Thursday, February 18, 2010

Back in the Pool

In August last year I started swimming to try and get back into some sort of shape. Prior to getting cancer I was in some of the best shape of my life (well, let me rephrase that - since getting married). I certainly wasn't on the cover of Fit magazine, but I could hold my own in a step class and my lung capacity was pretty darn good. Cancer treatment completely zapped me and at the end atrophied the muscles in my legs. Even going up and down the stairs was uncomfortable. I decided to swim because it is something I loved to do growing-up, and I thought it would be the best thing for my joints - my physiotherapist agreed.

I still remember the first time in the pool. I was bald and my lung capacity was horrible. The physiotherapist warned me to just do breast stroke (now isn't that amusing) because my shoulder was so stiff (from radiation and lymphodema). I remember thinking 'what does she know'? She was right, I could barely swim one length my lung capacity was so bad and my arm barely moved me through the water.

I am happy to report today that I am swimming 10 laps of breast stroke and 10 laps of front crawl in about 35 minutes. I try to get in the pool three mornings a week! And I thought I was doing pretty darn good until I was talking to one of the ladies on Wednesday morning. I asked her how many laps she swims and she swims 60! I guess I will be trying to swim 25 tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I've been telling people since I have the privilege of being home so much that I am trying to watch the Olympics as much as possible. Yes, I am working in my home office, but I am allowing myself to slowly get back into the game of 9-5. I probably will never work like I used to. Between still actively getting treatment, physio, massages, acupuncture, and just exercising, I enjoy helping out in my friend's grade 2 class once a week. I have also taken on the endeavour of selling Caring Hands jewelry which I will share more about in another post.

Back to the Olympics. Today I couldn't help but think about my friend Saugen. Actually, her name is Kristine, but I always thought the name was too 'girly' so I have always referred to her by her good Norwegian last name. Saugen and I met in high school and hit it off right away. We both liked camping, athletics, and of course partying. She now lives in Nova Scotia and I haven't seen her in years. Back in the day she was a great biathlete and trained continuously. Today a German won gold in biathlon and she was pretty and blonde just like Saugen.

Isn't it awesome that Canada has won 2 Gold metals!!!! Go Canada Go!

The picture was taken of me and Saugen when we were 17 or 18. We were out camping somewhere getting into no good. Oh, to be young again. Love and miss you Saugen!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Welcome Charlee!

Sunday night Carman and I got a new puppy who we have named Charlee. She is so sweet and soft and it is nice to have the pitter-patter of feet in our home again. She is a boxer, but I think she looks more like a Gremlin.

She loves to lay at my feet when I work in my home office and is pretty much stuck to me like velcro.

Her under bite doesn't always show, but I love when her bottom teeth stick out.


This totally off course, but I wanted to share with everyone what a great experience I recently had at Stitch-it in Parkland Mall. Being 5'1 I am always getting pants hemmed. Since moving to Red Deer I have gone to Stitch-it because of their great prices. The last few times I found the service not as good and the wait times a week; however, things have changed! They have a new manager, Ali, and he is fantastic. We are the same age so we found lots of things to talk about. Next time you need something hemmed or tailored please consider giving your business to my new friend Ali.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Road Trip - Florence Oregon

Passing the boarder into Oregon made me feel like it is a place I could live. The roaring ocean and quaint seaside homes were inviting. Driving into town we saw a billboard 'All rooms with ocean view', so we knew where we were going to stay. We threw our bags on the bed and set-out to walk down the beach before it got too dark. The ocean here is quite wild. Of course Carman wanted to walk as close to the water as possible. I tend to be more cautious and had a more comfortable distance. The ocean did teach Carman and lesson and at one point he found himself running pretty good from being swept away. Boys will always be boys.

Road Trip - Redwoods

Northern California was gorgeous - breathtaking canopied treed roads. I have always known I was a tree lover, but after driving through the desert in Phoenix and the rugged landscapes of California, I realized I am most happy around trees. At one point we stopped at a place that said 'Large Tree' which had a little trail for hiking. The weather wasn't that great, but we decided to do a little hiking. About 20 minutes in it started to pour; however, I think it was totally worth it - the large trees, moss, and large clover were all things we had never seen before.

