Monday, March 12, 2018

A day in the life (Fair warning, you might get tired reading this!)

Waking up to complete darkness is unusual. The time change has certainly affected my sleep patterns. I'm used to waking up with filtered sunlight and singing birds, but this morning was different.

Wide awake, I remove my earplugs, grab my little bedside flashlight, and beam toward the clock. Surely it can't be time to get up. I'm surprised to see it's already 6:30 a.m. I guess that makes sense considering I usually wake about 5:30 each morning.

Lying in bed for a few more minutes, I offer up some quick prayers for my family. These arrow prayers, as I call, them, I shoot up to heaven during the wee hours of the morning. I know they leave my lips and go straight into the heart of God where they'll be answered in His timing and according to His will.

I jump out of bed and flip on the light. The comforter and sheets are askew. It looks like there was a lot of movement last night. My mountain of pillows has shifted and are scattered across my husband's side of the bed. Poor thing! Since the lymphedema has gotten worse, I sleep with my arms elevated at night. That means two pillows underneath each arm and then, there are the two under my head. Six, no! Seven pillows. I forgot the one I tuck between my legs. Staying comfortable after cancer is a challenge.

Flinging the pillows back over to my side of the bed, I work to remake the bed. I start on his side and work my way around to my side. Back and forth until the huge bed is neatly arranged and everything is in order. As I tidy up, I flip on the morning news. It's the only time of day I listen as I work. It's important for me to keep abreast of what's going on in the world.

After the bed is made, I slip into the kitchen to make myself some breakfast. I read somewhere that you should eat within an hour of waking to keep your metabolism in high gear. I scramble some egg whites with a little cheese and olives while the Keurig is heating up for my green tea. When the eggs are done, I sit at the bar and enjoy the silence.

Next, I don some leggings, wool socks, sneakers, and a long sleeve shirt. I grab my Bose speaker and cell phone and head toward the treadmill. It's cold this morning! As I reach the garage, I can't help but shiver.

I pull up a podcast of Adrian Rogers, one of my favorite preachers, and fire up the treadmill. After warming up a few minutes, I'm in my groove and am walking at a brisk pace while listening to a sermon on the importance of numbers in the Bible. I love learning, especially where the Bible is concerned and Adrian Rogers was a sound man of God. I'm sad he's no longer living but I'm thankful for his archive of podcasts and sermons.

In the middle of my workout, my youngest calls. She's at the breast specialist and about to have an ultrasound. She's been having some problems and we've been concerned. I pray as I listen to her talk. She tries not to worry me but I know she's nervous and rightly so. With my history of breast cancer, how could she not be? I ask God to give her a good report and keep walking as she talks. When it's her appointment time, she tells me she'll call back later. I tell her I love her and hang up not realizing I'm holding my breath.

The Bluetooth speaker begins again and I pick up the sermon where it left off before the interruption of the call. I become engrossed in the lesson and am amazed that 45 minutes have already passed along with 5822 steps. Time's up! I have things to do, so I jump off the treadmill and hop on the rebounder. I only spend about ten minutes there. Rebounding helps distribute the lymphatic fluid and lessen the swelling in my arms.

After the rebounding, I grab some chicken from the freezer and head into the kitchen. Popping it in the microwave, I'll prepare dinner shortly.

As the meat is defrosting, I walk across the house to my closet to change clothes, then head back into the kitchen. My hair is a wreck since I didn't get a shower this morning. I decide to do a quick wash in the sink. Thankfully, my hair is short enough I can do this.

Just as I finish washing my hair, the microwave timer dings. I wrap my head in a towel and begin making chicken parmesan packets. I layer a bed of zucchini on a sheet of foil, salt, and pepper it, pour on some marinara sauce, add the chicken breast, top with some mozzarella cheese and wrap it all up into a neat little foil packet. It reminds me of my Girl Scout days when we'd make foil packet dinners to cook over the campfire. I make two more packets so my husband can have one for lunch tomorrow and stick them in the refrigerator.

I'm getting a draft on the back of my neck as my cold hair drips. I head to the bathroom to dry my hair. After that's done, I remember I have a load of clothes in the dryer. I stop to take them out, fold and put them away.

Heading back toward the kitchen, I feed the fish. As I do so, I remember the title for a children's book I intend to write soon. Turning toward the dining room table, I see my wet canvas drying on the sheet of plastic I'd spread out a few days ago and it reminds me I have a cousin coming over this weekend. She wants to learn to paint and I've agreed to teach her a new technique I've been enjoying.

