Monday, October 31, 2011

Moving right along...

Reminds me of the muppets song. Moving Right along. That is pretty much what is happening up here this fall. I cant tell you the RELIEF and GRATITUDE i feel towards mother nature for NOT dusting DUMPING snow on us this weekend. I am sorry all you peeps in PA and north but wow, glad that wasnt me. Instead on saturday afternoon Rich and I got out for a wonderful ride and even tho it was 50 it sure didnt feel that warm.  My parents were stuck in PA and barely got home late saturday night. Nothing like some time on the tarmac in Allentown, and then at O'hare. At least when they got to Chicago they new they could get back home.

Rich put on a retreat at his church this weekend. Sounds pretty boring and scarey doesnt it?:) I am not Catholic, he is. It's pretty awesome that the retreat is non denominational. It really doesnt matter what your religious beliefs are, as long as you have some sort of belief. In a God, or in a higher power or you name it.
Centering Prayer is a method designed to facilitate the development of a Contemplative Prayer by preparing us to receive the gift of a relationship with God. Centering Prayer is a meditative practice that in a nutshell, allows us to get out of the way and listen to God. Not really to TALK TO HIM, I personally think that as in so many things in our lives, we are in the way of our own progress and growth. It's called " I want control..." And really, again, in my opinion, we dont have control over what is going to happen. We do have free will, so as much as one can say "There isnt a God, bc why do bad things happen to good people then?" ( ahem, dont you think i may be prone to this thought?) With free will and with things like natural disaster or even illness that is not from exercising our own free will to smoke, drink and live an unhealthy lifestyle, well...things do happen for a reason. And its up to us to not hate and blame and use the victim card, but to be ever so thankful for what you have today, right now, today.

So you may think i have gone all "church lady" on y'all. Not really. I dont talk about spirituality much, but i do come from a line or Lutheran ministers and even a Bishop on my mom's side. So its never too far from my core, and even tho I dont talk alot about it, its with me. My faith.

I loved this retreat bc it gave me some more tools to feel like i could find some meaning to Rich's diagnosis, and also bc Rich worked SO DANG hard on this. And since this is sort of a Tri blog at times I couldnt help but relate to Elf's blog about Stillness. One quote that really hit me with I read her blog is "Be Still and Know that I am God" Psalm 46:10. Or for some of you it may just be a plain " Stop thinking so much," just let the race unfold. You may not want to lay it all into God's hands, that is ok, but stop judging yourself, others, blaming yourself, others, the weather etc...just get out of your own way! Or as someone i know tells me " Get over your bad self."

So other than riding my bike a few times, freezing my fingers a bit ( but not too much heck it was still 40!) I had a great weekend. We also watched Step Brothers, and if you need help with that "Pan, Pand thing," let me know.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Every two years....

I get a Breast MRI. It all started when my mother was diagnosed at 78 years young wiht a weird kind of breast cancer. She found the tumor herself, despite having annual mammograms, and following all the protocols for those. When the tumor and her breast were removed ( within about 3 days) the surgeon said the mass had been growing for 5-6 years. To which we wondered what that mammogram had been looking at? Sorta makes you wonder. Her tissue, like mine, is dense. Many of you may also have heard the term that you have FCB, Fibrocystic Breasts. Sorta makes ya think they are all ripped and tight, eh? Well i think they are but it also makes it hard to really see the tissue when they are all dense like that.

So enter mom's oncologist. We never had a need to test for the BC gene. But we were told that we had a strong risk for breast cancer and  she strongly encouraged us to get breast mri's annualy. So of course fear hit me hard and i went for my first in 2007. I wont forget that.

I had had many MRIs...shoulder, hip, ITB, not sure what else, but anyways it was fine, you roll in, dont move, get a headset bc its so loud and listen to some radio and its over before you know it. 20 minutes tops.

When i went to the hosptial and they checked me in like an Inpatient i knew this was going to be different. I got a wrist band. I got all the gowns. I Was led back to the IV area.

