Responsibility 199, what is it?

Responsibility 199 is a belief; I believe that to be healthy and to increase my longevity I need to weigh 199 pounds or less...
Responsibility 199 is a need; I need to reduce my weight, reduce my percentage of body fat, and the elevated threat of disease my present condition presents...
Responsibility 199 is a mission; I recognize that achieving 199 will be a challenge, perhaps the hardest I have ever undertaken...
Responsibility 199 is a commitment; I acknowledge that I must commit to action, commit to change, commit to myself and those I love to achieve this mission, to increase my longevity...
Responsibility 199 is ME.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 348 - From Cats To Waffles

The PET Scan itself was conducted well yesterday. I won't hear results until today at the earliest and more likely tomorrow. The waiting game continues on here.

Wednesday April 13th is my surgery date for the sentinel node removal/biopsy and as well removing more tissue on my forehead where the melanoma was removed nearly a month ago. So it'll be a couple of weeks yet before I know with a good degree of certainty whether I can breathe a sigh of relief of brace for a more involved battle.

But enough about the waiting for tomorrow or two weeks from now. Today is here, what is on tap today.

Waffles; my wife has caught a spring cold and wanted waffles for breakfast so I made her waffles. I also made waffles for the kids too. I chose to abstain from the waffle quorum call, instead went with a high-protein omelet.

College; as it is spring break we have time to work the tomorrow's of the kids. Two of my boys and I will head off to Northern Illinois University shortly for a college visit. One is a high-school sophomore and the other a junior. I don't think either really wants to spend their spring break time this way, but since the school is on both of their lists today is the day. Speaking of their lists, they include 69 and 9 colleges respectively. Our senior who selected her college a few months ago never had more that 6 or 7. When we ask our freshman (yes we have 4 in h.s., one in each grade) about his list, he jokingly says he is going to live at home and play xbox for a living. Thus his list is still a blank sheet of paper.

Cats; one of our cats is sick (yeah, our house is a sickly place at the moment). Nobody else is brave enough to give the cat is medicine so I have that chore twice a day now. It is just a cat; it's not like he has eyes that fire lazers! Even though it weighs a stout 14 pounds holding it down, wedging the medicine dropper between his teeth, squirting the medicine down his throat, and then holding his jaw shut for a few seconds to ensure swallowage (is that a word); it is not that hard. Meow!

Ok, off now to get in some exercise before getting gathered and setting out to NIU.

Final thoughtImpossible and possible, the difference is measured in determination.

How determined are you today?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 347 - PET Scan Day / Odd Thoughts


Today is the day for my PET Scan. Not until 2pm so I have plenty of time to chill and relax this morning. I am off work for the rest of the week as it is spring break here. The kids are all over the place with either sports stuff or friend stuff to keep them busy.

I've been mentally 'off' the past couple days. A mix of anxiety and boredom I suppose. No real reason for me to be bored, lots going on at work, home and all places in between. Maybe it’s the lingering cold weather that has me in a rut too. LOL/OMG, just a steady stream of excuses flowing from my fingertips here; sad - sorry.

I need some exercise. This morning I can get a walk in and tomorrow morning would be a perfect day for a trip to the YMCA to twist some steel.... there, presto; a plan.

Some random oddball questions have been flip-flopping through my mind lately, let me share….
When does a person's status elevate them to being considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

Are you destined to wear the clothes you were buried in for eternity in heaven (or…) ?

Why are toasters made with a setting that burns the toast into charcoal?... as if anyone really likes to eat their toast that burnt.

Why does Goofy stand on two legs and wears groovy clothes, while Pluto remains stands on all fours and is buck-naked? (yes I use the word 'groovy' in two consecutive posts!)

Why do they call it an asteroid when it's in outer-space, but call it a hemorrhoid when it's in your butt?

Have fun today folks!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 344 - 346: LIFE, groovy or grueling?

 Hope all had a great weekend and are off to a groovy start to their week.

Yes, I said 'Groovy'. Can you recall when the word groovy actually was cool to use? I admit, I can. Although just to square the record here, I was a kid when that was so.

This past weekend my wife & I went out with some friends to a bar. We hung out, had a drink, ate a bit, watched the hockey game (WTF Blackhawks?) and generally chit chatted and watched the people there. I love to people watch.

