Saturday, April 09, 2011
I have this image in my mind, that Iím spiralling around the me I am becoming, getting closer and closer to that person. I can see her clearly in my mind. Sheís active and strong. She loves alternate modes of transportation Ė biking, canoeing, skating... Ė and uses them nearly every day. Her routines are so efficient that week-ends are dedicated to hiking and cross country skiing, biking and canoeing, meeting up with friends and extended family (chores were all done over the week). People constantly drop by to say hi, sit down and have a coffee, and sheís not worried about household clutter. She is debt-free, and is worry-free when she donates to just causes, travels abroad, or invests in equipment for hobbies. Sheís a dancer, and she and her husband love to salsa. Sheís learned to swim properly and enjoys the quiet solitude of doing laps in the pool. People point to her and her husband with secret smiles and whisper to each other that itíll never last. Of course, theyíve already been together for 23 years, and by the time the spiral has worn away from around this person, she and her husband will have been together for a quarter of a century.
Yep, itís a long and sometimes tortuous journey to get to that person. I have hurdles to overcome, but itís by getting through those hurdles that Iím learning about myself and growing stronger. I continue to run into roadblocks that stop me temporarily, or detour me from my ultimate goal. I return to my original path, or find an alternate one that is even more interesting.
Deep down, Iím finding the journey to be an awe-inspiring thing. Who knew I was this strong?
Friday, April 08, 2011
Iíve experienced a shift in my goals and rewards this week. I had initially started weighing myself daily, averaging it over the week since my weight seems to swing by up to 5 pounds in a day. My reward for losing weight was to go out with my husband for a cappuccino on the week-end.
Somehow, that didnít seem to be very motivating. I realized it wasnít the reward that was lacking, itís the actual goal. Iím not really concerned about losing weight, and the simple number on the scale is so unreliable that it doesnít really mean anything to me anymore. So, with my husbandís collaboration, Iíve changed my goal.
My goal is now shared with him, and it is that we both exercise, together, at least six days per week. Itís a more active goal, itís got a built-in buddy, and it will allow us to spend more time together.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Iím being assailed with self-doubt this week, after once again having a good day on the week-end (doing errands) and needing two days to recover. Am I really doing the right thing going back to work in May?
Iím just not sure I can sit at home doing nothing for much longer, and on my good days I do feel strong and capable. I think chemo brain isnít even hitting me that hard anymore. So why does it still take so much out of me to just do an afternoon of errands? Iím getting really frustrated with this lack of energy, and this ongoing fatigue/falling asleep at the drop of a hat on what Iíve come to call my ďalternate daysĒ.
I have a lot to look forward to that will help in the longer run. The biggest thing, I think, is the toe operations this month. Once those are healed, Iím registering for aqua fitness at the new health club in town. It helped so very much to do it every day when we stayed at Justynaís B&B! The health club has a salt water pool, so no chlorine problems. I may actually learn to swim properly Ė finally (Iím not sure if they teach swimming, though... something to check out).
My arm and shoulder (on the side with the 22 lymph nodes removed) had been healing so very well and I basically had my full range of motion back. Now itís starting to stiffen up, the arm hurts like a bruise every time I touch it all the way down to the wrist. I think part of it is lack of exercise, as Iíve been on the stat bike but not doing arm exercises as much. Need to get those back in the cycle!
One thing Iíve decided to look into is to find someone to do the housework once per week. My energy levels are too limited to spend my time on housework. Itís something Iíve thought of on and off for quite a while, even before the cancer, but now it seems that the benefits would definitely outweigh the costs.
Anyway, thatís my wandering brain for the past few days. Itís been encouraging, though, to read some blogs describing peopleís successes. I feel like I'm looking at you through a fence, and trying to get over it to get there. I see myself in your words, and know Iíll get there yet!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
This is it... the countdown to my return to work after having been off for cancer treatments/recovery for 1.5 years. Itís a little intimidating, and Iím trying to not be overwhelmed by the ďmeĒ I wanted to be by now. I had such great hopes to get fully back in shape (strength, flexibility and endurance) as well as get tons of stuff done in the house while I was off work. Needless to say, Iím nowhere near having accomplished any of that.
