GRYFFINSONG's SparkPeople Blog GRYFFINSONG's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Health Verdict They say its most likely shingles. If they're right, its a darn good thing that its cropped up on the underarm where I'm still numb from removing my lymph nodes in '08. I feel no pain or itching. I'm to put steroidal cream on it and if its not gone in a week, go back in. Whew. Sounds like I dodged a bullet. :) <BR> <BR> Thanks to all for your support and kindness! :) Tue, 25 Jun 2013 02:06:12 EST Cancer Fears Friday afternoon I noticed a scary-looking oddity near my under underarm. Its about 1.25" - 1.5" long, and parts of it are hard, kind of like scar tissue. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I have an appointment with my oncologist's nurse practitioner on thursday to look at it, but its changing appearance every day, so I'm going to try to get in monday, even if its only to my regular doctor. I'm assuming they'll biopsy it. <BR> <BR> I re... Sun, 23 Jun 2013 22:21:47 EST I'm back. Like so many others before me, I drifted off, gained weight again, and am now back. What triggered my return, when I've thought about returning so many times before? I just got a call from my doctor that my blood tests indicate I'm prediabetic (also called borderline diabetic). I must lose weight and change my eating habits in order to back off from full-blown diabetes, and to reduce my risk of other health impacts. <BR> <BR> I've been unhappy with the state of my body and my health for quit... Thu, 23 May 2013 12:02:16 EST Healing Wounds <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I wrote this for my daily draw in sparktarot, and felt it strongly enough that I want to share it with all of you ... <BR> <BR> Baroque Bohemian Cats - 3 swords <BR> <BR> I normally don't resonate with this card at all. I tend to see it as immediate romantic heartbreak, and I haven't been in a relationship in years. But I've been reading "Tarot for the Healing Heart" and this card says a lot to me today. <BR> <B... Fri, 10 Jun 2011 11:06:33 EST Finally Headed in the Right Direction Finally. The scale is moving left instead of right. OMG, it's been months since that has happened. <BR> <BR> I just returned from a week in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. I went there for a greyhound event where my mom and I displayed our greyhound arts and crafts. We had a wonderful time, but I was not very careful with my eating. I assumed I'd hold steady at best, and gain a couple at worst. But I was MOVING. Walking, loading the truck, setting up our display, and without ... Thu, 9 Jun 2011 09:21:24 EST I'm Not Who I Once Was ... <img src="">I have to admit it. Life will never return to what it once was. Cancer is a large part of that change, and I'm still catching up to the implications. I've now been out of treatment for more than a year and a half, and I still have several major side effects of treatment. My chest wall is tender, my side and upper arm are numb, my toes are numb. I've gained weight again. Due to the numbness in my feet, I keep stubbing my toes. ... Fri, 20 May 2011 19:20:52 EST I'm back, I hope ... Weight-wise I've had a really crappy six months. And I thought it was all my fault. I've gained 30 pounds in that time, which is SO not like me. It usually takes YEARS to gain that kind of weight. What changed? We changed one of my anti-depressants. I told the doctor I was craving food like it was going out of style. I told her I was gaining. She said to keep on it and see. I finally took things into my own hands a couple of weeks ago and halved my dose. Guess what? I'm eating veggies again. ... Mon, 18 Apr 2011 18:03:59 EST A HUGE Mental Shift It all started a month or two ago. I was driving south to pick up four greyhounds who needed transport north to their new adoption groups. I stopped at a rest area and walked into the ladies room. The wall had a full length, full width mirror, so one's first impression was that there was no mirror, simply a long hall of stalls. For a moment, I saw myself as a stranger. As someone walking towards me. And my thoughts were wonderful. I thought "what a nice, friendly looking person. I think I'd l... Tue, 21 Dec 2010 15:04:03 EST My Future is Beginning to Blossom!!! This morning I decided to draw from my Touchstone Tarot, which I haven't used in over a year. <BR> <BR> Empress!!! <BR> <BR> I immediately felt a warm sense of peace. My thoughts on this card today ... <BR> <BR> I am thoughtful and dreamy, the fruits of my labors