Thursday, February 23, 2012
Today started out the way yesterday ended - raining! Now, I know I don't have control over that, but I do have control over how I respond to things I do not. I love rainy days. Unless there is a flood, but we don't get that too often unless hurricanes are involved and then I'm too involved in keeping up with it and trying to decide to evacuate or not. But days like yesterday and today, I really do love. There is always so much to chose from for projects. I can read, catch up with craft projects, or watch a movie I have been wanting to see. Search the web for all sorts of interesting things like holidays, famous quotes, healthy recipes or those I see I can change to make them so, writing and journaling sites - the list goes on and on. Then there is always cleaning out a closet or drawers, etc. The thing is, for the most part these activities leave me happy and satisfied. I know it helps our fur babies, too, because they usually find a nice spot to snuggle up and sleep. Bob usually grumbles that he has so much to do outdoors and can't get to it, but he usually comes around and puts his creativity to work. He's good that way. He loves making graphics or playing with altering photos. He also loves reading and he does a lot of beading. Strangely, we both seem to enjoy the same movies and music so there is little disagreement with that. (Unless he wants to watch a James Bond marathon).
Since having to go through my two cancers, I have found that when you don't have control over the situation, you do with your response so you might as well make to best of things. I really didn't want to go through radiation and chemo, but I had little choice. If I didn't do it, I would be dead. The tonsil one, the doctor told me to get treatment going ASAP or I had about a 6 week period for life expectancy. I know I had just finished in MArch, but I felt ok, I must do this again. I loved my team and I knew they would take good care of me. They would play music that I wanted and were a lot of fun while they were setting me up for the machine to hit my tattoos right. It was a big thing when I would sit on the table to see how close I could get for them to do the less moving. And the young man had his 24th birthday during that time. We made a CD for him of some of the tunes he liked. He was surprised to find out I liked some of the same ones as he. I also told him I was old enough to be his grandmother so for ever after I would refer to him as my grandson and he would call me Grandma.
Again, I could not control it, but I certainly tried my very best to keep my spirits up.
There are a lot of things going on with Spark that makes me feel the same way. We all know we must move, even if we are in a chair. I have never been good at sports of any kind. Now days there are some the doctor has told me to never try anymore. No control, but have to exercise. Even during treatments, I tried to get in 5 minutes of cardio a day. So I tried to add a little more each day when my treatments were over. At first it wasn't a favorite thing, but I tried to make it as fun as possible. Today I did 80 minutes of cardio 40 minutes of strengthening exercises. I like to compete with myself so finding those extra minutes each week really helps to keep me cheerful.
Let's not forget about food. I know most of my forbidden list are because I can no longer tolerate them. But some of that may change as things get closer to normal. With all the radiation, my saliva glands got zapped and my taste buds are all but gone. I have no control over that. I attempt to eat things I used to love and sometimes I can and others, not so much. But I have no control over what will work and what won't. One thing that is so good is I can do really well with salad, which I have always loved. So I am always trying to find ways to change those salads up. That is kind of fun, too. I have found some dressings I can tolerate that I never tried before. The same goes for some veggies. So having a meal can be a fun. And it all has certainly contributed to my weight loss of 114 pounds. I am one pound from my goal. But I know I am going to keep on with everything mostly because my attitude has changed so much. No instead of complaining, I try to make the best of everything. Of course I have days when it is hard to move or I fall or I'm in pain when I have no desire or simply can't handle exercise. And the days I can't eat much I at least do Ensure for strength. But some of those days I'll say "Why am I doing this?" The answer I give myself is "Because I can!" or "Because I want to!" It is usually positive, even if I have to forgo those things for a day or two.
It's all in the attitude. Do you control your attitude for things you have no control? Or do you let yourself be a moaner and groaner?
