Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Strange relief

I need to post this now ...

Found out today more about my injuries, and the possible cause of my osteoporosis: hypercalciuria.

My PMD's office informed me that my 24 hour urine calcium was high, as was my creatinine clearance, and other labs so far are ok.

I will make an appointment with my endocrinologist to get more advice and to see where this is going.
Looking through treatments, looks like dietary (not necessarily more calcium, but regulated.  Cut down on alcohol, caffeine, oxalates, animal proteins ... will have to investigate further).  And possible treatment with thiazides +/- bisphosphonates.

Whatever it is ... right now I feel good.  It's like this strange relief that there is an answer to all of this, why I got stress fractures (osteoporosis) and why I have osteoporosis (hypercalciuria).

More to come.

Moving forward

Because of my injury, I've been away from the gym or any form of exercise for 11 weeks.

I have been off of my crutch, boot, and cane for a couple of days now ... well at least 90% of the last couple of days.  My left foot still feels week, with pain on the top of the foot on plantar flexion against floor resistance, standing on tiptoes ... but my limp on walking has gotten less.

I will be going back to the gym today, and will combine the advice of both Coach Jay Stephenson and my orthopedic podiatrist -- plan:

-walking warm up on the treadmill.  really light.
-sitting upper body exercises on the machines, moderate weight of 3 sets of 10.  Plan chest and tris today, watching my form, because of my osteoporosis
-few stretches post workout

Big difference from my running routines back when I was 100% healthy (looking back at my original training schedule, I was supposed to do a 16 mile long run this week)... but the thing is, I wasn't 100% healthy.

We'll see how it goes.  Not doing a 16 mile long run this week, or anytime soon ... but all things considered -- stress fractures, osteoporosis, crutches, scooter, cane, boot -- this is definitely a step forward.

Just got back from the gym, and it was a good start ... actually a RE-start.  Again.

Treadmill -- 2-2.5mph x 5 minutes (swallow that pride man!).  left foot felt a little weak, slight limp.
Fixed machines:
shoulder press 50lbs 2 sets of 10 (almost to failure)
chest press 50lbs 3 sets of 10 felt good
triceps press 50lbs 3 sets of 10 felt easy
pec fly 55lbs 3 sets of 10 almost to failure at end of 3rd set

Again, swallow my pride!  You gotta start again somewhere.  Better than these months I've been injured.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

(My) Progress

Walt Disney's vision of EPCOT / Progress City

A couple of days ago I stepped into the shower for the first time in 9 weeks.  NO! I don't mean I showered for the first time in 9 weeks, I meant this was the first time I stepped into shower.  I stepped ... I didn't crawl, kneel, shimmy, or otherwise contort my injured body into the shower, like I had to do the past couple of months because of my tibial stress fracture.

I'm progressing quite well with full weight bearing, seeing improvement every day over the past few days.  I'm able to stand on my injured leg now, wasn't able to do that last week.  Still tough to tiptoe, I feel it on the top of my left foot, but my ankle feels fine.  And yesterday my family and I had a normal outing in public for the first time in months ... dinner and a stroll in the mall.  I had my boot on and still hobbled with a cane.  But it feels good.

And at home -- I can walk around without a cane, still limping a bit, but so much better.  I can make coffee, carry my cup, put things away in the dishwasher, and move from sink to stove without doing some weird heel-toe rotation on one foot.  No crutches, no scooter!

Today I had a follow up with my awesome orthopedic podiatrist.  He said xrays looked good ... and there's good news:

-over the next 1-2 weeks I can transition to just wearing sneakers, and transition off the cane
-I can start upper body exercises while sitting
-when I get into sneakers with full unassisted weight bearing, I can start aerobic walking! (yes, not quite the long distance running I did, and what I wanted to do ... but at this point still awesome).
-In one month I can start riding a bike, and start doing weight training while standing
-In the meantime I can use a theraband for calf exercises

As to returning to running ... he did NOT say never.  He thinks it's possible to get back into running, but we would have to wait to see what the endocrinology workup shows.  If I'm cleared, then maybe I can do elliptical and running, but he said to wait.

That's fine.   At this point I can wait.  I just don't want to get injured again.  I want to stay healthy.
I had a bunch more tests done recently by my endocrinologist:
-MRI of the pituitary
-24 urine calcium
-24 urine creatinine clearance
-xyrine N-telopeptide
-serum osteocalcin
-serum histamine
-serum tryptase
-serum b-HCG

Disclaimer: at no point is any information on my blog a substitute for your own health professional's clinical judgement and workup for your own health condition.