On the other hand, in March I had a wonderfully cleansing bawl-my-eyes-out cry, I learned a few tricks and developed a few mantras that work for me. My reclining bike is set up in the living room (after having been relegated to the basement for Xmas), and spring weather is here so that means more time outside. In other words, Iím well on the road to getting back in shape.
I expect April to be a busy month as I prepare to return to work and deal with various other things.
ē I get a root canal on April 6th, followed by a crown
ē My toenail problems will be addressed. (You may recall that the toenail problems are side-effects of last yearís chemo.) Once the toes are healed, I will finally feel like Iím Ďoverí the cancer treatments. Weíre doing the two feet on separate days, April 11th and on April 27th.
ē In between that, weíre going to celebrate my father-in-lawís 80th birthday Easter week-end.
ē Iím participating in a gene study re: cancer; my first interview is in early April, but Iím unsure what (if anything) else will be involved.
ē My DH is taking a week off (because heís running around with me to so many appointments anyway LOL!). Weíre hoping to get a few things done around the house while heís here.
ē Iíll probably go to a hair stylist to get some advice on what to do with this weird re-growth is curly in some areas, not in others, and still short all over. I think Iíll feel better returning to work knowing Iím at least trying to look good LOL!
ē Return to work will be Tuesdays and Fridays, starting May 3rd., working up to going full time. I may be walking a bit funny until my toes heal, but Iíll be there!
I also need to remember to use my one-day-per-page agenda to list my priorities and goals for the day and be more realistic with those! As Iíve mentioned, planning is invaluable to me. But I also want to re-acquaint myself with the habit of using an agenda before I return to work because I know the adjustment will be overwhelming at first.
Daily goals include for April:
Reclining bike every day
8 glasses of water every day
Eat about 1500 calories per day
Go for a walk with DH every evening after supper
Doing one thing that advances my return to work (checking clothes, snack ideas, etc.)
ETA I've just joined the "Official Healthy Cooking Challenge", which will support me in improving my routines regarding food preparation and eating in general. WooHoo!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I havenít had any amazing successes or anything yet, but I have found some small things that seem to work for me. I figured, rather than waiting until Iíve lost the weight, etc., I would share them now. This serves two purposes: (1) to remind myself that I am learning and (2) to share with my SparkFamily in case any of them work for you! In no particular order...
A clear water bottle
It seems silly, but I have a plastic glass with a straw that I used to use for my water. I would drink, but it was always a chore to remember and I would realize after a couple of hours that I hadnít even had a sip. With my clear bottle (a glass milk bottle), I can see the amount of water Iíve had (or not had) and it encourages me to sip regularly instead of sporadically. Also, the fact that itís glass instead of plastic... somehow the water tastes fresher.
I realized Iíve been using these for different purposes than I expected. I thought Iíd be pushing myself through exercise, and sometimes I do. But I also drown out the Bad Food Gnome calling me from the kitchen, and the whiny Boredom Baby that can hit at anytime. ďStronger. Leaner. Further. Fierce.Ē is especially helpful to me at these points, and usually also pushes me to exercise as a bonus! ďMigraines hurt moreĒ pushes me to exercise over those painful joint side effects from Tamoxifen. Not that I recommend ignoring pain, but once my oncologist confirmed it was the Tamoxifen and that I wasnít doing myself any harm, I needed something to push through the pain anyway.
Canít say it enough. When Iíve planned my food and identified priorities for the day, I have something to refer to when Iím undecided about what to do next, and itís a natural serving size regulator since I hardly ever plan for bad food. I also accomplish twice as much as I would otherwise.
Rewarding behaviour, not only weight loss
Since Iím changing my lifestyle, I am trying to focus most of my attention on behavioural changes instead of weight loss. Thatís not to say that losing the weight isnít important, and I do weigh myself daily and average my weight over the week (more accurate for me because of huge weight fluctuations day-to-day). But I also want to reward behaviours like exercising daily, and decluttering the house, and being able to touch my toes (eventually!).
Distraction as a strategy
I distract myself from calls from the pantry and from negativity by doing something thatís positive for myself. If Iíve done my exercise for the day, itís time to move on to something else! Depending on how much time I have, massage cuticle cream into my nails, take a bubble bath, pluck my eyebrows, try to figure out how to style my re-growing hair, declutter my desk, give myself a facial, ... something that moves me forward on my path to looking and especially feeling better!
So there they are... a few little things that are helping me along. Do you have any small things that have made a difference?
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