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exercises for someone with health issues...?

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Old 03-04-2013, 02:10 PM   #1
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Default exercises for someone with health issues...?

i really really need to lose about 85 more pounds. and i'm not gonna get there without exercising... but i have issues exercising.

cardio = complicated by tachycardia. gym machines shut themselves off, and i feel like my heart's gonna explode.

weight lifting and yoga = extreme back pain due to scoliosis. when i try to bend my body or lift weight, my back hurts like holy ****in ****.

simply walking = pain due to weak joints and messed up legs. i have fallen arches and knee issues that i'm not quite sure of what they are. when i walk, my right ankle hurts, and my left knee makes weird clicking noises, and letting it go on long enough causes more pain. if i continue walking, the arches of my feet start to hurt. and by the time i've walked a measly 1/8th of a mile, i can barely stand without extreme pain.

please, i really need help. the only exercise ive been getting for years is riding my bike to the library and back (4 miles total) but it takes me about an hour to do those 4 miles, and when i'm done my legs feel like jelly and my heart is thumping and i can barely breathe, and the whole way back i'm (and half the way there) i have to stop to catch my breath and slow my heartrate. the way there i'll stop like 4 times, but that way back is probably closer to 10+ times.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:59 PM   #2
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Gotta walk before you can run, right? If even walking is an issue, then you need to go even more gentle for now.

Maybe you can look into very gentle yoga and stretching exercises? Yin yoga is mostly seated and very gentle. It won't directly help you lose weight - but it could be a good foundation for getting stronger/healthier for more activity later. If you have access to a pool, water exercise is a great option when you have pain/mobility issues.

That said - you do not have to exercise to lose weight. Exercise is good for you but not necessary for weight loss. You can create the necessary caloric deficit for weight loss through food choices alone - calorie counting can be really helpful for this. Focus on your diet first. You may not be able to do certain things physically right now, but you can absolutely control what you eat.

If you focus on your diet first, and work on strengthening/healing your body with very gentle movement, you'll find it easier to engage in more physical exercise down the road.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:12 PM   #3
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Gotta walk before you can run, right? If even walking is an issue, then you need to go even more gentle for now.

Maybe you can look into very gentle yoga and stretching exercises? Yin yoga is mostly seated and very gentle. It won't directly help you lose weight - but it could be a good foundation for getting stronger/healthier for more activity later. If you have access to a pool, water exercise is a great option when you have pain/mobility issues.

That said - you do not have to exercise to lose weight. Exercise is good for you but not necessary for weight loss. You can create the necessary caloric deficit for weight loss through food choices alone - calorie counting can be really helpful for this. Focus on your diet first. You may not be able to do certain things physically right now, but you can absolutely control what you eat.

If you focus on your diet first, and work on strengthening/healing your body with very gentle movement, you'll find it easier to engage in more physical exercise down the road.
i set alarms for exercise, but usually i'm in the middle of something like washing the dishes or about to go out for a smoke, and then later on at night i'll realize i forgot to exercise.

there's no way i can get to my goal weight with just calorie counting... i need to get to 105.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:42 PM   #4
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Why do you say there's no way you can get to 105? Weight loss is a mathematical equation. Burn more than you take in, and you lose weight. Calorie counting is just a tool that you can use to be aware of how much you're taking in. You can educate yourself with online resources to learn how much on average you burn just by living (google BMR calculators).

You don't need exercise to lose weight, but it's another tool. It sounded from your first post like it wasn't the most appropriate tool right now. Regardless, you'll have to pick strategies and tools that work with your life right now, and then you have to actually follow through with doing them. No matter your obstacles, though, you can absolutely lose weight - you just have to be persistent and dedicated to seeing it through. Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:53 PM   #5
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Why do you say there's no way you can get to 105? Weight loss is a mathematical equation. Burn more than you take in, and you lose weight. Calorie counting is just a tool that you can use to be aware of how much you're taking in. You can educate yourself with online resources to learn how much on average you burn just by living (google BMR calculators).

You don't need exercise to lose weight, but it's another tool. It sounded from your first post like it wasn't the most appropriate tool right now. Regardless, you'll have to pick strategies and tools that work with your life right now, and then you have to actually follow through with doing them. No matter your obstacles, though, you can absolutely lose weight - you just have to be persistent and dedicated to seeing it through. Good luck!
105 just seems so unattainable... and without toning exercises i will get flabby loose hanging skin folds... unless i'm wrong bout that and it's just my mind being paranoid... but i truly am terrified. i wanna claw my skin off daily because of my stretch marks too.
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:57 AM   #6
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You can lose weight without exercise. In fact, even an hour of cardio a day wont help you with fat loss as much as calorie reduction will! In terms of fat loss, exercise is most helpful with dietary adherence but not much else.

