Yes, that is me climbing about 8 or 9 years ago. No you can't see the ground in this photo.
I have been thinking a lot lately about where I focus my energy. Work is always a main focus, but beyond work a woman needs her hobbies.
Hobbies change with interest, age and ability. Once upon a time I was an avid rock climber and I spent 5+ days a week working my way up some vertical (and sometimes horizontal) rock faces. The love of my life (aka Mike) turned out to not be a huge fan of heights, and in turn rock climbing (although he bought us both a membership to a climbing gym for several months as a gift to me and made a genuine effort – it was the best present ever), was not in our future (which is also why I no longer fit into size 0 jeans… I can’t believe I ever fit into size 0 jeans. This semi-menopausal-who-knows-what state from Tamoxifen certainly makes weight loss a wee bit more work).
Sports have never really been my thing beyond climbing (I am uncoordinated and don’t react fast, slow and careful worked for me in climbing. Plus I seem to pull out my back if I look at anything heavy sideways (lifting 5 gallons of paint Sunday was smart, SMRT). My husband loves video games. I sort of picked up video games at one point in time. Which is fun, but I find them to be stressful, thus I don’t play them much anymore.
My hobbies these days consist of photography (not so great at this) and cooking (so-so, I give it a grade of needs improvement – you can make fun of my cooking adventures on my cooking blog I actually have a few recipes on there that I really like, so I am a little less shy about it). I can gauge my energy level based on my cooking, not so much my photography (I get enthusiastic and then behind). This past week my energy has been up (it may help that I am attempting Pilates, I say attempting because I am working really hard at beginner stuff). Beginner Pilates looks nothing like real Pilates, I made an attempt at the real thing yesterday and was mildly panicked by the pain in my muscles and the crazy stuff I couldn’t quite do. Pilates should be good for building my back strength back up (still avoiding physical therapy… you know, more doctors…).
Today I went in for an ultrasound of my uterus (not your usual ultrasound of the uterus, the nonbaby kind). The tech had me giggling in fits because I was a little surprised about what the ultrasound would involve, she let me know that she has never lost anyone during this procedure. I survived… sort of. Driving back I realized that I have had tests for at least 3 additional kinds of cancers this year, yeesh. I am addicted to the hospital or something… (more likely my doctors are overly cautious). This one I didn’t lose an ounce of sleep over, not one once. So I guess I am learning about this whole “worry” and “overstressing” and such. Yay me!
I had the ultrasound because the doctor didn’t feel like she got enough of the right kind of tissue sample in the biopsies and wanted to do an ultrasound just to cover all of her bases. My thyroid test came back normal, I am not anemic and my uterus is completely healthy as far as they can see (apparently it is about 2 CM longer than they expected, but big is good right?). So, maybe last month was just a bit of a fluke. The only time I have ever done that was when I was coming out of menopause, so who knows.
Normal is good.
Now enjoy a photo of gummy bears on my desk that I took trying out my new camera (this camera was my 5th anniversary present from Mike, a camera that takes photos you can change the focus on, they are called “living photos” – click on the gummy bears, the monitor, the keyboard and watch it refocus… not that I was eating gummy bears… or anything like that…):
Wordpress breaks the iframe sometimes, so here is the link if it isn’t showing up.
Dante is one cool cat
Get ready for me to kill a euphemism and talk about my uterus.
I shudder whenever a doctor tells me they are going to biopsy something. Apparently anytime one part of my body or another decides that it doesn’t want to work I get a hollow needle or a punch tool pulling at my wee bits. I was actually a bit surprised today when the OBGYN opted to go ahead and biopsy my endometrial lining. I am actually not a ball of nerves about this particular biopsy. I expect it to come back normal.
I went to go see my doctor because Aunt Flo came to visit and refused to move out. Three weeks of Aunt Flo and I am ready to kick her to the curb. I have been having mood swings, dizzy spells, depression and a whole slew of fun things. We did another test today that seems to point to the more likely culprit for Ms. Flo’s nonstop partying at Mandi’s house – checking my thyroid. Mike and I have mutually admitted that something is wrong with me, we just didn’t know what, so finding some solution to my hormonal mood swings would certainly be a blessing (…for Mike, I still think I am a ball of fun, even when I am crying over a toothpaste commercial).
According to Dr. Google my symptoms are a pretty close match. So, honestly, I am just hoping I get a phone call that involves a prescription for thyroid medication. The alternative is that my uterus may get an ultrasound based on the biopsy results. Tamoxifen is known to create issues with your endometrial lining (and potentially cause uterine sarcoma, but I am at the lower end of the risk spectrum on that one, plus it doesn’t happen this quickly).
Guess what they normally use to treat my condition? Birth control pills. Those pesky hormones that I am not allowed to have.
Dr. Google also informs me that there seems to be a tie between thyroid issues and breast cancer, but they haven’t distinctively identified exactly what is causing what. I swear my thyroid was in my radiation zone. I may need to double check with my radiation oncologist (but I don’t see her for 9 months). I remember someone somewhere told me that thyroid issues could be a potential side effect, luckily it is very treatable with medication these days. I will just be happy to find out what has been causing me to feel a bit crappier than normal.
PS. The good news was, I am not pregnant (yes we tested, ectopic pregnancy also has some similar symptoms). Silver lining I tell you. Silver lining…
"Gucci Hospital Gown"
Yesterday I went in for my quarterly, not-coming-with-bumps-or-back-pain check up. I came in with nothing more exciting than the fact that I have been having some strange dizzy spells off and on for the last month. I am thinking I need to get my blood sugar levels checked since I had a reaction to Metformin (a diabetes medication) that was being used in a study on helping decrease cancer recurrence.
I forget how much fun the nurses are at the Huntsman. After the nurse checked my weight, blood pressure and oxygen she offered me a designer hospital gown. My choices were Gucci or Armani. I chose Gucci of course.
I love residents. Seriously. You can tell who is brand new and who has been around for awhile. It makes for great entertainment, you get checked by the resident, they report, and you get checked by your doctor. Huntsman Cancer Institute is a teaching hospital, so residents are a regular part of being a patient there. Once in awhile they test you patience, but I am happy to help them learn the trade. The one I had yesterday was brand new bless his heart. He asked me if we had children (I told him no, just doggy furballs…) and if we were planning on having them, which I have never been asked at the hospital and it kind of threw me off a bit (we aren’t sure I can after chemo and still couldn’t test the theory until after I finish five years of Tamoxifen). There was also some confusion on why I have lumps in my cancerous side (which is confusing because I shouldn’t have much tissue in there to create lumps) luckily the lumps have been checked and are fine. He was sweet and I really think it is amazing that great doctors go in the oncology medical field, I am not sure if it is ever a job I could handle.
They did some simple tests to verify that I don’t have brain damage (I got an A+) my brain works just fine (this could be debated). The doctor felt that I was good to go and could go ahead and wait three months for the next appointment (remaining NED – no evidence of disease). We planned out my next three appointments which has me scheduled every three months with one of my doctors through May of next year.
Today is close to the one year anniversary from the day I started radiation for breast cancer. It still sort of amazes me that it hasn’t even been a year since I finished treatment. It feels like a year since I finished. In fact it feels like a few years… I guess that is a good thing.