I had good intentions……

Last night I prepared my stuff. Roast is in the crock pot with a special ingredients for the bacon taste testing going on this afternoon. Coffee maker filled with water ready to go at a touch of a button. Workout clothes and shoes laid out on the bathroom floor for easy access.

My intention was this I was going to get up and have my own Sunrise aka SON rise service this morning while on a one mile wog. One mile of worship music. One mile of slight dark yet prospect of the morning sun coming. One mile of training for a seven mile race that will be here in three weeks. One mile to make myself feel like I had accomplished something. One mile.

The result: sitting here typing about going for a simple wog and how I have already talked myself out of it.

#1 it is still too cold. I went out yesterday afternoon because the sun was out and I was too cold

#2 things are blooming. I came home yesterday with a runny nose and itchy eyes. This morning I could barely get them open because they were sealed shut with all that allergy gooey buildup! Eww and ow!

#3 my knee is really not well. Seriously stairs are hard without using a support and going slow. Yesterday in my walk I noticed that any type of incline is hard on it.

#4 we are going to church today so having my own commune time isn’t really necessary.

#5 the coffee pot is full so I should really drink that and warm up first before attempting any outdoor activity

#6 the roast needed attending too. I had to take time to shred it and check the seasoning.

#7 I can’t find any of my knit hats to cover my ears.

I have really good intentions. I really do! I have terrible, terrible follow  through and as you can see will come up with any excuse to justify why I haven’t gotten out. Revenge will have to wait until I can figure out how to trick my mind into it too!

PS The picture I used was from our little tulip trip. It is a picture I took through the front window of the car because it was ‘too cold’ to go out and get a closer look. I think there is a sea otter in there somewhere..or maybe an eagle? This is my failure at lazy photo taking!  Ha ha

Happy Easter to you all! And to my friends on here who get out and run Kudos to you! Now send some of the stick- to- it- ness to me!!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s my New Year’s Day…….

This is going to be a long one today….fair warning. But first I need another cup of coffee…

TODAY!! Happy New year to me today. I know it is January 15th. Let me explain….

Keep in mind today is my husband Keith’s birthday.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY:  At this time one year ago today I was checked into the hospital for  my double mastectomy/reconstruction surgery. They also had to pull out a cluster of my lymph nodes since the cancer had spread there too. Eight and half hours later I was in the recovery room. Completely oblivious to my surroundings and forever physically and mentally scarred.

November 3rd 2015. That is when I got the phone call at work. My primary care doctor calling to tell me about the biopsy results. It was defiantly cancer. At first it was a stage 0, pretty much around the nipple area, a lumpectomy would easily take care of it. Many tests later and an MRI revealed that it was actually stage 2B and that I had the BRCA2 gene. I have now upgraded to a double mastectomy with reconstruction. The surgeon that I wanted and I spoke to for my initial consultation was now sick and could no longer follow through on my care. I was switched to a new surgeon I have never met, during Christmas holiday. This was challenging and scary. When I met her she told me that I had to have a sentinel lymph node surgery done at least a week before the mastectomy. Basically I was in the hospital for this surgery by the end of the week!! Yikes!  Caught us completely off guard.

The plastic surgeon I met way back in November but at that time I was only going to get a lumpectomy so I really didn’t pay much attention to what she told me about reconstruction. Suddenly I am having surgeries one week apart. I am having a double mastectomy and reconstruction and I find out the day before that I have to take shots for a week in my belly! Nope. I did not sign up for that. Neither did my husband. He had to give them to me because there was no way I was going to do it for myself. NEEDLES…a big fat NOPE.

Those first couple of weeks were a drugged blur. I remember Keith sleeping on a cot at the end of our bed, listening to my every move, making sure that I would not be in any pain and ready to help me up if I had to go to the bathroom. I remember how proud of me he was when I got home from the hospital and walked up the stairs normally. One foot , one step at a time. I remember him changing out my whiteboard with the dates so that when I was awake I would know what day it was and how much time had passed. I remember him making my coffee for me and bringing me oatmeal. He hated stripping my drains almost as much if not more than giving me the shots. He drove me to every appointment and even to have my hair washed at the beauty school. I don’t know how he did it but he did everything, all the time, just for me.

