Things That Go Bump In The Night

Ok, they are supposed to, but they haven’t.

My hubs and I, well, we haven’t gone “bump in the night” in two years.

It is what brachytherapy does.  It mangles you as a woman.

Not to mention the whole lack of sexual desire that accompanies a hysterectomy.

And the trauma of cancer.

Living with your mother will screw with your intamacy levels too.

I feel bad.  I shouldn’t.  I can’t help it.  I have been traunatized both physically and mentally thanks to cancer.

But there is always the sadness that you aren’t providing your partner with a basic need that comes with a happy, healthy marriage.

I am trying to work through this.

But it sucks.

Eating Clean in ’15

So, I have been doing a lot of reseach on hypothyroidism, how my thyroid replacement meds and my system interact, and living life with no thyroid.  Everything I read leads to clean eating, and my endocrinologist backs that up.  Clean, natural foods.  Healthy fats (olive oil, coconut), fresh fruits and veggies, natural protiens, and whole grains.  I have decided to give it a go, and will be clean eating.

That means more than just eating well, it also means eating at home, preparing my own meals, and avoiding all processed foods.  This includes carbonated beverages, alcohol, sugar substitutes of all kinds, and a lot of dairy products (that is for the thyroid meds, they make it hard for the body to absorb the thyroid meds). 

I have been busy pinning recipes and meal plans.  I will post them here, as th his is also good for cancer patients.

Today, I made banana oat muffins.  They are delicious.

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1c plain greek yogurt
2 very ripe bananas
2c rolled oats
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4c brown sugar
1/2 c mini chocolate chips (I used dark  chocolate, they are lower in sugar).

Spray a 12 c muffin tin with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In n a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients except chocolate chips until smooth.  Stir in chips by hand.

Pour into prepared muffin tin until each one is 3/4 full.  Top with a few more chocolate chips.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until top is set and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan 10 minutes.

You can store in airtight container up to a week.

These are very low in sugar, as there is only a quarter cup in the recipe, divided over 12 muffins.

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Sometimes It Makes My Heart Hurt

So, this past weekend was nice…we headed down to Chincoteague and enjoyed a few days in our favorite place. I spent Saturday with my hubby and it was just great.

Except…

We went crabbing on Saturday. It’s one of our favorite things to do…go down to the Crabbing Pier with a cooler of beer, a pack of chicken, and a few traps. Love it, and we have so much fun together. This past Saturday was no different. We had been there about half an hour when a young woman came along with her son. He was going into the fourth grade, and typical boy – but well-behaved and polite. Bob had gone back to the trailer to make another beer run (no, we aren’t lushes…I had only packed one for each of us), so I started chatting with this woman, and her son who was named Shane. My hubby came back and they moved to the end of the crabbing pier. It was their first time visiting our campground and they were kind of taking it all in.

As we crabbed, I notice Shane, watching every move we made. I leaned over to Bob and told him to take a couple of traps down, so Shane could pull them up. Shane was a little hesitant for about all of five minutes, until he landed his first, and then it was on….his mom kept trying to get him to go back to their campsite, but Shane was having too much fun (he caught a couple of keepers, by the way). His mom asked if he could stay with us while she ran back to her site to let them know where she was. She was gone nearly an hour, but he was a really good kid, and he was having such a good time.

When Shane’s mom did return (I didn’t catch her name), she came back with her girls – one 12 and one 15. They had been watching a movie and Mom told them they needed to get out and commune with nature. We gave the girls a couple of crab traps, and they got into a competition with Shane as to who would catch the keepers. The girls were ok with pulling up the traps, not so much with actually letting the crabs out of them, but it was a fun afternoon.

But my brain…well, it just wouldn’t be quiet. It kept whispering things to me like, “You could have been a mom like that…” or “wouldn’t it have been nice if we could have had a couple of kids?”

Ugh.

Sometimes I am caught in the middle…I don’t know what to call myself…am I childless? Am I technically infertile? I never considered myself infertile…I mean, my parts worked…but now, they are gone. So, am I infertile? Menopausal? I just don’t know.

Either way it hurts.

Is It Hot In Here?

Temperatures are up today…in the high 50s, but we are going to have a cold front pass through tonight which is going to send temperatures back in to the BRRR zone tonight. Have I mentioned that I am sick of winter? In fact, they are predicting snow showers on Wednesday. Well hu-freaking-ray. not only am I SICK OF SNOW but the last thing I want to do is navigate on crutches in snow. I don’t think we are supposed to get any significant accumulation this time though, soooo….fingers crossed it stays away.

