Surgery is over!

All my major cancer-related crap is over! Can I get a “hell yeah?!”

Hell yeah!

My surgery was this morning, everything went well. We went a little smaller on my chest since they were a little too big before. I’m happy with the way that turned out.

Dr. H recreated a nipple on the right side, so that’s both amazing and cool. He also did the wound closure at my abdominal incision, so that looks nice and neat.

I am a bit sore and still running off the hospital anesthesia. I took a Zofran for nausea. I can’t wait to eat real food. I had a Shakeology when I woke up from my nap, it was good and full of nutrition! I think it was just what I needed at the time, chocolate with berries.

Anyway, I’m binging on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and patiently awaiting some pizza. I’ll post more about this experience when I’m less loopy.

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.

Surgery Update

Surgery is scheduled for May 10!

Nervous? Not really. This will be my third surgery in less than a year, so it’s not something new. I am a little anxious about the recovery. I really don’t want to be uncomfortable or stuck in one place for too long.

I talked to the nurse at the plastic surgeon’s office and asked a bunch of recovery questions. Since I’ve gotten started exercising again, I am concerned about having to wait a long time before I can be active again. I got the general “6 week recovery” info, but I didn’t know if that’s 6 months on my back or if I can slowly work myself back up.

So the nurse said I’ll probably be able to move around relatively soon after the surgery. She said I’ll probably be a little hunched, because the skin over my stomach will be drawn tight. She said I should plan to not do much the week following the surgery (I’m so disappointed I won’t be able to do that marathon I didn’t sign up for…) but that when I feel up to it I can start with short walks and build myself up to longer walks. She basically said to listen to my body to see what I can do as far as exercise. She also said they’ll probably recommend that I increase my protein intake, so I’ll need to see if my current level of proteins (5 servings a day) is enough, or if I’ll need more.

Here’s some general info I found at The Cleveland Clinic’s website on nutrition tips to improve would healing:

“Power” Foods and Food Groups to Help With Wound Healing

Protein: Meats, beans, eggs, milk and yogurt particularly Greek yogurt), tofu, soy nuts, soy protein products

Vitamin C: Citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, tomato juice, peppers, baked potatoes, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage

Vitamin A: Dark green, leafy vegetables, orange or yellow vegetables, cantaloupe, fortified dairy products, liver, fortified cereals

Zinc: Fortified cereals, red meats, seafood

(link to source)

This info is pretty good because I eat a lot of this stuff as part of my Portion Fix eating plan. I haven’t been eating too much citrus because I haven’t seen many good oranges in the stores, but in a month that should change. I am eating spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, so that’s a bonus. In addition to spinach, I eat lots of carrots, so Vitamin A is in the bag, too. As I mentioned, I get plenty of protein from meat and eggs and my Shakeology shakes, so that’s good. I feel pretty good about my body being prepped for recovery.

Not quite sure when I’ll be able to get back on my 21 Day Fix, but I’m going to work my butt off until then, at the very least. I’ll be able to complete this 21 day period, and almost a second 21 day period (I’ll be about 4 days short since surgery is a Thursday).

Anyway, I’ll have a pre-op appointment with the plastic surgeon a couple days before the surgery, and a pre-op appointment at the hospital. This surgery will be at East Cooper Medical Center in Mount Pleasant, which is a hike from home, but I guess it just depends on the day of the week as far as what hospital I’m at since my doctors have privileges at a few different ones. I just hope they have decent food, otherwise Brad’s going to have to bring me my Shakeology, a mini-fridge, and the Nutri Bullet so I can make my shakes.

Speaking of Shakeology…I got the chocolate today and it was amazing!!!!! Tastes like a delicious chocolate milkshake and there is no milk or ice cream in it.

So that’s all for today. I may have mentioned that I have an appointment scheduled next week with the physical therapist. I’ll report on that then.

TTFN

I’ve Lost 6.8 lbs in One Week Doing 21 Day Fix®!

Yep, you read that right. I’ve lost 6.8lbs (and a couple inches) in my first week of 21 Day Fix®.

What is it? I’m so glad you asked! 21 Day Fix® is a foolproof nutrition and exercise plan by Beachbody®!

You all know how important food is to me. I love to eat. I love tasty food and I enjoy variety. I don’t like being told what to eat, and I don’t do well with restrictions. This blog has been live for just a few short months and I think I’ve communicated my passion for food quite well in that time. Why is this important? Because I wouldn’t choose a food plan that didn’t allow me to still be passionate about food. That’s how awesome Portion Fix is.

Here is a ridiculously simple summary: A quick calculation determined how many of each colored cup I get each day. The colored cups represent different food groups or food types (for example, seeds and dressings go in the orange cup). I plan out my meals so that you use ALL my cups. Voila!

Now, I said this wasn’t restrictive…and it’s not. But there are some limitations. I should eat the healthiest options for each category. For example, the yellow cup is the carb cup; on the yellow list is brown rice and whole grain pasta, but not white rice or regular pasta. Moral of this story…I can still eat pasta, and I have.

21DF-gse-essential-containers-526x526

This is a super easy plan to follow, and honestly, after only a few days I started to feel very comfortable. It does take planning and preparation, so I needed to have some patience for that. But it’s not hard. It’s not hard at all, and I’ve had so much support.

