SIMPLELIFE4REAL's SparkPeople Blog SIMPLELIFE4REAL's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Road Trip (Part 2) I'm on a month-long road trip from Tennessee to Las Vegas and back. My husband and I are having a WONDERFUL time. I can't believe how drop dead gorgeous so much the United States truly is. I am so grateful to be having a chance to see it. I often cry tears of pure joy when I see so many aspects of this great land. <BR> <BR> My last blog brought me from Tennessee to Texas, so I will pick up from there. New Mexico is called The Land of Enchantment. Trust me, I was enchanted! <img src="ht... Sat, 18 Oct 2014 13:27:37 EST Road Trip!! (Part 1) and Pinktober Hubby and I are on a month-long road trip that started Sunday. I am having a wonderful time. It's my first real vacation since having cancer and I am so grateful to be able to make this trip. <BR> <BR> Sunday, we drove to a state park just outside of Memphis TN and camped. The park was very nice. We had a campfire that night which was so relaxing. <BR> <BR> The next morning, we went to the Memphis Zoo. They have a "Herpetarium" there. I had never heard of that term's a pla... Wed, 1 Oct 2014 23:29:20 EST Today is my mother's 90th birthday! Today is a special day in our family. My mother is 90 years old today! For her age she is in very good health. She loves to tell people that she doesn't have to take any prescription medicines and has ALL her teeth! Honestly, that's pretty impressive at 90. My personal theory as to why she has lived so long and so healthy is that she had taken a nap after lunch pretty much every single day of her life. She has also eaten relatively healthy foods her entire life and has never had a weight prob... Sat, 27 Sep 2014 08:16:45 EST Bicycle ride along new road with bike lanes I live in a pretty hilly part of Tennessee. Generally, it's a hard place to ride a bike. Most roads are: two lane; no shoulder; and contain plenty of blind curves and steep hills. Last winter a new road was built that starts two blocks from my house. This road is my kind of bicylist's dream. It's very lightly travelled, pretty straight (wich means no blind curves), gentle rolling hils and best of all....a very wide marked bicycle lane on each side of the road. It also has bicycle lane s... Sat, 13 Sep 2014 21:09:51 EST Canoeing for the first time this year! I seem to be squeezing summer into September since I was so fatigued for much of the summer. <BR> <BR> Today, hubby and I went canoeing for the first time this year. It was so nice to be out on the water. We went lake canoeing today. The water was as smooth as glass and I was amazed at how fast we glided over the water. Unfortunately, neither one of us took a camera with no pics, but lots of wonderful memories. <BR> <BR> Life is good! <BR> <em>104</em> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:32:44 EST My favorite canned soup! Do you ever have those days when you don't feel like cooking, but want to get something warm and healthy in you? I do....particularly in the evening. Last winter, I discovered this great soup by Amy's Kitchens. I love it! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Since I've found this soup, I always try to keep a can or two of it on the shelf for emergencies. Sometime I add edamame to it. <BR> <BR> What's your favorite healthy emergency meal for ... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 19:54:22 EST Biking Again! Bicycle riding is my favorite way to exercise. I haven't been able to do much of it this summer due to severe fatigue from Epstein Barr virus and walking pneumonia. My fatigue has been lifting significantly over the last couple weeks and on Sunday, I went for my first bike ride since mid June. <BR> <BR> My husband and I went to Chattanooga and rode on their beautiful river trail. I planned on biking for an hour so after riding for 30 minutes in one direction, we turned around and biked ... Mon, 8 Sep 2014 20:30:57 EST Hiking again! This summer has been an odd one because I was hampered by a lot of fatigue. I'm getting better now. It turns out I had Epstein Barr virus. It's very similar to mono. I'm getting over it now and have been able to do a lot more in the last few weeks. <BR> <BR> I've been hiking several times this past week. Something I love to do. Here are so photos. <BR> <BR> This first one is from our local state park (Cumberland Mountain State Park in Tennessee) . They have really nice hiking trails... Fri, 5 Sep 2014 17:06:36 EST Fatigue is lifting....hooray! Last week, I wrote that I had been having very severe fatigue for about a month and a half. I haven't been able to determine the cause of it, but it seems to be lifting now. This week has been significantly better. I've been able to attend aerobics class three days already this week and I'm much more active when I'm at home doing things like light cleaning and cooking. <BR> <BR> I've been off gluten for several weeks now and the medication that my GI doctor gave me for my Crohn's is hel... Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:27:19 EST Severe fatigue....functional medicine For the past month or so, I've been dealing with severe fatigue. It's about as bad as it was while I was on chemo. I was getting better after treatment ended, but I've taken a turn for the worse in terms of fatigue. <BR> <BR> Today, I went to a new local doctor that specializes in functional medicine in hopes of getting some help with the fatigue and finding out the root cause. She ran a lot of blood tests today to check a variety of things. It will be a week or so before all the resul... Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:19:21 EST Crohn's Disease and Celiac Sprue Since finishing up my cancer treatments, I decided that I needed to take care of the rest of my health and I have been on a journey the past couple months to do that. <BR> <BR> Part of that journey was to go see a GI doc. I hadn't seen one in 32 years since I had my colon removed at age 29 due to severe ulcerative colitis. After that, I never wanted anything to do with GI docs. I have an "internal pouch" made up of small intestine directly connected to my rectum. The result is that I've had... Thu, 7 Aug 2014 11:43:35 EST Having fun dreaming of food! Right now our farmer's markets are over flowing with wonderful fruits and vegetables. We have been having a great growing season here on the Cumberland plateau in Tennessee.....plenty of rain, sunshine and good temperatures. The melons and corn seem to be particularly delicious this summer. <BR> <BR> I've noticed that when I go to bed each night, I've been dreaming up delicious, beautiful meals that I can make with all the healthy foods we have in the house. It's been so much fun making t... Mon, 4 Aug 2014 14:09:09 EST Six months after finishing chemo... I have just recently passed the six month mark of finishing chemo for breast cancer. I did chemo first, so after chemo I also had surgery and radiation. I'm about two months out from my last radiation treatment. I feel like I'm about 65% of the way back to "normal" in terms of strength and endurance. Everyone that has been through this has told me it takes at least a year to recover. I believe it. <BR> <BR> My hair is growing faster than it did in the beginning, but it is still very s... Sun, 20 Jul 2014 11:33:41 EST Slug yesterday....two workouts today! After running on Saturday for the first time since going through my cancer treatements, and going ballroom dancing that night, I was TIRED on Sunday. I really vegged out all day and even watched the World Soccer match on TV. I don't know the first thing about soccer so it was interesting to watch the game and learn a little. <BR> <BR> This morning, I did Wk1, Day2 of my c25k program and then went to a one hour aerobics class at the fitness center afterward. I feel good! <BR> <BR> The ... Mon, 14 Jul 2014 11:25:41 EST Went ballroom dancing last night...what fun! While I was going through chemo and surgery last winter, I really didn't do much in terms of exercise. One thing I did do was learn how to ballroom dance.....well, actually, it would be more accurate that my husband and I went to ballroom dance classes once a week at the local senior center. How much we actually learned is debatable. We did learn basic steps for the waltz, foxtrot, swing, cha cha and samba. <BR> <BR> The classes ended about the same time I started radiation in April and ... Sun, 13 Jul 2014 07:11:03 EST Signed up for a I just need to train for it! While I was going through chemo, I found a lot of support on on in a group of women that all started chemo in Sept. 2013 like me. After we were done with chemo, we came up with the idea to get together in Las Vegas to celebrate. Originally, we planned to get together in Sept. 2014, but had trouble finding a weekend most of us could make. We ended up deciding to go over Columbus Day weekend in October. <BR> <BR> There is a Glow Run 5k that weekend, so