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The stars are aligned!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January is half-way through, my motivation is back, and all sorts of elements are aligning to support my activities in this next phase.

It began when I joined the Winter 5% Challenge (Iím a Starfish!). Unfortunately, this coincided with starting Tamoxifen, and I will be no where near losing any weight. In fact, Iíll be lucky if I can finish at the same weight I began. Ugh.

However, thatís all just a hiccup in the road. With the New Year, Iím determined to aggressively attack any residual issues following 2010ís chemo/surgery/radiation, and Iíve lined up appointments as required. Iíve been to one appointment already with the chiropodist, and it has helped tremendously with the toes, although I still canít wear shoes :-(

The basics with regard to nutrition and exercise have been haphazard at best in 2010, so Iím starting with a clean slate, keeping to the basics. I began the year by joining the ďOfficial 10-Minute Daily Exercise Streak ChallengeĒ. I know 10 minutes is minimal, but I am feeling a difference and it encourages me to work harder.

I also said I was going to rediscover my passions, and one thing Iíve rediscovered is the piano. I havenít played in 25 years, but my husband challenged me to play for 2 minutes (yep, only 2 minutes) one day. Once I started I couldnít stop. I played for about an hour! Muscle memory is a wonderous thing, and my fingering and the music is just coming back to me.

Two other groups are contributing to this synergy. Justyna7 over in the ďPeople in OttawaĒ group has started another 100-Day Countdown Challenge, which weíre starting on January 15th. Iíve made 8 commitments to the team.
1. Drink 8X8 oz water/day
2. Exercise 10 min/day
3. Eat within my recommended calorie range
4. Eat within my recommended low sodium range
5. Use my slow cooker or rice cooker at least once per day
6. 15-min Zone work per day (inspired by
7. My average weight will decrease weekly
8. Daily reports to the mini-team!

These marry well with the two other challenges, and Iím aiming to keep motivated by identifying mini-rewards.

Lastly, I began a ďLiving Well Beyond CancerĒ course last night with the Canadian Cancer Society. It lasts six weeks. They have asked that we establish a goal for the week and that we report back to the group next week. Weíll be doing this on a weekly basis. Well, Iíve already got my goals, so no problem there. But reporting back to that group, face-to-face, will be an accountability I havenít had before and gives added encouragement.

So, the stars are aligning for me to get on top of my health this year, and return to an active lifestyle. This is going to be MY YEAR!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTYNA7 1/16/2011 11:44AM

    Hurry for the burst of motivation! The first few weeks are the hardest. Can't wait for you to be here and exercising in the pool! The shoes must be such a challenge. When people have casts, I think there are braces they can wear as an alternative. Something that could be covered? I think a chiropadist is a good idea but does the Rehab hospital have a foot clinic too? Hmmm. I will pray that you find an answer because I think it would give you a leap forward.

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JMCADE 1/14/2011 6:28PM

    Good for you. I think it helps when we join teams that help us to specifically reach our goals. Looks like you have a couple of good ones there and even your outside group is an additional way to stay motivated. Keep moving forward. You can do it. Remember to keep posting your activity and exercise, even if it is only 10 minutes a day. It helps to see in print what you are accomplishing. GO STARFISH!!!!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 1/13/2011 9:12PM

    great plan! I haven't been doing too great in the challenge either, but I do think it's helped me stay accountable! Good luck in your new challenges! emoticon

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IMAGINE_IT 1/13/2011 6:26PM

    emoticon on getting your Motivation back..making plans and starting to play the piano better Therapy then doing something you love. 2011 will be a great Year for you!!
By the way i belong to the Firecracker Team in the 5% Winter Challenge emoticon

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KELPIE57 1/13/2011 3:25PM

    Go for it!

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Freeing the Butterfly in 2011

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A new year provides an occasion to serenely find my footing for the rest of my life. The past year has been dedicated to treating breast cancer, with the diagnosis having come mid-Dec 2009, and the first chemo treatments in mid-January 2010. Radiation burns finally healed in mid-December 2010. I still have a few residual issues, with the toenails being the one that most affects me Ė I still canít wear shoes (or boots!), a great problem for being active outside in our Canadian winters!