Two of Bob's graphics
Enjoy Banana Bread Day!!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Today is Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday and the big day of Mardi Gras. Try a search for Mardi Gras live cam and select one to watch. My favorite is:
I have always loved Mardi Gras. I have never been to a celebration, but I love the colors and lots of the food. I have masks hanging on the wall in the bedroom and I made a wreath for the front door. Many of my NOLA friends have told me they would have to pay a lot of money to buy one like it.
These are from our front door.
This is a wreath I made for a friend in an exchange.
The King Cake is something that can be dressed up or dressed down depending how you wish to decorate. I don't think it is quite made for our diets, but a small sliver shouldn't hurt.
The Legend of the King Cake
King cakes are a traditional Mardi Gras dessert, and according to legend the royal colors of purple, green and gold on the cake honor the three kings who visited the Christ child on Epiphany in the Christmas season in a number of countries, and in other places with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras / Carnival.
The cake has a small trinket (often a small plastic baby, said to represent Baby Jesus) inside (or sometimes placed underneath), and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations. Traditionally other surprises are hidden in the cake, a pecan, or a bean. The lucky winner of the surprise is supposed to bring a king cake to the next party and wears a crown to indicate The King or The Queen of that particular party.
The "king cake" takes its name from the biblical three kings. In Catholic liturgical tradition, the Solemnity of Epiphany - commemorated on January 6th - celebrates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. The Eve of Epiphany (the night of January 5th) is popularly known as Twelfth Night (the Twelve Days of Christmas are counted from Christmas Eve until this night). The season for king cake extends from the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Twelfth Night and Epiphany Day), up until Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday;" the day before the start of Lent. Some organizations or groups of friends may have "king cake parties" every week through the Carnival season.
In the southern United States, the tradition was brought to the area by colonists from France and Spain and it is associated with Carnival (also known as Mardi Gras), which is celebrated in the Gulf Coast region, originated in Mobile, AL, but ranging from the Florida Panhandle to East Texas. King cake parties in New Orleans are documented back to the eighteenth century.
The king cake of the Mobile Mardi Gras tradition comes in a number of styles. The most simple, said to be the most traditional, is a ring of twisted bread similar to that used in brioche topped with icing or sugar, usually colored purple, green, and gold (the traditional Mardi Gras colors) with food coloring. Mobile king cakes are traditionally deep-fat-fried as a doughnut would be, and there are many variants, some in more recent years featuring a filling - the most common being cream cheese, praline, cinnamon, or strawberry. A so-called "Zulu King Cake" has chocolate icing with a coconut filing, because the Krewe of Zulu parade's most celebrated throw is a coconut.
It has become customary in the Southern culture that whoever finds the trinket must provide the next king cake or host the next Mardi Gras party and sometimes both.
Hope you will check out the link and search for other sites that will give you tons of info and recipes.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Today I found out Bob had someone using his phone to photograph the frogs and then Rockie (Dr K's nurse), with the frogs and both of us. So I have two pictures to share. He had wanted the little ones between the two big ones, so I have no idea how they came to be on the side. Without further ado, I present the asked for pictures (see the blog for 2/16):
The frog family with Rockie
Here are the frogs, Rockie. Bob, and Ev
When I finished my treatments, I got two pages of things to do and not do to insure I didn't have more problems. Most are common sense and/or things I had already know from surgery: not blood pressure taken or needles in the arm where the nodes were taken for example. It also mentions lotions to use and those to avoid and never use. Personally I have ended up with one of their recommendations to use. It is my personal choice as I know my mama used to use it many years ago. And that is Eucerin. I really like it, too. It makes my hands and arms feel so soft. It is free of all the nasties that are often used as preservatives.
I am going to share something I found (sorry, I can't remember which article it came from) that I think is going to become a new favorite for me. Rather than using wraps to hold the goody fillings, use a large lettuce leaf. Doesn't that sound divine? With all the problems I have with breads, this should let me have the wonderful fixings I have been avoiding.