we are going to do ... Sat, 12 Jul 2014 11:43:35 EST Quick update For whatever reason, I haven't been blogging much lately. I think it's because I don't feel like I'm doing much that is "blog worthy". <BR> <BR> Life is good. I've been exercising pretty consistently. I go to 5 aerobics classes a week at my local fitness center and try to keep moving when I'm at home. <BR> <BR> I've decided that the risk of lymphedema is too high for me to attempt long bicycle rides on my upright bike so I'm looking into tadpole trikes. We plan to go visit a trike manuf... Fri, 11 Jul 2014 08:42:28 EST Sprouts....A better way to grow them! I've been growing alfalfa sprouts for the past 9 months for juicing. I had been using the old fashioned mason jar with a screen lid on top system. It works okay, but about a month ago I got something that is sooo much better. <BR> <BR> It's called the Victorio 4-tray seed sprouter. I like mine so much, I thought I would blog about it. Here is a picture of it. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I got mine from Amazon. <BR> <link>www.amaz... Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:19:39 EST Short bicycling vacation to Ohio Wow, I can't believe it's been almost 3 weeks since I've written a blog. That's a long time for me. <BR> <BR> In a nutshell, over the past 3 weeks: <BR> <BR> 1. I had my first post-treatment checkup with my medical oncologist. Everything looks good! She doesn't want to see me again for 4 months. Woot!! <BR> <BR> 2. We went to Illinois (to see my grown children) and to Wisconsin (for my husband to be best man at a friend's wedding). <BR> <BR> 3. We went on a three-day bicycling vaca... Sat, 21 Jun 2014 19:43:44 EST Curly locks and first 3 mile least in a while! Yesterday, my hair popped into curls for the first time since growing out from chemo. I knew it was going to happen. It's quite common after chemo for hair to come back curly for about a year. I could see the waves forming, but yesterday was the first time my hair actually sprung up off my head after my shower. I don't know how well it will show up in this picture, but it's so different....honestly, I love it! I know it won't last, but I'm going to enjoy it while it's here. <BR> <img sr... Mon, 2 Jun 2014 05:43:56 EST All better! I'm happy to report that my fever broke yesterday afternoon and I'm fine today! I slept all day yesterday and slept a lot more last night. I must have needed it. <BR> <BR> I felt well enough to go to a beginning line dance class today. It was a lot of fun and a great way to get some easy aerobic exercise....just enough to get my blood moving and my "permagrin" going. <BR> <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> I think I must have had some kind of virus that came and went very quickly. My PCP's offi... Tue, 27 May 2014 18:35:25 EST running temperature on Memorial Day I woke up sick in the middle of the night....chills and fever (102.2 f). called the doctor on call at my pcp's office to see if I needed to go to ER. He called in an antibiotic instead. We'll see what happens. I feel very weak but no real symptoms other than fever, weakness and chills. What is up with me and holidays? I was in the hospital on Mother's Day with a small bowel obstruction. My menorial day sick selfie.... <BR> <em>39</em> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 26 May 2014 08:37:55 EST Finished Breast Cancer Treatment!! I finished the last of my radiation treatments last week so I'm now officially DONE with my treatments. It's been a long nine months. Chemo, surgery and rads....the trifecta of cancer treatments. I made it through without any serious complications or side effects. I am so glad it's over! Hopefully, the cancer will not return and I'm done with it for good. <BR> <BR> They say it takes about year to recover from the kind of treatment I had. I tend to believe it. I feel okay, but I get e... Sat, 24 May 2014 13:30:57 EST Hospitalized with Small Bowel Obstruction I just spent the last three days in the hospital with a small bowel obstruction. It has nothing to do with my breast cancer. I had major abdominal surgery 32 years ago that has left me with a lot of adhesions. Occassionally, when I eat too much fiber and don't drink enough liquid I will get an obstruction. This is my sixth one in 32 years. They are absolutely no fun and very painful. This one was more scary than the other ones because it took a while for it to resolve. In the past, whe... Mon, 12 May 