Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cycle 1, Days 7-8. There Is Light at the End of the Tunnels.

Gaaaahhhhhh!!!  If you were using this blog to check in on me and have been worried for a few days...Sorry!!  I have improved 4000 percent since Sunday evening, took Monday off from the computer and felt so good yesterday that I spent most of it out of the house catching up with some friends (go eat brunch at Tasty & Sons on Williams, owned by TNT alum John Gorham, NOW), running some personal errands and going on a walkabout in the West Hills.  

Monday morning was like waking up on a new planet.  I slept seven straight hours and was able to eat breakfast and drive myself out to my naturopath appointment at St. MCV's.  

Going to the naturopath was probably the best thing I've done for my mental health since the stupidfuckingcancer odyssey began (by the way...its been exactly two months since my diagnosis.  Never has a 60 day chunk of time seemed so short and so long at the same time.)  Our appointment was 30 minutes of my verbal dump, 15 minutes of him processing that verbal dump and 15 minutes of him laying down some new laws.

At first, I thought the guy was a bit of a kooky hippie, but by the end of it I found him to be quite remarkable.  Working with cancer patients is all that he does and I believe him when he says that he's good at it.  This is why.  

For 30 minutes he listened to my life story quietly, without affect, judgment or posture.  Asked me about work, about why I liked bike racing,  if I had set any post-treatment goals.  Then he left the room, gave me 15 minutes to compose myself and came back into the room in exactly the form I needed:  the coach.  Which is basically to say that he was able to read me like a teary-eyed open book and presented his treatment plan in a way that totally resonated with my personality.  He's given me a set of nutritional, mental and physical challenges and has basically said "If you do this, you can win."  And by "win," he means "not get your ass knocked around by chemo for four months." 

We're starting small--base miles, bitches.  There is a list on my refridgerator that is 6 items long.  Three of those items are related to digestive health, otherwise know as pooping.  I will save the lengthy pooping discussion for another day, because it really does merit its own post.  Suffice to say, everyone knows that if you're not pooping, that is bad.  If you are doing chemo and not pooping, this is super duper bad because that means your system is struggling to get that toxic shit out of your body.  It just sits there like antifreeze in a sewer.  Ugh.

The fourth item is protein related.  In a nutshell, chemo kills your fast growing cells like a Serbian mercenary--that is, without discrimination.  Chemo get cancer, but it also gets hair cells, fingernail cells, cells on the inside of the mouth, blood cells.  Without protein, the body struggles to rebuild the good fast growing cells. Most people get enough protein, but apparently cancer patients struggle with protein because many of the food that are palatable during chemo are high-fat, high-simple carbohydrate foods, not high protein foods.

Sorbet and dry cheerios, my comfort foods of choice, do not contain enough protein for my body to rebuild and fight.  Thus, from here on out, yogurt and at least two eggs per day, every day.  Normally, I can't eat eggs on a regular basis because my body doesn't do well with them when I am exercising at a high intensity.  Which, obviously, is not happening right now.  So eggs now taste good.  I'm going to try and learn how to poach eggs one of these mornings.  Maybe should get a video camera first. 

The next item on my marching orders, pun intended, is to walk at least 5 miles every day.  Even if I have to do it in 3 or 4 segments on my rough days, 5 miles.  I made it four miles on Monday (was still pretty tired from the four days of chemo hell), but did five and half yesterday afternoon.  On Terwilliger.  None of this pussy waterfront shit for me.  If I was going to walk five miles, I am going to WALK FIVE MILES. In the rain.  Uphill both ways (seriously-it was Terwilliger, people, there is no downhill.). 

My whole concept of five miles has changed.  On a bike, that's what....15 minutes?  Maybe 30 if the whole 5 is uphill?  Five point five miles on foot took me eighty minutes yesterday.  Granted, that was because most of it was uphill, but still.  Eighty minutes. 

I was fucking sore and tired by the end I got home.  But I was gloriously happy the entire time.  It was like exercise crack.  Slowing down made me appreciate the scenery and really listen to song lyrics.  As much as I hate to admit it, Lady Gaga is sort of a genius.  Madonna, too but she tends to waver between awesomely ridiculous and ridiculously awesome.  Compare anything on "American Life" to anything on "Erotica."  Night and day.  

Next item is my reading list.  He looked at me and said, "You're a smart woman.  You can read two books this week."  Um, okay, hippie facist doctor man.   First on the list was Lance Armstrong's book.  You know, that one.  The one we have all already read.  I read it ten years ago, while my grandfather was dying of leukemia.  Reading it ten years later as a bike racer and cancer patient, it basically blew my mind.  I will write more on that later.  The second book is "Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life" by David Servan-Schreiber.  Going to start on that one today. 

The final item on my list is a writing exercise that is intended to help with my anxiety.  As soon as I wake up, five minutes with a written journal.  Whatever is making me happy, anxious, angry, depressed, sad gets written down--without proofreading or wordsmithing.  

It may surprise you, but I've never been a private journaler.  I've kept private blogs every once in a while, mostly to play with writing styles, but nothing freeform, personal or on a consistent basis.  I've only done this exercise twice, but both times its lasted over 20 minutes and I feel like I've been through detox when I'm through.  So THIS is what I've been missing with journaling, but its better to have learned this lesson later than never.'s eight AM and I have to get moving.  I have a walking date in Forest Park, lunch with another survivor and, if the weather holds, a short bike ride with the effervescent Ms. Heidi Swift planned for today.  Better go eat my eggs and yogurt.

Over and out. 


(0v0) said...

Oh, I *like* him. And yeah, thanks for the update.


I like the formula and am kind of inspired to institute a version of it myself.

BTW, what happens when you eat eggs when you're training hard?

Dave said...

Linked from grit and glimmer. Good luck, sounds like you have wonderfull people around you. Poached eggs are not hard to make and are fabulous!
I got lucky with cancer, I'm sending good cosmic luck to you!

Lindsay said...

General malaise of the stomach region. I love them, but I think its the time to digest that gets me.

Kronda said...

Hell fucking yeah to everything in this post. Go get 'em. :)