Thursday, December 11, 2014

No more Decisions

The Dr.s have made the decisions for me.  I was leaning toward not doing anything.  They lean toward radiation.  NOW! 

Good news.  I will be done before February 11. 

Bad news. Side effects...if they happen.  Hopefully with my sunny disposition, those side effects will not impact me.

I continue to be optimistic and look forward to February 11 when all this will be done and I will be in Hawaii.  :)

Then it will be a busy, busy, trial season for me.  Catching up on lost trials and qualifications.  Looking forward to perhaps getting Olive started in April!  Whoo Hoo!

Today I am grateful that I stuck to my healthy eating all week.  I am grateful that I have friends who helped remind me that I must get my walking in.  I am really thankful that the scale reflects the hard work I put in.  Next year... it is going to be a good one!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Decisions, decisions, decisions.....


 I am fraught with indecision.  To get more treatment or to not get more treatment.
All options have consequences.  Doing nothing, surgery, radiation.  Surgery sucks.  Radiation really sucks.  Doing nothing is scary.
 
Meanwhile I have life.  It does go on.  Have a trip I have planned for February.  I have trials that I want to attend.  Trying to fit radiation into my schedule is seriously inconvenient.  Do I go ahead and do it now and risk suffering from side effects while I'm on vacation.  Do I forgo the radiation completely?  Do I wait and do it after vacation and risk missing dog agility trials?
 
I have trialed ONE day since cynosports.  ONE DAY!!!  Yes I got a steeplechase Q because Fin is awesome, but I need a ton of Q's for Nationals and feel like I'm running out of time.
 
In the meantime, I am eating healthy.  Walking daily.  Letting time go by. 
 
Yesterday.  Today. A bit of a funk.  I'll get out of it.  Nothing to be done until December 17 when my Doctor comes back.  Doing nothing.  I can do that.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Things have changed...yet they remain the same.

Damn Cancer

I feel normal most of the time.  Just a regular Joe.  It is easy to not think about...just like with any problem.  Dust Bunnies?  Nope I don't see them.  Leaves on the ground?  I'll get to them later.  Diet, oh hell, I'll get to it Monday.
 
Then I'm reminded.  I have to deal with the reality.  Dr. Visits coming up.  Got to fill out more forms than when purchasing a house.  Have to plan my questions...do I even want the answers?
 
Gotta check the box marked cancer.  Makes me feel weird.
 
I'm really lucky as my cancer is seriously not bad.  Stage 1a Uterine cancer can be cut out and be done with.  Sometimes it is a little more complicated and decisions have to be made.  In my case I may have to have (ok reality check)...will have to have radiation.  I'll find more about that next week.
 
Family is bugging me to make sure I make my appointments.  I don't want to be bugged.  I like feeling great and not thinking about it.
 

I've been living a life that makes me sick.  Not everything, but I've got to change and clean up my pond.  In some ways I feel the Party's over.  Never thinking about my behavior has been fun.  Thinking about change makes me feel less fun.  Much of what I perceive as fun is associated with food (and sometimes drink...but generally food).  This has to change.



Although not thinking about my behavior is easy, never thinking about my behavior has consequences.  Things for me are changing.  I'm looking at the world around me and seeing how I can change my lifestyle to give myself a better chance at a healthier life.

I'm already up and out walking the dogs.  Working my way up to 4-6 miles.  I'd like to be walking six miles  and the Mt. Madonna loop by February 15.  That's 10 weeks.  I'll get there.

 
Changing eating habits.  I was doing so well right after surgery.  Then, I started making bad choices.  I noticed that hard won 15 pounds was slowly disappearing.  A good kick in the arse by a friend and I created a food plan.  Part of that plan is joining weight watchers.  The accountability is what I need.  I know how to eat, I just don't want to.  Specific things I'm doing:
  • Cooking - it is easy for me to go purchase food and eat it.  But I am making a commitment to cooking my own meals.  The results are astounding.  Food is really delicious.  I have some challenges coming up with the holidays.  But I'm up with it. 
  • Not eating out - I can eat out a bunch.  Love to go and have lunch with my husband.  Not doing it right now.  I can have a meal out once in a while, but honestly I have to choose better.  When I do eat out, I will have a plan before so I make good choices.
  • Measuring and documenting - I am tracking everything on my IPhone.  Making choices that keep my calories at a minimum.  Not eating anything I can't track.
  • Beef - giving it up.  One of my true weaknesses.  When it comes to beef, I don't believe in lean.  I love a good fatty rib eye.  I'm leaving the cows alone.
  • Organic - I am choosing organics when available to me.
So in a way life is better than it has ever been.  It is also harder.  Waking up with bright thoughts.  Waking up knowing that I have to follow my eating and exercise plan is hard.  Sometimes it is day by day...sometimes it is hour by hour. 

I am confident that I'll get it done.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The More I know, the Less I Know...

Today the blog-o-sphere is talking about continuing education.  Read more about it here:
http://dogagilityblogevents.wordpress.com/continuing-education/

I remember long ago when I knew it all.  When I was a teen, I told my mom all the time that I knew  so much more than she did and felt the master of my universe.  Those were the good old days.  Now I look at things differently.  Knowledge has opened up the wide universe to me and I begin to comprehend how much I do not know.  It is intimidating.
 
