Fat Girl Wearing Thin

Life beyond the loss.

   Nov 08

Progress Report!

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update post on my physical health, so guess what?  Today is your unlucky LUCKY day!  Actually, I’ve been waiting to post about my health until I’ve had something good to report.  Recovery can be so incredibly slow, sometimes it feels like you’re not making any progress at all until one day you wake up, put on your jeans and find that HEY, today the zipper is going up while the swelling is going down!  Yay!!

Actually, more importantly than jeans fitting (I’m loving my yoga pants too much these days) is my stamina increasing.  This week I achieved a milestone and captured it on Instagram:


This is a photo of me wearing my giant Elton John-style sunglasses along with my hiking companions.  We just finished my longest walk/hike since surgery: 2.75 miles!  Brulee was particularly excited for me – can you tell? 

The best part?  Very little fatigue afterwards.  Translation:  no zonking out on the couch as soon as I walk back through the door.  Progress!! 

Here are a few more shots on the trail over the past week or so:



The above shot was taken earlier last week, before the rain from Hurricane Sandy sent the remaining leaves falling to the ground.  (By the way, if you’re on Instagram and like me to follow you, just leave your username in the comments section. If you’d like to follow me, my username is:  ellenbrennemanstudio)


All in all, I am happy to be feeling more like myself.  I still have to plan carefully, though.  I can’t seem to get to yoga class on the days that I hike; it’s simply too much.  I’m incorporating both back into my life, but alternating accordingly. 

Taking these long walks has been great for my mind as well as my health.  I think about new ideas for paintings, listen to music, and when I’m ready to focus on something else, I’ve been listening to Rob Lowe’s book, ‘Stories I Only Tell My Friends’.

Initially, I wasn’t really interested in this book. Despite the fact that he’s been around as long as I have, I just recently became a Rob Lowe fan thanks to Parks and Recreation.  The audiobook I wanted was checked out, so I grabbed this one instead.  I have to tell you, this book has been such a great read.  Narrated by Rob, he is a master storyteller, and he leaves no stone unturned.   Even if you aren’t a fan, I think you’d enjoy it.  I just finished it today and was sorry that it ended – a sure sign that you’re reading a great book!

My plans for the weekend are pretty much laid out for me.  I’ve been painting tiny three by three inch canvases and turning them into ornaments for Christmas by drilling a hole through the stretcher and stringing through ribbon.  I decided that I’m going to paint them until I no longer enjoy doing them; then that will be it.  I don’t know how some of these Etsy sellers can churn out identical wares over and over again.  I admire them, but I’d go mad working that way.  Anyway, this is the result of what my weekend will look like:

Anyone else have specific plans this weekend?  I hope you all have a good one!  See you back here next week Smile



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  1. teresa says:

    oooh, I do love those ornaments on the tree!!
    I never thought I’d be a Rob Lowe fan either. Started with The West Wing, but Parks sealed the deal. He’s truly funny and how can you not like someone who regularly makes fun of themselves and their “hype”. Sounds like a good companion for me on the elliptical.
    I’m SOOOOO happy you’re starting to really feel stronger. Whew!
    and I just noticed you have an art blog link.. gotta go check it out.

    • Ellen says:

      Someone very smart gave me the idea to do that 😉
      Parks and Rec is ‘literally’ one of my favorite shows! You’d love this book, I think. I have a lot of new found respect for Rob Lowe. He’s had quite a life, let me tell you!

  2. Munchberry says:

    Rob Lowe huh? OK I can envision listening to him. He has a lovely um… voice. I have not seen Parks and Recreation. Is it still on TV?

    The pic of you and your furry licky duo makes me smile widely.

    Zippity do! I am proud of you.

    I am also in love with me stretchies. Blarg.

    • Ellen says:

      Um, yeah….lovely voice. Mmm. LOL
      Parks and Rec is still on TV. Thursday nights. It quickly grows on you; he didn’t show up until season two , I think it was.

