Wednesday, July 4, 2007

food, time, exercise


Well, I reached a breaking point with food yesterday. This is ultimately a good thing, I think.

As of early May, I was eating five small meals a day, wasn't eating sweets at all during the week (exceptions when there was something tempting in the teachers' room, though the amount of tempting things had significantly dwindled), was working out (lifting, cardio, or both) five days a week. My eating was balanced, I didn't crave junk food, enjoyed many junk foods less when I did eat them (certainly not all!). Missing two days in a row at the gym had noticeable effects. It was good.

Going into the hospital essentially for three weeks (though I had 3.5 days at home near the beginning of it) knocked all of that to hell, of course. Taking care of the cancer was more important anyway — I'm not complaining.

The chemo had (has) all kinds of effects on me. The first round caused an eight-pound weight drop in four days. Besides beginning just to eat too much to try to counteract that, I reincorporated sweets that I still loved but didn't eat much because of caloric content (i.e. Nestle's chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches YUM!). Also, I wasn't allowed to eat fresh fruits and veggies or things that were crunchy or hard. Lots of tasty junk food fits within those parameters. As time has worn on, the weight-loss effect of the chemo has diminished (though not gone away completely). I also decided that it's better to be underweight (which I'm still not close to) than to have diabetes, and so I cut down on the crap ... but there's still plenty around.

Finally, yesterday, I ate more crap than worthwhile foods and decided that I need to get back into eating well. I will be eating more than I was used to, since the chemo apparently does strange things to my metabolism (wouldn't it be nice if that was a lasting side effect!) TJ has started keeping a food journal, so I'm keeping one with him now and really cracking down on myself. I feel good about this decision.

It's the summer. Regardless of treatment, I have a habit of putzing away summer days, regardless of having plenty of things I could be doing. While I was still working, I had come up with a plan to get things done every day. That plan, of course, went out the window long ago.

But since it is looking like most of my days will be good days, I need to not putz time away. Yesterday, I had a lot of energy and got a lot of things done, which made me feel good. I would like to do that more regularly. So what I did earlier today was to make a list of things I'd like to get done around the house (can't be outside, really — not supposed to be in the sun). I broke the larger projects down into smaller component pieces, though I'm sure some of them aren't broken down enough. Every day that I am feeling well and am home, I will do at least one thing on the list. By the time I go back to working, the list should be done :) I also made a mini-list of things to do every day that I feel good, which is more in line with my original plan for the summer. The first thing on the list was to make the list, and I did that today, so one thing is done ;) We'll see how it continues to go...

Mom called today. While we were talking, she confirmed what the doc had said about not exercising for four weeks while the blood thinner levels stabilize. (I was more checking to see if it's something I should ask my doc when I see him, or if it's a standard precaution. For those unaware, my mom is a nurse in our family doctor's office.) In any case, I asked if that means I can't go for walks or can't go to the gym. She said walks are fine, and I clarified that they're still fine, even if they raise my heart rate. So I think I will add to my list of things to do every good day: take a walk. Then when exercise comes back, I'll already have a little space carved out for it, and I'll be in better condition than I would be without a month of walks. Yaye for a little exercise :)

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