Saturday, January 28, 2012

The other chair

Today, I visited a dear friend of mine while she was receiving her first chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. Now, this isn't the first time I have visited others while they received their chemotherapy, I was surprised by the reactions I experienced today. So surprised in fact, that I find myself needing to blog about it tonight.

Today found me sitting in "the other chair" at a local oncology center.  The chair that sits next to the person who is receiving medications to eradicate any evidence of cancer from invading her life....ever again!

My first reaction was of incredible gratitude...some of the dearest people I know were all sitting in today's circle, offering encouragement and support to our dear friend who recently joined the " Survivor Sister Club."  I am so grateful for this group of women...our individual cancer journey's give us a unique bond, our belief in a mighty God--give us our strength.

My second reaction was when I saw it....It being the red chemo in a syringe also known as the "Red Devil." Suddenly, I felt like time creeped back to 3 years ago when I was sitting in the other chair.  As I watched the red liquid slowly make its way through the IV tubing, I could feel the nausea starting, soon followed by the familiar headache that often accompanied my chemo treatments.  The "icky" feeling of chemo dripping in my veins came back with such a vengeance. Oh, how I wanted to flee!   How can a person's body have such a physical reaction by just observing?   The mind is amazing...and so powerful!

My third reaction came when I was leaving the infusion center and I looked back at the chair I had been sitting.  I experienced an overwhelming sense of appreciation for those who sat in "the other chair" for me.  Today gave me a new appreciation on the challenge of being the person in "the other chair." The struggle of watching someone you love experiencing sickness and pain. The desire to make their road a bit easier. 

Tonight finds me giving praise and thanks to God...for the blessing of being able to sit in "the other chair!"

PS. please say a prayer for my friend...that her treatment side effects may be minimal.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Walking with Wellness Wednesday!

Wow...can you believe it? Three posts in three days?  Maybe all the physical activity that I have been doing is bringing out some creativity? 

As I am trying to bring a bit more structure to my blogging and writing, I thought I would experiment with some topic specific days.  Since I tend to be a more "fly by the seat of my pants" type of gal, not sure how this type of schedule will work for me. 

Since Wednesdays start with W and so does wellness...seems like this topic would be a good starting point.

Many times when we try to take control of our health--we have an "all or nothing" mentality.  Often we will try restricted calorie diets, elimination of certain foods/drink, and/or a rigid exercise routine.  We do good for a day, maybe two or three if we are really disciplined.  Than life happens. I don't know about you, but this cycle is something I have repeated over and over in my quest for a healthy lifestyle.


When it comes to a healthy is NOT "all or nothing!" 

It is about choices.  I can choose to eat the food that will give me life and energy.  I can choose to go to the gym--even if I only have the stamina to exercise for 10 minutes.  I can choose to get off the computer and go to bed at a decent time.  Likewise, I can choose to treat myself to a pepsi, french fries, and pizza.  The key for me is to replace one unhealthy choice with a healthy choice.  An example for me was replacing a pepsi with some delicious cinnamon tea.  Or, parking my car at the far end of the parking lot.

A tip from me: I typically only work on one to two health changes at a time.  When I feel like I have one new health change mastered fairly well, I review my health goals and start another new one.

Slowly, but lifestyle choices are leading me to a healthier and vibrant life!!

Q.  Please share what one healthy choice you are going to incorporate into your lifestyle?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Something new--Pilates, anyone?

At 5:20 AM, my daughter and I grabbed our gym bags and ventured off in the cold to try out a new exercise class.  Today's class:  Mat Pilates  It's a good thing I wasn't fully awake, when we first arrived at our class. For if I would have been, I would have turned around and left when I saw how many people were in the class.  Really? Don't people believe in sleeping in?  And they all looked so perky!  It is hard to believe 2 weeks ago, I could hardly get up by 7 am and today I spent 45 minutes twisting, turning and tightening. Amazing! 

Anyways, in the past, the class size would have intimidated me.  I would have been too afraid to let others see the pathetic state of my deconditioned body. 

Guess what?  I found out today, nobody's really watching you...they are too busy trying to follow the instructor to notice you.  Trust me...I had to modify many of the moves.  For me, showing up and trying a new class was a celebration and a victory! (Someday, I will be strong enough to keep up.)

I thought of you all when I was laying on the mat...exhaling in and exhaling out...especially when the instructor shared some words that made me do a "stop and think."  She stated, "I want you to really concentrate on your breathing.  Nice and relaxed.  Deep breath in and out.  For some of you, this may be the only time today you stop and breath..."

How true I found her words.  How many days do we go without stopping to breath?  Without fully appreciating "the miracle of today!"

Well, my muscles aren't very happy with me right now, so think I will go soak them in a tub of nice hot water.

Q. Did you have any "stop and thinks" today?

Monday, January 23, 2012

We did it!

