SBECKER526's SparkPeople Blog SBECKER526's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Reality and Christmas Cancer did change my outlook on life and helped me set priorities. I can't do everything I used to do, but I appreciate everything I can do. <BR> <BR> What I learned: <BR> 1. Take care of me. <BR> 2.Take care of my husband. <BR> 3. Take time for the relationships that are soo important. <BR> 4. Don't worry about Christmas busyness - cards, gifts, baking, and more. Make phone calls to distant friends. Send emails to others at a distance. Wish friends holiday greetings at social events I... Tue, 16 Dec 2014 10:13:11 EST Learning more I am finishing up projects and trainings for the retired school employees. I began reading minutes and key documents for board members of Breast Cancer Support Services. I feel good about my new role. Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:29:58 EST Sleep is wonderful With the new cycler in place, we had no alarms go off during the night. I actually got to sleep for a longer period of time. I feel so much better and have some energy. I am happy to be more alert. <BR> <BR> I will be able to enjoy a Christmas Jazz worship today at 11 am. I will attend the cafe to see my friends prior to the service. I will get to enjoy fellowship with friends at Leslie and David's home tonight. I'm actually getting to feel good! <BR> <BR> I will take a nap this aft... Sun, 14 Dec 2014 09:24:56 EST New normal? I am so relieved and happy. My husband's dialysis cycler machine had a system error on Thursday evening. I called tech support who got me through the proper end of cycle procedure for his dialysis. I called our dialysis support nurse who suggested that I request a new machine. Bob is diabetic and we needed a software update to handle his problems. <BR> <BR> I had a call back from Baxter on Friday afternoon. The tech person told me a new machine would be delivered on Saturday morning b... Sat, 13 Dec 2014 23:26:06 EST More changes I am willing to make changes if it benefits me and others. <BR> <BR> I am working with my husband to help him adjust to some new problems. We received information about dialysis supplies that would come from Ireland instead of the US. I was nervous about that. We were told that the sugars would be different (glucogen instead of dextrose). Bob is an intense diabetic and requires 60 to 72 units of Insulin prior to PD dialysis. My friends told me the European Market requirements are stri... Thu, 11 Dec 2014 09:01:20 EST Keeping positive I am getting more balance in my life. We had some problems with my husband's dialysis setup. For several days I had poor sleep. I rescheduled so I have fewer morning appointments at 8 -10 am. That way I can sleep later. <BR> <BR> I have fixed training times so I can get my fitness done at my convenience. I take a late yoga class on Thursday evenings. <BR> <BR> The first week of December was loaded with commitments. I have fewer this coming week. I do have parties on December 15th,... Sat, 6 Dec 2014 21:59:37 EST On Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks County Board In November I was asked to serve on the Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks County Board. I weighed my activities and discerned my passion. I received my diagnosis of breast cancer on Dec. 23, 2013. So tonight in less than one year I was elected to this position. <BR> <BR> I did the board application, was interviewed and vetted. Tonight I got to meet with the board and begin the process of serving. We have a reorganization of the board on Jan 17th. <BR> <BR> I feel this is a call ... Wed, 3 Dec 2014 21:09:10 EST Storage Area My friend and I worked on the attic storage portion last Saturday and today. We went through every carton and took almost everything to the locations to benefit others. My husband will have days of shredding of receipts and papers. I also got rid of much of my mother's belongings. <BR> <BR> Next up is the Attic Bedroom after Christmas. Sat, 29 Nov 2014 19:31:00 EST No Shopping...Volunteering Ten members of the Berks County Association of School Retirees were teammates as we worked to make the holiday a little brighter for PA soldiers. We also got to see the facility the Keystone Soldiers has to bring items to servicemen and veterans. <BR> <BR> I worked with our membership chair and our treasurer as we sorted cartons of materials. I never saw so many granola bars, crackers, beef jerky, and more. The KS received cartons and cartons from a collection in a firm. WE placed items ... Fri, 28 Nov 2014 23:29:18 EST Thankful I have much gratitude in my life. My cancer and the scar tissue are almost gone. 2 more treatments ahead. I have strong friends in my daily life and in Sparkpeople. I am completing the presidency in an organization and look forward to serving as a past president. My church family and my breast cancer