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Back to Sparking!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Iíve been away from Spark for quite some time. I think I needed to step away for a bit and actually experience life so I could assess how things are going: good, great, and room for improvement LOL! I obviously wonít be able to be online as often as I was when I wasnít working, but I will try to get on more regularly.

Good stuff... well, now that I think of it, not much. Iím feeling like I have a lot of great stuff going on right now. Being back at work has been wonderful, and Iím feeling a great sense of accomplishment and empowerment at seeing my past experiences coming together for this particular job. Things I love to do Ė especially writing and working with groups Ė are a big part of this job and two loves that I hadnít been able to incorporate into my work in the past.

My guys (husband and son) are also doing great. My son turned 18 at the beginning of the month, and itís astounding to me that this young adult was that small baby all those years ago. Heís at college to do a paramedic course, and heís loving it. My DH is doing well too, and has settled into himself at work as well as at home. Heís such a wonder to me Ė creative, empathetic, helping people shine. I often pause and just glow in being grateful for all my blessings.

I went basement shopping this morning with my sister (i.e. going through clothes that I had stored down there) and I found some clothes that I can't wear anymore since the mastectomy that fit her. But here's the great part -- the clothes that were too small for me last year fit me now. So even though I haven't lost weight, I have obviously firmed up. Woo Hoo! Then we went shopping and she bought me some workout clothes in thanks for giving her my clothes. Bonus!

Planning for food and having the energy to cook continue to be issues with me, but I refuse to let go of my 3X per week sessions with my personal trainer. Iím gaining so much strength and stamina, and Iím feeling my confidence in my physical body coming back. Itís been a very long time coming, and I canít let go of that now that Iím on the road to recovery. Decemb er 3 will be my one-year mark of being cancer-free (which I count from the day my treatments ended), and I still have a long road to go but I have tangible knowledge that I can do it now.

So food is taking somewhat of a second place to training, but I still strive to eat healthy meals Ė I just donít necessarily cook them! Pre-cut veggies, fruit salad from the coffee shop across the street, sushi (no sauces)... my choices are healthier than they used to be, even if Iím not preparing it myself.

Some lessons learned, if I can call it that...

Part of the answer for me is to be hyper vigilant right now as my struggle changes from day to day, and to accept that I will have to at least have a modicum of awareness for the rest of my life. Push through, always, always keep trying, and once things work donít be afraid to try new things anyway. Changing things up is what keeps it fresh and keeps it working!

Changing my inner dialogue, because if I keep repeating to myself something wonít work, is unpleasant, will be hard... it will be! If, on the other hand, I keep repeating to myself that yes, I can do this, and picture myself doing it, it becomes so much easier! So yeah, fake it til I make it!

Treat myself as well as I would treat my child (e.g. healthy foods, keeping active, etc.) or a stranger (e.g. no bashing or rudeness, no Ďpickingí on them for their appearance, etc.) Why do I treat myself worse than I treat others? I am just as important as them, and appreciate support rather than negativity just as much as others do!

I hope everyone out there is doing great and, for those in Ottawa, appreciating this mild weather weíve been having. The snow will come soon Ė and hopefully skating on the canal for me!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRACYZABELLE 12/19/2011 2:41AM

    So awesome that your basement shopping went well! Now of course is crazy time with holidays-- looking forward to seeing you after the holidays

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KASEYCOFF 11/28/2011 2:16PM

    The fitness / recovery are coming along great - and I know just what you mean about counting the blessings. They're all around us, ain't?
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JULIEANNCAN 11/27/2011 11:03PM

    It is so GREAT to hear from you! I am so glad you are doing well and all of the things at the end of your blog are reminders that I needed for myself. Thank you for sharing all of this. Be kind to yourself and keep on working at it! emoticon

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CHEFKATLEANER 11/27/2011 10:49PM

    Sounds to me like you have made some wonderful progress while you've been away. It's wonderful when we're able to take the lessons we've learned here and apply them successfully in our daily lives. :D

Glad to see you back!

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FITGRL124 11/27/2011 10:17PM

    Hi emoticon I'm so excited to see that you've been doing well & that you're back around!!!! emoticon

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What a Month! (Countdown Ė 17 days left)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Ok. I knew Ė I KNEW Ė that my return to full-time work after having been off for 1.5 years would be tiring, and require some adjustment. I didnít expect how much it would cost in terms of my metabolism (youíd think Iíd know by now LOL!) or my stamina, which practically disappeared.

It feels great to be working again, though, and Iíve been getting a lot of positive feedback on and on my work since my return. Thereís been some tension with new staff, but hopefully weíll work it out. You wouldnít know it by my blogs (or lack thereof), but Iíve rediscovered my love of writing. Most of my work has involved writing lately, with a few meetings thrown in, and Iím coaching a couple of colleagues in taking a more strategic approach to their activities. I have one whiz kid who has been teaching me loads of things on the programs that have been installed on our computers since I left. Itís left my morale high, but my energy low. I am slowly building more stamina, and donít fall asleep as soon as I get home anymore.

