Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gettin' back on that Horse!

So, dating after having a hysterectomy is a little trickier than I thought. I didn't realize it would be so difficult to feel "normal" again.

I have my last follow up with the doc tomorrow, and I'm pretty sure she is going to give me the green light to go ahead and resume my regular activities...such as working out.  The time has come where I'm supposed to get back to my "normal" life...only,  I can't really forget about all that's happened to me....got the hot flashes to remind me, a few hundred times a day!

I was on a date last week, having dinner....and I must have had like 4 hot flashes in the 2 hours I was there. It's a little embarassing when you go from cool as a breeze to oh my God I am bursting into flames internally, in like 3 seconds flat.   And did I mention the sweat?  yes....I am usually covered in sweat by the time my hot flash has passed. 

I wondered what he must have been thinking....

"Wow I must make her really nervous!!...score!"     I thought it was kinder to let him go ahead and think that. Plus I wasn't ready to get into the story that led to my oh so persistant hot flashes.

I hardly know how to dress anymore.....I try to wear light layers, but then I'm freezing. So I put on a sweater, and then I'm boiling.  So my day goes a little something like this: Put on the sweater, take off the sweater....put on the sweater, take off the sweater...put on the sweater...take off the sweater. Well you get the idea!

Basically, resuming my normal activities...such as dating....has turned out to be more complex than I thought. The thing is, I have to try and get my life back at some point...and I think that point is now.

As hard as it is to move forward from all of this, I have to do it....and I know it'll get easier in time. I guess right now it just feels emotional.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's not so bad...

I woke up this morning feeling a little sorry for myself.  I didn't sleep very well last night, between the constant hot flashes and the terrible headaches. The hot flashes are because of the menopause....the headaches...well I'm still trying to figure those out.

I was all ready to feel sad today, and to mourn the things that I lost.....and to be upset at the fact that I have had to face challanges that no one my age really should.

But God has a funny way of bringing you perspective when you're in need for it....He's annoying that way.....so no sulking for me.

I found this blog in my inbox this morning, from Sue Friedman, the Executive Director of FORCE....where she shares her story of getting cancer, being diagnosed BLOWS2 positive. It reminded me how we can always turn something really terrible into a positive. It also reminded me that there are some really incredible and strong women out there.....and I'd like nothing more than to be one of them.

Take a read

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Would you like to take me and my BRCA out to dinner?

How do you tell a guy that you have BRCA? (aka BLOWS1)

I have spoken to a fair share of women who share the misfortune of having this gene; women who have opted to do  preventative surgeries, such as mastectomies, and histerectomies and the works! However, I realized today that none of them were single!   hmmmm.....

So what do you do when you're a single (ridiculously beautiful...hehe) woman, have had multiple surgeries...have lost your real breasts, your ability to have children....and you want to start dating??

Clearly, this is not something you want to tell a guy during your first date, but it is a huge part of who you are, and your history/past experiences, so how can you not talk about it at some point?
A lot of questions come to mind when you're dating someone, such as: "When do I tell him?", "How do I bring it up", "How do I explain what it is without making it sound like I'm a ticking time bomb that could go off at any minute!???"

And of course there is always the struggle of making sure you stop yourself from blurting it out casually over dinner. I can just see it now.....

Guy: "can you pass the bread please?"
Me: "oh of course, I have no ovaries!"

Then of course, there is the one question that we will always be asking ourselves, "Will he not want to be with me because of all of this?"

I have asked myself that question many times in the last two years. Sometimes, I foresaw a negative response, and other times a positive one.  The thing is that you never really know how guys are going to react to this, and that doesn't only go for guys....it goes for people in general.

But life has to go on, at the end of the day...you're still a woman, and brca is a part of you...and all the surgeries and experiences are a part of you too, and they're not all bad. I am a big believer that someone should accept you for you....surgeries and all.  and if they don't...well then they can just take a flying leap into something!

So, I don't have the details of how the "BRCA conversation" is going to go, I've only ever told one guy that I was seeing "briefly"....and that was pre-histerectomy, so the next time I talk about it...it'll be a different conversation.

If it's any consolation....the first guy seemed more concerned about where we were going to dinner that night, than the fact that I have fake boobs.  Guys are very simple creatures ladies...and sometimes it works in our favor.

Monday, October 22, 2012

On your mark...get set...go!

Today I'm starting a little project I like to call "Rebuilding my body!".

I'm starting to feel like my body really hates me. And why shouldn't it?  after all that I've put it through the last couple years....I've had it cut open, stitched up, cut open again, stitched up again. I've bruised it, and medicated it to no end....and I haven't exactly been supplying it the correct supplemental and nutritional support. (is supplemental a word? ....well I'm making it one!)

The truth is that even though I feel great emotionally....now that all these surgeries and medical experiments are behind me, I still feel weak phisically. My recovery from this latest surgery has been amazing....very fast. However, these last two years have taken it's toll on my overall strength and endurance.

Being fit has always been very important to me, and it's important to my body too....without sounding like a personal trainer/motivational speaker...not taking care of your body is something that will come back and bite you in the ass at a later time...True Dat!

I'm only 3 weeks post-op, so I can't begin a heavy duty work out regiment yet.....but I can at least get my body used to moving around again.

