Sunday, December 28, 2008

Update from Chicago

Hello from the Windy (Snowy, Rainy, Floody) City!

it is so nice to be home with my family in the Chicago area. I have missed them so much; I haven't been home since August. My parents are both doing well, and my brothers are so fun to hang out with. We share lots of laughs, enjoy deep discussion, and sing as much as possible.

Today, the bros and I went to one of those indoor water parks. I had never attended one before - I couldn't quite wrap my head around the concept. Nevertheless, we chose one of the moderately priced ones (there are a surprising number of these places in the midwest), and head out for an adventure.

What a great place! Waterslides, lazy river, hot tubs, pools, kids' area, basketball pool, and more. I hadn't been to a water park in, gosh, at least 8 years (I think my last one was in Tiberias, Israel). I also didn't know what to expect with my back, but we had a blast!! I wasn't in any pain, felt strong and young, and enjoyed the playfulness of it all.

More adventures to come - will update again soon. Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season :)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

Wishing you all a Happy and Bright Chanukah!

To learn more about Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, you can visit Judaism 101 or Wikipedia.

Jenny Update

Well, I weighed in again today, even though I just was there on Thursday. It wasn't a full week, but there was a still a loss!

- 0.6 lbs

for a total of

- 16.2 lbs down.

Isn't that amazing?

So, here's the hard part - I am traveling home to Chicago for the next week. Travel is always so tough, and being around family is even more difficult. I have gotten lots of meals to bring with me on the trip, and I booked a room that has a microwave and fridge. I hope that I am setting the right things in motion so that I can continue along this successful path.

Any words of wisdom? How do you stick with your goals, especially when the going gets tough?

Friday, December 19, 2008

One Year Since My Surgery!!

Today is the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY since my spinal fusion surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

One year?!?!?!?

I never thought I would ever get better, let alone have surgery, let alone recover so well from it. I was looking back at my blog post from the day before the surgery, and I see the fear and the hope that I felt.

On the left is an x-ray that I found online - it pretty much shows what I had done (though I think that mine was one level lower: L5-S1).

So, what's changed over the past year, since the surgery? Here's what I am celebrating:

  1. I never thought I would dance again, and I have now danced on many occasions - including a recent jaunt to Webster Hall (a dance club here in NYC). This was my BIGGEST WISH!
  2. I never thought I would be in the right frame of mind to lose weight, and I have lost more than 15 pounds so far.
  3. I never imagined that I would walk without a cane, and now I can even jog!
  4. I could no longer envision a life without chronic pain, and now I am 95% without pain of any kind!
  5. I didn't think I would be able to walk farther than 2 blocks without pain, and now I can walk at least 2 miles before I feel sore.
  6. I didn't think I would be able to stand for an entire Shabbat worship service (I learned to take many breaks), and now I can confidently stand the whole time!
  7. I thought I would have to have my groceries delivered from now on - but now, I can carry them up the stairs myself!!
  8. I figured that I would feel tired, depressed, and OLD from now on, but I finally feel young, vibrant, energetic, and ALIVE!!!

Thanks for celebrating with me - I couldn't have gotten through it all without your support and love. Here's to another good year!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jenny Weigh-In #8

Well, folks, as you may recall, I gained weight as of my last weigh-in. It was a hard thing to deal with, and I have tried to not give myself a hard time about it.

The situation was going to get even more challenging over the past week, since I had to travel to Florida for a meeting. Being away seems to always bring temptation to overeat, and I really didn't want to fall into that trap.

So, I thought ahead about the trip, and brought along enough Jenny meals for the three days away. I wound up eating a few of them, as well as a few meals at the conference, but I felt in control. I didn't go crazy with the eating, but I didn't deny myself, either.

I weighed-in this morning (I couldn't go on Tuesday), and I didn't quite know what to expect. Lo and behold, I was down:

3.5 lbs

for a grand total of:

15.6 lbs down!!!

I can't believe how this past week went!

I am so excited to keep going, and to really feel the joy of this success. Thanks for your support!

