Thigh rubs

So this morning I set off on my now VERY familiar walking trail, lamenting the whole way just how much I detest the way my thighs rub together when I move, and just how much I hate it that my tummy and bum jiggle with every step. Cursing my non-existent metabolism and just generally grumbling about all menopausal-body-related suckiness!!

I have been desperately trying to follow a healthy eating plan for two months (almost three!) now and all I seem to have lost in all that time is my will to live!

So there I was, me and my thighs, marching along and YIP – feeling pretty sorry for ourselves. Willing the fat to friction itself off to a timely death and drop from my legs with every step, actually picturing it sizzling behind me on the hot pavement – I’m all into visualisations at the moment! When about ¾ of the way home I saw an old gentleman walking very slowly towards me, back bowed and feet shuffling along the uneven concrete. I moved to the left to allow him to pass and traverse the path of least resistance (I tell you I know every nook and cranny of this route!). I smiled politely at him as I breezed past and almost stopped in my tracks when I heard his softly spoken words, they certainly shut up the self-loathing conversation going on in my head … “ah, to have those legs again, enjoy them my dear”.

So yes, THANK YOU Universe for the slap upside the head! #get over yourself # be grateful #enjoy every moment # rubbing thighs keep you warm in winter

Fat thighs

“If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…” Cheri Huber,

 

“The way you think about yourself determines your reality. You are not being hurt by the way people think about you. Many of those people are a reflection of how you think about yourself.”
― Shannon L. Alder

 

“Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her.

I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…

I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’

‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’

What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!

I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.”
― J.K. Rowling

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Reality checks and Elephants!

So, yesterday was the day of my third, three month check-up with the Dent Doc.

So, absolutely nothing to feel nervous about as I woke up and headed to the cancer centre?

Check!

….well ….no, NO I really have nothing to worry about…. I am good…….well, what about that bump in my right armpit.…but that’s just muscular thing……but what if…….no, don’t be silly the Dent Doc said it was just a muscle contraction at the last visit……yes, you’re absolutely right………..but what about the pain in my ankle ……well, that’s still the effects of all the walking in Malaysia…..yes, yes, nothing to be concerned about……..but would I still be feeling it a month later……honestly, stop panicking, you are absolutely fine……but what happens if something shows up on the bloods …….. oh my word, don’t be a negative Nellie……….but, I have been feeling a little fluey for a while……jeez Louise, get a grip……!

Standard minor panic attack on the way to the Cancer Centre?

Check!

Did I manage the blood tests the day before?

Check!

It never even crossed my mind that they would even have to think of taking blood from my foot. In fact I was so confident about that, that while showering I planned my outfit for a chilly PMB morning to include a pair of zip up boots! Just to show exactly who was BOSS, and that at this stage of the game, I had NO FEAR!

Did I feel great walking out of the house in my nice shiny boots?

Check!

UMMM, well……on second thoughts it looked like it was going to be quite a warm day after all ….and I really didn’t want to feel all sweaty in my boots for the hour or so I would be out…so it really made so much more sense for me to wear slip-on’s ….. but ONLY because I didn’t want to feel too uncomfortable later on you know……

Fortunately it helped being totally unwavering in my confidence – my veins behaved beautifully! Three vials later, I was outta there!

So yesterday there we were, Pete and I back at the Dent Docs office. He asked us about our holiday and as he had also spent some time in Singapore and Penang we had a lot to chat about!  Inevitably he addressed the elephant in the room and asked me how I was doing? To which the elephant in the room replied rather confidently, “fine, I’m doing fine” and then had to completely ruin it by adding a squeaky …. “I think”?

I asked him if chemo could have seriously affected my thyroid (not only because my boob was heading there) but because I really am battling with weight issues * I did mention the elephant in the room didn’t I, OH so you thought I was being metaphorical?! *

I told him laughingly, that I was turning into my granny, he tried to muffled a grin and replied, yes, probably! He explained that when a woman hit menopause her fat distribution in her body changed, which for most women meant increased fat deposits around hips and tummy – yip, check… and CHECK!……….But don’t forget the bat wings, and the bottom a Kardashian could be proud of, I thought to myself ***slaps head***

He said it definitely would be worth having a blood test to check out my thyroid function but that I was pretty classically at least peri-menopausal at this stage so perhaps we should do the blood tests for those realities too. And while we were dealing with my granny issues we should throw in a bone density scan for good measure!

SO once he had all those results we could then think about my future treatment plan which would possibly include regular gynae appointments to keep an eye on possible osteoporosis issues and maybe even consider low levels of HRT especially considering my age…..***scream face*** He must have noticed my scream face: HRT is considered a swear word when discussing someone with hormone positive breast cancer!

He added rather seriously, that it would be a great pity for me to have survived breast cancer only to be crippled by osteoporosis!

Yes… I guess that would be a great pity indeed ***gulp***

So other than those scary realities he confirmed that my bloods were looking good, and after a thorough examination, he congratulated me for doing really, really well. And that my next check-up, in three months time, would officially take me to two years post diagnosis (the first two being a very risky period for recurrence).

