What’s in a victory?

I’m in a couple Beachbody fitness groups. One is on Facebook for members of Beachbody on Demand, and the other is a challenge group with other people living the lifestyle.

It’s been a week since I’ve fully committed to this again. Back in the beginning of this year I had some major losses with inches and pounds. This time, not so much. I still lost, but the numbers weren’t as high so it gave me pause. I did the self-doubt thing, the shaming. Then I straightened myself out. Loss is loss. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I could have gained muscle, which weighs more than fat, so the scale wouldn’t have reflected that. Not to mention, I have non scale victories! I can sit up just by using my core. I don’t need to use my legs to grip onto or propel myself forward. I feel better, emotionally and physically. Whether or not I see it on the scale or on the measuring tape, I can FEEL the difference, and that’s huge!

So I’m going to exercise again today, tomorrow, and the next day. I’m going to do it because it makes me feel good.

3 more months

Another doc down! I went for my one month follow up at the plastic surgeon today. He said everything looks great. He felt around and said I don’t have any fluid build up and everything is healing nicely. Big change from the major surgery in May. BIG change. 

I go back in three months. The skin over my right nipple should be healed more by then and we’ll be able to talk about options for that, like a tattoo or possible reconstruction. 

Aside from my Lupron shots every four weeks, I don’t have another doctor’s appointment until March! Seems crazy since I have pretty much had an appointment every Monday for the past year.

Soooo, my plan is to return to Dr H in three months much thinner! I’m back to eating clean and healthy, and he said I could exercise, so I’m doing it. 100% balls to the wall exercise. I’m excited because this is the LAST TIME I’m going to experience that new exercise muscle soreness because I’m not going to stop this time. 

As Dr. YB said…I’m off to live my life!

This is the part where you find out who you are.

One of my Facebook friends posted this today and it resonated with me so much that I felt the need to share it here right now.

This is me in 2019. This is me now. I’m cancer-free, BS free, and working on maintaining a healthy mind and body in the new year and forever.

This isn’t “another one of those new year’s resolution” posts that we see so many of and criticize. Shame on us for that, too. We should always be lifting our friends up, not letting them down. If they’re making an effort to get healthy, we should be their biggest cheerleaders, regardless the circumstances. Maybe they’re doing it for the 12th time because they didn’t get the support they so desperately needed but were too embarrassed or proud to ask for in the past, so they’re having to do it again and again. Let’s lift those friends up.

This is a lifestyle change. A mind and body cleanse and overhaul. I’m eating healthy again and ready to be active. I’m ready to exercise my mind and do some personal development as well.

This is the part where I find out who I am.

How about you?

Is it hot in here?

Yowza! The last two weeks, the hot flashes episodes were off the charts. I even checked my temperature one night just to make sure I wasn’t overlooking a fever. They’re like how they were when I was going through chemo.

During the first few cycles of the Lupron, the hot flashes were just that…flashes. I’d blink and then they were gone. I thought they were a piece of cake. Ha. Hahahaha.

I should have known better. Nothing about life with C was easy, why should anything after C be easy?

I have an appointment with Dr YB tomorrow, so I’ll talk hot “flash” management with him then. That and sleep. I’ve had a heck of a time falling asleep this last week, which I don’t believe is related to the hot flashes since they don’t necessarily occur together. I forget what number my infusion cycle is tomorrow, but I know it’s close to the end. I want to say I have one or two more after this.

I also have an appointment with Dr H tomorrow. I’ll get drained again. I know this because I can tell there’s extra juice in my abdomen. Yay.

I’m restarting my clean eating tomorrow, and exercise, I’m looking forward to fueling my body with stuff that’s good for me again. I felt so good, physically, when I was eating clean before the surgery, and I wish I could have kept up with it post-surgery, but my appetite was just so off that I felt like I needed to just eat what I could.

Also, I’m creating a team and registering for the local Komen Race for the Cure. I’ll post the details here once I’ve got it all together, in case anyone is interested in joining or supporting the efforts. It’ll be Saturday, September 22.

Three down, one to go…

So this is a little late, but I had my follow up appointments with Dr H and Dr JB on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Dr H – Drain removed from left hip. Hopefully right hip drain will slow it’s roll, and the numbers will be low enough for it to be removed at my appointment on Monday. Seems like I’ll be losing my right nipple, it’s back to its black color regardless of the ointment/Vaseline. I’m ok with that. Dr H said we can reconstruct that later on, if I want to. My tummy wound is opening a little bit, but not a lot. (Seriously don’t Google it!)

Dr JB – Pretty much said the same stuff as Dr H. I did ask about these tiny little blister bumps I have around my chest. It seems that the surgical bra, that I have to wear like all the time, is irritating my skin. Yay! So I’m trying to give myself breaks from it, and I’ll wear a tight tank top to keep things contained instead. They also recommended lotion for the rash.

