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78 Days to New Year – Refining my Plan

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I’m in the end game with this cancer, and refining my plan to ensure the odds are on my side. I have had to adjust a few activities because of the radiation therapy. My right shoulder (front and back) is already feeling sunburned, I’m very fatigued, my throat is hurting... I’m only halfway through so a lot of movement/rubbing of clothing is out. In the meantime, I’m doing what I can to protect the improvement I’ve seen so far with regard to my nutrition and physical fitness. My adjusted plan is as follows:

General Theme of Improvement
• Review Total Commitment binder daily
• Take one nap per day, no more than 20 minutes (NEW)
• Go to bed no later than 11:00 pm (NEW)

• Track food eaten every day
• Eat between 1670 and 2020 calories per day
• Keep sodium between 500 and 1500 mg daily
• Eat at least 5 servings of fruit/veg per day
• Drink 8 X 8 oz of water daily
• Take Calcium/Vit D Supplement lunch & supper
• Check out Yoga DVDs (NEW)

Physical fitness:
• Walk 5000 steps daily
• Do BC exercises morning and night

Coming Soon (December/January)
• Aquafit
• Return to Better Sleep Challenge
• Return to 10-Minute Daily Exercise Challenge
• Return to structured weight training and cardio

This minor setback is not unexpected, and in the grander scheme of things I am pleased that I am developing healthy habits that will serve me well for the rest of my life. All you Sparkers are such an inspiration and great support - I am thrilled to have found SparkPeople! (I think I say that a lot these days... emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTYNA7 10/15/2010 6:21PM

    I have a pool and a pretty flexible schedule if you are willing to drive here. I will help you with this goal.

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60SIXTY 10/14/2010 3:56PM

    I like your plan for the future. I learned of some great music therapy tapes that might help you rest. I have the info at my church, but will get back with you about it later.

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JOCALAT 10/14/2010 12:56PM

    Sorry to hear your having such a tough time with have a great plan. How many more rads left?

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KELPIE57 10/14/2010 12:32PM

    It's great that you are looking at the bigger picture. IMHO one of the important things is to give your body plenty of time to R and R, that is rest and relaxation! Keep inspiring us!

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Day 80 New Year's Countdown -- Where's the Auto-Delete?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ok, so I've never been self-conscious about the way I look. I doubled my weight before my thyroid cancer was discovered and dealt with. This year I'm dealing with breast cancer, with all that that entails. My hair is just starting to grow back, so I have a peach-fuzz head. I had a double mastectomy in July, with no reconstruction or foobies, so I'm flat on top and generously rounded at my tummy. Oh, and I have a spare pair of 'breasts' under my arms, swelling that I am told will eventually disappear - I have my doubts.

So, not a model shape in anyone's book.

This past week-end, we travelled to the in-laws for an anniversary as well as Thanksgiving. Pictures were taken. By anyone holding any electronic gizmo that exists in the free world. So MANY, MANY pictures are taken. There I am, smack dab in the middle of them, taking up twice as much space as anyone else (sometimes more!) To make myself seem larger, I had my arms crossed as I sat on the sofa (actually, I was supporting the arm that had lymph nodes removed because after 6 hours in the car it was hurting). Anyway, my upper arms are the size of my sister-in-laws' and nieces' waists. And my peach fuzz head cannot compete with their glorious heads of hair.

I look at those pictures and I know, in my head, that that's me. I'm surprised each time I see a picture, or a reflection in a mirror or a window. Even after something like 8-10 years, I'm still surprised. But this week-end, I cringed when I saw the photos. I'm frustrated that *that* is a representation of me. I just can't relate to that person. Not sure what that means... I hate looking at them, but I don't find them motivating or de-motivating. They're just there, and I wish I had an auto-delete button for any picture taken of me when I'm so 'not on top of my game'.

What I do find motivating is the fact that I can walk further without my back aching. That I can do groceries alone now, and without hanging on to the shopping cart like it's my own personal walker. I'm enjoying the learning process re: nutrition and what works for me (which has changed since the thyroid and breast cancers). I'm loving the feeling that I am now in better control and steering my own ship insofar as possible, whereas before I was being swept by whatever tide happened to be coming in or out. I wish there were a photo that could show that, and keep those feelings in memory and share them so that everyone looking at photos could feel this empowered. It's a great feeling!

So I'll have to remember this for my Christmas wish list - an auto-delete button!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTYNA7 10/13/2010 10:09PM


Cancer is .... a thief. The body's betrayal. It makes me mad it has done this to you. Bad bad bad cancer! Sad. The camera takes a crappy view of what you look like. But when they took the pictures I'll bet the people taking them were not thinking that. The people who care about you see the YOU they have always known inside. You are a queen. And if they did not believe this they would not want to capture you as part of this family. You see what is beautiful in life and I'm sure when they see those pictures they see past the obvious too. Too bad air brushing never happens in OUR family, lol. That would be a good button too!

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KELPIE57 10/12/2010 12:27PM

    Respect what you are, a surivor making progress; that is what is important

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AMOHAME2 10/12/2010 12:06PM

    Being able to walk farther, do groceries on your own, and learning how to take good care of yourself are all huge victories. Before you know it, the camera will show that the world sees you the way you feel of yourself!

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Day 87 – Dropped a Challenge

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Well, I expected it to happen, just not so soon. I’ve dropped the 10-Minute Daily Exercise Streak. Not because I don’t think I can do it, more because it was just looming there in my mind and I wasn’t focussed on what I need to be focussed on. The fatigue from the radiation treatments already seems to be rearing its ugly head (only on day 5/25!). So I figured I’d better focus on just being active, without any framework around it, and on getting my nutrition and sleep in line.

