Thursday, April 7, 2016

It Has Been a While... Anniversaries... How am I Doing?

It has been 4 months since I last blogged.  I've been meaning to because there is so much I want to "talk" about.  So if you find this blog to be a bit ramble-y...I apologize in advance.  I have found that blogging my thoughts and experiences is so useful to me personally.

 Sometimes I just stop and re-live last year in my mind and I am amazed.  Amazed at what I went through, amazed at my thoughts, amazed at how much better I feel.  It really does seem like a dream. For the ladies...  It is somewhat like giving birth...we know it was painful and miserable, but the memory fades. That is how I feel, so when I re-read my blog, I am amazed.

Last night Ron commented on how yummy some strawberry freezer jam was, and I remembered that I made it on that day last year.  Last year on this day I received my first dose of chemotherapy.  I have come a long way since then.

I am often asked how I am doing.  I tell people that I am getting better all the time.  I am surprised at how long it takes to recover from chemo and radiation.  I found the radiation to be a piece of cake compared to the chemo.  The burning and blistering healed quickly.  I think I can see a faint shadow of where the radiation was, and on my back (the exit point) in a place just out of my reach I have an itch.  It can be maddening, but fortunately Ron knows where it is now and can offer relief quite adeptly when this itch strikes.

I am so relieved to say that the neuropathy that was so miserable for months following the chemo has mostly resolved.    Oddly enough...  When I got married in 1992 I wore tight pumps that squished my very wide feet.  Since that day I had always had numbness and tingling in the last two toes of my right foot.  That seems to be gone...after over 24 years.  However there seems to be a similar spot on the sole of my left foot beneath my middle toe that was never there before.  Go figure.

The arthritis in my fingers is resolving itself.  I have not worn my wedding ring for quite some time due to my fingers swelling.  I think soon I will be able to wear it again.  The pain in my shoulders seems to be getting better.  My right shoulder is pretty much back to normal, but my left feels like the rotator cuff is torn. Also there is still stiffness in my back when I haven't been moving for a while and my feet still hurt a bit when I get up at night.  Until things warm up, I am quite a sight getting up and moving.  I used to tell people that I felt like I aged 20 years from all the treatments...I truly did.  Now I would say maybe 5-10 years.  Things are getting better.

I gave up two things for Lent this year.  Sugar and Facebook and I made it a goal to lose 15 lbs during the period of Lent (Feb. 10 - March 27)  I did very well with the Facebook and have pretty much kicked the habit.  I check it now and then...but not like before.  The sugar was about 80% successful.  Most days I did very well.  My birthday was Feb I took some time off for that...boy was it hard to go back to no sugar afterward though.  I would say I consumed about 80% less sugar than I usually do.  That is really a huge amount considering that I am a sugar junkie.  I did manage to lose 14 lbs as well.  However since Lent is over...and I "can" eat sugar again...I am having a tough time with that last pound...  I think I finally go it off today.  Why is it so hard to what is good for us?  Without sugar, I eat better and feel better over all....but not as good as a fast hit of sugar makes me feel. **sigh**  We keep trying.

Ron and I have been going to the gym regularly.  We go in the mornings before he goes to work, for 30 minutes.  I am seeing progress.  I am trying to strengthen my upper body because it has become extremely weak.  In the beginning I could barely lift the lowest weights on some of the machines without straining and sweating.  Just this week, I moved up a notch on all the machines.  I am  also getting back into running.  I can now run 2 miles in 24 minutes.  It seems my heart rate gets up pretty high when I am 170 bpm, but it feels so good to be running again.

Yesterday I thought I could perhaps handle a game of racquetball.  I felt pretty confident since we have been working out for the past 4 months.  I was unpleasantly surprised at how far I still have to go to get back to anywhere near the condition I was in last year (and that really wasn't that great).  Every racket swing felt like it took all my strength.  I was truly panting by the middle of the 2nd game.  But it felt so good to play again.

