Sunday, June 24, 2012

" you are my sunshine,my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are gray. you'll never know dear, how much i love you. so please don't take my sunshine away. " you are my sunshine

i had an amazing experience this weekend! my husband and i got to keep our little six month old grandson for half of the weekend. our daughter-in-laws parents got the rest of the weekend. we have to share, after all. anyway, it just made me realize how grateful that i am to be a two year cancer survivor. being a grandparent is a wonderful thing, and one that i am happy not to have missed. it is good sometimes to see the world through the eyes of a child. he is so happy about the smallest things, and that is something that all of us should try to incorporate into our daily lives. he " talks" to our cat, and gets tickled when he sees a bird or butterfly. he notices everything- he can not talk of course, but i can see it on his face.

i somehow had the energy to get up at 1am for a feeding. i know that with thyroid problems, everyone suffers from a lack of energy and sleep is incredibly important. but for this one day, my "mommy gene" kicked in, and i got up, no problem. the house was quiet- my husband and our pets were asleep. i was hugely rewarded for being up at that hour, by several gummy smiles, and several "words" of encouragement. we even managed to change a diaper and sleeper without waking anyone else up.

my cat, domino, was jealous. she did not like the fact that someone else was sitting in my lap. she never hissed or anything, but she just looked at him and squeaked at me( she never learned to meow, like a proper cat). she settled for sitting beside us on the couch, and one time his little chubby hand grabbed a bit of her fur before i could stop him. bless her heart,though, she was a trooper and did not move or hiss. i extracted her hair from his little hand, and washed it. domino was not hurt in any way, and he was excited to finally get to touch her.

since i have never been a grandmother before, i can not say if this time is somehow sweeter because of my illness. i do think that i appreciate it more than perhaps i would have had i not been sick. i do try to make every day count, but sometimes it is hard. you just get caught up in every day life- work, chores, bills, or whatever, and it is hard to appreciate all the beautiful things around you. my grandson is one of the best things to happen to me since i got sick. he is a wonderful reminder that despite our sorrows, there is happiness in the world around me, and i have a lot to be thankful for.

my son and daugher-in-law think that my husband and i did them a huge favor this weekend. they took their first vacation, or over-night trip away from their baby. they had a well deserved anniversary trip and i hope that they had a great time. actually, they did us a favor. we got to share in the happiness of a child, and it was a good reminder to appreciate all the little things, that, afterall, make life, life. i know that i have an ultrasound and blood work ( thyroglobulin/thyroglobulin ab) tests coming up in october. but until then, i am going to enjoy my life and try not to worry so much about tests. speaking of tests, i found out that i do not have to have a full body scan this year! no low iodine diet- yipee! although i would not mind the 10-15 pound weight loss that i always have when i go on it. my doctor relies on ultrasounds and blood work to check for any problems. any "set backs" as my grandmother used to say. i wonder what my grandson will remember about me? what i used to say or what we did together. i hopw that there will be many happy memories ahead for both of us.

wednesday is my last physical therapy appointment. my knee, while still sore at times, is doing much better, and i can go to half- zumba classes with warm up and cool downs on the recumbent bike. pt has really helped me and my physical therapist worked really hard with me to get my knee "zumba ready". i think that there will be some moves that i will not ever be able to do because of my knee, but you know what? i sure can shake my booty! nothing wrong there. do you think that gabriel will say one day, my grandma was old, but she did zumba and wore shiny, jingly, belly scarves to class!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

i'm b-b-a-a-a-c-c-k!!

i did not crash and burn in zumba tonight! it was only a 30 minute class ( for me) but i made it! several people welcomed me back, and i made a new friend and saw an old friend that i did not know was taking the class. the instructor gave me a welcome back hug. this is such a good class- see why i missed it?

the " no jumping" rule was hard to follow! i love to jump around, i guess, but i did not do it. and once or twice i started to do a move and my knee said " oh, no you don't!" so i just did something else. i may be rusty on some of the moves- but i am still the queen of booty shaking. we did some new songs tonight- new to me, i guess, since i have not been there since january. how i have missed those endorphins!! i was happy to be there and even happier by the time i left. i did the recumbent bike for 10 minutes before the class and for 10 minutes after like my p.t. advised. the recumbent bike is nice because it does not put any pressure( or much) on your knees. the motion helps to push fluid from behind your knees. i wish that i had known this before. i plan to warm up and cool down on the recumbent bike even after i get to do a full class.

i am going to class saturday- if my knee does o.k. the rest of the week. we only have zumba classes on some saturdays, so i do not want to miss one since i will be off. i am off next weekend,too. my daughter will be visiting, so i am hoping that we can go to that class together. my daughter is a ball of energy. she dances like i can only imagine! she moves body parts that i either do not still have, or never had to begin with. we laugh a lot, and it is one of the most enjoyable things that we do together. i have missed being able to go to some classes with her.

so, i have iced down my knee and taken some advil, just in case. hopefully, i will feel great tomorrow and i can get back on track. i have missed my "prozac-like" activity. i know that my family will be delighted that i am able to do  zumba again,too. which reminds me, i think that i need to order a few more belly scarves to celebrate.......

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

lots of brass instrumentation precedes this.... trying hard now, it's so hard now, trying hard now. getting strong now, won't be long now, getting strong now. gonna fly now, flying high now, gonna fly, fly, fly. " gonna fly now- or the theme from " rocky"

exercise tee shirt- check. new exercise shoes ( ones that will not stick to the floor- hopefully) -check. exercise pants( they fit! o.k. they are a little snug, but not too snug to wear)- check. belly scarves- check, check and check!! yes, it is official- i am going back to zumba tomorrow!! i went to physical therapy yesterday and my pt said that i could go back tomorrow for a half day, but no jumping. i can salsa until the coins on my belly scarf fall off, but no jumping or knee twisty movements. i will admit that it will be hard to modify my movements, but i have a big motivating factor- re-injuring my knee. if nothing else, i can just stand there and shake my booty,er, i mean my belly scarf.

physical therapy has been hard! my insurance company allowed 20 visits, and it took every one of them.  my physical therapist was excellent, but she sure put me through the paces! i was the only one coming out of there sweating and with a red face. but if it had not been for her, i do not think that my knee would be better now. yes, we both worked hard. rocky has nothing on me, hahahaha. i have done my exercises at home- yes, she gave me homework. and i will continue them for as long as i think i need them.

i met a man yesterday who is 94 years old. it took him a while to get in the door( he was using a walker) and to the exercise machine. i am not sure what this machine is called- it is not a rowing machine, although it sort of reminds me of one. i noticed that only people of a certain age get to use this. it sort of gently works their arms and legs. he said, " well, i guess you think it is silly for someone who is 94 years old to come to physical therapy." i said, " no, not at all! i am impressed that you are choosing to be active. it is good for you, mentally and physically." he was a character! he was flirting up a storm with his p.t.- who could not have been more than 23 or so. i could tell though that she was very fond of him.

never give up. that is my motto, i guess. i can see me( if only i get to live that long) at 94, going to physical therapy, or maybe even to  a geriatric zumba class, lol. yes, by the way, for those of you wondering, i will STILL be wearing my belly scarves! i like having a plan- being in charge of my health. i do not like to feel helpless, like there is no hope. cancer can make anyone feel helpless and defeated. exercise is one way that i can feel empowered. take that, thyroid cancer! i have had to modify my life to a new normal. but that does not mean that i can not feel in charge and not at the mercy of a disease. not everyone has to go to zumba class  of course. you can hike, bird watch, etc, whatever makes you happy. but i think that everyone DOES need some special activity or hobby. it is good for the mind and soul, i think.

of course i will let everyone know how my first zumba class since january( wow, will i be out of shape!) goes. i know that i will be humming the theme song to rocky( in my head)  when i get to zumba class. that is until" party rock "comes on( no lead in MY zeppelins )..... to be continued........

Monday, June 4, 2012

" i watch the ripples change their size, but never leave the stream. of warm impermanence and so the days float through my eyes, but still the days seem the same....time may change me, but you can't trace time. ..turn and face the stranger, oh look out you rock and rollers! pretty soon you're gonna get a little time may change me, but i can't trace time. " changes, by david bowie

unless you have had cancer, you can not possibly know how it is to face a major life changing experience and then somehow go on with your "new normal" like nothing has happened! you get this terrible diagnosis, try to gather all of the information about your condition as you can, consult with (hopefully) knowledgeable health professionals, and then come up with your plan of action. if you are lucky, things go well( like you had planned) and then you get to go back to your "normal" life. the problem with this idea  being that no matter how hard you and everybody else may try, you will never be able to return to your old life, your old normal being a thing of the past.

for one thing, your body changes. you have a scar on your neck now. at first my scar made me look  like i had auditioned for, and won, the part of the bride of Frankenstein. i made small children cry and run to find their parents. now, you can not tell that  i have a scar, most of the time- unless i swallow or turn my neck  a certain way. i have vitamin e oil to thank for that.oh, and a good surgeon. i should mention him, i guess.  i lost quite a bit of hair after my treatment dose of the I-131. don't you just hate it when your hair dresser mentions this fact? well, duh, i kind of know i am losing my hair, thanks for pointing it out! it did grow back though, and even came back a bit curly, as they promised in the cancer handbook.

and then, there is that low, to no energy part. that has been the worst for me. adjusting my thyroid replacement dose has been quite a feat. i am not there yet. i thought that i was, but my tell-tale heart gave me away. in other words, my endocrinologist heard my heart skipping a beat during my last exam, and decided to lower my dose. now i have an uncontrollable attraction to my bed- lets just say i am metal and my bed, a magnet. long work weeks wipe me out, and it takes me a day or so to recover. i know that i am getting older,too, geez. but i should be able to do more. push myself a little more. now my body says," no way, no how, that is it! had enough. " in other words, nap time.

it is difficult to explain all the crazy mix of feelings that you have when you get a cancer diagnosis. fear, anger, worry, frustration,anxiety,helplessness,etc. what do you do now? how will it affect your family and loved ones? what if the damn stuff comes back? how do you put this out of your mind and live your life,even though it is your life, but it is not. it is your new normal and somehow you must learn to cope with all the changes.

i am still working on the answers to these, and many more, questions. i am thankful to be cancer free for two years, and i am thankful for every good test that i get back, even if testing makes me anxious. i am just taking one day at a time, and trying not to be too hard on myself. it is all just part of my new normal, i guess.