About Cyndi

Attempting to cut the fat, skim the milk, crunch the rice cakes and do a little jogging in between!

Eight little bottles sitting on the shelf.

Dad became more and more frustrated with each extra day he had to stay in the hospital because of the second surgery. He was still in so much pain, couldn’t eat anything, and was extremely lonely. Depression had set in and it was not going to go away easily. Having my brother come to visit during Easter was a great blessing, as there were three days where Dad could focus on something other than his pain and misery.

He was able to go home after having spent a total of 19 days in the hospital. This day was a very happy one; he was practically vibrating with excitement and sat down in his chair in the living room as soon as we opened the front door. Turned on the hockey game, I believe! His discharge planning was simple enough – a home care aide would come every second day to start, to do his dressing changes and help him with anything else he needed help with. At this time, he was eating soft foods and drinking fluids well. He did not use his feeding tube, preferring to take in his nutrients the old-fashioned way – through the mouth.

It’s interesting how you don’t really know your true strength until it is tested. And then tested again. And again.

Dad’s esophagus closed up two weeks after returning home. He was unable to take in solid food, and then soft food, and finally fluids would not even find their way into his stomach. He refused to use his feeding tube and therefore was taking in nothing. Absolutely nothing. Every time he tried, he would throw it up as it would lodge in his esophagus. Picture not even being able to swallow your own saliva.

He wasted away for another two weeks, losing over ten pounds in the process. Finally, he was convinced to head back to the hospital, where they performed a ‘dilation’ and opened up his esophagus, as well as pushing fluids into his body over a period of eight hours. When he returned home, he felt great again. He was happy, hopeful, and ready to eat.

The next day his esophagus closed up again.

When I arrived that afternoon, he was as pale as a white sheet of paper. He was throwing up and was too weak to walk for longer than seconds at a time.

I urged him back to the hospital, where we waited over eight hours to have him admitted. Another push of fluids occurred; x-rays were taken; they deduced that the esophagus had been irritated in some way and was swollen. They released him after a breakfast of jello, coffee, and apple juice. He was hopeful that it was only swollen and that any swelling would go away eventually. He tried to be in good spirits but I could tell he was beginning to feel defeated, was frustrated with the health care system, and was very ready to give up and accept death.

You can only say so much to someone who has given up. I literally begged him to start using his feeding tube again. I asked him to think of a goal he could work towards. I asked him to think about how good he feels now so it would motivate him to make the effort to take care of himself on the days where he isn’t feeling good. What he didn’t perceive as nagging, he did retain.

I counted the bottles of Ensure Plus before I left. Eight. I took a step down on the ladder of self-respect. If he wasn’t going to make the effort, I would know about it. I would make the effort for him.

Insanity Month 2

Oh. My. Lord.

I have just begun week 2 of month 2 of Insanity. Follow that? Towards the end of the first month in the program, I was really starting to feel strong and healthy and fit. Man, I could even almost keep up with the group of insane people who were working out alongside Shaun T. How’s that for feeling accomplished, right? Am I right?

Then came a week of Core and Balance workouts, the recovery period between month 1 and month 2. I think I was beginning to like this period more than I should have, because when I started month 2 it felt like i’d run into a brick wall headfirst. What the hell, Shaun T?

This first week of month 2 really can be labelled as insane. I thought i’d never worked so hard when I started month 1, and now I kinda feel like i’d rather be back there than here. As I progress through each workout though, my muscles become accustomed to the torturous moves. In fact, i’m really loving the diamond jacks. They’re my favorite, if such can be the case with a workout regime. I was worried during recovery week because my left knee was giving me some trouble, but this pain has all but disappeared now.

I do still have my moments with the nutrition plan, like times where I forget there is one. But all in all, this has changed me both physically and mentally in a way nothing else has even come close to in my lifetime. As I was running bases in a slopitch game last evening, I could feel how improved my speed has become. I was not winded at all. I was not in any muscular pain you might feel during the first game of the season.

I’m so darn excited to try running again. I might try it out this weekend. Or I might be smart about it and wait a little longer until I finish the Insanity program. Either way, i’ve found an infused hope that my days of fitness are not even close to over. And i’ve Insanity to thank for that.


While I became excited that Dad would be heading home and recovering smoothly from his surgery, he was busy with physiotherapy and eating bland, processed food. On the day before he was scheduled to be released from the hospital, the medical team decided to remove the stitches from his chest – where they opened him up to perform the surgery.

As they began to remove the stitches, they noticed his wound re-opening. It hadn’t healed! After ten days, the wound still had not healed enough to have the stitches removed. The further they worked, the more noticeable it was that nothing was healing properly.