2014 09:16:55 EST Sunday Selfies Last September, I joined a chemo thread on for people beginning chemo in September 2013. That thread became a huge source of support for me over the winter and many of us have become quite close. We have moved the group over to a private facebook page because it's easier for us to communicate with each other that way. We are planning a "reunion" in Las Vegas in October of this year. <BR> <BR> One of the traditions we have is the "Sunday Selfie" where we show off how mu... Sun, 4 May 2014 17:13:32 EST Time for regrouping this morning..... It's been a week since I wrote my last blog. <BR> <BR> We had a good time over the weekend with lots of social activities. Dinner out with friends on Friday, hosting our family get together on Saturday, and Easter lunch with friends on Sunday. After spending so much time alone during chemo and after recovering from surgery, I felt like a social butterfly. <BR> <BR> It was nice, but I'm such an introvert/hermit that it seemed a bit overwhelming. By Monday, I just wanted to be by myse... Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:29:23 EST Hair, rads and exercise I took a new selfie last Sunday and changed my profile pic to reflect that I have enough hair to cover my scalp now. This is me at almost 13 weeks post chemo. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I'm in the "little boy" phase according to my husband. Only this little boy has wrinkles! <BR> <BR> Today is #11 of 33 radiation treatments. Other than fatigue, I'm fine so far. I'm sleeping a lot more again, about 10 hours a night. That's okay. I ... Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:08:24 EST Fatigue (again) but not as bad this time around Fatigue from radiation therapy suddenly descended on Friday. After doing at least an hour of aerobics for the past seven days, I just didn't feel like moving on Friday or Saturday. I ended my 10 minute a day exercise streak at day 42. Oh well. <BR> <BR> I finally got back to moving today (Sunday). I did 10 minutes on the elliptical. I want to keep moving during radiation therapy, but I'm going to have to cut back some and just try to hold my own for the next six weeks. I'm disap... Sun, 13 Apr 2014 18:39:47 EST Ballroom dancing last night.... Jim and I went to a ball room dance last night with a big band. This is the third time we have done this since we started taking dance classes last fall. It's the first time for me going when I haven't felt exhausted from chemo. <BR> <BR> <BR> We had a lot of fun and danced almost every dance. We are rank beginners compared to many of the dancers there. Some of them look like they dance at the competition level swirling around the floor. It's quite amazing. Even though we are beginners... Fri, 4 Apr 2014 08:22:10 EST Back on the bicycle! Rad #1 (of 33) done! Yesterday afternoon, I got my bicycle out for the first time this season and took a short ride. By short, I mean REALLY short.....eleven minutes....1.5 miles. I was huffing and puffing on the up hills and had "perma-grin" on the downs. I have a long way to go to be able to ride 50 miles a day again on hills like I was doing last summer the week before getting diagnosed with cancer, but I believe I can do it....eventually. It felt wonderful to be out again. The weather was perfect for rid... Wed, 2 Apr 2014 06:37:07 EST April 1...the radiation begins today....streak continues Today is the first day of my radiation treatments. It's the my final phase of treatment for breast cancer. I'll be going daily for six and a half weeks. They say this part of treatment is much easier than chemo and surgery. I don't expect to even feel much from it for the first few weeks. Toward the end, there is more fatigue and skin issues that typically last for a couple weeks after it is all over. I'm thinking that it will be around June 1st before the immediate effects of the radia... Tue, 1 Apr 2014 09:48:56 EST Radiation planning session today....the streak goes on! Today, I go for my radiation planning session. They will make a mold of part of my upper body to use each day to make sure I'm in the exact same position every time. They will also do a CT scan to figure out exactly where my heart and lungs and stomach are to try to avoid them as much as possible. <BR> <BR> I'll be getting my breast, armpit and lower neck area radiated every week day for 6 weeks and then some boosts to the exact spot on my breast were my cancer was for another 3 days af... Mon, 