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

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I'm going on vacation, finally!! I haven't had a real honest to goodness vacation in years. When I lived in Florida my vacations were spent coming home to Tennessee to see my family. Which was great, but it's not the same as a true vacation. I'm going Vegas, baby!! I've never been there before, but my grandparents enjoyed vacationing there through the years. It will be neat to see the places that they went, though I'm sure much of it has changed since their last visit.

I'm leaving Sunday morning (early!!) and thankfully have a direct flight. I'm all checked in, packed, and I have a workout plan. All I needed was a vacation eating strategy. That's the toughest part of vacationing for me- food! Can you relate? I'll be honest, I don't expect to lose any weight. However, I do not want to gain any either. I'm going for a balance of enjoying some food indulgences, tourist paced walking, and working out.

One of the gifts my mom gave me during my cancer treatment was an iPod. One of the reasons I wanted an iPod is so that I could take some of my Cathe Friedrich workouts with me wherever I go. All of Cathe's workouts are available as downloads, it's totally awesome!

Cathe, in her infinite wisdom, designed a low impact circuit workout using a stretch band for Cathletes who travel. That's me!! The workout is called Travel Fit and it's on my pretty purple iPod right now. I'll have access to the fitness room at the hotel (it cost extra, can you believe it?!) so I put Kathy Smith's Steady Strides walking workouts on my iPod too. I briefly toyed with the idea of checking out Cardio Coach, but didn't want to start trouble with my bank account. One day, Coach Sean, one day... Oh, and yes I do feel a little silly planning a treadmill workout while I'm on a walking intensive vacation.

I was pondering how I wanted to design my vacation eating strategy while I was catching up on emails. I was in the right place and the right time, because there in my inbox was the exact link I needed. The email was from Sandra Ahten of The Reasonable Diet. One of my BFFs discovered Sandra and her wonderfully smart, and yes, reasonable weight loss plan at the beginning of the year. I was intrigued, but never got around to reading all about it and seriously applying to my life. Until NOW. In that beautiful email was this link and the answer to my vacation eating strategy. Go ahead, click on it!! It's awesome isn't it? I can put at least 8 of these tips to work while I vacation.

Sandra, you rock! Thank you!

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Year Ago Today...

Today is one of those weird cancer anniversaries for me. A year ago today I found out from my radiation doctor that I could start radiation treatment on the next Monday. It took over a month to get to that point. An exhausting, scary, frustrating month not only for me but for my family, too. Although it may not seem like a big deal to you, a year ago today it was HUGE scary step forward.

Today my medical life is in a different holding pattern. My latest PAP smear results are 'within normal limits'. Relief! I'm still waiting for a callback from my oncologist's nurse with my blood lab results. I'm assuming, perhaps foolishly, that no news is good news. that's how the medical world works in America, unfortunately. There just has to be a study about how stressful it is to wait for test results that never come... But I digress.

A couple days ago my breast center called me and said they needed to schedule a breast ultrasound. No, they didn't find any masses or anything else suspicious. The ultrasound is necessary because of my cancer history. So, it's preventative. Cautious. And scary and unsettling, too. Maybe that's why the anniversary stuck out in my head today.

Here's my 3/18/10 journal entry: (if you'd like to read my journals leading up to radiation and through radiation click here and here)

March 18, 2010
Greetings all! Late yesterday afternoon the radiation doctor finally called me back with news. The original simulation is going to work, yay!! So, my appointment for the final set-up Friday afternoon is a go. Yay for progress!! I will be able to, finally, start treatment on Monday. 
This cancer journey is tough. These are self-centered days for me. I am so grateful for all of your strong shoulders and Spirits that carry me through each day and each battle. Thank you for allowing me to do what's best for me and my healing journey, and loving me through this selfishness each in your own ways. Your strength and love is God's Love in action. 

March 18, 2010 (very late at night)
I should be asleep right now, but sleep and peace are escaping me. This is totally crazy, because I love to sleep and some people would say that I EXCEL in sleep. I know from my readings, my own spiritual journey and hearing about other people's spiritual journeys that God's peace is there for the taking and in fact surrounds all of us all the time. We've just got tap into it.  I've tried to tap into it tonight, but I just can't seem to allow it all the way in. Self Reiki was good...I hadn't made the time for it in months, literally. It was soothing and peaceful, but for some reason the peace didn't settle in for the night. I am out of balance with myself, and am trying desperately to quiet my mind down enough so that I can find that balance, that peace within myself. 
I am afraid. I'm afraid of being afraid, because I know fear is a negative emotion and I know that the last thing I need right now is to draw negative energy to myself. Yet the fear is there lurking in the back of soul. Will it hurt, even though the doctor says it won't? Will cause embarrassing side effects? I have this crazy visions of soiling myself at work- which is totally crazy, right? What if I can't maintain my weight? The technician made a really big deal out of telling me how important it is that I don't gain or lose weight during these 6 weeks of treatment. Usually that's not a problem for me at all, but you know how Murphy's Law works it's way in at the most inopportune times. 
I feel as if tomorrow's final set up appointment is like senior finals in school. It's the end, and the beginning. So much has gone into this final appointment...almost a month's worth of questions, waiting,  changes, then more questions, wondering and waiting. And now it's here and I have to face it. I can't push it out of my mind and pretend it's not happening or dream that it doesn't need to happen. 
The treatment phase begins tomorrow. I feel less ready than I did earlier today, but it doesn't matter how ready I am emotionally or mentally. I know that when the time comes I will face this square in the eye and I will stand tall and strong when it matters. I learned this from my mother, who learned it from her mother.  I need this treatment to heal my body. 
Somehow, even through my fear and unfortunate insomnia tonight,  I have hope. I hope of being declared CURED. I have the hope of living in balance again. Meanwhile I will trust that this hope will bring me to the people and places that I need to find to return me to a peaceful balance.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Can you beet it?

