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!!

 

 

 

 

 

I am now a nut cracker, and other odd things I want to share…..

Not really a nut cracker but definitely a knuckle cracker. I never like cracking knuckles. Creeped me out when others did it. I would never do it. I always heard it was bad for your joints. Now suddenly I catch myself cracking them at least five times a day!

Decided that part of the reason I can’t get out of bed in the morning is because with my heated sheet it is so warm and I don’t want to get out into the cold room. So last night I decided to not turn it on. I won’t make that mistake again! I had double yes, DOUBLE charlie cramps in my legs. I can still feel them hurting.

I have to renew my license this year. First tie since I have moved here. I would like to think I have changed physically but the number on the scale says differently.

I think cancer has taken my humor. I can’t seem to find it anywhere. I used to be somewhat funny. Smart funny at times even. Now I struggle to smile at anything I say.

I have only logged twice in the last month! How am I going to finish the big race that is one month! I have no idea .

I think it is odd that I get all of 50 in 50 Marathon (James) blogs emailed to me but his wife Paula at Never a Dull Bling (first blog I followed) doesn’t. I get Shameful Sheep but not Runner Girl or Diane’s Lady who reviews lunches. Why is that? I subscribe to the all the blogs the same way. Technology baffles this old body.

There are stressful things going on in my personal life that I feel I have no input in. In turn it is causing me to hot flash. I take meds to fight the hot flashes but the stress and anxiety always  wins.

I found bird poop on my car that looks like the mother mary. Even the birds are Jesuits in this city.

I want to tiptoe in the tulips this weekend but I am afraid it will only be green stems. No matter I am going on a road trip and I like it! Skagit Valley pictures to follow. That is if I ever take the time to really blog again.

OVERWHELMED!! that is a good word for my brain right now.

Okay that is enough venting to strangers.

 

 

 

Family fulfills…

A while back I blogged about my grandmother passing. We had just booked tickets to see her and a few days later she passed. I was devastated. It was hard to lose her. I was unprepared and at a loss of what to do or say. I was however thankful that my Aunt Kathy still wanted us to come and visit. So that is what we did.

My little family of three flew to GA to see family. To see the Pepper side of my family. I knew it was going to be an emotional yet much-needed visit.

We were trying to figure out how long it has been since Aunt Kathy and Uncle Tom had seen my son Richard. He is going to be 28 this month. The last time they have seen him was when he was 9. How did that happen? How have I let that happen? I am so glad we were able to make that right.

We had a fabulous time! We ate so much food. Seriously I gained six pounds in four days. SIX! We snuck into the new Atlanta Braves stadium. Yes, snuck. We toured the Coca-Cola museum (Keith hates Coke) and we ate…did I mention that?

The picture above is one of my favorite places to sit early in the morning at my aunt and uncles house. I love the way the light streams in. It is a cozy and comfortable place to have a cup of coffee and just reflect.

Reflect on how much love there is in this home. My cousin Jenny and her boys bring energy and youth. My Uncle brings hustle and financial insight. My Aunt brings love and encouragement. When I sit here I feel all of that while at the same time peace. It is where I would sit when I was hanging with my grandma all those years ago. Sitting here on this trip reminds me of the love and unity my grandma brought to this house as well.

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This is the door to my grandmas room. It took me nearly two days to enter that room. I didn’t realize that my grandma kept journals and I knew I wanted to read them. I also knew walking into that room would be very emotional. I can’t even imagine how my aunt did it. The scratches on the door are from the dogs. They loved granny. She would always drop crumbs on the floor for them. The dogs miss her too and keep trying to see her. Makes my heart hurt.

When I finally had the courage to go in and sit down and read through her journals I was so thankful! She just talked about her everyday things. Playing bingo. Missing a phone call from a sister. Knee pain. Everyday things. It gave me some insight into her life when I wasn’t around. I found the journal from the year that my dad passed away. I was only able to read parts of it. I have the journal with me now and I still haven’t been able to read it. Someday I will and it will help my heart heal and grow.

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This is a picture that I took of my Aunt Kathy without her knowledge. I wanted to capture her in this pose. She places her hands together like this and moves her fingers up and down. I find it endearing. My grandmother did the same thing. Sometimes I catch myself doing it and smile and think of Grandma and think of Kathy. It must be a family trait. One that I somehow picked up.

Our trip was fast and furious. It was wonderful and emotional. It was needed. I hope it was as healing for my Pepper family in GA as it was for me. I hope my son has some good memories of his Pepper family now. I know my husband is thankful for the little time we have had with granny and family.