surround me, as well as the sweet, prolific rabbit. My new life blossoms in my hands and on my crown. My eyes are closed, letting this all sink in. Pregnant with ideas, I take a moment to breath, knowing that the future is begin... Thu, 11 Nov 2010 12:09:50 EST Another Good Show, Eliminating Clutter, and Commitment Two good shows in a row. Perhaps I'm finally, finally, on the right path career-wise. It feels really, really good. I can feel my commitment building, and am determined that this month I will clear out my studio and re-design it for fabric art. Right now its languishing as a painting studio turned clutter-collection. I need to get my quilting stuff out of my bedroom and reclaim it too. This month, before the new year, I will use this art success as the spur to clear my spaces and make them mi... Mon, 8 Nov 2010 11:44:50 EST Jangling, Clutter, and Getting Back to My Self October 28, 2010 - wee hours of the morning … <BR> <BR> Everything is jangly. My clutter, worry about finance/future, having tv on all the time, violent tv shows, doing three things at once, inability to focus on one thing … <BR> <BR> Must unjangle. Must un-clutter. Must clear space and mind. Music. Organization. No candy. <BR> <BR> EVERY DAY sit down with journal or tarot and have quiet time with self. <BR> <BR> Eating too many grains. Not enough fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. <BR> <... Thu, 28 Oct 2010 12:25:39 EST Invisible Ticker I've decided to hide my ticker for awhile. I've been staying steady or gaining for at least a month now, and all it does is induce guilty feelings. <BR> <BR> I've been craving chocolate. Every day. <BR> <BR> I'm changing my depression meds (with doctor's guidance), and am going through some reactions. <BR> <BR> I'm also having reactions to my artwork. <BR> <BR> During this transition I need to focus on the positives, and not let myself get too bummed out by the negatives. Feeling teary fo... Sat, 23 Oct 2010 00:05:54 EST A VERY Successful Event!!! I'm back from "Greyhounds Reach the Beach", where I displayed my art quilts, and other things, for sale. I SOLD OUT of art quilts!!! I brought eight that were completed, and two that were nearly complete. I sold all ten. I almost sold out of my greyhound purses, and we also sold tons of t-shirts with my artwork on them, ornaments that my mom made, and some greyhound coats. The weather was perfect, and with record sales of my work, I'm floating on cloud nine!!! <BR> <BR> This art career might... Mon, 11 Oct 2010 17:13:49 EST Magnesium I went to my doctor today to discuss my cholesterol, get a flu shot, and most importantly, to talk about my worsening depression. We're going to switch from Lexapro to Zoloft, and hope that this helps. <BR> <BR> But what really has me going is that I happened to ask about leg cramps, which I've been getting quite frequently. I've changed my diet a lot in the last six months, so I thought it could be a deficiency of some kind. One of the things she mentioned was magnesium, so I've been resear... Thu, 30 Sep 2010 23:17:14 EST I'm Struggling Lately I was doing so well. Lately, though, I feel more depressed, more anxious, and am eating without thinking. Tonight I ate a bunch of chocolate, in addition to a bowl of popcorn. Some of it is anxiety about vending at the greyhound event. I don't know how much traffic I'll get at my location, I don't know how much people are spending in this economy, I don't know if I'm pricing my work appropriately. Basically, I'm feeling insecure and worried and even somewhat worthless. Those feelings are effe... Wed, 22 Sep 2010 01:34:52 EST Echo Comes Home on Tuesday!!! I'm driving to South Carolina on monday to pick up my new greyhound, Echo. It's a LONG drive, so I'll probably overnight there and come back on tuesday. I'm looking into finding someone to help get her a little further north so I can do the drive in one day, but I don't know how likely that is. <BR> <BR> Now, to decide whether to keep her name or rename her. The foster mom gave her this name, so Echo's not attached to it. Her racing name was RX Cathy. <BR> <BR> Weeeeeee!!! <BR> <BR> <em>3... Fri, 10 Sep 2010 16:38:39 EST Giving In To Temptation!!! I've thought of little else than the little greyhound, how she's effecting my work, and how inspiring I find her (and her breed in general). This morning my mom and I had a long talk, and agreed that both of us want to adopt her. <BR> <BR> So, I'm waiting on email, and have my fingers and toes crossed that nothing's in our way. Her name is