Well one of the biggest things I noticed at this people watching experience was the age of all there; they were sooo YOUNG! When did the young people take over the bar scene I used to rule? When did the combined roar of music, shouts at the big screen, billard balls breaking, drunken slurs, etc., when did it all become loud and less than comfortable?

Somewhere over the past 18'ish years when I stepped out of that scene into the professional ladder-climber / family raiser; somewhere along the way I've lost touch with that part of my youth. My desire for the crazy unpredictable antics that guide the youthful mind from one night to the next, somewhere along the way I traded that touch for one of purposely purposely planned shenanigans to humor myself along a defined & driven path in this game of life.

Part of me wants to call a mulligan (golf reference) and go back and see if I can get back here without growing as old as I am feeling. But then I simply wouldn't trade a minute of the life I have lived for fear that I might not be so lucky as I have been in this life to find the treasures I have. By treasures I mean my car filled with pink & blue pegs; if you don't know what I mean by that go to the toy store and buy the game of LIFE already. 

While I wouldn't call a mulligan even if given the chance, I'd like to stop losing touch with my youth. I'd like to at least stay as young as I am today for as long as I possibly can; if not forever.

Is that asking too much?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 343 - Laugh At It

Ok, lets think something other than cancer stuff this weekend. Nothing I can do for now other than be healthy & happy until the PET Scan this coming Wednesday.

Here are some short letters some people we know have written, Some of these may push the envelope on taste or poli-corr, still I hope you enjoy...

Dear Twilight fans, Please realize that because vampires are dead and have no blood pumping through them, they can never get an erection.
Still fantasizing about them?
Dear America, You produced Miley Cyrus. Bieber is your punishment.
Dear 2010, So I hear the best rapper is white and the president is black? How'd that happen?!
Dear Scissors, I feel your one wants to run with me either.
Sarah Palin 
Dear Osama Bin Laden, Marco....
United States
Dear Batman, What was your superpower again?

Dear Snooki, GET BACK TO WORK!
Willy Wonka
Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 342 - Good News & More Waiting

THANK YOU for the continued well wishes via comments, tweets, emails, facebook, etc... very very much appreciated!

Yesterday's appointment with the surgical oncologist was positive. The doctor gained my confidence which was on my checklist. Being a doctor in a specialty where the majority of your patients are there to seek hope for grim situations cannot be easy labor.

The good news, she did a full physical in search for other candidates of melanoma on my skin, head to toe; found nothing warranting concern. So big sighs of relief were in order with that news.

The waiting game continues however while I wait for some procedures to be scheduled. Next up is a PET Scan, the picture up there is of a random image I found. So what is a PET Scan, I did not know before this discussion. Long story short this procedure will help illuminate anywhere in my body where cancerous cells may exist. I should hear today from my medical oncologist, different person than my surgical oncologist, when that scan can be performed.

Then within a few days or so after the PET Scan is complete & results read I'll go in for the sentinel lymph node biopsy. Long story short this procedure will result in a very specific lymph node being identified and then removed for analysis to determine if the melanoma that was removed from my forehead had a chance to spread via the lymphatic system. If it has, it will show up in this specific node. Obviously were are hoping this node is clean which would mean the cancer has not spread that way.

At the same time the oncologist surgeon is hunting down that lymph node (can take 2-3 hours) the plastic surgeon will go back to work on my forehead and remove more tissue around the original scar as a precaution to ensure any rouge cells from the melanoma site had not deposited in that area; another ugly characteristic of melanoma. Hence when you see pictures of very advances melanoma tumor sites they are spread out in irregular patters, they spawn rouge cells that move out a few millimetres to a centimeter from the original and get nasty there.

For all of this I will be knocked out, which was a bummer; I asked if I could be awake for it all as I am a science geek; they said nope, this is not something you want to be awake for. I think the real answer is that THEY don't want me awake through it asking questions.

There are two ways melanoma spreads (metastasizes), the via the lymphatic system or via the blood stream. Hence why the PET Scan, that procedure is primarily being used to see if this has spread via the blood stream.Obviously were are hoping this scan looks as clean a fresh sheet of canvas.

So thats the nut-shell version of where I am at. In an hour I will call the scheduling desk at the hospital and schedule the PET Scan, and we'll go from there.