If you want to lose weight, create a caloric deficit by eating less. Learn how to count calories. Know what you are eating and how much of it--every day.

I'm going to leave you with a few quotes from Lyle McDonald and a link to his article if you're interested in the science behind it:

"Frankly, the results are pretty dismal; you don’t even get to a one pound fat loss per week until you reach 6 days/week of an hour of fairly challenging exercise every day. Certainly the folks who think that brisk walking for 30 minutes a few times per week is going to have a major impact on much of anything without a complete overhaul in diet are incorrect; the impact is simply negligible." ...

"But the simple fact is that, for the average untrained individual, realistic amounts of activity are unlikely to have massive direct impacts on either body weight or body fat; the caloric expenditure simply isn’t significant enough to impact on anything. As well, changes in diet have the potential to make a much greater contribution to the creation of a caloric deficit; removing 500 or even 1000 calories per day from the diet can usually be achieved much more readily than adding the same amount of activity. At least in certain populations."
- Lyle McDonald, Exercise and Weight/Fat Loss: Part 1

Bottom line: Count your calories! Reduce your overall intake and create a caloric deficit to lose weight!

Even if you don't want to believe Lyle, you can just check my stats! I followed a calorie counting approach to go from 125 in high school to 110. I was in competitive swimming and swam for two to three hours a day (five days a week) in high school. But I ate anything I wanted, often a lot of junk foods. Therefore, my caloric expenditure from swimming was negated and I held extra fat! When I got to college, I did a complete dietary over-hall that took me a year to build new habits. I learned how to weigh and measure my foods, read nutrition labels, cook and steam whole foods, and most importantly, calorie count. Through diet changes alone I was able to get down to 110. Changing your diet and eating less is the single most effective way to lose weight.

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Old 03-06-2013, 08:10 AM   #7
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Are you able to swim? I don't have your issues, but have lots of joint pain, back pain, hip issues. I am the youngest one at the YMCA kickin' it with the old ladies doing water aerobics and I LOVE it. FEELS GREAT! And the water resistance gives you a better workout, increasing cardio and strength.

I am not able to swim laps and such, but this is simple and a great place to start!
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:19 AM   #8
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Are you able to swim? I don't have your issues, but have lots of joint pain, back pain, hip issues. I am the youngest one at the YMCA kickin' it with the old ladies doing water aerobics and I LOVE it. FEELS GREAT! And the water resistance gives you a better workout, increasing cardio and strength.

I am not able to swim laps and such, but this is simple and a great place to start!
I was going to suggest the same thing! I have a problem with my hip which prevents a lot of exercises, but I can really rock it in the pool. I have water weights, zoomer fins, snorkel and mask. and especially (!!!) just bought an underwater iPod and can water dance for hours and love it!!

Of course you wouldn't start out with all this extremely strenuous stuff, but you can just get in there and do what you are able.

It's a super exercise!
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:30 AM   #9
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i set alarms for exercise, but usually i'm in the middle of something like washing the dishes or about to go out for a smoke, and then later on at night i'll realize i forgot to exercise.

there's no way i can get to my goal weight with just calorie counting... i need to get to 105.
Did this not strike you as perhaps what might be giving you problems with your breathing and your heart? You are "in the middle of going out to smoke" and then forget to exercise??

First, visit your doctor and get some help with coming up with exercise that won't hurt you. Second, quit smoking. This is harming your health far more than no exercising. My guess is that once you quit smoking biking will get a lot easier.

It also sounds like you are afraid of losing weight because you think it will give you flabby skin, and you don't love your body already because of stretch marks. You aren't going to try to help a body that you hate. If you loved your body, you'd have the mindset of "What are things that I CAN do" (like quit smoking) instead of thinking of all things you can't do. While you are at your doctors you might want to ask for a referral to a therapist.

And if you don't have access to medical care for some reason, you can still quit smoking.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:37 AM   #10
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Good catch, seagirl. I agree completely about the smoking. That would definitely be the place to start, IMO.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:30 PM   #11
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Did this not strike you as perhaps what might be giving you problems with your breathing and your heart? You are "in the middle of going out to smoke" and then forget to exercise??

