and the genes still don’t fit…

At least tomorrow I will be wearing underwear!

Bleh.

Tomorrow is the day I go in for an extraction. An extraction! It is what they call the out-patient surgery of removing the margins of an a-typical mole.

A-typical. A-typical mild this time. Last time was severe and they had to take a large section out to make sure the margins were clean. I am hoping not so much this time. Especially since it is on my right arm and I am right-handed.  I know it will be fine. I have been down this road before. I have had more difficult surgeries before.

A scar is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

So why am I a bit anxious about it? I have no idea.

I have the mutated BRCA2 gene. It was something we found out after the diagnosis. It means I am most likely to get breast cancer..duh. Also very likely to end up with ovarian cancer so out they went (welcome hot flashes) and susceptible to skin cancer.

That is how I ended up at the Dermatologist for a full body scan and mapping. Not a big deal. You stand there in your underwear and they take a bright light and look at every inch of your skin carefully calling out markings and quadrants. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t forgotten my underwear.

Tomorrow I will have my underwear on and a bra just to be safe.  Even my jeans if they fit.

 

What!?!?!

I am using every excuse in the book today to not workout. Headache, lack of oxygen, bloody boogers and awful, awful hot flashes. Cats on Instagram and making a butt load of coffee. No not a coffee enema! 
Oh the hot flashes!! Why are they back? I don’t get it. I am taking the meds faithfully. I know this because I have alarms set to remind me to take them no matter where I am. I have a timer on my computer at work that goes off and my cell phone has a daily alarm set too! I have to put everything on my calendar including this. Yet, I am back to having night sweats that last for at least fifteen minutes each time, and in the course of writing this very long running paragraph I have had two major hot flashes that my hair is dripping. YUCK!!!
I blame the headaches, boogers and lack of oxygen on the surrounding air quality. Our city is filled with smoke from the surrounding fires and it is playing havoc on everyone.
Yet the hot flashes….. I know it is a side effect from being shoved into menopause but I had them pretty well under control. At least manageable.  Why now? What in the last two weeks has changed that they are like this now?
Okay, I wasted enough time complaining that now I only have time for a shower and to get ready for work!!! HA HA HA HA HA my evil plan worked, no time for a workout now!!!!
and the excuses keep coming.. so easily distracted…..
I will get back on track. I will beat this hot flash monster. I will beat the lack of motivation. I will be a good example again. Right after another cup of coffee and a few more happy cat videos on Instagram. #goals

After all this time…

You would think that after all I have been through with diagnosis, cancer treatments and surgery I would not be at a loss of words when someone tells me about a cancer.

Well, I still have no words. What do you tell someone who’s aunt just finished her fight with breast cancer and was doing so well only to find out now she has a completely different cancer in her lungs.

You don’t.

You sit there dumbfounded and selfishly thankful that it hasn’t happened to you yet. You spit out words of how they have really made great strides with immunotherapy for lung cancer and not to give up hope. That she fought before she can fight again. Words I say knowing that I would probably not fight the next time.  Words that really bring no comfort to anyone. Words that make me feel like I am making it worse.

I just stopped talking. It is safer that way. I know this from my own experiences of people trying to comfort me with their words. I stop and hug. I cry with her. That has to be better than the words, it has to because that is all I truly can give.

After all this time..

I participated in a fundraiser event today for a woman hit by cancer. Her friend wanted to help with some of the out-of-pocket expenses. I was honored to be asked to come instruct a few songs. It has been soooo long. I am rusty. I practiced and practiced and practiced.

I should have practiced better words to share with her. Better words of encouragement. A better game face of how lucky I was in all of my treatments. How lucky I am to be on this end of it.

 

After all this time I still have so much to learn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a fitness instructor

Driving home the plan in my head:

Make dinner maybe a salad or scrambled eggs with veggies.

Make the pie for the bake sale tomorrow.

Practice songs for the Zumba fundraiser.

Water the yard.

REALITY:

Open a bottle of sparkling hard water, blood orange flavor

Proceed to eat handful after handful of those veggie fry stick things.

