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!
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!
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.
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!
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...
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