About Me

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2 time ovarian cancer Survivor, Advocate for ovarian cancer awareness & research, Teacher of Zen Method Tai Chi, Blogger, sharing the wonderment and power of essential oils, proud fan of Cathe Friedrich's workouts, Reiki practitoner, A Course in Miracles student, paper crafter

Friday, February 18, 2011

Remembered what I Forgot and then Some

I remembered the post I partially wrote in my head this morning. Chemo-brain is such a weird thing! I'm ready for my pre-chemo brain to come back- just for the record.

This past week I've had a cold. Why is this post-worthy? Because it's my first cold since chemo and it didn't put me in the hospital. Chemo tanks your immune system and messes with your mind in the process. During chemo my family and I were extra clean. I didn't kiss anyone, and no one was allowed to kiss me. Everyone washed theirs hands a lot. The house was Lysol-ed often. I did my very best not to touch other people, or touch any thing on the rare occasions I left home. That level of protectiveness was necessary because even catching even a little cold or infection could have easily put me in the hospital with a much bigger problem. My body just couldn't fight any infections or colds off. A hard way to live, but eventually I grew accustomed to it.

I've been done with chemo for 5 months and I'm slowly learning that it's okay to let go of that level of protectiveness. Getting a kiss from one of my nieces or nephews is extra sweet now and so is holding their adorable tiny hands. I still wash my hands a lot. I still instinctively avoid touching people and things when I'm not home. My hands look a lot older now thanks to all that washing.

 I survived my first post-chemo cold! When I first started getting sick I panicked a little, I'll admit it. Thankfully, it seems that my immune system is up and running nice and strong again. That's a victory to me!

One of the main ways I help my immune system to stay strong is by eating cleanly and healthfully. Honestly, I've been short on veggies the past couple weeks. I didn't plan to include veggies in my week, so they didn't make much an appearance. Veggies are funny that way. So I made a veggie packed meal plan for the next several days. Many thanks to Holly Clegg and her Trim and Terrific cookbook! Lunches will be either Deluxe Tuna Salad or Diana Dyer's Kale-Bean salad. (I am in love with this blog!) Dinners will be Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas, Cheesy Shrimp Rice Casserole and South Indian Curried Chicken.

You may be wondering what's for breakfast? I either have 1 whole Eggland's best egg plus 2 egg whites with a slice or two of reduced-carb whole grain no HFCS added bread with 1/2- 1 cup of fruit and green tea, or oatmeal with 1/2 cup of fruit, whey and greens protein powder, ground up flax seeds, sometimes a tablespoon of chia seeds and green tea. Yum!

Pictures and recipes coming over the next few days.... No drooling on your keyboards!

How do you welcome veggies into your meals?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Compromise and Spontaneity

Earlier today I wrote an amusing post. Unfortunately, I didn't write any of it down. My chemo-fogged out memory lost it. This is the daily life of a cancer Survivor. Note to self: write down good ideas right away.

CureToday.com  posted an article about the label of cancer Survivor. It brought up feelings of anger and frustration regarding the effect that radiation and chemo had on my body. I wish someone from my medical team would have explained all the physical consequences that treatment might have on my body in more detail. The nurse who explained it to me on the day I started chemo went through the list pretty fast. I think she was trying not to scare me, but I would much rather know the possibilities and understand what I can do about it then live in ignorant bliss.

I knew about the lingering fatigue, but I didn't know about the numbness that continues in my feet and sometimes my hands. I, also, didn't know that the joint pain in my knees could continue for so long after treatment. (What? Is 5 months not a long time?) The numbness is improving, slowly. The pain in my knees is steady. I wouldn't have taken a different treatment course if I had understood about these side effects before treatment, but I think I would be able to deal with them better.

I'm the kind of person who likes to be prepared and have a plan of action for lots of 'what if' scenarios. Those things often offer a sense of control. (Yes, I know it also wastes a lot of mental and emotional energy.) Control = safety in my mind. Cancer has been the catalyst that's helped me add a dose of spontaneity to my life. I wish those spontaneous things would be more fun, though! Those not-so-fun spontaneous things have, somehow, managed to encourage me to enjoy happy bursts of spontaneity.

The joint pain in my knees is an every day struggle, because I love Cathe Friedrich's step and kick boxing workouts. My whole self is healthier when I work out consistently. These achy knees get in the way of that consistency and it ticks me off.

I found a compromise today, thanks to the advice of 2 incredibly wonderful and kind Cathletes. They recommended that I go step-less. I've gone step-less for a couple segments of a workout before, but never the whole workout. It was beautiful!! Initially my ego felt bruised, but then I realized that there's no reason to be any negative energy into this wise compromise. Honestly, the intensity level was much better for me on the floor than the step. It was a relief to just enjoy the music, sweating and moves instead of worrying about my knees.

Despite the lingering pains of chemo I am thankful that I'm alive, Surviving, moving, working, writing, singing, and loving.

What does the term cancer Survivor mean to you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Random Thankful Thoughts

I've officially lost 5 pounds, despite taking a 10 day exercise and food journal hiatus. YAY!! It feels like a miracle because I haven't seen the written expression of the weight loss work. Mostly because I haven't worked all that hard. Intuitively I feel that it's time to get back to food journaling- tomorrow. Yes, definitely tomorrow. I got back onto the Cathe Friedrich train this afternoon with a killer upper body pyramid workout. My weight loss grace period (aka miracle) is about to run out, I can just feel it.

Thanks to chemo, my appetite is much smaller than it used to be and I'm sure that has played a major role in my semi-miracle weight loss. I'm thankful for this catalyst of cancer treatment even though it still feels foreign to me. It doesn't feel like me, but I'm appreciating this new characteristic more and more.

I'm going to open the door to the world of Tweeting this week. I'm still not really sure what is so interesting about Twitter, but I want to try to figure it out. I'm hoping that Tweeting my blog will help attract new readers.

I had to clean the hair out of the shower drain yesterday. Gross, but fun if you haven't had to do it in over 6 months. My hair is really growing back fast. It doesn't really do the mini-mohawk anymore. Side note: someone much cooler and younger than me informed that it's not a mini-mohawk it's a faux hawk. I prefer mini mohawk which tells you something about how cool and young I am.

I have enough hair now to justify using a hair towel again. I decided 2 days ago. I love my hair towel, but I have no idea why.

I had the great pleasure of spending time with special old friends and special new friends last weekend. I am loving my new life and career! I am thankful to have so many people cheering for me. I feel beyond blessed and loved. I pray that more people in the world feel this way. I do my best to express my love and appreciation for the people in my life. I know I can always do a little better, or a little more though.

I have my 6 month post-chemo check up in 2 weeks. It was supposed to be last week, but the roads were too icy to travel on especially after my trip to Texas. I'm not really nervous about it, it's more of an annoying reminder that I'm not allowed to put cancer completely behind me. Ever. The up-side is that it's motivation to eat, move and live to protect myself from another recurrence. I'm choosing to welcome this motivation as a positive and powerful force. It's a daily choice, and honestly it's not always an easy choice. I choose life and love!!

At this very moment, what are you thankful for? Post a comment, and let me know!