SEAWAVE's SparkPeople Blog SEAWAVE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Struggling to accept my new reality So I've been off work now for eight months with no end in sight. Unpaid. Issues with the insurance, which claims not enough info from my medical team. My doctor is insensed, and the insurance now has 85 pages of medical notes to go through. Well, they asked for it. <BR> <BR> I am very, very reluctantly coming to the conclusion that this pain and difficulty walking may be my new reality. I have serious deterioration in my bones that bring me into the osteoperosis territory. The medication to ... Sun, 26 Jun 2016 01:31:18 EST Wonderful Affirming Day with fellow Sparker I was lucky enough to meet fellow Sparker Justyna7 through staying at her B&B, and am blessed to count her among my family now. I was so happy to be able to get together with her Tuesday, to chat, swim, and generally catch up (we haven't seen eachother for some time -- too long!). <BR> <BR> I continue to learn so much from her. How to eat simply and healthily - she made a wonderful seafood chowder for lunch. How to be patient with myself (ok... maybe I haven't quite assimilated that lesson, ... Thu, 21 Jan 2016 09:25:50 EST Using a walker and loving it! (Plus BECK Day 4) I have had huge issues with back pain for the past 12-18 months (maybe more!). At first, scans showed abnormalities that the oncologists were pretty sure was bone mets, but no it's just degeneration because of all the extra weight, lack of exercise, hormonal treatments, etc. <BR> <BR> So to them, I'm perfect, because I don't have more cancer. They really don't care about the weight, possible development of diabetes, the pain, etc. Just the cancer. <BR> <BR> Frustrating. Not just because of ... Wed, 13 Jan 2016 15:16:52 EST HUGE Goal! So my DH and I have set a huge, enormous, gigantuan goal for ourselves, and particularly for myself. We want to walk the northern route of the CAmino de Santiago in 2018, for our 30th wedding anniversary (not the actual anniversary, which is in February, but sometime between June-Oct). <BR> <BR> Aside from the obvious hugeness (over 800 km on hilly terrain in sometimes bad weather) there is the current hugeness - I can hardly walk at all right now, or even stand for 5 minutes without my bac... Thu, 7 Jan 2016 10:08:47 EST The Beck Diet Solution = the last step to beating cancer At least, that's how I see it. My treatments are over except for the meds and hormones, which can make me gain weight. My weight has more than doubled since I started this cancer thing a dozen years ago. So this is it. Getting back to a healthy weight means being able to do things I could do before. <BR> <BR> The Beck Diet Solution is a six-week program for changing how my mind sees and reacts to food and losing weight, and is based on Cognitive Behavior Therapy. The first day is to write o... Tue, 22 Dec 2015 16:22:05 EST The walls are tumbling down I've been decluttering lately, sorting through the detritus of my life as it is. And look... there! It's the Spark that has been buried for the past few months, still burning a slow, low burn, but not completely out! <BR> <BR> I've often thought of my Spark adventure as a started and failed, and started again type of pattern. But indeed, I now see it as a continuum, as one helpful element of my life that I have for various reasons put on the back burner - for good or for bad. <BR> <BR> I'v... Sat, 19 Dec 2015 08:09:58 EST 180 Degree Shift Wow. I met with my doctor yesterday, and am now in a 180 degree shift on everything. <BR> <BR> She is strongly suggesting that I take 3-6 months off work, to be able to focus on getting myself back together, addressing those things I've shoved aside over the past 12 years of dealing with cancer. She would make an action plan with me, and see me every month for progress report (so I don't lose sight of my progress!), to update it and for accountability. I have never had this kind of support f... Wed, 16 Sep 2015 05:43:38 EST Triple Challenge - Update on Healthy Habits Reset Challenge Lots of catching up to do with my Triple Challenge. Here we go with the Healthy Habits Reset Challenge. <BR> <BR> Day 4 – Friday <BR> <BR> So Day 4 was about finding a buddy. I have a little difficulty with consistently supporting my buddies in the past – when I get migraines, I can go dark for up to two weeks - so this one is difficult for me. So for now anyway, SparkPeople is my buddy! <BR> <BR> Day 5 – Saturday <BR> <BR> Day 5 is about sharing your goals, making them public. Again, Sp... Wed, 9 Sep 2015 05:04:01 EST Memory is hunger “There are so many sorts of hunger…. Memory is