24 Mar 2014 08:09:39 EST Day 21 of 100 day streak...getting a lot more active! I've completed 21 straight days of doing at least 10 minutes of aerobic exercise each day. I'm now up to 21 minutes on the elliptical, and have completed 30 minutes of a one hour aerobic class several times. I'm intentionally building up slow and steady. It's working. <BR> <BR> This is what I have realized....the first 10 minutes are the hardest. By the end of 10 minutes, my muscles have warmed up, I feel better and I'm willing to do more. I just play "mind games" to get myself to go... Wed, 19 Mar 2014 11:12:32 EST The streak goes with more hair! (days 13 & 14) So I'm keeping up with my 10 minute minimum of aerobic exercise daily. <BR> <BR> Day 13: 10 minutes on elliptical (keeping up the streak made me do it!) <BR> Day 14: 26 minutes walking: 15 min. PT <BR> <BR> I'm at the point where I can actually see a change from day to day in my hair growing back. My eyebrows are coming in really quickly right now too...which I think greatly decreases my "alien" look. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I clea... Fri, 14 Mar 2014 08:58:48 EST 10 Minute a Day Streak---Days 12 & 13 of 100: Done! Day 12: 35 minute walk (1.75 miles) ; 60 minute stretch class; 15 min PT exercises <BR> Day 13: 30 minute aerobic class (walkfit); 60 min. ballroom dance class; 15 min PT <BR> <BR> It was 75 degrees here today at 5pm. Awesome weather. We had a wonderful time at dance class again today and went out to dinner with several people from the class after it was over. <BR> <BR> Today was another happy milestone. It was the first time that my eyelashes were long enough to apply a little masca... Tue, 11 Mar 2014 21:54:35 EST 10 Minute a Day Streak---Day 11 of 100: Done! Day 11--- 25 min walk (1.5 miles) and 15 min PT stretching <BR> <BR> Today is a beautiful early spring day here on the plateau in Tennessee. I noticed trees with buds on them...wonderful to see. <BR> <BR> Loving this quiet, peaceful Sunday with the sun shinning and the birds chirping. Sun, 9 Mar 2014 16:23:58 EST 10 Minute a Day Streak---Days 9 & 10 of 100: Done! Day 9: 10 min on elliptical; 23 min walk; 15 min stretching/pt <BR> Day 10: 15 min on elliptical; 17 min walk; 15 min stretching/pt <BR> <BR> I'm 10% of the way done on my streak! <BR> <BR> Vanderbilt had given me several nice cloth chemo caps/scarves in all different colors when I first started chemo. I wasn't wearing them because they didn't go with any of the tops I already had. Today, I took the caps to the store and a nice sales lady helped find a very cute top to go with each cap... Sat, 8 Mar 2014 20:31:40 EST 10 Minute a Day Streak---Days 7 & 8 of 100: Done! Day 7: 10 minutes on Elliptical: 10 minutes of stretching <BR> Day 8: 20 minutes on Elliptical; 70 minutes stretching <BR> <BR> Whoo Hoo! One week of streak done! <BR> <BR> Yesterday, day 7, was a long day in Nashville going to see three different doctors. If I hadn't been working on this streak, I most likely would have blown off exercise. We got home from Nashville around 6 pm and I went down to the basement and got my 10 minutes of aerobic work out in. <BR> <BR> Yesterday was a mi... Thu, 6 Mar 2014 17:13:23 EST 10 Minute a Day Streak---Day 6 of 100: Done! Today I did 10 minutes on the elliptical this morning and we went to our one hour ballroom dance class this afternoon. <BR> <BR> I wish I had asked hubby to take a picture of me dressed up for the class today. It all started with me needing to find a top to wear that wouldn't hurt. I had a very soft black turtle neck that fit the bill, but no pants to go with it. So I decided to wear a skirt which lead to stockings and some comfy heels I used to wear to work. None of my scarves went wi... Tue, 4 Mar 2014 17:22:44 EST 10 Minute a Day Streak---Day 5 of 100: Done! Today I did 15 minutes on the elliptical and also went to a one hour stretch class at my fitness center. I had been on a "medical leave" from my fitness center for the past two months. It was so nice to be back. The stretch class is very gentle, and an excellent thing for me to be doing after surgery. <BR> <BR> Today, March 3rd, is "Triple Negative Breast Cancer Awareness Day." That is the kind of breast cancer I have. A year ago, I had never heard of it. What a difference a year makes... Mon, 3 Mar 2014 16:18:07 EST 10 Minute a Day Streak---Day 4 of 100: Done! I did at least 10 aerobic exercise today. The streak continues! <BR> <BR> Day 4: Elliptical