So ... hopefully full-on exercise (without running) in one month.  That will take me to about mid-March, and well, I'm still registered for the Allstate NYC 13.1 Marathon at the end of March, and I can technically walk it ... but now I might just play it safe and DNS it.

It's ok.

This is progress.

credit to

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Different Kind of Marathon

Not exactly the kind of marathon I wanted to participate in ... but today AMC is showing The Walking Dead Marathon, for those who want to catch up before tomorrow's season premiere.

I'm not really a regular fan of the show, I guess I've only seen the first season.

But in any case, today I'm actually wlking like the walking dead! I'm limping around the house on my boot, WITHOUT my crutches! Went to work today too with some crutch assistance, but definitely walking more.

I see my orthopedist in four days, hopefully the boot comes off then. When I'm barefoot, I feel a little pressure/pain on the top lateral part of my left foot, and I still can't lift up on tippie toe on my left foot. But it feels much better and stronger in the boot. At least I can weight bear now.

Walking. Like a zombie. Back from the dead. Now the marathon. The Walking Dead Marathon.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Walking ...

It is 8 weeks today since I've been on crutches ... actually NINE MONTHS since my initial injury, on and off and on again crutches.  In any event, as per my orthopedic's schedule, I should be transitioning to full weight bearing by now.  And today, I see progress!

I'm walking around, more like shuffling around and limping around, my bedroom, with my boot off.  And it is good. I feel a little pressure in my ankle, and the top of my foot a little, and my doc said to expect that.  Funny again, how not too long ago my goal was measured in miles and speed, and today it's measured in steps.

Yes, I'm still in the middle of workup as to why all of this is happening, why a 39 year old male should have severe osteoporosis ... but my goal is more immediate and more selfish --

I don't want to be on crutches when I go on our next Disney Cruise and on our next Walt Disney World vacation!

Been there, done that.  And it was fine, but it would be nice not to have to drag my crutches around anymore, and no more scooter!

Monday, February 4, 2013


Everytime I've gone on vacation, the planner in me makes a nice long checklist of things to do (before, during, and after the vacation), and a checklist of things to pack.  the trick is to think of every single thing (eg, not just cell phone, but cell charger)

I've always wanted to do this ... make the ULTIMATE checklist  (disclaimer, relevant for my family and me only, for either a Walt Disney World Vacation or Disney Cruise, may or may not include things that YOU need). other disclaimer, I'm a guy.

**Feel free to PRINT or REPOST, I only ask that you include a credit or link to my blog, ** THANKS!

decide on destination --
decide on dates --
take that vacation from work --
get call coverage --

transportation (e.g. limo) to airport
reserve airport parking (if driving)
roundtrip flight
update frequent flyer
limo from airport to hotel
reserve airport Hyatt hotel? if need precruise
plan when to pre-pay FLtours -- need to call
print vouchers for transportation
hotel reservation / DVC
limo to cruise port and back if you need
port adventures / excursions
kids activities
cruise adult dinner reservations
spa reservations
limo to airport
or car rental
reserve booster seat
reserve stroller
consider trip insurance
look at driving directions
preload addresses in phone GPS
download movies / podcasts / music to phone/ipad
request refrigerator and medical sharps container at both hotel and cruise if need
transfer disney rewards to your card
tickets to parks / annual pass vouchers
friends' or companions' tickets if you reserved for them
magic bands
tables in wonderland
parking passes if applicable
Landry card for restaurant rewards
AAA card for hotel and other discounts
conference / CME registration if applicable
business cards
subscribe and plan touring plans! (optimize, etc)
email someone itinerary
get confirmation numbers of all above
get DVC member number
DVC membership card
get castaway club member numbers
make cruise dining requests -- servers etc.
pay your bills!
put gel packs in freezer for medications
get a haircut
plan fastpasses
cruise documents
cruise luggage tags
cruise signature page
cruise health information page
contact info / cell / of people you are meeting there
check in cruise
get port arrival time
reserve youth activities
make day by day itinerary
download cruise or park app for every member of party

let tenants, business partners, employees, etc know who's covering
finish all hospital ESAS / charts