Even though we are having a warm front, the past two days I am experiencing an increase in my own Personal Summers. The hot flashes have resurfaced in force since my stress test yesterday. I’m sure it is from the radioactive dye and then the medication they used to dilate my vascular system. But whatever it is, it sucks. I am working from home today, which is kind of plus, since I literally just had to take off my socks for some relief.

I can not wait to pass through this phase of menopause. Hot flashes SUCK.

I can not tell you the extent to which I have gone to relieve my hot flashes and night sweats…I have tried taking Vitamin E and a B-complex…didn’t work. I have tried every over the counter menopause relief you can think of (even though they contain soy, which is not good for people with estrogen based cancers)…didn’t work. I have been known to keep a fan on even when it’s negative degrees outside. I wear layers. My hubby wanted to put flannel sheets on the bed when winter started….they stayed on for two days before I told him I was cooking in my own sweat. I’ve even purchased a Chillow. I tried it last night. Don’t waste your money.

There is NO relief for hot flashes and night sweats. None.

Hopefully, one day, I won’t have to deal with them anymore. Until then, can someone please open a window?

Having a Rough Go Of It

My heart is aching.  I had a talk with  Bob last night about it, although I don’t think he truly understands.

Mourning my fertility is not an easy process.

I’m considering talking to a grief counselor.

So many ifs going on…

If only we were financial stable…

If only we were in our own home again…

If only we weren’t as old as we are…

If only I could hold and kiss my own little one.

I know that I will get past this…that one day I’ll reach a point of acceptance.

Until then, my heart aches.

Stress Makes Me Sick…Literally

I had a regularly scheduled appointment yesterday with my primary care physician, because despite being treated for cancer, I also have type 2 diabetes (controlled) and high blood pressure (controlled) and high cholesterol (controlled).  I go to see my PCP every six weeks or so, to keep tabs on my HGBA1C, blood pressure, and whine to him about my latest arthritis pain.

Yesterday was my regular diabetes check and a follow-up from my unfortunate run-in with the Chicken Pox last summer.  I spoke to the RN who took me back about my recent health history, and told her I was concerned due to a couple of things.  One – I’ve gained 30 pounds since my hysterectomy.  Now, this is not uncommon, and even LESS uncommon for people who are on Buspar – the anti-anxiety meds I have taken ever since I finished up my chemo treatments and the “OH SHIT I HAVE CANCER” feelings would not go away. 

Two – my blood sugars have been elevated the past month or so.  Now, people who have type 2 will probably look at me cross-eyed when I say elevated, because when I have an elevated fasting sugar, it means it’s around 140.  And this past month or so, every few days, my blood sugars have been around 140.  Now, this is not an everyday thing.  Some days, it’s right as rain between 90 and 110 (my normals).  I get concerned because ever since my RNY, my HGBA1Cs (with the exception of the 6 chemo treatments I had that involved steroids) run under 6.0.  This time, my HGBA1C was over 7.5.  This raised a big old red flag for me. 

Three – my spinal stenosis has been unhappy as of late.  This I directly attributed to the freaking season change.

Four – the anti-anxiety meds weren’t cutting it.  Panic attacks, unable to sleep, stressed out to the point where I’d break out crying or yell at my husband for no reason.  No buenos.

She wrote down my concerns, took my weight (ugh…ugh ugh ugh) and blood pressure (120/70 yay!) and said the doctor would see me shortly.

When Dr. B walked in, this first thing out of his mouth was, “What’s up with your blood sugar and weight?”

Well, that’s why I’m here.  Duh.

So, we talked about my eating habits and my exercise (I really am kicking butt with going to the gym).  And we talked about what he wanted me to stick to when it came to sugar grams (less than 10 per item).

And then we started talking about the anxiety issues.  And where they stem from.  I really am under a huge amount of stress with our home situation, putting our house on the market, my hubby only having temporary employment (Um, did I mention he did not get paid last week?), my car needing brakes, my hubby’s car needing a new alternator…the list goes on.  Plus, there’s the whole, “OMG I HAD CANCER WHAT IF IT COMES BACK?????” thing that I deal with on a moment by moment basis.

Now this is where the discussion got interesting.  My doctor told me that a lot of my problems (weight gain, high blood sugars, back pain, tendon spasms, lack of sleep, etc) were all stress related.  I had to heal my unconscious mind in order to heal my body.  He recommended a book.  It’s called the The Mindbody Prescription:  Healing the Body, Healing the Pain by John Sarno.  Now, he full said that this book flies in the face of modern medicine, but it makes sense.  I mean, every time I’ve been under stress in the past, my body has turned to stress eating, which has led to weight gain.  It also has led to higher blood sugars, and headaches, and higher blood pressure…all of those things that I’m currently going through.  It wasn’t too hard for me to buy into the premise.  So, I’m going to get the book (for my kindle…$7.99 this payday).  I will read it and review it here.