My first stop after work today is the gym......and I'm going to start off just by walking on the treadmill for maybe  a mile or two.  I guess I'll have to read my body and stop when/if it feels like too much.

I was with friends over the weekend, who ran a marathon this past Sunday....and I'd be lieing if I said it didn't make me a little sad that running a marathon would be sooooo "not possible" for me right now.  Not that I've actually ever wanted to run a marathon....as a matter of fact, I really dislike running all together....but that's not the point.

It might be a slow process.....but I'm determined to getting my body back up to snuff!  Stay tuned......

Thursday, October 18, 2012

No more house arrest

Today marks 16 days post op, and I still feel great!   That's the good news.....the bad news is...I still can't work out for another 5 weeks. Or so my doc says.....

Where's a good loop hole when you need one! But I think I've found a way to get me back into the gym, with her approval!  She did mention that I would be able to walk, in fact...she said that I SHOULD walk, so I am taking that as a green light to visit my old friend "The Treadmill".

I stopped in at they gym yesterday after work, and got myself a monthly membership until I am ready to resume my "hard core" training. So now I can just go in and walk on the treadmill....and maybe work my way up to a stationary bike and...dare I say..... the possibility of an eliptical trainer!

After my first surgery (mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction) I had to check in with the doctor every other week.....it was a 6 week recovery. She would always ask me: "Do you have any questions?"    and I would say "Yes! can I start boxing again".    By the end of the 6 weeks she said that all she could think of anymore, when seeing my name on her schedule, is an image of me punching people. nice!

Going back to work this week has been great, feels good to be able to be back this quickly, and to get back into my routine. I'm not the best patient.

Recovery has been going really well, though the hot flashes are I think increasing. It's not too bad, I know they will calm down in time, but right now they're powering through at full force! I go from normal, to warm, to sweating hot, to cold in about 10 seconds. Clearly, my body temperature is a little off.  I'm also showering way more, because I'm sweating a whole lot!...I know, very attractive.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"The Cavalry Has Arrived"

I read an interesting blog yesterday, written by Sue Friedman.....who is the Executive Director of FORCE.  I should probably explain what FORCE is...

It stands for Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered    www.facingourrisk.org

I was originally told about FORCE by my genetic counselor, two years ago, when I found out I was a carrier of the BLOWS1 gene...otherwise known as BRCA1.  Yes that's right, I have a genetic counselor!   Before they allow you to take the blood test, that will determine weather you carry the gene or not, they schedule you for a session with a counselor, basically to ensure that you really understand what BRCA is...and let's face it....to make sure you are mentally stable enough to deal with the results.  I suppose not everyone takes the news very well.

My results were immediately followed by a rain storm of pamphlets......self help stuff...local support groups and so on. Among them was a pamphlet about FORCE, which is a support network for women who have the BRCA gene, and have to face the decisions and struggles that come with that.

There are articles, message boards, blogs, links, seminars, groups....anything you could think of. But most importantly, it has other women who are in the same shoes!

I believe my doc said it best: "People can be supportive, they can simpathyze with you....but they will never truly understand how you feel or what you are going through....because they are not you".

Well the doc was right, and in the last two years....though I have been blessed with love and support by so many loved ones, I have also encountered some who didn't agree with my choices, or some who didn't understand the seriousness of the BRCA gene, and.....my personal favorite.....some who just felt I was overreacting to the whole thing. 

When that happened, FORCE provided me with an outlet.....full of other women that were basically "me".....well you know what I mean.

FORCE has faced it's challenges and hardships.....however, our community and overall knowledge of the seriousness of this gene has also come a long way.

You should check out Sue's blog  http://facingourrisk.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/the-cavalry-has-arrived/

Friday, October 12, 2012

Put down that remote!

You know you're watching way too much Daytime tv when you start having dreams about General Hospital!

But thank God, I am going back to work on Monday. I am 10 days post-op, and I feel great. The pain in my stomach was pretty severe the first 4 days, but then it started weaning down...and now it's almost all gone. I feel a little pain whenever I cough really hard, or laugh really hard.....so of course, my brother-in-law is constantly trying to make me laugh.  I am contemplating punching him in the stomach next time he does it...hmmmm....

Went to see the doc for my post-op check up, and she said everything looks good. The results from the lab came in, and they confirmed that the tumor was bening...and was in fact endometriosis.
Bottom line....not a cancer cell in sight...so praise God!  She set me up with a follow up appointment in 5 weeks, and took back the "pre-surgical preparations" dvd she had given me before the surgery. As I handed it to her....I thought "whoooo hoooooo.....I never want to see that freaking thing again!!".
(though I tried to hold back my excitement, and urge to chuck the dvd out the window)

In regards to side effects....I do seem to get tired faster than usual, and yes...I am getting hot flashes! They're not all that bad....I'm maybe getting 6 to 7 a day, but they only last a few seconds, and should calm down with time.

I started taking a Coral Calcium supplement, as well as a Raw Vitamin D3 supplement....for bone health and strength....and will be monitoring any further side effects as they come.

In all honesty, I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off of my shoulders....and I don't miss my ovaries one little bit. I'm not saying I won't have my "sad" moments....but what I know I won't have, are any "regret" moments.