WAIT A MINUTE....IV? nobody said i had to have an IV? I never had an IV when you looked at my knee or my hamstring? And then was told they do a contrast dye, to compare scans. Gulp. so now you have just increased my anxiety two fold. I Get that all set and then i get into the MRI room and realize i am going to be FACE planted in that puppy, with my girls in their own little comfy pouches. How nice. Arms at side and your eyes? Well they are looking at a white cotton face cradle. No ground, just the glmpse of the sides of the Can. Ok then. Here we go.

I am pretty sure that one took some STRONG meditative powers to get thru it. To not FREAK. OUT. and everytime they said DO NOT MOVE or we have to re do it. I moved. I am a deep breather. How can you not move your thorax when you are trying to relax and breathe deeply.

Ok jump to today...I had another one in 2009 that had to be redone bc I freaked out and before they shot the dye in (luckily) had a panic attack bc i had a head cold and i could not breathe. nice. Sorta was like an open water panic attack, no joke. But i learned from that the key to my future MRI's....

Ativan....bring it on!

Now I am no drug store, and If my hubby or I take so much as an aleve its serious. So the 4 Ativans i got from 2009 were now down to 3.5 since i cut it in half. I took 1/2 today ( i had a driver, my mom) and so i was good to go. Everything went as planned. Funny comment from Rich " I am glad you and your mom are Breast Buddies, you can hang with each other on this stuff." :) Yes we are!

Gown on. Jewelry off. IV in. ouch. Saline flush ( salty taste) lie prone ( face flat) dont move, headphones on...and BAM we are off. But after the first scan I had to tell them i needed earplugs. It was the loudest clatter i have ever heard. I really knew i would not last 40 minutes in there, so she came in and told me " DO NOT MOVE A MUSCLE. " and put earplugs in my ears for me, the headphones were useless anyways i could only hear music when the clatter stopped. I had a bit of anxiety at first. I started thinking about my breathing and trying to not move my chest but i breathe deep so i figured that if they are going to say my thorax is moving too much i will have to say " see ya" since shallow breathing to me = hyperventilate. So i kept my breathing deep and i closed my eyes and i think the ativan sorta kicked in a bit as i was just thinking about....


I know? Weird? no not really bc what skills did i use to not FREAK OUT in Madison? well the same skills i used to NOT FREAK OUT in a can face down not moving with clatter in my ears and with all the sudden COLD dye being shot into my forearm. That is enough to make you freak out too.

So why do you care about this? Maybe you dont, but I thought it would be a good learning experience for any of you that may have to get a breast MRI, or who are avoiding getting one, or who are just interested in stuff like this. All in all it takes about 45 to an hour, and then you get a ride home since even tho the meds say "use caution driving heavy machinery" i think i wanted a ride home.

I do have one area that is always sore and tender with my period, and i know that since everyone says "cancer tumors dont hurt" that this is likely a duct that is inflamed or something. But the way my life is going these days I needed this for piece of mind. I fully expect to hear " Come back in 2 years," in which case i will have my 1/2 Ativan and my earplugs ready.

Tonight I am taking my most awesome PT out for wine. She is a great person, has been so good to me, and still lets me come work out at their clinic. Yes wine. Dont worry i think the ativan has worn off....
And its a 1/2mile drive anyways!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Living in Limbo

Thanks for all the nice comments and support. Both of us are overwelmed with the love and friendships we have both here and from afar. The truth is that we have no idea what each day will bring. I mean that. I have heard so many uplifting stories of cancer with a grave prognosis, go into remission for at least a time being. I have also heard of stories where a cancer such as this progressed rapidly within 3-6 mos. So who knows. I just know i dont think it is his time. Maybe this is my form of denial, but as i said earlier i dont thinki have a choice but to be relentlessly optimistic.

I am sorry for me that i cant share more. I know it sounds like i have some Anonymous commenter when in reality its not an Anonymous commenter at all, its just a person who has chosen to use us in her pitiful life. And with that I will say no more.