First, visit your doctor and get some help with coming up with exercise that won't hurt you. Second, quit smoking. This is harming your health far more than no exercising. My guess is that once you quit smoking biking will get a lot easier.

It also sounds like you are afraid of losing weight because you think it will give you flabby skin, and you don't love your body already because of stretch marks. You aren't going to try to help a body that you hate. If you loved your body, you'd have the mindset of "What are things that I CAN do" (like quit smoking) instead of thinking of all things you can't do. While you are at your doctors you might want to ask for a referral to a therapist.

And if you don't have access to medical care for some reason, you can still quit smoking.
ive been smoking for years and the heart problem came from anorexia and the heavy breathing only started when i gained weight. but i am working on quitting, usually i'll smoke a cigarette each hour, but currently i'm smoking a third each hour. pretty soon it will be down to a quarter.










and an update for everyone: i have no access to a pool, but i got DDR! it will be hard to do because i haven't done it in years, but i can start on beginner workout mode.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:13 PM   #12
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ive been smoking for years and the heart problem came from anorexia and the heavy breathing only started when i gained weight. but i am working on quitting, usually i'll smoke a cigarette each hour, but currently i'm smoking a third each hour. pretty soon it will be down to a quarter.

and an update for everyone: i have no access to a pool, but i got DDR! it will be hard to do because i haven't done it in years, but i can start on beginner workout mode.
I just quit smoking [again] on Feb. 10. I [first] started smoking when I was 17 and for ten years smoked between one and two packs a day. Quit for three years and then restarted for three years, and that set the tone for the next 15 years, which is why I just quit smoking again last month after smoking for 13 months ...

What's funny is that throughout all of that I've almost always been active! I've seriously weight trained and walked/did cardio and I can tell you for a fact that while you may think the smokes don't impact your wind and pulse, trust me, there is a world of difference! I've been an exercising smoker and kept up the same exercises when I quit and the difference in my performance was night and day.

I also have DJD with chronic pain throughout my spine, osteoarthritis in both knees, hip pain from a cam joint deformity, and am recovering from rotator cuff and tendon tears in both shoulders. The O/A and cam joint deformity started bothering me off and on about ten years ago, over the past two years (I'm 48 this month) things went downhill fast. I finally saw a doctor about my knees and started Synvisc every six months nearly a year ago (am I ever sorry I didn't start sooner but I have a major doctor phobia).

I was born with spinal defects: no curve in my neck (cervical kyphosis), too much in my lower back (lumbar hyperlordosis), and one of my lumbar vertebra is fused to my sacrum causing a height deviation in my hips and degenerative disc disease. To look at me I appear fine but on x-ray my back looks like a train derailment. Weight training actually helped my back pain over the years because it strengthened the muscles that support my spine and core but there were some exercises I simply couldn't do, and I had to be very careful with the amount of weight I was lifting as well as my form.

I'm only telling you this only because I want you to understand that I GET it. I understand what it is to be a smoker and what it is to live with chronic daily pain and impaired mobility. Depending on when I last had my Synvisc injections my knees may click or grind walking on level ground, and ALWAYS make a sound like walking on Rice Crispies when I go up stairs.

You need to do a few things:
1. Good shoes. If your sneakers are more than a year old, they're probably done. People with back problems generally wear their shoes out unevenly and faster, this will contribute to foot/knee/hip/back problems.

2. Doctors. I don't know your financial situation or if you're under a physician's care, but you need to see a cardiologist and have your tachycardia addressed to even be cleared for aerobic exercise. You also should see either a podiatrist or a good sports medicine doctor. With fallen arches you probably need special orthotics for your shoes which could go a long way to addressing hip/knee/foot/ankle pain. You also need to find out why your knees are clicking and hurt. If you're working on osteoarthritis there are several things that you could do, depending on your $$$ and insurance coverage (a good sports medicine doctor could address your knees and feet -- and in fact, spine problems as well -- while a podiatrist is a foot specialist only).

3. Quit smoking. Hang in there with the taper you're doing now and when you're down to between 6 and 10 a day, pick a date and quit. The first three days are the worst and after that you'll get hit with a brutal craving around day 7 or 8 and the nicotine monkey will be telling you that "you can just have one" yeah, don't listen. The worst part (once you get past the first week) is that cravings become sporadic and sneak up on you unexpectedly for the next two months, but they will be less and less frequent and increasingly easy to deal with. Generally speaking you will have virtually no cravings after six weeks.