Take cool whip out of freezer to defrost.

Eat a whole entire row of Oreo’s while dancing to your playlist.

Lick all the cool whip off your hands and spoon when done.

Now I lay here in bed drinking all the water to try and flush my dinner out of my system.

At least I got the yard watered.

 

How many spoons…

20170825_052141

 

The other night I was at my son’s apartment helping him clean before his move. We were listening to 80’s music in the background and chatting. I was savoring every moment since I knew they will be few and far between now.

Then I hit my wall. I was exhausted and just couldn’t push myself through it. I needed to reserve enough energy and alertness to drive home.

I explained to him that no matter how healthy and energetic I am getting I still have a limited amount. When it is gone, it is gone.

He paused and shared a story with me that resonated with him.

A woman shared about spoons. We wake up in the morning with twelve spoons. We eat breakfast that uses one spoon. We drive to work that uses a spoon. We spend eight hours at work, that uses 3 spoons. At the end of the day we are out of spoons and we start over.

The woman explained that people who have had a life altering trauma or struggle with something like depression may wake up with twelve spoons or wake up with five spoons and try to make them stretch. Once the spoons are gone they are gone.

I tell you that I was so glad I didn’t have to explain it to him. That he just got it.

I am gonna miss that kid.

Confessions of the Revenge Wogger….

Photo on 8-23-17 at 8.36 PMWordPress I come before you now. It has been twelve days since my last confession. I have been saving up.

I do not know if I have the passion or motivation to ever run, wog or jog again.

In fact I have no idea what my passion is anymore, if I even have passion.

I can not even recall when my last walk was. I am still working out. Lifting weights, dancing, and controlled cardio workouts. Just not wogging.

I do know this (here is comes, word vomit) :

I used CBD cream for the first time for the achy bones and it seems to help. The bones really hurt more and more now. Stupid Arimidex.

I somehow got poop on my favorite sweatshirt. My own poop and I am not even that flexible.

When you have menopause things change. Like the hair on your chin. You actually have hard coarse hair on your chin. Your sex life. It is pretty much non-existent. Not that we don’t want to, it is just harder. Bad choice of words there. Sex is painful. Not to mention I am very self-aware of my scars and misshapen body.

It has been so hot here that nothing seems possible. We finally had a break from the heat and I started taking care of the house and yard again.

My 30th class reunion is in October and I am excited to see some old friends. That was planned.

I haven’t washed my sheets since I moved into my house.

I have been basically blogging on Facebook instead of here. (cheating on WP)

Truth is my energy levels are still recovering. I only have so much energy per day and I spend it running around in circles looking for passion.  Oops obviously not running, see earlier confession…chasing around in circles? spinning around in circles? chicken with her head cut off circles? I think you get it.. I just can’t seem to remember what it is I like.

Did I mention the poop? I definitely know I don’t like that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there is this morning…….

There are mornings where I get up because I know that I can have a good cup of coffee if I do.

There are mornings when I get up because I have to. I have to water the yard. I have to do my workout. I have to do my homework. I have to go to work.

There are mornings, more of them lately where getting out of bed is difficult. Not because I am tired but because I physically struggle with it.

There are mornings where I overslept and have to rush around getting lunches made and shoes on, and out the door in record time.

There are mornings where I wake up from a dream that seemed so real that for a moment I am unaware of my surroundings.

Then there is this morning. This wonderful delicious morning that I am reminded that I have been fortunate enough to wake up one more time and be alive.

One more time for a good cup of coffee.

One more time to get the chance to take care of this yard we have earned One more chance to make myself stronger from a workout. One more chance to do homework that will make me a better, more confident and free person. One more chance to work hard at my job and be a good example to others.

One more time that even when it is hard to get out of bed I CAN GET OUT OF BED.

One more time that I can get ready in a pinch if I have to. I like being low maintenance.

One more time to understand my reality is beautiful. I have the husband who adores me, a son who hugs me and shares with me, a home that we own that makes me smile and never feels like work.

