Saturday, November 27, 2010
(Countdown to New Yearís Ė 34 days left!)
Well, the radiation burns are finally healing, and I can move around more comfortably. Of course, that means Iím getting right back on that exercise horse to get back into shape!
I tend to be a collector, and many of the SP concepts seem to be geared to me (or maybe thatís just how Iím reading it LOL!). With the Spark Streaks concept, Iíll goad myself into doing things on a daily basis, trying to increase the length of my streaks. I also think the minute-tracking for the exercise will help me, as I challenge myself to do more minutes per day/week/month. Iíve joined the ď2010 Winter 5% ChallengeĒ, an 8-week challenge to lose 5% of my body weight. It begins in mid-December, just in time to bring me through the Holidays.
Speaking of the Holidays, my finger nails are nearly back to normal, so I can start practicing Christmas songs on the piano. I havenít played in 25 years, but I have time on my hands so why not? Iíve also begun to plan my Christmas baking. My SIL canít eat gluten, and I seem to be the only one who understands what that means baking-wise, so Iím doing a couple of special things for her in addition to stuff for everyone else! Itís a bit of an odd feeling as last year there wasnít much being done Ė I had been having problems since mid-August, and the breast cancer was diagnosed December 16th. It seems like itís been a long time since weíve really celebrated the Holidays, and this year is going to be quite a party. Suffice it to say itís in town, but weíre bringing sleeping bags!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
(Countdown to New Yearís Ė only 37 days left!)
Radiation burns are starting to heal, new skin is starting to come through Ė finally! Itís still difficult to move much because of the friction, but Iím looking forward to getting back on the exercise track. Things are so slow right now, though. Iím appreciating the extra time that I to meditate and really explore the Ďnew meí.
If anything, having breast cancer hasnít illuminated anything in particular, but it has served to confirm some of my core values and life decisions.
First and foremost, when DH and I married 22 years ago, after having gotten engaged two weeks after we started going out together... yeah, that was the right decision. I donít have the words to express how much I love and appreciate him Ė wonít even try, because it wouldnít do him justice.
One thing that I have always held to be true is that every person is a treasure because of what they are inside. That wonderful husband that I mentioned above, he has confirmed that he agrees with me. I will never wear the standard female body ever again. I will not be doing reconstruction and donít care to wear foobies. When I told my husband of my decision, he said whatís important is whatís inside, and the look in my eyes when I look at him. I cannot express how reassuring that is, after the assault of media images that try to convince me that thin and curvy is where itís at. No, where itís at is right here where I am, with him.
Further, things are not as important as people. I learned this lesson in my mid-teens, after having lost dozens of people to illness and accidents. It was odd to realize that I had somewhat lost that focus and begun accumulating things. Ugh. Now Iím decluttering, and donating a lot of things to people who are in more need of them. Iím rediscovering my minimalist core, and it feels very liberating.
Iím about half way through my life (Iíll be 50 next year), but Iím still Ďunder developmentí. Iíll try to keep blogging, and would be happy if you joined me for the ride!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
(Countdown Ė 48 days until New Yearís)
So happy today. I started off the day early (woke up around 4:30), got up around 5:30 because I couldnít fall back asleep. I got some food in the slow cooker, so supper is ready. I had a nice, productive discussion with DH that clarified some things about how we can better work together, took a nap that turned into 4 hours of sleep, then helped DH paint the garage door/porch.
Although Iíve known Iím in a recovery period, I think I didnít quite realize what that meant in practical terms. The radiation is still burning, and I canít wait until that is over (soon, soon I remind myself!) This week I learned that for now, recovery means I do one thing, then I need a break or even a nap, then I can go on to another thing. My rational self is telling me duh, of course that makes sense; between the thyroid cancer and the breast cancer, I have been quite sedentary for about six years. If I donít take a break or nap, Iím useless for the rest of the day. ĎUselessí is so not where I want to be, so Iím taking my break/nap as my body calls for it. Worked out great today!
In reading through Justyna7ís blog today, the concept of thinking about warm fuzzy thoughts instead of warm comfort foods really resonated. I think this is something that would really be helpful to me. Instead of comfort foods, I could think of:
Snowshoeing up the mountain the morning of our wedding, and collecting pine boughs to decorate the chapel.
White water rafting on La Rouge Ė which was pushing myself way beyond my comfort zone. This also brings to mind how much wider my comfort zone is when DH is with me.
Enjoying biking around Ottawa, or walking around the market.
The jungle night walk in Costa Rica. Also in CR, foregoing the tourist shop in favour of checking out the noise in the tree across the street Ė hundreds of parrots settling in for the night, with the sunset filtering through the branches.
Gliding on the Rideau canal at night, right after theyíve watered it and itís sooo smooth, in that one section between Dowís Lake and Pretoria Bridge. You look up and see trees and stars. Beautiful and serene.
Get togethers with the family, dancing, laughing and just plain fun!
Hiking for hours and getting that perfect photo, after having waited patiently for how long? Donít know. Donít care. The rustling of the leaves, small animals racing about, waiting for that beaver to pop back out of its den, or that deer to turn just so, or the sun to just peek out from behind the clouds. Sweet.
Yes, they are all things of the past, but theyíre also things I look forward to being able to do again.
I feel like I got so much accomplished today, not only practical things but also in settling my mind. Feels wonderful!
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!
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