Today we had to go to town yet again. We decided to have the special at Pizza Hut for lunch. Bob loves the pizza and I love the salad bar. I know what I can and cannot eat by trial and error. Today I found I can have low-fat ranch dressing if I keep it on the side and dip into it. About half a normal serving worked ok for me. I love having that kind of control rather than having it all over the salad where I often used to get too much. I found I can also eat the thin and crispy crust. I only had about a quarter piece all together. Why? The pepperoni burned my mouth really bad, so that is out for a long while into the future. I also thought I would try the apple dessert pie made with the same crust. Nope, couldn't do it. The cinnamon burned, too. Guess I can't have my favorite all time snack of apple slices with cinnamon sprinkled on them. I also got a strange look when I first ordered my water with lemon and then 1% milk!!
But I didn't care. As hard as it has been for me with the soda, since I can tolerate water again, I have limited the amount I have to one a day and I
usually have ginger ale as a snack by itself - no chips, corn chips, etc. I still can't have juices. Oh, that's another rule: limit juices, especially citrus. I still have lemon in my tea and water. As much as this is a big pain, each day it seems I can tolerate more and more kinds of food.
I don't think I have mentioned the trays I use to apply my fluoride treatments each day. They are kind of like the mouth guards football players and other athletes use, only these were made from impressions from my teeth and are clear in color. Well this morning I found I have bitten through my bottom one and it has a nice little hole in it. I have no idea how I managed to do it, but I certainly have!!
Something else has been on my mind: how downright mean some people can be when talking or writing about their opinions. OK so they may not agree with what we do, but gosh darn it! My life experiences are different. Don't expect someone to do the same, feel the same, etc as you! In most instances no one is ever right or wrong, just different. I simply have a difficult time understanding how so many can be so judgemental. I guess you could say this is one of my pet peeve - people who aren't tolerant.
On one of my friends' blogs, I saw this and decided to "steal" it!
Five Things I Like About Me:
1) My life
2) My willingness to try to help others
3) My blue eyes
4) My hobbies and all the friends I have made participating in them
5) My capacity to love
This is all I can manage tonight. I really need to get to sleep. Love to all my friends.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Today was a check up with my radiation oncologist. While I was waiting for him, I glanced at The Living With Cancer magazine. In it someone asked the doctor about soy products and breast cancer. The answer was if your bc was estrogen fed (like mine), you should avoid them as much as possible as the estrogen in the soy products can feed the tissue you are trying to protect. If you have any other type, you're ok on the soy.
When in the exam room was another wait. In the issue of WebMD for the doctor's office, I found some interesting information on gluten free foods. Some of you may be aware already, but I was not. When I got home I did as I usually do, I checked the web. I was able to find 2 articles - one being from the WebMD. I'll list the URL's in case anyone would like to visit.
Bob has painted 2 frogs for the Cancer Center. He found two small ones this week that someone gave to him. He painted those, too and took them in today. When Dr K came into the room, he saw them and got a big grin and talked about them with Bob. Bob told him there was hanky panky with the two others who are located by the front entrance, so these two little ones are their kids. Dr K really laughed at that. He said after the exam he wanted us to go out front and place the 2 with the others. Then we could pose with his nurse to have our pictures taken with the frogs. Then they will put it up on their F.R.O.G. (Florida Radiation Oncology Group) website.
Our center is called Cancer Center of Putnam.
Now for the news from him. The breast cancer is gone and he was happy with the breast exam. He also said the tonsil cancer is gone, but he is concerned about my teeth. If I lose any, there will be nothing there to stop an infection and with the radiation I had, the bone will fracture. At that point I will be in serious trouble. I guess all the brushing and flossing I've been doing along with the daily fluoride treatments aren't enough. He said I need to get a water pick and use it after every meal and before bed and first thing in the morning. The continuation of the fluoride daily will be for the rest of my life.
I don't want anymore problems than I have had - especially losing part of my jaw. But I must say, I was really happy to hear that both cancers are gone. I was so afraid that the tonsil one had returned since I still have dry mouth and two small sores - one on each side of my tongue.
