Tag Archive | chemo

Embraceable

I saw this video on Facebook today.  Embrace video.

It’s from last year, but is making the rounds again, as Taryn Brumfitt of Australia is looking to make a documentary on the topic. The video is all about how women see their bodies — fat, frumpy, ugly, disgusting — and her mission is to get women to accept, and even embrace, their bodies.

While she doesn’t specifically talk about breast cancer, towards the end there are photos and references to those with “one boob” and sometimes none.  I do think breast cancer survivors have a heightened awareness of their bodies, which are never the same after surgery, chemo, radiation, or reconstruction. The video really made me think about my own acceptance of my body. It’s not perfect, for sure, but in many ways it is so much healthier than it ever was. I didn’t do reconstruction and I am occasionally self-conscious about it, but mostly I am not.  Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s what I’ve been through, but I don’t look in the mirror and say to myself the words some of these women use. Most of the time, I don’t really think about it at all.

Wouldn’t it be nice if women could focus on looking and being healthy? There’s too much focus on thin and symmetrical and sexy and perfect.  I really like what Taryn is trying to do.  She does have a Kickstarter program where she’s trying to raise money to make her documentary.  I’ve included the link to that, if you are so inclined.  Embrace Kickstarter.

*****

In other news, I tried two new recipes this week:

Dr. McDougall’s Bean and Corn Enchiladas – These were pretty easy to put together and everyone enjoyed them.  I did not make the tofu sour cream (didn’t use any at all) but I did add some salsa for a little bit more of a kick.

From Isa Does It, fast becoming my favorite vegan cookbook: Olive Angel Hair with Seared Brussels Sprouts – Yes, I made something with Brussels sprouts.  If any of you remember my interview on Steve Albert’s blog, I mentioned that I have avoided these babies since childhood. I went out on a limb and tried these.  The dish was delicious, although I would use a little more broth next time; it was a little dry.  And I didn’t hate the sprouts.  I would definitely make it again (maybe just cut back on the number of sprouts…)

*****

IMDb: Embraceable (2012)

The Polar Express

The Polar Express is in full gear these days.  Chugging down the track headed straight for Christmas.

It’s been a really busy week here (you, too?).  Christmas concerts, work, travel, shopping, cards, and holiday celebrations with friends.  There doesn’t seem to be a minute of spare time, and I haven’t had a time in a week to write my blog.  Interestingly enough, the only reason I have time to write tonight is because our second Christmas concert got postponed due to bad weather.  I guess the Polar Express brought some ice and snow along with it!

*****

Yesterday we went with some friends to the town of Jim Thorpe for a day of holiday festivities.  We did some browsing through the many little shops, attended a beautiful choral concert, and a wonderful dinner.  The town was all decked out for the holidays and we even got to see Santa.  I thought the chorale concert was wonderful… the setting of the beautiful church, along with the Christmas music, really put me in the holiday spirit.  The music even brought tears to my eyes at times.  Adeste Fidelis, For Unto Us a Child is Born, and Hallelujah Chorus.  Ah.  Despite the craziness of the week overall, yesterday was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable days we’ve had in a long time.

Here I am with my friend, Melissa.  Yes, my nose is red… it was about 17 degrees!

Jim Thorpe 2013.12.08

*****

This weekend our church was accepting “gently used” toys on behalf of less fortunate families.  I welcomed the opportunity to clean out Ethan’s room and came up with five bags of toys.  All of the toys were in great shape… a lot of things that he outgrew but we just never got to a yard sale or flea market.  What was a little sad was that some of these toys were brand new… never even opened.  I am grateful for the blessings and abundance in our lives, but it certainly felt kind of decadent.  So I was certainly thrilled to know that they were going to a good cause, and it felt good to unload so much stuff!

*****

So the downfall of a busy schedule is definitely the impact to my diet.  Traveling means eating out — breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Celebrating means eating… and drinking.  This past week has added 3 pounds to the scale.  Bagels.  Pizza.  Coffee.  Jack Frost martinis and Pinot Grigio.  Dessert.  And not nearly enough vegetables or juicing.  ‘Tis the season, I guess, and I wasn’t terrible, but I need to do better.

Today I was happy to have the opportunity to juice for the first time in over a week.  Made a big batch for the whole family!  And with no travels this week, I am looking forward to getting back on track.  We made our trip to Wegman’s this morning to load up on fruits and veggies and there is a game plan for the week, despite another busy week ahead.

*****

I’m loving the holiday season, and am so excited to be feeling well and energetic this Christmas.  A year ago I was in the throes of chemotherapy.  What a difference a year makes.  I’m happy to be riding this train, busy schedule and all!

*****

The Polar Express (2004) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0338348/

Residual

It’s been exactly 10 months since I received my last chemotherapy treatment (Adriamycin, Cytoxan, Taxotere).  The time has gone by quickly and I was deluding myself in thinking that I would rebound quickly from the treatments.  I’m sure I am experiencing residual effects from the Femara also, but I think many things can be attributed to the chemo.  It is, afterall, poison that is put into your veins.  No doubt there are still toxins lurking in my body.

The most lasting residual effect of the chemo is definitely the impact to my memory.  My short-term memory is pretty pathetic, and even long term memories are tough some days.  I can run into people I’ve known my whole life and absolutely panic over the fact that I cannot think of their name.  Granted the aging process is also a contributor to this, but some days I really worry myself!  It isn’t bad enough to impact my daily functioning, but it can be frustrating and embarrassing!

As I mentioned in a recent blog, my vision has suffered and I need to get that appointment made so I can get some decent glasses.  (But alas, due to above mentioned issue, I keep forgetting!)

The joint pain from the Femara is better but still lingers.  Some days are better than others, but I look forward to a day that I wake up with no pain in my joints.  Occupational and physical therapy have been a great help to the pain in my shoulder from the lymphedema.  But I still have pain that I had during chemo; specifically, the soft parts of my feet are very sensitive and feel inflamed a lot.

My energy level is getting better but it still really hits me from time to time.  I wonder how long it really takes for all those toxins to leave your body.  If you read some of the more traditional medical sites, they will tell you “days” or at most “weeks”… but when reading discussion threads, blogs and such, the story is very different.  Those who live this note the “lasting effects” lasting a very long time.  Years even.

I certainly understand my body will never ever be the same.  I hope that my juicing, clean diet, and supplements will all continue to help me heal, and I truly believe I’m in a better place than I would be if I didn’t do any of those things.  With only 10 months chemo-free, I’ll continue to be patient with myself and be grateful that I am doing as well as I am.  No major complaints here (now that I quit the Femara), just reflecting on where I am after 10 months.  I still can’t believe it’s been that long!  Where has the time gone???

*****

Residual (2012) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2582218/

Vision Quest

I hate to admit it, but I’m finally getting to the point where I need to use my “cheaters” for reading most things any more.  Granted, I’m 51 and this is not a big surprise, but I had been doing so well for so long.  I used to only need them in poor lighting, or some poor packing with yellow font on red background (or something equally difficult to read).

But this weekend it really hit me.  Recipes.  Newspaper.  iPhone.  It didn’t matter what I was trying to read — I struggled. Of course, I can’t help but wonder how much chemo may have contributed to my declining vision.  (I certainly blame it for my declining memory.)  Maybe it really is just the aging process, but since I’m blaming chemo for so many other things, why not give it credit for this also.

I probably should call and get an appointment with the eye doctor.  I cancelled the last one since it was during treatment.  First, I didn’t need one more appointment to fit into my schedule.  And second, I wondered if chemo could have an impact.   More than likely I need an actual prescription, rather than the Sam’s Club special, since Lasik corrected one eye for distance and the other close.  Plus, the cheaters that I have are a little too wide for my head and don’t stay securely on!  I guess I should get that on the schedule.

*****

Another busy week ahead:  Physical therapy.  Back to the orthodontist after school with Ethan.  Band practice.  And off to lovely downtown Newark NJ for 2 1/2 days.  Hey, the weekend will be here before I know it!

*****

And can I just say, this whole time change thing…  Can we just do away with it already?  It doesn’t matter if I spring ahead or fall back, it totally messes up my sleep patterns.

*****

Vision Quest (1985) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090270/