Friday, February 01, 2013
The biggest decision I’ve made in a very long time is to reduce my working hours. As of this month, I’m working 4 days per week instead of 5. This is to address both the fatigue issue (I’m hoping!) and the lack of balance in my life. With all my energy going to work (I fall asleep on the way to work and on the way home), I have had very little energy for the rest of my life: exercise, family, maintaining our home, leisure… So I have big hopes that this will help with all of that. I’m lucky that my boss is very understanding of the fact that I’m still discovering and coming to terms with my limitations. I’m not sure how much of this is still cancer recovery, and how much of it is actually what I can expect from now on. What I do know is that it is what it is, for today. So that’s what I’m working with.
My oncologist this week approved cardio for me, so I can add that to my strength training now. My trainer has even suggested that I could do some aqua fitness instead of one of my sessions with her, until my energy builds up. Yet another person in my life that came at the right time and is wonderfully supportive. I will continue doing my weight training with her. Although we plan on three times per week, I haven’t been able to reach that in quite some time so that’s one of my goals for February. I’ll add biking at home on the stationary (likely in the morning) for the cardio, and aqua fitness on the week-end when I have the energy.
I’ve stumbled upon a book by Julia Cameron called “The Writing Diet”, and that is essentially what I’m going to use to help me in sorting out my thoughts about food, exercise and all sorts of wonderful things. She has seven “tools”, the first of which is the “Morning Pages”, essentially a stream of consciousness journal to write first thing in the morning. Other tools include walking, culinary artist dates, etc. Then she goes on to address specific issues (e.g. “the refrigerator”, “scaling the scale”), and it’s all written in an easy-to-read fun style that appeals to me. Of course, it being based on writing was my first attraction and I’m only starting. I look forward to seeing what comes from this.
To curb the “I have to do everything, and I have to do it now” personality in me, I am foregoing any other “personal development” books, programs and the like until I finish “The Writing Diet” unless they are part of “The Writing Diet”. I’m giving myself six months – so to end of July – to really apply this and see what becomes of it. It really feels like I’ve found a good fit for me, though, and I am very encouraged.
Finally, I want to add one new activity per month. This month, of course, is re-introducing cardio. Other things for later on include sock poi (simple – a ball in a sock that you swing around; looks like lots of fun and will work my arms, which are still mush LOL!); hula hoop; yoga… who knows? There is so much out there to try, it’s hard to imagine I won’t find many, many things I like to do.
I’d love to read about your favorite activities, those things you do that get you jazzed about adding activity to your lives!
Thursday, January 31, 2013
This month has been very difficult for our family, with two deaths (one New Year's Eve and one this week) as well as a work colleague who passed away recently from the same cancer I had. My oncologist also for the first time gave me stats regarding survival with my type of cancer - I always knew the 50% with no additional treatment, but even with the additional hormonal treatment I still have a 20% chance of it coming back. My dad was also in the hospital with pneumonia, high fever, delirium. Very worrying as he's nearly 91 years old, and we are so far away. I hate being far away.
So what I'm keeping from all that is (a) loved ones are no longer suffering (b) my Dad is out of the hospital and (c) I have 80% odds that I beat this thing.
Yesterday, the same day I received the news of one death and my onco's percentages, I had a workout with my trainer. SO, SO happy I did not cancel (although I strongly felt like it). I actually was able to do more than I have in a long time, and it reinforced my determination to keep at it. The oncologist also said I'm doing everything right to fight the cancer, and that I can start cardio (10 minutes a day, which works out well because I recently joined the 5% challenge!)
I've also found a new-to-me book, "The Writing Diet" by Julia Cameron. She's the author of "The Artist's Way" that I was already familiar with through my DH, but this week was the first time I saw this book. Basically, Ms. Cameron noticed that as her students unblocked their creativity, they lost weight. So she's pondered it and written "The Writing Diet" for we writers out here. I am definitely a writer by nature, so this is right up my alley. I believe it will help me focus my energies in a way that logging food and counting exercise minutes doesn't; neither one of those things comes naturally to me.
So here's to a wonderful February 2013 for all of us! I'm already looking forward to my 25th wedding anniversary, and a week at fellow Sparker Justyna7's B&B with my DH!
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Well, here I am awake all night (again). My energy is so off, I sleep on the way to work and on the way home, fall asleep as soon as I sit down after supper, then I'm awake all night. I suspect my meds are off again/still - I should find out today.