I said I was eating a lot of food, and I am. Each day, I have 5 servings of vegetables, 3 servings of fruit, 5 servings of protein, 4 servings of carbs, and a few condiments. I can use garlic, lemon juice, and spices freely. Portion Fix has recipes and other participants share theirs, or you can keep it simple and create your own. For lunch, I do a meat, a carb, and a veggie. Nice and simple since I’m on the go a lot at lunchtime.

Here are some of my prepped lunches. This week I planned ground beef with some seasonings we picked up at the the Flowertown Festival, and salsa chicken in the slow cooker. We made brown rice and quinoa. We also did frozen veggies, steamed in the bag in the microwave, then briefly sauteed in olive oil and garlic on the stove.

I made some seasonings, salad dressings, and even cookies using Portion Fix recipes. They’ve all been delicious.

I seriously felt like I was eating too much. It was a lot of food. But when I threw it all into the My Fitness Pal app, the calories were low! They were exactly in the recommended range. It’s because I’m eating more of the healthier, filling foods, and less of the foods that don’t fill me up, but instead make me crave more food.

I’m also using Shakeology®, which is a superfood shake powder you can mix in with just about anything. If you mix it with fruit, you deduct it from your allowance. Add a veggie? Deduct that, too. I often make mine with a serving of spinach, a serving of blueberries, a teaspoon of natural peanut butter, cinnamon, and water. It’s delicious. Since I’m lactose intolerant, I do the Vanilla Vegan flavor, so I don’t have to worry about taking a pill every time I have a shake.

Speaking of lactose intolerance…there’s very little dairy in Portion Fix. You can have it, but it’s easy enough for me to avoid. And what makes this plan great is that it’s clean eating…you’re not eating processed foods so you know exactly what goes into everything you are eating. If you have a food allergy or an intolerance, you know whether or not you’re eating something you shouldn’t.

My biggest woe before starting this program was that eating healthy was going to be expensive. The lie detector has determined that is a lie! Lean ground beef? It costs the same as it would if I bought it for hamburger helper. Frozen veggies? I bought bags upon bags of generic stuff from Walmart for 77 cents each (and they taste the same as the brand names). Brown rice? A bag is a couple bucks. It’s not expensive to buy raw, unprocessed foods. Processed foods actually cost more.

Of course there is also the exercise component. The package I signed up for got me access to Beachbody® on Demand. It’s online access to all Beachbody® exercise programs, that includes some of the more popular programs like P90X and Insanity. I chose 21 Day Fix because I pretty much need a 21 Day Fix given my surgery. But if I get bored or want to try something a little more intense, there are tons for me to choose from, including some dance ones. I totally can’t dance though, so it would be interesting.

So the exercise plan for 21 Day Fix gives you a different workout to do every day. Monday is Total Body Cardio, Tuesday is Upper Fix, etc. You don’t have a rest day. Sunday is yoga, so it’s more of a chill day than the other days, but it’s still an intense workout. My legs burned after day one. They were SORE on day two. I thought they’d fall off when I had to do the Lower Fix (legs) on day three, but they just sort of went numb and all was well again. Ha. Seriously, intense workouts considering they are only 30 minutes each.

So a new nutrition plan, exercise…my gains so far in this program aren’t just related to the scale. I also feel a thousand times better overall. I have become more regular, which has been a pretty decent issue for me since chemo started back in September. I have better endurance. I want to get up and do stuff. I also feel good mentally. I’m happy to be doing something and seeing results. It makes me feel good.

Anyway, this entire post probably sounds like an advertisement. It’s not really. It is a testimonial though. It’s me sharing my success because I’m so excited to have found success and I feel like I need to share it because I want anyone else who wants to be successful to find theirs, too. I signed up to be a coach, I just didn’t want to promote it until I could be proof that it works. And now I am. Proof, that is.

If you want to talk to me more about the program, or other programs Beachbody® offers, please reach out. I want to help. I’ll tell you exactly how I signed up, what I signed up for, and I’ll tell you all about the awesome group of women I’m part of…women from all walks of life who are in this to succeed and be healthy, women who have been so motivating to me. Or, if you’d rather just kind of check things out, I’ve included my Coach web links below. I know I have some followers here outside of the US, so I’m including links to my Coach page for Canada and the UK. Or, if you’re totally not interested, that’s OK! I don’t expect everyone to be on the same journey, and that’s perfectly fine. BUT, just know that Portion Fix isn’t only about losing weight. You can use the program to gain or maintain as well. It’s about eating healthy, really. So feel free to ask me about it, or click one of the links below to check things out. 🙂

My US Coach Site.
My Canada Coach Site.
My UK Coach Site.

I promise this blog isn’t going to turn into a place for me to grow my business. However, it is eventually going to transition to something else (I actually have a plan I’ll unveil soon) since my cancer journey will eventually be over. My health and wellness will definitely be part of my journey. It’s something I should have made a priority a very long time ago.

So I’ve got the oncologist tomorrow. Should be uneventful, just my Herceptin injection. Next week will be the evil arm shot. I’ll post an update if something exciting happens.