His surgery involved a lot of removing, moving around, and jostling of internal organs. My Dad is diabetic and the awareness was that though they knew it would take longer to heal because of this, they believed they had given his body enough time to do so. Not so.

He was rushed back into surgery and underwent another procedure. This also meant that he was going to be stuck there for another 10 to 12 days for recovery.

Easter was upon us. The long weekend loomed ahead for him, reminding him that he was alone, in a hospital, unable to spend the holiday with his family and friends.

He was so frustrated; with himself, his body, the hospital staff, his surgeon. It was just unreal how he had gone from being so happy and excited to head home, to sad and depressed and angry that he was still in the hospital.

Being hours away, I could only communicate via phone, and it felt like 10 years of my life would be taken from me during each call to him. There was nothing I could do, nothing I could say that would have possibly helped him into better spirits. So I called my brother. Not because I thought the situation was dire enough to call for it, but because I thought if Dad could just talk to him he might feel better.

My brother lives thousands of kilometres away.

After the call between Dad and Brother, Brother wound up booking a flight and staying near the hospital for three days. I still thank God he came; the effect it had on Dad was remarkable. He lit up; he was happy and talkative once more. Even though he was still feeling pretty miserable from the experience, we were able to joke and laugh and lighten the mood together. We spent a full day together with him on Easter weekend.

I can’t know exactly how much this helped him, but the phone call a few days later for an update brought an unexpected expression of gratitude out of him. I know he understands that it is difficult to be there for him when he’s so far away from us. And now I know that he appreciates our gestures so much that it is enough to bring him to tears.

You feel a strong emotion when you can do something for someone else; a feeling of pure, true, honest and unconditional love. All the better when it is reciprocated.

I Workout

While I was struggling with my tooth, I discontinued the Insanity workouts. To be truthful, I could possibly have done a few of them during the week I took off, but opted not to in order to stay on schedule as well as not feel like the entire left lower jaw had fallen off my face. Talk about heavy jowls.

I’ve gotten better though. So i’ve started the workouts once again.

They’re going fairly well, though I have to be sure to eat half a freezer of food each day in order to fuel myself through them. Don’t believe them when they say you can buy the program for only 130 bucks. You also have to purchase the following:

– a fitted workout bra to keep those things where they need to be,

– compression shorts or leggings so that you aren’t constantly pulling up your pants due to the excessive amounts of jumping and flailing in the air (oh. is that only me? nevermind then.),

– copious amounts of food,

– a heart rate monitor to ensure you don’t hit twice your maximum and end up with a car ride in an ambulance,

– copious amounts of food.

Forgetting (for the moment) about losing weight on this program, the first month is all about eating the food to have the energy to be able to perform the functons you need to perform each day. That means taking in enough fuel to get yourself to at least 8pm each night without passing out on the couch for a four hour nap. I’ve failed in this regard. Many, many times. Once you get that nutrition plan figured out, let me know. Some days I feel like it might be worth my while to become a hunter and hunt my own game. Nah. I don’t even want to picture myself with a rifle.

I’ll continue to throw my savings into keeping myself alive, I suppose.

All in the name of fitness, this is one great program to shock you into getting in shape. I really think my body doesn’t know what the hell is going on right now. I picture it twisting its back and looking at me like it wants to tell me off in the worst way.

"get lost"

Surgery and Recovery

Dad went in to his surgery feeling optimistic. He called me a few times since I couldn’t be there before his surgery, and he sounded good, like he was really hoping this was going to be the miracle he was waiting for. It was especially nice to hear the spirit back in his voice, to hear a few laughs and a couple of jokes being issued out as if there hadn’t been a dark period before this.

On the day of the surgery, I travelled up to ensure i’d be there when he got up to the observation unit. At 4pm I strode in, expecting he would be in his room after spending five hours in surgery. Not to be. It wasn’t until 7pm that they finally wheeled him into his room. By this time I was frantic with worry and my level of anger towards the hospital was escalating at a dangerous degree. It is extremely difficult to wait when you are really not a patient person.

Either way, he made it out of surgery and seemed to be in pretty good spirits. The next day as well as the following day were filled with making trips to the ice machine so that he could dip swabs into the ice cold water and wet his starving-for-fluid lips and mouth.

He was in a great amount of pain, worried that he might overdose on the pain killers they were administering to him, and was fevered to a degree that chilled my bones to see.

After I returned home, I kept up to date with current events by checking in with a family member who lives in the city. Things were going well, so well in fact that they were thinking of releasing him that coming Sunday. In an expected 12 day recovery period, they were going to send him home 3 days earlier than originally planned. This was great news! Everyone rejoiced! Jubilance broke out! I can’t even begin to express in words how happy I was that he was going home. And I have to say, he was pretty pumped about it himself.

A wonderful recovery! All is right with the world!