Six weeks passed and I had been released to go back to work. At this time people thought I was out on vacation and sick leave. I had only shared with a few family and friends. My inner circle, my support team and of course this blog. My breasts by now were the same size as they were before the surgery so outside of being tired no one knew what I had been through.

Then I found out that I should do chemotherapy to kill what ever rogue cells that may have escaped. Also to lower my chances of recurrence. Now I had to go public because the side effects of chemotherapy are hard to hide and I planned on working as much as possible through all of it. Chemotherapy started on my son’s birthday in March. Ironic. Hmm.

Had a consultation with the genetic counselor suggesting I have my ovaries removed. Had those removed in July, the same day that Keith was to fly out to AZ for his class reunion. He changed his plans. I don’t think I could have managed without him.

My final surgery, the exchange surgery ended up being in October. I missed out on my friends Halloween party. First time in four years. Keith missed work for a week and they were busy. He had to play catch up all year because of me.

As things are getting ‘back to normal’ ha! as if it will ever be normal again….I have learned this:

  • My husband loves me more than I ever thought he did, or could.
  • I love him more now than I ever had
  • our relationship is better, even better than when we first started
  • I had no idea it could get better or stronger or healthier
  • I have amazing friends and family in my life
  • I had no idea menopause was so terrible
  • I am not the same person I was before and I never will be again
  • I need people. I need Keith. I need my son Richard. I need my family. I need to focus on the future, on strength, on kindness to others, on love.

Keith and I decided that we want to be healthier together. Eat out less, exercise more, make better food and beverage choices. You know..blah blah blah. We also decided that we would start on New Year’s Day. Not January 1st but OUR New Year’s day. January 15th. That is our new year. Yes his birthday, but our first new year.

Okay, the watching what we eat will actually commence tomorrow because today we celebrate with a party!! My friend is hosting a ‘Renee Kicked cancer’s ass and we are celebrating one year cancer free’ party!! I know a mouthful. Just take a deep breath before you say it… Then breathe in again afterwards.

I don’t think this blog post came out in any way shape or form as I intended. It is what it is. Long. Heartfelt. Truth. Snippets. Healing.

PS: I have signed up for two runs this year so far and I am totally back in revenge mode!! So keep checking in on me… Take that cancer!!

ONE YEAR AGO!!!!!! 

 

 

 

When you leave the frozen gelato in the organic peanut butter aisle….

My son is coming over for breakfast tomorrow. I am planning on making a German pancake with bacon, apple sausage and cider Mimosas. I walked next door to the natural food market to get the bacon and sausage. The meat is organic and nitrate free and from local farms. I walked by the freezer and saw that they had the gelato my husband loves on sale, so I grabbed a pint. I also needed more raw almond butter for my protein shakes. I put every thing down so I can fill my cup up with the freshly ground almonds. Hop over to the register and head on home. A few hours later I am frantically looking for the gelato! I can’t remember if I put it in the fridge or the cabinet instead of the freezer. Turns out I left it on the shelf by the almond butter machine. Hope they found it before it melted all over the floor.

The hubby and I have decided that we need to get our eating back under control. I can’t lose weight, he wants to. So the plan is to eat cereal for dinner. Doing the dishes tonight I realized that we either have too many spoons and bowls or not enough.

Went to the gym twice this week! Got on the treadmill, or as Paula from Never A Dull Bling calls it the ‘dreadmill’ I actually enjoy the treadmill. I got on and started with a walking pace. Several times I bumped it up and jogged! That was huge for me. Tonight I went back to the gym with the same intention. Turned out much better than I thought. I actually ran for half the time on it. Feeling pretty good from that and since I was the ONLY one at the gym I also used the ‘machines’ for some arm and leg strength workout. I am sure I will be super sore on Monday but for a Saturday I am feeling pretty proud of myself.