However, the library has a wonderful collection of DVDs for yoga, indoor walking, and various other exercises. SparkPeopleís collection of exercise demos and videos is astounding! And, cherry on the top, my husband wants to exercise with me! So 2011 is going to be my year for returning to an active lifestyle. By the time spring comes, I will be ready for hiking and biking.

The other part of this is discovering (or rediscovering) my hobbies and passions. My tastes are expanding, and to me everything is a possibility right now. My strategy is to take small steps each day that put me closer to exploding the cocoon Iíve been in and freeing the active, beautiful butterfly inside.

January Goals:
ē Complete ďOfficial 10-Minute Daily Exercise Streak ChallengeĒ Ė Earn That Trophy!
ē Finish painting 1/2 bath reno
ē Keep home-made soup on hand for lunches, snacks
ē Learn one piece on the piano (I havenít played in 25 years!)
ē Bake at least once per week
ē Really experiment with breakfasts, and find some healthier choices that the family loves
ē Improve our money management

Happy New Year everyone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LISED58 1/10/2011 1:16PM

    ... you know, you've reminded me to also have fun. Rediscovering pleasurable hobbies will be added to my list of fun things to do in 2011. Thanks for your motivation, Seawave.

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JUSTYNA7 1/4/2011 12:51PM

    Excellent goals and I KNOW you can achieve them. emoticon

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KELPIE57 1/3/2011 11:17AM

    Just flap those wings!

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JMCADE 1/1/2011 10:24PM

    Great goals and attitude for the new year.

Here's to you attaining your goals and releasing the butterfly!!

You can do it!

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Itís the little things...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Iíve been on pause from SP for a couple of weeks Ė unexpected, but intentional as I adjust my expectations with regard to returning to work, and my body to taking Tamoxifen. I expected to return to work in January, but the onco says not until May-August. Tamoxifen was also a surprise. This has all come at Christmas time, when people keep asking me what I want for Christmas. I canít think of one material thing that I want. Huh.

Gifts Iíve been unintentionally given lately, though, have been numerous.

My 17 y-o son declared that he was eating healthier lately, and that was because of changes my DH and I have made to our meals. And he likes it!

After drinking coffee with milk or cream for the past 40+ years, I have finally learned to enjoy it black. That means a special outing with DH is as simple as going for a cappuccino at our favourite coffee shop, and thatís a real spoil for me! So a simple reward for myself, and something DH enjoys as well.

My smaller pants are coming off without unbuttoning/unzipping. Huh. Perplexing, since I havenít lost weight lately (need to measure to see if Iíve lost inches!).

I received a $75 coupon from a clothing store I shop at, and expect to not be able to use it as Iím not buying any new clothes. Then I noticed it only expires in a year. WooHoo! Iíll be able to use it to buy new work clothes (which Iíll need by then because I will lose weight, and none of my clothes fit since the

My DH has agreed to exercise with me, so weíre getting set up for that at home space-wise.

My parents-in-law unexpectedly changed their plans and are in town for Christmas. WooHoo!

So things are already starting to look brighter, despite the ongoing irritations following chemo/radiation/Tamox. Iím already looking forward to the wonderful things that will happen in the New Year!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COMPUCATHY 12/26/2010 4:03PM

    2011 is going to be YOUR year. The trials are behind you and now you can spark on into a new year! It's going to be a great one! Hope you're having a great "day after" Christmas! We have 6 days left of 2010...lets make them good ones! Spark on! emoticon emoticon

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BELLALUCIA 12/25/2010 6:46AM

    Merry Christmas!

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JMCADE 12/23/2010 9:31PM

    I amso happy for you and your family. What great Christmas gifts you have gotten so far. May the new year be brighter and full of additional gifts for you.

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KELPIE57 12/23/2010 2:30AM

    Glad to hear from you, and great to hear what you are saying. Merry Christmas, and a Wonderful New Year! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EDWINA172 12/22/2010 7:46PM

    I, too have found that its the little things in life that bring me joy. Coffee with my hubby is one of them also! It is wonderful that your healthy lifestyle is rubbing off onto your family. The ripples of what we do and how they effect those around us are among the little things. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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BARBARAA9 12/22/2010 7:20PM

    I admire your positive outlook on things. It really is the little things that we can enjoy each day that is the most important. I think that a lot of times we forget to recognize all the blessings that we have. Here's wishing you and your family a very blessed Merry Christmas.

