Archives For July 2019

Feeling All the Feelings

July 21, 2019

Hi Friends!

Here is my Instagram post from my most recent camping trip with my pops.

My blog and my Instagram page have taken a backseat to my…….well, my life I suppose. I’m not sure if this is a post cancer thing, or an empty nester thing, or a 52 year old thing, I’m not really sure what this is but all I know is that I am truly living Life Well right now and it feels pretty damn good. I’m spending more time with family, I’m putting my heart into my job as a WW Coach, and I’m spending free time doing things I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. I’m out the door to meet up with my pops and we are headed out on camping trip number two! It’s gonna be a hot one!

So that Instagram post pretty much sums up life right now!

Life just feels good. Life feels different than it did just two years ago and I’m not certain that I can explain it fully.

Time with family is more precious. I’m not holding back on the things that I have been wanting to do. I’m making each day have purpose, even if that day is something simple that only matters to me. I’m appreciating the moment. I’m being present.

Two years ago today (July 21, 2017) I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

On Monday, I finally was able to close the door on the reconstruction phase of this cancer thing. In April I had nipple reconstruction and on Monday, I got my permanent areola tattoos. I’m all done! Almost exactly two years! Done!

This is Brad. Brads mom had breast cancer over 20 years ago and as a professional tattoo artist, Brad decided that everyone was doing the whole 3D Nipple Tattoo thing just plain wrong.  So, for the last 20 years while Brad has remained a tattoo artist being creative and fulfilling tattoo dreams at the tattoo parlor/shop/store? Not sure what he calls it, he is also regularly at the doctors office helping women get their bodies back in a way that feels more and more like they did before cancer.

I liked Brad.

 

My first look. I have no idea why I got so emotional, but after I left there that day, I totally lost it.

 

Just an hour after leaving, I had my Monday night WW Workshop to Coach. Again, the emotions. Our topic this week was body confidence and I suppose I was just having all the feels. I got choked up and seemed to have a hard time pulling myself together.

When I posted a picture of my legs in my last post, I did not realized the topic coming up was body confidence. I’ve come a long way in feeling more confident in what my body allows me to do and not thinking so much about what my body looks like, but that’s not to say that sometimes those raw emotions don’t seem to surface.

I think it was a combo of closing the chapter on reconstruction, thinking about all of the emotions two years ago when diagnosed, thinking about where I am now with my life and oh yeah, remembering my body is still going through a ton of hormonal stuff.

I have an appointment with my therapist on Thursday, and knowing that feels good.

If you’ve ever felt like you needed therapy but were afraid to take that step, please give it a try if you think it will help you. I went for the first time in my 20’s after my parents divorced. I think the biggest thing that I take away from going to  therapy when I’m struggling with something is knowing that my thoughts and feelings are completely validated for whatever I might be going through at the time. Therapy is NOT a sign of weakness. It can be a very important part of your self care.

I’ll be taking the estrogen blocker Tamoxifen for four more years, and that’s kind of a bummer due to some of the side effects, but I am managing them as best as I can and I have to remind myself that taking that reduces the risk of reocuurancre for me from 12% down to 6%. 

So I’ll still be talking cancer on occasion because I want ALL of my readers to be informed, have your annual physicals, do your monthly self breast exams, schedule your mammograms, get your colonoscopies, whatever screenings you have available to you, do that! Schedule them. Remind your family and friends to do them too! We have so many things that we can do to take good care of ourselves. So get on it! K? Thank you!

 

Now….here are a few fun things I’ve been up to since my last blog post.

Jake and Jordan and Wrenley came over one night to hang out. This was her first Bubble Bath in our tub, which all of the grandkids seem to love, but also her first bubble bath ever!

I had my feet in the tub and she insisted on washing them. I’m not sure who was happier!

 

Tess and Manuel (even Tucker) came in from Dallas and we spent the 4th at our daughters (Kate) house and had a great time, even though it poured rain most of the night. This was the first time that we’ve seen Tess and Manuel since the wedding in March! How is that even possible??

 

Dinner this week with our daughter Anne and her family. Look at this smile! He is going to be two next month!

 

While Tess and Manuel were here, we had a Happy Hour in my little trailer, Effie. Checkers and Beer. I was ecstatic to have guest! Tess posted to Instagram. lol

 

This is Madi. Tess and Madi have been friends since grade school. Madi was to be in the wedding, but this little angel was due close to the wedding date so Madi wasn’t able to travel to Dallas. This was the first time that Tess got to meet her baby. Baby girl number two for Madi. So sweet to see these girls together celebrating so many years of friendship. 

 

Camping trip number two was a success!

One of my favorite parts of this new hobby for me is the drive to the campsite. One of my dads favorite parts too. I grew up attending antique car shows/rallies with my pops and part of the fun was the orchestrated caravan of antique cars on the way to the get together. 

This was a beautiful drive following my dad in his vintage trailer. We even had a Airstream coincidentally in front of us for several miles.

 

I didn’t get great pictures but I’ll work on that for our next trip. There were 9 vintage trailers there this past trip.

 

Me beside my dad. While this blue canopy came in handy ( I moved it around all day to provide shade!) my custom ordered awning came this week! I can’t wait to camp with it. It is adorable! Pictures to come. 

 

I took this picture yesterday from the inside of my trailer looking out with my new awning on. Excited to set up camp and take some cute pictures to share.

 

I took a short drive away from the campsite to find a walking trail on Saturday morning and found an absolutely beautiful trail! Just off of the parking lot was this beautiful bridge to cross over.

 

Then about 25′ down the trail a mommy and two baby deer greeted me. Precious. I knew I’d found a great trail!

Columbia, Missouri 

 

Then I started to hear voices but couldn’t see anyone. Then I discovered this path of sand off of the trail.

 

As I followed the sand path the voices grew louder until finally I was at this beautiful little stream.

 

People, dogs….

 

Rock climbers!

 

I plopped down on a big rock and just hung out there for over an hour. It was incredibly peaceful. I watched the pups play in the stream. I watched a group of people working on their rock climbing skills. I had lots of things keeping me entertained!

Back at the campsite, a quiet lunch staring at my new little toy, Effie. I’m having so much fun with her. 

 

Each morning I enjoyed my coffee and wrote in my “camping journal”. I loved this part of my weekend.

 

On Saturday we all had breakfast as a group at one of the sites and I took everything to make Yogurt Parfaits.

.

Saturday the campsite hosted a huge spaghetti dinner for ALL campers. They just ask that you bring a side dish. I took a caesar salad.

 

There are certainly lots of temptations at these get togethers, and while I do plan to enjoy myself, I can not let these trips be an excuse to simply eat whatever I want and as much as I want. Not gonna lie. This part is hard.

I’m drinking like GALLONS of water. 

 

Sunday breakfast was on our own and I had fun cooking. I’m seriously playing house here and loving every minute of it!

 

So…..this is glamping. Have you heard the term? Glamorous Camping. I have no A/C and it’s in the 90’s during the day and this is my bathroom.

I ask you. Is this really Glamping? Ha!

 

Okay, lots of salad bars and very simple meals lately.

Lunch/Snack On the Go Ideas…..

I order a grilled chicken sandwich, no mayo, no bun. Easy peasy. The protein keeps me full until my next snack or meal. Always keep nuts or fruit handy to add to it!

 

Keep a small cooler in the car for easy to go lunches. Simple Rotisserie Chicken Breast with veggies. Zero SmartPoints lunch on the go.

 

Grab a quick Salad Bar at the grocery store. The only Smartpoints on this salad are the cheese and a drizzle of Olive Oil.

 

I ordered 4 grilled chicken tenders and a cup of water. I got my order and pulled away. When I finally was able to get parked to eat my lunch I opened the bag to find this!

 

I was starving and had not planned to find bread and fries with my chicken! It smelled absolutely amazing. Bread and fires are fine but they simply were not in my plan for the day. You have no idea how fast and furious I was trying to find the closest trash can as I was eating in my car and all I could smell were those fries!

SUCESS! These sneaky little fellas ended up finding a home in the trash can.

 

Grabbing something out?

This is Mahi Mahi Tacos ordered over a bed of greens and minus the tortillas. Delicious. Only Smartoiints are for the cheese and dressing.

 

Salmon is a fav!

Lots of green veggies here and the only Smartpoints are the butter and oil. There was plenty of that too as I didn’t think to order these perhaps steamed.

 

Love me a Salmon Salad, dressing on the side and no croutons is the way I like to order it. You do you.

 

Easy meal here. Caulirice topped with seasoned shredded chicken, cheese, smashed avocado and a few sweet tomatoes. It’s nice to look at too!

 

Missing my breakfast photos as I have been less creative in the kitchen.

Veggies, Chicken Sausage all topped with Eggs and a nice little Avocado Rose. Happy Face here. 

 

Have you tried the Chocolate Hummus from Aldi? I thought it sounded so gross but I love it!

 

Easy meal that I had this week.

Cook veggies as directed. Microwave in bag for 5 minutes.

Scramble 1 egg in a skillet. Add 1/2 the cooked veggies to the skillet with a little coconut aminos (you could use soy sauce here as well) and a little salt and pepper.

Only THREE ingredients and easy and ZERO SmartPoints!

 

Enjoy!

 

I hope you are all taking time to enjoy yourself, enjoy your life, enjoy your family and friends.

WW continues to teach me how to do all of those things and for that I am so appreciative.

 

 

“love the life you live, live the life you love”

June and Gratitude

July 2, 2019

What a great month it was.

I chose a “word” for the year at the beginning of 2019. My word is “Mindful”. I also went into 2019 knowing for a fact that the year would bring many wonderful things for me and my family,

A few weeks back at the WW Studios the topic was Gratitude. I love this topic. I love discussing my passion for the word “gratitude” and how practicing gratitude can impact your daily life and your health and happiness.

I feel like I have regularly practiced gratitude for a really long time. It’s what gets me through the tough stuff, big and small, and keeps me living life with a positive attitude. I’m grateful for so many things on a daily basis. Grateful for family and friends, a job, a roof over my head, fresh water at my fingertips, the opportunity to buy and prepare delicious food, the sky and all of the glorious colors that certain sunrises and sunsets bring, 70 degree days with no humidity (there were a few of those here in June and they were amazing) and I realize how fortunate I am that I was born in a place that allows me so many opportunities that others in the world do not have. I’m a pretty grateful person.

The last three weeks have been full of challenges for some of my family, and while I certainly had concern for all of them, I started and ended each day practicing gratitude, being thankful to God and being mindful of all that surrounds me. I’m so grateful for time together with friends and family, grateful for access to health care, grateful for a sense of humor and grateful for so many people to love.

One of my WW members shared that she has been writing in a Gratitude Journal every morning for the last year and a half. She writes 3 things each day that she is grateful for and no one thing can ever be repeated. She said that can be tough at times but that it also has taught her to really appreciate something out of each and every day.

I love the idea of a daily Gratitude Journal so a few days ago, I started one!

Do you have a Gratitude Journal?  I would love to hear how many of you make practicing Gratitude a regular part of your day.

 

This is a 16 week journal that was included in my Fab Fit Fun box! I’m excited about the gratitude part of the journal and I’m working on the fitness part. I’m randomly getting in walks and Yoga and I’m very active but I’ve had no real Fitness Plan for quite some time now. I think I’m ready.

 

When pulling this journal out of my desk, I browsed through a few old journals of mine. I have been journaling since grade school. Extremely therapeutic for me. I stopped writing/journaling on paper when I started the blog. This routine over the last few days felt really good. 

Do you journal?

 

Here are a few other things that have been happening in life.

I finally got the kayak out! It was a perfect day. More of these days to come!

 

I really wanted to take my oldest granddaughter on a camping trip recently, but with very little experience myself, I was hesitant to take off with just her and I pulling my travel trailer in the forecasted rain, or a possible thunderstorm. Instead of traveling, I promised her a fun filled weekend with “camping” things thrown in.

She spent the night with us on Friday and Saturday morning she and I headed over to my camper (parked at my dads on his one acre lot). There we made breakfast and pretended to be at a campsite. She hadn’t seen the trailer yet and she loved it! I loved having her there too!

 

After that, to the park for a little lake activity. Of course the weather was gorgeous and now I was having tiny regrets of not just getting in the camper Friday night and heading to a close campsite. We rented a Pedal Boat and enjoyed a gorgeous view. She’s such a fun person to hang out with. Talk about grateful. She truly appreciates everything. 

 

Then, to the neighborhood pool. I was so ready for a big crowd. Apparently they were all there earlier in the day, or due to the weather forecast, made other Saturday plans. We had the entire pool to ourselves! I had so much fun playing in the water with her and giving her random water tricks to do.

I challenged her to make a boat out of pool noodles and then paddle, so she did. lol

 

It felt great to jump in and play, then dry off in the hot sun.

 

Saturday night, staying true to our “camping” theme, we made a fire in the ridiculously high heat and humidity and made S’mores in the driveway. I was loving my day with her and didn’t want it to end.

We enjoyed several s’mores just before the real storm came! Mike gave us a warning that a storm was a comin’ so we scurried around to clean everything up and came inside. We ended the night freshly showered and curled up in bed each reading our own book.

What a great weekend we had but I truly can not wait to take this girl on a real camping trip with me!

I’ve spent a LOT of time over at my dads house since buying my travel trailer. I really can’t explain how much fun I am having hanging with my pops. We see each other regularly, but it’s usually for coffee or lunch and we chat and get caught up. But actually doing something together has been a completely different experience. I’m truly loving this time together. 

Sunday we tackled plumbing in the trailer. Um, yuck. The outside hook up for the water needs to be replaced because it leaks, so as he tells me exactly what to do, I do it. Mind you, it’s ridiculously HOT here. I’m crawling into this very small space under the sink, where the mini fridge goes, trying to undo the existing plumbing. After hooking up all of the new plumbing, it appears as though I was not successful and I had water going everywhere inside the walls of my trailer for a few scary seconds. We’ve got a little more work to do. For now, I’ll use bottles of water. We have another trip booked for July 12th. I’m super excited! I have electricity and tons of fans. Like more fans than you can fit into a small travel trailer. Who buys a trailer with no A/C? This girl. 

I finally made my bed area into the couch it should be while the bed is not in use and I think it’s super cute. More room to move around. I also purchased a new black fridge and got rid of the old white one that was in there. Things are coming along. I’m so happy I can camp in her as she is while also having a few projects to work on. 

She’s ready to host a Happy Hour with my girlfriends. Just need some cooler temps.

 

Mike and I went to a surprise 49.5 birthday party for a friend on Fridday night. We were fairly certain we would only know a few people there. I was surprised to see this guy there! I totally forgot my friends were friends with him. This is an old junior high/high school friend of mine! So good to see old friends and share memories. Just three weeks ago he had a heart attack! Thankfully he is now doing great. Totally different party discussions when you’re in your 50’s!! 

 

I have been doing very little cooking. Lots of salad bars on the go and dinners out.

The WW Freestyle plan makes it so easy to eat out or grab something on the go! WW Freestyle points you towards all of these amazing Zero Smartpoint foods like fruits, veggies, chicken breast, turkey breast, seafood, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and nonfat plain yogurt. Then, YOU decided what you’d like to spend your daily Smartpoints on. It is my most favorite WW plan ever. Just eat good food!

Here are a few of the meals that I have had recently. Anywhere from a QT lunch to a nice dinner out with friends. 

Quik Trip

Eggs (they actually tasted good. I was skeptical), string cheese, almonds and a dill pickle that didn’t make the picture.

 

Dinner out with the girls.

This was a combo platter swimming in butter, but the majority of this plate was Trout, Scallops and Veggies. Delish!

 

Brunch at First Watch

I’ve been ordering the Farmhouse Hash, but asking to sub out the bed of potatoes that it is usually served on for more veggies, typically mushrooms and zucchini. I am in love with this new combo!

 

Always love me a Whole Foods salad bar. Lots of great options and I usually drizzle with a little Olive Oil for my dressing.

 

Another delicious meal at a seafood restaurant.

Salmon in some sort of amazing sauce with lots of yummy veggies.

Oh look! I did make a meal at home.

Burgers with a grilled Portabella Mushroom as the bun. Lightly coated with Olive Oil and Sea Salt and grilled for about 1 minute on each side.

This bun requires a full napkin for every bite! No joke.

 

 

 

My new favorite Greek Yogurt for 2 Smartpoints. 

Top this with Cinnamon, or Almond Butter, or Berries, or Roasted Almonds or all of these! I’ve recently hosted two brunches and made a Yogurt Parfait Bar and all yogurt lovers  loved this yogurt!

 

My weight. I haven’t talked about my weight in a really long time. Two reasons.

  1. How I feel has been much more important to me than what the scale says.
  2. The estrogen blocker to reduce the risk of breast cancer reoccurance that I take daily makes it almost impossible to lose weight, but the oncologist tells me that it is possible and as long as I continue my healthy habits the weight may come off. 

That being said, I still weigh myself regularly at home if I can’t make it to a WW Workshop. I like to know where I’m at. I’ve been hanging out in the upper 170’s and into the 180’s at times. For a really long time before cancer, I maintained 172 and that felt good to me. My official WW goal is 160.

Recently, a few pounds fell off and I’m not sure why. It could have something to do with the days spent at my dads house working on my camper all day in the heat and sweating off any and all bodily fluids and being so busy I forgot to eat.

Now that I type all that out, that’s likely it. Ha!

Or, it could just be that as my oncologist said, continue to live the healthy life that you live and eventually the extra weight will come off. 

Either way, these very few pounds have made a difference in the way my pants fit and that feels great! That’s as close to 172 as I have been in a really long time. 

Back to dads house to work in the heat!!

 

I never take pictures of my legs because I do not like the way they look, but in keeping consistent with this “Gratitude” post, I am extremely grateful for what these legs allow me to do. The independence they give me, the strength and the mobility they give me. I mean, they allow me to do whatever the heck I want! Camp, Kayak, Yard Work, so many things!! I gotta be grateful for them!

I love you chubby stubby strong legs. One oddly chubbier than the other. lol 

Do you have a part of your body you don’t love?

Think about all that your body can do for you and learn to love it, just the way it is. (This took me YEARS!!)

 

All scars are healing nicely and one boob is bigger than the other, just like real boobs. lol

 

Okay, now for the most important part of this post.

Your monthly reminder to check your breast for any lumps, bumps, dimples or changes in skin. This goes for you men too!

 

Two years ago this month, I felt a lump in my left breast. I was 50 years old and feeling better than ever! I had a 3-D mammogram just six months earlier and everything was fine. 

I’m so happy that I was paying attention to my body. I had done just enough self breast exams to know that something felt different. Now two years later, a double mastectomy, Diepflap breast reconstruction, a hysterectomy to reduce estrogen production, nipple reconstruction and a daily dose of an estrogen blocker, Tamoxifen, for five years to reduce the risk of reoccurrence (a double mastectomy does not reduce the risk of reoccurrence to zero) here I am, still practicing regular self breast exams. The scars are my reminder that I was paying attention to my body and because I found my cancer early, I was fortunate enough to have options. Not all breast cancer can be found with a self breast exam so please schedule your mammogram as well. 

Please make this a part of your self care. Know your body. Check for any lumps, bumps, dimples or changes in skin. Be your own advocate. Breast cancer affects men and women. Share this with your family and friends as a reminder for them as well.

Huge hug to all my breast cancer sisters and brothers! You’ve got this!

“love the life you live, live the life you love”