I did insist on keep up my 3X per week sessions with my personal trainer, which I began in mid-July. It was really, really difficult at first, and I would run out of breath and have to rest 4-5 times per session. My trainer was accepted at med school and moved, so I was assigned another trainer. I missed sessions because of that change, and because of long week-ends where either my trainer or I (or both of us) were away.

Still, I feel a difference. I no longer have to stop to catch my breath. I walked to the sushi restaurant near work with no pain in the legs or ankles. Weíre increasing the weight for my exercises. Iím still wiped out when I get home and basically go straight to bed after my shower, but the thing is... itís working!!! I cannot believe how empowering it is to have tangible evidence that Iím on the road to regaining my strength, my flexibility, my stamina. Iíve decided that this winter, Iíll be skating and snowshoeing again. Iím thinking of doing my first 5K next spring (I have a co-worker whoís ready to do it with me, and so are my DS and DH).

We also had a wedding out of town recently Ė old friends that have been together for a decade and decided to finally get married. It was a truly beautiful event and although I didnít get to go to all of the festivities (energy low, and heat high), I did get to bask in the joy at some of them. The whole thing was spread over two days, so there were multiple occasions to see everyone.

All of this means I havenít been keeping up on Sparking as much as I would like to. Unfortunately, this also means that I havenít been very supportive (sorry SparkFriends!). Most days I get home and just canít think of another thing to write, or even bear to look at a computer screen. I have been trying to spend some time to browse blogs and message boards, but those times have been few and far between.

I have a lot of catching up to do so off I go!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKCHANTAL 9/23/2011 7:05AM

    you did it! kudos upon kudos!

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JUSTYNA7 9/11/2011 10:45AM

    Absolutely wonderful! You should go back and read some of your old blogs love. Could the exhaustion be related to thyroid levels? I'm not sure where you are with that. With all the business I finally gave in and had some lazy days. I did tai chi stretching from a very simple video and read... lots. Slept .... lots. Took lots of pain meds and "got over the hump" of being exhausted and sore and grumpy. Lots of deep breathing to try to increase the oxygen to my body.

They say that even if you sleep all day, your body can only recover from sleep deprivation by one hour every night. I certainly need my 8-10 hours sleep and wonder if it is sleep apnea or if I am just catching up every time I get a short night because of things happening, early guests etc. Maybe my sleep is more fragile than I realize. Hmmm. Anyways, you will figure this out! The cold nighs sure help me sleep better. Love fall!

Hugs, Justyna

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TRACYZABELLE 9/11/2011 9:49AM

    As long as you rememeber to make time for you!

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RUTHXG 9/9/2011 1:05PM

    I am SO glad to read about the good things at work & your physical progress! Thanks for updating us. This is great news.

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KASEYCOFF 9/9/2011 5:47AM

    Sounds as if you're doing well with balancing everything, and making real improvement in the endurance - that 5K is a wonderful goal!
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JULIEANNCAN 9/8/2011 9:37PM

    I sure know what that transition feels like, although I wasn't gone for quite as long as you were. I hope it gets easier soon. It sounds like you are doing great with keeping up on taking care of yourself! Good for you! :)

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AGRLNKY 9/8/2011 8:05PM

    Best wishes to you in your job!

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TEDYBEAR2838 9/8/2011 7:41PM

    We'll be keeping a light on for you :)



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50 Days to 50!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Well, today is day 50 of my own personal 100-Day Challenge (and also 50 days until my 50th birthday). Time has been going so quickly for the past few weeks, the effort of balancing my energy so I keep getting better (instead of having a setback) has also been quite a learning experience.

I strength train three times per week, in the evenings. Hiring a personal trainer may be one of the best things Iíve ever done. He pushes me far past the point that I would ever have thought I could go. Itís so encouraging to realize how much Iíve done, and then for him to tell me Iíve done more than last time. The first couple of weeks, I was in so much pain on the alternate days (and even longer LOL!), BUT now I have no problem. Now I want to start going for walks on my ďoffĒ days now that the evening weather is cooler.

As of Monday, Iím back at work full-time, about 9 months after having finished my cancer treatments. So the focus of my days is (1) work and (2) my workouts with my personal trainer. Iíve realized, though, that although I try to eat healthy food, Iíve pretty much forgotten how important planning and preparing ahead of time has been for my success. Oops! So this week-end, Iím going to make my plan for the week and prepare my freggies so theyíre easy to grab in the mornings.

My work days have been almost entirely taken up by writing or editing draft policy documents, very focused work the entire eight-hour day. Aside from energy management, itís the other reason I havenít been Sparking much lately. I just havenít had the heart to spend more time in front of the computer (although I have tried a few times). Hopefully Iíll start getting a bit more variety in my work-days (and less writing and computer time) so my Sparking can get back to normal.

