Thursday, October 16, 2014

Private Coaching

Well I have had 3 private crossfit sessions under my belt.  Each one feels better than the last.  Meagan has been super patient as I fumble my way through the workouts she gives me.  I'm amazed at how the small mini workouts she gives me tired me out so easily. 

I realize that I have been not very forgiving of myself.  I want to be over the whole cancer crap but the truth is my body is still very weak from the chemo and it's going to take a while for me to bounce back physically.  I look in the mirror and all I see is a girl who got fatter while battling cancer.  Like somehow what happened to my body during the last 9 months is my fault.  I think other people view me in the same light.  Maybe if I had lost my hair then others and myself could see me as someone who is RECOVERING from cancer.  I'm not saying I wish I lost my hair, more like it's easy to just assume I'm fine because I don't look like I battled anything.  

I have three more one on one coaching classes and then I'm back in group classes.  The thought excites and terrifies me.  I wish I wasn't so afraid of what everyone thinks of me all the freaking time.  I HATE IT!  I want more than anything to not care what other's think of me.  Ever since I was a little girl my mother would make comments about me and my weight or my hair or my skin or whatever she thought was imperfect.  I remember walking into a store with her and she says to me, do you see all these people looking at you?  I replied, no.  She said, "they're not looking at you because you're pretty, it's because you have such a large behind.  They can't help but look.  You should really think about losing some weight".  It really wasn't until that moment that I really started feeling insecure with myself and started worrying about what other's were thinking about me.   The phrase "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me" is about the biggest lie ever told!  I think words can cause some very deep wounds that can last decades or even a lifetime. 

The good news is that I'm feeling that fire start to grow.  The fire that I can change my life, I can be the person I've always wanted to be, I can get healthy and fit.  It's a tiny flame but with each workout and each day that I eat healthy I feel it slowly growing bigger and bigger.  I want to be a person who is full of joy and life, who takes risks and has fun, who isn't afraid of what people think of her and is an inspiration to those who feel stuck. 
I had my before pictures taken at the beginning of last week.  I'm going to take more three months from now and will post them to see what I've accomplished.  I'm eating super clean, mostly paleo and feel good.  I'm determined to go into this holiday season will fresh resolve to change my life once and for all.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

First Crossfit workout after cancer

I met with Meagan today.  We did a 30 minute, one on one "class".  She wanted to see where I was physically.  I'll be doing several one on one classes until she feels I'm ready to rejoin the regular classes.  I was so nervous today.  I could hardly eat any lunch and I just wanted to crawl under the covers of my bed and not come back out. 

She had me start off on the airdyne bike to get the blood flowing.  I had the hardest time even getting my fat ass on the darn thing.  Literally took me 30 seconds of floundering before I was able to hoist myself up onto the seat.  As I warmed up, Meagan told me that we are going to be going at a very slow pace.  She's going to essentially be "babying" me, until I can work back up to more normal workouts. 

All I can say was what little I did today was very VERY hard for me.  My muscles felt so weak and my body felt so heavy.  Mentally I want to walk back in and just jump right in to where I left off.  That's just not going to happen.  It kills me, KILLS ME, to start back at the beginning.  I wasn't even able to finish the uber tiny WOD she created for me.  I felt to sick to my stomach I just couldn't finish.  I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, I wanted to kick my feet and throw a tantrum.  My mind is SOO ready to be back but my body is no where near on the same page. 

Finding myself at the beginning again is almost more than I can take. I feel like I shouldn't have fallen so far back down the ladder.  Somehow I should've been able to keep up with everything.  I know deep down that's insane.  I had cancer, I was on a chemo that ravished my body, and yet I feel like I somehow failed.  I can only hope that with each class I attend, that it'll get better and better. 
My best pal is doing bootcamp right now and I constantly tell her not to get discouraged, that this is all part of the process, blah blah blah.  I really need to heed my own advice.  Why is it so easy to give others grace and forgiveness but we are so hard on ourselves? 
My next class is in 3 days.  My goal until is to eat as clean as possible, take my vitamins and drink lots of water.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cancer Free and heading back to Crossfit

OMGoodness what a whirl wind life has been.  After I was told I'd have to be on chemo for another year or so I really started digging into other options.  I found a local Mohs surgeon who was able to do my surgery in July and I was able to quit chemo for good.  It's been 2 1/2 months since then and my incision still hasn't completely closed up.  My body is VERY slow at healing itself due to the chemo.  I was told it could easily take a year for my body to heal itself from all the chemo side effects. 

