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Coping with Cancer - Start by giving myself a big old gigantic bear hug

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I got through the holidays in one piece and was going back down in weight. Then my mom was diagnosed with cancer. That definitely threw me for a loop. I've been medicating with carbohydrates....not a good thing. I've got to get this back under control quickly. It is all about being mindful about what I eat. And caring about myself. It is easy to keep eating and eating, when I don't feel like taking care of myself. Not good, so I'll give myself a big hug here.

My 75 pounds came from being very, very mindful of what I ate. I am at the computer all day, so it is easy for me to use the nutrition tracker to watch every single bite that went in my mouth. And if I didn't know how to put it in the tracker, I didn't eat it. That worked pretty well for about 9 months. I have been off the band wagon for about 4 months now. The weight hasn't come off, but it hasn't come back on either. Which may be an even bigger success.

I have a great, great therapist who is helping me cope with all the grief. She said I am doing a great job keeping in touch with how I am feeling and letting it go. Rough, rough work. I am finding that when I am going for the carbs, I am not being mindful of how I feel and what I am eating. And at that point, I just don't care. But I do manage to stop myself before it gets totally off the rails. And I don't beat myself up about it. Another big hug for myself here. This is grueling work and my great, great therapist says it is a time to lower my expectations. Last time we visited, she kept reminding me, "Lower.....lower....lower..." I'm kind of hyper responsible, so this is more grueling work ahead. :-) I may have to go back on my anti depressant medicine as well. I see my regular doctor in about a week, so we will talk about that. I have a history of depression and want to catch this, before it gets any worse. Here are my symptoms…anxious, can’t concentrate, irritable, sad, eating. That’s the start….I can see it coming. Sigh…

And oh my gosh, I am sooooooooo tired! I've found that I need to be getting 9 to 10 hours of sleep to function. And I am only getting 5 to 6. This has to get turned around fast. I got 10 hours last night and feel human. All week, I was going to work on less than 6 hours. I felt like a zombie by the end of the day. I drag home and can barely figure out what to eat. Somebody who shall remain nameless went out and bought a bunch of carbo grab snacks. Those were too much to have around. They are going in her room the next time they come home! I just can't resist. And especially since they seem to help my mood. But not the waistline, and they really don't satisfy on the nutritional scale. Plus I have no idea how to put them in the nutrition tracker. Those have got to go! Surprisingly, spinach seems to give me a boost in energy. Haven't figured that one out, but it is turning into a go-to food. Instead of those stupid pita chips and cheese!

One of the other things that is happening is my lower back is a wreck!! Much of my stress goes to my lower back, so I have to take care of it. Walking, stretching, and the heating pad goes a long way, with a trip to the chiropractor for good measure. And yesterday, he said, time for a massage to break up all those tense muscles. Yeah!!! I can’t wait for that. Maybe I’m coming out of it and need a massage to know it. It is probably a lactic acid wasteland back there!

And the most important thing in my little world is the walking. No matter what, I get out there every single day. I’ve been walking between 30 and 90 minutes a day. 30 minutes is enough to get me destressed and 60 minutes completely empties my head of the worries. 90 minutes, I’m ready for bed! Which is a good thing based on how much sleep I need and am not getting! I am so grateful for all those weeks of exercise over the past year. I am strong. I can walk really fast when I need to. I have great balance and the strength to keep myself moving. I am so grateful for this ability to keep moving.

But enough about me. How is my mom? She is a trooper! The chemo treatments have started and are going very well. She is healthy, strong, and able to handle these treatments. She has been going once a week now and will continue into the future. We are hopeful that she gets a week off here and there. The tumor is shrinking and the fluid around her lung is not growing. Great, great news.

We are going to a special store today to look at hats, scarves, and wigs. The hair is going quickly, so our good friend came over and shaved it down. She has a crew cut going, and it looks pretty good! She is into manicures now too. So funny, because she never wanted those before. We will probably go do that today too.

I am so lucky. They put steroids in her chemo treatments, plus she is taking some pills that jack her up the day after chemo. So woo hoo! Saturday is our run around and do errands day! She is so hyper, I can get things done for her and she can make decisions. The rest of the week, she sleeps it off. I told her this week, “You know mom, there are a lot worse things than sleeping all the time.” We will take it.

