REST PERIOD

“It’s getting better all the time… better, better, better”

– The Beatles

Last week we had spotted some properties online in Ventura, CA that we wanted to look at more closely. Yesterday Matt & I drove out to meet our realtor, about a 45-minute drive from our home nest. By day 5 after completion of the chemo/radiation regimen, I thought it risky to sign on for a day of house hunting because of the fatigue and the bowel urgency, but I took the chance. I set up an understanding with the realtor and with Matt that we may only get to see “a few” houses, and my own understanding that this would be a long day.

Although I was a zombie by the end of the afternoon, I made it all the way through with little discomfort *insert pat on the back*. I had to rush along the tour of the last house, which NATURALLY was Matt’s favorite, because my attention span had expired, but hey, not my fault.

So in preparation for the day, and to mitigate any of my discomfort, Matt, the super genius he is, set this up just for me.

This get’s hooked to the tow ball of the car, and that way, wherever we are, we’re never far from a potty. What a guy!

BAA HAA HAA!!

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GRADUATION!!! NO MORE CHEMO!!!!

Celebrating a Milestone

Friday was the last day of radiation and of chemo treatments!!! I’m so thrilled I no longer have to plan day trips into the city to be at the radiation lab, and have fewer pills in the daily pill orchestration, which this last six weeks had become a lifestyle of necessity. Matt & I were able to have some fun on our trips, but are both glad to be back in control of our daily schedule. And now I get to heal!

I decided yesterday at my exit appointment with my radiation oncologist that I DO have a yeast infection, and therefore will need to begin antibiotics. So, after our appointment, I was sent upstairs to the diagnostic lab to submit a urine sample to verify the infection.

I had thought that I would be free, like a student who finished exams, and could now enjoy summer vacation. Instead, after my exams, I’ve been told I have some credits to make up. At least the infection waited until the end of the treatments, otherwise I would have been given time off to heal, then come back and finish treatments, and I just wanted it to be done!

So my bum is sunburned, anus swollen, poos are like formed kitty litter (what is that all about??), and crotch is brutally sore and itchy. Now I am starting to feel relief, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It will be 1 ½-2 weeks before normalcy.

The next week is all about the three R’s: Reading, wRiting and Relaxation. Until my parents arrive!

EXERCISE: CANCER NO EXCUSE!

I made a choice to get back to my workout routine.

I have let that slide a bit lately. Although cancer makes an excellent excuse:

“Oh, I don’t feeeel like it!”

“I can’t, I’m writing my blog”

“I’ve got to take my pills/drink more water/go to the bathroom again”

There is a dearth of time in the day and exercise gets de-prioritized easily. There is so much I want to do, like research online, catch up on emails, reading from the many cancer survival books gifted to me. Each activity takes quality concentration. Of course, all of the regular activities (pre-cancer diagnosis) are still there, like cooking, cleaning, laundry and paperwork.

Now, there is a 4-hour chunk of daylight taken up by the driving trips to the hospital for treatment, doctor meetings and errands. When I get home, it’s unloading the car, cleaning,  popping more supplements, fixing a snack, emailing, and then a well-earned nap! Then it’s time to fix dinner. So, when is there time for it all, let alone for exercise?

Sound familiar to you? Well, it should because everybody is busy! For most of us fitting daily activities together is  often like fitting pieces into a puzzle. When a new activity joins the day, we have to integrate it with the others in a balanced way, so that we will keep doing it!

Here are my 2 reasons why exercise must be prioritized:

1)    The stronger I go in to surgery, the quicker I will come out. That is, if I am able to maintain a level of fitness, then my nutrients and calories will process optimally, muscles will rebuild efficiently, and I will spend less time in that horrible post-op recovery agony.

2)   Exercise is for mental health. Time dedicated to exercise results in accomplishment, meditation, and the satisfaction of a strong, flexible body. I have come to rely on this time by myself, and miss it when I don’t get it.

Here’s an unofficial 3rd) People will tell you you’re amazing. Who expects someone with an illness to work out? Nobody, so as a patient, if you can do it, then why would you want to miss out on that “wow”?

Most people need to have a set routine, such as exercising before breakfast, or after work, or else the workout gets passed over for TV, snacking or some other cherished activity. We are all busy, and working out just doesn’t sound as good as the other things. I’m fortunate, because I’ve always valued fitness, and will fit it in, even if I missed my usual work out time, even if it is just stretching and sit-ups on the deck while I’m cooking dinner.

These days, I tire more quickly, and burn calories faster due to the radiation/chemo therapy, and still fitness is a must. It’s my mental health time!

The floor routine…

…is boringly regular (some might say), and consists of a full head-to-toe routine. It simply maintains, rather than builds strength and flexibility, as a training program would do. I do it in silence, because my mind can go wherever it needs to then. No music, no clutter. Well, I’m an introvert, and clear air does me best!

Ahhh, that’s it. So now, I begin with neck rolls, slow and gentle, but to feel a stretch in the shoulders.

Shoulder rolls, arm stretches, torso stretches, back twists, back rolls.

Leg stretches – calves, hams, quads.

Yoga stretching for hips, deeper muscle stretches and holding poses.

Down dog, and back arch (I’m sure there’s a yoga term for it).

Push-ups, sit ups, glute presses, leg lifts.

Leg stretches on the floor.

Weights & bands – arm curls, shoulders, back.

TADA! Accomplishment!

In the evenings, Matt & I will hike the neighborhood hills together and talk about our day before we start cooking for dinner.

At the end of the day, I feel the bliss of having accomplished something just for myself.

Matt_Michelle_Hiking

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