  3. Ahhhh…that photo of you and the pups is priceless!! Glad you’re recovery is nearly complete!

    I have never listened to a book before and I think it’s high time I tried it. In fact, I am taking a very long road trip next week and think it would be just the ticket. I am going to look for Rob’s book. Thanks for the recommendation :-)

    • Ellen says:

      It’s not every day that I am lucky enough to get these dogs coordinated enough to BE in a photo with me. This one makes me smile, though.
      You just might get hooked on listening to audio, Karen. It’s like being entertained by a play, in a way. And this would be a good book to start because Rob Lowe is a fantastic narrator.

  4. Lovin’ the pooch pics! Have a great weekend, too!

  5. NewMe says:

    Great news! I’m so happy for you!

    • Ellen says:

      I still have a ways to go in the strength department but all-in-all, I think I see light at the end of this long tunnel. Good to hear from you – I hope you are doing WELL!!

  6. vickie says:

    I set the elliptical aside as I eased back into yoga. Mostly so if I was having lower back issues, I knew what was causing it.

    Sure enough, one position in yoga triggered problems. But I knew cause immediately and was able to switch to putting my hands on my hips instead of over my head.

    Next week I will have been to all my yoga classes (new to me instructors) at least twice, will know I am okay, and will add elliptical back in slowly.

    And I do not do elliptical on my free weights or stations/circuit classes days ( T, Th, Sat) because that is lower back Russian Roulette.

    You are very smart to be slow and careful.

    How are your wrists and back doing? and I did not think about workout your hands get in walking dogs/leashes also.

    • Ellen says:

      Yes, Vickie – I do get a workout just walking the dogs. More than I ever thought I did before surgery. When they pull (which doesn’t happen very often – they do heel quite well) I have to maneuver my entire core to compensate when I pull back. It’s tricky. I never realized how much my body works together to make everyday things happen. This surgery has taught me alot about appreciating my body for what it is capable of.
      I’m SO glad that you are seeing marked progress. It’s been a long summer, hasn’t it?

  7. Light at the end of this very long tunnel makes me giddy! I’m very happy for you (and the pooches), Ellen!

  8. Beth says:

    You are so technilogical saavy…I don’t even know what instagram is! I too will be painting this weekend…nothing as talented as you though…just some kitchen cupboards. Figured I’d take advantage of this 60 degree weather and paint :) So glad to hear you are feeling better…I’m sure your dogs have missed your peppy self!

    • Ellen says:

      I hope your painting went well this weekend, Beth! For as nice as it was all weekend, it was miserable here today. I think our Indian Summer is over :(

  9. didi says:

    I love the tiny canvas ornaments. What a great idea. Now I want to run to the craft shop and pick up a few, so I can make some of my own.
    Still haven’t chosen a quote for mum’s Christmas gift. I’ve been looking through popular bible quotes, and nothing is calling to me. Hopefully I’ll get some inspiration soon.

    • Ellen says:

      You should get some, Didi. They are so much fun to paint, although I find myself wishing for more canvas space.
      Finding the right Bible quote can be next to impossible. There are SO many that can have special meaning. Good luck!

  10. Lynn Bonelli says:

    I know the road to recovery has seemed long but I love that it has given you such insight into taking pleasure in the “smaller” improvements as they come (although I know they aren’t necessarily small steps).

    As far as the book, I appreciate the recommendation as I am always looking for the ‘next’ book to read. I’ve loved Rob Lowe since The Outsiders…and yes, he’s GREAT in Parks and Rec!!

  11. Lynn Bonelli says:

    P.S. I’m following you on instagram as LynnBonelli. =)

    • Ellen says:

      Hey, I’m following you back, which is totally exciting because it’s like I get to follow you around on your road trips :) And YAY for someone else who watches Parks and Rec – ‘literally!’ lol

  12. Hanlie says:

    I’ve just started watching “Brothers and Sisters” and have to confess that I’m definitely falling for Rob Lowe a little bit…

    I’m so glad to hear you’re getting better!

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