My hair is short and gray.  I haven't decided what to do with it yet.  Surprisingly, I get so many compliments on the color of my hair.  Strangers will come up to me out of the blue and tell me how much they like my hair color.  The problem is, I'm really not crazy about it.  Granted it is low maintenance, but I don't like me in gray just yet.  I think it makes me look a bit older and it must be so because the lady at Goodwill the other day gave me a 25% 55+ discount without my asking for it.  She just assumed I was old enough.  I'm not sure whether I like that or not.  I mean a discount is a discount...but 55?  Some days I am on the verge of dying it, and then I change my mind.  When it first came in, it was pure white, however it is getting darker and with two trims, the frosted tips are disappearing and now it is just a me.  Gray hair changes the way  colors look on me.  Earth tones are not so good anymore as the cooler colors are.  I like earth tones better.  Anyway...I am just trying to figure out what to do and have decided to not be hasty in my decision, because once you start dying your is a commitment.  My hair was also fairly curly when it came as curly as some people I heard of after chemo, but a nice little wave.  Now it seems to be super straight.  No curl...not even what I had before chemo.  I have always wanted straight hair...I wonder if it will stay that way.  I guess I'll just wait and see. 

I have been busy getting back to my work of selling things on Ebay, and more recently, I finally did something I had thought about for many years... I opened up an antique booth at a new Antique Mall.  (It is on the Southwest corner of Country Club and Southern...for my local friends.   Here is a picture of my booth:

My mom just opened one across from me as well.  Here is hers...

I have always been afraid to do an antique booth, but I finally took the plunge, and it has been fun and so far, in only one month, I have made a profit.

Between Ebay, and my booth, I have been very busy, however, since setting up my booth, I have decided to take some time off of Ebay, because priorities have been re-focused.  I have just a couple of short months to enjoy with my before my kids go on Missions, and I want to spend as much time with them as I can.  Jacob and Matt got their mission calls a week ago.  Jacob will be serving the next two years in the Japan, Tokyo South Mission, reporting on June 22 and Matt will be serving in the Arcadia, California Mission, reporting June 8.  ...and my daughter Sarah is patiently awaiting her call which will come any day now...we are thinking Tuesday though.

With the three of them graduating in May and then at least 2 out of 3 leaving on missions in June, we are very busy...but extremely excited!  Ron and I will be sudden empty nesters...for 2 years at least.  We are planning a vacation of our own, still trying to decide where.  We are debating between finally taking that trip to Washington D.C. where Ron has always wanted to go (and I have been 4 times) or to Hawaii...The last state for me to visit (and Ron has already been)  I am voting for D.C...and Ron is pitching for Hawaii.  First things first...we have a lot to do to get the "kids" all prepared. 

Speaking of visiting states...  Today, I am cleaning house and packing for that trip to Alaska that Sarah and I were planning last year when everything abruptly changed.  When I took my kids on our road trips through the country, I told them I would take them to 48 states...but they had to take me to Alaska and Hawaii.  Well, Sarah is making good on her end of the deal this weekend.    We are hoping to see the Northern lights...that is why we are going in April.  It looks like pretty good the high 40s/low 50s during the day.  Pretty chilly for this Arizona Girl.  We will be staying in an Air BNB home near Fairbanks.  It is on the outskirts of if the Northern lights are visible...we will get a good view.  From there, we don't exactly know what we will be doing.  We have some kind people putting us up in Anchorage tonight who have offered us a salmon dinner before we fly out on Monday...we are looking forward to that.  So nice!  We are planning on driving up to the Arctic Circle and to Chena Hot Springs.  We will also see some glaciers and of course Denali National Park.  It is not the best time of year to visit Alaska...but  we really just want to have a chance to see the Northern Lights. The rest is just some exciting extras, and I am looking forward to a wonderful girls road trip with Sarah!  I am so excited to visit my 49th state, and so excited to be picking up from where I left off last year.  Moving on...onward and upward!!