A moment…..

As I was making breakfast for dinner last night I had a moment.

A moment that felt trapped in time.

A moment that was as real as I am.

A moment that I tried to capture with a picture.

I don’t know if it was the bright evening spring sun shining through the kitchen window. Or  that I was making breakfast for dinner. All I know is in that moment I felt normal. Normal like there is no cancer. Normal like there was never a surgery. Normal like I am not in chemo. Just me being me and feeling normal.

I wanted to somehow capture it and make it so it wouldn’t be a fleeting moment. I tried to take a picture of the warmth shining through my window. It doesn’t even come close to expressing how it truly was. I stood there embracing the moment, the warmth, the time standing still. Please don’t let me wake up out of this trance.

Then I burned the pancakes.

Reality.

A moment gone not likely to return and I am at a loss how to recapture it.

 

 

It is just a cold.

 

When is a cold just a cold?

Today, today I called in sick. It is the first time in five years that I have called in sick to work. Seriously, I have what they call perfect/perfect attendance. I haven’t even missed a lunch punch on the clock. They make a big deal out of that at work. You get a pretty decent cash reward for perfect/perfect attendance. It makes me feel like I am reliable, dependable and responsible. I like that people just know that I will be there if I am scheduled to work. I don’t like to let people down. Ever.

Which then makes me think about my job.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer I met with the surgeon. When I was given the choices of radiation/lumpectomy or mastectomy/reconstruction surgery, (from original diagnosis) I asked what kind of downtime was involved. Meaning, how much work will I miss. She immediately told me that people will not remember you for your job, they will remember you for how you lived. Missing work to get better should be the focus.

I disagree.

I am not defined by my job. Showing up for work on time and everyday does not define me.  It does however show my personality, my drive, my commitment, my loyalty, my responsibility, and that is what defines me. I take pride in doing a good job. I think it is a trait that is lost in this day and age. It gives me purpose. It gives me a reason to be up and out and a functioning part of stimulating the economy.

I define my job.

Now, now I feel like I may have a cold. I am clammy, have an ear ache, my chest has congestion, and I am achey. I have to realize that a cold is not a cold when you are going through chemo. It is a full on attack while you are basically defenseless. I have to make the call. The call to protect myself so I can BE myself once again.

This is a state of flux that I have never been in before. It is a new challenge for me. Accepting that I am vulnerable. Understanding my new purpose. Seeking, searching and living out what I believe with balance.

After all it is just a cold.

Just an update….

I am three days into my chemo. I am very fortunate that I am only on two medications/poisons. My friend that sat with me Thursday was on three. My other friend was on five, five! I feel lucky.

The first of the side effects hit me yesterday afternoon. The metallic taste in my mouth they all warned me about. Everything tastes like my permeant metal retainer has leaked all over my tongue and lips and teeth. I don’t have the best taste buds, because I really don’t have a sense of smell. I was hoping this wasn’t going to bother me. I was wrong. It even makes water taste awful.

So this is my game plan. I made a list of healthy foods that I do not like. Kale, apricots, nut butters, avocados, tomatoes, mangos, etc. I am going to the store to buy them all today! I will force myself to eat them so I can get my fruit, veggies and all important protein!

I have been told that I shouldn’t eat food I like because I will never like them again after chemo. So I figure this is a safe list for me!

I have a secondary list of foods I kind of like but if I eat them now and never want them again I will be okay with that. Broccoli, apples, collard greens, persimmons, oranges and etc.

If I eat bad foods it will be pasta, white bread, white rice, potatoes salad..and things that I should kick the habit of.

I only have one thing on my list to never eat while on chemo…BACON!! I want to still like bacon after all of this…

If I have already said all this I apologize now. My chemo brain is also in full effect. I have notes to myself everywhere in the house! Just so I don’t forget to do the thing later. Seriously, even one that says: Get up and MOVE!!

I know the fatigue is coming. And the inevitable hair loss (which probably won’t happen until the next to last treatment) but if this all I get, fatigue, metallic taste, hair loss, poor immune system I will be a happy chemo camper.

I am still on my quest/challenge to post a workout video each day on my YouTube Channel Cancercize with Renee B. I feel it is so important to document that you CAN workout while going through chemo/cancer/surgery. And that it will help your mental health as well as your physical health. I hope to one day turn it into a real class and offer it to all who need a place to workout. We only have one place that does it out here and it is extremely hard to get into. (closed group) Even with doctor notes you get turned away. This saddens my heart. There needs to be more classes for this. After all cancer is not a respecter of age, health, personalities, or anything. It is growing, and attacking. There are many people who need to have a place to workout safely to help themselves be stronger!

Anyway, this is just an update of where I am today. I know, not very humorous. Just an honest update.

P.S. this is a picture of my feet outside. It was so nice out and my energy was good I walked around the block, TWICE! I am pretty darn proud of myself. A workout video and a walk.

#mylifeisshort #ichoosetolaugh #itiseasiertolove #onwardandupward #atpeace #ventinghelps #youarestronger

No socks? No problem.

