself to the mix. While I haven’t suffered too many of the typical symptoms, I have found weight gain to be a bit of a problem and weight loss to be a struggle. OK, my sweet tooth might also have something to do with that. I’ve tried a couple of the popular weight-loss programs and had success, but once again they were both high protein/low carb programs that are unsustainable for a vego. I’m not even sure how sustainable they are for an omnivore. And I don’t want to become that food fanatic again. I’d lose weight but couldn’t stick with the programs or go back to them after a break. And I wasn’t doing any exercise – other than the on-again, off-again high-volume walking.

There are plenty of people who think I’m thin enough, but I’m not comfortable with the weight I’m carrying and, for me, it’s all about how I feel, about my own perception of myself. I look at photos and in the mirror and I see a fat and flabby person where I want to see a toned and fit person. Agreed, I don’t need to lose huge amounts of weight, but I do feel the need to lose a few kilos and to get fitter and more toned. I carry fat around my middle. That’s definitely not healthy and while it’s not too bad at the moment, I don’t want it to get too bad. It’s too easy too pile it on (especially during menopause) and way too hard to take it off. I’m not quite at my heaviest, but I’m close to being back there so I’ve decided it’s time to take control and stop making excuses. I’ve joined  Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT) Round 2, 2013. I’m making this public through my blog because I found years ago, when I did my first ever 12 week body transformation, that making it public makes me feel more accountable. Even if only to myself. Oh, I know all the tips and tricks and could lecture anyone on healthy nutrition and exercise, but follow it myself? Without a defined program and that public accountability it’s not going to happen.

12WBT has exercise plans, vegetarian food plans, video support, forum support and mindset lessons. I’ll have to put in the hard work and it won’t be easy. I have plantar fasciitis, dicky knees, a dodgy shoulder and a back that gives me trouble when I don’t exercise carefully. I’ll also be studying and attending seminars and workshops during the 12 weeks.  I’m in pre-season and my challenge starts in a couple of weeks. Join me for the ride. You might even like to sign up too. Let me know if you do.

Run rabbit run…

We’re seriously considering moving the dogs to a BARF (bones and raw food) diet. I’m currently reading Give Your Dog a Bone: The Practical Commonsense Way to Feed Dogs for a Long Healthy Life by Dr Ian Billinghurst.

Give your Dog a Bone by Dr Ian Billinghurst

Our dogs get quite a few raw meaty bones already, though not as many as recommended. They are fed primarily dry, kibble type dog food with some pre-packaged meatballs and some veggies and fruit – oh, they do love their fruit.

I went out and bought some of Dr B’s patties and some chicken wings today. I also thought I might see if the butcher had any rabbits. Boy, was I in for a shock! When did rabbits become gourmet game meat? $32 for a rabbit! Am I really showing my age by remembering when you couldn’t even find rabbits because the butchers couldn’t give them away? I think the pups can skip the rabbit for now.

For more info on Dr Billinghurst and the BARF diet: BARF Australia

Walking with dogs…

This morning we had a great walk along the Burns Beach track. Anzac, Jet and I always enjoy the walk but today was extra special. We left home a bit later (after we dropped Stephen at the station) so we weren’t under any time pressure and could walk further than usual. For the first half of our walk there was good cloud cover so that helped as well.

Jet was especially good this morning. Because we were later there were none of her normal little antagonists – those pups who make snuffly noises as they walk and try to rush towards her, which literally gets her hackles up (you should see that; I must try to get a photo). She reacts badly to dogs who approach her too enthusiastically and has a specific couple she’s really developed a dislike for. She ignored all dogs this morning and just enjoyed her walk. I was careful not to put pressure on her lead and, by doing that, give her a signal that she might need to be worried about an approaching dog. I’m afraid I might have been sending her the wrong signals with some dogs.