I feel really good with that decision, and was able to better enjoy my walk tonight with DH. My meals are falling into place as well, and snacks are better planned so sodium is better controlled. All in all, things seem to be going in the right direction.

Now if I can just get to sleep at a reasonable hour, and sleep through the night. It’s always been one of my worst problems (I’m a night owl.)

Wishing you all a restful and peaceful sleep...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELPIE57 10/12/2010 11:24AM

    LIisten to you body, and respect it!

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    Better to focus on keeping up your strength up then stressing over a streak. Hang in there. My sister is a 13+ survivor.

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JUSTYNA7 10/7/2010 8:53PM

    Hmmmm. Breathing is exercise. Deep breathing. Controlled breathing. Meditative breathing. Focusing on heartrate, blood circulating,

Stretching is part of SP workouts. I watched a ten minute bootcamp video and a good part of it was stretching. I think that stretching can be considered exercise.

I'm not going to push you... because you know what you can handle and It is fine. No judgements, just hugs. I just want you to consider whether you can change your definition of exercise slightly. YOU were the one that pointed out we have choices, lol. Thanks for the ongoing support.

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JOCALAT 10/6/2010 3:38PM

    Sorry the rads are making you so tired but I think dropping the streak was a good seem more relaxed and there is no pressure like a deadline, one more thing you have to do....I will pray for a restful nights sleep

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Day 89 and Counting Down

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Radiation treatments have started off well, no adverse reactions so far. Day 5/25 tomorrow. I'm still having problems with my finger and toe nails from chemo, but they're manageable. I don't look forward to having to wear boots this winter, but perhaps by then it will be over.

My biggest news, though, is that I went for a short walk in the woods today for the first time in over a year. A sore back has prevented me from doing much of anything for well over a year, but making sure I'm active just a little bit each day has given me a new lease on life. I mean, I expected to eventually get better with the combined exercise/weight loss, but I didn't think it would happen so quickly!

Ido not have the words to express my joy. I'm feeling really jazzed. Although I've had a few slip-ups, I've been staying on track with regard to my nutrition, and done a few weight training and cardio exercises. That's it. Nothing intense or sustained for long periods of time. Short bursts. Very manageable.

Success! Feels great! I have no doubt that it will continue, and that I'm going to be coming out of this cancer adventure much better than I was when I went into it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTYNA7 10/3/2010 10:50PM

    I KNOW!

I feel great too. I think having control, having a simple plan that I KNOW is heading me the right direction is what is really making me feel good. I'm delighted it is working for you too. And the walking today was great with blue skies and brisk breezes and crunchy leaves to kick up. I found myself laughing and throwing leaves around just because. I missed a lot of time sitting in my chair before my knee replacement. I'm not going to miss any more!

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October 2010, AKA The Month of Protecting my Progress

Friday, October 01, 2010

This month is structured around my radiation treatments (rads) for the breast cancer, a treatment every week-day the entire month. My October goal in a snapshot is to balance my energy to minimize the side effects of the rads (which are typically skin irritation and fatigue) while protecting my progress so far.

To keep me focused and accountable, my first tool is tracking my “100-Day Challenge” (a count-down to the New Year) wherein I have committed to the following:
• Log in food every day
• Keep my sodium under 1500 mg per day
• Eat at least 5 fruit/veg per day
• Drink 8 glasses of water per day
• Do 15 minutes of exercise every day

I am also participating on the 10-Minute Daily Exercise Streak (I’ve just started week 2). My medical team doesn’t want me to overdo the exercise, because fatigue is apparently cumulative and they don’t want me exhausted when the rads fatigue kicks in. So my minimum for this is going to be walking (aiming for 5000 steps per day), and my stealth exercise (see Sept review post). Anything over and above that is bonus to me, and will be dependent on my energy levels.

The third challenge I’ve joined is directly relates to my medical team’s advice: to improve my sleep habits as healing is done in the REM period of sleep, which occurs about 4 hours into sleep. I have always been a very light sleeper, and a night owl. The combination means that sometimes I can go 3-4 days with only a very few hours of sleep. Not acceptable. So I’ve joined the “Official Better Sleep Challenge”.

Along with the challenges of meeting the above goals, I have Canadian Thanksgiving and an in-law 25th Wedding Anniversary party to contend with. On the plus side, they both happen the same week-end! The party is being hosted by a very, very good gourmet cook, and will be crowded (about 175 people), so exhausting. But it will be so, so, soooo much fun, I can’t wait!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANLEEW 10/1/2010 9:35PM

    Just keep moving, even a little. I did not sleep well due to a job for 11 years. Not a good thing. Meditating is a good thing also. I only did the chemo part so no reference to radiation other than being an X-ray, CT, MRI Technologist. You will be fine. Keep moving, even a little, keep tracking!

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JOCALAT 10/1/2010 2:23PM

    Do what you want for exercise. My team would ask me everyday, Are you tired yet? Nope...I racewalked 6.0-6.7 miles a day everyday during my 33 treatments. I had a ton of energy.....The one tech even said that that marks she was using were coming off do to exercise and that I may have to stop...I told her to find something else to mark me with because that wasn't an option and my rads dr backed me up!!They couldn't believe how well I did through it....but exercise has always gotten me through anything.....It was great for me mentally and do what you want based on how you feel......its a great plan you have got going on.....

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DIANNEMT 10/1/2010 10:45AM

    Sounds like you have a wonderful attitude regarding your breast cancer treatments. From reading what you have written, I can tell you have the inner strength to be a survivor. My mom is--15 years this year--and two of my good friends are as well. So continue to care for yourself as you have been doing, enjoy the happy times coming up and get enough sleep!! You will be back to your good health very soon!

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