Please tell me you have more exciting happenings go on in your lives today!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 341 - Thursday 'What & When'

Thanks for all of your comments, emails, etc. with well wishes & prayers. Very much appreciated!
It is Thursday, finally. My appointment is at 3pm this afternoon, a bit less than 5 hours away. This appointment is just the consultation with the surgical oncologist, so I won't learn anything today about whether the melanoma has spread or whether the plastic surgeon got it all a couple of weeks ago. But I will learn the 'what & when' re: the next procedure so today I will know how much longer I need to be in the dark regarding what the reality is here.

I'll share what I learn today with my next post.

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 340 - Lilly, Miija and Solomon

While I wait for tomorrow surgical oncologist appointment, allow me to share a few more photos from my recent trip to Albuquerque.

Saturday morning we hit the golf course. Left to right my brother in law Peter and uncle in law Ray debate what b.s. the 'dry-heat' excuse for enjoying desert living really is…

Up top there you see one of the SEVEN sand traps I found myself in!

This is a cactus, behind the cactus is my golf ball. I couldn't rescue my golf ball without risk to needing a rescue squad to rescue me from the cactus, so I left that ball in New Mexico…

The primary reason we went to Albuquerque was to attend the National Fiery Foods & BBQ Show. Here is a poor picture of just how jam-packed the place was. Well over 150 vendors promoted their hot sauce, salsa, BBQ sauce and related products to HotHeads such as me…

I collect hot sauce so I had to bring back some new additions to the collection, here they are…

Yes, here is my favorite; someone has liquefied bacon into Hot Sauce form; genius!...

As we were unwinding before bed that night a baby scorpion helped himself to a stroll across the kitchen floor.
At this point I started to reconsider my decision to take the air-bed on the floor in the den…

Sunday we went to the Unser Racing Museum. Indy car racing is cool, not my favorite, but cool enough to check out one of the most famous Indy car racing families museum. There was a trophy room, if I tried to count them all I would still be standing there counting…

Luck was with us as a Gun Show happened to be going on the same weekend nearby. This 50-caliber machine gun caught my eye.
The price tag did not however so I left it right there on the table…

Monday before we headed back to the airport to come home we checked out The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, very cool exhibits. No, these are not the original atomic bombs dropped to end WWII… these scale-sized replicas of Fat Man and Little Boy were neat, we need an equivalent effort to eradicating cancer that went into making nuclear power reality...

And allow me to finish with cat pictures; top to bottom say HI to Lilly, Miija and Solomon

Albuquerque was a cool city, a great time; I will return to enjoy it again someday!

Where have you ventured off to and returned home pleasantly surprised at how cool the destination was?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 339 - Ready Or Not; Choose

 I've decided the best place for my mind right now is a place of preparation. I don't approach my work life unprepared, I don't approach my home life unprepared, I succeed at both because I prepare.

Thursday will not get here quick enough, but it will come. And I will be prepared for it, for the procedure(s) to follow and for the decisions that must then be made. I'm already prepared for how I'll make the most important decision:

When backed into a corner we must Surrender Life, or, Fight To Live… ready or not; choose.

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 336-338: Beast Is Back, Rd. 3

Back on March 1st I shared that I needed to have spots on my forehead and right eyebrow removed. Inspired by my brush with melanoma in situ (very very early start of melanoma) on my right face cheek last September I decided to exercise some precaution and have this forehead spot looked at & removed this month. You can see the spot in the picture above taken last fall; there I was modeling the yoga towel I won from Jody and as well you can see the bandage on my cheek from having that spot removed.

On March 3rd I had the forehead and right eyebrow procedure done; I also had the surgeon fix part of the scar on my cheek that didn't heal well due to an uncooperative hair follicle. Don't I look like a mess...

When they removed the spots they send them off for biopsy to rule in or out whether any cancer cells are present; standard procedure. At the end of last week I received those results...

All is good on the right eyebrow, just sun damage that caused that spot.

All is not good on the forehead spot, positive for melanoma.

Since then I have not been myself. To be honest I've been a mixed bag of pissed off, despondent and absent minded. I've always had this natural-ability to shelve or back-burner my own problems when it comes time to attend to lifes 'normal' activities. Thus when it was time this weekend to go to the gym with my wife, or take the boys to a movie, or go out to dinner with my in laws; I just parked the fog that is my mind and participated as if nothing was wrong, nothing to be concerned about was present.

