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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

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Getting Riled up for Relay

Cancer anniversaries are strange. Some are very happy and full of relief. Some are sad. Some are both. Many of my cancer anniversaries have happy and sad aspects. These recent anniversaries stir up some sadness and fear of the unknown for me. The Spirit part of me wants to shut down the little voice of doubt as I know that negative thoughts of any kind breeds negative energy. And I know that the opposite of Love and Light is negative energy masked in fear or doubt. I know that I have a lot of power when it comes to choosing and changing my thoughts. LOVE is healing and Light. I've been using this knowledge as a weapon, but it's been a struggle today.

I want to keep this blog as full of positive energy as I can, but I would be remiss if I didn't share the dark times. My life isn't all sunshine and roses. There are times when I worry about being too much of a burden on my family, wonder about health insurance and upcoming cancer check-ups. There are moments when the reality of what I survived rushes into my soul and burbles out in some way.

A very good and wise friend suggested earlier today that I may be in the process of releasing some old negative emotions. As the day went one I felt more and more that she was right. I'm thankful for wise and dear friends. I really do feel as if  I'm releasing some of the old fear and sadness from my treatment days. Somehow knowing this made it okay to feel my way through it and cry it out. Today was a cancer aftershock brought on by anniversaries and my annual Relay for Life walk. I'm proud of myself for not turning to food for comfort. I turned to exercise instead. I did 4 different Cathe Friedrich DVDs today. I loved it, all that sweat is cleansing. I started the workout with 25 minutes of step aerobics, then it was onto STS Disc 15 Back & Biceps, then I added on the bonus stability ball abs from Butts & Guts, and finished it up with a 15 minute stretch using the stability ball. I'm so thankful that my body can workout like this again, and for the refuge of exercise.

Relay for Life brings up a lot of emotions for me. It just so happens that the weekend after I moved home last year was Relay weekend. I even gave a speech, which honestly wasn't very good. ha! I think of all the people I know that are Survivors now and the kinship I feel with them. I've been thinking of the people I know that have passed on to the next life because of cancer... and of the women that I know who are Fighting with all their might right now. I don't happen to know any men, personally, right now who are Fighters. Cancer doesn't discriminate though.

This year's Fayette County, Tennessee, Relay for Life Walk is this coming Saturday, the 21st, into Sunday morning. If you're able to donate monetarily I would very much appreciate your donation of any size. If you're not able to donate money, then please take a moment to send your Love and Light to cancer all Survivors and Fighters. My sister, Heidi, and I will be Celebrating. Remembering. Fighting Back just the two of us this year. I'll also be Tweeting through the evening and night. So if you haven't followed me on Twitter yet, don't wait much longer!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 17, 2010- An Anniversary

An excerpt from my Caring Bridge Journal, May 17, 2010
Today is my last day of work and living in Naples, Florida and so I thought a final Florida update would be appropriate. 
I continue to deal with side effects from the internal radiation treatments. It's still burning when I urinate, although I've gotten tougher and rarely cry because of it anymore. Cranberry juice helps take the edge off the burning, but there's only so much sugary juice I can handle in a day. My tummy problems have calmed down quite a bit, though I still have to be careful about what I eat or else my body screams and fusses. I'm slowly adding in fresh veggies (mostly salads, because I totally love salads and miss them so much!) and whole grains into my daily life. The fatigue that radiation causes is waning, although now I'm tired from all the packing, sorting, and trips down the stairs to the garbage cans. All the work that has gone into moving has paid off. I am ready to go, and all my preciouses are boxed up and piled up in the dining room. I hope it all fits in the mini-van.........eeeekkk!

I had a PET scan last Tuesday to see if there's any metabolic activity (which means cancer activity in PETscanese). I will get the results of that scan tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at my final meeting with my gyn oncologist here in Florida. I already have an appointment with my new gyn oncologist in Tennessee, it's May 26th. It's amazing to me how well speciality doctors and their offices can work together- sometimes. My FL gyn onc's nurse got my referral for me, made sure that the new gyn onc is on my insurance (she is, yay!), and made sure my records got transferred. So, it IS possible and I am thankful for it. 
My friends and co-workers are throwing me a Farewell Party after work today. After the party, we're loading up the mini-van (hopefully with some help from the big strong guys at the party) so that once I leave the condo in the morning to go to my doctor's appointment in Fort Myers we can just keep going North. 

Today~
I can't believe it's been a year since I've been home. I've been through soooo much this past year. I've been in remission for 8 months now. WhooHOOO! I'm an Aunt to 5 adorable Peeps now. I've started and been successful at a new career after leaving my job in Florida. I've lost almost 20 pounds!! I've gone from a physically sick person who literally couldn't stomach fresh clean foods (I know it sounds crazy!) and didn't have very much strength or stamina for workouts to a relatively healthy consistent exerciser (I'm a Cathlete!) who is, thankfully, able to digest clean foods again. 

My list of things to be thankful for has grown exponentially. My group of friends, supporters and Survivor-Sisters has grown beautifully, too. I've gone from long wavy hair to 100% bald to really curly growing-out hair. 

I've gone from 2 sisters physically near to me, to one that's in Texas now.  I miss her and those precious 3 Peeps deeply. I've gone from being too physically tired to walk up the stairs after radiation, to not having the physical strength to walk up the stairs during chemo, to being in intense pain while walking up or down the stairs after chemo, to walking the stairs normally. 

Big and little changes and improvements... I'm thankful for each one of them as they have brought me here today. And today is very good. 

Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind. ♥ Lionel Hampton

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good Weekend/Not So Good Weekend

Not So Good~ Friday night's cheat meal of take out pizza after a long day and little sleep Thursday night turned into a cheat meal weekend. This is the problem, for me, with cheat meals. It starts an unclean cycle. I don't even like pizza very much! Yes, I know it's weird not to just love pizza.

Another Not So Good~ Saturday morning I was up early to help my sister with a yard sale. Crazy early- 6:30. Well, it's crazy early to me on a Saturday (or any day, really). I'm not a big fan of coffee (yes, again, I know that's weird), but I filled up a cup pretty quick. Now I could have easily fixed myself a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, but my mom was bringing donuts so I decided to wait to eat. I, foolishly, let myself think that I deserved to eat a donut for breakfast since I was up so early and it was so chilly outside. A donut is not a reward! It's a junky processed food, remember? The donut didn't even taste very good. *sigh*

Really Good~ The town my sister lives in was having their city wide yard sale, and I had an agenda. I needed a barbel set. Yes, needed is the correct word. Monday (today) was the start of Cathe Friedrich's STS Meso Cycle 2- Hypertrophy.  I'm lifting 70% of my 1 rep maximum for this meso cycle and the weight load is surprisingly heavy to me. So, yes, I really needed a barbel. Brand new shiny barbels are expensive, though so I took this city wide yard sale opportunity to hunt down a used one. I hit the jackpot in the first 20 minutes. I was meant to have this barbel, I tell ya!!


I got an Olympic Curved weight bar, 4 8.8 pound plates, 2 25 pound plates, and 2 4.4 pound plates. That's 94 pounds of weight!! I scored all of this for $7. Yes, only 7 bucks!! I was so excited about it that I rushed off so quickly to share with my sister that I didn't realize that the nice man I bought them from didn't actually load them INTO the car, he had just carried them down the hill and placed them NEXT to the car. Opps!! Silly, excited me! Of course, I went back to get them and I shared an embarrassed laugh with the guy. 

More Good~ Thanks to this awesome yard sale score I had to rearrange my bedroom a bit. I just love rearranging furniture! It gives the room such freshness and a renewed energy. I absolutely love the improved arrangement and all my weights now have their own special spot. 


My heaviest dumbbells get tucked under the desk that's acting as a TV stand and storage center for little stuff, because they don't fit on my dumbbell rack.


The rack (ranging from 15s to 3s) stays in the corner, and is joined by my High Step, thumb weights and my band. The Yoga blocks keep the closet door from banging into the metal weighs. Those little green dumbbells are 2 pounders, and are too small to fit onto the rack. Aren't they cute?


The stability ball now lives in the closet. Closet re-arranging is another day, though.

All I need now is a Altus Turbo Tower so I can pick up, lift and put down heavy weight. I'm saving my pennies........

More Not So Good~ Though I had a fairly clean late lunch of homemade veggie soup and curried chicken with apple wrap I was ravenous by the time my family and I left Mass Saturday afternoon. My mom decided on Steak and Shake since we could sit down with my baby nephew and toddler niece, but it wasn't expensive. I just can't order a salad at a burger place. I love burgers and fries, though I eat them MUCH less than I did a year ago. I ordered 3 sliders. I ate 1 as it came and the other two I combined to save the bread carbs. I made up for that bun with my niece's fries. At least we didn't order a milkshake to share as we've done in the past. Then we went to our favorite local cupcake store- Cupcake Cutie- so my niece could design her own birthday cupcake. I ate a freebie on the way home. It was divine. On Sunday my niece turn 3 and the birthday girl requested homemade waffles and bacon for breakfast with maple syrup. So, ummm yeah, it was really good. Lunch was a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips with a bottle of water inbetween parks. Dinner was okay, actually ate some veggies and lean protein. Dessert was another cupcake and coffee. I've got to improve my ability to eat clean, or at least clean-er, during these weekends! 

Really Good~ The day my niece, Kallie, was born 3 years ago I was living in Naples, Florida. I can vividly remember sitting on the floor in Big Lots and crying while talking to my sister, the new mommy, minutes after she delivered a healthy baby girl. I felt so awful not being there to share that precious day. This year is the first time I'm home for her birthday and I'm thankful that we could spend the whole day together. After waffles, my sister, Kallie and I went to 2 of the coolest parks in Memphis. She wasn't impressed with all the cool new stuff, though, she was quite content to swing on her tummy and go down the 'easy' slides. I did some swinging myself. I comfortably fit into a regular swing now, that was pretty cool. Swinging really is fun. Wheeeeeeee! After a little coaxing and encouraging Kallie climbed the 'big kids' rock wall. I was so thankful to be there with her to share that proud moment! Then we met a friend and her kids at Shelby Farms new Woodland Discovery Playground. It's the best playground I've ever been to or even heard about! Totally awesome, and the kids- of course- loved it!

Final really Good~ I lost 2 pounds last week. Yay!! Somehow these 2 pounds were the magical ones that made it comfortable to wear a pair of pants I haven't fit into since before radiation treatment. I wore those pants all day Sunday and just having them on helped remind me of how far I've come in the right directions. I also fit into a couple shirts that I haven't even tried on in over a year. So, unclean toddler birthday niece's weekend happen sometimes. I'm thankful to be here to share it with my family. Next weekend I'll make cleaner choices and have a plan. Clean weekends don't happen by accident!

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