My heart is hurting for some friends. My friend Paula lost her mother this week. My friend Janice is going to lose her mother shortly. I find that I struggle with dealing with other people’s struggles now. Not that I don’t care and worry and pray for them. I just find that I have a harder time remembering to. I don’t think that is quite right either. I have a hard time getting my brain to wake up and be a thoughtful person.

I messaged a fitness friend of mine that I met via Facebook. I guess friend is a strong word. I found her on YouTube doing Zumba dances that I would learn and use in my classes. then I started stalking her on Facebook, joined her workout group online. She always chats with me like she wants to be my friend. She is a Beach Body Coach so she is trying to get me to sell stuff for her but I think we have connected on a higher level than that. I messaged her about goal setting and new ideas and such. My message to her was just as convoluted as this paragraph trying to explain it.

My hair is another weird phase again. It is finally longer over my ears so I have less wing action going on but have more wild hairs. I am still unsure what I am going to do with it but I have heard that I have two more phases before it is really my hair. So I wait and close my eyes and wear hats often.

Home from my workout, dishes are done and now enjoying a classic movie ‘Woman  of the Year’ If only I could find that drive and passion with a little more compassion and sensitivity than Tess.

 

 

 

Confessions of an out of shape fitness instructor.

 

I have a belly. I have a big belly. I have large and in charge thighs too.Even when I was down to 128 pounds I still had thighs. The thighs rule my closet. The thighs determine what pants/skirt/dress I can wear. The belly determines what shirt/pants I wear.

Funny thing is I am a licensed fitness instructor. Does this mean I am fit? NO. Should it? Probably. Does this mean I have figured out how to eat right? NO. Does it mean I have the tools and knowledge to eat correctly? YES. Do the thighs and belly stop me from moving forward? NO. Does that mean when I get on the scale I don’t cry when I see the number? NO. Does it mean that I know better than to get on the scale? YES.

Tonight I did my Cancercize with Renee B video and wore a crop top. A CROP TOP!! What the hell am I thinking? My belly kept popping out all over the place. I referred to it as my Big Bertha Belly.

Truth is my belly was starting to conform, behave actually. All because I was watching what I eat. What?!?! a fitness instructor admitting that eating right works better and faster than exercise. Sigh, yes it is true BUT you have to keep moving so your body keeps up with the weight loss and you don’t look like a baggy sack of stretchy skin. Besides, working out and moving helps your energy levels and mental stability. Food can’t always do that for you. Bleh it is all about balance. But I digress, we are talking about the belly and thighs….

I often wonder if I am actually doing more harm than good when I do these online workouts with my body shape. My energy levels and strength are lower than I am willing to admit. It is harder to workout and my ten minute Cancercize videos are all I get in on most days. Do I have the right to call myself a fitness instructor with how I look today?

I do you know. I studied and passed the national exams. I went to the training classes and put my time in. I AM a fitness instructor. I AM not perfect. I AM not in the best of shape. I AM trying. I AM a work in progress. I AM what most people are. I do have the right to teach classes and be online and have a Work it Out fitness group. I am real. I am honest. I have bulges. I have low energy. I struggle with a hard workout. I modify all the time. I have food struggles and issues. I have thighs.

Anyway here are some old pictures of me. Hope my friends don’t mind that I shared these. But you can see my thighs and belly in all of them.

11148552_10205328955815382_1777033961758257219_n 404031_496808026998057_365327897_n922440_598449173500608_226468984_o

 

Oh you know, when…….

your husband can’t sleep in the same room as you because you have to turn the loud fan on in the middle of the night.

you have to change your pjs because you sweat so hard they are now wet and cold

your oncologist office forgot about you altogether and when you call they realize it but then turn it into your fault so they are off the hook

you want to beat all your Fitbit friends and find you can barely hit your preset goals of 10,000 steps per day

work is such hostile environment it stresses you out and you have a dozen hot flashes every day there because of it

you can’t quit your job because you need the insurance because of stupid ass cancer and all it’s lovely and hidden side effects

you want to workout more and eat better so on your last day of debauchery you eat a double hamburger on a Krispy Kreme doughnut bun…and that is all you want to eat forever and ever.