Thank you so much to all my spark friends who are dropping by to wish me well. I can’t keep up with everybody, but I definitely hold you in my heart. Thank you so much for caring about us and letting us know!

Take care,

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wishing you well. I got sick about 1 1/2 years ago and because of the stress of not breathing could not sleep for 8 days....after getting out of the hospital I had anxiety and depression. I found that if I ate a banana and peanut butter in the day I was able to sleep . I am now off of my depression and anxiety medications ....and am sleeping well now. I lost 30 pounds while sick but over the winter gained it back...... now that my health is back to an even keel I can concentrate on my weight again. I read later that the peanut butter and and bananas both increase your serotonin and melatonin levels.I am thankful for the healing properties of foods.... that saved my life. Sometimes it is what you need to eat and not what you need to avoid.
    1564 days ago
    You can do it! emoticon

    1970 days ago
    solvitur ambulando: it is solved by walking

    emoticon emoticon
    3629 days ago
    I know how hard it is to love someone through cancer. The scary word alone is enough to send you running for a basket of bread and butter, (Okay I am an emotional eater.) My DH was DX 5 years ago and I have to say I think it might have affected me more than him. LOL. I was a wreck, worried about the kids, about me, just worried.

    People would tell me, Cancer is not a death sentence, and I would say, for some. My DH finally told me to stop with the gloom and doom, because he could not handle my hurt and his cancer at the same time. Well, he is in remission for 5 years. There are days I still worry, but I try not to. He lives, except once a year when he has to go do his testing. That is still hard.

    3771 days ago
  • ND774748
    I love your page. It's beautiful. I am glad to hear your mother is coping well. My mom has late stage breast cancer too, so I can totally relate. Her oncologist keeps asking her how what she's doing differently, because she's been at the same stage for almost 5 years. Truthfully, she has learned to take one step at a time, roll with the punches and live the life she wants to live to its fullest. Great lessons for us all to remember. Keep taking good care of yourself, and remember, good enough is perfectly all right. emoticon
    3795 days ago
    I was happy to read that your mom is able to tolerate chemo so well. I am sending you both big hugs and best wishes.
    3888 days ago
    You are taking good care of yourself so you can take good care of her! What a blessing to have you there.
    3889 days ago
    So glad to hear the good news about your mom! She does sound like a real trooper! Good for her!

    Glad you're making the time for those walks. Besides the destressing, they are helping work off the comfort carbs. You must be doing something right because you're not gaining and that is amazing right now considering what you are going through.

    You can do this. One step at a time. Keep giving yourself those hugs. You ARE important, beautiful and lovable.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3889 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4419646
    Here's another BIG BEAR HUG!
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    3889 days ago
  • MKPQ51
    Being a stress eater (medicating with carbs, eating nonstop, not caring how much or what we eat) is a problem that a lot of us have; thankfully, you realized you were doing it before your weight started to reflect it. Lack of sleep is another sign of stress; though we should probably be getting more during stressful time periods, it seems the opposite is more often the case. During this stressful time in your life, going back on medication may be necessary. It’s good that you’re going to the doctor about your symptoms; it’s better to take care of your depression before it gets worse. I think you’ll find that massage will be help too; stress certainly causes a lot of muscle tension and the massage will at least give short term muscle release. I don’t know whether your insurance covers massages; but, if it does, get your doctor to write you a prescription. And, it’s great that you’re walking; according to many articles I’ve read, that too offers stress release. You need to take care of yourself so you can take care of your mom; she has enough on her plate without worrying about what her cancer is doing to her daughter.

    Great news about the tumor shrinking and the fluid around the lung not increasing; I hope that in future blogs you’ll be writing even better results. How did the trip to the store to look at hats, scarves, and wigs go? Did your mom find some things that she liked? It sounds like the manicure has been a great pick-me-up for your mom (Until a couple of months ago, I’d never gone for a manicure; however, I must say I really like how my nails look now.). The extra sleeping your mom is doing (after the effect of the steroids in the chemo treatment wears off) is a necessary part of the healing.