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Yes, I Can!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

First, I want to thank everyone who sent encouraging comments, goodies and e-mails following my blog a week ago. I appreciate your support as my brain took an unscheduled leave of absence. Youíre all so wonderful! Iím still battling a low morale, but itís not in the basement where it was.

In reviewing my blogs, I realized that I have been skirting around this issue for a while. I guess itís finally sunk in. Iíve been impatient to get back to an active lifestyle and have not been allowing myself the time to heal and recuperate. I wasnít expecting to be on Tamoxifen, and I wasnít expecting these rather quick and strong side effects. So Iíll do what I can, when I can.

Iím breaking my day up into thirds, so that if I have a bad morning I donít automatically write off the afternoon and evening. Hopefully, this will set me back on the path I was on in Sept-Oct-Nov, re-committed to a healthy way of eating and increased activity and exercise. The changes had already started happening; I had lost weight, was getting stronger and had more stamina, so I know I can do it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEMARE 12/16/2010 2:40PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
The virtual spa visit helped eh? emoticon
I'm sorry the Tamoxifen is causing side-effects for you.
Breaking your day into portions is a great idea.

Merry Christmas!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JMCADE 12/15/2010 2:09PM

    What a great plan. I would never have thought of that. Yes you can.

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GATOR12 12/15/2010 9:41AM

    So much of our day is about our attitude: how we feel about what is happening or going on with us. I don't like to take the responsibility for it but if I act like I am having a good day most times I change & do. With the cold here in Midwest and several dark gloomy days & even the holiday time, my moods start spiraling down so will divide my day in !/3 and act like I am in a good mood anyway. AS you say I will do what I can, when I can!!

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HEALTH-E-CLARE 12/15/2010 9:25AM

    Glad to hear things are going better. You'll be in the penthouse soon.

Love the idea of cutting the day into thirds. I might have to borrow that!

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JUSTYNA7 12/15/2010 9:24AM

    I feel the same about my hand surgery. It is taking longer than I want to recover and looking at a few more MONTHS before I can do strength training just sucks! But I love your attitude. I can break up the day, rest more, and accept small successes. You are a great motivator!

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MONAKIN314 12/15/2010 8:10AM


I like your idea about breaking the day into thirds. So many times if I mess up in the morning or at lunch I write off the rest of the day, but why. One mistake doesn't mean the whole day is done. Thanks for the reminder on that!!

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KELPIE57 12/15/2010 1:22AM

    Yes you can...I like the idea of 1/3

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Warning! Warning! Whine Ahead!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

This has not been a good week. Iíve been trying to keep on top of things, and get going, but itís just been blah. It feels like Iím never going to get past these health problems, and Iím becoming paralized by this crap. I do not want to be a victim.

I wonít go through my whole history, but letís just say that Iíve had health issues since a very young age. I had to quit school at 16 because I was missing too much, and completed my high school by correspondence. Despite the sedentary lifestyle that this brought on for most of my life, I was still active in between health crises. But it seems that for the last 18 or so years, itís just been one thing after another with little or no time in between to get back on top of things. Every time I think thereís a respite ahead and I plan for improvements, something else comes along. Like months in bed during pregnancy. Or thyroid cancer. Or inflammatory breast cancer.

Now Iím at the end of treatments for breast cancer, and I discovered SparkPeople in September. All I had left was radiation treatments, and then I was going to be tackling this thing and regaining control on my nutrition and exercise. I was going to be more active, do things I love to do, be healthier... I was going to have a wonderful life.

Well, radiation led to radiation burns, which kind of took me by surprise because they didnít come out until a couple of weeks after treatments were over. Ugh. Then as those were healing, I was told to take Tamoxifen to prevent recurrence. It has lots of wonderful side effects. Iíve been on it for a week, and Iíve gained five pounds, my sleep is completely trashed (so Iíve not been sleeping at night, but falling asleep during the day). Iíve now changed the time I take it to the evening so it will hopefully make me sleep at night instead of during the day.

Every good intention I had to get moving and start up my exercise again have been stalled. Cooking has been stalled, and DH has been bringing pizza and butter chicken home for supper. I hoped to go back to work in January, but the oncologist says I should be thinking along the lines of 6-9 months (so May-August timeline). Iím basically a shut in: I donít drive, the bus makes me sick, and I canít put on socks (let alone shoes or boots) because my toenails are growing into my toes (a chemo side-effect). Podiatrist isnít until mid-January.