Pampering Day

Got good news at my weigh-in this morning (willl update y'all later today), so I am going to reward myself with a pampering day. I booked an appointment for a facial (with scalp massage upgrade), and a special mani/pedi deal that they are offering this month.

Will write more later!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some more old photos

In high school, I had two best friends: Jessica (my best friend to this day, who lives in Phoenix, and you hear about her all the time), and Lauren. We were inseparable! We did all sorts of theatre and music activities in school together, as well as ran the youth group at my synagogue. Being the fabulous gals we were, we had to dress up and be silly as often as possible! (These first two pics are from 1994)

Do you not LOVE these hats??
And can you believe how TAN I am here? I was lifeguarding that summer (which I did for three years during high school), and the whole SPF thing hadn't really happened yet. Thus, we passed around bottles of tanning oil and SPF 4 products, and we were so proud of our tans. Ah, those were the days!

This photo is from college - that's me on the left, then my college boyfriend, then my roommate, and a friend of hers. The pic is taken in our dormroom, during our first year of college. Yes, those are indeed dead roses hanging upside down above the doorway. WE thought that they looked cool, but OTHERS were a bit freaked out by them :)

By the way, could my hair BE any bigger?!?!?! (This picture, by the way, is from 1995)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jenny Weigh-In #7

Well, it wasn't such a good weigh-in today. I am

+ 1.4

for a total loss of


It's still not too bad, right? I am trying not to get too upset about it. It was a difficult week, food-wise, for me. I had a hard time with PMS cravings, and I really wanted CHEESE, like, all the time. So, this upcoming week, I am going to go back to week one's meal plan, and try to re-focus. I am going to be out of town for the weekend (at an Adult Jewish Learning conference), and I made sure to get meals that travel well. Hopefully, being away won't mean being off-plan.

Here's to a better week ahead.....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I've got a crush (-ed toe) on you!

Well, folks, I had a little accident in the bathroom the other day.

No, not what you are thinking.

Rather, I injured my toe quite badly. I couldn't believe how much a little toe could hurt - it turned dark purple, and I couldn't walk on it.

Because of the back situation, I found very quickly that limping was not good for me. So, I decided to go to the ER and see if I fractured anything. The doctors asked what happened, and I explained: A HUGE, bulk bottle of pantene conditioner dropped directly onto my toe.

However, the doctor told me my story was pretty lame, so I asked Lindsay to come up with another one. The better story, courtesy of Lindsay?

"Better story, eh? Hmm....let's were hunting elk in the middle of the night through a dense, snow covered forest. While setting up your bow and arrow, ready to strike a huge beast, you were suddenly attacked by a rogue emu, who had absolutely no business being in a dense, snow covered forest in the middle of the night. The emu ran up to you, looked you straight in the eyes, and stomped on your foot, breaking your toe. Then he ran off laughing wildly. And he made you miss the awesome shot to kill the elk. Damn him!"

Yeah, I like that one!
It turns out that my toe isn't fractured, rather it is a "crush injury." I need to keep it buddy taped to the toe next to it, and wear one of those special shoes for about a week.
At least it wasn't worse :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jenny Weigh-In #6

Okay, okay, okay - are you ready? Keep in mind that this past week was Thanksgiving, and lots of time off, and yet, and yet.....

- 2.0 lbs

for a total of

-13.8 lbs

Oh my goodness! Almost 14 pounds lost! I don't know what to say. I told my "counselor" type person at Jenny Craig that they should give special awards to people who continue to lose weight during the holidays. I wish I could get, like, a sticker or something :)

How was your weekend?? Did you accomplish anything that you are proud of??

Monday, December 1, 2008

Commemorate World AIDS Day

From "The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource" -

Leadership is the theme for World AIDS Day 2007 and 2008, promoted with the campaigning slogan, "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise."

Leadership encourages leaders at all levels to stop AIDS. Building on the 2006 theme of accountability, leadership highlights the discrepancy between the commitments that have been made to halt the spread of AIDS, and actions taken to follow them through. Leadership empowers everyone -- individuals, organisations, governments -- to lead in the response to AIDS.

In 2007, people around the world were encouraged to take the lead to stop AIDS. Campaigns took the shape of marches, leadership discussions, public awareness events and pledges from leaders. These events all helped to put leadership in the spotlight.

