Monday, August 24, 2009

Thanksgiving

I have been diligently exercising. Half an hour of walking, and every other day I do lunges and lift weights (3 pound hand weights). I don't think I have ever been this out of shape in my life, but I did complete my walk today without stopping. Still far from a drunk 26.2 mile run, but, I do have a year.

My family is renting a house in Santa Barbara for the week of Thanksgiving and I am so excited I don't know what to do. Paul, Luis, and I pledged to return each year (we have gone two years in a row), but 2008 we were in Hawaii, and 2009 wasn't exactly my year, so I am so glad we can do it for Thanksgiving.

Last time we went with a bunch of friends, and I want to do everything I can to get a big group to go, but the Santa Ynez wine region doesn't have a lot of big mansions with room for 20 to be rented for less than 6k a week, which is cash that I am not in a position to fork over. So my family has a house there that everyone is welcome to for Thanksgiving evening, and to use it as a general resting spot during the day.

Willem, my other brother, from Thailand is going to be there, and it should be so much fun. Mom is Designated Driver, and we are going to get a van and just hit wineries all week. Yay! And hike. And sit in the jacuzzi. And eat.

So invite is out there for anyone who might want to join. Our house rental is in Los Olivos, but all the towns are close by!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Before and After

I went to a friend's clothing exchange and scored a really neat hat. It isn't a summer hat, but I wear it anyway because the air conditioning blowing on my head makes me really cold indoors in Texas. It is big enough that I could possibly have a pixie cut under my hat. I like it a lot.

I was leaving Krogers the other day, wearing my hat, a pair of summer shorts, and a loose tee, and the young man who was bringing the carts back from the parking lot to the store stopped as we passed and said, "How are you doing?"

Now, it wasn't a Joey from Friends,"How you doing?" but it wasn't a simple "Hi" either.

I said fine, and chuckled as I reached my car. Had he known that I had one boob hacked off and was completely bald, there is no way in hell he would have asked me how I was in that flirtatious tone. But he didn't know, so he did.

This incident made me reflect a bit on how my interaction with men in general has changed since I have had my surgery and lost my hair.

This is not me, but I don't have a good before and after pic. Just an illustration.

As a 28 year old, albeit a married one, my interactions with men are always laced with a bit of flirtation, and I believe this to be true of all young women.

That doesn't mean that before I was leaning over counters exposing cleavage, or not mentioning my husband, or touching males on their elbow as I talked to them,. Far from! However, there was always a subconscious body language that I was aware of to use to my advantage. This could be to order a drink at a bar, get a better tip, simply get faster service or a bigger scoop of ice cream.

Sometimes I knew that lingering in a conversation, while not any benefit to me, could make someone's day.

It would also affect my interactions with women too. Women expect good looking women to "be" a certain way. There are snap judgments made upon meeting someone (checkout girl, friend of a friend, whatever) that is good looking (we all do it girls). I would need to use my body language, tone of voice, change the stories I chose to tell, smile a lot more, etc, to either reinforce or dissipate what I thought they felt.

Now that my appearance has changed so drastically, I have removed this from the equation. Now I know that men do not find me in the slightest attractive, cute, desirable, or whatever, my interactions are completely different. As attraction (males) or wariness (females) is no longer in the picture, my interactions are actually far more short and to the point, without any game theory or afterthought involved at all.

Now there is other baggage of course that comes with looking skinny, bald, with one tit, and with a scary looking port popping out of my chest, because I don't hide it. I don't feel I flaunt it, but I wear a camisole tank top with a shelf- bra and it is obvious that something is missing. So I need to change my behavior to make people feel comfortable because people do not want to meet your eye, lest they feel as so they are staring.

But anyway, I realized that the other day, and wanted to share.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Computer Time and Goals

Luis and I are sharing a computer, which is only slightly less annoying than sharing a car. My wonderful father managed to restore my hard drive, but the logic board is still messed up, so I am changing to a Mac Mini and need to get a monitor.

My old Set up:
My New Set Up (well, once it gets here)

Major multitasking possible!

This has limited my ability to get online and really do anything. I am trying to get a job, because I am really frustrated about the lack of money thing. It just doesn't go well with me. I am not a shopper, but I like being able to exercise my whims at the grocery store or half price books. I am looking for a non-stressful job that requires as little thought as possible. Possibly something that will allow me to read the news all day long, which is what I do anyway, except get paid for it.

Now that I am back in Texas and not on vacation mode, I have been able to get back more into watching my diet. When I was at home, I ate pretty much whatever I wanted with arbitrary restrictions (yes to spam musubi, no to cheese). I have gained 10lbs in the last 4 weeks. I thought I could blame my weight gain on the chemo, but it is actually just me stuffing my face that has made my waist tight. Chemo just makes you lazy and less likely to exercise and eat well, not necessarily gain weight by itself.

I know some of you must be thinking, it isn't the time to think about your weight, but it is the time to think about my health, and 12lbs in 4 weeks is NOT healthy. 127 lbs was a bit low for me, but if I can hover around 135, that still keeps my thights slightly dimply and my shoulders soft, but not out of control.

I have read something that exercise reduced cancer recurrence by 60%! That is the same as taking herceptin. So now that I am back in Texas I have started waking each morning for 30 minutes. I get TIRED! It is amazing, I used to elliptical machine for 45 minutes without breathing hard, and now I can't walk 2 miles without stopping to take a breather.

It helps to have a goal though. A girlfriend from high school and I are planning (in a year!) to do the Marathon du M├ędoc, which is a marathon through the Bordeaux region in France. There are refreshment stations every 3-4 kilometers, with wine and foie gras, rather than gatorade and bananas.

I will have to go from the ability to a 2-mile walk to running 26.2 miles drunk in about a year, but it is a fun goal to shoot for!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

White Cells Attack!

Traveling has sapped most of my energy, and who wants to spend time on a computer in Hawaii, but I am back in Dallas and need to start pouring out my thoughts online.

I went camping with a girlfriend my last weekend in Hawaii, and her sister mentioned positive visualization. I made a point to do this a lot when I was first diagnosed, but when it didn't work (according to the PET scan), I stopped. I realize I need to pick it up again.

For those of you who actually want to know what it looks like when your immune system attacks a cancer cell, here you go!



Watch the yellow arrow on this video which points out where a type of white blood cell called a granulocyte is killing cervical cancer cells.

Okay, got a big dose of chemo today and I am COMPLETELY jetlagged, so on to more passive internet activities!