you do really well at eating better. no added sugar no bread. then get so stressed out from work and hot flashes (I’ve mentioned them, right?) that you make yourself a personal chocolate cake in a coffee mug and enjoy every warm chocolate flour sugar filled bite

you are craving melted butter on a warm biscuit but have delusions you are still are making good choices (before the chocolate cake idea) so you bake a sweet potato just to have an excuse for eating melted butter

you plan a party then realize how messy and dirty your house really is

you want to stay up late Friday night so you can hang with your friends for bad movie night. Especially when you found out the bad movie is Mighty Morphing Power Rangers.

made plans in your head to hit the treadmill and it turned into watching Hercules on the new channel that just showed up on your t.v.

you really want revenge on your stupid cancer ruined body, yet you give in each time. It truly makes me mad. I am stronger than this. I can work harder than this. I can eat better than this. I can revenge my body and revenge my health!!!! Bleh!

 

 

 

 

Time for a reboot….

I just spent the last several days in paradise. Paradise Montana to be exact. The hubby and I took advantage of the long weekend and went to the hot springs. We have been there several times before. There is no cell service unless you are in the bar/casino. There is wifi in the rooms so you can access online things like social media. There are pay phones, yes honest to goodness pay phones if you must make a call. Other than that there is nothing going on. It is just eat, drink and soak in the hot rotten egg smelling water. It was the best!

I think at this point of time in my life it was better than any other time I have been there. I just came off two weeks at work without my boss. It was a very difficult two weeks for me. I used to be better at covering for her. Not so much anymore.

I haven’t had any real vacation time since the diagnosis. It has all been used for recovery from the surgeries. Not really a vacation.

I needed this. I really needed this. The stressful two weeks at work caused major hot flashes. Made me drink every night. I know, I know ‘made me’ is  a strong statement. But truth is it was hard to fall asleep without having a drink.

Coming home today I realized things have got to change. Time for a reboot.

Today is the day that I: eat better, move more, make purposeful decisions, find another source of income, win the lottery, rest more, drink less, and develop a sense of fashion.

I know, I know such an inspiring list. I just can’t live like this anymore. I feel I have a purpose and that mundane things are a waste of what precious time I have left on this earth with my family and friends. A purpose to live larger. A purpose to live more peacefully. A purpose to pursue.

Or, it could totally just be the sulfur infused water residing in my ears.

14141796_10208994198804166_5793634426242132236_nPay phones at the resort. Do you think anyone even knows how to use them anymore?

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Just some of the beautiful views of the area. So beautiful, so peaceful. A great place to let your mind go numb and just enjoy all that is around you that is right.

 

Weird and Random Renee Thoughts…

I am absolutely in love with the word ‘foobys’ right now! Get it? Fake Boobs!! Ha isn’t it a wonderful ‘Renee’ word? I used to make words up all the time as a kid. This is right up my alley.

I am in a Facebook group for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 people. Many women on there had the pre-mastectomy/reconstruction done to help lower their risk of breast cancer. They post pictures and updates of recovery and other challenges. One lady posted a picture of her breast tattoos. Yes, tattoos that cover her brand new foobys! I have NEVER been a fan of getting a tattoo (terrified of needles) but hers looks so beautiful and it hides that she no longer has nipples (I only have one left) I showed the picture to my hubby. He always told me that if I ever got a tattoo he would leave me. I used to joke around that I have an out. He  liked the idea and was so impressed. Now it is something I may consider down the road.

I was at a BBQ last weekend  visiting with a friend in her swimsuit and all I could do was stare at her breasts. Not in a creepy way, but in a ‘man I wish I had gone bigger way’. I sometimes regret that I stayed the same size. My plan was to never tell anyone about the cancer and surgery so the more ‘normal’ I looked the better. Of course it is too hard to hide the effects of chemotherapy. So much for keeping it to myself.

I went to the gym a couple of times last week and it felt wonderful to be moving on the treadmill. I wrote about how emotional it was. I have not been back since. Funny how life gets in the way. The ironic thing is I need to workout so I can keep my life. It keeps me moving, keeps my mental state stable and brings the focus back to getting revenge.