trainer: 12 min. <em>248</em> <BR> <BR> I meet some friends for lunch today. It was nice to be out and about! <BR> Sun, 2 Mar 2014 21:04:43 EST 10 Minute a Day Streak---Day 3 of 100: Done! Quick blog to say I did at least 10 aerobic exercise today. The streak continues! <BR> <BR> Day 3: Elliptical trainer: 12 min. <BR> <BR> I know I have been very inactive, particularly since the first of December when I started what I call "the hard chemo." I keep thinking of getting a Fitbit to help me gradually increase my step count. I finally pulled out my old pedometer today and put it on just to see where I stand. I put a little over 2,000 steps on it. It's good to know what is ... Sat, 1 Mar 2014 20:05:06 EST 10 Minute a Day Streak---Day 2 of 100: Done! Last night, I got 6 hours of solid sleep. It doesn't sound like a lot, but I think it's the most sleep (and the most restful sleep) I have had since my surgery. I woke up feeling refreshed! <BR> <BR> Today, I did 11 minutes on the elliptical before breakfast. <em>248</em> <BR> <BR> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 10:17:43 EST 10 minutes - Day 1 (of 100) Now that I have my drains out and bandages off, I really need to get back on the wagon with consistent exercise. I've decided to commit to a minimum of 10 minutes a day of aerobic exercise (getting my HR up to at least 70% of max.) for 100 days. I want to be able to do much more as I regain my strength, but commiting to 10 min. <BR> <BR> Today is day 1: 10 minutes on elliptical <em>248</em> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 12:43:47 EST No More Drains...or other instruments of torture! I'm two weeks post op and I got my last drain out today! Hooray!!!! <BR> <BR> This last drain was really hurting the whole two weeks while it was in there. It can sometimes hurt when the drain get pulled out, but I didn't even feel it as the nurse was taking it out. The first time I realized she had even done it was when I glanced over and saw her putting it in the trash can. (I had been talking to the doctor as the nurse did it...and was distracted by the conversation.) Sweet! <BR> <B... Wed, 26 Feb 2014 20:33:32 EST Baby Eyelashes!!! I had my first sighting of signs of hair coming back this morning. Hundreds of very tiny white baby eyelashes have suddenly appeared! I saw them this morning under the bright light of my magnifying make-up mirror. I'm so excited!!!! <BR> <BR> It's a wonderful thing! <BR> <BR> <em>334</em> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 13:14:46 EST 2 drains to go 10 days post-op. Lots of underarm pain last night from lymph node dissection. Keeping arm elevated and typing with one hand today. I'll write a longer blog later...I just want to not overdo things with left arm right now. <BR> hugs, <BR> Kay Sun, 23 Feb 2014 09:30:34 EST Drains, drains, go away!!! Today, I'm six days post op from having breast surgery and my lymph nodes removed under one arm. I have three drains that are sewn into me and I have to wear a very tight surgical bra 24 hours a day that is a form of torture in itself. Between the drains, the torture bra, and my total lack of hair....I'm feeling quite "alien looking" these days. <BR> <BR> I don't mind going though everything I need to go through in terms of cancer treatment. It's worth it to me if it saves my life. I'... Wed, 19 Feb 2014 05:47:31 EST Made it through surgery! Just a quick blog to let you know that I made it through surgery just fine. I stayed overnight in the hospital, which was good. I needed the IV pain meds. <BR> <BR> I decided at the last minute not to have new implants put back in after they took the old ones out. I feel very comfortable with that decision. I ended up with a Lumpectomy (LX), axillary lymphnode dissection (ALND), implants removal and port removal. Although I only had a LX, I think my pain levels are more similar to som... Sat, 15 Feb 2014 11:59:15 EST Life in the quiet lane....getting stronger and dreaming I haven't been blogging much because there is not a whole lot going on right now. I'm just trying to build up my stamina between finishing up my chemo three weeks ago and going in for surgery next week. It feels like progress is very slow, but I know I'm improving. I also know that my body is still working very hard on the inside to recover. <BR> <BR> Two days ago (Wednesday), I had a really long day at Vanderbilt. I had three different appointments and four hours of driving. I had to ... Fri, 7 Feb 2014 07:12:31 EST