All this awake time led me to shuffle and draw from my "Self-Care Cards". This is just the fourth time I use them, and two of the other three times I drew the "Dream" card. Well, tonight I drew the "Peace" card, which reads: "Embrace your confusion. Let there be peace in not knowing all the answers."
That brought me to think of the serenity prayer
"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference."
Now, I'm usually pretty good at being able to know the difference; I've had a lot of guidance and a lot of experience. I've always been proud of that, and proud that I've been able to translate those difficult experiences into helping others.
I'm realizing that in this particular instance, though, I have not got a clear vision of what I can and can not change. I am six years after thyroid cancer, two years after breast cancer, and my energy and so the things I can do are just no where near where I want them to be. Last week, a friend who had the same type of breast cancer that I did passed away, the cancer having spread into her bones. It hit close to home, it's still a very real risk for me, as the type of cancer we had has only a 50% survival rate past five years.
So is are my lower energy levels and my inability to do much of anything on a consistent basis, are those things that I have to accept? Something I can improve? If I push myself too hard, am I opening myself up to further problems? I just don't know, and my oncologists are not very helpful on that front. I'll tackle it again with him today, as the one I'm seeing today is much more aware and conversant in these things.
So, this is me, embracing the confusion, and seeking peace in not knowing all the answers! Is it "peace" if I'm still asking questions???
Sunday, January 27, 2013
The holidays were a trying time. I worked between Xmas and New Year's, and there were two accidents at work that kept us busy. There was also a death in the family, and my dad has been in and out of the hospital. So I started January off course, working very full days including lunch, working late some nights, not eating well, not sleeping well.
So I'm gearing up to get back on track in February.
I've joined the 10-minute challenge team, and will be joining the 5% Challenge team as soon as I can find the link LOL! But more importantly, I've got the experience behind me to know how much better I feel when I plan my food and when I exercise more regularly and that's what I'm aiming for. DH and I are going to stay at fellow Sparker Justyna's B&B for our wedding anniversary in mid-February, and I know that just being there is so supportive and a boost to spirit. I am sooo looking forward to it.
I've also started adapting some tools I've found around - a deskercise bingo game, a set of sock poi (because my arms are mush!), a ball at my desk at home, and a kneeling chair at work (the ball just won't fit in my teeny office area!). And the big wall calendar I bought myself to use at work? I'm keeping it for my wellness program!
I'm counting the days to Jan 30th; I expect my oncologist is going to green-light cardio now that we're sure it's the meds that were causing me ankle/hip/pelvic pain.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
It nearly feels like a confession, but I am coming to terms with negative aspects of this planning thing that has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. My mind just naturally sees things in a linear fashion, I guess, breaks things down into steps and makes order of them to get to the other side.
Except for now. For the past few years. Since cancer (both cancers!)
There is so much I have to do, it seems that I go two steps forward, and one step (or more) back. I'm getting tired, and it's beginning to really have an affect on me. And I realized I just don't know the sequencing of everything I need to do. It's easy enough for me to accept "one step at a time" and "baby steps", but are they the right "one steps" or "baby steps". I'm in my head too much, thinking thinky thoughts, and not getting into the action. So I've found a couple of tools to get me out of my head, and back to action and focus.
As many of you out there know, there are many, many aspects to wellness in all aspects of life. As I was browsing a bookstore after supper the other night, just killing time until DH went to get the car, I found a set of cards that I think will work perfectly for me: Cheryl Richardson's "Self-Care Cards". There are 52 cards, I pick one per day (might go to one per week later) to help me focus consistently on at least one thing, for one day. That's it - no further than that; no planning ahead. And it gets me out of my head. For example, today's card is: "Boundaries" and the reverse says: "Set boundaries. Protect your precious time and energy."
The second thing that I think will help (haven't tried it yet) is an action bingo for at work. Set up like a bingo card (even a "free" square in the middle!), but with activity blocks all around it. The objective is to cross off all the blocks by the end of the week (or I suppose one could do one line per day). Found it
on a just-discovered blog that I think I will be visiting regulary :
kercise-bingo-free-printable/ She invites people to print and use her stuff.
So I'll combine these two tools with my weight training (which I am still striving to do at least three times a week - two times seems to be the most I can do so far). And coming to Spark more often, as you are all truly an inspiration to me.
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