SBECKER526's SparkPeople Blog SBECKER526's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Feeling good I met friends for breakfast at 8 am on a Saturday at the Tomcat cafe. This restaurant got best in Berks again. The menu is overwhelming. The tables have pictures of musicians. We were at the Elvis table. I had French Toast called "Blind Faith" with cheese, bacon and apple. It was perfect - not too savory or too sweet. <BR> <BR> I was glad to see my friends. We all had breast cancer one year ago. We are wanting to avoid medical tests. We have had enough for years. We had a great ... Sat, 28 Feb 2015 23:21:43 EST Quiet, but good day I am doing so much better at the gym. I am using the elliptical trainer for cardio. I expect to start cycling at home on Saturday. Next week I want to take a zumba class. If all goes well, I will return to the rowing machine in 2 weeks. I have 5 more days under the surgeon's restrictions. <BR> <BR> I got the newslettter done, developed a flyer, and handled registrations for a workshop in March. I have a strong sense of accomplishment. <BR> <BR> My pain levels fluctuate. I am attem... Wed, 25 Feb 2015 23:33:43 EST Feeling better The pool was great. It was -20 degrees with the wind chill outside. My damp hair froze. As I drove home, the water ran down my back as my hair thawed. I felt energized and glad to be moving in the water. <BR> <BR> I am busy with my laptop finishing projects. I always seem to be doing the technology stuff in all groups. I will send out the invitations on Tuesday. <BR> <BR> I still must watch how much sitting I do. My back is tender. Sat, 21 Feb 2015 23:12:23 EST Catching up! I am returning to my activities as I reach week 6 of my healing. I get to go to the pool to swim tomorrow. I had a 12 page newsletter to edit and minutes to complete all needing to be done now. I have few more items to edit and complete the layout. Thu, 19 Feb 2015 21:15:53 EST Reading and listing questions I see my primary care doctor and his resident on March 3. I am getting away for a day to see the Philadelphia Flower Show on March 2. Each day I enter into my journal how I feel. I am also entering into my journal how I am managing pain and what emotions I am feeling. <BR> <BR> Over the past month, I met with my GI doctor. He recommended that I stay away from all NSAIDS. I take acetaminophen twice a day. During bad RA flares I may take some predisone. For really bad pain I should take... Sun, 15 Feb 2015 09:53:46 EST Feeling low for a few hours I really felt low for a few hours. I now see the reports from all medical tests. I'm not happy about having ankylosing spondylitis and fused discs. I do wonder how much more is wrong. Is AS just RA but of the spine? <BR> <BR> I did read the AS medical conditions under Health A to Z. I now feel better. I found the web site. I have some more reading to do. Maybe it will turn out okay. Fri, 13 Feb 2015 23:36:14 EST Enjoying each day I am enjoying each day. I am getting plenty of rest. I am able to listen to my body concerning fatigue and pain. Gradually I am cooking more and returning to more normal activities. I am seeing my personal trainer and working to keep arm and leg strength while I continue to heal. <BR> <BR> I do many stairs and walk frequently. Great to live in a split level house. I am grateful to have the time to recover. I am passionate about the things I try to do. I am still trying to service o... Wed, 11 Feb 2015 22:18:46 EST Taking time to heal I am finding that my recent surgery is taking time to heal. I am using my time wisely and not doing too much. My car was discontinued in the US in 2009 ....shortly after I bought it. Recently I discovered that I had no certified technician or parts. So I spent time finding a car that would fit in my garage! I am the new owner of a Subaru crosstrek that I love driving. I made certain it had features to make my life with RA better. <BR> <BR> I also finished some light projects and purge... Mon, 9 Feb 2015 00:01:14 EST Small improvements Bob and I wish to remain in our home. A retirement community is not what we want at this time. We analyzed our home and where we wanted peace of mind. A home generator that swtiches on automatically 20 seconds after the power goes out seems good to us. Bob uses his dialysis equipment nightly for 8.5 hours. He cannot be too warm or too cold. So our 2015 present is a home generator. Yippee! Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:46:54 EST Good news and some projects done! I am so happy. My surgeon felt I'm progressing well. I may return to the gym with modifications in exercises for 4 weeks. I may return to swimming in 2 weeks. Life is getting better. <BR> <BR> I finished several projects. I need to proof one report tomorrow morning. I am meeting with an expert on the purchase of a generator. With Bob's home dialysis and my limited lifting restraints, I need a generator that is natural gas fueled. <BR> <BR> On the move! Thu, 29 Jan 2015 22:18:49 EST Projects underway - feeling more alive Today I resolved to get to my computer. I have a report to my friends on the Board of Directors due Friday. I got most of my information today. The membership committee of the Retired school employees is doing a great job with the materials for a membership drive. I am so pleased. <BR> <BR> I am trying to sit up more and deal with discomfort. I see my surgeon tomorrow. Hope I get a good report. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:27:35 EST Appreciating Kindness of Friends <em>304</em> Today almost overwhelmed me with kindness. <BR> <BR> The caring and compassion of two friends really touched my heart. One friend offered a tortellini soup and brought pink tulips as well. She had a beautiful card and has been offering prayers. <BR> <BR> The other friend made an awesome and tasty chicken pie (enough for 6 people). We will have it again tomorrow. She has fresh fruit as well. She sent another meal (pepper steak with rice). <em>267</em> I also got Paner... Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:58:30 EST Watching the storm I am watching the storm along with Snaggles, the cat. We like the front window to see people, birds, and animals. Yesterday Snaggles had a cat visitor. They growled at each other. I put extra food out for the Kitty. <BR> <BR> With my recovery I literally do not have to go out. I can relax and curl up with my Kindle. I may watch a movie....if we have power. <BR> <BR> My friends are prepared with 4WD vehicles if we need to get out. I hope to enjoy my home and be safe. I'm saying a f... Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:34:09 EST Making small steps of progress It is often difficult to be a caregiver when I am recovering from surgery. I must really set priorities. I can take care of my husband's meds, shots, dialysis, grooming and even showers within reason. I can do the same for me. Then I need a nap. <BR> <BR> My friends covered meals for the first week. I am so grateful to them. I also found that the Atkins frozen dinners had high enough protein and low enough carbs for my husband's renal-diabetes diet. I can augment the meal with some ca... Sun, 25 Jan 2015 10:50:06 EST Recovery Underway <em>204</em> I'm looking in the mirror and wondering how things happened so fast! I was preparing for my CT scan and taking those wonderful drugs to keep me from getting hives. I used the GI doctor's patient record system and got an email from him with the results on Wednesday. My test was Tuesday. I had a belly button hernia from prior laproscopic surgeries and DaVinci surgery. It was extensive. The doctor recommended surgery. <BR> <BR> <em>359</em> I called my primary care doc... Wed, 21 Jan 2015 10:29:13 EST I did it! At each Pink in the Rink game, the Reading Royals Charities' donates funds to the Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks and the Susan Koman Group of Philadelphia. Survivors are invited to be goal shooters. During the first intermission you go behind the scenes at the ice hockey arena and come out on a carpet and shoot. If you score the BCSS of Berks got $100. <BR> <BR> I had never held a hockey stick, but decided to volunteer to try this. I asked my personal trainer to coach me. L... Sun, 11 Jan 2015 13:08:53 EST Next Doctor Visit I really do not mind visiting my internist/primary care resident and doctor. They are so focused with my care and ailments. I get nervous with each specialist visit. What races through my mind is what tests do I need to have done? What is causing the problem that got me to the specialist? Well, after cancer, there are many specialists in my life...surgeon, oncologists (radiation and medical), and others. During this past week I met with my gastroenterologist. <BR> <BR> I do have pai... Fri, 9 Jan 2015 23:39:48 EST Feeling positive I am doing better with my RA. My home looks better as the