I pull out some canvases and begin to gesso them. That way, I'll be prepared when she comes and won't have to wait for them to dry while she's here.

On the bar, there's a shopping circular. I pick it up and browse through it quickly thinking I need to order a new comforter set for the guest bedroom. There's a really good sale, according to the ads, I may just have to do that today.

While the canvases are gessoed and drying, I load the dishwasher and turn it on. Now all that's left to do in that part of the house is to vacuum. I'll get to that shortly.

Grabbing my water bottle, I glance at the clock. It's 12:30. Almost time for lunch. I grab a handful of almonds and head to my office. I've got some writing to do today.

I turn on my computer and my cell phone dings. I've got an alert from Twitter. Someone tried to log into my account. I haven't used Twitter in a very long time. It's odd someone would be trying to use an unused account. I ignore the notification.

My computer is up and I can't help thinking about that new comforter. I pull up the company's website and log in. I find a beautiful 4 piece set but it seems kind of expensive. I don't need top of the line, just something decent for out of town guests when we have them come visit. I put the set in my shopping cart and then peruse the flyer for coupons. I find an online coupon and a store coupon that save me more than half the cost of the set! I'm happy and don't feel bad when I click to order.

Next, I pull up my blog and begin writing this post. I've fallen down on the job of keeping my readers up to date but really, there hasn't been much going on with my cancer journey since I'm in maintenance mode.

Tomorrow I'll go in for rehab. I'm receiving treatment for lymphedema. I'll also see the chiropractor. The cancer treatment houses all of these under one roof which makes it convenient for me. Later in the week, I'll see an acupuncturist for the spinal pain. I'm nervous about that. I've never seen an acupuncturist before and I'm not keen on having needles inserted into my body. The oncologist felt like it might help so I'm willing to try it.

As soon as I finish this post, I'll be working on some articles for the cancer magazine unless I decide to have lunch first. I love writing for them and never have a problem finding topics to share.

The clock on my computer says it's 1:19 p.m. now. I've accomplished a good deal and the days not over yet. I think I'll pause for a lunch break and see if I have anything DVR'd so I can watch while I eat. I love doing more than one thing at a time.

After lunch, I'll vacuum the carpets, unload the dishwasher, and then work on my articles. By the time I finish, hubby will be coming in the door and it will be time to slide supper into the oven.

We'll enjoy a nice dinner, I'll clean up, then we'll watch some of our favorite shows and talk. That will be the first time all day I'll really relax and do nothing productive. Hubby has had to teach me to rest. I try really hard to listen to him but it's so hard for me to sit idle and do nothing. He assures me it's good for me. I wonder.

When he's ready to retire for the evening, I'll go unmake the bed. I'll sit and read a while until I'm ready to join him. I love winding down the day by reading my Bible or a good book.

As I lay my head on the pillow, I'll smile knowing I did my best to stay active today. Since my diagnosis, I don't take a single minute for granted any longer. I try to pack as much as I can into every day.

I won't realize until I'm almost drifting off to sleep, that my body is tired. But being tired, is evidence I'm still here and that's a good thing.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The test results are in and I'm happy to report I'm currently cancer free! That's fantastic news! I am so grateful and so very blessed.

Doctors found a suspicious place on my fourth rib and another on L5 of my spine. After an ultrasound and an MRI, they determined the spot on my ribs is costochondritis and the place on my spine is due to degenerative disc disease. I also have several herniated discs and those little buggers, along with osteoarthritis, are the reason for my chronic back pain. So...I'm being sent for treatment which will include physical therapy, chiropractic care, and acupuncture.

I'm thankful for a cancer treatment center that believes in integrative health care. It's so nice to have everything under one roof. Instead of having to travel from one city to the next to receive treatment, I go to one place. It's kind of like one-stop shopping for healthcare, lol.

In July, I'll be celebrating my fourth cancerversary. Isn't that amazing??? 4 years of being cancer free! What a milestone! God is so good and I can't thank Him enough for allowing me to continue to live.

This year, I'll be focusing more on finding joy. God has impressed upon me that I need to see His goodness and the best way I can do that is to find joy in the midst of my gratitude.

There are so many things to look forward to this year! Hubby and I have already planned our calendar year and several mini-vacations are on the slate.

So life is good and we are blessed. I never want to meet up with cancer again. Hopefully, God will see fit to keep it far away from us. We trust He will!

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