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June 24, 2011

IN THIS ISSUE


Welcome! Thirty-Five Years The Surgery Home Again, Home Again,
Jiggidy Jog

  Setback! Oh no! Newsletter
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Welcome

          

typing on computerThis edition of Dotti's Newsletter is well named because it is going to be all about Dotti. The reason being, Dotti's total hip replacement surgery this month has been our complete focus. It has disrupted our lives, and at the same time created hope for far better lives for both of us in the future.

I am going to share with you what it has been like so far, as viewed through my eyes. Such a narrative is by definition highly subjective, because there is nothing more dear to my heart than my lovely wife. Emotionally, I have been pulled down to the depths of worry and near despair, and pulled up high to soar with the eagles of joy.

If you would like to join me on this trip, please read on.

~~Al


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Thirty-Five Years
    By Al Coon, the world's luckiest man
      Written June 12th, the day before...


Last night Dotti took an Ambien to help her sleep and still she was up most of the night in terrible pain. The past few weeks have been a jumble of pain, misdirection and stumbling towards that light that appears in the tunnel, up ahead somewhere. Pain saps the joy out of life, like a high vacuum pump pulls the atoms out of a vacuum chamber. It is hard to smile when your brain is crying out that something terrible is going on in your body, something you can do nothing about.

Sandwiched in between what has been going on over the past months, with Dotti suffering pain and mental anguish over what is here already, and over what is to come tomorrow, we squeezed in a little celebration. June 10th marked the 35th anniversary of a much happier time, our wedding day. We celebrated by reliving memories, of our days on Midway Island, and the birth of our son LeRoy and many other things. The videos we watched showed two very young people starting out on an adventure. There were no thoughts of a day that would come when arthritis would destroy Dotti's hips. It was so wonderful then, that there was joy enough to spill over and wash our hearts anew today. We smiled and often said,"Oh, remember that? Wasn't it fun?" We laughed and hugged, and I must have thanked her at least a dozen times that day for being my wife. Thirty-five years have passed by, and still I can't believe how lucky I am to have such a wonderful woman sharing my life. Thank you Dotti!

Today, is the day before. "The sun'll come out tomorrow," Annie tells us. Unfortunately, we never know. Life is lived like driving on a curvy mountain road. You never know what lies around the bend until you get there. It may be a nice long clear stretch of road, a wide passing lane where you can get around those slow moving cars, and get back to a nice smooth trip. It may be just another curve ahead that you need to get around, or it might be a closed road due to an accident or landslide. You never know.

Even worse, on some days you know that something momentous will happen, but you have no idea if it will be wonderful, or too horrible to face. Tomorrow is such a day for me. The odds are stacked in our favor. Well over 90% of hip replacements go just fine. Great improvement, or even full recovery is likely. There is an 80% chance that loss of blood will be small enough to avoid any transfusions. (And even with a transfusion the odds of catching anything dangerous is less than 1 in 600,000.) They have procedures in place to avoid blood clots (a major concern with this surgery) and infections are attacked with antibiotics before they even get a chance to get started. Everything is in place to make it work well.

The problem with statistics, is the fact that they tell you nothing about an individual. If things should go horribly wrong, the statistics are still correct, and all the good ones outweigh your one bad one. But then, none of that matters. Statistics are merely a way of making you feel safe in the dark, as the lightening is striking and thunder slamming against your windows, and shaking the ground. Sure, you are PROBABLY going to be okay. And it is true, you probably are. So, you look at what probably will be a wonderful outcome and turn your mind completely off the other smaller likelihood. You lock it up inside your head somewhere, like a jack-in-the-box with a padlock, that only the god of Fate can unlock against your will.

Pool of Winds trail taken by Tom and Barb So, here I sit, with that lock in place, but the box making too much noise to completely ignore. I will search for happy things to dwell on to hide the noise. And the myriad of things to choose from is exceedingly large. I think of our first date, in September of 1974, when we climbed to the top of Multnomah Falls, and banging our heads together when we both tried to pick up something that fell to the floor of the car, and our laughing about it. Dotti and I climbing to the top of Hamilton Mountain on a foggy, rainy day. We found a little space by the trail, that was covered by trees to hold off the rain as we ate our lunch, and laughed together. Or the time we walked up to the Pool of Winds with our friends Tom and Barb.

We have always laughed a lot together. I call Dotti "my fun girl" because she is the most fun person to be around, whom I have ever known.

