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Hard to Swallow...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

(Countdown: 54 Days to New Yearís)

Ok, I have heard and read that after cancer treatments stop, your brain kind of goes numb, many have a hard time adjusting, some get depressed, etc. Intellectually, I knew all that. I was watching for it.

How come I didnít see it coming at me like a Mac truck? Crashed and burned this past week. I think what kicked it off was the in-laws coming over with pictures of the 25th Wedding Anniversary/Thanksgiving week-end. While Iíll admit that Iím stocky, and my shape has changed since the mastectomy, and my hair is super, super short because it's just growing back after chemo... I wasnít expecting exclamations of ďwhoís that guy?Ē when they looked at the pictures. I mean, I was sitting right there, looking right along with them. I donít get it. People really donít absorb changes in things and people once they get used to seeing them a certain way. Ugh. And Ouch! I thought I was at least rockiní the short hair; now Iím just feeling really self-conscious about everything when I go out.

I didnít quite realize that it had had such an effect on me, but I was lazy, on the sofa and computer/tv all day Thursday and Friday. I was snarky and picked a fight with my DH yesterday. Now I didnít even recognize myself!

So today is another day; Iím ready to take this bull by the horns and tame it. Plans for today include:

ē Check for anything that needs to be done outside, and setting up a schedule to do it this week
ē Check our supplies and replenish anything we need for outside work today (paint!)
ē See what we can do about our kitchen drawers (which are falling apart Ė glue might not do it!)
ē If itís nice, get outside for a walk. Otherwise, get on the stationary bike
ē Iím going to review the daily routines I had drafted a while back, and really set up something that works for me in the morning and at end of day, to make our lives easier here.
ē Iím going to meditate on accepting DH as he is, and not try to force him into walking along my path. He has his own path to walk!
ē As much as I hate to say it, because Iíve never been a Ďgirly girlí, Iím going to look into wearing make-up more regularly, to try to look a bit more like a girly girl! Because I've also never been mistaken for a man, and I really, really didn't like it!
ē It's menu and grocery day, so get some more healthy food in the houe - we're running out of fruit/veg.

Thatís it. Thatís all Iíve got.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELPIE57 11/9/2010 12:11PM

    You are doing so well, adjusting your goals as you need to. Listen to the docs and your body! And you can do it.

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JUSTYNA7 11/9/2010 11:40AM


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GLOMER 11/7/2010 9:41PM

    Every day is a good day - I am so sorry that you were hurt. It is so hard - having cancer first of all is really the pits. (My mastectomy was a year and a half ago). But remember you are you and you are the best! I think I will start with a little make up also. Hang in there and thanks for the inspiration - that make up will make me feel better about me. Hope you just get more beautiful by the day.

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BJENKINS1014 11/7/2010 8:50PM

    So many wonderful posts here! I have nothing to add, except for my emoticon!

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NANNER2121 11/7/2010 7:38PM

    While I'm sure the comments were meant in levity, it is not funny when you are undergoing the protocol. I know how I felt and looked during mine.
It's important that you disregard the insensitive remarks and just focus on your recovery. That is all that is important right now. AND I just bet your newgrowing hair was just as darling as mine was!!

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    You are receiving great advice from your friends here. I'm sure no one was trying to be unkind. Sometimes we just say things without thinking through and then hurt someone, perhaps without even knowing it. At the moment it was hard, but perhaps you have had enough time to think about it. I hate it when people take pictures of us and don't ask first, or show them around without considering how we might feel about it. Or make comments like that. Without my hair, I looked like a guy, too. So I tried to wear a lot of pink, some earrings, etc. Treat yourself to something pretty, perhaps a vase of flowers for your table. That yard work and painting sound perfect if the weather cooperates. Great exercise! I did some of that last week. Swept out my garage a couple of days ago, too. Just remember to take one day at a time. You are still healing. And get some rest. DH is probably going though his own thing right now, too. Been there! Keep posting! We care!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JANLEEW 11/7/2010 12:18PM

    Celebrate any hair at all! I remember going to a job interview with barely 2 layers of hair! Plan a reward for yourself and DH for getting through these rough spots! Then do it!

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KELPIE57 11/7/2010 11:07AM

    Your other spark friends have nailed it......take the time you need, and be yourself....and Nil illigitimus non carborundum

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MEMARE 11/7/2010 10:28AM

    I agree with the previous posts.
You've been given your life, a new beginning. Focus on your beautiful self.
Keep fighting like a girl! emoticon emoticon

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PINK-SOLDIER 11/7/2010 10:03AM

    emoticonFocus on what you want, remember you are beautiful inside and out, keep working on the person you wan to be. emoticon emoticonInga

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JOCALAT 11/7/2010 9:27AM

    I agree with Indypeartree..what great advice....this is your new beginning...when you talk to other bc survivor members on this team they are living their lives, fuller than before...they give me hope and inspiration...this stage will past and you will be stronger for it....not sure why we are chosen but their is a divine reason.....when I had my son 17 years ago, I never asked why he was born with downs but embraced the gift that God gave me and thank god I did...because he has been a precious gift every single day...some people may have looked at it as a burden but to me he was a gift because I did not think I could have children and then another gift aof a healthy girl arrived 15 months later....its how we react to life's challenges that makes or brakes will come out stronger!!