Jet was also particularly good with the bikes this morning. She really dislike bikes, or should I say spinning bike wheels, which she knows are coming when she sees a bike approaching. It’s only the moving ones that need to be snapped at and need rounding up. I’ve been noticing a positive improvement with bikes coming from behind for a while now, ‘specially those whose riders ring their warning bell. On Friday Jet ignored all bikes from behind. Today, while she didn’t ignore them, she also left all oncoming bikes to go past without being snapped at. With each bike she saw she moved off the path beside me and looked up at me, waiting. I’ve been rewarding her with a treat after the bike goes past and it seems she’s finally put two and two together.

Thanks go to the Haltie collar (which has given me so much more control and made our walks pleasant again), Kim at DoggieWould Training for her great training tips and advice and to the obviously yummy ZiwiPeak Good Dog Treats from AYM Pet Supplies and More that were in our prize bags from the DoggieWould Christmas party. I’ll definitely be getting more of those!

Now, if only I could stop Anzac from wanting to sniff every post, bush and mark on the path along the way! And where did he get the idea that it’s acceptable to lift his leg on so many of those posts and bushes? I know he doesn’t need to wee that often. Boy dogs! Hrmph!

Anzac and Jet resting

Anzac and Jet resting after this morning’s walk

Drinking green…

After seeing a link to, and then reading, this blog: I’ve been inspired to have a green smoothie every day (except one) for lunch for over a week now. I’ve never been able to bring myself to drink veggie juices (believe me, I’ve tried) but I haven’t had any trouble drinking green smoothies. I use a few leaves of either rainbow chard or tuscan kale from the garden and add either frozen berries or fresh pineapple. I usually also add some unsweetened almond milk and water, and sometimes a small spoonful of almond, cashew and brazil nut butter. I also sometimes add a small banana – bananas make the smoothies nice and creamy. Today we bought some frozen coconut meat and I added that to kale and pineapple. It was very disappointing; coconut milk is a tastier alternative though I might try coconut juice/water. Some combinations I’ve tried have tasted a bit grassy, and the only ones that aren’t a green colour are the ones with berries.

All in all I’ve decided that green smoothies are a yummy, healthy lunch option -even if they do break my ‘no drinking anything green coloured’ rule.

The job…

Back in February I interviewed for a job that I really wanted. It quite excited me and I was pretty disappointed to be pipped at the post by someone with experience in a similar role.

On Moday this week I got a call from the ‘headhunter’ who originally found me for the job. He told me that the company had contacted him and asked for me specifically to fill another opening. They didn’t want to advertise the job if I was available and interested. I said yes, I’d like to talk with them about it again. Wasn’t entirely certain that I would want to get back into the commute routine (I know I don’t like it at all) but thought I’d probably regret it if I said no. After all, it’s exactly the job I’ve been wanting to get for the past few years. Even turned one, with a different company, down a couple of years ago because it involved too much travel.

So I met with the manager yesterday. All went very well. He emphasised how difficult they found it to make the decision last time. The job is mine, they just have to make the formal offer. I told them I can start on Aug 1st. Walking in there yesterday and talking to the manager again just confirmed in my mind that this is the job (and the type of company) I’ve been aiming towards for the past few years. I won’t like the commute, I know that (the job is in Nedlands so it will mean a train ride then a short bus ride), but hey – you can’t have everything!

So…you ask, “what is this job?”

Support and Training Consultant for a mining software company. Job responsibilities include:

  • Client support (phone, email, face-to-face)
  • Training to current and new software users and in-house training for new staff (in-house, onsite, and at 3rd party venues – but not a huge amount of onsite training). This includes organising everything related to conducting the training.
  • Product development – Liaise with the product development team and software users during the software design cycle.
  • Assist the Sales and Marketing teams by providing technical support during sales demos, etc.
  • Development and update of course materials. Their current course books are fabulous. The layout is great – great templates, and their development process is a good one.

It might not excite all of you out there, but it excites me enough to draw me back out of my cosy existence of doing a little bit of work when I want to, walking dogs, doing tai chi and whatever else I feel like doing on any given day.