Wednesday, May 16, 2012
I've been on SP for over 2 years and while I SAY I want to get fit and healthy (and lose weight in the process), I've done very little to make it happen. So far I've lost 30 pounds and most of that in the first few months.
I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately and have realized that it's my mental attitude that is holding me back. Because I've been overweight my whole life (since I was 2, so I've been told, and I'm 55 now), I have the attitude that "I can't lose weight", that "I'll always be fat", that "nothing works". Well, OF COURSE if I go into it with that attitude, that's exactly what will happen.
So now, I'm working on changing my attitude to one of "I can be fit", "I'll get to my goal of being fit and healthy" and "I'll make it work". I am working on changing my thinking, too. Instead of focusing on what I CAN'T have (like chocolate, which is a HUGE trigger for me), I'm going to focus on what I CAN have (like the bowl of pineapple and melon I just finished). Instead of thinking "I have to work out", I'm going to focus on "I get to work out and get stronger".
My suggestion to anyone struggling with keeping focused on the goal is this:
take a look at your inner dialogue. Are you subconsciously sabotaging yourself before you even get started? You need to find what motivates YOU. If losing weight isn't it (and it may not be), then find what is. Don't think about what you think it SHOULD be, what because someone said that it must be that. Just because for someone else it's X, that doesn't mean that for you it's X.
When I first joined SP, I made my vision board:
and a lot of that is still true. So why am I still struggling? Because I've had the mindset of a "fat person wanting to be fit and healthy" rather than "a fit and healthy person" For example, I'll obsess on the fact that chocolate is a trigger for me and that I need to stay away from it rather than obsessing about which new fruit or vegetable am I going to try next. I think "I have to go to the gym" instead of thanking God that 1) I am still alive after having breast cancer for the second time and 2) I can afford the gym membership (which was not always true) and 3) my son is going with me so it's something we can do together which is bringing us closer. I'm trying to think as a thin person thinks, which is not easy since I've never been a thin person.
I'm going to stay focused on my WHYs and remember that if I keep focusing on the negative, I'm going to get the negative.
So that's my new mental attitude. What's yours?
Sunday, May 06, 2012
I have been up and down the roller coaster lately - mostly down (the easy side, right?).
I finally went back to the gym, which is AMAZING. Anyone who knows me will agree with that statement. My son and I joined together and trust me, having a workout partner makes all the difference. We don't do the same workout when we're there but the important thing is getting there, and for that, we help each other.
Since I started going to the gym 2-3 times a week, I have so much more energy! My weight hasn't changed yet but who cares? My strength is coming back and at this point, that's the important thing.
Also, I started two direct-selling businesses - financial analysis and education in January and this astounding skin care time in May. Both businesses are in their infancy and are slow to get started (one of those "up" rides on the roller coaster) but both are extremely lucrative opportunities.
So now, I'm becoming more disciplined in so many areas of my life: I make to-do lists and actually do them ( ) I watch less TV (but still some). I listen to motivational CDs and DVDs. I read business books, not just fiction stories. I go to the gym.
Sure there are areas that I still have more work to do, of course. However, since I'm becoming so much more disciplined, I'm going to start being more disciplined in getting healthy NOW.
I shared before about wanting to get healthy before going for reconstruction surgery in a year or so. Well, if I don't start getting serious NOW, I won't be any healthier a year from now than I am today. Time to get serious.
Monday, April 09, 2012
I had a request to work three full days back-to-back a couple of weeks ago. Not a good idea yet. I was exhausted by the end of the second day. However, the timing was good since it was just before going back to my doctor for a reassessment of my return to work plan. So now I'm on a longer part-time timetable. I'll gradually add a half-day to my work week as my strength returns (every 1-2 weeks or so is the plan).