Echo. She's a small brindled girl of only two years old. I can feel myself tear up with happiness whenever I think of having her in my home, which was the... Fri, 10 Sep 2010 13:15:51 EST Tempted By A Greyhound Yup, you read that right. Gryffin's been gone since April, and I miss him like crazy. I didn't realize how much until I spent the last month designing greyhound artwork for Dewey Beach. I have five Italian greyhounds. They're adorable, snuggly, sweet little things. But I miss my big guy. Today I admired a greyhound in a photo. Turns out she's in foster care in Florida. Florida is inundated with greyhounds right now, and are having trouble finding enough adoptive homes. They offered to let me ... Thu, 9 Sep 2010 00:24:34 EST I Have Bones I'd forgotten how bony the human foot is. Lately I've noticed that my ankles are really sharp, and the long, skinny bones that go to the toes stick up when I move my foot. And I have ribs. I know, I know, of course we have bones. But I had forgotten how mine used to look and feel. I hadn't realized how much they were covered up by extra weight. I was in denial that it was fat, somehow thinking it was swelling or a result of a broken ankle, or something. I'm not sure what I thought, but it did... Mon, 30 Aug 2010 12:43:17 EST Exercise Machine They're problematic, aren't they? It's such a stereotype. You buy a machine (or two or three) and they end up sitting in the garage. What with the heat and humidity this summer I've rarely been getting outside to hike, so I've started looking at exercise machines. I used to have a stationary bike. It was ok, but my rear would get sore, and I found it boring. I started looking at elliptical trainers, but they look really hard. I'd probably have to start at about five minutes and work my way up... Sat, 21 Aug 2010 02:47:29 EST My Shirts Are Too Big!!! When I look at myself I have a tendency to see how much work I still need to do. However, I really have come a long way. I'm wearing a t-shirt today that I wore a lot last year. It was just about right at that time, or perhaps a little tight. Now it hangs so loosely that I look like it's not even my own! It hangs too long, I can hold it way out ahead of me, and I'm basically no longer willing to wear it out in public. <BR> <BR> I'm doing the happy dance!!! Tue, 17 Aug 2010 18:13:17 EST Changing My Environment I haven't been sleeping well lately. And I've realized that I spend the whole day with the TV on. I've been watching those crime scene shows with all the disgusting, creepy serial killers on them. CSI, Law & Order Special Victims Unit, and so on. No wonder I'm not sleeping!!! <BR> <BR> I have a feeling that its desensitizing me, and for an artist this is a bad thing. So I've been thinking a lot about why I'm doing it. I think its just for background noise/company. I'm usually not paying much... Mon, 9 Aug 2010 13:33:42 EST I'm in a food rut I'm still eating healthy, but I find myself eating the same few meals over and over again. I need to build up a repertoire of new dishes that exclude meat. I guess I've always tended to repeat meals a lot. I go through phases of wanting a small set of things. I need to break out of that right now, because I'm getting bored with the foods I'm eating now. Boredom is a very, very bad thing. It could lead to eating without thinking. <BR> <BR> Tomorrow (actually later today) I intend to browse so... Mon, 9 Aug 2010 01:55:57 EST Greyhound Inspirations!!! I am having SO much fun!!! <BR> <BR> I got my new website up. It'll be awhile before I have the gallery put up because most of my new work is in progress. But it shows a little of what I'm doing, as does my new page layout here at SP. It gives information on Dewey Beach (Greyhounds Reach the Beach ... an annual greyhound event on the coast of Delaware). I've gone with a soft look, appropriate to working with fabric. My old work was very bright and colorful. Some of my quilts will be wild sha... Fri, 6 Aug 2010 02:33:02 EST A Lot Going On I have so much going on that I don't even know what to say. I've been wanting to blog for days now, and would get stuck deciding where to begin. So I'm just going to begin. I don't know where, and I don't know what will come out ... stream of consciousness I guess. <BR> <BR> I've decided to be a vendor at a major greyhound event. I haven't done this sort of thing in a couple of years. Cancer, moving into a house, and recovering my strength, got in my way. So I have a TON of work to do to bui... Wed, 4 Aug 2010 18:17:41 EST That Ticker's