People have offered their leadership -- now it is time to deliver. Promises must be kept, and people must feel empowered to act.

Why is 2008 important?

2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Since 1988, the face and response to AIDS has greatly changed. While many of these changes are positive, this anniversary offers us an opportunity to highlight how much more still needs to be done.

For example:

Leaders in most countries from around the world now acknowledge the threat of AIDS, and many have committed to do something about it. As of 2007, nearly all countries have national policies on HIV. However, despite these policies, most have not been fully implemented and many lack funding allocations.

While treatment for HIV and AIDS has improved and become more widespread since 1988, many still do not have access to it -- in 2007 only 31% of those in low- to middle-income countries who need treatment received it.

Despite HIV awareness now reaching nearly all areas of the globe, infection rates are still happening 2.7 times faster than the increase in number of people receiving treatment.
While the number of countries protecting people living with HIV continue to increase, one third of countries still lack legal protections and stigma and discrimination continues to be a major threat to universal access.

More broadly, real action on HIV and AIDS and human rights remains lacking. Legal barriers to HIV services still exist for groups such as women, adolescents, sex workers, people who use drugs, and men having sex with men, and programmatic responses promoting HIV
related human rights have yet to be prioritised.

World AIDS Day began in 1988 when health ministers from around the world met and agreed on the concept of the day as an opportunity for all of us to come together to demonstrate the importance of AIDS and show solidarity for the cause. In 2008, this underlining principle of solidarity and awareness remains the same.

We have only two years to go for "the goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention programmes, treatment, care and support by 2010" [2006 Political Declaration on AIDS].
To achieve this goal, leadership and action is needed now. Governments must deliver on the promises they have made. Communities must encourage leadership of its members. Individuals must feel empowered to access treatment, to know their rights and take action against stigma and discrimination, and to know and use methods of prevention against receiving and transmitting HIV.

Now, more than ever is the time to lead -- empower -- deliver.

Brief History

World AIDS Day was first declared by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations General Assembly (Resolution 43/15) in 1988. Since then, it has progressively become one of the most successful "international days" for raising awareness on a global issue.
Past themes:
1988 -- Communication
1989 -- Youth
1990 -- Women and AIDS
1991 -- Sharing the Challenge
1992 -- Community Commitment
1993 -- Act
1994 -- AIDS and the Family
1995 -- Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities
1996 -- One World, One Hope
1997 -- Children Living in a World with AIDS
1998 -- Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign with Young People
1999 -- Listen, Learn, Live: World AIDS Campaign with Children and Young People
2000 -- AIDS: Men make a difference
2001 -- I care. Do you?
2002 -- Stigma and Discrimination
2003 -- Stigma and Discrimination
2004 -- Women, Girls, and HIV and AIDS
2005 -- Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise
2006 -- Accountability -- Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise
2007 -- Leadership -- Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise
2008 -- Leadership -- Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise

About the World AIDS Campaign

The first year-long World AIDS Campaign was launched by UNAIDS in 1997. The objective of the 'Campaign' was to substantially extend the impact of World AIDS Day by involving more partners and translate increased global awareness of AIDS into a more sustainable programmatic response.

The World AIDS Campaign became an independent organisation in 2004 in order to strengthen and enhance collaboration amongst various national and constituency efforts.

"Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise" is the World AIDS Campaign's overarching theme from 2005 through 2010. The World AIDS Campaign supports, strengthens and connects campaigns that hold leaders accountable for their promises on HIV and AIDS.

The World AIDS Campaign Support Team is based in Amsterdam and Cape Town.

An index of major governmental agreements over the past seven years can be found at

So, my friends, what can you do? The US Department of Health and Human Services suggests the following action steps:

There are many ways you can take action in response to HIV/AIDS:

- get tested for HIV
- practice safe methods to prevent HIV
- decide not to engage in high risk behaviors
- talk about HIV prevention with family, friends, and colleagues
- provide support to people living with HIV/AIDS
- get involved with or host an event for World AIDS Day in your community

Maybe, one day, AIDS will be a thing of the past!