Sunday, November 29, 2009

new plan

OK, so I realized that these posts were ... boring? When I came up with the blog-a-day idea, I had a lot in my head, and as soon as I sat down to type, it all dissipated. So I will save blogging for days when I have something to say or something to share :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Year 3, Day 7

I'm attempting to blog every day in my third year of remission with info, news, or on a person front, what's in my head, how I'm keeping my body healthy, etc.

One of the things I've gotten much better about is taking care of myself in small ways. I'm getting better at saying "no" which is a huge help. I'm better about going to bed early when I'm super-tired, even if that makes me a big dork. As I've come to be a healthier eater, I crave sweets much less frequently — close to never. I'm better about not letting other people's food issues influence me. For example, if I'm at a small social gathering and there are cookies and I don't want one, I won't eat one. Yes, that sounds simple enough, but have you ever declined a cookie in a group of cookie-eaters? You know what happens :)

Anyway, small things. Yesterday I slept in. Mid-afternoon, I was sleepy again, so I took a nap instead of arguing with myself that I shouldn't be sleepy since I slept in and staying up anyway.

Tonight, I am sleepy again. I am going to bed here shortly, even though it's barely 7:00.

(I'm not worried about all of this sleepiness right now: hubby's been sick and I'm sure I'm fighting his germs. Also have my period which often makes me sleepier.)

If there's anything you'd like me to write about, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Year 3, Day 6

I'm attempting to blog every day in my third year of remission with info, news, or on a person front, what's in my head, how I'm keeping my body healthy, etc.

If you're unfamiliar with them, I'm Too Young For This is a resource for young adults with cancer, and Voices of Survivors is a compilation of the voices of many and varied survivors on what it means to be a survivor.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Year 3, Day 5

I'm attempting to blog every day in my third year of remission with info, news, or on a person front, what's in my head, how I'm keeping my body healthy, etc.

For Thanksgiving, I am thankful

• for good health
• for fun in-laws
• for self-control

My cancer was diagnosed in May. My treatment ended one week before Thanksgiving. It was a matter of sheer luck that I spent no major holidays in the hospital or in bed.

My treatment ended just over two years ago. That incites a bit of thoughtfulness in itself. Plus it's Thanksgiving, which also incites thoughtfulness.

So very many people helped to carry me to where I am right now.

Thank you to all. As if thank you is enough.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Year 3, Day 4

I'm attempting to blog every day in my third year of remission with info, news, or on a person front, what's in my head, how I'm keeping my body healthy, etc.

It is harder to blog every day than I expected it to be. Some days I just don't have much to say.

So I will just say that today, on Thanksgiving Eve, I am grateful to be alive, to be healthy, to have good friends and family, to have a roof over my head and food in the fridge and a million other things that I have but don't deserve (any more than any of us deserve them).

While tomorrow will not be a day of great (read: healthy) eating, I will honor my body and not stuff it until it hurts. I'll have a little of everything (well, everything not meat), and it will be super-tasty

If nothing else, pounds go on way faster and easier than they come off, and I'm tired of losing these five pounds. Easiest way not to need to lose them is not to gain them. That starts tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Year 3, Day 3

I'm attempting to blog every day in my third year of remission with info, news, or on a person front, what's in my head, how I'm keeping my body healthy, etc.

Not directly related to cancer, but in my adult life, I have become much better about taking care of myself. I go to the dentist twice a year (this morning checked that off the list for another six months), I brush and floss, I eat healthy food in healthy quantities most of the time, I exercise on a regular basis, I stretch. While not everything that goes wrong in our bodies is preventable, a lot of it is. So I might not prevent any bad thing from ever invading my body again, but if I can keep systems in good working order, fewer things are likely to malfunction. And I feel better, have more energy, am generally more positive when my body feels good.

Recently, to complement my physical health endeavors, I have been working on mental health: working through/getting over crap that has happened at various points in my life, working on being less ignite-able (being angry all the time isn't healthy), working on having healthy relationships with people, working on setting boundaries for people who can't/won't have a healthy relationship, being kind and patient to people whether they "deserve" it or not. I'm trying to remember that people who I bump into in the grocery store don't know my life story any more than I know theirs. I hate it when people judge me based on not enough information, and so I am trying not to judge others. (By the same token, having a bad day is not a good reason to be an asshole.)

Am I living and breathing this in such a way that y'all should model yourselves after me? No. But I'm working on it. And as I work on it, I get better at it.

I already feel better much of the time at work, I feel much better when I'm driving, and when those two things are feeling pretty good, the rest of life is often not far behind.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Year 3, Day 2

I celebrated two years cancer-free on Saturday! It is fabulous and amazing.