So, how am I going to get my strength back, you may ask? Well, I've joined a gym. Now, those of you who know me may think that's world news. Well, I've had a gym membership several times in the past (and even went for a while - LOL) so it's not so earth-shattering. What makes this time different is that my 18-year-old son joined as well and we're going together. That will keep up both going. If I start to lose our motivation, he has my permission to kick my butt (and I will kick his butt even without his permission - one of the perks of being a parent!)
One of the things I said to the sales person is that I need to build up my strength, that I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I know it's going to take a long time to get back my strength but I'm in.
It's funny, people always talk about how strong I am. And I AM strong but that's a whole different kind of strength. I am mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong, yes, but I am physically weak and I hate it.
So stick with me and I'll let you know how I'm doing. I'm going to post my starting points - how far I can go in the treadmill, which weights I can use on the machines, for instance - and how I am progressing, maybe monthly or so. Next thing you know, I'll be back to kicking butt for real, not just with words.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
It's been two weeks since I went back to work part time. I'm working afternoons only (from 1:00 to 4:30) and so far so good. My boss has been great and hasn't pushed me beyond my strength. He did ask me to work 3 full days at the end of the month, but I'll take the last 2 days off that week so it will still be half time.
Actually, that will be a good test of my strength and the timing is perfect since it will be just before I go back to my doctor for a reassessment. If it's too much, then I'll stay on part time work for a while longer.
Now that the main part of the cancer treatment is over, I'm starting to deal with some of the other crap going on with me medically. I've been trying to walk more but I've been challenged with a very sore hip joint. I suspect it's another flare up of bursitis and will be seeing a specialist next Friday morning. Hopefully he'll give me a cortisone shot and I'll be back walking more.
Since going back to work, I've been parking a little farther from my office in the parking lot and I've been getting about 5000 steps in an average day but man, by the end of the day, I can really feel it! Hopefully after cortisone, I'll be able to build back up to the 7,000-8,000 that I used to do (and eventually to 10,000).
I have the same problem (bursitis) in my shoulder, too, so maybe I'll be getting two shots, but I'm less anxious about that since it doesn't affect my movement too badly (yet).
Ah, the trials of getting older!
On a positive note, the added walking has had a direct impact on the scale. My weight goes up and down a few pounds every day so I can't say "I've lost X pounds" but the general trend is going down. Regardless of the number on the scale, I'm feeling stronger and more positive. After all, Spring has arrived here in Canada and I'm back at work. Once I can get out walking more, then life will be even better.
As for the cancer treatment, I've still got to get Herceptin every 3 weeks so I've still got the Port-a-cath in my chest. It's better than a pic-line but sometimes at night it bothers me. When I sleep on my side, it feels like it's moving (it's not) but it's being "squashed". I just have to shift positions and it's okay but I can't wait to get it out in a year or so.
I've also been put on Arimidex, which is an anti-estrogen drug since my cancer was estrogen receptive. Arimidex is similar to Tamoxifen but is only for postmenopausal women; I don't know why but it is. So far, so good - none of the major side effects (like joint pain) have appeared so far. (For those of you connecting the dots...I don't think the pain in my hip and shoulder are from the Arimidex because I've had it before.)
I need to be watchful for one thing (or I should say my doctor needs to be watchful for it). Both the Herceptin and the Arimidex have potential impact on my heart. I'm getting my heart monitored every 3 months. Sometimes we have to take the bad with the good. The important thing is to focus on the good and deal with the bad as it comes.
For my SparkFriends who have been with me throughout this journey, I want to thank you all. Your support has been important to me and will continue to be as my journey continues.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
I'm torn... I LOVE being off work and being able to do whatever I want. Believe me, I know just how lucky I am that, for the most part, I HAVE been able to do most things that I want to do. I recovered well from the mastectomy; I haven't been flattened by the side effects of the chemo treatments; I have been surrounded by wonderful friends who were there when I needed them but who backed off when I needed to be alone. (Okay, I haven't been able to do absolutely everything that I want to do but that's only because I'm not a multi-millionnaire. But my limitations have been financial, not physical.)