Dotti on Midway Island 1977
Picture of Dotti
I took in 1977
The September day in 1974, when we first met, I was standing watch on the quarterdeck of the USS Ozbourn, and the most beautiful girl I had ever seen came across the gangway, flashing a dimpled smile that melted my heart into a little puddle at my feet. Things too wonderful to put into words, and things too private to share, all flood my mind. Life with Dotti has been beyond my wildest dreams, and has filled my life to the brim, and flowed over the top. It is this wonderful aspect of life that makes facing, even the smallest chance of something taking it all away, too horrible to consider, even for a moment. So, I will not.

Therefore, bright thoughts only. Dotti is going to have a new hip tomorrow. It is an early surgery, so they will probably have her up and walking on it by tomorrow afternoon, as incredible as that may seem. Her pain level will be less than it is today in a very short time, and she will be home before the weekend comes. She will have clear pathways to walk with her walker, and I will be at her beck and call to makes sure all her needs are met, including her daily injection, and her daily exercises. In just a few weeks she will be walking with a cane, and then all on her own. No more screaming out when she gets into the car, or into bed. Annie is right, the sun indeed will come out tomorrow, and shine a joyous light on a better life for my lovely wife and me.

I have had so much joy, living with an angel, with so many days feeling so good that I was certain I had already died and gone to heaven, it has alas made me greedy for 35 more, or better yet, 135 more years with my lady. I admit it, when it comes to Dotti, I am very selfish.

It seems secondary really, at this point, but Dotti has been doing very, very well on her eating, and was down to 224 the last few days on the scale. With all the pain and the running around getting ready for her surgery, she has not lost track of her eating goals. Once the surgery is behind us, we will only be starting to focus on healthy eating, exercise, and creating the best possible health within our power to create.

All negativity be gone! I believe that one year from today, both Dotti and I will be healthier and trimmer than we have been for years. It is not a pipe dream, or wish, but a goal with steps in place to bring us to it. We have to overcome the whims of Fate to be sure, but if the two upcoming surgeries go well, and the path is clear, we will be walking to better health and happier times ahead. Next summer I expect a hike to the top of Mount St. Helens. I expect a DWLZ VI conference, and a lot of other events that our new lifestyle will be bringing us, and hopefully you as well! Maybe next year we can see you face to face, you never know! If we have a conference, it will be to the east somewhere, and that should open the door to many more people who have never had a chance to participate.

If this feels a bit like rambling, that is because, well, it probably is. My emotions are running very high at this moment. But it is not pointless rambling.

I have learned something by living through this terrible situation. If you let things run on their own, entropy will always increase. Chaos is the natural state of things, unless you use your mind to plan for something else, and then act to make it happen. The old Forestry motto, placed in the mouth of the lovable "Smokey the Bear" that "only you can prevent forest fires" is just as true for other areas in life.

Only YOU can prevent unhealthy living in your life, and only YOU can create that blush of health in your cheek, that low blood pressure, and strong cardiovascular system. Only YOU can prevent heart attack and diabetes.

Yes, only YOU, but YOU CAN DO IT! YOU have the power to do it. YOU are special and you have all it takes to make it happen.

And while only YOU can do these things, at the same time, it is not only you who is operating on your behalf. There are friends, there are organizations, doctors, and a plethora of other sources of help to assist you once YOU decide that you are going to do it.

Dotti's Weight Loss Zone was built originally to help YOU, believe it or not. It is not perfect, but it was built with the hope that your Journey could be assisted in some small way by its existence. Dotti loves people, and she has a heart that sings with joy when others do well. She wants you to do well! And so do I!

So, tomorrow is the big day, and beyond that lies a bright new future for the most wonderful woman I have ever known, and her extremely lucky husband of now over 35 years! Grab on to the magic of the moment and create your own bright future too!

Wishing you the very best,
-Al


By the way, for any who might like to send cards, you can mail them to:
Dotti Coon
PO Box 48175
Spokane, WA 99228



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Enjoy a cocktail and still
stay on Program

Dotti with Baja Bobs



The Surgery

Written the evening of the surgery of June 13.

This is an update on Dotti and her hip replacement surgery. I thought I would start with a picture of Dotti taken a couple of weeks ago, out in the yard enjoying her flowers. You can't see the flowers but you can see the lovely smile Dotti shared because she was enjoying the sunny day and being outside.