 
In an effort to make myself a better person I seek information about things.  I like to learn things and in learning things I open myself up to understanding that the more I know the less I know.  Those scales will never be balanced because there is always more to know. 
 
As I look at my dog training and agility life, I am interested to know how to train better.  There are many resources available online now, it is a very exciting time.  In my endeavor to make my dogs more competitive, I seek the next topic that might help me with my current dogs or even future dogs.
 

Fin is trained.  However, I still need to fix her contacts and as I watch my videos with her, I can see that I can work on tight turns.  Also, teaching her some new moves to help me get where I need to be is a possibility.  Learning more is exciting.

Olive is not trained.  She has opened up my knowledge to learning to work on Terrier time.  I find myself looking for classes and/or reading books on motivation and drive.  I spend time with her differently than I spend with Fin.  With Olive we are building a love for the sport and tight turns are not really important.

Is Vici Trained?  For my handling, I am constantly looking at how I can improve.  I often watch my video or look at a photo and ask myself, "what in the heck was I thinking?"

All in all, for me continuing education is what makes this sport so rewarding.  It is because no one has all the answers, that finding the answers makes it much more interesting then if I trained my dogs and we worked like clockwork. 

That said, sometimes it is difficult to find the learning resources that can help in expanding our knowledge.  Two of my favorite resources are Denise Fenzi and Susan Garrett.  I truly appreciate the information they provide and the biggest difficulty I find is finding the time to take all the information in.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Uterine Cancer

I really didn't know about Uterine cancer before October 2014.  Cancers that scared me were Ovarian, Lung, and Breast.  I didn't even think about my uterus until September when I realized something was wrong.  Sorta like anything that works I guess.  Not really on the radar until the engine starts to sputter out.  That's when you find out you can't live without it!

Cancer is bad.  Really bad.  But if I've got to have cancer, Uterine cancer is a cancer that when caught early can be treated and cured.  I will still run just fine without those parts.  My humor, good vibes, and dance moves will still be intact. 

However, my cancer is not my friend.  It is evil and alien.  Sinister in it's approach, it gets inside and comfortable and then starts reproducing like guppies.  Bastard!

Fortunately for me, we are in the very early stage.  Surgery is the first line of defense.  Cut off the monster before it can spread it's invasion.  Second line of defense (if needed) is radiation with possible chemo.  I am hoping to skip all that but won't know for certain until meeting with my Doctor next week.

Finished with surgery and now waiting to find out whether the beast was able to get to the lymph nodes is at once relaxing and stressful.  I am relaxed knowing I've done what I needed to do.  I am stressed with the waiting.  I hate waiting.  Waiting sucks.  But the thing I'm finding is that time passes.  It just does. For me I'm working on my Zen "time passes and we all get where we are going so smell the roses."  Hmmmmmm...Hummmmmmm... Oh shoot, only 3 minutes have gone by...ahhhhh.   

The cancer is now in a lab somewhere contained for scientific study and I have become an interesting lab rat.  I am now part of a statistical study and I'm determined to swing that bar over to life.

Update:  My friend who I mentioned in the previous blog also took action.  She is an amazing woman and so freak'n strong.  She is free and clear. 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Slight Detour Changes My Life Forever

In September 2014 I went camping with my buds.  Company was exceptional.  Weather was extraordinary.  Food was awesome.  My knee held up the entire weekend.  So many memories of a terrific times with my best friends.

During that trip, one conversation may have saved my life.  Sitting around the campfire, one of my friends mentioned a health issue that she had and thought it was stupid.  Many of the girls immediately responded to her itty bitty comment with over the top emotion, "You have to go get that checked out immediately!!!!  It is really bad and not something to put off!"  At the time I kept my mouth shut and listened.  I was having a similar "issue" but didn't want my friends yelling at me so I kept quiet as I tend to do.

What I did do: called my doctor for a quick checkup.  It was just before Cynosports.  After our visit, the Doc wanted me to have an ultrasound and a few other tests.  I tend to put things off anyway so I decided to wait till after Nationals as I didn't want anything to detract from that experience (such a great excuse, wasn't it?). I didn't even call to set up the tests.  Figured I'd deal with it later.

Procrastination.  Avoidance.  Denial.

During the week leading up to Cynosport I started to have some discomfort and felt tired.    Considering I was just coming back from my knee issue, I didn't really think much about being tired.  I made excuses for myself.  My blinders came out and I focused anything but what was staring me in the face.

Procrastination.  Avoidance.  Denial.

I still had not told anyone (family or friends) of my issue.

I probably would have put off the ultrasound/test longer, but I got scared by a health incident a couple days before Cynosports and I called and made the appointment for the Monday following the games.  Even though I was taking action, it was a reluctant action and only as a result of escalation of symptoms rather than me being honest with myself. 

Cynosports was a blast and I didn't allow myself to think of anything but the amazing agility event.  But, first thing on Monday morning I got myself down to the doctor for the tests she had ordered.