I went up 3 sizes while on the meds but am down 2 so far.  I still get tired very easily, and also am struggling with migraines to bad they make my physically ill.  I'm anxious for life to get back to "normal".  I contacted my crossfit and will start back up on Monday Oct. 13th.  I'm super freaked out to be going back.  I feel like I've lost all the gains I made while there.  They keep telling me it shouldn't take more than 2-3 months to get back to where I was......I hope they're right! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cancer update and small rant.

Since being diagnosed at the end of January my life has been thrown upside down.  I started chemo on Valentines day and since then I've broken out in a dangerous rash twice.  My oncologist had me start taking 1/8th of a dose for a week, then off for a week, then would I would move up an 1/8th of a dose every other week.  I'm currently on my off week and on Monday I'll be back up to a full dose.  I'm anxious to be back on a full dose because that's when I saw significant shrinkage of the tumors. 

I miss crossfit so bad.  I can't even put into words how frustrating it was to have finally gotten almost a year of crossfit under my belt and then be told I have to quit while I deal with chemo and surgery and then healing.  From the way things look at this point I'll be on chemo for several months before surgery is scheduled.  Which means between chemo, surgery, and healing, I could be away from any sort of intense exercise for 1-2 more years. 

When I got weighed at the oncologist's office a couple weeks ago I had gained 4.6 pounds from when I first saw them in February.  So that's less than 5 lbs and that sounds pretty decent.....but I've gone up 2 dress sizes.  I have literally had to go up two entire pant and shirt sizes.  How is that even possible?  I can only guess that I'm losing muscle and gaining fat/water weight.  I feel so freakishly large.  I hate it!  My face is puffy, my tummy is puffy, I feel and look terrible. 

I'm sorry for turning this post into a bitch fest, but I want to be honest with how I feel and what I'm going through. 

Everyone and their mother has been hounding me with cancer cures.  I've been told to ingest baking soda , rub cannabis (marijuana) oil on the tumors, rub frankincense on the tumors, eat raw ginger, stop eating sugar, stop drinking milk, etc etc etc.....I can't even think of everything I've been bombarded with.  I can't stress enough that if there were alternative cancer treatments that worked as good as all these people are saying, then everyone and I mean EVERYONE would know about it.  It'd be on every tv/news station.  It'd be in every magazine......but it's not.  Now can some alternative methods cure some cancers sometimes?  Sure.  But there are SOOO many types of cancer caused by all sorts of things and we all react differently to treatment.  Please don't blast a friend or family member with cures you read online.  It's a confusing enough time as it is for the person....please don't make things more confusing and stressful for them. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chemo....moving on up!

It's been almost 4 weeks since starting my lower doses of chemo.  I'm finally up to half a pill a day.  I'm thrilled that the side effects have been pretty minimal.  The biggest hurdle has just been feeling so gosh darn tired all the time, but other than that, it's been great!

I looked at the tumors this morning after I showered and can see a significant difference in their size since the last time I saw the oncologist.  He said that I should see any further shrinking till I'm back up to a full dose, and yet he's wrong......again.  Normally you don't want your oncologist to be wrong, but in this case, I'm SUPER thankful he is.  =)

Our family has been getting showered with blessings this past month.  My parents and my brother each gave me $1000 to help with medical bills.  That pretty much got us up to date with what we owed the Dr.s thus far.  A few weeks ago some friends from high school dropped off three big boxes filled with tons of food, goodies to make chemo easier, and a gift cert for 4 full house cleanings by a professional. 

Then last week and this week our church got word of my diagnosis and people have been coming by dropping off dinners.  There is so much food in the house it's insane!  A lady from our church also knitted me a lap blanket to keep warm!

I'm completely overwhelmed by all the generosity shown to our family.  It's been mind blowing.  It's made me realize that when I'm over this life hurdle, I want to get more involved and help others as well.  Something as small as making a meal for someone can be such a huge blessing and I want to be a part of that. 