I've also always had this natural-ability to be brutally-real with myself when I understand or recognize the gravity of what is before me. And I am so very anxious to exercise that ability. But the problem is I don't know the gravity as I sit here & type this a.m.... and I wont know for a couple of weeks yet.

This Thursday I go for a consultation with a surgical oncologist for a procedure that will determine (I hope) whether the melanoma has had sufficient time to settle into one or more lymph nodes or beyond. Thursday is a long way away.

Until I know the true gravity I will do my best to back-burner the anxiety & emotional baggage I've found myself uncharacteristically picking up. Until I know I'll do my best to focus on being healthy, on being there for all who depend on me, on bringing fun to each day. Until I know...

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 334-335: We Deserve a PBR

For most of life PBR meant Pabst Blue Ribbon, good stuff if flavor is not key to your beer drinking experience. Oh, and NO, I did NOT pose for that photo!

Today & in recent years PBR is a popular acronym in the business world including I.T. (Information Technology) the industry I work in.

P-Plan, reduce time/cost associated with determining how to build what we've been tasked to build; e.g. physical vs virtual platforms, online vs nearline data storage, blah blah more i.t. speak

B-Build, increase throughput/capacity to deliver more builds; e.g. standard vs custom, pull vs push processes/methodologies, blah blah more flavor of the day speak

R-Run, reduce time/cost associated with keeping what we've built running; e.g. preventative vs predictive maintenance, system redundancies & availability, blah blah more captain obvious speak

This week I spent 3 hours at work immersed in PBR. During this time my mind wandered & began to ponder how PBR correlates to my health mission. Here is what I came up with...

P-Plan, Reduce my trigger-finger mindset to fire off excuses and increase my knowledge; learn best practices to lose weight & keep it off. In other words you can only do what you plan to do, don't leave success to chance or accident!

B-Build, Create a schedule & menu consisting of a variety of exercise & foods to build a healthier me. In other words create a healthy lifestyle to live!

R-Run, Consistently, one day at a time, Do what I know I am supposed to do; don't just want it, don't just plan it, DO IT! In other words maintain the plan which I have created changing the approach as needed to prevent slipping back into the days of excuses and complacency.

Hey, you deserve a PBR, now go get it!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 333 - I'm Gett'n It In w/ Andrea

Looking forward to this evening. The weather will be decent, 50F after work, swweeettttt!

And with the time change to DST it will now be light out late enough for me to return to Lake Andrea for some outdoor cardio. Folks that is HUGE news to me, worthy of an Oh Yeah!

Lake Andrea is where I notched many a NSV last summer & fall. I am excited about my weekly return to dance with the challenge that is Lake Andrea's 2.25 loop.

What opportunities do the longer & warming days bring you in your effort to get & stay healthy?

A quick picture duo from my Albuquerque...
Tex-NewMex Platter...

Beef Rib Platter...

No mystery why my time away saw me gain ten spins on the scale!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 332 - Soccer, Spring & Surprise

Yesterday I got in 2 miles on the elliptical and kept the calories to around 1700; fairly even split as far as nutrients go. So a decent effort getting this mission re-saddled and on the path again. Could be better, and that is what today's goal is.

How was your Monday eating & exercise?

After my wife & I exercised yesterday (she did treadmill while I did elliptical) we caught our breath and headed out to attend my daughters first soccer game of the spring season. Bbrrrr, spring my @$$... at 34F there was no spring to be found. She is a senior, so this is the last year we have to endure soccer starting before spring officially gets here and before Momma Nature gives us a break. Everyone was dressed for ice fishing, as pictured above (my wife in red coat center-right), even the players. Sadly, we lost 1-3, which made the game colder.
Speaking of my wife she has a birthday coming up in May. Plenty of time yet to get the birthday party planned and gift figured out, but I've known for a while what she was going to get got her fortieth. She's been drooling over these ever since they came out a few of years ago and were pumped up in the Transformers movies. This weekend I figured it'd be a neater surprise to give it to her a couple of months early...

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 320-331: Hello & Happy Pi Day

Hello friends... Happy Pi Day!

You do know that today is Pi Day right? Well if you do not, you are likely not a math geek like me. Even if you do know it is Pi Day you may not be a math geek. Math geek or not we can all enjoy Pi Day.