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INDYPEARTREE 11/7/2010 7:55AM

    Oh Sweetie, I'm so sorry. I completely understand. I crashed and burned after my last rad appt. I was a mess and not prepared for it in any way. The last year had been spent at doctors, procedures and treatments. My life had disappeared. After treatment, I had nothing to do, I was at a loss. Where to turn and what to do? It was a season and it passed. It was hard to go through at the time.

Time for a new beginning! I'm sure your hair is darling and you'll like it more as it grows out. Look into doing something you've always thought about doing, learn to knit, find some new recipes, go for a facial or mani-pedi, massage, start nurturing the new you! Read a good book, look for purpose, start studying about nutrition, get some good vitamins, so many adventures out there to be explored. You've been given your life, go do something fabulous with it! Don't stress the ones to don't 'get it'. It's your journey, make the most of it! Love and ((((HUGS)))) Donna

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Done, Done, Done!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

(Countdown - 58 days left until 2011!)

Today was the last day of my radiation treatments. I'm still a little leary of what that means. My days have been organized around these for the past five weeks, and I'm entering a brand new world of no more cancer treatments. It feels stranger than I thought it would.

I'm happy to have started with SparkPeople before my treatments, because now I feel like I'm ahead of the game in recovery. There are so many inspiring people here, and it makesa huge difference to me that the discussion is about being more active, healthier, eating nutritiously.

Here's to the rest of my life!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSPRIS3 11/5/2010 2:52PM

    Good for you for completing your treatments!

To better health

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MEMARE 11/4/2010 3:32PM

Congratulations and welcome to the world of radiation completion!
I felt such a great relief not to have to do treatment anymore; but I do miss my team of radiation techs. They were awesome!

Be healthy emoticon emoticon

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KELPIE57 11/4/2010 2:01AM

    One stage ended, another will begin, and you know what to do, just do it your way!

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JUSTYNA7 11/4/2010 12:14AM

    It is weird when you stop a routine even when you hate it. You put a lot of effort into "control" and suddenly the freedom means you feel like you are spinning free. I like to walk it out if I can. I'm not sure how long it will be until you feel well enough to do that : (

I next do grateful lists. Talk, blog, cry. Anything except eat if that is possible. I am one of those busy people. The more I do the more efficient I get. Hard to stop. I guess that is why there is yoga and breathing. Mmmm deep breathing.

I'll just send you hugs and tell you I am HAPPY for you. PROUD of you. emoticon The countdown is still ON!

Comment edited on: 11/4/2010 12:14:29 AM

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    You go girl! Has the doctor put you on meds? I was in a clinical trial (just ended) and got the new drug, Aromasin. If you do a Spark web search for it, there is a page with the clinical trial results. No bone loss, as with Tamoxifen, for one thing, and the survival rates, etc., were higher. 5 years cancer free for me! God bless you!

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MISSWINGS1 11/3/2010 10:51PM

    Go for it, girl!

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BIGWEAVE77 11/3/2010 10:49PM

    Congrats!! Hope your road to full recovery is a smooth one, we will be pulling for you!!

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Yesterday was a great, productive day!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

(Countdown to New Yearís Ė 59 days left to 2010!)

Best accomplishment: balanced food (brought snacks, so for our after-appointments coffee date I had fruit instead of baked goods; and had supper in the slow cooker, so we didnít get take-out).

Lesson Learned: walking in my clogs doesnít work so well anymore, now that my feet arenít so swollen. Finally found some silicone toe protectors, and will try those and see if it helps with my chemo toe nails so I can wear socks and closed shoes!

Planning makes such a big difference in my day, and Iíve finally found a system that works for me. I got a reminder at the hospital yesterday to not push too hard, too fast, and that return to work in January might not be the wisest move to make. Iíll have to really think hard on that. Iíve never been one to abuse of a system, and I already feel so, so lucky to have universal health care and long-term disability insurance. But Iím also hyper-aware that I returned to work much too quickly after the thyroid cancer, and donít want to make that mistake twice!

Iím trying hard to put thoughts of work on the way-far-in-the-back burner for now, and concentrate my limited energy on getting healthy and creating a better home environment (yes, I mean decluttering!). Slow and steady will win the race in both those cases so thatís my strategy.

Tonight will be supper out for my sonís birthday, and heís debating two restaurants. One I can find nearly healthy choices (still too much sodium), but the other one is strictly a burger place so not much hope there. I think they donít even have salads, so it will be a burger with brie cheese and pears, and a few sweet potato fries stolen from my DHís plate, which come to think of it may be better than that first place with all the sodium. Hmmmmm...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTYNA7 11/4/2010 12:20AM

    I don't know if you have read Diana Gabaldon but I love her books. I have not only read them all but am listening to them all on audio books. You have some time so think of what you could do with some time. You are healing at a cellular level. While that is happening treat your mind or body. People always say "if only I had time I would get healthy". Have a routine of eating and exercising. You can do this. PS, great planning. I did and it backfired. Oh well. It doesn't mean it never works. Sometimes there just has to be a plan B too, lol.