Road Trip - San Fransisco

We found San Fransisco quite intimidating at first. All of the concrete and hills, and no over-the-street street lights. But then my old friend from high school Meredith picked us up for a private tour and the city really grew on us. I would love to go back! The really funny thing is when Carman and I drove in to San Fransisco we thought we were on the Golden Gate bridge when we were actually on the Bay Bridge. Can I at least state that it was extremely foggy. And to make it even worse, no matter how hard we tried we could not get on the Golden Gate to get out of San Fransisco. Who goes to San Fransisco and doesn't go on the bridge? Us!

It was really neat to see how Meredith and her family live in such a unquie city, and to see all of the scooters people drive due to the extreme lack of parking. I have always wanted a Vespa scooter, and leaving San Fransisco made me want a scooter even more. It is my goal to have one this summer.

Snip Snip

On Tuesday I went to the hospital for day surgery to get both of my ovaries removed. This allows me to forgo the nasty injection into my abdomen, and it offers me the chance of increasing survival. The morning started off with having to give myself my own enema. I know, too much information, but I want to be as candid as possible for that one person who might read my blog someday who is going through what I have had to go through. It helps to be a bit prepared walking into a situation. It can also help relieve some anxiety. Okay, back to the enema (no pun intended). The purpose of the enema is to deflate your bowel to reduce the possibility of nicking it , or it getting in the way during surgery. The actual bottle looks like a hair dye bottle. Stick it up, squeeze in all of the liquid, lay down with your arse in the air for as long as you can stand it up to 10 minutes and voila.

They also require you to come in with a urine sample to confirm that you are not pregnant - there is nothing like walking around with your little brown bag.

With my right arm off limits due to lymphoma (lymphatic swelling), I knew they would have a hard time finding a vein. The fact that I had been fasting more than 12 hours also didn't lend well to the situation. It took them six tries to find a vein. I am still not totally sure why they just didn't use my port. My arm is fairly bruised, but is healing quickly.

Coming out of surgery wasn't a pleasant experience. I remember after my lumpectomy my throat was dry, but I was really relaxed and sleepy. This time, I was major agitated (didn't know how to lay, my legs were fidgety...), I had the rigors (shaking and cold), and I felt like I couldn't breath (my throat felt closed-up).

And then it hit me. My surgery was running late and Carman was to curl at 3pm. Our friend Dr. Bud was to be my back-up to driver to take me home. I was scared. I was in no shape for Bud to take over. Carman was holding my straw so I could drink and my describing word I was using to explain to the nurses of how I was feeling was 'funky'. Some gasping cries tried to communicate to Carman that I really didn't want him to leave. He assured me he didn't want to leave me either and he wouldn't be curling.

Do you remember when I got out of my lumpectomy surgery how I came-to saying how much I love camping? This time I am pretty sure I came-to saying "I just go out of a Yoga class"! I haven't taken a yoga class in years.

Once they pumped some gravol and T3 into me it lessened the 'funky' feeling. They were going to give me morphine, but Carman was quick to suggest it wasn't a good idea.

I was amazing that an hour later I was in the truck heading home not feeling too bad - weird.

Today (Monday), my bellybutton has a colourful bruise of green and purple. With laperscopic surgery they make an incision in the bellybutton, a small one about three inches off to the left of the bellybutton and a two inch incision by the pubic bone. I was never in any paid or much discomfort. It mostly felt like some menstrual cramps and fogginess from the drugs.

I am not sure if the second wave of menopause is about to hit, but so far I haven't had as many hot flashes in the night. The joys of menopause at 32. I think there should be some type of program which provides young women going through menopause a break. Like a free spa day or cooling blanket in the mail and certainly 10% off anywhere we shop. Hey, it doesn't hurt to dream.