Island of Denial
In my quest to swim off the land of denial...I have made some changes!

1)  Sleep--I am working real hard at aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep every night.  Thus the reason why I haven't been able to do much blogging.  I write best in the evening, but am unable to get up and achieve #2 if I don't get to bed at a decent time.  (So this will be a quick post as the clock is ticking...)

2) My 16 yr old daughter loves to exercise.  (No, she wasn't adopted...who knows where she received this desire??)  So, over the Christmas holiday, she explored several different gyms in our area.  On her own she requested passes to try out the different facilities.  After she had tried out several different gyms, she requested we obtain a membership from gym A.  I was hoping she would choose gym B as it was a bit more affordable and really close to both of our places of employment.  Well, my daughter has a great gift of persuasion. We compromised...she agreed to pay the difference in the gym memberships and promised to encourage her mom to get to the gym 3 days a week. 

Something amazing has happened...we signed up for gym A on Saturday, Jan 21st and I am in love!  This gym is fantastic.  Part of my fears in gyms is that when coordination was handed out, I was absent that day.  Plus add a few extra pounds...and major deconditioning...I was scarred silly.  My daughter gave me a tour and held my hand the first few days. 

TODAY....I went all by myself to the gym and day 2 of my weight lifting program!

PS.  My coworkers have also convinced me to join them on our noon hours to exercise...we did a circuit training session last week--let's just saying walking down the steps for a few days was a bit challenging!

Next step:  working on how to schedule some writing in my day.

Q.  How are you doing on your 2012 Wellness Goals?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Island of Denial

Island of Denial

Have you ever had one of those moments when you are chatting with someone and realize the words you said to them were words you needed to hear? This happened to me yesterday while chatting with a coworker. We were doing a health screening at work and I was chiding her about not participating. She stated to me that she knows she has elevated cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and she is overweight. I jokingly stated to her, “whenever you decide to get off the island of denial, let us know and we'll screen you.”

About an hour or so later, it was my turn to be screened. Our health screenings consist of a lipid panel (cholesterol levels), fasting blood sugar, blood pressure, weight and BMI, waist circumference, and physical activity level. Guess who's been living on the island of denial?

While my labs were in the low risk category, they were higher than my previous labs. My weight and BMI came in at the moderate risk (overweight.) My waist circumference made me want to crawl under the table and hide. (I wasn’t sure I could get back up if I did hide.) Something about seeing the numbers on the paper, especially after my “Island of Denial” comment has me motivated to want to want to make some lifestyle changes.

However there is a catch-22…

Ever since cancer treatment (which included hysterectomy), I have struggled with some long term side effects. The most challenging side effects for me has been the fatigue, muscle weakness and bone pain. After doing much research and discussing with my health care team, it appears that I need to reevaluate my approach to diet and exercise. Instead of thinking that I can return to my previous routines, I need to scale it back….big time…and instead of taking steps, I should be crawling. Apparently, I try to accelerate too fast and that is causing the crashes—and trips to the couch. (Under no circumstances am I to “push” through the fatigue and pain, instead I am to listen to my body and give myself permission rest.)

So, I am starting a new plan…and hoping you can come along with me on my journey to wellness. Now, I won’t be boring you with the details of up a pound, down a pound…as if I lose weight that will be a bonus. For me, right now, I am going to concentrate on these health habits:

1) 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night

2) 15 minutes of daily exercise with 5 minutes of stretching. (The physical therapist said I could increase by 5 minutes a week, ONLY if I don’t have to spend the weekends on the couch recuperating from the week.)

3) The bone and muscle pains increase significantly when we experience a change in our weather pattern. (I am learning that if I stay on top of the pain with Advil, I can at least function.) However, I am giving myself permission to say “no” to any extras on those days. So, please don’t take offense if I have to reschedule our plans on an “off” day.

So, there you have it…my plan for getting off the “Island of Denial”
and back to the land of “Healthy Living!”

Q.  What are your wellness goals for this month?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"I'm back..."

Can it really be that two months have passed without a blog post?  I have thought about posting often, however the "awkward" silence of too much time gone by has been a major stumbling block...until tonight.  I read my friend Mary's blog at Play off the Page.  Here is the quote that inspired me: 

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on that first one. Mark Twain

So, I am getting started. 

Last January I had written a blog post on "No, Slow, and Go!"  The last few months have found me in a "No" season.  All my energy has been focused on making it from one day to the next. For awhile, my work schedule was crazy busy.  Then some unpleasant side effects from cancer treatment (horrible body pain, muscle aches and fatigue) had me hitting the couch.  A dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. And then on Christmas eve, a very important loved one was admitted to the ICU for septic shock.   (Thankfully, my loved one is home now and doing much better!)

I have missed bloggersville!  I have missed all of you!  I am ready to start writing once again...