He could hardly believe that it was two years already! AND I could hardly believe it when he added that this would mean that I only needed to see him every 6 months after that ….

Did I know this day was coming?

Check!

BUT I couldn’t help myself… I just blurted out that I didn’t think I was ready for that!

To his credit, he obviously gets that reaction quite often, because he just smiled and told me I could keep my three month appointments if I wanted to, but that it really wasn’t necessary.

Eish?

Check!

Reality check1

“Never ignore the elephant in the room. That’s rude; play with it and introduce it.”
― Donna Lynn Hope

A house needs a grandma in it.
— Louisa May Alcott

People are so difficult. Give me an elephant any day.
Mark Shand

When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.
Creighton Abrams

“Uncertainty is a temptress. We may try our best to avoid her. But what is certain is that at some point of time, she will find us. The only question that remains is whether like Medusa, she will paralyze you, or whether like one of the nine muses of ancient Greece, she will drive you to greater things.”
Richie Singh, Chasing Butterflies

I have a memory like an elephant. In fact, elephants often consult me.
Noel Coward

“We spend much of our lives going about completely blind to reality, and yet we still have the gall to act victimized when it invariably catches up to us.”
― Nenia Campbell

“All our emotions are real, but one has to be quite cautious with what supports their reality.”
― Aleksandra Ninkovic

Reality check 2

Hormones and Impossible choices

Eish it’s Day 4 of my 7 day detox juicing plan – apparently from today it starts getting easier so I’m waiting in anticipation for the hunger pains and the craving of just being able to chew on something, to go away.

Pete has been in Joburg most of this week so thankfully I have not had to cook for him, cos I think (or rather I DO know) I wouldn’t have made it past day one!  (I think he was just as thankful!)

My brain doesn’t feel less fuzzy as yet, so here’s hoping the miracle happens on days 5-7!

Other than chatting to Megan last week about my toxic liver, fuzzy brain and the eating plan I will be starting after these 7 days of torture, I mean detox – no I REALLY mean TORTURE; we also discussed the next phase of my Oncology treatment – the HORMONE BLOCKERS………

She introduced the topic on my very first visit to her. As in, had I heard of a natural product which had been shown to be very effective and even out-performed the Oncology drug of choice, Tamoxifen, in blocking the “bad” hormones without the “bad” side effects.

UMMM NO, what’s Tamoxifen and what bad side effects??? Ok I can be forgiven, I was still having chemo at that stage and most of my energy was spent on getting through one treatment at a time – I certainly was not thinking about the 5 years of drugs I was due to start at the end of radiation!

I began doing my own Google research and like ALL my other research, it was completely frightening! However, in my limited access to medical research, the natural product certainly appeared to outweigh the Tamoxifen option – hands down.

B U T (and unfortunately there IS always at least one!) the natural product (I3C) has not been subjected to extensive (expensive) medical trials and therefore does not have the research to back it up – unlike Tamoxifen. And this was exactly the concern the Dent Doctor had after I first broached the subject with him – he had never even heard of it…

Now don’t get me wrong, there are thousands of women out there successfully taking Tamoxifen for hormone positive breast cancer. The drug has been around since the 70’s and has contributed significantly to the survival of many woman (and men) with this type of cancer.

So WHY you may ask, I’m even having this debate……….for goodness sake take the damn pills!

B U T when the first line of the Patient Drug Information (package insert) reads: “This drug may raise the chance of very bad and sometimes deadly side effects like stroke, blood clots, or endometrial or uterine cancer” it does make you take a moment to stop and think.

The non-severe side effects include: Hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms (because that’s what it puts you into – menopause); back, bone, muscle and or joint pain, dizziness, insomnia; weight gain; vaginal discharge; depression; constipation; cataracts; …. You get the picture.

Although as the Dent Doctor also pointed out, if you read the package insert of PANADO you may also think twice about taking it! And that I actually had to weigh up the risks associated with NOT taking the drug – recurrence VS “possible” serious side effects….

My other concern was a practical one, would our Medical Aid pay for any further treatment if I elected to not take the Tamoxifen and the cancer came back. The Dent Doctor just smiled and said that he certainly would fight that if it happened as there is no guarantee the cancer wouldn’t come back even after taking the Tamoxifen….

So realistically how on earth are you supposed to make these impossible choices when there are absolutely NO guarantees, and when making the “wrong” decision for YOU can be literally a matter of life or death?

Truthfully? After all these months of constant debate I still have NO IDEA!

I guess you just make the best decision you can with the information you have at hand, with the support of those you love – AND then pretty much hope for the best…..

 Hormones 4

Hormones

Hormones 5

hormones 3

Hormone 4

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” Shel Silverstein

“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong”. Thomas Sowell

“A lot of people don’t want to make their own decisions. They’re too scared. It’s much easier to be told what to do”. Marilyn Manson

“Estrogen deficient woman are nothing but the walking dead.” ― Marie Hoag MBA