Moving Again!!! This morning I broke below 170!!! I LOVE it when that middle digit changes!!! I was 171 before I went to New Hampshire, having lost 3 pounds in the previous week. While gone, I gained those 3 back. Now I've lost those three plus 2 more, setting me FIRMLY back on track. Woohoo!!! <BR> <BR> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <BR> <BR> I leave in two days for Cape Cod, and I'm determined not to let a setback happen again. I will NOT go back over 170!!! <BR> <BR> Mon, 12 Jul 2010 12:13:54 EST That Pound is Gone The last of the three pounds that I gained on vacation are now officially gone. Furthermore, I think I'm a half to a full pound down from that, but have not gotten a good weighin yet. Yay!!! What a relief. <BR> <BR> Next week I'm headed to Cape Cod for a week. I really, really, want to stick completely to my plan. I was hoping I'd be camping on my own and spending the days with family and friends. Unfortunately, the campground was full, so I'm staying with family and friends for the whole w... Sat, 10 Jul 2010 23:15:10 EST The Latest in the Air Conditioner Saga and a Personal Update We heard from the home insurance folks today and they've approved the replacement of the air conditioning unit. YAY!!! They told us it would cost a couple hundred dollars to dispose of the old unit, but I called our town's public works department and they'll pick it up for free. YAY!!! We still don't know when the unit will arrive, or when it'll be installed, but at least some things are beginning to really happen. They said we're first priority, so here's hoping we'll have good news soon. <B... Thu, 8 Jul 2010 16:38:38 EST Good News and Bad News - AC again The air conditioner guys have been and gone. We still have no working air conditioner. That's the bad news. The other bad news is that we don't know when we will have one. The good news is that they finally acknowledged that the entire unit needs replacement, rather than repair (which we've been telling them for over a month) and they're ordering us a new one. The guys here today said the fellow who kept ordering parts (often the wrong ones) will be fired for his incompetence. The unit should... Wed, 7 Jul 2010 15:20:58 EST An Experiment With Frozen Fruit Smoothies While I was traveling through Massachusetts recently, I discovered a place called Fresh City. They had a frozen fruit smoothie that was to die for. I wrote down the ingredients, although I don't know quantities. Note that the ingredients I found are a little different than theirs, but I figured it was a good starting point, since I've never made anything like this before. <BR> <BR> We recently found our blender hidden away in a box somewhere so I washed it and shopped for goodies. Today was ... Sat, 3 Jul 2010 13:24:25 EST Groceries Sure Look Different!!! When I began my journey to a healthier life earlier this year, my shopping cart was always filled with junk. Potato chips, ice cream, cookies, cheese dips, caffeinated soda. You get the picture. <BR> <BR> I went grocery shopping today. I was gazing at the food going down the conveyor belt and was really struck by the difference. In fact, I can honestly say that I've never noticed a healthier collection of foods in my purchasing past. Fruits and vegetables rolled by. Fruit juices as a base f... Thu, 1 Jul 2010 12:51:12 EST RANT My mom and I bought a house six months ago, and as part of the deal we have a one year homeowners warranty on major items. We called in with a broken air conditioner on JUNE FIRST. It is still not fixed. Today was supposed to be the day. The parts were supposedly in and the man was scheduled to arrive between eight and noon this morning. He's here now. <BR> <BR> He has the fan. No motor. NO MOTOR!!! We're in the middle of a heat wave with humidity out the roof. My mom is 79 years old. I'm s... Mon, 28 Jun 2010 10:47:32 EST The Perils of Eating Elsewhere I'm sure you've all been there. You're doing so well, and then you go out. Either to a restaurant or someone else's home, and all of a sudden you're no longer in control. Someone else is cooking, you have little or no control over ingredients, and all you-know-what breaks loose in terms of your diet plans. <BR> <BR> I just got back from nine days away. During that time, I was able to get exactly what I wanted for meals only at breakfast and lunch, and twice while on the road. I suspect that ... Sat, 26 Jun 2010 13:10:13 EST Vacation Clears And Inspires The Mind I've just returned from nine days away from home, and my mind