Now, my doctor also recognized that we needed something immediately to relieve the issues I’m having, so he upped my Buspar to 10mg 3 times per day (I was currently on it twice a day), and he added back in Metformin to help with the blood sugars.  Which reminds me, I need to get a new glucometer, because Express Scripts will no longer cover my strips.  Boo.

So, stay tuned.  I’m going to get the book, and test it out.  I plan on filling you in on how it goes later.

Time To Say Good Bye Once And For All To the Fat Chick

So, this is totally hysterectomy related…I think.  It may also be “self-comforting” related, or lack of will power related…or food addiction related *ahem*.

One thing I have noticed since having the hysterectomy last year is the onset of some poundage creeping back.  In 2009, I had gastric bypass surgery and lost over 130 pounds.  I got down to about 190 or so…on good days in the 180s.  For the record, I’m a shorty – 5’3″.  I used to be 5’4″ but had some bone loss during chemo.  Dammit.

So, last year, when I underwent treatment, they told me NOT to lose weight.  I was right around 199 at the time (a little bounce back weight – but hey – 10 pounds in 3 years is a hell of a lot better than the 10 pounds a month I was gaining before RNY).  And actually, keeping weight on was hard.  It’s really hard when you don’t want to eat.  And you purposely look for comfort foods, and foods that you can palate.  I ate a lot of bread.  I ate peanut butter.  I ate (sigh) dark chocolate.  When I could eat.  Which was only about 2 weeks out of the month.  Much worse during radiation – food was nasty and I was barfy.

So, when I finished treatment, logically, I should have gone back to eating more healthy.  Except we moved.  And Mom had knee replacement.  And I was stressed.  And And And (insert your own excuse here – because that’s what they were…excuses).  And now, here we are, six months later.   And I’m back up to 225 pounds.  Sigh.

So, I know in my head what I have to do (stop feeding my face would be a good start).  I’ve tried exercising at the gym, but quite honestly, and this is not an excuse at all, my stamina isn’t where it was before cancer.  Cardio exercising wears me out, and a lovely little leftover from cancer treatment is that I get horrible tendon cramps when I get fatigued.  They are HORRIBLE and painful.  I explained them to three different doctors before the Orthopaedist finally saw a picture of one.  I had Bob snap a picture of what my leg looks like when the tendons are cramping.  WILD.  The Ortho said, “wow…never saw that before.”  And then he prescribed muscle relaxers.  But also told me to cut back on exercise that is going to cause fatigue.  I’ve tried walking, and that tends to bring on the spasms too.  But not as badly.  I’m determined to exercise dammit.

But what I really have to do is focus on what is going in my mouth.  I can’t use my cancer as excuse for horrible eating.  I can’t use menopause, or the hysterectomy…stress…any of that.  I never really learned how to deal with stress in a healthy way.  FEED ME.  FEED ME GOOD STUFF.  Sigh.  My love for chocolate is deeper than my love for my husband.  Oh, they run a close race…but damn I love me some chocolate.  And cookies and brownies and pie and…sigh.  I also no longer have the whole dumping thing going in my favor.  Just after bypass, I couldn’t handle sugar.  Now, I can.  Up to about 30g of sugar per serving.  And the only thing that really makes me sick anymore is ice cream.  Ugly bugger that stuff is.

So, this past week, I have made a very conscious effort to watch what is going in my mouth.  Being 40, and post-menopausal now, makes losing the weight hard.  My body chemistry is all effed up.  And I hate all the weight I’ve gained back because I look like a cow in my clothing.  I see pictures of myself and cringe.  It’s time to get this show on the road.  And get down to a reasonable goal weight for a 41-year-old woman who is 5’3″.    So, I’ve reactivated my SparkPeople account.  I’m tracking my food.  Everything I put in my mouth – no matter what.  I’m packing my lunches.  I purposely take no cash to work so I’m not tempted by the stupid vending machines (although quite honestly, everyone here eats relatively healthy and everyone belongs to the gym, so there are no goodies lying around).  I’m drinking my water.  The only thing I will NOT give up is my coffee.  And if you know me, you know why.  I’m a bitch with coffee.  Without it, I’d be in jail.

So, my goal now is to get rid of the weight that has crept back on.  I’m aiming for about 160 as a long-term goal.  In the mean time, my first short-term goal is 210.    I need to lose the weight to keep the cancer at bay.  I need to lose the weight to fit into my clothes.  I need to feel better about myself.  And I need to stop emotionally eating, or I’ll be back up at 331 in no time.

Wish me luck.  Wish my poor husband luck.  He has to live with me.

And please, keep me from the chocolate.  I’m like a junkie. 

Hit the road, Fat Chick.  You aren’t welcome here anymore.