One more time to be thankful.. I am a fighter, survivor, mother, wife, sister, friend, neighbor, co-worker, dreamer.

This morning reminds me I have one more day of life that last year was questionable.

This morning reminds me that all things are possible but to focus on the points that really matter.

This morning is beautiful.

 

 

Stairs..

In this picture you may just see stairs. I see so much more.

When I was released from the hospital after the seven hour double mastectomy/reconstruction surgery I had to face stairs. It is funny to me that you could have such an intense surgery that basically is an amputation and they send you home the very next day. But that is not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about the stairs.

We had two short flights of stairs to get to our apartment. My sister and husband were on each side of me. My son and his girlfriend were behind me. I was drugged, and tired and full of drainage tubes and bandages. Yet I had to get up those stairs to get to my home.

I remember my husband’s voice so clearly when we got to the top. He was so impressed and proud of me for taking the stairs like a champ. I guess I walked up them like a ‘normal’ person would. You know one foot on one step at a time. He was so proud of me.  It has been over a year and I can still hear him saying that in my head.

I like to make my husband proud of me. I catch myself doing things around the house hoping he will be impressed with what I got done. Like unpacking.

We recently moved from the cutest apartment in the world to a house. A house that will be our home. It has stairs leading to the master suite. This is a picture of those stairs. They creak on every step. They are steep. Yet none of that bothers me. Every time I walk up or down those stairs I think how far I have come from that day. How proud Keith is of me for walking up stairs. How thankful I am that I am capable and able to walk up and down stairs every day. That my knees and legs are strong enough. That I have balance and sure footedness. That I have strength and energy to go up and down these stairs several times a day.

My husband told me that when we get old we will have to convert the main floor into our living space because we won’t be able to make it up the stairs someday! I told him that if we keep going up and down the stairs our bodies will only get stronger and we won’t have to do that for a very long time. They are like a built-in treadmill/stairmaster.

These are my stairs. My victories. My motivations. My source of pride. One step at a time.

Finisher…..

I wanted to call this ‘Shift Your Thinking!’ Shift your thinking has been rambling in my head for about a week now. It is concept that I am struggling to grasp. Oh I know so many people who have figured it out and mastered it. I am not one of those enlightened people.  Truth is as this point in time I may never grasp it.

Round and round I go in my head. I want more, I need more. Just getting by is enough, just getting by is all I can do.

Enough.

I went and did Bloomsday 2017. I have the Finisher shirt to prove it. Trouble is I am unhappy with my time. I am unhappy with my lack of training. I am unhappy that I didn’t do better. I am unhappy that I got sunburnt. I just can’t seem to find the joy.

SHIFT YOUR THINKING RENEE!!

YOU DID BLOOMSDAY! You had freaking cancer and did chemo and surgeries and still set your mind to it and did f’n BLOOMSDAY! You finished on your feet jogging the last mile of it! You have run it slower twice before! You have had a long, dark, and cold winter and you got to do Bloomsday in the sun!!!!!!!!

I snapped a picture of me on a walk the other day and sent it to my friend. I said this “when I see this picture all I see is ‘even my boobs look fat’. When I should shift my thinking and say ‘wow, my boobs look huge!'” (it’s funny because my boobs are fake and will always be this size)

Why do I let myself tell myself such awful things? Is it our upbringing that if you say something good about yourself you must be conceited? That if you are not being humble then you are being a bitch? Shift your thinking. You can be humble and lift yourself up. You can see that you are worth the effort without being conceited. You can shift your thoughts to find the positive the productive the purpose. Shift.

I want to do better, yes. Is it wrong that I want to do better? No. Can I be proud of where I am at and what I want to do? Yes. Shift your thinking! Tell yourself you are a finisher. A finisher! Shift.

You learn to build walls to protect yourself from others words, yet we often let our own thoughts break us down swiftly. Shift.

Finisher. Finisher. Finisher. Shift.

In case you were wondering I did the 12k in 1:57 not bad for a newly 48-year-old who has only ever driven an automatic 😉 Shift.