Come as you are.

Sometimes it is a party invite.

Sometimes it is how some churches speak and even practice.

Sometimes it is how your friends really feel.

Today it is how the chemo clinic is beckoning.

Come comfortable. Pajamas are okay.

I plan on coming filled with Midol, in my comfy sweats, something with green on so they don’t pinch me any harder and pink slippers, no socks.

Glad I still have a great pedicure in case my feet get sweaty.

#mylifeisshort #ichoosetolaugh #itiseasiertolove #onwardandupward #forthegreatergood #lookingtofindmypeace #mysocksrarelymatch #seriouslymyperiodandchemo #revengelife

 

scaterrifanxilyired

There was a sketch on Saturday Night Live many years ago making fun of President Bush and how he makes words up. They had the character say the word ‘strategery’ over and over in the bit. It was fun. It was years ago, yet I remember that word like it was today.

I have a friend that makes up words for herself to this day. She will say things like ‘the awesomtasticalness that is me’ and things like that.

My mother always said I just made up my own words when I couldn’t think of one that fit the moment. She would tease me about it often. I don’t really recall any of the words I made up. I do know for a fact that my brain is always three words ahead of my tongue and even as a grown up (kinda) I will spit words out that don’t make sense because I have already moved onto a different conversation in my head. Everything will get jumbled up and comes out funny. Anyone who spends any amount of time with me during the day has learned to understand ‘Renee speak’

I tend to text/email/post/tweet the same way. I will leave key words out. I only proofread AFTER I hit send. That is just how I am.

The word at the top. Well this is the new word for where I am mentally and emotionally. Scared, terrified, anxious, tired. Surgery: could be anywhere from 7-10 hours. That is a long time. It is eleven days away. It seems very close and yet VERY far away still. Will I ever be able to teach my classes again? How will this change me, my personality? Will I be funnier? Will I look older? Will I have energy again? Will I learn to love more? When will I get to shower again? How long will the pain last? Will I move like a T-Rex  after the bi-lateral mastectomy? Is this the end of the cancer? Will it pop up in my lungs, or brain like it has in my family? Will I ever be normal again? Well as normal as I am now, that is to say, not normal but very me. How is my husband REALLY handling this? Will he tire of taking care of me?

Sometimes I can’t get the thoughts under control. Scared, terrified, anxious, tired. Hoping to one day say: relieved, rested, peaceful.

relievstedpeaced

 

It is the first day..

Today is January 1st 2016.

To some that means a paid day off. A three day weekend. A brand new start on a very fresh page of life.

For others it may mean time to make some changes. Start a new diet. A different workout. Or to just start working out and eating better.

I have never really truly understood the fascination with celebrating the end of one year and the start of another. Maybe I am too much of a realist. You will still wake up today and be you. If you hated working out and struggled doing it in December. You will still hate it in January. If you didn’t like fruit and veggies over bread and bacon, well taste buds don’t change over night either.

Drinking heavily to say goodbye to the old year means starting the new one with a hangover. Concepts I just don’t quite understand.

We, you have the opportunity to start your life over at any given moment. Not when it is the first of something. You could wake up tomorrow and say  ‘this is the first day that I will do ten minutes of cardio’ Next week you can decide to cut out sugar for a week and that will be a first. It happens when YOU want it to happen. Not when the media is telling you to start over, be a better person, get healthier, make better choices.

In my most recent life (the last five years) I stopped doing resolutions. I stopped making new years ideals/goals/empty promises. I have chosen to do something new every year. I never know what it will be. I do not have a bucket list of things I want to do before I die. If a new opportunity arrises that I have never done before then I will embrace it and try it at least once. That is how I choose to live my life now.

So far in 2015 it has been:  started blogging, ran in several 5K’s, became a nationally certified group fitness instructor, got my Zumba Step license. Went to Portland. Flew to AZ for a one day trip. Started my own fitness accountability page. Tried new foods. Made new friends.

After I beat this cancer and am given the free and clear signal that I can resume a ‘normal’ life again, I will not wait for the first of the month, or the first of a new year. I will embrace the challenge of pursuing something new and different always.

Okay soapbox moment over.

Onward and Upward.

 

Yesterday:

Last Wednesday I went in for an MRI. Wednesday afternoon I had a call from my doctor office that I missed. I had to wait until Monday before I could return the call because of the Thanksgiving break. I worked, the rest of the world didn’t.

Monday morning I call, thinking they were going to tell me I needed to fill out more paperwork, or my insurance was not covering things, or fingers crossed that the cancer is even smaller yet.

Instead the call was to tell me that they found another “questionable spot” same breast but different area. I have to go in for another biopsy “just to be sure” The news totally threw me for a loop. I was not prepared for this. I DO NOT WANT TO DO ANOTHER BIOPSY. They are painful, scary and uncomfortable and take a long time to heal from. I of course agreed to another, because what else do you do? Now I wait for another appointment, another needle, more mammograms.

