Quick Anemia Update

I don’t know if I mentioned this or not, but my Gastrointerological Oncologist is among those who believe that my anemia is related to my Gastric Bypass Surgery.  Because my surgery bypasses the part of the intestines where iron is absorbed, patients like me tend to be anemic.  Here’s an article that explains it:  http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2013/205467/.

As long as he isn’t concerned that there is a recurrence of cancer, I’m good with it.

His prescription:  take the iron supplements with vitamin C and eat LOTS of red meat.

Well, you don’t have to tell this carnivore to eat read meat more than once.

Done and done.

🙂

Still Clean Eating

I have been doing the 21 Day Fix since August 24th, with modifications from my doctor.  I am clean eating (no chemicals), low carb, high(er) fat, high protein.  In a month, I have taken off 14 of the 30 pounds I gained after my thyroid was radiated.  I exercise 6 days a week (three days of cardio, three days of strength training).  I have a protein shake a day (Shakeology for now, but I’m not fond of the taste, so I will probably switch back to the brand I do like), 3 meals, no snacks.

And hey, I think 14 pounds in a month is pretty darned good, don’t you?

I have been forced to look for recipes that I can modify.  Before when I did low carb, I could do pumpkin, or a small bit of sweet potato, and beans.  I mean, refried beans are a bariatric patient’s best friend after surgery.  My endocrinologist will not allow me to have any of those things.  I miss pumpkin – it was a good starch replacement.

And can I just say that I’m really sick of eggs for breakfast?

I mean, not to complain, my numbers are all excellent.  I’m down 14 pounds and 11 inches.  I’m getting in 10,000 steps per day.  I’m healthy and fit and happy.  I’m sore as all get out from working out, and not from being lethargic.

I did finally find a recipe that I could follow that was eggs for breakfast, but not actually like eating eggs.  I love French Toast.  Always have, always will.  I found a recipe on Pinterest for toastless french toast.

Soften 2oz of cream cheese in the microwave for 20 seconds.  Add to a blender with 2 eggs, a splash of vanilla, cinnamon (it calls for pumpkin pie spice, but I hate nutmeg) and blend until smooth.  Then I take some frozen blueberries or strawberries (or whatever fruit I have) and put it in a microwavable bowl.  I add the egg mixture to the bowl and stir in one package of Stevia.  Then, you microwave it for 1.5 minutes.  Flip it over, and microwave it again for another 30 seconds.  The recipe says to use honey on it, but I just eat it like it is.  Yummy.  I usually have that with turkey bacon.

Also, veggies are getting boring.  I eat a ton of salads with salsa and smashed avocado.  Last week, I re-discovered sugar snap peas – they give me the crunch I’m looking for from chips, but without all the carbs and junk.

I’ve also had to increase my red meat consumption to up my iron.  I have adapted the 21 Day Fix Turkey Meatball recipe to use ground sirloin.  I omit the panko.  Really yummy.  I serve it to Mr. G with pasta sauce.  I just eat them like they are, or make it into a meatloaf.

So, all this seems to be paying off.  And optimal health will help keep that cancer in remission.  Sad that it took me 43 years to figure that out.

Three Words That Strike Terror Into a Cancer Patient

You are anemic.

I went to the endocrinologist yesterday for my checkup on my thyroid.  I had all my blood work done last week.  They took about 5 vials, so I knew he was doing a full workup.  When I saw him yesterday, the first thing he did was bitch because my glucose numbers were higher than what he wanted (mine are usually around 110 to 115 – excellent for someone who used to be in the 300s daily) but he wants them between 70 and 99.  For me, that’s too low – I get dizzy and hypo.  I told him that, but yeah.  So, now I have to prick my finger 4 times a day and write down everything I put in my mouth.  Now, I’ve been following the 21-day Fix eating plan for the past two weeks.  It’s really low carb, clean eating.  Nothing processed.  I do a daily protein shake because I’ve stepped up my work outs.  The protein shake is very low in sugars (less than 6g) – Shakeology.  I stick to low glycemic fruits.  No bread, rice, potatos, grains, etc.  I do, occasionally, have to eat some steel cut oats to get things moving once in a while, but that’s it.  Oh, and I do eat quinoa.  No nuts or nut butters because they interfere with my thyroid meds.  So, overall, eating incredibly healthy.  But he has told me absolutely no starches, nothing to drink but water or black coffee (not an issue – I do this already).  No dairy.  Three meals a day, no snacks (I was doing 6 small because I felt better, but ok – I can do anything for 7 days) and go back and see him in a week to see if it makes a difference.  We’ll see.