Rich had his first chemo last week and seems to have gotten thru that with minimal side effects. Yes some nausea and yes some neuropathy and some foggy headedness but all in all he was pretty happy with how it went. It's hard being down there getting the chemo with him. He looks quite healthy compared to some others that are there, and really its hard to now stare and wonder, what the others are there for. To want to ask them.."So, what are you in for? What is your SENTENCE?" And at the same time we tried to have fn with it, I got him the good snacks, we had fun with the fabulous oncology nurses, they truly are the best. One of them remembered my mom from 5 years ago when i would go down there and sit with her for her Chemo after breast cancer.

As for me, I am doing ok. Sleeping better even sans drugs, but at night sometimes things pop up and my MD advised me to "take a nibble" of an Ambien. I love that. I love her orders:) I dont think i have ever taken a full Ambien ( and i have never really taken it before) so if i did i may not wake up for 24 hours.
Training is fine. Meh...whatever. Just getting out to breathe, feel my legs, ride my road bike ( Poor Gretta was washed but she hasnt seen the light of day since IM, she still appears to have sticky sugar on her poor girl), and of course a bit of chlorine that i didnt miss this summer swimming outdoors and in the lake.

WE enjoyed a fabulous Vegan Meal that my friend KJ brought us saturday. Lentil Curry and twice baked potatoes and some rice krsipy treats, all vegan. Of course i messed it up by adding Chicken broth to the soup/curry bc it was SO thick. Oops. Sorry i hope i didnt lose the Vegan Super Powers. ( you wont get that unless you saw that movie about the kid who had super powers and they made him drink a latte and he lost his powers,  cant remember the name, it was pretty weird) I digress....but we are doing pretty well at eating a good clean diet for him, and despite many offers for meals from people the truth is that i love to cook. ITs good therapy for me, and he likes what i cook him. So if i turn down a lasagna, and white garlic bread dont be offended. We love that you want to share with us but flowers will do, or just a plain old hug:)

Till next time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Real Life

It's been a wild ride the last two weeks. And I am going to cut to the chase. Some of you know this and I really appreciate the privacy you have given me. Rich was diagnosed with Metastatic Cancer.  It is asymptomatic which is a blessing, but also made it that much more shocking. I SOOOOO want to tell you more and talk more about this but the same people that used my blog against us, shamefully, in the pas,t can and will do that again and so since i dont want to make this blog private you are getting few details. Please refrain from FB ing about this, its just not something i feel is recent news - worthy.

I decided to blog about this bc I need to for me. I need to for us, and again, for me. I also want to blog bc I know many of you praying, thinking, sending good healing vibes will help us as we start yet another journey into fighting Cancer.

My feelings have been pretty raw this last week. I have been thru the denial, the acceptance and the shock that comes with this. It's not as cut and dry as it was 2 years ago, and for that i am so sad. But at the same time miracles happen everyday. We have to believe in them, and we have to keep positive. I have thought alot about how my IM training is helping me deal with this. I do mean that. I think we have to be relentlessly positive, otherwise you have no hope. When you have no hope, you just give up.

And at the same time as many of you, my friends, were in Kona racing and spectating, I had some pretty strong feelings about what that all meant to me. I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs that KONA is AWESOME, but its not real life. I am not angry...I wanted to be there, trust me!!  I was acutely aware that if your bike was hard and windy, that you were biking, not talking to your Oncologist. I wanted you all to SOAK IT UP, and to really really have a blast. Stuff like this doesnt make me say "WHY ME?" but more so " WHY NOT ME?" I mean why dont I have cancer?

And then you realize it's just another reason to be so damn thankful for what you have today. And to take life day by day and to love, laugh do what makes you happy, and not sweat the small stuff. If you think you dont have enough money, think about why you think you need so much money to make you happy. If you think you arent fast enough, figure out how being faster is really going to help you or make you happier. If you arent happy, figure out why and dont just blame everyone else. Do something for yourself.

Ok over and out, sorry for the trip to Cancerland. But I will be here for awhile, hope to be able to share more, but for now its all i feel SAFE sharing.