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Still Rolling!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

(Countdown: 50 days to New Yearís!)

Today is a day we remember and recognize the contributions of our veterans towards protecting our freedoms and those of people who are unable to protect themselves. There is a long history of military service in my family Ė my grandfathers in WWI, my motherís uncle died at Vimy Ridge, my father and his brothers in WWII (my father was wounded), my uncle in the US Marines, and other family members have served in various capacities. So I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge all that and express my gratitude. I have an empty cartridge that my grandfather carried with him during WWI. It holds a tiny crucifix and a statue of the Virgin Mary. Carrying it with me makes me feel closer to all of them today.

Other than that, itís been an eventful week so far. I met with my work team for lunch yesterday, and we had a blast. I havenít seen them since I left work in January, and there have been so many changes since then. One of the guys has been married, another engaged. One of the women has become a grandmother for the first time. I feel like Iím missing so much! They went around our floor and took pictures of people, who then wrote messages to me in a scrapbook. Itís easy to feel the warmth and support when I see them and have something tangible like that to hold. I am truly blessed to have such support at work.

That support continued today when I called my manager to report on my medical appointment yesterday afternoon. My oncologist is putting me on tamoxifen as soon as I finish reacting to the radiation therapy, and he said I might have a rough time of it. Given my history, I wouldnít be surprised. Every time my metabolism has changed Ė puberty, pregnancy, chemo Ė Iíve reacted very badly. Maybe Iíve done the terrible three, though, and this time will be a breeze Ė you never know! In any event, although I was thinking perhaps I would return to work in January, heís saying thatís more like 6-9 months away (so May-August). Weíll reassess when I see him in January.

Keeping with my Ďrolling with the punchesí mentality, though, once the shock was over I was ok with this extended leave. I spoke to my manager today, and sheís insistent that I take all the time I need to recover properly Ė my job is assured when I go back. Iíll just take advantage of this unexpected Ďme timeí to revisit some things that have dropped by the wayside, and explore some new interests. Bonus: My finger nails all broke off at that Ďchemo ridgeí. The painful finger tips and splitting nails and bandaids on the fingers are all gone. That means I donít have to wait to start practicing Christmas songs on the piano. I havenít played for 25 years, and I couldnít ask for a better time to get back into it. I love Christmas music!

I've had so much support from my SparkFriends, too, while I hit my bumps in the road this week. So my last thanks is for you and all your invaluable support. Your words of wisdom came almost immediately (when I was homealone and brooding) and helped me get out of my funk!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELPIE57 11/12/2010 2:17AM

    My sister had Tamoxifen for five years. She had cancer age 40 and is now 57, a survivor. Take the time to slowly get fit and do the things that you hadn't done for you before. If you are lucky to have your job kept open, maybe it's because you deserve it?
So good luck with the piano, and Christmas music!

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Rolling With the Punches

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

(Countdown: 52 days until New Yearís!)

Iíve been sliding a lot lately with regard to exercise and nutrition. Radiation treatment sessions are over, but my skin continues to burn and is now broken in some areas. Friction from clothing when I exercise is compounding the problem, so Iím staying away from that.

I admit that I didnít react too well to this particular setback. I was so focused on finishing treatments and my skin was doing so well; I kind of forgot that the burning continues for a couple of weeks afterwards. It felt like another betrayal by my body.

Iím over that, though.

Iíve temporarily switched my focus, and am putting more energy towards decluttering the house, identifying daily routines that will work for me, and organizing my recipes (with an eye to nutrition, of course!) and my kitchen. The household has been sorely neglected while I battled breast cancer, and it feels really good to be taking steps to get on top of it again.

I go to the chemo-oncologist tomorrow, and we will hopefully be able to determine when I can return to work. Iím thinking January, but the rads-onco thought it might be closer to April because of the chemo. I will be going out for lunch with my work team, though, so that will be fun. I havenít seen them since January, and a lot of changes have happened Ė one has gotten married, another engaged, and another became a grandma for the first time! Iím expecting to see a lot of pictures!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLOMER 11/9/2010 1:26PM

    It's been a tough road so give yourself some slack. We know you can do this. You can beat BC and I know it. I have a wonderful onc and she helps me stay up.
The rest of the world can wait for you - I will. emoticon

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JUSTYNA7 11/9/2010 11:39AM

    Getting back on the bike is hard.. especially when you are dressed in a giant marshmallow costume. I think your goals are great and going to lunch and getting into other people's lives a good recipe for getting better. Have fun. Take it slow. Maybe the time is for more reason than you know. Maybe it's not about you!

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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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