Live To Win!

Live To Win!

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Exit 34: The Last Watch of Officer Jason Ellis

January 10, 2014 2 Comments

In Memory of Officer Jason Ellis

As a retired state law enforcement officer, I know the risks that are out there everyday for those that protect us 24/7. This is the story of one of those officers that was killed at the end of his watch, never to return to his wife or two sons.  The case is still open and no one has been apprehended at this time.  Click on the picture to start your journey on reading about this officer and the life he lived and lost.

Officer Jason Ellis

Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma in pets

January 8, 2014

What is Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma? 

Squamous cell carcinomas are malignant cancers originating from the lining cells of the mouth. They are locally invasive and often recurrent. Only 5-10% of tumors arising in the gums (gingiva) metastasize (spread), but cancers in the tongue often metastasize to local lymph nodes. Cancers that originate from the tonsil metastasize quickly to the other tonsil, lymph nodes of the throat and other parts of the body.  (VCA Animal Hospital)

 I am trying to inform pet owners on this form of cancer to be sure your pet doesn’t end up like mine did.  If you are reading my posts, I wrote a post about my cat Chocolate.  This is what he died from.  I wish I would have been more aware of the signs of this cancer.  I am going to include some links to different websites that have the information about this form of cancer.  This cancer can only be treated if found in its early stage.  It is very aggressive.  Even if diagnosed early, the cancer can be removed but radiation treatments must be performed, and even then there is a high chance the cancer will return.  There is more success rates with dogs, but cats don’t have as high of a survival rate.

I hope these links help:

Feline oral squamous cell carcinoma: An overview


Feline Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma | The Veterinary Cancer Center


Oral Tumors – Squamous Cell Carcinoma | VCA Animal Hospitals


The National Canine Cancer Foundation

My Little Angel, Chocolate

January 8, 2014



Let me introduce you to Chocolate.  One of my many kitties I have and love like a child (I have no children so all my pets are my kids). He was the sweetest cat!  He never complained.  He never growled or hissed at other cats that would enter our home.  He was an easygoing kitty, that was as handsome as can be. How he got the name Chocolate…well it started off as just a nickname that happened to stick and one he accepted.  Since he accepted it, and you know how cats get to make the final decisions, we accepted it as well.

I rescued him about 15 years ago.  The cutest kitten you can imagine!!  He was a very passive cat that loved to play and got along with other four-legged critters well.

This past year he was diagnosed with diabetes.  It got to the point where I had to give him insulin injections twice a day.  He was such a trooper about it.  He never flinched and would just settle down to get his injections.

Around December 23, 2013, he stopped eating.  I went to our veterinarian, Dr. Alford of Live Oak Animal Clinic and had his glucose level checked, which was low.  He was given fluids and dextrose.  I was also given some pills to help stimulate his appetite.  He was eating for a couple of days and then stopped all together again.  Back to the vet I went.

His blood sugar was low again and he needed fluids.  The vet started wondering if he had pancreatitis.  On Thursday, December 26th, I made an appointment with an internal medicine specialist, Dr. Meeks, who is with Affiliated Pet Emergency Services in Gainesville, Florida.  Our appointment was on Monday December 30th.  Until then I continued to give Chocolate his medication and fed him Hills Prescription A/D wet food through a syringe.

Monday finally arrived and we were able to see the specialist.  Blood work was taken, ultra sound was performed and vital signs were taken.  Basically all looked well, except that some ulcers were found in his mouth. Dr. Meeks explained that these ulcers can be very painful and that this was the reason he was not eating.   Since he was not eating and was very dehydrated, the doctor wanted to keep him in the hospital for the next 24 – 48 hours.  I hated to leave him, knowing he would be scared, but I also knew it was for the best.

They kept him on IV fluids during the night and gave him other medications (like pain meds and antibiotics) and tried to see if he would eat.  He did not.  Dr. Meeks informed me the next day that since he was still not eating that a feeding tube needed to be placed.  While he was sedated, she looked closely in his mouth and found an inflamed area under his tongue.  His tongue also felt hard in some areas.  She biopsied the area and the feeding tube was placed.  The tube went through an area in his neck down into his stomach.  I was rest assured that this was not painful or uncomfortable for him.  He was left in the hospital overnight again and I awaited for the update the next day.

Dr. Meeks called to say that Chocolate could come home (this was January 1, 2014).  He would need to be kept on the feeding tube and that I would have to feed and medicate him through his tube.  I was so nervous about all this but knew I had to be strong for my little boy.