I have been having very significant memory problems recently. I'm not sure it's entirely chemo-brain — why would it suddenly nosedive this far out of treatment? — but I'm sure that's where it's rooted. Even before this recent episode of "What's your name again?" my memory has certainly not been at the same strength that it was pre-chemo. It drives me mad.

I have decided, memory-permitting (haha?), that I am going to attempt to post here every day with something that I'm doing to take care of my body or with news I've come across.

Of course, I was going to start this yesterday and forgot :(

So today's installment is a link to a blog post regarding cancer-related memory issues: click here

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I am not a cancer warrior

So I'm a card-carrying member of the Cancer Club.

I'd say that half the time (maybe more?), it's not anywhere in my consciousness.

The other roughly half of the time is split between many things:

• There is a good amount of time that what I'm doing is because of the cancer, though most of the time by now, the action/reaction is pretty habitual and "cancer" isn't in the front of my mind (i.e. sunscreen, avoiding plastics, avoiding synthetics and pesticides in foods).

• I have periodic conversations with people about health-related things — whether it's my experience with cancer, theirs, their experience in something else equally as crappy.

• I continue to have run-ins with physiological chemo leftovers (chemo brain, chemo boobs, heart rate issues).

• There are cancer blogs that I follow and cancer-related organizations that send me e-mails and show up in my Facebook news feed.

• I get an e-mail every so often from the oncology counselor at the hospital, letting me know about an event at the hospital.

• I learn about someone else getting cancer, which always instantly puts me back sitting on the hospital bed in the ER on that fateful day.

• I very rarely get an e-mail from someone who stumbled across my blog and writes to me looking for advice. I always answer those.

• And every once in a great while, I think, "Yeah, I had cancer ... Holy crap! I had cancer!" It is somehow still kind of surreal.

I have friends who I've met through cancer treatments and cancer-related events. There are many people who have started organizations, websites, etc. in their survivorship. They are very active in the cancer community (most often in the young adult cancer community). They (seem to) feel a deep connection with others with this disease and an angry passion about eradicating it.

Every now and then, I feel like I should be like them. Or like I should want to be like them.

But I don't.

I certainly believe that cancer is an awful thing, though there are many other conditions that are much higher on my "don't want it" list. I believe, more or less, that people don't deserve it, and that the current treatments for it are barbaric and awful — in too many cases, worse than the disease itself. I would love for there to be no more cancer, but I also believe that regardless of how much money we raise for research and awareness, we will always have cancer because we love our carcinogens too much.

It surprises me how many people go through cancer hell and don't change what they put into their bodies. (Not judging, just surprised.)

I have been told that Hodgkin's is not a lifestyle-related cancer. That means that it happened regardless of whether or not I was making healthy choices. It means that the plastics I am avoiding, the grilled meat I am avoiding, the cigarettes I am avoiding, the belly fat I am keeping off, the sun I block most of the time, have/had no influence on my cancer. But those things can help to cause other cancers, and I don't want those, either, so I have made choices. They're not always easy choices (have I mentioned how much I hate sunscreen?), but in my opinion, they're worth it. Suncreen is better than chemo. Life is still worth it, even without meat, without convenient drinks, without artificial sweeteners.

I'm rambling. I'm not really sure where I'm going. I guess I feel like there's a lot of ducking personal responsibility in this whole cancer thing. It's easier to yell at other people to fix the problem than to see how we are contributing to it ourselves. If we refused to purchase/consume items that were carcinogenic, companies would need to find another way to produce/package. Of course, that includes damn near everything, it seems, including carpet, particleboard, stain-master-type fabrics, most plastics, canned food/drinks (they line the insides with plastic), the list goes on and on. But I think food and drink would be the best place to start, followed by cleaning agents (soap, shampoo, detergents — we absorb a lot of the crap we put on our bodies).

So I suppose my efforts to gently influence people to change their habits, or even one habit could be considered cancer advocacy.

Of course, we've known for a while that smoking causes cancer, and there are still plenty of smokers. I don't suspect most people are even going to give a second thought to lesser evils. But it does frustrate me that they hand out water in plastic bottles at the Race for the Cure.

99% of the time, I have no negative feelings about not being a cancer warrior, so this is really not a quality-of-life issue. It just pops up every now and then.

It's not really even "popped" right now — I just felt like blogging and this issue was on my list of things to blog about. I'm sure I put it on the list the last time something triggered it. I wonder if that post would have been more interesting. Or more off-putting. Hm.