My mother, who had breast cancer 3 years ago suggested I read Susan Sommers book. She said it has a lot of good information in it. So I was in town and bought Knockout. Doctors curing cancer. CURING. I do not know if I should be reading the book because it questions EVERYTHING that we do to treat cancer in today’s world. It has filled my head with doubts. Before I was comfortable with my plan of action. Get in, get it out, get it done. Now with this new spot (that I have no idea what it is yet I’ve already mentally accepted it is as more cancer) I am doubting all my choices, thoughts and procedures.

Anyone out there that has tried alternative treatments? I would never be able to afford them like a famous rich actress like Suzzane Somers. I obviously am not bold enough to ask for alternatives (hence the fact that I am giving into another biopsy that I do not want) But I want to know. What has your experience been?

I do not have a lot of followers on this blog but the few I do if they would share this with others maybe someone will be able to answer some of my doubts. I don’t know. Just a thought.

I am pretty confident I will be starting my period next week. Actually company Christmas party is Saturday so odds are I will start during that! So the news may have made me actually cry and freak out and over analyze because hormones are, well dumb.

Thanks for letting me share. And vent. And release. This helps.

My complaints..

I just posted on Facebook last night about how I have nothing to complain about. Or at least that I have no right to complain, ever.

Then this morning all I could think was how I wish I had never donated my ‘before’ clothes because I could use them right about now.

Nothing fits. Everything is too tight and shows off my lazy eating habits.  Seriously, there are rolls under those shirts and pants that are nothing but me. Not a six pack of rolls, or anything as pleasant and adorable as that. But those cheap 12 pack heat and serve rolls that I can never get enough of at Thanksgiving. And don’t forget to smother them with mashed potatoes and tons of gravy. For that matter just cover everything in gravy.

I would say that it has been a bad month but truthfully it has been a bad couple of years. I just don’t like to watch what I eat. I workout several times a week and started wogging a bit more than in the past, but the food, oh the food!!! I just love to eat. I justify it in my head, I workout so eating what I want is okay. It is not. It just takes a little longer to catch up to you.

I have always said that if a doctor told me how to eat I would do right by that. This is harder to do than I thought.

Per Dr.’s orders no more wine. Eat as organic as possible. Cut back on red meat.

Why can’t peanut M&M’s be organic?

 

A time will come soon when I will be on bed rest and restricted movement. I really need to curb this appetite accordingly. The holidays make it harder. The cold weather makes a desire for comfort food overwhelming.

Okay my complaining is over….for now. And I did save a bottle of champagne to celebrate when this whole detour/challenge is over!

7 stages

The experts claim there are seven stages of grief when you lose someone. Shock or disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger depression, and acceptance/hope. I think the seven stages can be linked to other loses as well.

If you lose a race, you experience anger, disbelief, guilt, denial, and bargaining and eventually acceptance and hope that you will improve, get faster and do better next time.

If you lose a friend from emotional fallout, you experience anger, shock, guilt, depression and eventually acceptance that they were probably a toxic poison in your life from the start.

If you lose your wallet, you experience anger, guilt, bargaining, denial and disbelief and eventually acceptance and hope that you will find it and no one will steal your identity.

You stub your toe, you experience shock, bargaining, anger, and eventually acceptance that you are clumsy.

There is a saying ‘life goes on’ and there is an ultimate truth to that. No matter what ended in your world, a life, a friendship, a health the world keeps moving on with or without you. You CHOOSE to make it a learning experience. You CHOOSE to make it a healthier place in your mind to live. You CHOOSE to understand and make yourself a better person from the grieving process.

When I first got the ‘call’ I was in shock/disbelief and how can this be happening to me mode. I have plans of revenge, and fitness growth, and traveling, and motivating others. This is unacceptable.

Since it is the most mild form of breast cancer ever, and it is not a high priority I have thoughts of denial that maybe it isn’t even really an issue and if I pretend it isn’t there it won’t be.

I have bargained with myself over giving up my wine. Sigh, yes, I have to give up alcohol so I can be healthier and take preventive steps to reduce the chances of it reoccurring. But I keep saying that I will wean my self off slowly. After all I still have bottles of birthday wine sitting here.

I have experienced anger, and depression. Oh the depression comes and goes as it pleases. But my worst thing I have experienced to date is the desire to put my life on hold.

I am changing that today! I am still making my plans for revenge damn it! I am still going to get my HipHopHiits license this weekend. I am still pushing my Zumba classes (until surgery). I am still planning the movie date with friends for the last Hunger Games. I am still writing out my long term and short term goals and going to reach for them.

I will get back to interacting on my ‘Work it Out’ page of one minute workouts and motivation. I will get back to laughing and working out and savoring every moment of life. I will find my sense of humor again in all of this. It will be real, and sincere and raw and honest but I WILL HAVE HUMOR AGAIN!!

And I am sure I will experience all the stages again and again through the process and treatments, but it doesn’t have to define me, or put me on hold. It can shape me and make me smarter, funnier and hey even stronger.