    When you’re able, keep us updated through blogs.
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    3893 days ago
  • NHGRL68
    I'm so happy to hear how well your Mom seems to be doing. And it sounds like you are on the right track to taking care of you:-) You really haven't been doing too bad. I think that is awesome that you are getting out there and walking every day. I'll keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. emoticon
    3897 days ago
    I am so glad that you have a great support system during this time. You and your mom are in my prayers!
    3897 days ago
    I'm so happy to hear that your mom is doing quite well and handling her chemo treatments. And I'm so happy that you are making such an effort to take care of yourself! Your therapist and chiropractor sound fantastic---and just think, a massage this week? Hopefully after that, you'll sleep like a baby. It's great to hear from you and know how you are doing. Thinking of you, my friend, and sending love and comfort your way (and hopefully not the cheese and chips kind of comfort.) emoticon
    3898 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4664429
    I'm so glad to hear that even with everything you have going on right now, you're still making self-care a priority. That will really be a big help down the road. I wish you and your dear mom well.

    3898 days ago
    3898 days ago
    So sorry about your mother. I've been there. I had chemo for my breast cancer & it really takes everything out of you, so sleep is good. Take care, I will be praying for you both.
    3898 days ago
    Bless you!
    3898 days ago
    Good for you to keep up on the walking! And congratulations on maintaining your weight. Sometimes that is all we can do. And it's ok. As long as you don't gain you are doing well. Things will eventually go back to normal!
    Good luck to you and your mom!
    3898 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4190308

    I have been there with my dad and then my mum so I do understand. I hope you are gentler on yourself, it is a very difficult time for the both of you.

    emoticon Gentle Hugs to you both!

    3898 days ago
    Hope you continue to be good to yourself and take care of yourself.
    God Bless you and your family.
    3898 days ago
    3898 days ago
    Danette - (((HUGS))) for you, my dear! Your journey sounds familiar. What helped me was being able to find 15 minutes for a walk each day. And don't be too hard on yourself. Just stay strong.
    3898 days ago
    You have such a great attitude for all you are going through, I admire that very much! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Mom, and good for you for taking such good care of her in her time of need. I am sure she really appreciates you and all you do, it is comforting to know someone is there for you when you are that sick!! Both of you take care of yourselves and try to get more sleep if you can, that will really help!! Good for you for recognizing that you needed some help for yourself ad taking the steps you need to get yourself on track!
    3898 days ago
    My heart and my love go out to you and your Mom. Both of you take care of yourselves!
    3898 days ago
  • JLITT62
    It sounds like you are dealing with such a tough time pretty well. Keep up the walking! It will help you to sleep, plus it's one of the best stress busters I know. Thank you for keeping us posted. And I'm sure we are all holding you & your mohter in our hearts, too.
    3898 days ago
    So sorry to hear about your mother. It is a difficult thing to go through.

    You are right to consider the antidepressants. And you are so right that carbs don't really provide a fix for what is wrong. Be proud that you haven't gained. Take care of your mother. Take care of yourself. And yes, have realistic expectations - especially about losing much weight during this trying time.

    3899 days ago
  • WALEB1002
    emoticon to you and your mom....you are both in my prayers.
    3899 days ago
    Dealing with cancer, surgery & chemo is very stressful. My brother went through all of that (lung cancer) the last part of 2009. The day he got his 'all clear', his wife was diagnosed with stage 3C cervical cancer. She has had her surgery and began chemo last week. She also is extremely tired. It has been a challenge for them, like it has been for you, with good days and some not so good. You and your mom are all in my prayers.
    3899 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4155065
    Danette...I admire your strength through such a tough situation. Even though you have been struggling you are mindful of your struggles and am constantly trying to work on it. That is so important. I think that the fact that you have kept up with your walking is huge and has kept you on track to some degree. The eating part will even itself out. i would assume that because you are not getting your sleep like you should that your body is craving the carbs to try and increase it's energy. I hope you find your balance through all this. Sounds like you are getting there. I am pleased that your mom is handling all this so well and is doing well considering all the hardships she is facing right now. Enjoy every min with her! (I'm sure you are!) You will both make it through this! emoticon emoticon
    3899 days ago
    I am so sorry for the many stresses in your life right now. And I know how easy it is to slip back into old habits. But at least you haven't gained so that is a big plus. Know that we are all here for you. As you are all here for me.
    3899 days ago
    Danette, You have faced some huge challenges this year and you are doing so with grace. Being there to support your mom as she shops for her accessors and as she is able to re-focus her image to her hands versus her hair. You are an angel. Keeping your mom and you in my prayers. Linda
    3899 days ago
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