Today is March 14th, or 3.14, thus Pi Day; get it? When I was a kid in school we didn't do anything special for this day. Today it receives attention in school and is used to unwind a bit. Pie served in the cafeteria, something frowned upon in many of today's school cafeterias. Teachers and students alike will bring in pie for the class to share. Some teachers will piggy-back on the topic and actually teach a bit about this uniquely strange number. As well they'll salute Albert Einstein's birthday which happens to also be Pi Day.

Yes I have found my way back to my blog after nearly two weeks away. Thanks to all for the emails, posts, tweets and carrier-pigeon asking where I've been and wishing me well in my absence. I am here, amongst the living. As noted in my last post my schedule has altered a bit and I've had trouble finding time to blog. I also took some time off for a long weekend away to Albuquerque and then another weekend away to Milwaukee.

Now, while I have found my way back here I cannot in all honesty say that I am not lost. I fear and feel that I've gone off-road re: prioritizing my health. Over the past few weeks while time has been tighter and while away for fun in the southwest I've performed horribly. Finding time for exercise has been sporadic at best. And daily I've found reason to enjoy too much of the bad stuff.

It is alarming to see the inequity in effort required lose weight and gain weight. We can eat well and work out and lose 1, 2, or even 3 pounds a week on average when we are vigorously disciplined to our mission. When we are vigorously disciplined in the other direction, we can gain 5-10 pounds a week.

Speaking for myself a ten pound gain is what I've seen happen here over the past few weeks. Much of that I know occurred over my four days in Albuquerque as that was allot of fun wrapped around some ugly displays of gluttony. I have a handful of pictures to share from that trip and as well some other stuff going on in my world lately, but I will hold them to share later this week. Instead let me stay on the health & weight loss topic here.

While I am disappointed I've allowed my schedule change and vacationing to get the best of me I am not discouraged. I've learned allot over the past near eleven months and know just what I need to do. The only thing preventing me from re-losing that 10 pounds is myself; not knowledge of facilities. I know what to do and have all I need to do it.

Tonight I have a date with the elliptical and I'll be stoked and fueled for that workout as I know just what I'm eating today and when. Looking forward to it! Oh, and we do have a pie in the house for the kids to enjoy with their Pi Day celebration. But that pie is not in my plans for today, instead I'll celebrate Pi Day by recalling some Pi Trivia.


If you have a circle the size of the known universe and calculated it's circumference to do so for that number to be accurate to within the radius of a single proton, how many decimal places of pi would need to be used?

Again - Happy Pi Day!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 315-319: Here Is March

Good Morning Folks, Welcome to March!

Thank You to those of you whom have sent me emails or Twitter DM's the past day or so inquiring about my absence. I am alive and staying healthy; all is well. Over the past couple of weeks my morning schedule has become increasingly compressed and the bit of time I usually write up a post & hit the blogs has been narrowing. It bothers me more that I have not been able to get to your blogs more so than I've not had time to write a post.

So I will need to get more creative with wringing out some blogging time it seems. That in itself may be my main goal for March. Yes, it is March. Spring is oh-so near, or so says the calendar. Hopefully the weather will equal the calendar's expectations. I am hungry to get out there for some outdoor cardio. Last December I was toughing out the frigid temps for some outdoor cardio and I was rewarded by catching a cold twice. So since then I have limited my cardio to the elliptical.

March, what do I have planned for March...
  • A weigh-in, been about a month since I did that, thinking next week I'll give the scale a visit.
  • I'll be attending the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show this coming weekend. That'll pose some dietary challenge which I will handle just fine. As well I'll be golfing a couple of rounds for exercise.
  • My son has advanced to state regionals in Wrestling, not something we expected. I will miss regionals as they are this weekend but fingers crossed he advances on to the state finals the following weekend in Champaign; or are they in Springfield? We'll figure that out when he advances.
  • I am going back to the plastic surgeon to get more of my face sliced off. Recall my recent brush with melanoma, I have another spot on my forehead I've been advised to kick to the curb as a precaution so kick it I shall. Damn!, I just this minute remembered last September I was told to park the weight lifting for a week or two while the incision healed; $#&T!!!!!.
  • Spring Break is the last week of March, I'll take a day or two off that week for yet to be determined fun.

So what do you have planned for March?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!