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!
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...
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.
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!
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