Tuesday, March 27, 2012

News Flash: I'm an Introvert

We just returned from a sunny and hot vacation. Oooh I loved the sun and the heat and the endless blue skies. It was glorious. We also were able to spend a good week with family. The kids loved hanging out with their cousins - swimming, playing games, laughing and having a grand ole time. Arizona - you were good to us!

Vacations always leave me feeling a bit unsettled, or maybe unbalanced is a good way of putting it. It's like I forget exactly who I am and it puts me off. I've known this for a long time but it sort of dawned on me yesterday that duh - I'm an introvert. When I'm with people all week, visiting, hanging out, etc., I forget (or don't have time) to spend time with me. Alone time, time to remember, to reconnect with what gives me passion and life. Time with Jesus and my own thoughts.

Sam and I had a two day respite during the middle of our week in Arizona and that made all the difference for me. Suddenly - after a few days away I was quiet again inside and could really enjoy the final days spent together with everyone.

What was very interesting to me was watching Ana (who is an extrovert by the way) become more herself with each day spent with her cousins. She relished the activity, the games, the jokes and hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa. We had a bad case of the grumpies around our house after the first 5 really boring, slow days of spring break but by the end of the second week (for the most part) she was calm and happy and her old sweet self. She needed the action, the socializing to get energized and balanced. Totally the opposite of her Mama! And when she got home, by the way, it was immediately friends time - catching up with all the girls in our complex that she hadn't seen in a week. A Whole Week Mom!

I recently read the introduction of a book called Quiet: The power of Introverts in a world that can't stop talking. It was a gift for someone else so I couldn't hang onto it but it resonated with me and I'm planning to get my own copy some day soon. The author gives a great talk about some of the ideas in the book here. It's 20 minutes but very good if you're like me and always feel like you need to work at being more chatty and fun OR if you really don't get what I'm talking about cause time alone sounds like a death sentence - it's for you too!

As for everything else. Feeling great most of the time. I'm planning a 3-5 day juice fast/cleanse in the next week or so. I'll let you know how that goes. I'm easing in slowly - cutting down to 1 coffee a day, green juice for breaky and veggies for lunch, no sugar... you get the idea! I'm also thinking about getting back into the working world. I'm very undecided about this though. It would help us out to have a financial cushion each month and it would help me get back into real life but I don't want to be away from the kids too much and summer's coming too - hmmm what to do what to do. Any words or ideas for me on this would be appreciated!

Until next time...

Friday, March 2, 2012

A 'Healthy' Balance

So much of my time I spend remembering what it was like last year, the days and weeks after I found out I had cancer. Some of it feels like a dream, some of it I can hardly remember but some things are so clear to me it's crazy. Like how I felt when I wrote that very first blog post and how I could hardly comprehend exactly what was happening. It took me a few weeks before I started actually calling it cancer. I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I had no idea what was ahead of me but I felt a weird adrenaline kicking in. Change was happening, a journey was starting.

Today I read a blog post by a blogger I follow regularly. Last year at this time Amy was going through radiation therapy for breast cancer and her words, her weariness, rang so true to me, I wept reading it, remembering those emotions (ones that still take me unawares from time to time.) You can read it here: Amy's blog

In my last post I talked about the circulating tumour cell test that I could take. It tests your blood for cancer cells. Lots is bad, few is good. But Sam and I are leaning towards not taking it. The main reason is -- do I really want to know? And what will I do with the information. Rather lets put our money towards things that will make me as healthy as possible.

Which brings me to another thing I think about daily - being healthy. And frankly its exhausting. This week I was so tired of thinking about vegetables and making salads and what I'm not supposed to eat that I took a break. I ate chips and salsa for lunch almost every day, made meals I knew the kids would love and just let it go. I'm doing my best folks but it's darn hard! If I have a bunch of chocolate (darn those cadbury mini eggs), or pasta with cream sauce or heaven forbid a hamburger I feel like I'm inviting cancer back into my body. A bit irrational - I know, but something I'm having a hard time letting go of. There must be a place of balance in this after cancer life and I need to find it. Any other cancer crushers out there who have felt this?

Health wise I'm doing well. I have a lot of tightness around my surgery sites, I think radiation aggravated all that tissue again so I'm stretching it out and trying to strengthen up all those muscles that have gone unused for the better part of a year. Ouch. And one thing I'm super pumped about: my Oncologist is sending me for an MRI in addition to my annual mammogram. I'm especially thankful after researching and realizing that mammograms have a very small percentage of accuracy for someone my age. MRI's on the other hand are much more accurate. Close to 100% accurate according to my naturopath. That'll be coming up in the next month or two. Tamoxifen so far has absolutely no side effects that I notice and I'm half done with the Herceptin injections.

And if you were at our house for coffee these days we'd be talking about our upcoming trip to Phoenix Arizona to visit Sam's brother and sister-n-law and their 3 kids as well as Grandma and Grandpa who are staying near by. We're all very excited for some sun and warmth and to get away from the incessant rain we've been experiencing for - oh lets say about 6 months. The photo at the top is from Arizona. I dream of the sun and heat a few times every day!

I also want to thank my friend Leanne who mentioned me on her blog because (I think) I can. Your comments meant a lot to me - thank you.