There's nothing wrong with biking as exercise. After two years of being nearly bed bound (between recovering from shoulder procedures, pain and depression) that's where I started last month -- I'm near Philadelphia so walking outside hasn't been an option and I have the equipment here in my home (acquired it over the years). I sat myself down on my dusty stationary bike and pedaled for a whole 15 minutes while I felt like I was dying, but I built myself up and now I've added the elliptical trainer and use the bike as warm up. It's boring, I hate it, and the experience isn't pain free but I'm not getting any younger (I'm 48) and I know the only thing that might help the pain in my legs is losing weight and I seem to be firmly stuck at my current weight (I've been counting calories AND tracking my fat/protein/carb percentages and the scale hasn't moved for two weeks).

And the other thing you need, be patient with yourself. I know I have to keep reminding myself that it took years for me to get this way, it's not going to be fixed overnight.

Hang in there, girl! Keep up the good work with the cigs and good luck with DDR!
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:41 PM   #13
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I just quit smoking [again] on Feb. 10. I [first] started smoking when I was 17 and for ten years smoked between one and two packs a day. Quit for three years and then restarted for three years, and that set the tone for the next 15 years, which is why I just quit smoking again last month after smoking for 13 months ...

What's funny is that throughout all of that I've almost always been active! I've seriously weight trained and walked/did cardio and I can tell you for a fact that while you may think the smokes don't impact your wind and pulse, trust me, there is a world of difference! I've been an exercising smoker and kept up the same exercises when I quit and the difference in my performance was night and day.

I also have DJD with chronic pain throughout my spine, osteoarthritis in both knees, hip pain from a cam joint deformity, and am recovering from rotator cuff and tendon tears in both shoulders. The O/A and cam joint deformity started bothering me off and on about ten years ago, over the past two years (I'm 48 this month) things went downhill fast. I finally saw a doctor about my knees and started Synvisc every six months nearly a year ago (am I ever sorry I didn't start sooner but I have a major doctor phobia).

I was born with spinal defects: no curve in my neck (cervical kyphosis), too much in my lower back (lumbar hyperlordosis), and one of my lumbar vertebra is fused to my sacrum causing a height deviation in my hips and degenerative disc disease. To look at me I appear fine but on x-ray my back looks like a train derailment. Weight training actually helped my back pain over the years because it strengthened the muscles that support my spine and core but there were some exercises I simply couldn't do, and I had to be very careful with the amount of weight I was lifting as well as my form.

I'm only telling you this only because I want you to understand that I GET it. I understand what it is to be a smoker and what it is to live with chronic daily pain and impaired mobility. Depending on when I last had my Synvisc injections my knees may click or grind walking on level ground, and ALWAYS make a sound like walking on Rice Crispies when I go up stairs.

You need to do a few things:
1. Good shoes. If your sneakers are more than a year old, they're probably done. People with back problems generally wear their shoes out unevenly and faster, this will contribute to foot/knee/hip/back problems.

2. Doctors. I don't know your financial situation or if you're under a physician's care, but you need to see a cardiologist and have your tachycardia addressed to even be cleared for aerobic exercise. You also should see either a podiatrist or a good sports medicine doctor. With fallen arches you probably need special orthotics for your shoes which could go a long way to addressing hip/knee/foot/ankle pain. You also need to find out why your knees are clicking and hurt. If you're working on osteoarthritis there are several things that you could do, depending on your $$$ and insurance coverage (a good sports medicine doctor could address your knees and feet -- and in fact, spine problems as well -- while a podiatrist is a foot specialist only).

3. Quit smoking. Hang in there with the taper you're doing now and when you're down to between 6 and 10 a day, pick a date and quit. The first three days are the worst and after that you'll get hit with a brutal craving around day 7 or 8 and the nicotine monkey will be telling you that "you can just have one" yeah, don't listen. The worst part (once you get past the first week) is that cravings become sporadic and sneak up on you unexpectedly for the next two months, but they will be less and less frequent and increasingly easy to deal with. Generally speaking you will have virtually no cravings after six weeks.

There's nothing wrong with biking as exercise. After two years of being nearly bed bound (between recovering from shoulder procedures, pain and depression) that's where I started last month -- I'm near Philadelphia so walking outside hasn't been an option and I have the equipment here in my home (acquired it over the years). I sat myself down on my dusty stationary bike and pedaled for a whole 15 minutes while I felt like I was dying, but I built myself up and now I've added the elliptical trainer and use the bike as warm up. It's boring, I hate it, and the experience isn't pain free but I'm not getting any younger (I'm 48) and I know the only thing that might help the pain in my legs is losing weight and I seem to be firmly stuck at my current weight (I've been counting calories AND tracking my fat/protein/carb percentages and the scale hasn't moved for two weeks).