My beet blue cheese and red quinoa invention. See if you can beet it! bwahahaha! (I'm such a dork sometimes! But isn't everyone a dork at least sometimes?)
I started with these ingredients, but decided later not to use the lemon.

You must rinse quinoa very thoroughly before cooking it. It's an absolute must. I won't tell you what will happen if you skip this step. 

Boil the water. These sauce pans were my Nana's. I adore using them!

In goes the rinsed quinoa for about 15-20 minutes or until the water gets absorbed.

Meanwhile I cut up the beautiful beets (I used 1 bunch) so they would take less time to cook. No need to peel now. The peel will come off much easier after they are cooked, I promise!

Aren't they pretty?

The rest of the ingredients. I mixed up a balsamic vinaigrette with 2 tablespoons of balsamic, a spoonful of minced garlic, and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Delicious! I added the blue cheese to the quinoa and onions. There wasn't much left, unfortunately. More blue cheese would been great in this salad. 

Steamy hot!!

The beets are steamy hot, too! It took about 45 minutes for the beets to get fork tender. 

Remember my beet peel promise earlier? Here's the proof! I could easily peel it off with my fingers. Well, it would have been even easier if I would have waited for them to cool down some more. 

Ta-da!! Lots of red, purple and some pink in this salad. Very pretty, and yummy too! The salad has nice earthy flavor with a touch of sweetness from the beets and onions, and tang from the blue cheese. I deem this a successful invention! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Long time, no post. I know. I kept meaning to write and even took some food pics, but for this reason and that reason I didn't make time for posting. For some totally illogical reason and on some deep semi-subconscious level I reached the foolish conclusion that since I had lost 10 pounds I could ease off a bit. Duh. Guess what happened? I didn't seriously plan out meals or restock my veggies. I haven't kept a food journal in over a week. While I was in east Tennessee on business last weekend I allowed myself to eat junky foods even though it didn't feed me in any positive or pleasing way. It was just what I had always done when I travel. The number on the scale reflected all these less than good decisions. Most of it is probably water weight from all the salty foods, but still it was a real bummer to see the natural consequence number. 

I can learn from this downward slope, though. There are issues in my life that I could easily use an excuse to eat emotionally right now. Here's a big thing I've learned over the years- there will always be an excuse of some validity to not follow through with my health goals. Or any goal, really. There's always a semi-reasonable reason to not eat my veggies, keep up with my food journal, or drink enough water. I know I'm entering the danger zone when those reasons seems really reasonable. 

I need an intervention. And God provided, as always. Is it time for an intervention? blog by Strong is the New Skinny's (aka SINS) Adam was on my Facebook wall this morning. It was the right message at the exact right time. 

Now is a good time to remember my goals and why I made them. Let's review:
Lose 10 pounds by April 23. I've already lost 3 of those pounds. Losing weight is a goal because it lowers my risk of cancer recurrence, type 2 diabetes (and lots of other diseases), reduces the pressure on my joints (especially my chemo-ed out knees), and makes me feel more comfortable in my own skin.

Increase my lean muscle. This will increase my bone density, raise my metabolism (not very much, but every little bit counts!), and give me the curvy strong shape I want for my body. I'm going to use a new method to help me reach this goal, but that's a coming-soon post. 

Increase my daily vegetable intake. The more anti-cancer foods aka plant foods aka vegetables the healthier I am on the inside and that will reflect on my outside. It's also, obviously, a big part of raging the war against a third cancer recurrence. This goal requires daily planning!! I don't accidentally or incidentally eat 6 servings of veggies a day. I need a daily plan to reach this goal. It's definitely one worth reaching to me, so therefore it's worth the little time it takes to plan and prep.

Stay within my calorie range of 1550- 1800 per day, and my carb range of 164- 195 grams per day.This goal is really a sub-goal for losing weight. I honestly don't think I've been THAT far off from this one the past week or so, but the problem is that I just don't know. I've got to know which means I have to take the time to track. 

Time to get back on track for success! My life is good, fulfilling and exciting in so many ways. Reaching these goals will make it even better!