Four days following the ultrasound, I got the call no one wants.  I needed to "immediately" see an oncologist.  The Doctor was adamant that I get the appointment immediately.  She even called me 2 hours later to make sure I had called and got the appointment.

Fear.

Scared the crap outta me.  That one word "oncologist."  I know what that means.  I can not describe the emotions that ran through my body during and after that call.  Fear, anger, regret, frustration.  I know how to eat better.  I know how to exercise.  Why don't I do those things.  Mostly I beat myself up over this horrible news.  I internalized my anger and blamed myself. 

"Why is this happening to me?" was not my question.  My question was "Why didn't I do a better job with my personal health!?"  It is so easy not to acknowledge the possible (or realistic) results of actions that are detrimental to one's long term existence.  Very much like drug addiction, I am addicted to my behavior of short term satisfaction.

Blame.  Depression. Self-loathing.

After getting the initial biopsy results, I have this amazing memory of sitting around my kitchen table with family and friends talking about what was going to happen and how we all were going to get through.  It was a huge relief to talk about it.  The "Big C" effects more than just me.  It impacts everyone around me.  Fortunately, I have a wonderful family and even more wonderful friends.

Surgery was scheduled for November 12. Expectations were that I would be "out" 4-8 weeks depending on the scope.  I was not sure what that meant for me physically.  Being the one that needs help scared me to death.

Fear. Self-blame. Depression. 

Some of what got me to where I am today is the fact that I do not eat properly. I am addicted to my behavior of eating and am not accountable to myself or anyone else.  I eat processed and fast food and love it at the moment....but hate myself and am embarrassed about it later.  I give up what I want for the long term by doing what I want today. I understand how to eat properly.  I am an intelligent person.  Yet, I allow myself to constantly fail.

The Bright Side. 

I am so incredibly lucky.  I have friends and family that love me despite my inability to stop behavior that results in my not feeling good about myself.  They love me despite the fact that I do not lead an authentic life due to my obsession with food.  They care about me despite my "secret".  My secret that isn't such a secret.

Accountability. 

The surgery could not have gone any better and today six days post surgery I feel pretty darn good.  It's just one week and I am walking, doing my own chores, and feeling optimistic. I even sent my mom home to San Francisco (imagine my 81 year old mom taking care of me....how lucky am I!). I get the final path report next week, but at this time the news is very good.

Next steps.

I remember years ago when my Mom-in-law was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer.  I couldn't understand how she could put off going to the doctor for so long when she was in pain.  I remember anger at her for not taking action when she told me how many symptoms she had but refused to go and talk about these symptoms with her doctor..  Procrastination.  Avoidance.  Denial.  The same things that I suffer from.  I watched her suffer and eventually pass away and never got over my anger that by not going to the doctor when she first had pain, the cancer got so bad that the options for treatment were limited.  I now understand how it happened.  My understanding of how I can ignore something and just slowly accept the changes in my body have taught me something.  There have been warning signs this past year that I chose to ignore.  I also am the person that I was so angry at her for being.

All I can say is take care of yourself.  Get in for your screening exams.  Communicate when things change.  Make sure your doctors have your best interests at heart.

My story continues bursting with optimism and good things to come.  I am exceptionally lucky.  Now it is my job to accept the good things and focus on living my life rather than living a false inauthentic replica of what I can be.

I know many people have reached out to know what the heck is happening.  I want each of you to know that your thoughts are appreciated.  Now take those healing thoughts you have for me and please look at yourself and take one step towards a healthier life. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Life with Dogs

The blog-o-sphere is writing about "outside the ring."  You can read all about it here.

The topic today is what do you do outside of the agility ring.  As a writer, I can interpret this in many ways:
  • Preparing to run your dog.  What do you do to make sure your dog is ready to run?  What do you do to prepare yourself?
  • After the run.  What do you do after the run to make sure your dog is cooled down.  What about you, do you do anything special after each run?
  • Exercise between shows, what do you do to keep yourself and your dog fit and healthy.
  • Exercise their minds.  How do you enrich the dogs environment to keep them happy and quick minded.
  • Training.  Do you take workshops or classes to sharpen your skills, provide your dog with practice, look for new ways to do things to make the agility experience better?
For me all of those things are part of the sport, but out of the ring, it is about living with dogs and ensuring that my life and their life is happy and full.
 
My agility dog is my pet.  They sleep in the room with me, I play with them, they follow me around the house, they hang out with me if I watch TV.  My responsibility to them is to live a life that provides them with the stimulus and enrichment they deserve to have.
 
So, what makes my dogs happy?
  • Running around in the back yard chasing me, each other, or a ball.
  • Biting the water as the pool fills.
  • Staring at me while I cook.
  • Walking. They really like their walks.
  • Chasing critters in the back yard.
  • Laying at my feet while I work.
  • Going for a car ride.
  • Chasing a Frisbee.
  • Fin LOVES the treadmill.
  • Olive LOVES to swim after a ball.
  • Tazz LOVES to chase Olive retrieving her ball in the water
  • and the list goes on and on and on.

Life with Dogs.  Always interesting.  Sometimes frustrating.  Always fun. 

Love my pups so much.