This is what I know to be true. Family fulfills. Fills your heart, mind, soul and your eyes with tears.

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

When you lose your mojo…..

Before I began chemotherapy I had to go through an education class. You are then overwhelmed with information. You learn about ports, names of medications and the side effects, oh the side effects. There were so many things discussed and presented in a slide show. At the end of it they send you home with a binder filled with everything you just heard.

One thing that was stated over and over again in the class by the NP and again reiterated by the Oncologist was how important exercise is. The best way to fight the fatigue is exercise. The best way to get the  chemo meds through your system to kill the cancer cells is exercise. The way to keep your oxygen levels up, yep you guessed it exercise.

As a group fitness instructor I already knew the health benefits of daily exercise. I taught classes three nights a week. Went on wog’s several times a week and was always on the move. Taking extra steps at work, dancing with friends, enjoying the ability to move daily in life.

Hearing that exercise is one of the best things to do during chemotherapy I had set my mind to it. I started the Cancercize program on YouTube and a Cancercize Facebook page. I promised the doctor, NP , my friends and myself that I would workout EVERY day through chemo. Yes everyday, even if it was nothing but a few stretches there would be a workout. I did not want to have the fatigue. I know how to exercise so I will give the theory my honest  test. I did. I worked out through the whole treatment and actually made 120 days straight of working out. I felt the effects of the chemo. More importantly I felt the effects of exercise. I honestly believe I would not have done so well if I had not worked out in some way everyday.

As the day of the oopherecotomy neared, I worked out longer and harder. Concentrating on my abs.  I knew they would be out of commison for some time after the surgery. I asked the surgeon what kind of exercise I could do after the surgery. She said very light weights and definately lots of walking. Great I can do that.

The trouble is I haven’t. I have tried to do a few Cancercize videos. I have three up since surgery. They are slow and easy but they are there. I have walked a few times too. The trouble is that is all I have done. I can’t seem to make it a consistent habit. I have lost my mojo. Conviction. Focus. Mindset. My enthusiasm.

I put my finger on it today. I have to get up and move! It is the only way to make me want to keep moving. It is time for me to get back on track. It is time for me to set my mind. I am the only one that can make me take care of me. That includes getting back up on the horse.

Today I walked, just a few blocks. I think it was enough to wake my head up again. When I got home I vaccumed, did a load of laundry, took out all the trash and recycables and dusted. DUSTED! I powered through the uncomfortablness. I moved slowly and used the handrails going up and down the stairs. The point is I moved. Intentionally with a purpose. To get better and heal.

I may have my mojo once again……

 

Joy is not circumstantial…

About a month ago the Reddaway truck driver that used to have our route was covering for the new driver. He knew that I had been fighting cancer but hasn’t seen me since the surgery and public announcement. He simply said  ‘your smile is still here’ All I could think was ‘of course, joy is not circumstantial’

There is a difference between joy and happy. Happy is a temporary emotion generally driven by our circumstances and current surroundings. Joy, joy on the other hand is deeper than that. It is sincere, planted deep within and doesn’t fade. Joy is not about our circumstances it is about our choice to find and keep it, to nurture it, to not allow it to starve and disappear.

There are many things that make me happy that also feed my joy.

Working out with heavier weights. Having my cousin Craig do the dishes better than anyone, ever. Picking cherries with the littles. Texting friends first thing in the morning to start the day off right. Mysterious reprieve from the night sweats. Half a pound less on the scale. Hair growing back even if it is all gray. Hugs. Going all week without a head covering. Planning for the future. Hitting my Fitbit goals. Creating new memories. Easily forgetting the drama and stress at work. Discovering my own inner strength. My own inner love. My own inner peace. My own inner drive.

I know those are all circumstantial. Yet they are making a lasting deep impression and adding to my joy. I have always been a firm believer that love is a decision. I have argued this point often. Feelings fade. Decisions should last. I honestly believe that joy is also a decision. You make the choice to be joyful. You can’t hope that others make you happy. They won’t. Maybe for a short time but people never stay the same and can never be the source of joy or love.

I am preparing for more surgery soon. I am preparing to see Paula from @neveradullbling. I am preparing to pursue my joy. I am preparing to grow as a human with a bigger heart, more compassion, overflowing joy and kindness. It is work but it is worthy work.

What will you do to fill/fuel your joy? Run? Write?Volunteer? Give? Share?

Have a joyful day my friends. ❤