It’s just been a blah week for me. Lots of emotional ups and downs. I’m ready to go back to normal, you know? This has been dictating my life for several months, and I want to dictate my life again. I want to be able to go run errands and not be exhausted. I want to work! (Which I’m doing a little of next week whether anyone likes it or not!)

The week after next we go on vacation. I’ll be chilling poolSIDE for a week, unable to actually get in the pool due to my wounds not being fully closed. When we get back from the trip, I plan to return to work. I’ll have an appointment with Dr YB for my infusion and Lipton shot Monday the 18th, and I’ll probably have a follow up with the surgeons that same day.

I’m anticipating being in much better shape by that point. I think the key is going to be doing a little each day and gradually building myself up. I think I’m being too sporadic, and that’s the problem. Like going 75% one day, 50% the next, then 100%, 0%, and then back to 50% isn’t helping. It’s inconsistent and I think it’s confusing my body. So I’m going to try to start small and keep going up. I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself too far, I just feel like I haven’t been building myself up, I’ve just been randomly diving in, depending on my mood.

Anyway, something else to note is that I haven’t had much of an appetite post-surgery. I’ve had hunger, but I’m not 3-square-meals hungry. Like it’s after 1, I haven’t eaten, and I’m not even a little hungry. So, needless to say, I haven’t been sticking to my eating plan. I’ve been trying to focus on protein when I do eat, since I know I’m not getting a good sampling of nutrients and that’s the key nutrient for healing. I’m certainly not starving, I do get random cravings throughout the day and snack. I get late night cravings, too, and I have healthy snacks like fruit. I always eat dinner, it’s just breakfast and lunch are sometimes a wash. I am also having my Shakeology every day, which helps with protein and other nutrients. So hopefully my appetite will sort itself out soon and I can get back on track with Portion Fix.

Oops.

I’m pretty sure I have a pulled muscle in my lower back. I consulted Dr. Google with my symptoms and the location, and it makes sense. It’s tender in certain positions, but particularly when I take deep breaths. So there’s a muscle in your lower back that works with your diaphragm, and it can be pulled or strained.

This doesn’t surprise me considering some of the odd ways I’ve had to maneuver to get myself up and down, laying and sitting, shimmying and scooting…all while trying not to put too much pressure on my upper arms and abs.

And of course, I’m probably doing more than I should in general, but I feel good so it’s hard to not try a little more when I think I can. Despite what anyone says, there’s no rule book for recovery. Everyone is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. I was told to listen to my body, and I have been. I didn’t pull a muscle running a 10k, I probably did it doing something simple, something we all take for granted when we’re healthy and operating at full capacity.

Anyway, needless to say I’m taking a step back and trying to not be as mobile as I’ve been, which is so incredibly frustrating because the walking is fine. I’m good at it even. But unfortunately the getting up and down and readjustment of positions is sometimes a problem. I just hope the increased sitting doesn’t hurt my posture, because I was doing great with that!!

(Did you check out the new title and banner?? Progress!!)

Work for strong, not for skinny.

When I’m bored, or when the app icon has a little red notification tag, I go Pinterest hopping.

I have to admit, it’s given me tons of great ideas over the years. Some I’ve tried, some I’d like to try, some I never will try, but are there for wishful thinking.

Like everyone else, I’ve got boards for food, home, sayings, etc. I have a Breast Cancer board with random tattoo ideas, words of wisdom, and miscellaneous ideas. I’ve also got a Fit Inspiration board I filled with lots of inspirational words for me to reflect on and to motivate me when I don’t want to lift my middle finger, let alone a dumbbell.

Anyway, I was scrolling today and saw this one and immediately pinned it.

Work for strong. Not skinny.

In retrospect, when I started doing Beachbody back in March, I had skinny on my mind. It wasn’t the entire pie, but it was a respectably sized piece.

But now, as I sit here in recovery, I realize that regardless of my mindset at the time, my results were more strong than skinny, and that has made the real difference.

Am I dead lifting one week post op? Heck no. But am I pacing the house, going for walks, getting up and down by myself? Heck yeah!

If I had achieved skinny, but not strong, I probably wouldn’t have the energy to rise and shine every morning (or afternoon after a much needed nap!).

So I guess my point is that exercise doesn’t have to be about getting skinny. It’s about being fit and healthy and having all the right kinds of energy. It’s being able to use the bathroom independently post-surgery. It’s about so much more than a number on the scale.

If you want to chat about what I did to get strong, and what I’ll be returning to as soon as I can, let me know!

Advice: Fit for Surgery

Whenever you feel well enough, exercise. This was a huge help for me before my mastectomy. I finished chemo in January and started to feel human in February. In March, I started exercising and eating well again. It may not seem worth it to exercise for such a short time (I had about 6 weeks between feeling good and my surgery), but it has made a huge difference.

Squats are fantastic because that’s how you’re going to want to sit down/lower yourself onto a chair or the toilet.