I see the oncologist on April 3rd and will report back when I've got some more info.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


It's been about 3 weeks since I started chemo.  The first few days were great and then the nausea set it, big time!  I also started experiencing some other fun side effects like my stomach burning (like I ate lava), heartburn, night sweats, insomnia, exhaustion, not thinking clearly. etc.  Then on the 11th day on chemo I was scratching my arm and noticed some pale red dots all over it.  I ran into the bathroom and stripped off my clothes and low and behold I was covered in spots.  Itchy spots.

A few hours later they looked like this.

By this time the itching was out of control horrible!  I'd called and talked to the nurse of my oncologist earlier who told me to stop taking the chemo for 1 week and use hydrocortisone to help with the itch.

The cortisone did absolutely nothing.  zilch.  At this point I'm going crazy.  Anything touching any part of my body, like clothing, was making the itching unbearable.  These hives were on my toes all the way up on my scalp.  The only place I didn't have any was my face and neck.  I tried taking an oatmeal bath, then a baking soda bath, then dabbing on white vinegar, then started googling anything that might help.  Nothing helped.  That night was terrible.  I'd fall asleep and move then wake up to itching because the sheets touched my skin. 

The next morning my entire body looked like this.

The red spots were getting bigger and bigger and eventually you could barely even see any regular skin.  I just sat on my couch and cried.  There was nothing I could do and the itch was so intense.  A friend of mine made some lavender salve using real lavender essential oils.  I tried it and for the first time in 3 days I had some relief!  It didn't take the itch away 100%, but it cut it down by at least half.  I felt like I could semi function again.  I had to rub down with the salve every couple hours, but it was worth it!  I saw the oncologist on Monday and he was extremely concerned about the rash.  He told me it was a severe allergic reaction and can sometimes be fatal.  Seriously?!  Ugh!  So this week he told me to cut my chemo pills into EIGHTHS!  I couldn't believe my pill cutter was able to do it successfully!  Next week I'll take 1/4 pill, then 3/8's and so on and so forth until I can make it back up to a whole pill.  He hopes doing that will allow my body to slowly acclimate and not react in such a dangerous way. 

Unfortunately this chemo is the ONLY chemo that works on my type of cancer, so there isn't much they can do if I get another rash except tell me to go off the chemo completely.  I'm trying to stay positive and not let all the "what if's" pull me down. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

$300 breakfast

So yesterday was my 1st day on chemo. 
It wasn't too bad, but the nurses did say it can take a few weeks for the full brunt of the side effects to set in.  I felt a little nauseas a couple times, but that was about it.  I know as my red and white blood cells start to diminish I'll be feeling a lot worse.  In the mean time I'm going to just enjoy feeling good. 
I was able to get this 90 day supply of chemo pills for free.  Hurray!  My case worker at the oncologist was able to pull some strings.  I'm super thankful because this little bottle of 90 pills would have cost me $30,000.  Yep  30K!!!    Or almost $300 per pill.  I've never held anything worth that much in my hot little hands before.....seemed odd to have to be pills that make you feel crappy.  I had my breakfast followed by my expensive little pill and smiled.  I'm super thankful that I even have the opportunity to get this awesome medication and get the chance to kick this cancer's ass. 
We had a nice enjoyable Valentine's day.  My husband and I don't really exchange gifts, but he did surprise me with a small package of my very favorite candies in the whole wide world. 
It just doesn't get any better than these.  I ended up making a cheese fondue for dinner and then cut up various breads, veggies, and a green apple to dip.  For dessert I made a chocolate fondue and we dipped oreo crusted marshmallows, brownie and pound cake bites, strawberries, and bananas.  It was delicious!  I was able to eat about one bite of each dessert option before my tummy said NO MORE!  My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach.  Then we all settled around the tv and watched a movie together.  I thoroughly enjoyed my evening with the loves of my life.♥


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Starting chemo on Valentine's Day