hunger.” <BR> – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast <BR> <BR> This quote speaks so much to me, because my hunger is based on the memory of what I miss... being active, spontaneous, sexy, alive! Reaching many of my goals is a long-term thing, rebuilding muscles and stamina. I think that this is where my emotional eating comes in. It's such an immediate gratification - I crave sugar, I eat sugar. I crave crunchy and salty, I eat chips. I crave bik... Sat, 5 Sep 2015 16:43:49 EST Triple Challenge - Day 3 (Thursday) Day three, so far, so good! <BR> <BR> The Healthy Habits Reset is all about getting focus and setting a goal. You may remember that ultimately I want to be happier, which I guess is code for getting out of my head so much and being less stressed. So goal setting for me means finding three ways of doing that. I already know that music is one of them. I need to find at least two more ways to trigger "happy" when I'm getting sullen, stuck in my head's vortex of worry, or snarky and impatient. ... Fri, 4 Sep 2015 08:44:43 EST Triple Challenge - Day 2 Second day of my triple challenge. So far, so good. <BR> <BR> The Healthy Habits Reset asks that I commit to doing just one thing each day toward reaching my goal. With a goal of being happier and worrying less, one thing I will do for at least 10 minutes per day is listen to uplifting, upbeat music. This invariably gets me in a good mood, and if I'm not in pain or migraining, can also get me moving, so bonus! <BR> <BR> The challenge for The Balanced Life today was to practice mindful eatin... Wed, 2 Sep 2015 21:51:07 EST Triple Challenge - Day 1 So September 1st I joined three challenges (well, two SP challenges, and one personal one). <BR> <BR> The first is The Healthy Habits Reset, and the first day I was to identify one goal to work on, and write down three reasons why I want to reach this goal. I realized that I want to do a mind reset, that my goal is to be happier and worry less. My three reasons that I want to reach this goal are (1) that my life would just be more enjoyable (for me and for those around me!), (2) it would re... Wed, 2 Sep 2015 02:33:52 EST My Wellness Vision Statement So, starting fresh means revisiting my vision for this ongoing wellness project I’ve undertaken. SparkPeople calls it a “Weight Loss Vision Statement”, but I prefer to focus on wellness rather than just weight loss (which is what SP says to do anyway!) <BR> <BR> So what does “wellness” mean for me? I’ve said it so often it’s like a mantra: increased strength, stamina and flexibility. I need to push beyond that, and really have a vision that I easily can see in my mind and reach for when I’m... Fri, 28 Aug 2015 09:49:23 EST Striving to see clearly The past couple of days have been spent in trying to get practical with things so that they work for the way both DH and I work. I'm all about planning and being organized (and in my head), and he's all about being spontaneous and is very visual (as in will get distracted from a task by any little thing that he sees). <BR> <BR> So now that I have bit more energy and stamina, actually working together (instead of him doing everything as he was while I was sick) has created a bit of friction. ... Mon, 24 Aug 2015 15:56:37 EST Waking up to reality I'm just now beginning to realize the cost of cancer for me and my family, how far down the slope I've gone and how far up I have to go to get back to some semblance of living. <BR> <BR> So far, I've more than doubled my weight and can't walk because of back and ankle pain. <BR> The house and gardens are disaster areas that I haven't been able to maintain for years. <BR> We haven't tracked our finances in years, and with me being down to three days of work per week money is tight. <BR> I'm ... Wed, 19 Aug 2015 15:27:42 EST This is my year For the first time in over 12 years, all of my doctors agree that I am cancer free. So I'm getting on with the business of living, not just surviving. <BR> <BR> We took our first vacation overseas this year, in Galicia, Spain. A lot of firsts for me (or first in a long time, anyway). Much more walking than I've been doing. Paid for it dearly in back pain, but it was wonderful to be able to see some of these places that I've dreamed of seeing for a long time, especially the Castro de Barona. ... Wed, 12 Aug 2015 07:04:10 EST Hi. I’m SeaWave, and I have chronic health issues. For the past twelve years, I’ve been focused on identifying what my health issues were, and dealing with them – diagnosing, surgeries, treatments, follow-up tests and monitoring. I have been on long-term disability three times during my career, and the goal was always the “return to work”, and once back at work being able to deliver at work. We are, after all, dependent on my salary and generous benefits. <BR> <BR> However, I also expected to be regaining my life balance, my actual health – ... Fri, 7 Aug 2015 12:06:35 EST Just back from hospital They removed a cyst in my lymph nodes yesterday. Back of the neck is very swollen, but the worst was the after effects of the surgery. Migraine, ridiculously high blood pressure, various meds they gave me weren't working for either. They kept a very close watch on me all night. <BR> <BR> At one point, they gave me something for the migraine, warning me that it would make me "feel like you're floating outside of your body for a few hours". It worked, when I went out the cleaning crew was arou... Tue, 5 May 2015 09:08:46 EST Not such a good idea So I thought looking back through my blogs would be a good way of finding my "lessons learned". Not a good idea at this point. What I found is that with the cancer treatments, I was on an up/down cycle, and there is really nothing I've been able to do consistently. <BR> <BR> So I'll take a different approach and start by looking forward. This week-end, I will take down everything from my vision board and start over (I haven't done that in a couple of years). I'll also re-organize our third b... Sat, 18 Apr 2015 08:13:26 EST Going back to the beginning... way, way back! I've been in this weird place these past few months, which I'm going to try to explain here. My apologies if it seems a bit "stream-of-consciousness" or unorganized, because I'm still trying to get my own head around it. <BR> <BR> “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle <BR> <BR> Sometimes it seems that the only habit I’ve developed is failing. People around me (at work, because I really don’t have a social life) are all impressed about how p... Wed, 15 Apr 2015 20:54:49 EST Off the rails, frustration... finding my way back. Ok, I've been way off the rails since November. It seems like the puzzle that is my life just shattered, and I haven't been able to find two pieces that go well together. <BR> <BR> Losing Dad December 1, I realized, was losing one of my touchstones. He had always said "children shouldn't die before their parents" and I realized that that was one of the things I was holding on to. As long as he was there, I had to be there. It took me a while to realize what I was reaching for, and what was m... Sun, 29 Mar 2015 09:54:38 EST One step forward So my oncologist and my family doctor don't agree. I either have degenerative arthritis in my lower spine, or just a sore back. <BR> <BR> Either way, I'm going to see a physiotherapist tonight, crossing fingers that he will be able to give me some exercises that I can maintain without either (a) increasing pain or (b) exhausting myself. <BR> <BR> I'm also crossing my fingers about upcoming tests to determine what's going on in my lymph nodes, which seem to be populated with cysts or nodule... Tue, 10 Feb 2015 17:35:54 EST Knitting myself back together Had a long chat with my boss this week, because I have finally given in and admitted that I can't do it all. I can't do what I could before cancer X 3. I can't be who I used to be. <BR> <BR> I've been shattered and over and over trying to knit pieces of my life back together. I finally realized this week that the pieces have changed. <BR> <BR> Now I have to take a long hard look at myself and see what those pieces of me are now, what I need to let go of, which pieces are still worth dedicat... Sat, 17 Jan 2015 12:12:46 EST Losing my Dad... slowly We've been by his bedside for the past week - he was "supposed" to not last until we made it here. He's tough, and hanging on to (we think) try to finish business that he can do nothing about. He's spoken to me about it before, and it's not on him it's on someone else, but he wants to fix it. It's so difficult to see him fading, with difficulty breathing and sometimes not lucid. Most times he's asleep because of all the morphine they have to give him, so we've been blessed that he has had luc... Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:26:04 EST It's all good - again - for now... So I had my "final" biopsy, and results this week. The biopsy was behind the neck, and swelled quite a bit. What a nightmare! Wound up with a migraine, vomiting, emergency room, 2 bags of fluid iv because I was dehydrated plus gravol and something else, then dilaudid. Off work for five days. I've had a dozen biopsies, and this was the worst by far. <BR> <BR> The results were negative, but the oncologist is skeptical, so it starts all over again in January with another CT Scan. They want to ... Sun, 9 Nov 2014 00:19:16 EST It's all good! Just a quick note before I rush off to enjoy the glorious week-end. <BR> <BR> I saw the naturopath yesterday and received results from my blood work. Iron is up, cholesterol is cut by half. Yes HALF! and well in the healthy ranges. BP is in high-normal, and trending downwards. Sugar levels are stable and normal (instead of dropping all the time). I'm off both BP and cholesterol meds. <BR> <BR> I can't believe it, after so many years of diet and medication, and just shy of a month on the ... Sat, 27 Sep 2014 10:10:53 EST 99-Day Countdown So, it's 99 days until New Year's. Can you believe it?1? Time has been flying by. <BR> <BR> I feel the need to challenge myself, to give myself some sort of framework as I learn this new way of eating. I thought it would be much easier as I've done low-carb before, but this is so much lower carb, and also high fat, low protein (where i was used to low fat, high protein). It's very counter-intuitive, but if it's what i need to do to avoid feeding any lingering cancer cells, then it's what I'... Tue, 23 Sep 2014 23:14:47 EST Overwhelmed, but Moving Forward The past few weeks have been a roller coaster of medical tests and visits to the oncologist and doctors. Good news is that what was a strongly suspected bone cancer is actually (well, probably, but that’s another story!) osteo arthritis. My family doctor has decided I’m too young for that so she’s going to have a talk with the people at the hospital to see if during the CT Scans and MRIs, they checked for slipped discs and the lie. Whatever. She drives me crazy. Literally no longer than 12 ... Sun, 21 Sep 2014 23:27:47 EST Fingers crossed and optomistic So I had what I think is my last test - a full body MRI - yesterday, and will be getting results from the oncologist on Wednesday. It seems very likely that it is, cancer metasticized to the bones, but I am oddly optomistic. For one thing, it would be the answer for why I am in all this pain and points to treatment options. <BR> <BR> The other thing is I've begun to go to a naturopathic centre that specializes in cancer. They have a whole team - doctors, physio therapist, nutritionist, cou... Sun, 7 Sep 2014 19:14:38 EST In the "wait" period of "hurry up and wait" After the flurry of appointments - onco Wednesday afternoon, two CT scans Wednesday night, full body MRI Friday, now I wait. Probably about a week until my oncos get my results. <BR> <BR> Meanwhile, I'm hoping for the best - I don't even know what that would be at this point - and planning for the worst. If it is a mets, that usually would mean I get the same treatment as for the Inflammatory Breast Cancer, which was chemo within three weeks of diagnosis, then surgery (not applicable in bon... Sat, 23 Aug 2014 10:23:49 EST At least tests are happening quickly I got a call today to do the last full-body scan tomorrow! You can't get medical tests scheduled any quicker than that - I saw my onco only yesterday afternoon! <BR> <BR> So if it is a mets, at least it will be addressed quickly. I'm becoming more hopeful. I spoke to my manager, and she is fully supportive of whatever I have to do -- sick leave, medical retirement, sick leave and working from home a bit so I don't get too bored. Whatever. It's an enormous relief to have that kind of supp... Thu, 21 Aug 2014 22:54:42 EST Difficult Summer... going into Fall Well, the title says it all. It's been a very difficult summer with a lot of pain, very little ability to exercise. Just got results of a bone density test and it looks like I have 12% loss in the lower back, and build up in the pelvic area. Might be the IBC metasticizing to the bones - apparently that's a classic presentation. <BR> <BR> I'm doing a CT Scan of the head and neck because the ultrasound I did last week showed cysts in the lymph nodes behind my ear and along my neck. That test... Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:47:04 EST Hitting my re-set button! I've been struggling with consistency because of health issues. I've found out this week that I have osteosporosis because of the meds I take to replace the thyroid and to avoid a cancer recurrence. So that explains the pain in my lower back. I've also found out I have cysts in my lymph nodes - a very unusual occurrence apparently, so we'll be checking out that that isn't metastatic as well. <BR> <BR> So group challenges don't work out too well for me - I'm still looking for that "perfect ... Fri, 1 Aug 2014 22:42:36 EST 5% Challenge - 12 Things I'm Reaching For... On January 2, I blogged about 12 things I'm reaching for. I was just out of surgery (again) and gearing up to