Last week I ate vegetarian for every meal during the week. I had real food on the weekend. I didn’t mind it at all and it was pretty simple. I liked trying to find ways to incorporate plant-based proteins into my meals. This week I don’t seem to care so much. I don’t know if it is the heat, or that I am fighting off a cold, or the lack of a good nights rest. I just don’t care and have been eating everything! Revenge on my body is hard!

Just when I think I am in control, I am not. Just when I think I have things/life figured out I am reminded that I don’t. I just have to find my new normal and run with it. Learning to embrace the journey of finding the new normal…..hmm.

 

emotions…

Today I went to the gym.

This is not a big thing to most. Today it was the biggest thing for me.

It wasn’t a PR.

It wasn’t heavier weights.

It wasn’t a run.

It was me, on the treadmill having a moment.

Let me back up a bit. I was at the same gym on Monday. Same treadmill. Same goal.

Tonight was different.

I started my treadmill. Set my pace (slow) turned on my tunes and tuned out.  I tuned out thoughts of fear, depression, worry. I tuned out the pain of my swollen arm. I tuned out the fact that I wear my survivor/fighter shirts to the gym so others won’t judge me for only being on the treadmill. I tuned out that this is my new ‘normal’. I just tuned out.

With all this tuning out the emotions began turning on.

Fighting back tears. Tears of frustration? Yes. More importantly tears of shear joy that I am capable of going to the gym, getting on a treadmill and mostly that I am  moving. Moving my feet in a perfectly timed cadence. Moving forward.Moving my thoughts to emotions of victory.  Moving, moving, moving.

 

 

 

Inconceivable…..

“Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”

Today I have decided this is going to be my new go to motto. I know, I know, I am not Sicilian, at least I don’t think I am. Yet, I still feel very drawn to this statement.

The statement in my mind has become: ‘Never go in against a cancer fighter when death is on the line!’

Just hearing the words ‘you have cancer’ almost instantaneously feels like a death sentence. No matter what type, what stage, it feels like death is on the line.

This is when you learn that you are Sicilian.

I started this blog several weeks ago and couldn’t get the words to come out right so I saved it for a little later.

Since then I have lost this enthusiasm and drive. I had a really hard week my first week back at work after the oophorectomy. It was so hot and my whole body ached. I mostly spent my days at work trying not to cry and to pretend that I knew what the hell I was doing.

I am not hurting anymore, at least not like that. Thank goodness! But I still haven’t found this inconceivable drive. I know it must still be in me. Somewhere.

There will always be fears, doubts and pains. I know this. I know I worry about recurrence. I worry that my foobs will always feel like defrosted ice packs. I wonder if I will ever have my energy return. I worry mostly that I will never be myself again.

Then I remind myself. I work, full-time. I go out and do things. I have great friends. I actually went to the gym and did the treadmill. I still do my daily Cancercize videos. I have plans like bike rides, anniversary celebrations, BBQ’s and dancing.

I am in a slump. An emotional slump that is manifesting itself physically. This too will one day be inconceivable! I know one day I will focus less and less on the cancer and the toll it has taken on my mind and body. I will be the Sicilian.

Until then body, as you wish.

 

The nuts are in the drawer….

I know I am losing my mind. You know how I know? I found a bag of nuts in the drawer this morning. Truthfully it was a bag of raw pumpkins seeds.

I do not know when I had them out last.

I do not remember putting them in the utensil drawer.

I do not know why I only just now found them.

I was warned about chemo brain. I was told that I would get very forgetful. I was NOT told that even nearly three months out I would still be a space cadet.

The plus side to being so forgetful:

Drama at work (isn’t there always) I can barely remember what it was by the time I drive home. There are conversations I have with the hubby that start off as ‘oh yeah I meant to tell you about this three weeks ago’ or ‘did I mention this?’

Very little bothers me anymore since I don’t even recall anything happening.

The negative side:

I haven’t had the energy to blog, write, be funny in person mostly because I just don’t remember too.

I have forgotten my mothers birthday.

I can’t remember why my friends husband had his finger amputated.

And I honestly have no idea how the nuts got in the drawer.