What a whirl wind of life events!  Overall I think I'm in a really good place mentally.  I've accepted the prognosis and am looking forward to starting chemo so those tumors can start shrinking.  I live in a pretty small town in Idaho and we have one of the top 5 sarcoma oncologists in the nation literally 4 minutes from my house.  Praise the Lord!  Also I found some insurance that will be somewhat affordable.  We'll still have to pay about $10,000 in total costs, but considering my treatment will be at least 10 times that, I'm incredibly thankful!  I'm also thankful that I don't have itty bitty kids at home.  They will be gone at school for most of the day, so if I'm feeling icky or tired, I can rest without feeling guilty about ignoring them. I'm also thankful that I don't work.  Although we don't live in the lap of luxury, I choose to stay home with the kids as they grow up.  Because of that, I don't have to worry about missing work.  Many mommas have to work just to keep their families going month to month and that's not something I'll have to worry about. 

I've been doing a ton of thinking and so many people ask, WHY ME?, when something bad happens.  I don't really feel that way at all.  I figure life throws everyone curve balls once in a while and this time it's my turn.  I can be devastated by this cancer, or I can use it to be truly thankful for the good amazing things I do have.  I can really savor the small moments that so many of us overlook.  Maybe, just maybe, this cancer is a huge blessing in disguise. 

Some good news.....I was given three months of free chemo drugs.  Woot woot!  That's $30,000 worth!  Also the chemo I'll be on is a daily pill vs sitting in a depressing room with an IV in my arm.  This chemo is freaking's the only one of it's kind and many Dr.'s refer to it as a silver bullet.  It sets it's sights on the cancer cells instead of how most chemo works, which is kill all cells, good and bad.  Although it has a huge laundry list of side effects, losing my hair isn't one of them.  Joy!  I also have a ton of friends and family who have so kindly offered to help with meals, shopping, cleaning my house....if I need it.  If I do in fact face some of the nastier side effects, I'm still going to be taken care husband and kids will still get everything they need.  WOW!  Am I a lucky girl or what?!

So yeah, I'll be starting chemo on Valentine's Day, but I say BRING IT!  I'm going to be thankful that I live in an era with such amazing technological advances that I get the chance to go from being someone with cancer to someone who is cancer free. Hurray!  Thank you Jesus! 

Friday, January 31, 2014

cancer update

I officially have dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans or DFSP.  It's a super rare skin cancer.  It's not caused from the sun, as most people assume and it's usually found in areas of the body that see little to no sun.  It's slow growing and most people are misdiagnosed for years and year, just like I was. 

I officially meet with the oncologist Monday morning.  From talking to the financial advisor, it sounds like the Dr.  wants me to start chemo asap.  This specific cancer drug costs $10,000 per month!  She's going to try and see if she can get me a free 90 day supply.  Can you believe how expensive it is?! 

I contacted crossfit and told them they needed to put my membership on hold.  I will not be able to continue the high intensity workouts during this process.  I still plan on getting exercise, just on a much smaller level.  I still can't believe all this is happening to me.  My biggest worry a week ago was how I was going to scrape together $500 to pay for the removal of what I thought were cysts.  Seems pathetic to what I have to face now.  Between surgeries, MRI's, CAT scans, chemo, labs, etc, I'm going to guess this is easily going to cost $100,000 or more.  I have no idea how it's all going to work itself out, but I have to have faith that it will. 

Very rare does this cancer spread, but it does have a high chance of coming back over and over again.  To be honest, reading all the side effects of the chemo has me a nervous wreck.  This is just so very much to worry about.  My husband starts his night job this Sunday evening.  My rock and comfort will be gone working when I need him the most. 

At this point I'm just trying to take it day by day, hour by hour.  Looking too far in advance just scared the poo outta me. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

It's cancer.

C A N C E R   Is there an uglier word.  Both my Dr.s told me it wasn't cancer and yet the pathology report came back today and said it was.  Apparently it's a super rare cancer that does not spread to other parts of the body, which is a good thing.  If they can remove it all during surgery, you're cured.  Still..........I've been shaken to the core.  I'm scared, really really scared.  I won't know anything further until I meet with the surgeon Monday afternoon. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