In the meantime, I have been thinking about all my SparkFriends and hoping things are going well for all of you. Iím hoping to catch up with everyone this week-end!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTYNA7 8/8/2011 4:48PM

    We knew this day would come and oh my goodness, it is exciting and scary! Keep up with the challenge!

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GRACIOUSGRAPE 8/7/2011 10:16AM

    So happy that life is improving for you and you are well on track in all areas of your life! I should take some lessons from you, maybe then I would see more progress. I seem to let life get in the way of my own personal resolve and goals when it comes to exercise, especially.

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JULIEANNCAN 8/7/2011 2:40AM

    I'm glad things are going well and am encouraged by your increased energy to both exercise and work full time. I hope I will be able to say the same soon. Thinking of you. emoticon

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/6/2011 11:08PM

    I am so happy for you. You seem to have a good resolve to
lose the weight. emoticon

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LIGHTHOUSE0403 8/6/2011 8:42PM

  Wishing you the best!

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Day 62/100 Ė Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I havenít been Sparking very much lately. Iím afraid all my energy has been dedicated to my return to work, which continues to go well, and recovering from my workouts with my personal trainer.

Pain! Iíve been in so much pain! It wasnít unexpected, given that I havenít even moved for a couple of years. But I sure didnít expect it to be so constant or severe. It does go away after a few days, and heís switching around which muscles we target so weíre really waking them up. But, you know... Ouch!

Iíve been walking funny from lower body workouts; Iíve had a hard time typing or writing from my upper body workouts. My forearm was killing me all day Saturday, then the pain disappeared. My calves, on the other hand, are still hurting from last Friday. My trainer assures me that this is a temporary thing, and once I get over the next couple of weeks things will be easier.

Boy, I canít wait! Meanwhile, tonight is my 4th session. Iím crossing my fingers that I can type ok tomorrow, because unlike other sessions Iím actually working the day after!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JULIEANNCAN 7/30/2011 9:52PM

    I hope the pain is getting better, but I am glad you are getting some good workouts with your personal trainer.

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SPARKCHANTAL 7/30/2011 2:31PM

    ho ho. from all the dancing i've done i know where you're coming from. yes, the initial period is a killer, but soon you'll be flying high.
grin and bear it! plug your way through.

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CHEFKATLEANER 7/26/2011 8:08PM

    While painful, it sounds like it's at least a good pain. :D Right? *lol*

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KIWINURSE 7/26/2011 12:29AM

    emoticon Keep it up! You can push past it!
Christine

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TEDYBEAR2838 7/25/2011 10:46PM

    Enjoy what you are learning. It will get better.



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GATOR12 7/25/2011 9:26PM

    Happy that you are able (kinda) to work with a trainer and get all stronger!! It will be worth it eventually when you get not so sore.

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FITGRL124 7/25/2011 9:09PM

    I'm so happy to see you here! Geez, your trainer sounds like he's really working you out! Those pounds should definitely start melting off. emoticon

Work has been busy for me too which is why I haven't been around much either. Here's to a great week for you! emoticon

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MKPRINCESS007 7/25/2011 7:38PM

    Glad to see you here....but what is better to me is that your absence has been from working and having a personal trainer! That's awesome! Sounds like you are getting a lot of benefit from the sessions....shall I say "no pain, no gain".........I know, so cliche but in this case it makes sense, right?

Wishing you the best for a successful session tonight! :)

Karen

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Day 69/100 Ė PT Session 1/144

Monday, July 18, 2011

First session with personal trainer! This may be the best money Iíve ever spent!

My trainer came to our session with a plan, was able to explain the exercises really well, and especially when an exercise to target a particular muscle didnít work for me, was able to switch it up to a different exercise, or even a machine, so that I could work that muscle. I did much, much more than I ever would have on my own, and am so encouraged that the energy Iím putting towards my recovery will be so much better applied.

We did lower body work almost exclusively, with a bit of core, so we can get my metabolism and my stamina built up more quickly. Weíll also work arms, but those are very weak following the mastectomy and we want to build up some stamina before challenging the arms too much. I love that he thought all that out.

Many, many WooHoos!

On another note, my throat still hurts when I swallow -- no better, no worse, so I guess that's a good thing?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKCHANTAL 7/24/2011 1:42PM

    go seawave! btw, just love your doggie picture behind the page. now i figured out how to do it, i have georgie behind mine in his typical pose, also used it as my profile image.
whenever i have a sore throat, i wear a warm winter scarf, 24/7, even to bed. it works.

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JULIEANNCAN 7/20/2011 5:45PM

    emoticon I'm so glad you had a good first session with your personal trainer! :)

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TEDYBEAR2838 7/19/2011 1:49PM

    emoticon on the great workout!

Keep Rocking it!

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JUSTYNA7 7/19/2011 10:14AM

    emoticon

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