Donít get me wrong. Iím still trying to push through all this and get on top of things. I guess I just needed to vent, and call out to my fellow Sparkers and see if anyone has any practical advice on how to deal with all this. Send me nudges, reminders, kicks in the a$$. I donít know. I really donít mean to dwell in negativity; Iím very well aware that so many people have it even worse than I do.

Still smiling, but itís a little forced these days. I'm posting before I chicken out. These aren't things I usually say out loud...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LHLADY517 12/8/2010 5:26PM

    Vent anytime. Just keep moving a bit at a time.

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HEALTH-E-CLARE 12/8/2010 2:22PM

    It's seems like you are having a rough time, so go ahead and vent, and get it out. It's much worse to bottle that stuff up.

I'm not sure how long a list it would be, but can you come up with a list of things you can do? Drink water, etc. Then we can celebrate the small victories, which will lead to larger victories as your health improves.

Hugs from a fellow emoticon

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LAURITA. 12/8/2010 2:17PM

    It is really difficult to go through all the things you are having to deal with. Most important is the need to be able to vent, so never hesitate here. This is one place where you can say the things you may be afraid to say to others.

Have you checked the boards on I was on there a lot when going thru my cancer treatments and frankly I couldn't have done it without the support of the gals I got to know there. There are lots of people there who discuss tamoxifen and dealing with its associated issues. Perhaps there might be something there that could help you? At the very least - you'd find others who are going through the exact same thing you are.

I hope you find some relief.
Big hugs to you.

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JMCADE 12/8/2010 1:58PM

    You know that venting is good for the soul. If you don't let thee feelings out you won't be able to move forward. I am hearing so much determination underneath all the 'whine'. You wouldn't be where you are if it wasn't there. Keep the goal on the horizon and time will work on your behalf. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUSTYNA7 12/8/2010 12:00PM

    This really sucks! emoticon You can't be positive all the time. It will pass. I do get that you're tired. Tired of it always being you and one thing after another. I felt like that for years. When did it stop? I don't know. It does help sometimes when I do a "if this hadn't happened then I never would have met... or found.... or tried..." Things happen for reasons. Sometimes we don't see the reasons until years later and sometimes I think "it was never about me". I did rather hope you had misspelled "wine" lol. Maybe it is time to brainstorm what you CAN do. Change your goals. LISTEN to the doctor about how long this is going to take and if you are ready earlier, bonus and if not then you are average. You have been working on decluttering. Can you declutter photos? Put CD's on the computer? One day you are going to wake up and feel better. You'll be able to put on socks. It is taking much longer than YOU planned but unfortunately these things happen at God's speed. That was always an expression I did not get, "God Speed" until I realized I have no control over the speed of recovery. I am moaning about my own hand and I know it is nothing compared to your recovery timeline. emoticon

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GATOR12 12/8/2010 12:00PM

    Sometimes spitting it all out. Getting it all out and having sympathy. You do have plenty on your plate and have had. I get it. You deserve this pity party and I know you are going to just let it out there and get right on with the program, doing whatever you can cause I hear you say, I am no QUITTER. That is evident in all your struggles so remind yourself all you have overcome and that you haven't quit yet!!! We do care about you. We want to validate that you do and have had it rough. So much rougher than most and of course not rougher than all but--tttt== you are a survivor and strong. And not a QUITTER!!!

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MSPRIS3 12/8/2010 8:51AM

    I'm sorry you are having a hard time right now, but it will get better! Slowly, but surely. Keep your head up and your spirits high, you've beat 2 bouts of cancer, you are a survivor, and you will survive this!

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KARENE10 12/8/2010 8:42AM

    I'm sorry to hear that things are so rough. Maybe you could walk around IN your house? Do yoga or pilates? Do you have a stationary bike(not sure what you would be allowed to do:( If it is pouring out or the snow is piled high I do laps in the house. I didn't read where you live but if it isn't too cold out maybe you could wear birkenstocks or those exercise sandals? Sending emoticon

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PAMINHALF 12/8/2010 8:09AM

  emoticon see if you can find one thing today that will make you smile a bit more. emoticon you've been dealt a tough hand but you'll make it through.

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