is running full tilt. <BR> <BR> This is a good thing. <BR> <BR> I felt that my journey to a healthy body had been going very well, and that was certainly challenged during the trip. But I did ok. Not sure if I gained any weight while I was gone, but this is a journey, and I'm not worried about whether the scale points to a higher number at this moment. I feel motivated and good about being back in my own kitchen with control ov... Fri, 25 Jun 2010 19:11:05 EST A Party For ME!!! As some of you might know, I spent five years living/traveling in my RV, and six months ago settled in a home in Maryland with my mom. Before that I lived in New England for thirty years, and have many friends up there, some of whom I haven't seen in years. This thursday my mom and I are driving to New Hampshire to spend a week with my brother's family and attend my niece's high school graduation. And I'll finally get to see those friends again. I'm psyched!!! <BR> <BR> But to make things ev... Tue, 15 Jun 2010 10:37:44 EST Whew ... Heat Wave It's been in the 90s this week with very high humidity. Our air conditioner is STILL broken, and I'm wilting. Supposedly the parts are on order, and should have come in tonight. No word yet though, and no appointment to do the repair. <BR> <BR> I've been trying to get some yard work done. I find that I can do ten or twenty minutes and then I have to come in and splash cold water on my face and arms, and then sit with a cool drink. I haven't walked in DAYS because it's just too onerous in thi... Mon, 14 Jun 2010 19:06:14 EST My Confidence Is Restored ... but I'm feeling a little guilty. After yesterday's dress fiasco I was on the verge of tears all day. Thinking that maybe I should have chosen reconstruction afterall. Thinking I'd never look good in anything but baggy t-shirts. Thinking I was dumpy and ugly. Seriously. My self esteem was in the toilet, all because of one stupid dress. <BR> <BR> Today I went shopping. I went to Goodwill. Nothing. Then, intending to look at Target, I saw a J. Jill. I LOVE their clothes, but they're pricey.... Sun, 13 Jun 2010 13:56:49 EST Yikes! Really Disappointing Dress! My niece is graduating from high school next week and my mom and I are driving up to attend. I haven't had any occasion to dress up (unless you count medieval events!) for years, so have absolutely nothing in my size to wear. I decided to get creative and make a dress. Yeah right. I haven't sewed a piece of clothing in many, many years, hate following directions, and have trouble knowing what will flatter my still-overweight figure, especially now that I have no boobs. Thank you breast cancer... Sat, 12 Jun 2010 17:49:41 EST Adjusting The Ticker I've been toying with adjusting my goal weight for some time now. Originally I thought it would be easier to get started if my goal wasn't TOO far away, but I was very aware that it wasn't my ulitimate goal. Perhaps its my recent success. Perhaps its my confidence that I've made a permanent change in the way I eat. But I decided to move my goal ticker down to reflect a more aggressive goal. <BR> <BR> 155 would have gotten me to the top of the BMI range. <BR> 130 or 135 would be where some re... Sat, 12 Jun 2010 01:08:16 EST I'm a Food Adventurer I went to a fabric store yesterday to buy a pattern and fabric for a dress. I'm going to my niece's high school graduation and have nothing to wear. I noticed a Trader Joe's nearby, so stopped in afterwards. YUM!!! <BR> <BR> I bought raw walnuts, roasted pistachios, fresh bananas, blueberries and organic gala apples, and some hummus guacamole dip. The apples are quite possibly the BEST apples I've EVER had. Amazingly crunchy, fresh, and zesty. It's almost like they're a different fruit than... Fri, 11 Jun 2010 12:01:49 EST A Love of Nature and Home With all my recent thoughts on mindfulness, I'm reminded of some of my favorite things in nature. I love its contrasts. I find so many things beautiful in the forest, by the ocean, or in the mountains or desert. But the best ones are the contrasts. A smooth, hard, gray boulder, with gentle green ferns growing next to it. A prickly cactus with a delicate pink flower blooming on it. The soft sounds of the tide with the raucus calls of a gull. The burbling brook flowing over a moss covered stone... Thu, 10 Jun 2010 00:49:43 EST Mindfulness I went to a "morning of mindfulness" retreat with my local meditation group this past weekend. We did a relaxation exercise, sitting meditation, walking meditation, and finally, a lunch in which we