Then he was looking at my other numbers.  Vit D is good.  LDL is 136.  HDL is 72. Tryglicerides are in the 50s.    Thyroid numbers indicate my meds are a bit high, so he cut that back.  But…

He looks at me and says, “You’re anemic.”

Yes, I knew it because I’ve felt a bit tired and was craving raw rice.  I do that when I’m anemic.

“Well, you are bleeding from somewhere – must be your periods.”

Nope, haven’t had one of those in 3 years.

“Then you must have a polyp in your colon.”

WHAT?

How do you even tell someone that when they are a cancer patient with a Lynch Syndrome diagnosis??

I told him I see my gastrointrological oncologist on the 21st, but my scan last year came back clean.  I’ve had no symptoms.  Exactly how anemic am I?  Could it be my B12?  My iron?  (A bariatric patient knows to ask these things – she was calm and level headed in my brain.  The cancer patient was freaking the eff out.)

So he drew more blood to test for my B12 levels (um, you didn’t do that in the 5 other vials you took last week??).  I go back in a week.  I was, of course, freaked out.

So I got in the car and called my oncologist.  Of course, he wasn’t available (I mean, he is a surgeon) so I left a message.

Dr. Rao called back last night around 6 and talked me off a wall.  He said that nearly everyone who undergoes what my body has gone through will experience some level of anemia.  It’s directly correlated to the chemo and the massive amounts of radiation I have gone through.  He asked me, “How anemic are you?”  I told him the doctor said only slightly.  Dr. Rao said, “Meh – I’m not worried about it.  You aren’t bleeding from anything.  Call me if your numbers come back showing severe anemia and we’ll talk, but otherwise, you are fine.  Enjoy your remission and I”ll see you next month.”

Big. Huge. Sigh. Of. Relief.

I do see my gastro oncologist on the 21st.  Am hoping this year for no colonoscopy – kind of over medical procedures.

Realized today that I started chemo 3 years ago on the 10th.  Time flies, and stands still all at the same time.

Oh, and September is Gynecological Cancer Awareness month.  Just a reminder to make sure you get your pap smears and GYN visits.  Annually. No excuses.  Fight for it.  And wear your peach and teal to honor the fighters.  We may not all be survivors, but we are ALL fighters.

I continue to Fight Like a Girl.

24

Twenty Four is an interesting number.

There are 24 hours in a day.

It is divisible by both 6 and 8.

It is an even two dozen.

It is also the number of months I have been in remission as of today.

With my cancer, they do not consider you in remission until the anniversary of your last treatment.  In my case, my final chemo cycle occurred on February 18th, 2013.

In some ways, the 2 years have flown by and in others, it has totally dragged.  I’m now two years closer to being considered not just “in remission” but “cancer free.”  While, in fact, I have no cancer in me [knock wood], I’m only in remission, with what is called NED – no evidence of disease.  I don’t get to officially be cancer free until February 18th, 2018.  Five years out.

That seems like forever from now – and just around the corner all at the same time.

Every day is a day closer to being “cured.”

My cancer is never far from my mind.  It’s always there.  Ever vigilant screening.  Always monitoring potential symptoms.  Always. Right. Here.  It always will be.  I will always be a cancer patient.  Hopefully one who lives without cancer.

To celebrate my remission, I enrolled in class to begin this summer to finally get my certificate in Project Management.  I haven’t completed a class since my diagnosis.  I always dropped it.  Some excuse always came up.  In reality, it was fear of the unknown, that stemmed directly to my diagnosis.  So, today, no more excuses.  I’m registered for this summer, and will finish (hopefully) by the time I hit my five-year mark.

It’s time to move on.

World Cancer Day

So, today is World Cancer Day – where we take a moment to highlight what is being done to fight cancers; honor the survivors and fighters; and remember those who have passed.

So, as a survivor, fighter, etc., I’m really kind of meh about this day.

I know, shame on me.

BUT…

I kind of feel that everyday for me is cancer day.  It shouldn’t be a once a year thing.  We should, as cancer fighters, and survivors, and family and friends, ALWAYS be highlighting our fight.

And another thing – for those who have passed from cancer, the one thing that really burns my biscuits is when people refer to those folks as people who have lost the fight.

No – they fought until the end.  Even if they chose to stop fighting, they fought.  They didn’t LOSE that battle.  They won.  They beat cancer.  Maybe not on an earthly plain, but never, ever say, for a minute, that they gave up a fight.  It’s disrepectful.

My sister was a fighter.  Every day, every hour, every minute until her last.

My dad was the same.  He fought like hell – to see his little girl take her first steps, say her first word…he died shortly after I did both.  I was 17 months old.