go back to work, and things were looking up. Then I got a terrible cold, and things got put on the back burner. <BR> <BR> Basically, I want to be functional again. All of the things below are things I've done in the past, and I want to be able to do them again (well, maybe not run into a bear, but if I do I want the confidence to know I can walk away!) I call them my “comfort memor... Mon, 16 Jun 2014 19:25:00 EST It's prep time! Summer 5% Challenge A friend sent me a note that the 5% Challenge was starting and encouraged me to join -- thanks MEMARE! The challenge is to lose 5% of my weight over 8 weeks, starting on Saturday, June 21st. <BR> <BR> (1) Exercise Commitment <BR> <BR> First step to prepare for the challenge is to identify my exercise commitment. This one is easy, as I am just now getting back on my feet from a horrible early spring. Consistency will be the key for me, and my fitbit will tell me how many steps I'm doing. ... Fri, 13 Jun 2014 17:07:45 EST Oddly relieving to not sleep Since my sleep doctor told me Wednesday that it's like my normal to not sleep more than 4 hours per night, I feel oddly lighter and more relaxed. No more trying to stay quiet, destress, meditate, etc to try to get back to sleep. I stay wide awake anyway! So tonight, I've planned my day, which will be an errand day. <BR> <BR> * meet with my GP for the results of my annual physical bloodwork <BR> * meet with the thyroid oncologist <BR> * meet with the respiratory technologist and get my CPA... Fri, 11 Apr 2014 04:48:37 EST Met with my sleep doctor today ...that is, the doctor from the sleep clinic. I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea last year and tried the CPAP machine. Nice thing is that they let you test it out for a month before you buy it, to make sure you get the right machine and mask. Bad thing was that I wasn't "compliant", that is sleeping with it for at least four hours straight, at least 21 nights per month. <BR> <BR> I tried to explain to them that I have never slept that much, but suffice it to say there was a mini-war ... Wed, 9 Apr 2014 16:40:46 EST Received my Fitbit Plus today! I registered for a health coach through a program at work, and as part of the program I received a Fitbit Plus. I've set it up to sync with SparkPeople -- hopefully that will work. <BR> <BR> I also get three hours of training with a health coach, as well as three with an exercise coach. Will likely also do a few hours with a nutritionist and possibly a naturopath. If the naturopath doesn't work there, I'll just go back to the one I was going to before. She's back from maternity leave now ... Tue, 4 Mar 2014 23:03:50 EST Finally back in the game! I had my annual check up yesterday, and the doc has (again) ok'd minimal exercise until we get some test results back. So I'm ok for the stationary bike for short (10 minutes) of time. I'll be trying out some of the Spark videos as well. I also had my first telephone consultation with a wellness coach (a new service provided through work) and will have a fitness coach at end of March. It's only for three sessions each, but it will get me on the right track. My aim is to be ready to go walk... Thu, 27 Feb 2014 20:14:41 EST Difficult return to work Well, although the welcome was wonderful when I returned to work after surgery -- I truly have the most supportive colleagues in the world! -- being back has been difficult. It has surprised me, because the other returns after cancer treatments seemed to go smoother for me. Perhaps it results from an accummulation from all the body trauma. <BR> <BR> In any event, I tire much more easily now, and am most often asleep in the car on the way home. Attention to food and exercise has gone by the ... Thu, 30 Jan 2014 06:12:23 EST Starting the week-end right! Yesterday was just so full of awesome, and a great way to start the week-end! <BR> <BR> I went to the surgeon's to get the results of the pathology report from my hysterectomy (which came because I was hemoraging and they found some pre-cancerous cells). Well, great news! The path report showed no cancer! Frankly, I expected bad news as I've had two primary cancers (thyroid and breast). I guess third time is the charm! <BR> <BR> Yesterday was also a day of running around for medical appoint... Sat, 11 Jan 2014 06:47:15 EST Declutering - house and body So this recovery from the hysterectomy is not at all what I expected! There is no pain, and I can move quite normally. However, I thought I would try a low-impact cardio – just 15 minutes – and that was a bad idea. I experienced pain in the abdomen, so I stopped after three minutes. So I’m guessing anything that has to do with