practiced mindful eating. It was a wonderful and relaxing time. <BR> <BR> The thing that's stuck with me the most is the mindful eating. We ate most of our meal in "noble silence" and the meal seemed brighter somehow. The colors, textures and flavors of the meal were highlighted by my focus on it.... Tue, 8 Jun 2010 20:16:52 EST Doctor Very Supportive I saw my oncologist today for my three month followup. I've lost 12 pounds since he saw me last, and my blood pressure is so low I've gone off diltiazam and without the drug it's still lower than its been in years. I told him about it, and how healthy I feel. He's very supportive, and even had heard some of the research about meat-based diets and their impact on cancer, blood pressure, cholesterol, and so forth. He'll test my cholesterol next time I'm in, in hopes that that has lowered too. <... Fri, 4 Jun 2010 16:11:37 EST What a Difference! I've looked back at the calendar, and reviewed my recent progress. Since April 19th, I've lightened my body by ten pounds!!! I can really see it in the mirror now. This morning I put on a t-shirt that had been too tight, and turned around to look at all angles. I am definately, visibly thinner. I have to immediately shut down the inner critic who tells me how far I still have to go, because that voice is still waiting in the wings to sabotage me. But I just tell it, "thanks, but no thanks. L... Mon, 31 May 2010 15:32:58 EST Pillowcases My quilt guild is involved in a nationwide project to make pillowcases for children with cancer. The idea is that they'd each have something fun and colorful of their own while in the hospital. I've seen various patterns for them, but our guild is using a three-fabric pattern that's really fun to make. In order to make sure I understood the seemingly bizarre instructions, I made one for myself today. The pillowcases I make for children will not be subtle in color like this one, as this was m... Thu, 27 May 2010 18:19:27 EST Trying New Things I am trying to introduce new things into my diet, so I'm looking through stores, vegetarian sites, books, and my own tumbling brain for ideas. <BR> <BR> Today I stopped in at an organic grocery and bought a couple of kiwi fruits, some broccoli seeds for sprouting, and yeast flakes. <BR> <BR> I like the kiwi. It's a bit weird with all those tiny seeds, but I enjoy the flavor and the knowledge that it's one more addition to variety in my healthier diet. <BR> <BR> The yeast flakes not so much... Sun, 16 May 2010 19:36:08 EST I've made so many changes!!! Last night I sat down to review the foods I'm eating as a start to brainstorming other healthy foods I can add. Also to have a list on hand in case I'm hungry and don't know what to eat. This way I can glance at my list and remind myself of good choices. I am both shocked and delighted in the changes I've made, most of them within the last month or two. Until I saw it on paper, I didn't fully grasp how tremendously different my diet is now. I feel GOOD, and have NO cravings for anything I've... Fri, 14 May 2010 12:47:52 EST A Picture's Worth a Lot of Angst I've been feeling great lately. Walking much more, both in length and frequency, eating balanced meals, losing weight. Yesterday I went on a hike with some dog friends. One fellow took a bunch of pictures. OMG. I look terrible!!! I cringed to see them, and felt awful. BUT, when I look down at myself I have to remember several things. I'm lighter/smaller than I was. I feel terrific. I'm getting stronger. All wonderful things!!! And if my first response to the photos was to dis' myself, I am no... Mon, 3 May 2010 17:16:07 EST Surgery Tommorrow Tomorrow is my revision surgery. Basically, the surgeon made a mess of one side during my bilateral mastectomy, and I look rather monstrous. I'm looking forward to smoothing things out, but am dreading it too. What if I still look like a freak? What if they do a lousy job? What if they find something suspicious in there? <BR> <BR> The cancer should be gone. But now that I've had it, it seems a never ending worry that it'll return. Too many people I know have had recurrances or mets. I suspec... Sun, 18 Apr 2010 10:46:41 EST An Off Day Strange day. I feel down in the dumps, though I'm not clear why. Feel sad, near weeping. Seemingly for no reason. Am I sublimating grief for my sweet greyhound? Am I frightened about my upcoming surgery? Or am I simply having one of the chaotic, mind-churning, confusing "off" days? I feel off balance, out of sorts, and just sad. Wed, 14 Apr 2010 19:42:29 EST