ask someone to check on house

empty the camera
empty your phone pics for more room
hold the mail (and remember to resume when you come back)
empty other mailboxes, PO box etc.
set vacation email response
light timers, replace light bulbs
set alarm
timer sprinklers, lockdown sprinkler controls
banking -- deposit checks, get money

multi-sectioned folder
print paperwork for above stuff (limo, flight, limo, hotel, limo, cruise, limo, may include limo vouchers. or car rental)
cruise signature page
tickets / annual pass, including friends' you reserved
magic bands
conference registration etc
passports -- count every single member of family
other ID/driver's license
disney visa rewards card
two credit cards
ATM card
cash for tips, etc.
coins for exact change tolls if you're renting a car
your contact information on a piece of paper in every piece of luggage

clothes outfit for every single day for every person, and lay them out:
socks -- formal and fitness
t shirts
collared shirts
long sleeve sweatshirts / hoodie
extra clothes
swim goggles
formal wear (for cruise dinners, etc):
nice pants
nice shirts
long sleeved button down shirt
jacket and tie if necessary
nice socks
nice shoes
everyday shoes
fitness shoes
flip flops
water shoes
shades case
wrinkle free spray
fitness wear:
dryfit shirts
fitness socks
fitness belt / pouch
pirate shirt

(note: this list does not include women's items, dresses, women's toiletries, etc)

registration / waivers for race
permission for others to pick up bib
Proof of time
head to toe:
hat / sweat band
shades case
long sleeve
watch charger
running underwear
sweat pants
running socks
running shoes
compression socks
compression calf sleeves
Wipes, individual
Chocolate milk
Do grocery there to get running fuel if need: water, breakfast items, gatorade
Rain gear
Throwaways for race
garbage bags for race
extra small cinch backpack to carry expo gear
remember runner tracking
laundry detergent if need

cell phone
cell phone charger
cell phone case
car cellphone charger
extra roaming phone
extra roaming phone charger
ipad charger
power strip
international outlet adaptors
camera case
camera charger
camera battery
extra headphones (kids want to listen in flight)

baggage padlocks
baggage straps
luggage tags
place magical express luggage tags if applicable
remember disney cruise line luggage tags and when to place
remember day bag for cruise embarkation
beach bag with plastic bags

make sure you either have room in your suitcase for souvenirs or bring an extra bag!
bubbe wrap wineskin to bring bottles home

shaving cream
shampoo if you like your own
soap if you like your own
facial wash
hair gel
woman's stuff
anti-wrinkle spray
small scissors  -- for tags, wristbands, etc.
small air freshener spray
colored clips to identify hotel towels

antiseptic spray / neosporin
prescriptions for proof
syringes if need
cooler for medicine if need
freeze packs for medicine
alcohol swabs
anbesol or orajel -- also good for bug bites
sleep mask
cold meds
sore throat lozenge

cool off wipes
sunblock stick / lips etc
gallon zip lock bags
soda cups to fill up on deck
something to autograph for cruise, plus candy for CMs
USB drive
arcade card
snacks for the plane

KIDS STUFF: (will vary, etc diapers if kids)
kids carryon with toys
plastic bags
something to have autographed

gifts for hosts (pasalubong)

final shopping for anything on this list you need!
online checkin for flight and print boarding passes
get money / cash, for tips, for limo

remember to freeze gel packs for medications
check in flight online
text limo to airport
check into hotels onlin

LAST MINUTE STUFF: just before you leave, make sure you have again in carryon:
wallet / ids / credit cards / insurance cards
cash for tips
passports second check
folder with paperwork
final sweep
medications with prescriptions and doctor's name/#
medication travel pack with frozen gel packs
medical syringes if need

redeem annual pass vouchers
get tables in wonderland card
touring plans if parks
whatever special spot picture you always get, etc
rem to get souvenirs for others who wanted some (maybe it's someone's birthday, etc.)
Disney VISA picture
place DCL luggage tags before you get on ship if cruise
confirm ride/limo back

resume and pick up mail
share those pics!
download photopass pics
plan next trip


**Feel free to PRINT or REPOST, I only ask that you include a credit or link to myself and my blog, Patrick Alcasid of ** THANKS!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Extreme Disney Vacation Planning

I woke up this morning at 5:30am for the 14th day in the row without a day off to go to work (weekends too) ... and still have another 7 days without a day off (my choice, my practice ... I'm not complaining) all this plus I'm on Week 2 of my partial weight-bearing on my boot and crutches (hopefully full weight bearing by the end of this week) ... and Superbowl XLVII is today ... but the order of business this afternoon is



I admit it.  I am a planner.  You must have heard about those Type-A vacation planners ... yup I'm one of those, multiple spreadsheet-creating, every-hour-scheduling, multipocketed-folder-carrying, get-up-at-crack-of-dawn-to-get-good-reservations kind of planner.  Especially when it comes to Disney.  Walt Disney World has just gotten way too crowded, and there is just so much to do, and there is so much information available on the internet, you have to stay ahead of everyone else.  Lots of fun controlled craziness in planning.

