My account of life both on and off of two wheels...... "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

Friday, December 30, 2011

Swinging into the New Year!

The holidays have really taken me for a ride this year.   I had higher expectations for my spirits to be up and my energy to out last all the parties and plans I had made. It really took me a big push to get into the holiday spirit.  Last year, I was at the end of my radiation treatment and pretty exhausted but managed to really pull off a lot more than I did this year or maybe not…maybe it just seems that way.  I must have been functioning in that strange energy of the ‘cancer vortex’ and not even realizing how exhausted I was. 
Our holiday has been pretty wonderful and I am grateful for that!  It really started off with G’s birthday mid month and continued on full speed ahead from there.  We have been enjoying the extra socializing with family and friends and the weather has been unseasonably warm so we are getting out on our bikes.  We actually canceled our New Year’s weekend travel plans to stay home.  It is just too much and I am tired.  I want to start the New Year off feeling refreshed.  Besides, training starts um…now!  Got to get my body back in shape and I only have less than 4 months to do it.
I thought about reflecting on the past year and trying to write about it.   I sat down and stared at my computer…Nah.  I do not want to look back.  It is only forward from here. 

Stay tuned for what will hopefully be more posts about riding and racing bikes and less about, dare I say it- cancer!
Here is to a healthy and peaceful 2012 for all! 


Group ride Christmas Eve- thanks for the photo Bill W!
G and I bumped into a friend during our Christmas morning ride and he snapped our photo- thanks SPP!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Getting back on track.

I have quite a bit of filler I could use to bring you up to date on the past few weeks but I won't bother with every detail.  For the most part, things having been getting better. Just hectic since after Thanksgiving so not much time to write.  Here are some highlights from the weekend in Maine.  

After a very rainy drive, we woke up Thanksgiving morning to this beautiful snowy day. 
Great walk before the feast.
All cleaned up  and ready for dinner. 
At my sisters house with my nephews.  I think D was excited for his Star Wars Legos we brought him.  
J is getting so big!  

Cuddled up with my beautiful sister ♥  It was cold up in Maine!

The most important thing that I can report is I am finally getting back on track.  I am some what superstitious so tend to be hesitant to write these sorts of statements, but I am feeling good.  Some of it must be the further out I get from my last surgery and some of it is me finally jumping off the 'pity pot' and just doing what I know I need to do.  

My new boobs don't quite feel like mine yet.  They feel like more of an accessory most days.  It is not that I have much of a choice right now but I am giving them a chance.  I can't just take them off when they don't feel right. Clothes are fitting better, I am sleeping better and I feel a bit more comfortable on the bike.  My plastic surgeon is pleased with my results and she thinks my healing has finally turned a corner.  She is already discussing the next phase - nipple reconstruction and revisions.  Yes, revisions.  A couple things are just not quite as she would like them.  "I would not want to do anything until at least January" she said on my most recent follow up.  My response was "January 2013 is more of what I had in mind!”. There is no way I can mentally handle another surgery right now or in the near future.  I need to change my focus onto something else. 

I have a heavy but exciting race schedule ahead for next season and it will start in mid April.  I better get my butt in gear.  I have been back in the woods riding when I can to get more comfortable on the bike again.  I also decided to hell with my indoor trainer-it is lonely and boring!   I know, some of you don’t believe in this form of training but I am taking spin classes again.   I enjoy being outdoors so much more but some mornings it is just too damn cold or I do not have enough time.  I push myself more in these classes than I do at home on the trainer by myself.  There are a couple good instructors I know and they teach great classes so I decided to sign up.  It actually may help me focus on finding my speed again.  I know it is too early to really start working on speed for next season but honestly, I have gotten slower than a turtle since my treatments began 20 month ago.

I have been feeling a bit off balance and dizzy for a quite a while now.  I keep telling myself it will go away or get better.  It has not gotten better but it does not seem to have gotten any worse. There is an unwritten rule or saying in the cancer vortex – wait two weeks and in some cases wait a little longer- it may just go away on its own.  I never said anything to my oncologist during my visit back in September but I just had my 3 month follow up last week and thought I should let her know.  There is always that part of me that never wants to say anything because then I may end up with more scans or tests.  What if a scan reveals  something serious like the cancer has returned in my brain?!   Do I really want to know that? That may seem quite extreme to some of you but that is my reality.  It can happen.  I can’t just be clumsy, off my game or have headaches without the fear of recurrence setting in.  Then there is my intellectual side that reminds me that I have to be an advocate for my own health and my doctor only scans on symptoms.  If I don’t say anything, how will she know what is going on.  So, I put it down on the check-list of symptoms.  Of course she asked me about it.  I guess she actually reads that list.  This is a two page check list of symptoms that all patients fill out before the appointment.  98% of my answers were no!  She didn’t seem overly concerned about the dizziness but she did suggest an MRI of my brain just to see what is going on.   I had a CT brain scan this past summer but an MRI is a better scan.  Now that I do not have metal inside me, it is an option.  No radiation involved in an MRI but it is nerve racking non the less.  I managed to talk my way out of it this time and promised if it gets worse, I will call her for the MRI script.  If no changes or it lessons, I will not have to see her until April again for another routine follow up.  We can revisit it then.  Her thoughts on the dizziness was more to due with residual damage from the chemotherapy drug.  Specifically the Taxol.  She mentioned neuropathy as a possible cause and that it could affect the brain.  I had and still have obvious signs of neuropathy in my feet but never really thought about it in my brain.  G was along for this follow up and he asked her if this would get better with time? Her response was- sometimes yes but most of the time if it presents itself, it is a long term side effect.  We were both unimpressed with that answer.  I guess this is what they mean when they say "chemo, the gift that keeps on giving".  Her suggestion was to be careful with running, biking, climbing ladders or anything that I could lose my balance.  Well that is going to be difficult.  I am hoping that the dizziness just goes away. 

Speaking of balance, I am excited to report that I am continuing on with my Pilates certification and had another intense workshop last weekend.  It was so much material and a very advanced class but it felt great to challenge myself again both mentally and physically.  I can’t believe how much of my core strength I have lost in 2 months!  

I do not know who really reads my blog unless they comment on it but every once and a while I get a gentle nudge from a reader or friend who asks why I have not written in a while.  Thank you all for your concerns.   I am getting back on track; back on my bike; back to my daily routine and in turn getting back to feeling more like myself- whatever that is these days. 

Back in the woods. 

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season.