So why am I torn? Well, in just over a week I'm going back to work half-days. After a month or so, we'll reassess and I expect to go back full time. On the one hand, going back to work means a huge new step on this journey; it means that I'm well enough to take part in "normal life" again. On the other hand, I'm not looking forward to losing the free time to do what I want; I'm not looking forward to feeling that I have to live up to my boss' and co-workers' expectations. The pressure will be tremendous - pressure to deliver quality work, pressure to "be okay" and not remind people that I'm a cancer survivor, pressure to be happy. How much of that pressure will be self-imposed? Well, that's the $64,000 question, isn't it? It will be up to me to go easy on myself, to relax and take it one day at a time.
Some people say I'm going back too soon. I really don't agree. I'm truly feeling great. I'm feeling strong. I'm feeling well. However, full disclosure - the main reason I'm going back now it that if I don't, my salary will be cut drastically because I'm running out of short-term disability. As the sole breadwinner in my family, I need to make enough money to pay the bills. Don't get me wrong, if I wasn't feeling well, I wouldn't be going back to work yet. I'd find some other way to make ends meet. We all have to figure out what's important to us, not to others, not to our bosses, not to anyone us. In my case, that is being able to support my family and pay the bills - as long as I'm well. My health comes first.
So, what's next on my journey? First, I'll see how well this gradual return to work works out. If I need to go back on sick leave, I will, but I don't expect that to happen. In addition, I still have to go to the hospital for Herceptin infusions every 3 weeks. That will continue until next November or so. Because of the Herceptin, I will be monitored closely as time goes on. I'm on two drugs that both have potential impact on my heart (Herceptin and Arimidex) so I'll have Syma scans done every few weeks.
Then, next year, after I'm off the Herceptin, I'll undergo breast reconstruction surgery. Now, THAT's major surgery. I'm going be off work for several months (again) when that happens. Why do it, you ask?
Part of me feels that I shouldn't need to have two breasts, that it's only because our culture has convinced me that it's important. For a long time, I thought that it's not important. I said that I would only need to get a prosthetic before going back to work but only for others, not for me. Well, prosthetics are expensive (several hundred dollars) so there was no way that I was going to get it any time soon. Well, a friend called me out of the blue and told me that she had a "boob in a box" for me. I had to wait for a few weeks before she had time to bring it to me (I live about 20 miles from the office). Not only was it the right size and shape, which as astounding in itself, but she also brought three bras (with the pocket to hold it) and they fit, too. But as soon as I put it on, I felt different. I remember going to see close friends (at church, for example) and saying to them "look, I have two!" I guess it was more important to me than I thought.
(skip the next paragraph if you don't want to hear the gory details.)
So, that's why I'm going to go ahead with the reconstruction. It means something important to me. Besides, in order to build me a new breast using my own tissue (the least likely to be rejected) they'll probably take it from my tummy. For the first time in my adult life, I won't have a soft, mushy, bulging gut. That alone, makes is almost worth it. I'm also going to have them reduce the healthy breast to a more average size. So, when it's all over (in a couple of years from now), I'll have two nice sized, perky breasts and a flat(ter) tummy. And it will all be paid for by my government health insurance. What more could I ask?
I also need to be monitored for the Lymphoma. Remember that I'm one of the lucky ones who got a two-for-one deal in the cancer lottery. Not only did I have breast cancer (for the second time), I also have a low-grade Lymphoma. Lucky me. Monitoring for the Lymphoma will actually be done less frequently; it's almost secondary to the monitoring related to the breast cancer. I know that eventually I'll have to undergo chemo treatment for the Lymphoma and eventually, I expect that I will die from it. But hopefully, I'll need to be monitored for the Lymphoma for many years to come (unless, of course, God decides to spontaneously cure it and remove it from my body completely). Wouldn't that be simply amazing?
Stay tuned for the next installment. I'll let you know how works goes.
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