Friday, November 2, 2012

Life goes on....but not like before.

Wow, I cannot believe how long it has been since I last posted an update.  Life has pretty much settled back into a routine of sorts. Life does go on for a breast cancer survivor. However it's not the same as before.  Some things are sweeter, others are not.  I am more sensitive to the blessings in my life,  my family, my friends, and others who are suffering. And I have less patience with those who are ungrateful and ignore their abundant blessings, instead focusing on minor inconveniences.

Physically, I am dealing with the side affects of the chemo drugs I will continue to be on for the next three years.  I am (thankfully) off of Tamoxifen and as of this past February, started taking Arimidex. The blessings to this new drug is I rarely have severe cramping now. My leg cramps were so intense on Tamoxifen that I was often in tears, trying to walk off what wouldn't release for many, many minutes. Seemed like hours some times. I was cramping in my hands, my ribs, my glutes, and always, always from the knees down. Have you ever cramped on the outside of your knee?? There isn't much you can do to release that area. I am very thankful to be off that drug! 

This new drug has it's own side affects. They aren't fun either, but I have to say, it is the lesser of the two evils.  This drug makes me feel like an 80 year old woman. My joints hurt, my knees swell and my hands are very stiff. Arimidex depletes my bones of calcium, so the risk of fractures and breakage is very real. And I feel constantly fatigued, yet  if I get woken up in the middle of the night (and that happens frequently) I cannot go back to sleep for a couple of hours. It is very frustrating.  I don't recover from exercise quickly either. I gardened last week and for three days I ached EVERYWHERE!  I am not exaggerating. I could barely stand up straight and hobbled and shuffled like.... yep, an 80 year old woman.  I am way too young to feel this old.

Then there is the weight. Within less than two weeks of starting this new drug, I put on 8 pounds! I gained weight right away with Tamoxifen too, but managed to get it under control and lose the weight.  With Arimidex, I've yet to lose all that I've gained.  I've lost about half of it and am managing to not gain anymore, but that other 4 pounds just dosen't seem to be coming off.

There are other side affects that I won't go into here, but for those of you who have gone through menopause, I have those issues too. There was nothing gradual happening in that area. Chemo threw me under that menopause bus and the chemo drugs since then have stomped on me to make sure I stay there. I talk to my doctor about issues that I never dreamed of discussing with anyone.

In the days since I have "quieted down" with all my treatments, I have started studying nutrition and the effects the foods we eat have on our body. I am amazed at what I am finding. One of the biggest "aha" moments came when I watched the DVD "Forks Over Knives".  This DVD is not for casual health nut. The information presented is both scientific and clinical studied and will challenge anyone on their idea of eating healthy.  I am not a 100 % convert, but I cannot ignore the studies presented either. In a nutshell, it proves that cancer is directly related to the American diet, and other countries diets that are similar to ours.The doctors and scientist in the DVD endorse eating a whole plant based diet and steering clear of animal based anything. If you're curious, check it out. It definitely has some information in it that is hard to ignore.

Life has changed for me. Not all of it good, but so much of it is. I found the courage to quit my corporate job and have started my own businesses.  Check out my website and give me some honest feedback on it. I'm new at this entrepreneur business, so I welcome your suggestions.  I am so loving being challenged. It's up to me to make it happen, set my schedule, give myself a raise and to do what I love instead of working for someone else and finding it hard just to get  up every morning.  Be sure to visit my website, then come back here and let me know what you think.

Thanks for sticking around when I vacated over the entire summer! I have been trying to get into a new normal, but have realized there is no such thing as normal when you own two businesses and are exploring all avenues of interest.  I'll give you more insight on that in some other posts.  For now, click on my link to check out my website, Make My Day.  I'm on Facebook too as Make My Day, LLC. Like my page to see what I'm up to there.  Talk to you soon.  I'll be writing again, more often.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My First Haircut....

I finally gave in and got my hair cut tonight.  Let me preface this with, I was planning on NOT cutting it at all until my 5 year "all clear" was given. But practicality won out with the realization that with uneven growth and really dry ends it wasn't very nice looking. It was getting very long, which I'm OK with, but had no shape to it. And with all my new found curls, I didn't know what to do with it except let it air dry.

So I visited my friend Bonnie over at La Bella's salon in Medina for a consultation on what we could do with my hair while still letting it grow out. One of my fears was that all my Shirley Temple curls would get cut off. I didn't want that as I've grown very fond of my much curlier hair growth.  My hair has also come in much thinner since chemo and the longer it grew, the more it pulled out any body on the top of my head.

So, once Bonnie and I caught up on the last 2 years of not seeing each other, (she had the advantage as she keeps up with my blogs), she gave me a look that I could either air dry and show off my tight little curls or I could style very quickly to add fullness while keeping curl in my hair, as in the picture below.  What do you think?

Bonnie, you've been a blessing in my life. It was so good to see you again, and I thank you for such a nice cut and time of fellowship. My hair already feels so much healthier.