Comment edited on: 11/4/2010 12:20:44 AM

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KELPIE57 11/2/2010 10:19AM

    You are not abusing the system, you are going to save it money, by getting better quicker, so the long term saving is much better, financially for the system, emotionally and physically for you!

Enjoy the birthday meal, and say happy birthday from me. emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/2/2010 10:42:32 AM

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GATOR12 11/2/2010 9:38AM

    Sounds to me you are wisely using your time to gain your strength and be a productive employee. Also you are making notes about your health, taking charge of where to eat, what to eat and possible eat out places!! Kudos to you for being on a path to better living!

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FABRICGIRL1 11/2/2010 9:38AM

  Keep planning your days -- I think that is a big part of success

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November 1st Ė 60 days left to 2010!

Monday, November 01, 2010

A new month the perfect opportunity to re-assert my commitment to better health (amended from my October 14 list). Iíll be reviewing/adjusting it monthly.

Iím looking forward to this new month, particularly as it is the beginning of my life after cancer treatments (the last one is November 3rd). Iím off work until January, recovering from this year-long adventure. Itís a great opportunity to really focus my efforts on improving my health. Forgive me if I repeat myself in my blogs... Iím still amazed that I have this opportunity to focus on regaining my health (which I didnít the first time I had cancer). Some things are still sinking in!

General Theme of Improvement
ē Meditate daily
ēComplete ď30 Days to a Simpler LifeĒ from the Clutter Free Living Team
ē Blog about my day, to keep me on track and accountable, and ask for help when needed!

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

Physical fitness:
ē Walk 5000 steps daily
ē Do BC exercises daily

Coming Soon (December/January)
ē Aquafit (December)
ē Practice piano daily (havenít played in 25+ years!) (December)
ē Finish the year under 220 lbs (December 31)
ē Complete the Better Sleep Challenge
ē Return to structured weight training and cardio
ē Return to work (January 4, 2011!)

Thatís it! My plan for November (and a bit beyond!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELPIE57 11/1/2010 12:34PM

    Well done, I need to write out my plan too.....

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FLIGGACHICA 11/1/2010 12:22PM

    Happy Recovery to you!I'm going to check out the 30 days to a simpler life. Thanks! I enjoyed your blog!

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I'm Number One!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

(Countdown to New Yearís Ė 61 days left to 2010!)

Iíve been having some deep thinky thoughts lately about my life. Letís just say that when it comes to having help and support, Iíve always been put and learned to put myself last on the list. My mother used to say that I was the one she never had to worry about, or pay attention to because I was so self-sufficient.

When I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) in Dec 2009, the doctors were all over me. Unlike my first cancer (thyroid), IBC is a very aggressive form of cancer, and put me on everyoneís priority list. Tests that usually take 8-12 months to schedule took two days.

In a sense, I was one step removed from the control I usually had in my life. However, instead of fighting to regain control, I relaxed into this new sensation of being taken care of. Donít get me wrong. Chemo, surgery, dealing with four drains for a month, radiation, the fatigue, nausea... none of it was fun, by any definition of the word. But I had a job - to maximize my chances of living cancer free, and minimize any side effects. And an entire team of medical professionals was supporting me in doing that!

Iím only coming to realize what strength I garnered from that suppot. Yeah, it was good. This morning, I realized that when I turned to SparkPeople early in September, I was subconsciously seeking to re-create that support and shared strength. I couldnít have fallen onto a better crowd!

When I think of how this transfers into my new life, I see the following:

ē Walking or biking will not be used solely to get from point A to point B, to do errands, to get to work. I will also walk and bike because I love walking and biking, and I miss it.
ē I also used to skate from the Rideau Centre to Dowís Lake and back (so, about 15 km) every night the skateway was open. Iím going to take that up again.
ē My health and wellbeing are just as important as payments on the mortgage, my sonís soccer membership, my husbandís daily coffee run, or whatever. I will budget funds to pay for exercise courses (aquafitness, learning to swim, zumba, yoga, tai chi, etc.) to take care of ME!
ē I now accept that I sometimes need or want help, and I have to practice asking for it. I will delegate to others, and not hover to make sure things are done to my so-called Ďexacting standardsí, freeing up time to take care of ME!
ē Iím going to search out innovative ways to get a support system going in my real life (to complement my virtual SP one!). Itís going to be a ĎTeam Meí for everyone on it, and they will all benefit. If my family members want a spot on the team, theyíll have to earn it!
ē Rather than observing from the sidelines and helping everyone else achieve their goals, Iím going to go after my own too!

Even as I type this Iím hearing that internal monologue that says Iím being too selfish, or that Iíll be wasting money, or taking time away from the family. Enough, I say! The first half of my life was about everybody else; the second half will be about a better me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTYNA7 11/4/2010 12:17AM

    Are you kidding! ? YOU are finally seeing the real value in life. Take it and run!

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KELPIE57 10/31/2010 12:11PM

    you are soooo worth it!

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JOCALAT 10/31/2010 11:59AM

    I couldn't have said it better myself!!

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