I fight.  Every day.  Like a girl.  Kicking and screaming and scratching and clawing.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of cancer.  Not one single day.

Today, I woke up, got dressed, got to work, and found spotting in my underwear when I went to the bathroom.

I’m 24 months in remission this month.  And today, I’m spotting.

I’m freaking the fuck out people.

Pardon my french, but there is no other way to put it.

Freaking. The. Fuck. Out.

The bleeding has stopped, and in my mind, I’m trying to justify.  “Maybe I scratched myself when I was putting on my estrogen cream this morning”…yeah, that’s it.  I must have scratched myself.  Which is a perfectly logical explanation for the bright red blood.  Which has stopped.

I know I need to call my oncologist.  But I’m scared to.  One, I’m scared to call him if it is nothing.

And I’m scared that it might be…something.

And that something…well, it nearly killed me two years ago.

World Cancer Day is being thrown into my face all over Facebook today.  I won’t comment on the posts.  I won’t share them.  I am like a bird with her head in the sand.

I promised myself I will call my oncologist if there is more spotting tomorrow.

Today, my head is burried.

Send me some good mojo, my friends.

House Hunting Sucks

I had seriously forgotten what a PITA it is to look for a new place.  And seriously, my husband doesn’t want to bend on any of his wants, which makes this hard.  We are looking for a rental and he thinks he’s going to get everything he wants in a rental.  I keep trying to tell him that everything he wants may not come in a rental.  In fact, it probably wouldn’t even come in a house we decided to buy.  But still…

And I am skeeved out by the number of folks out there who are trying to push rental scams.  I have hit 4 in the past two weeks.  People who keep telling me they only want a “good Christian family” to look after their homes and can you provide X, Y and Z in an email.  Nope.  Nope nope nope.  We are going through a realtor now.  I am not going to be scammed.  I’ve worked in the business too long.  Problem with the realtor we have is getting him to actually call me back.

In other news, I am now one week into my new dosage of thyroid meds.  They have an 8 day half-life, so I shouldn’t be feeling any difference with the higher dosage, and I’m not.  I feel less crappy than I did, but that is more than likely because the bronchitis is getting better.  I still have an annoying cough, but I don’t feel like death warmed over.

I’m still eating cleanly.  I slipped yesterday, and added some pasta to my tomato sauce and gluten-free meatballs.  Only about a quarter of a cup.  Made me feel like crap.  Lesson learned.  Back to clean this morning.  Good news is, I am thinking the new dose of thyroid meds, combined with the older, smaller dose of meds may actually be working now because I got on the scale for my weekly weigh in and I’m back down to under 180 – my warning number.  My body sat happily around 175 for months, and then when they killed my thyroid, I shot up to 186 and it scared the hell out of me.  My warning number is 180 – the one that makes me freak out a little bit.  I am terrified of going back over 200 pounds (I mean, I spent over 30 years there, so yeah).  Without a functioning thyroid, you can’t lose weight, or maintain.  Now that my thyroid hormones have started to kick in, I’m going back in the right direction.  PHEW.  Maybe, just maybe, when this is all said and done and my dosage is evened out to the proper level, I’ll get off the last 20 or so pounds I want to lose.  Maybe.  If not, and I stay in the 170s, I’m good with that too – but being in the 160s, or the 150s, that would thrill me.  Especially for my long-term maintenance and my height.

I’ve also noticed my skin is looking much better now that I’m eating cleanly and getting my thyroid on the right path.  I still have some puffiness under my eyes and some dark circles (classic thyroid symptoms) but they are getting better.  I have added some very nice eye cream to my routine (Clinique).  Skin care is incredibly important for people like me – people who have had weight loss surgery, but also diabetics (even if it is in remission), and post cancer patients (our skin has been through the ringer with radiation and chemo), and thyroid patients.  I have a strict skin care routine I follow every day – and I do pay for the Clinique because it is worth it.  I wash and tone, and moisturize twice a day.  And it pays off, but with the thyroid issues, my complexion was waxy looking, and uneven, and red and ruddy.  But with the clean eating and the thyroid, my complexion is improving – I don’t look so red and ruddy anymore – more even, and supple.  And I don’t look so tired.  That’s a plus.  I’m still fighting horrible fatigue, but I don’t look like I just crawled out of bed all the time.  So, little changes.

And I forgot my freaking cell phone at home today.  So, I won’t actually know if the realtor contacts me today.  I feel naked without my cell.  I mean, my office phone is here, and it works, but MY CELL PHONE ISN’T HERE OMG.  I guess I’ll call the realtor’s office when I go to lunch.  BAHAHAHAA…that is, if I get one today.  Sigh.