Overall leg strength is also so important because you can’t use your arms except for some no pressure balancing. You’re going to want your abs to be strong, even though they’re going to feel sore. They’re probably not actually sore though, it’s just the belly skin pulled tightly. You’ll need your abs to shimmy into position when you can’t use your arms, and you’ll need them to sit up, lay back, and gain balance.

Of course you can do these things with assistance, but you are eventually going to have to do it alone, and that’s a good thing, as long as you’re not pushing yourself with too much, too fast. But if you’re anything like me, you’re going to want your independence back ASAP.

Listen to your body, but don’t be afraid. I was terrified to sit up because I thought my gut was going to come out. It’s irrational, but the thought was there. That’s the kind of afraid you don’t need to be. Your gut isn’t going to fall out. Not even when you cough.

Don’t over do it, but don’t be afraid to try.

And of course, the sequence of your treatment or your physical condition may not allow for exercise. You may feel like garbage all the time, or you may have your surgery immediately, with no time to prepare. You may not be able to or even want to do it the way I was able to, but if you can even just squeeze in some walks or squats or lunges, you’ll thank yourself later, trust me!

Post-Op: Part III

I may have mentioned that I’m sleeping off and on, and at random due to the pain pills and muscle relaxers, which is to be expected. I was mostly awake during the day yesterday, and slept through most of the night. My tail bone is totally sore though, so I can’t wait to get up.

So every day post-op I have different goals. The day of surgery was just bed rest. I had the catheter and didn’t get up for anything. The next day, yesterday, was to get up and move to the chair, and use the bathroom so the catheter could come out. I passed that with flying colors, and I honestly fell back on some of my exercise techniques in order to do that. Today the goal is to walk the halls, which I am looking forward to since it’s more movement! And tomorrow with be bathing.

I’ve had the same night nurses, day nurses, and techs, which definitely makes it more comfortable since they get to know me and how I like to move, etc. So that’s pretty cool. Plus they’re awesome! I got very lucky. The hospital is also super quiet, so I get a lot of attention if I need it.

You know I’d mention the hospital food. It’s not bad at all. Yesterday, I had eggs, hash browns, and a blueberry muffin for breakfast. Lunch was baked chicken with gravy, rice, and veggies. And dinner was roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, and creamed spinach. I mean, it’s hospital food, so it’s not epic, but it’s pretty decent. Plus, I’ve got lots of snacks people have been bringing by.

I’ve had some visitors, and they’ve brought healthy snacks, not so healthy snacks, drinks, etc. So I’ve had quite the variety as far as food goes, which is nice. I also have lots of pretty flowers and balloons.

Those photos were the best I could do from my bed. 🙂

For the first 24 hours I couldn’t eat, so I was doing ice chips and water, which was totally OK since they have ice like Sonic has…crunchy ice. I’ve even asked for it after I was cleared to eat. Yum!

TV stinks, so I’ve been trying to entertain myself with the occasional re-run, napping, blogging, and checking FB and my emails. I’m working on reading, but I’m mostly still too groggy for that.

Fun Fact: whenever a baby is born in the hospital, they play a lullaby over the loudspeaker. One of my visitors was a coworker who brought her baby boy who was born here in March! So adorable.

Post-Op: Part II

Still a little drowsy from the meds, but I just had dinner so I’m feeling a little surge of energy and alertness, so I thought I’d try to squeeze in another post.

I had a catheter. They inserted it while I was unconscious, so that’s cool, because apparently that’s what’s uncomfortable about it – having it out in while you’re awake. So yay. It was kind of neat to just be able to pee without thinking about it. There were periods of discomfort, mostly due to the positioning of the drainage tube. It was uncomfortable when they pulled it out, too, but it’s not like they yanked it. They did it gently.

I’ve gotten up to pee three times since the catheter has been removed. Standing up is uncomfortable because I want to use my arms to push up and stabilize myself, but I can’t. I also feel like my abs are going to jump out of my body. I think it’ll be much easier to do once I get over those things. The first time I tried to sit to pee was a struggle, but the second time I remembered my squats and it was a piece of cake. Laying down hurts when I engage my abs. The nurses hold my back and lower me, but it’s nearly impossible to just release my abs and let them do the hard work. So that’s another thing I need to get over.

The last thing I remember before the surgery was the anesthesiologist saying he was going to sedate me a little bit to do the nerve block, which I remembered from the lumpectomy. He inserted the medicine into my IV and it was game over. I vaguely recall telling Dr H about my successes with losing inches around my mid-section, and saying something about wanting big boobs. That’s about it! Then I woke up in recovery. So while the world was passing hours upon hours, I was in an amazing time warp!

And I do have big boobs apparently. Double the size. Yowza!

Anyway, getting groggy again so I’ll talk to you later!!

I also apologize if there are typos in any of these post-op posts. I’m not proofreading, and I’ve only got one eye open half the time. Ha!

TTFN