Chocolate came home and was so happy.  He was purring like crazy and saying “hi” to all his other buddies.  When I had to do his first tube feeding I was so nervous it made me nauseous, but we got through it.  I made a calendar of all his feeding and medication times.  I was literally up during all times of the night but it was worth it.

We had our routine down with the feedings by now.  I spent hours brushing and snuggling with him, telling him how much I loved him and that I knew everything would be fine.  We would figure out the problem, get the right medications and or surgery done, and he would be all well.  Chocolate stayed by me a lot.  I would get on my computer and he would lay his head down on my computer mouse on top of my hand.

Friday, January 3rd, I received a call from Dr. Meeks to go over the test and biopsy reports.  Most of the blood work came back fine, but she did believe that he had pancreatitis.  And then I could hear her voice change and knew all was not well.  The biopsy which was conducted on his tongue came back as a malignant tumor.  Basically Chocolate had cancer…….a very aggressive form of cancer.

It’s called Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Dr. Meeks called an oncologist to see if there was anything that could be performed but since the tumor was so far advanced there was nothing that could be done.  Chocolate could be sustained for 2 – 4 weeks on a feeding tube with medication, but that is not how I wanted my little man to live.  He was to precious and special.

Friday evening I spent the day and night brushing him and giving him kisses all over.  He purred and was happy.  He romped around the house making sure everything was fine and then he would come back to me.  We snuggled and gave nose kisses…..and he purred.  I made sure to keep him on his pain meds to keep him comfortable.  I continued with his tube feedings and let his other meds (mostly antibiotics) slip away.

Saturday, January 4th, 2014 @ 11:46 AM, Chocolate, my precious little angel, was put to rest.  I actually had my head on his chest, petting him to ease his nerves, and heard him purring.  I listened to the purr with every precious second………and then it stopped and I knew my little angel was gone.

For two days I was in a state of deep depression.  Every where I looked I saw him……and the purr……..that last minute purr before he passed haunted me.  Knowing I heard him take his last breath stabbed at my heart.

I had Chocolate cremated and will have his urn close near me.  For all you pet owners our there that have lost a loved one, you know my pain, and I know it will ease and the memories I will always have.

Til then……..I will have to wait to meet him at rainbow bridge, along with my others that have passed on.   I miss you Chocolates…………………


Incline Training for Weight Loss

January 2, 2014


Incline Training is one of the best ways to burn fat and lose weight. Despite whoever told you, you have to run to lose weight, they were wrong. Walking at an incline over 21% at 2 mph can be just as effective as running flat at 6 mph. Here are some benefits of Incline Training:

Heart Rate: Your heart rate at a 24% incline and 2 mph is greater than 0% incline at 6 mph. The greater the incline the higher your heart rate will go. Incline training is one of the best ways to train your heart without having major impact on your joints.

Fat Utilization: Research shows at a incline of 21% and 2 mph, fat is the primary source of energy, burning 6.5 kcals per minute. When walking slowly on a steep incline you will become oxidative, which means you will burn from your fat stores and not from your previous meal.

Fat Test Study:

  • 0% at 6 mph burns 360 calories – 57 from Fat
  • 21% at 2 mph burns 296 calories – 194 from Fat

Muscle Activation: 18% incline and above is where all the magic happens! In fact, from 15% to 18% you have 30% more muscle activation. Most people have a hard time turning on the glutes, but this is a great way to activate them. Not only will you burn more calories when you have more muscles, but your weight loss will look better. At 27% incline and above:

  • Glutes are engaged 100%
  • Hamstrings are engaged 73%
  • Calfs are engaged 90%

Variation: Variation in your training allows for creativity, enjoyment, progression and specificity. Performing variations like skips, side shuffles, backwards walk will increase your calorie burn and muscle activation. Do not exceed 24% incline on any side movements on an incline due to the shear forces it puts on the knee.

  • Workout: Side Shuttles at an incline (under 24%) are a great way to target your inner/outer thighs.

Don’t worry if running is not in the books for you, or even if it is, Incline Training is a great way to mix up your workouts, burn fat, activate your muscles, decrease pressure on your joints and increase your heart rate.