Dotti has been trying her best to keep a positive outlook throughout, but the pain has been so bad, this has not always been easy. Getting up from a lying or sitting position has been an ordeal of great pain. She moved slow, and she had to stop part way up, hunched over, for several seconds waiting for the stabbing pain to subside enough to continue moving to a full upright position. She looked light-headed and I worried about her getting dizzy and perhaps falling, on her worst days. Getting out of the car has been a set routine, where I lift her legs for her to rotate them out, or listening to her cry out when she tried to lift them herself. Again, standing up was a two step process of her reaching a 3/4 upright position and stopping to wait for the pain to pass enough to continue, and then moving to grabbing her walker or cane in order to proceed. Despite having to take pain meds and suffering every single time she had to get up, Dotti did her best to keep a positive attitude, and that smile you see in the picture above was more common than I could have ever hoped for. Dotti has been tortured by pain, but she has refused to give in, and refused to let it drain her happiness from her life.

The evening of June 12th, neither Dotti nor I got very much sleep. I did go to bed and I slept for a couple of hours before Dotti came to bed to try and get some sleep. We had the alarm set for 4 am, because we were to be at the hospital by 5:30 am June 13, and didn't want to be late. For the past 5 days, Dotti could not take aspirin or ibuprofen, and her other pain meds were doing no good at all. She tossed and turned crying out, and neither of us could sleep the rest of the night, but we did hug and I tried to comfort her as best I could. It was a sad time, but we shared it together, and that helped.

At the hospital we didn't have to wait long, before they called Dotti back into the prep room. Our son LeRoy showed up just as we did, meeting us in the parking lot, and our dear friends Jim and Tammy arrived shortly thereafter. We all got to come back to the prep room and talk with Dotti for a few minutes, and then the others left so Dotti and I could have a few minutes together as the staff went through the final preparations before they wheeled her away to the operating room.

Shortly after 7:30am I watched them wheel Dotti away again. I have watched her go like that more than a half a dozen times over the years, and I hate it more each time it happens. Dotti and I watched a movie the night before called Twelve O'clock High and in that movie the commanding officer went into a dazed state at the end, where he was disconnected from the world until the mission was over and the planes returned. I felt a lot like that for the next hour and a half or so as the surgery went on. I am sure I wasn't much company for the others as my mind kept returning to my Dotti.

No sleep had left me tired and I drank a lot of coffee while I was waiting. My reserves were low anyway after all these months of watching Dotti suffer. I knew I was tense, but I didn't realize how tense I was until I was called back into the conference room to get the report from the doctor on how things went. The assistant showed me back into the little room and left. It was the very same little room where Dotti and I had sat when Mom had fallen and broken her hip and was being operated on, and we waited for this same doctor to come and tell us how that had gone.

That was running through my mind as I sat there all alone, and my head was in my hands and I found my imagination running wild with what I might hear. Not knowing if all would be well, or some complication might have been encountered, or even worse, I felt at the mercy of the universe, the same universe that decided it didn't need dinosaurs any longer, etc. I flashed back to the time a doctor came out and said that he couldn't finish a procedure on Dotti because there was too much scar tissue and he had to leave things as they were. And another time that they could not finished up a gallbladder surgery for her, because there was a stone blocking things that they couldn't clear, and a tube was left sticking out of her abdomen for 3 months before things could be set right. Things go wrong sometimes.

Go to:

The Knife

for the rest of the surgery day story.



"Enjoying Weight Loss"

The weight loss battle is over 90% mental. If your attitude is right, and you are completely on board in your mind with your weight loss program, you will succeed. We often find that it is our own inner self that is at work trying to trip us up. This is why hypnosis can be a tremendous help. It has helped me, both to quit smoking, and to start back on my way to goal with a strong will to succeed.

I use Dr. Roberta’s Enjoying Weight Loss Hypnosis CDs as one of my "tools" on my lifelong Journey to a healthier me. They continue to be an irreplaceable part of my Journey back to goal.

The Hypnosis Network is a reliable organization with nothing but top line hypnotists working in the program. Each of them has years of training and experience, and is an expert in his particular area. I can recommend them to you with no reservations, because you will be getting top of the line service when you work with The Hypnosis Network. Their guarantee is rock solid, and you will be free from worry about the product. Either it works, or you get your money back. They are honorable, and trustworthy, professional in every way. I absolutely would not recommend them if they didn't have my full trust!

Click Here to go directly to their site and find out more about the Hypnosis Network, and how you can order your CDs.

I have found that when I use the CDs regularly, I always do well. It is only when I don't listen to them for too long that I find myself slipping into old patterns. For me, if I use them, I succeed, every time.

If you would like to read more on how they helped me please visit our Enjoying Weight Loss Review Page.

~~Dotti   



DOTTI'S FOOD SCORE

Great Deal on a Great App!


As you may have noticed we have already updated over 200 of our restaurants, and we are hard at work doing the rest of them, making Dotti's Food Score better and better as time goes by.
Dotti's Food Score iPhone App
Available for the Android, iPhone,
  iPad and the iPod Touch!
Thumbs Up!

We will continue to work hard and keep Dotti's Food Score current! Remember, this is not a "throw away app," like so many of them are, where you buy it, try it, and then forget it! You will be using it over and over again.

When you go out to eat, you can know what to order, and how much you are eating by checking Dotti's Food Score, and let it help you make the right choices. With nearly 600 restaurants to choose from you will almost always find, your exact restaurant, or if not, one that is very similar to it, to give you help in making an estimate about menu items and their nutritional value.






Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy Jog



June 17, 2011

Getting dressed on Tuesday morning was a big deal. You can see how happy she was to be "feeling human" again. The occupational therapist had just finished going over the daily things you have to do (brushing teeth, washing up, getting dressed, etc.), and part of that was letting Dotti get out of that incredibly indecent, leave-your-dignity-at-the-door gown they shove patients into in the hospital, and slipping on a tee shirt and sweat pants.

Only moments after the Occupational Therapist left, the friendly Physical Therapist arrived. He made the whole exercise thing fun. He was positive and helpful and pulled Dotti's chair around behind him as he followed Dotti all the way "around the block" on her floor. I later paced off the distance to check it, and it was around 200 feet. That was in addition to walking to the door from her chair and back again.

Dotti going 'around the block' the first time. Dotti's color was good throughout the walk, and she was not light headed at all. Her pain was very low, with the only real twinges occurring when she stepped wrong and got her balance off a bit, a couple of times. When that happened, she stopped, backed up, and did it again. All the pain was gone immediately. She was sweating a bit at the end, and when she got back to her room she took, a little nap.

They were worried about her blood pressure and her red cell count, because there had been some blood loss during the surgery. Dotti called me and told me that her blood pressure had fallen again. But then they ran it again, and it was back up a bit. (Sometimes those readings vary by how the test is run, more than what the actual pressure is. And that may have been the actual cause of the one low reading.) They did blood work on Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, and the nurses felt that the results indicated that she might need a transfusion.

Wednesday, I arrived very excited, a little before 8 am. I was planning on grabbing my insulated coffee cup and running down to the cafeteria to fill it up, as I had been doing during our time at the hospital. However, there was a sign on the door of Dotti's room that said CAM, and the door was closed. I had seen that sign on another door down the hall the day before and figured they were taking x-rays or something. I asked a nurse what the sign meant and she said CAM stood for Cognitive Assessment Monitoring.

After dealing with Mom's mental issues I was very familiar with the term cognitive and apparently the hospital was checking to see what issues were being caused by general anesthesia in the orthopedic surgery unit. I never saw any testing done but it might have been going on overnight, or they may have been observing behavior on the sly without letting the patients know. The door had been closed for privacy for Dotti's roommate, because she was getting dressed. It is incredible how much the attitude is improved by getting out of those gowns.

The morning was a busy one, and the time scooted by in a hurry.

...

Rain was pouring down as we came to the front door of the hospital...

Go to:

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy Jog

for the rest of Dotti's coming home story.
(You will be surprised what she did...I surely was!)




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Come Join the Fun!  Online Friendships are real friendships 

Do you want some extra support during your Journey? Would you like to have a place you can call "home," where you can be yourself? Our Message Board is just the place.  It's home to all our Zonie friends who share their Journey experiences and are always willing and ready to offer support, laughs, friendship and Hugs! ~ 24/7.  Our DWLZ Message Board is at:  http://www.dwlz2.com/forum/.  Don't forget to register if you haven't already done so.  



Setback! Oh no!

Father's Day, Sunday Morning, Dotti woke up feeling very positive. We ran through most of our morning routine, meds and shots, she did her sponge bath and we decided to wash her hair in the kitchen sink. So, Dotti set off walking down the hall from our bedroom to the kitchen, and about halfway down the hall, on one of her normal, nothing out of the ordinary steps, POP!