support family are super in taking care of me. <BR> <BR> I have a social life and enjoy concerts, brunches, games and exercise classes. Yoga is now a part of my morning and evening. <BR>... Thu, 27 Nov 2014 19:27:42 EST New things ahead I am enjoying each day and making the most of it. I worked with colleagues to encourage quality people to assume leadership roles in the Berks County Association of School Retirees. My friend, Candy, will be installed on December 4th as the new president. She assumes all the duties of the office on January 1st. I had a wonderful experience as president, but it is time to move on. <BR> <BR> I got to make so many friends and to grow personally. I will serve as a volunteer at Keystone Sol... Wed, 26 Nov 2014 22:39:38 EST Exhaustion sneaks up on me I try to keep a balance in my life. I aim for 8 hours sleep a night. With caregiving and nightly dialysis, I get 5.5 hours at best overnight. There are days that I cannot squeeze a nap in. <BR> <BR> Yesterday overwhelmed me. I had pain with my lymphedema due to doing to much lifting with dialysis supplies. I did the massage techniques and got temporary relief. I did not get a nap until 3 pm. My husband used to be able to put out our garbage after emptying the waste baskets. Alas, h... Mon, 17 Nov 2014 09:40:00 EST Going back in time My friend and I drove to visit her daughter's church bazaar. It is neat to see Pastor Linda with her congregation. She has a good group of people. I found some gifts for friends and enjoyed a bowl of soup. <BR> <BR> It was a crisp day. There were a few autumn leaves. This brought back memories of simpler days that I long for. <BR> <BR> I took time to be grateful for more healing. I played with my therapy cat, Snaggles. <em>239</em> I saw my gyn on Thursday. She is pleased wit... Sat, 15 Nov 2014 22:26:08 EST Excellent care team I am blessed with an excellent care team - palliative, compassionate and supportive. In the past year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in an early stage. I journeyed from my gynocologist to a surgeon. From the surgeon I moved onto the team from the Cancer Center - a second surgeon, a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist, a dietitian and a lymphodema specialist. Yes I do see all of them. In addition I met the radiologist and technicians who did the mammograms (diagnostic), the br... Tue, 11 Nov 2014 22:13:47 EST Quiet days together My friends from church ask how my husband is doing frequently. We are not dwelling on all the things wrong, but want to focus on making the most of each day. He is still able to move about the house, but has difficulty going anywhere for any length of time. He likes to go to some restaurants, but cannot sit for long time periods. He get to the barber by himself and drives less than a mile one way in non busy times of day. I am encouraging him to be as independent as he can be and to do w... Mon, 10 Nov 2014 23:06:59 EST Organizing the attic commences I have a plan to work on my attic storage area. I realize I cannot trim a Christmas tree that is 7 feet high and lug it from the attic to the living room. After watching Snaggles climb a ladder, I feel he would be the "star" on the top of the tree. I am happy to report that a friend arrived today and is delighted with the tree. <BR> <BR> I also organized all light bulbs into one box with labels. I will also put that close to the stairs so we can get them in an emergency. I do have a p... Sun, 9 Nov 2014 21:13:50 EST Snaggles and Sandy in the Video The Berks County Animal Rescue League's video about adoptions and family life featured my cat, Snaggles, and me. The link to the video is listed below: <link> </link> Fri, 7 Nov 2014 14:46:41 EST Greater Patience! I definitely have greater patience. I realize that one benefit of having cancer is having more patience and endurance. Things will always involve challenges. The attitude that I bring to the day can make things better and more tolerable. <BR> <BR> I am also scheduling fewer things. Today I got my car inspected. I made an appointment at the garage near the local mall. I took a book to read on my Kindle and settled in. Alas, the manager decided I needed some television. Whoa! I never ... Thu, 6 Nov 2014 16:46:08 EST At the ARL Gala <img src="">I attended the Gala for the Berks County Animal Rescue League. I am in the center of this picture. The director of the Adoption Video, Tracey Schott, is on the left. My personal Trainer, Lisa Leayman, is on the right. It was thrilling to have the video air at the Gala. My cat is quite an actor. The video can be found on the Facebook page for the Berks County ARL. I will post the link when the video makes it to You Tube. Wed, 5 Nov 2014 23:33:37 EST Lymphedema - not arm I have lymphedema in my radiated breast. My radiation oncologist recommended that I have treatments to handle the spider webs of scar tissue