Wednesday, November 12, 2008

notes on a healing body

it has been a while since i gave you an update on my physical health. it's a low-drama report, really. yet there are a few things to note that those following this story may like to know.

i was walking into my studio a couple of days ago and noticed that i was not stepping gingerly. this is more exciting than it sounds at first. not stepping gingerly and with extraordinary care means one thing: my foot is improving. now, i am just walking. not racing along as i used to, like a native new yorker plunked down in the laid-back northwest, but just walking without thinking about each step. slower than before, but that in itself very well may be a good, a very good thing. really, what was my former bustling haste all about? after all, i am not a native new yorker (well, perhaps in another life) and i don't live in a city that requires a brisk stride.

note that i am not going crazy with this news and starting a 10,000 steps a day routine. but i am feeling much lighter in spirit about this change and as if, yes, it will happen. my foot will be healed. another huge bonus is that my new orthodics fit in a variety of shoes. even my cute red wing-tips and my low-heeled, tall black boots! there is alot of talk floating around these days about change from the bottom up. let me tell you, my dear readers, about the change that begins with shoes. suffice it to say that it ends with a little lipstick and a smile. expanding my options beyond running shoes has had a profound effect on my overall appearance and confidence.

now, to the breasts. well they are changing too, quite soon. i did get a surgery date for december 18, almost a year to the day of my last one. dr. reid mueller at OHSU is my plastic surgeon and has a marvelous reputation. it's still difficult to believe that i will submit to cutting open my one breast that has been untouched until now. accept more scars. yet, afterwards, i can move on into a new year with symmetrical breasts that are 100% paid for by insurance. no more heavy silicone prosthesis. no more sport bras everyday (after a few months of healing).

after a few years, all these scars will fade so much that i won't think of breast cancer everyday.

last week was full of doctor appointments, including my 6-month check up with dr. marquez, my radiation oncologist. turns out i will see her for follow-ups for five years! good thing i really like her. i was nervous about my breast exam, but it was fine. she talked me through the new landscape of my breast, after cancer, after treatment. there is less tissue to examine now, which will make my own self-exams easier. the trick is learning the scar tissue and natural lumps, so i know if something new appears. nothing new has appeared. next week is my yearly mammogram, so that will reveal any hidden dangers. please, everyone, fingers crossed for a clear result!

i am experiencing some hair loss, it's been increasing for a couple of months. now, i am losing enough to be concerned. could be caused by stress (although i've certainly been stressed before and not lost hair over it). some reports i have read said that the trauma of surgery and radiation can cause hair loss, which would have a natural lag time. that makes sense, but i will still be asking my doctor about it. seems unlikely that it is caused by any vitamin deficiency, as i am eating near perfect diet.

today is 73 days without any meat, booze, most grains or refined sugar.

i am eating lots of veggies, a bit of fruit, a little fish, some eggs & legumes, healthy fats like avocado, coconut and fish oil and still drinking quarts of water everyday. i have learned to make excellent "raw" crackers in my dehydrator, which are delicious with a smear of goat cheese for a light meal. as the colder weather, dark evenings and rain has come in, it is much harder to eat even 70% raw. yet, i am doing pretty well. i am not suffering and i eat tasty things. considering my stress level, it feels great that i am not soothing my nerves with sugar.

my ph balance quest is going well. it is working, this diet i follow. the weight loss effect has tapered off (although to my credit, i have not gained). yet, my most important goal has been accomplished: i am keeping my body slightly alkaline. when i started, i could not ever get my morning urine reading over 5.5 ph, now it is consistently close to 7, which is a bigger leap forward than it sounds. ideally, i will maintain my ph around 7.25. cancer cells cannot live, cannot form groups and multiply in an alkaline environment. so, each day i follow this plan, i am preventing cancer. i am frankly quite impressed by the change i have been able to effect through diet and nurturing my emotional well-being. more exercise will only help keep things going in the right (alkaline) direction. slowly, i am getting back into regular exercise, which also feels really good.

i used to charge through life, now i am more careful. baby steps to change.

perhaps it's not realistic to think that a person can feel carefree as they age. yet, i still have hope. my papa celebrated his birthday last month. i called in my congratulations, as he lives 2,000 miles away. when i asked him how he feels at age 75, he replied "i feel like i am 40! i feel great". my answer was quick, "funny, i feel 75!". my hope grows stronger that sometime in the not too distant future, i will be back to feeling as i used to, far younger than my 42 years.


Paige said...

Wishing you well with your mammogram and admiring you diligence in steps toward healing yourself. Congratulations on the 73 days without meat, booze, sugar, etc. I could learn from you re: the sugar piece of the equation! The part you wrote about making veggie crisps in the dehydrator caught my attention. Would you be willing to say a little more about how you make these? We make apple crisps in our dehydrator all the time but I've not done veggies.

PetalsYoga said...

Hi Tay,

Thought you'd enjoy my latest blog on healing through mind/body awareness training. I hope you get only great news and that your surgery is a cakewalk.

Let me know if I can help,


Sondra said...

I'll be thinking about you on the 18th, sending lots of healing spitit and light.
Congratulations on all the hard work, Sounds liket you are moving forward...