And the other thing you need, be patient with yourself. I know I have to keep reminding myself that it took years for me to get this way, it's not going to be fixed overnight.

Hang in there, girl! Keep up the good work with the cigs and good luck with DDR!
thank you for such a long reply!

i am so sorry you have so many problems. kinda gives me a glimpse into my future... if i'm falling apart at age 22, how will i be at 50? 60? will i even live to 70?

1. Good shoes.
i just switched from my worn-through cobby cuddlers to some athletic shoes. also i have orthotics, but not custom ones. i have no insurance or money so i just have the store ones.

2. Doctors.
i have no doctor, no insurance, no money, no transportation. i tried to get medicaid from social services, but because i'm on my grandmother's taxes i'm not eligible, but she can't AFFORD to take me off her taxes.

3. Quit smoking.
working on it as i said i am planning on tapering really, really slowly. right now i smoke 1/3 an hour. i think i'll be ready to try quitting again when i'm down to 1/4 every other hour. it would help if i was pregnant xP when i got pregnant i quit smoking no problem, avoided smokers and places where there was smoke like the plague, and had no desire to smoke at all. but after the miscarriage i was so depressed i started smoking. pack and a half a day, sometimes two packs. so i've cut down A LOT. i just need to keep going, slowly.

and thanks i am having fun with it already, even though it makes my feet hurt like ****, i just take a break between each song. its been half-hour breaks lol but i'm determined to burn 150 calories before the end of this day. it's not much, but i gotta start somewhere.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:48 PM   #14
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:16 PM   #15
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thank you for such a long reply!

i am so sorry you have so many problems. kinda gives me a glimpse into my future... if i'm falling apart at age 22, how will i be at 50? 60? will i even live to 70?
I can't emphasize enough, you don't know what's really going on with you so don't lose hope. Having had a lifetime of back problems I can tell you that absolutely back problems cause problems from the hips down and vice versa. You know you have structural problems in your back and feet so those problems have to be addressed correctly someday (hopefully sooner rather than later).

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1. Good shoes.
i just switched from my worn-through cobby cuddlers to some athletic shoes. also i have orthotics, but not custom ones. i have no insurance or money so i just have the store ones.
Good sneakers go a long way to fixing a lot of problems! Both of my stepkids have fallen arches. When my stepdaughter got health insurance she went to a podiatrist and he told that her that the Dr. Scholl's orthotics that you step on the machine to be fitted for (darned if I remember what it's called) are nearly as good as what he would provide her with for a fraction of the price.

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2. Doctors.
i have no doctor, no insurance, no money, no transportation. i tried to get medicaid from social services, but because i'm on my grandmother's taxes i'm not eligible, but she can't AFFORD to take me off her taxes.
Honey, you're young enough to be my daughter so I'm going to speak plainly to you, the heart issue is nothing to screw around with, you need health insurance. You might need to think of other living arrangements or work something else out with your grandmother. I don't want to scare you but sweetie you need to see a cardiologist. With the problem you're describing, what would happen if, for example, you passed out while riding your bike and woke up in the ER with monitors on you? How much do you think that would cost? If you could address your health problems you could probably get a job that would pay your grandmother what she's deducting in her taxes.

As for the smoking, good job and I understand about smoking and depression, in fact, every time I went back to smokes it was either stress or depression or grief.

And take this as I'm saying it, honey, if you can't afford health insurance then you can't afford to be pregnant. Did you think about the fact that being pregnant puts a heck of a stress on the heart or how physically demanding labor and delivery is? And any pregnancy needs to be monitored by a doctor, but one with cardiac issues? That's considered high risk.

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i'm determined to burn 150 calories before the end of this day. it's not much, but i gotta start somewhere.
The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step! You've totally summed up what I'm feeling about myself right now, I've gotta start somewhere and once I start I refuse to stop moving! There are days when bad weather is coming and my joints ache like the devil but I still get on that damnable bike and push the pedals. Usually once I get started I hit my goal, I may spend a crapload of time stopping and feeling sorry for myself, but eventually I get there.

Sorry for the monologue responses ... I talk a lot too I used to type for a living before my tendons blew out.
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