When I returned home there was a package from my sorority special sister who is from Canada. She sent me a pen with the sorority name on it, an antique ruler with Coca Cola on it, and a pink polo with a pink ribbon on it. I was so excited, I tried on the polo immediately and Bob took my picture. It is so nice to have a shirt that fits and isn't three sizes too big. I need to get several pairs of pants, as the one I am wearing in the picture is so baggy! When I bought them they fit me right - they are leggings!
So here is the picture:
Ev with her new breast cancer polo shirt - 16 Feb 2012
I was also weighed in today and the doctor was concerned with my weight loss. Never in a million thoughts did I think a doctor would tell me I am too thin and shouldn't lose any more weight!! The thing is, I eat a lot (I feel full and can stop) and I exercise. If I maintain where I am, I'll be happy. I'm not so sure about him, though!! He hadn't seen me since October and I had lost 30 pounds. I don't feel that is losing too rapidly. That averages about 9 pounds a month. That is about 2.25 pounds a week. Some of the weight loss was when
I was so ill with the infection from the salmonella. Anyway, I had wanted to lose 10 more pounds, but feel if I do, OK, and if not, that's ok, too. As long as my physical situation improves and I feel healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually, I'm not going to worry!!
Everyone have a wonderful day.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Of course I'm one of those who signed up, looked around, and didn't come back for 2 years. It was April 2010 that I came back and did a few things like made my Spark Page and checked out some teams, joined some email newsletters, and set some goals. THen guess what? I didn't come back until late that summer. And if anyone had told me how far this journey would take me, I'm not so sure I would have believed them. All I wanted was to get into the 100's, but I've come so much further.
To celebrate the most fortunate day in my life, I thought I would list some of the best things that have happened.
1 The people themselves
2 The support I receive from so many of my "friends" on my blog, in my teams, my status, and my page
3 The teams that share interests along with helping with the journey we all share
4 All the wonderful exercise programs, videos, and challenges
5 All of the wonderful recipes along with ability to save them to cookbooks with titles we name ourselves. The recipes always turn out just right.
6 That I have learned so much!
7 How much more confidence and self esteem I have gained
Yes, the day that I decided to click the "register" button was one of the best days of my life.
When I first joined, I was mostly in the power wheelchair. I felt so bad about how much I gained, I was embarrassed. I dropped out of my sorority chapter as I didn't want the other girls to see me. As a matter-of-fact, I was so bad off I rarely left the house and I refused to talk to anyone on the phone - not even my brother! I was a miserable shell of who I had always been. A lot of volunteer work was my forte. And yes, I was feeling sorry for myself. I would sit in my recliner and never wanted to move. Bob would bring my meals to me.
All of this ended when I got active on this site. I was determined to have a healthier lifestyle. I knew I was going to have to change a lot of my attitude and that this was going to be a real and very long journey. One of the first things I did was to make a gratitude journal. It took me a while to get to writing something each day. The more that I did, the more it helped me along my way. I try to list at least three things each day.
Now I love doing exercise and getting out of the house. I rarely have to use my power wheelchair. Lots of times, I don't even have to use my walker!! I have tons more energy and am much happier not to mention my self esteem is getting up. I love going to different places and talking on the phone. And I am back to helping others as much as I can.
One of the best things that happened to me here was when I received an email that I had been named a Spark Motivator. It brought tears to my eyes and a huge smile to my face. I was awed by the confidence OTHERS had in me. I was so appreciative. It feels so good to be able to help again. I had truly missed that.
If I told you that I never have bad days still, I would not being honest. The good is those days are few and far between and are mostly due to having physical problems. I feel much more normal and back to my old self. Now I have to work on balance issues. Now I know it will all come in time.
In my chair - Maxine
My brother and I in Jan 2012. I have my walker - Pinkie
When I was starting
I think most of you can see the 100 + pounds that are gone.
So I have a lot to thank Spark and all of my friends. I love you all. Gentle hugs to everyone.
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