(credit to

"Death of spontaneity?"  Well, I can't deny that some of the "stop and smell the roses" aspect of appreciating Disney's attention to detail has suffered, but proper planning can save you tons of time in line ... time that can be later spent relaxing.  My family and I have not waited in a significant line in a long time ... when we plan right.  In any event, the planning process itself is part of the joy of the vacation ... for me, anyway.

So let's get down to business.

Vacations we are planning for:
1. 5-night Western Caribbean Cruise on the Disney Wonder!
2. Walt Disney World vacation 2013
3. Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2014

The WDW Marathon Weekend is still about a year away, and completing that Goofy is still my goal (I'll walk it if I have to, given my current injuries), so that will be on the side burner for now.

The Disney Wonder
This will be our 5th Disney Cruise, and will put is into the Gold Castaway Club level, for what its worth.  I'm especially excited about this cruise, because it's 5 nights (we've done 2, 3, and 4 nights previously), and we booked a bunch of extras we haven't done before:

-Palo Brunch
-Palo Dinner
-Shore Excursion in Cozumel: Mayan Ruins and Discover Mexico

yes ... a cruise is first and foremost about relaxing, but I couldn't help but track down the Navigators (hour by hour schedule of the ships activities) for this trip.

So, I did a majority of the planning already for this cruise, I paid in full, (originally booked through Dreams Unlimited Travel, who I've worked with in the past, and have been great!  Thanks Merrie!), and booked usual -- limo to airport, flight, limo to hotel, limo to port, CRUISE!, limo back to hotel, limo to airport, flight back home.  I'm depressed already that it will be over.

So we'll just sit back and wait for our cruise documents and off we go.

2013 WDW Vacation
We've been going to Walt Disney World 1-3 times a year for over 20 years. I use a lot of resources, so for my own reference, here's what I can use:

Disney, to be honest not the best website, but good for Dining Reservations
Upromise, to use:
Expedia or Orbitz
Dreams Unlimited Travel
WDW Info -- truly the best overall unofficial disney vacation info site
DISboards -- truly the best overall unofficial disney forum
Touring Plans
Easy WDW
Evernote for my ultimate to-do list and packing list
Dis Unplugged podcast
WDW Today podcast
WDW Radio podcast

something new: My Disney Experience.  I haven't played around with it yet, but may be a useful part of Disney's Next Generation My Magic Plus in Theme Park / vacation interactivity, which will include controversial or not RFID tracking of your moves, purchases, etc.

(credit to

I tried making some dining reservations last night online, but the 6 month mark wasn't quite here yet.  (yes, I'm planning where to eat 6 months ahead of time).  Generally, the crowd calendars on Touring Plans and EasyWDW guide us on what park to go to ... then we plan our dining reservations around that.  We'll probably be getting Annual Passes this time around (because we plan on going multiple times in 12 months), which will qualify us to get the Tables in Wonderland card.

We definitely have our favorite restaurants, but we want to try new things each visit, here's a list of some new and old favorites we want to hit this time:

Monsieur Paul (used to be Bistro de Paris) -- listen to the famous Kevin Klose's review here.
Be Our Guest (in the new expanded Fantasyland) -- listen to the Dis Unplugged review here.
Citricos or Narcoosees
Le Cellier (mainly for the Unibroue beer they serve there)
Kona Cafe (I have yet to try the Tonga Toast)
Via Napoli
maybe Yachtsman Steakhouse

(credit to

(credit to Corey Martin)

I can't wait to eat!  I'll probably do another Walt Disney World Mini Beer Tour and Review as well, so keep an eye out for it.

Since we can't book the dinners yet, I'll look into flights today, and also look into Disney Vacation Club availability of the Contemporary Bay Lake Towers.

(credit to Disney)

So.  let's get down to business!