I was standing behind her about 4 feet and I heard it. It sounded a lot like her hip used to sound before the surgery. It wasn't a "rifle shot" sort of noise, but it was impossible to miss. And suddenly her hip hurt right where the surgery had been done. Oh no!

Emotionally, both of us have depleted reserves. We have just about had all we can take, after months of suffering with Dotti's crippling hip pain, worrying through her surgery and hoping nothing more will go wrong. Then POP!

Go to:

Father's Day Setback

for the rest of the Father's Day scare story.




Software You Can Use! — And Now Available Online!

A Note Weight Commander

The Weight Commander is an awesome program for your Journey. I highly recommend it to all those who are on a Journey of their own. It is a wonderful program to track your progress on any weight loss program you are using. You can read My Review of the Weight Commander or go straight to the source and check out this great software by following this link to Weight Commander. He has many tips and ideas throughout his program, which will help you to be successful on your Journey.

And for those who don't feel comfortable downloading software, or who cringe when Windows gives them another unnecessary warning about running perfectly safe software, Michael has created a wonderful online version of Weight Commander, where you can always access your information with privacy, with no worry about trying to transfer it from computer to computer when you switch. You can of course still get the software version (which continues to work very well, even on my Windows Vista computer), but the online version of Weight Commander is a wonderful new option! You make the choice, but you win either way. Smile






DWLZ Cookbooks One and Two

Have you ordered your DWLZ Cookbooks yet? These cookbooks are filled with recipes that are Zonies' favorites, dishes that are delicious but on program, with nutritional information listed. These are two books in one package: DWLZ Cookbooks Volumes One and Two. The recipes are easy to make and don't use hard-to-find items. They are together in one PDF file, viewable in your free Acrobat Reader (Version 5 and higher). These also make wonderful gifts.



DWLZ Website Updates

Keeping Dotti's Weight Loss Zone current is a full time job and then some.

DWLZ will be updating all the restaurants and food values on the webpage, iPhone App, Android App, to the new PointsPlus values. We will continue to provide the old Point values, along with the new PP values. I want to thank you for your patience with us as this is a huge undertaking.

We are now done re-calculating, reformatting and uploading 137 restaurants and I have 94 ready to format and upload as I type this.  We are moving right along with only four of us working on the restaurants. You can see the list of restaurants that have been recalculated and reformatted for the PointsPlus AND the old Points values on the left side of the restaurant list (in a box). 

Anytime you would like to find my latest updates you can find them at these links:

The DWLZ Website News & Updates forum—


US restaurants updates are on my Restaurants TOC page—


Canadian restaurants updates are on my Canadian
Restaurants TOC page at—




"The quality of your fuel determines the quality of your body."
~~Anonymous



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And please don't forget to come and visit DWLZ!   Open 24 hours!

If you are not already a regular visitor, it is time for you to come and make yourself at home at my web page, where you will find lots of tips on losing weight, and help in picking out good things to eat at your favorite restaurants, while still remaining on program. We have motivation, success stories, and much more. It is a lot like Disneyland: you'll have lots of fun, and you could never see it all in just one day! However, unlike Disneyland, Dotti's [ http://www.dwlz.com ] is open 24 hours a day, every day.


Goodbye

Another visit is coming to a close ~ how fast the time goes when you are having a great time. Until our next visit, always keep in mind you are never alone on this Journey.  We are all here with you, right beside you, rooting you on.

Take care until next time…

Hugs! Dotti   



Copyright and Disclaimer


Copyright © DWLZ, Inc.—2011, all rights reserved. This document may be reproduced freely as long as it is always reproduced in its entirety, including this copyright message, and the disclaimer below, and as long as it is always distributed free of charge.

Disclaimer—This newsletter is not meant to be a substitute for any professional advice, guidance, or counseling. We are not doctors. Any information contained in this email reflects our own opinions and experiences. It is not intended in any way to serve as or take the place of medical advice from a physician.

*Whenever possible, I calculate ALL my Points on my Offline Points Calculator in the Half Points Mode, which rounds UP to the nearest Half Point. This keeps my site consistent. All point values in black bold are the new PointsPlus values, while all Point values in red bold are the old Point values.

Note: Points® is a registered trademark of Weight Watchers International, Inc. The Points® values displayed are not intended in any way to show an endorsement or sponsorship of any product or organization by Weight Watchers International, Inc.





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