clutter is dimishing. Today the upstairs closet got its floor cleared. My plans are to try on all clothes and purge the ones that do not suit me. I've changed so much since cancer and RA. <BR> <BR> I will visit the resale store of Opportunity House. I have Fiesta plates to donate and some books. These items will benefit homeless people who are learning new skills and getting first choice on possessions as they start out in housi... Sat, 3 Jan 2015 23:16:16 EST Grateful I am so grateful for my family, friends, and cat. <BR> I am so grateful for my church family and online friends. <BR> I am grateful that I have the finances to get medical help. <BR> I am grateful that I can use my brain with the email and Internet. <BR> I have sooo many blessings. <BR> <BR> I hold up those who are facing challenges of illness, loss of loved ones or loss of hope. My prayers go out to all. <BR> Blessings and peace. Wed, 31 Dec 2014 11:53:55 EST Dealing with pain I cannot take many pain medications as I have a thinned esophagus due to a previous Barrett's attack. I watch all my trigger foods so that I do not cause more GERD. Hence I must use massage, some supplements (turmeric), and heat (jacuzzi soaks, paraffin dips for my hands, and compression gloves for my hands. <BR> <BR> Recently my surgeon suggested Ibuprofen with food to ease some of the inflammation. I am trying that. <BR> <BR> I use the pool for lymphedema and arthritis. I try to cyc... Sun, 28 Dec 2014 10:46:34 EST After the holidays I ate sensibly and enjoyed time with family and friends. I needed to catch up in sleep. I had the best plans to write notes to friends. Then my RA flared up. I am resting more. I am spacing activity with rest. I used my Voltaren gel and massage hands and feet. I gently cycled on my spin bike for almost 30 minutes. Tomorrow I will exercise in the pool. <BR> <BR> I sometimes forget that I have RA enhanced by Anastrezole. I now count to 10, pull up the sherpa throw and nap. Then I mov... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 21:22:14 EST Happy Holidays Many of you do not celebrate Christmas. I wanted to wish you a day of peace, love, and hope. May you enjoy health and happiness. Thu, 25 Dec 2014 16:37:21 EST Merry Christmas To those of you who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas. Our Christmas is very meaningful and quiet. We went to church last evening and then took the actual day slowly. Both of us have chronic health problems. <BR> <BR> We enjoyed a home cooked meal. This RA person did some preparation ahead of time. We did not send cards or buy presents for each other. I bought presents for friends and used plenty of bags instead of wrapping gifts. <BR> <BR> We watched a DVD of the movi... Thu, 25 Dec 2014 16:36:12 EST Tough holiday It was exactly one year ago tonight that I received the news that I had breast cancer. I gulped and then prepared to attend church. I said very little to anyone that evening and fought back true tears. Bob went along to church so I wanted to be stoic. <BR> <BR> As I prepare for church tonight, I said a prayer of thanks that I am doing as well as I am. I am asking for the ability to accept the pain of rheumatoid arthritis that is enhanced by my anastrazole drug. I am dealing with changes... Wed, 24 Dec 2014 17:03:31 EST Online Community for RA I joined an online community for Rheumatoid Arthritis from FaceBook. It does not have as rich a presence as our Sparkpeople group. I have met new folks and came away with the realization that I am doing rather well. While I have daily pain, I can still exercise, dress, cook and do activities. I am aware that I need rest periods throughout the day and must eat sensible. <BR> <BR> I have good friends, a fine husband and a great cat. They make my life easier. I also have a wonderful hous... Tue, 23 Dec 2014 13:11:03 EST Time to enjoy the holidays I am glad the preparation of the holidays is almost done. I will now have time to enjoy friends, my cat, and my husband. I finished wrapping gifts while listening to Christmas music. <BR> <BR> I am feeling better. I got hit with a GI episode that made caring for Bob challenging. I was successful as he did not get the ailment. I even got to the swimming pool for some exercise today, but not as good as if my trainer worked with me. <BR> <BR> I did most of the shopping for groceries. I... Sun, 21 Dec 2014 21:45:21 EST 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