using core muscles for the exercise is out for now. I’m still waiting for my follow-up appointment with the surgeon, but for now I will stick to the short Qi Gong ... Sun, 5 Jan 2014 11:48:59 EST What to do in 2014? A brand new year, and a (symbolically) new start. So I started working on a list of 100 reasons to get healthy, and it really wasn’t working for me. So I went through the idea of identifying 50 things I miss doing, or making annual resolutions, or… Let’s just say I went back and forth through a lot of options and approaches and leave it at that. <BR> <BR> I finally realized how unfocused I was, and sought to first identify what I’m reaching for. So my list is now a list of “12 Things I’m r... Thu, 2 Jan 2014 08:00:12 EST I'm getting it back in 2014! This is it. This is the year I my way of seeing myself, from someone who is chronically ill (and so unreliable and isolated) to someone who is adventurous, fun loving and confident. Oh, it won’t make the illness go away, but I need to explore the rest of myself and start living a wider range of experiences. I have therefore left the teams that were related to health issues (e.g. hysterectomy, cancer) and kept a very few teams I can relate to on another level. <BR> <BR> This is also the ye... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 01:18:11 EST Coffee with a friend, and indoor walking I met Justyna7 for coffee yesterday at the mall. I truly count her among my life's blessings, and am so pleased we were finally able to get together! We walked a bit around the mall, and she was supremely patient with me and my limitations! While the mall was crowded, relatively few people were carrying bags. I wonder how the stores did this Xmas and Boxing Day -- I have not been keeping up on the news. <BR> <BR> I did make a nice find, though. J and I stopped in a store and she made a pur... Fri, 27 Dec 2013 10:03:31 EST Blood pressure medication Just back from the doctor, who has put me on medication to control my blood pressure. It was through the roof at the hospital after my surgery, and I got lucky to get a cancellation wtih her today. I wondered if I should push -- I'm going for my annual on January 16th. I decided that this was just as important as all those other things that still need to be done before Christmas. <BR> <BR> I'm so happy I went. First, my BP was lower than it was post-surgery, which is very good. And I lo... Mon, 23 Dec 2013 15:24:12 EST Gifts just about all done! Despite starting the day with a migraine yesterday, I had a surprisingly productive day (thanks to my DH!). I did the planning, and he did the running around. Yep, we went the gift card way this year. Actually, movie passes for all the "kids" (they're all in their teens). We got a good deal, as $40 worth of passes gave a $40 gift package that includes upgrades to 3D, free popcorn, etc. They'll be happy with that, as movies are sooo expensive nowadays they don’t go as often as they would li... Mon, 23 Dec 2013 00:19:42 EST I've just discovered Qi Gong! As I've mentioned, I'm recovering from surgery right now. It means I can't lift any weight and have to be careful not to pull stitches. <BR> <BR> I have been searching through Spark and bookmarking exercises I want to try once the doctors say it's ok (appointment in early January) and I found the 15-minute Qi Gong video. I tried it. I can do it, no problem. <BR> <BR> And it felt wonderful! I think I'm a fan... will try to do this regularly. <BR> <BR> <em>135</em> <em>252</em> <e... Sun, 22 Dec 2013 15:31:59 EST What happened vs What's the best thing that happened I've been reading a book (Steal Like an Artist), where an approach to journalling is described. The author, Austin Klein, describes Nicholson Baker's approach to journalling. He says to not write about what's happened, which will usually put the focus on more negative stuff that you've had to deal with as that is where your time and energy went. Instead, he says to write about the best thing that's happened in your day. This puts to memory the positive that otherwise often are forgotten. <... Sat, 21 Dec 2013 09:47:44 EST Gonna try coconut oil pulling GiantPanda’s blogs have convinced me to try coconut oil pulling. It’s basically using about a tablespoon of coconut oil as a mouthwash, swishing it around your mouth for about 20 minutes, and spit into the toilet or garbage (can clog drains). Do not gargle, do not swallow. <BR> <BR> She’s reporting that after a week she has brighter teeth and her eczema is alleviated. Given my many health challenges, I have been doing some research on using coconut (oil, flour, etc.) but had never heard ... Thu, 19 Dec 2013 11:58:42 EST