and the trapped lymph in my radiated breast. I just thought that lymphedema was in the arm. <BR> <BR> I had my first treatment with Dr. Stacea Boss. She spoke at our Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks County meeting. She was excellent. I enjoyed her talk and am grateful to have her skills applied to me. I will have 5 treatments. I had a 6... Fri, 31 Oct 2014 22:13:04 EST Golfing in PA on Oct 28 This is alledgedly Fall. Yes, the leaves are colorful and falling. Yet, I played golf today. It was 81 degrees in my car on the way home. I live in PA. Well, the weather was perfect. They had removed the leaves from the course. It was so beautiful to be outside and enjoy sunshine. <BR> <BR> Had a wonderful time today. Was this a trick or a treat? I vote for treat. Tue, 28 Oct 2014 23:29:19 EST Friend's ordination Today was a wonderful day. My friend, Linda, was ordained. She was called to a church in Barto, PA. She is really called and prepared diligently over the years. She had many life challenges that will make her a caring pastor. <BR> <BR> I assisted by serving communion at her service. I felt so honored. I enjoyed being with her family and our friends. What a super day! Sun, 26 Oct 2014 18:16:49 EST Fun Experience with Snaggles My cat, Snaggles, is a truly satisfied cat. We got him 15 months ago from the Animal Rescue League of Berks County. His foster caregiver was the development director. She housed him in her office for 8 months prior to our adopting Snaggles. She loved getting pictures of the cat over time. <BR> <BR> Recently the ARL decided to have a video for their GALA. Snaggles and I were one of the couples selected to be in the video. So on Tuesday, Snaggles and I got to share his story. <BR> The cat... Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:51:30 EST Tired, but happy I am so glad that the home repairs are almost done. The house looks great. I still have much to put away, but it is a great time to purge many books, cooking gear, and more. <BR> <BR> I spent some time reading about the holidays and arthritis. I cannot put up a Christmas tree this year. I will give my tree to a friend. I will then put out my small tree. Cards are trouble for me also. I plan to send a holiday email to friends and family. <BR> <BR> I am very content and happy. Sat, 18 Oct 2014 18:45:04 EST Kitchen - done My kitchen has a modern look to it. My restorer-painter is absolutely awesome in his work. He notes things and replaces them so no damage is done to my new floor. He was sensitive to Snaggles and his stress level. I am so impressed with his work and commitment. Fri, 17 Oct 2014 23:02:18 EST Major Decision Made Bob got the doctor's verdict on his tests. He has both thyroid and lung cancer. This week he has an MRI on his pancreas. We will know about pancreatic cancer soon. Bob is very weak and tired from 2 years of dialysis. He has diabetes, kidney failure and heart failure. He decided that he does not want to pursue cancer treatments. That is huge. <BR> <BR> One of his doctors told him that he was in charge of his ship. He determines how long to stay on dialysis and whether or not have canc... Mon, 13 Oct 2014 22:26:57 EST Small pleasures Snaggles, our cat, loves time with me. He delights in play and loves a plain ribbon. He runs and chases. He seems happy. He breaks up a tough day and makes me feel good. <BR> <BR> My local newspaper wrote an article about my cancer story. It ran on Sunday in section H. I got much support from people as they recognize me. Members of my church expressed surprise as they remember seeing me in church each week. I was determined to keep to a routine as much as I could do. It was better f... Thu, 9 Oct 2014 21:58:26 EST Really content Many friends wonder how I can be so content and positive with all the problems and life experiences. I do some soul searching and feel that I have learned that possessions, fancy trips and travel, and other things are only temporary. <BR> <BR> These things matter so much more: <BR> 1. The ability to enjoy the current day. <BR> 2. Time for husband and cat. <BR> 3. Time for friends with fun, service, and experiences <BR> 4. Time to exercise and cook <BR> 5. Time to get to all the doctor's a... Sat, 4 Oct 2014 20:27:54 EST Time - Where did it go? Just when I thought I was getting my life together and getting more time, we ran into problems. Our church was robbed 6 times by a career thief. I became upset when I discovered a check that I wrote was missing. I met with my banker and have direction now. I did not use e-giving as I wanted the church to get the most of my money and not pay fees. I now realize that e-giving is the way we will go. I will get the forms on Sunday and make the conversion. I used bill pay to get the funds t... Fri, 3 Oct 2014 18:27:15 EST Long term care - how to begin Both Bob and I have long term care policies. We have reached the stage to activate our account. I will ask my doctor for a letter that states my health conditions and limitations that I have. We will also spell out Bob's conditions and limitations. We will show what he can or cannot do. The social workers at the Dialysis Center will handle most of that for me. They also have great expertise. <BR> <BR> I am fortunate that we have a plan that provides for home health care. There is no l... Sun, 28 Sep 2014 22:54:01 EST Excellent improvements I am so pleased with the painter/restoration person that is working on our home. He offered sound advice with respect to my purchases. He has a busy schedule so I am pleased with the way he conducts business. He gives target dates for major work and an end date. That is excellent in business practice in my book. <BR> <BR> Bob is slowly improving. He is trying to help out. <BR> <BR> I am feeling quite exhausted. I am trying to eat properly and exercise. Just so tired! <BR> The cat i... Wed, 24 Sep 2014 21:40:40 EST Enjoying a few moments Today I went for a walk in the neighborhood. We had a bad hail storm in the spring. Our area was spared damage. However a few miles from us had severe roof and siding damage due to golf ball sized hail. I felt so grateful. <BR> <BR> I got the contract from my painting/renovator person. He will get everything done by October 30th. That pleases me. <BR> <BR> I am getting caught up with paperwork. I have one executive meeting and part of a general meeting left in my presidency. It i... Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:04:55 EST Balancing caregiving, chores and my health I am no longer attending classes at 8 or 9 am at the gym. It is impossible for me to finish Bob's dialysis, get him ready for the day, feed the cat, play with the cat, get dressed, prepare breakfast, and travel to the gym. <BR> <BR> I also have morning aches and pains with my RA. So I am moving slower and still get exercise done. I go to the gym for trainings and try to do more at home. It is easier to be home and exercise. I still can hear if Bob is having a problem. <BR> <BR> I take ... Sat, 20 Sep 2014 20:52:23 EST Working on less stress! I decided to stick with doing less and enjoying what I do moreso. I have an executive meeting at 9 am tomorrow. I have a hair appt at 1 pm and a class on nutrition and cancer at 3. I am not overbooked as the next appointment meetin g is on the way back from the first. If I have the energy, I will go to the gym at 6:30 pm or workout at home. <BR> <BR> I feel less stress already. Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:18:25 EST What a day! My day began at 4 am. I finished my husband's dialysis at 4:33 am. Time to eat breakfast and get dressed. I needed to be at the golf course for the tournament preparation by 6 am. I picked up a large bag of ice at Giant at 5:30 am. <BR> <BR> The past 2 weeks were filled with small tasks getting ready for the day. Cyndi, Sherry, Hen and I worked on the gift bags from members and a merchants. A team of persons got hole sponsors. We got items donated for our baskets from members and merc... Sat, 13 Sep 2014 22:15:46 EST grateful again! I am recovering from back spasms. I h as d difficulty caring for Bob. I am grateful to be able to care for him again. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:28:23 EST Special Meeting I felt energized by the Berks County Association of School Retirees Meeting yesterday. We passed our bylaws and explained how they impact our subchapters and members. We awarded the Lauretta Woodson awards to Andrea White and Gloria Mendez. We gave the volunteer of the year award to Elizabeth Stouffer. We gave the Communication Award to Berks Encore. The Chapter received the NRTA award for Serving our Youth. <BR> <BR> I had an great time serving as President. We now transition to Can... Sun, 7 Sep 2014 20:27:03 EST No excuses I am not making excuses and making myself look good. I am being honest in as much as humanly possible. I am accepting who I am. Thu, 4 Sep 2014 20:31:27 EST time for me = better me for others I am taking time each day for me. I see a pattern where I have free time during Bob's morning nap and also during the afternoon. I use this time to exercise or do something on the me list. <BR> <BR> I have more energy and therefore can do a better job at cooking or caregiving. <BR> <BR> I feel me time yields better time for Bob and others. Wed, 3 Sep 2014 20:45:36 EST Caregiving - A willing labor Through my husband's and my health problems I am learning so much more. Yesterday's emergency room visit for my husband gave me more insight into knee injuries and protocols for care. He has the awkward immobilizer. He was a sight to behold wavering on crutches and attempting to get to the bedroom. <BR> <BR> He had a rough night and was uncomfortable. I delivered food to the bedroom and helped him get to the bathroom. I replaced the crutches with his sturdy walker. I am working on di... Mon, 1 Sep 2014 16:54:15 EST Great Weather and Golf I got to play Willow Hollow Golf Course today and to see the staff. Bob and Bill were friendly and helpful. I signed up for my Thursday morning league for a 8:30 am tee time. <BR> <BR> I finally did get a par on hole 9. I used my 7 hybrid and landed perfectly near the pin. WooHoo. I also had pars on other holes. I went to the Hitching Post for lunch and had Mediterranean chicken on a bed of spinach. I had the green veggies of the day as well. <BR> <BR> I'm tired, but happy. Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:02:01 EST Appreciating some down time I really enjoyed today. I only had a personal training booked today. I spent time at home in the morning with my husband. I got to call a friend yesterday. I hemmed two pairs of slacks for me. I played with the cat. I got to catch up. <BR> <BR> Bob was stir crazy from being at home for over a week. I took him out to a restaurant. He really ate a steak, salad, and sweet potato. He seemed so happy at just a little meal. <BR> <BR> I enjoyed the sunshine. I did pool training with ches... Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:24:30 EST Neat Family I have three super friends in one family. Hen is my golf partner and neighbor. Linda is a new pastor of Calvary United Church of Christ in Barto, PA. Cyndi is the other daughter who is super at so much. The third daughter, Debbie, is a former student. <BR> <BR> This family is so outgoing and welcoming. Cyndi states we are a tribe that expands its members. We are a church family. <BR> <BR> Today we celebrated Linda getting her call to serve as pastor to a church. We had brunch after... Sun, 24 Aug 2014 16:06:07 EST My Life at the Moment My husband is needing almost constant care. He is almost housebound. When that time comes we will need to bring in outside help. Currently I do his meds, his shots, his dialysis, and manage the charting of everything. I record all foods that he eats and tally the potassium, calcium, sodium and phospherous that is required for dialysis patients. <BR> <BR> I do all the meal preparations and shopping. Thank goodness for Amazon for heavier items. I now have a cleaning service once a wee... Sat, 23 Aug 2014 15:15:05 EST fitness goal I am working on swimming strokes to regain full use of right arm after breast cancer radiation and surgery. Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:47:41 EST grateful I am so grateful for each for each day. I am surprised with all the good things that happen to me. I am concerned about world events. <BR> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:43:19 EST Changes with respect to Sparkpeople I normally spent 1 hour on Sparkpeople per day. I had to learn about tracking foods and entering my groups. I then entered my favorite exercises. I did Sparkpeople radio and much more. I still find that I have much I can do. <BR> <BR> As I look at my day and demands of caregiving, I cannot spend as much time as I did for 2.5 years. I will do my nutrition tracker, fitness tracker, and much of my Start page. I will monitor the Challenged by Arthritis team and send out Team SparkGoodies. ... Sat, 16 Aug 2014 16:41:26 EST Scaling Back I am now golfing just on Tuesdays in a league. I am having hand, foot and knee problems with my meds. I now take 3000 international units of vitamin D to counteract effects of my anastrazole. I don't want joint damage with my RA. <BR> <BR> I decided to cut back the golf. I will take a lesson with my pro. I have several things I want to go over with him. I also want to practice my shots and see how I can improve. I want to see what I can do at Chapel Hill Golf Course or Willow Hollow o... Wed, 13 Aug 2014 21:29:33 EST Keeping Calm I decided that getting upset is not working in my favor. So now I must figure out how to keep calm in the midst of disorder. Why is there disorder? My biggest reason is overscheduling that causes volunteer work to spill over into ME time. So I must reflect on how much volunteering I can really do. <BR> <BR> When projects are scheduled I put start and stop dates. I figure out how much time the work will take and add 20% more time for problems and others who miss deadlines. I also try... Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:17:14 EST Looking back over the past weeks with gratitude I took time today to pause and reflect over what has happened to my husband and me over the last 3 weeks. I feel deep gratitude for all the support people have offered. <BR> <BR> I am doing well from the perspective of my surgeon and medical oncologist. I had my first mammogram since surgery and radiation therapy. All reports show progress and no signs of cancer recurring. <BR> <BR> Bob is making slow progress with his positional vertigo. He had therapy 3 times this week. He is now se... Sat, 9 Aug 2014 11:37:19 EST