Article from:

Gaming and Life

December 16, 2013 1 Comment


Well I have sure have been off the wagon when it comes to my training and lifestyle changes.  I completely put myself on the back burner and found an addiction to gaming.  That’s right, yours truly jumped into the world of MMO’s (Massively Multiplayers Online games).  There are so many out there: World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, Star Trek Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Battlefield 4, just to name a few.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the virtual world and it’s nice to see so many people with the same interest.  However, the problem comes when the virtual world becomes more interesting than the real world.  And this is where I failed.

Logging first thing in the morning to check on my characters and run some quests, became more important to me than hopping on that incline trainer I spent over $2000 on.  I had two main games going so I was hopping back and forth between the two.  Next thing you know, the day had flown by and here I was wrapped up in my computer living in the virtual world.  In the meantime my house wasn’t getting the attention it deserved, tv and books were replaced with a game, and far worse, I was gaining weight from sitting in a chair all day!

Don’t get me wrong all you gamers out there.  I love gaming and are actually the President of a gaming community.  I’m just saying I lost perspective with real life and myself along the way.  I just don’t want to see that happen to anyone else.  We always say in the gaming world that real life comes first, and I forgot about this important point.  Gaming was coming first and all else just fell into whatever place was left.

Well I am here to say……starting today…..I am taking my life back, jumping back on track with my training and are going to start noticing the little things that are happening around me.  Don’t get me wrong, Gaming will still be a part of my life but in moderation and only after real life events are taken care of first.

I think this awakening is happening because a very dear and close friend of mine just died on December 13,2013.  She was a remarkable person, battling cancer everyday, and yet still staying positive and always looking at the good side of life.  She was only 43.  It reminds me that life is short.  This is not a dress rehearsal or a blue print of whats to come, this is life, now.

And it’s time to start living……………


May 29, 2013



What is overtraining?  Wikipedia defines it well:  Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness.  Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes.

Well I experienced this last week. On a day I was supposed to run, I could feel my body temperature elevated and I didn’t have the enthusiasm that usually occurs on my cardio day.  I just didn’t feel right.  The problem with the signs of overtraining is many of us ignore them and proceed to complete the workout only to find ourselves injured or disappointed in our performance.  I know with myself I always feel guilty for not completing the workout and when I do I am left feeling disappointed because it wasn’t my best.

Some of the signs of overtraining are as follows: Mood swings, repeated muscle soreness, illness, increase in morning heart rate, joint pains, lack of sleep, decreased performance, lack of ability to concentrate, increased injuries, and fatigue.  These are just a few of the symptoms.  If you go on the Internet and research overtraining, you will find many other suggestions and descriptions. I have been researching the effects myself because I feel like my training is not at its best.  Therefore, I have been taking more days off in between workouts to allow myself to recover.  I am still dealing with an injury around my upper left hamstring area and have been pushing through my workouts anyway which is not good.

I am one of these people that think a little of anything is better than nothing at all.  But when you are injured, that is just not the case.  And I struggle with the down time.  I feel because I have been pushing myself hard, injured and all, my body has gone into the overtraining mode.  When I look at some of the symptoms above, I can pick out several that I am dealing with.

So how do you combat the overtraining syndrome?  Take a day or two off and try to relax.  Decrease your intensity level, increase your sleep cycle, treat yourself to a massage, stretch, eat clean (diet is everything!!), and don’t get disappointed because you need to take an extra day off!  You will find by resting your body appropriately, you will see gains in endurance and muscle strength 🙂

WORKOUTS:  I always close by adding some of my workouts down below.  All workouts are performed using the NordicTrack X9i Treadmill.  Awesome machine!!

5/25/2013        South Kaibab Trail – Grand Canyon   3.41 miles



5/28/2013  Tower Bridge, London England   3.09 miles

tower-bridge-picture (1)


In between these workouts I was weight training in my home gym.  I actually found on a weight training program I am going to try.  It’s by Obi Obadike.  Obi is considered the world’s most ripped fitness model Obi Obadike Overtraining and  Strength workout.  The workout is basically as follows:

Obi’s Training Split

  • Monday- Chest/Biceps- 30 minutes of high intensity cardio
  • Tuesday- Legs/Triceps/Abs- 30 minutes of high intensity cardio
  • Wednesday- Shoulders/Back- 30 minutes of high intensity cardio
  • Thursday- Light Chest/Biceps/Abs
  • Friday- Off
  • Saturday- Off
  • Sunday- Off

I’m going to see how this works for me starting next week.  I will be sure to blog my opinion on the plan. The one thing I will be adding is on Saturday’s, I will make it my long  jogging day.

And my quote for the day is by Michael Jordan….

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career.

26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.

And that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan