Friday, December 30, 2011

One Good Christmas

Well, I finished radiation 2 weeks ago and I'm doing remarkably well. My skin is pretty much healed up. I'm a bit tanned and sometimes a little itchy but all in all it's doing great. I can only hope that my insides are faring just as well. And I have energy which is something I'm very thankful for. Christmas can be busy with food preparations, presents, and doing all the little things that make it so memorable for kids and I managed to do most of what I normally do.  

I feel like a long journey is coming to a close. I know I still have my every 3 week Herceptin injection and doctor's appointments here and there but the gruelling, active treatment is over. Can I get an Amen?! And I'm starting to think about decorating, sewing, writing, and all the things we're going to do this year and I'm getting pretty excited about it. 

To start it off January is a packed month of fun. Our bathrooms are getting renovated - new tubs, sinks, toilets and everything and I'm heading to Ontario with the kids for 10 days. It'll be so great to see my family - many of whom I haven't seen in quite a while. 

Anyway - just a few pics of our Christmas. And for a hair update: I'm still wearing a scarf out and about but my hair is growing - just really slowly. I'm hoping in a month I'll be able to go bare headed! 

Appie night for Christmas Eve - just the 4 of us.
Ana changed into jammies immediately upon returning home from church.

No - she didn't get oranges. And I love the Jillian Michaels dvd in the back ground.
Very soon I'll be able to get that video out again!

"Just what I wanted!"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Not Your Usual Kinda Juice

As part of our quest for health Sam and I have started juicing. Mostly green juice, cucumbers, celery, kale or romaine or chard, sometimes carrot, usually an apple or pear to sweeten it up and a bit of lemon and ginger. It's actually quite good and I've gotten to the point where I crave it when I don't have it. Kinda like coffee but way better for you. 

Not my juice - found the pic online - but it looks like ours!
Sometimes we've tried other kinds of juice. This beauty is beet, carrot and orange juice. It was actually quite good although a bit bitter. And I love the colour. It matches our juicer! 

So why juice? Well, it's a good way to get the vitamins and nutrients you need. The good thing about juice is that it doesn't need to be digested - all the goodness is absorbed right into your body with minimal amount of work. Of course you still need to EAT veggies - the fibre is good for you too. 

Usually we juice in the mornings and then eat a big salad for lunch and something else vegetably for dinner. At least that's the optimum plan. The day I wrote this we had some really cheesy yummy pasta that I just had to try and make (pasta is my weakness. and thai food, and nachos...;-). But the bottom line is - I really don't want to get cancer again and I'm researching all the things people say will help in that. Eating your veggies is a big one - so I'm eating AND drinking them!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More on Living

I was pleasantly surprised to see this above me the first time I laid down on the radiation table.
It's what I get to look at every time I get zapped!
It's crazy how time just keeps moving forward. I've been in the cancer world for 10 months now. 10 MONTHS. It feels like an eternity and like no time at all. When we first started I had no idea what it would feel like to be immersed in something so life changing for such a long period of time.

One thing I've come to realize may seem pretty basic but it's really hit me this week. I'm still me. I still love what I loved before, I still get grouchy when I'm tired and hungry, I still need down time every day and my body is still my body. It may have gone through a bunch of changes that are annoying. I see them, accept them, but at the end of the day I still feel the same inside. Through everything, that is what I need to hold on to. 

At my radiation appointments I've had the opportunity to chat with a number of different people while we wait. Everyone is dealing with cancer. It's a given. And yet the responses are all so different. I met a couple who see this as a minor blip in their retirement (she has breast cancer). They went on a huge 4 week trip between surgery and chemo, and went to Mexico for a week during chemotherapy. Ironically they have the same doctor as I do - the one who told me I shouldn't go home for Christmas because I was still recovering and in the middle of treatment. When I was surprised that the doc had said it was okay to go they laughed and said 'we didn't tell her.' I loved their spirit, the way they Brazenly Lived and just want to be done so they can live some more.

Today the Radiation Oncologist I saw (not my normal doctor) had some really good things to say. I was asking him (again - I ask everyone) about Lymphedema, specifically about getting a compression sleeve. I don't have any symptoms but I worry about it constantly. He was a nice East Indian man who looked at me and smiled. 'Don't treat something you don't have,' he said and then went on to say - just keep doing what you're doing - arm/chest stretches, exercise, things that get the lymph moving. Then as if I might not have gotten what he meant he looked at me again and said, 'So  many people in this world - you, me, everyone - we have a tendency to worry about things and anticipate problems that will most likely never happen. Don't do that."

That is exactly how I've tried to deal with things this year. So why am I worrying so much about lymphedema before I even have one symptom. Yes I have a risk, and if I did have swelling or something I should get it checked out quickly but right now I don't. And I may never. So thank you to the tender doctor who took the time to relieve me of fear. Peace is not what I usually feel when I leave doctor's appointments at the hospital but it's what I felt today and I like this feeling better!

Two more radiation treatments left. I'm onto the "boost" portion of my treatment. One zap instead of 7, a quick 5 minutes in and out. I'm so relieved to finally be done and just in time for Christmas holidays. The kids will be off and we'll have nothing on the calendar - love it.