hurtful phone call and a biopsy

I have a large cluster of cysts under my left breast and got much bigger once I started crossfit.  I'm guessing because of the irritation of the sports bras.  Anyway I had some a few years ago and had them surgically removed about 1 1/2 yrs ago.  Unfortunately they've come back with a vengeance.  They are incredibly tender and hurt ALL the time.  My husband and I cannot afford health insurance but we do have a family Dr. who we pay a couple hundred dollars a month to and in turn we can see him as many times as we want at no charge.  He can do basic minor surgeries, cast a broken bone, and do many things that most general practitioners can't do.  He's the Dr. that removed my cysts the first time.  ANYWAY I went to see him a couple weeks ago about these new ones and he said that he couldn't do the surgery because it was too big and now there was too much scar tissue for him to remove them safely in the office.  He found a surgeon who was willing to help me at a discount and I went to see him yesterday. 

He said that  in order to treat the cysts properly he needed to do a biopsy on a couple of them and send them off to a lab.  That way he'll know exactly what he's dealing with and how to properly fix the problem. 

So I agree to have him do the biopsy right then so we could get the ball rolling.  I had NO idea it was going to be that painful or bloody!  Now the biopsies I've heard of involved a long slender needle being injected and a small amount of fluid/tissue would be extracted.  Since my cysts are not filled with fluid he had to use a biopsy plug. 
That is a tortue device if ever there was one.  OUCH to the mother freaking 10th degree!  He had to take two tissue samples and blood literally was pouring down the left side of my body.   My heart was beating a million miles a minute and felt like it was going to explode out of my chest.  I'm nervous to hear what we find out.  He did say that to do surgery would cost me at least $5000 and the biopsy alone was $500.  FUDGE!  I hate never having enough money. 
So needless to say today I'm sore, grouchy and feeling uber depressed.  I got a phone call this morning from the secretary of our family Dr.  She said it was time for me to come in and get an updated tetanus shot,check my cholesterol levels, and to see if I've done anything about being morbidly obese.  Then she gave me a lecture about how being obese increases the odds of developing diabetes.  As soon as I got off the phone I just burst into tears.  I feel like I've been working my tail off at changing my eating and exercising.  She just came across as completely uncompassionate and rude. 
I'm almost 10 months into crossfit and today I just felt like a big fat failure.  Am I ever going to get my body in shape?  Will my hard work ever pay off? 
To top off  the fun times, my husband starts his night job next week.  I'm scared of my life being ripped apart at the seams.  My health, financial, marriage, etc. 
Here's hoping for something positive to happen.  I don't know how much more of this I can take.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

So many things!!

I'm still alive and ashamed to say that I'm a crappy blogger.  I know it's cliché to say I've been busy, but dammit, I have been!  With Christmas over, life has started getting back in a normal routine, which I'm extremely thankful for. 

A quick recap, I've been going to all my scheduled crossfit classes, exercise at home on the days I don't crossfit and have been eating 100% paleo.  Like seriously not one bite of anything nonpaleo.  Let me just say I feel GREAT!  I have more stamina , I'm sleeping better, my mood is better, and just in the last week I've lost 3 inches from my belly.  WOOT!  Mentally I feel totally "in the game". 

Here is a picture Meagan took a couple weeks ago of me doing some back squats.
I saw her pull out the camera and I immediately wanted to hide in the bathroom.  I wish I didn't critique myself so much, but I do.  It's really something I need to work harder at NOT doing.  I saw this picture and all I could see what a fat pudgy belly, fat pudgy legs, and my torso wasn't as upright as it's supposed to be during back squats.    Now if I turn off the negative voice in my head I can look at this picture and say that my ass was below my knees, which is what we strive for, the weight isn't bad and damn, I'm doing something I never thought I'd do in my wildest dreams. 

My form will continue to improve, the weight load will get heavier because I'll get stronger and that's that. 

My crossfit is currently running a Paleo challenge.  We earn points for working out, doing mobility exercises, and posting daily recipes on facebook.  We have to deduct points for cheating.  We also have to take before and after photos as well as thigh and belly before and after measurements.  I am 100% in the mindset that I'm going to win.  I'm doing everything in my power, every single day, to earn that chance to win.  I feel in my heart I want it more than anyone else and I tell anyone that will listen to me that I will be the big winner.  I'm 10 days in and feel awesome!  Our last day is Valentines day.  Woohoo! 

I will try to get better at blogging.  I promise.  =)