Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weight Watchers

According to my BMI I am not overweight, however, since baby # 2 my weight has been distributed differently. I am not happy about the way I look. I decided it was time to get serious about these last few pounds. I only want to lose about 10-15 lbs and so far things have been going great. Not sure if you all are familiar with WW but it is a great plan for people like me. I like to eat healthy 90% of the time, but I also love to cheat. When I say cheat, I mean pizza, cupcakes, candy bars, like really cheat! I don’t want to live my life without ever being able to indulge in a reese peanutbutter cup or birthday cake, or a chickfila. I love the flexibility with this plan. With WW you have extra points for the week that you can pick and choose to use as you see fit. A lunch with a friend, birthday party, rough day, etc. Because Dan and I chose a healthy lifestyle for our family, I am able to eat what we are eating for dinner if I am careful about my portions. I eat fruit, yogurt, and vegetables for lunch and drink a lot of water. So far so good! I hope I can stay this committed. I like seeing changes in my body already with only a few pounds dropped. I also like wearing my old clothes that have been hanging in my closet for a while. I am on the right track to be healthy and strong for my surgery. I know it’ll be a while before I can look at my new breasts and be happy about them and I’ve accepted that.  At least I can look at the rest of my body and be happy about that.

Weight lost to date: 5 pounds!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hitting kind of close to home.

I am not sure how popular the show Parenthood, on NBC, is but it is definitely a little difficult to watch right now. I love the show for a lot of reasons, it depicts a large family all still close and connected in their daily lives, 4 siblings, the grandparents, and the cousins. One of the siblings and his wife are dealing with a child with aspergers. From my experience on the subject the way he is represented is very true to real life. It shows the daily struggles of having a child with a disability. More recently it showed a child going off to college and how that affects the whole family. I remember leaving my parents on that day at JMU and it seems they probably had it worse than I did. I thought I was sad to leave them, but seeing it from the parent's perspective allows me to realize how hard it is let a child go. There are a lot of real life issues which I appreciate and couple that with some great actors and it has become one of my go-to shows. The one I search for in the DVR to watch first amongst a long list of recorded shows. But is getting very real...maybe a little too real for me. Christina, one of the main characters (One child just left for college, one has aspergers, and she just had a baby) has breast cancer. Last week, they touched on it a bit but at the end didn't really come out and say that she did have breast cancer. This week it was revealed that she does in fact have breast cancer. It shows her sitting at the Dr.'s office with all the women with no hair, waiting, crying, re-searching online, trying to be strong, breaking down, and going through all the emotions that a woman with BC goes through. I know this all too well because it wasn't too long ago that I was going through these same things with my own mom.

In fact, if it weren't for my mom having BC I never would have known that I was at risk. There is little to no breast cancer in my family (my mom has all brothers). Growing up, I knew that mom mom had a few lumps removed and biopsied but it never affected me and my worry about my own future. I was living the good life assuming it was "other" people who were affected by BC until Nov. 4th, 2011. Then it got real. Now, it isn't just my mom. It is me facing this process. Christina on the show just had a baby, which means she is relatively young (older than me but still younger). I wonder if she has BRCA? Is that where they are going with this? Will she be faced with the same things as I am faced with?

I don't know where it will go but though it is painful to watch, I need to see it. I needed that reassurance that what I have decided to do is the right thing. I don't want to be sitting in a waiting room in a few years with women with no hair all wearing pink. I like pink but I do not want my life defined by it. So, thank you Parenthood. You gave me the extra sign that I needed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Training update. 8 miles-check!

8 miles is the farthest that I have run. ever.  A couple years ago I ran 7.5 with a buddy while we trained for a 15K but never 8. I was pretty happy to make 8 miles happen on Saturday morning. No, I haven’t officially signed up for the 1/2 marathon, but I will. I have mentally signed up in my head. I am feeling good about my running. My long runs usually leave me feeling proud about myself and less anxious about the big 13.1 day. 8 miles was hard, but manageable. The pace was a bit slower but I know there was a reason for that. I ran two back to back days and didn’t ice my shins. So, from step #1 my shins were hurting. They hurt the entire time and I had to overcome that with every thought I could. Mind over matter. You are always stronger than you think you are when it comes to running, or cycling, or anything. So if my body is strong enough to run 13.1 miles, then it is also strong enough to handle this surgery and come out on the other side healthier. I will bounce back, I will reduce my risk of cancer drastically (from 87% to less than 5%) and I will prove to myself that I can do it. Mind over matter. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Can we have it all?

I often wonder if this BRCA stuff happened to me before I was a working mom if I’d be able to cope with it easier. I wonder in isolation if I could handle it with more grace? I don’t know. I am struggling once again to find balance in my life. I am BRCA positive, I am a mom, I am a counselor, I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, a runner, a friend, and lets be honest, a housekeeper. I am sure you can guess what gets forgotten when life gets busy, thankfully I have an awesome husband who picks up my slack around the house.

On one hand being a working mom of two gives me the life distractions I need to forget about my other worries. But on the other, it just complicates things. I said it before, but I hate feeling like I am doing everything halfway…doing nothing really well. If I do focus on myself and have a great long run, a night out with girlfriends, have the risk reducing surgery, or some alone time shopping at the mall it comes with the mommy guilt price of time away from my kids. Even if I step up the inner housekeeper (I really have to dig deep to find her) then I sacrifice all my family time on a Saturday to clean. Something has to give. The house has to get clean, I have to see my friends, I need to spend time with my husband, I need to work out. So, how do you balance it all? Is it even possible? Will I feel like I am playing a balancing game my whole life? Will I always question myself? Throwing the BRCA stuff into the mix has just been a new issue that I am forced to come to terms with. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect all of the above. Will there come a time in my life when the BRCA stuff doesn’t affect me as much? I can only hope.

I am not sure there is an easy answer to any of my questions. I wonder if asking to have it all is asking to much? I want to be an awesome mom, great friend, wonderful counselor, amazing wife, a fast runner and so much more.

I guess I just have to be thankful for what I have, which is an amazing life,  and take one day at a time…..and maybe not worry so much about how clean my house is.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It is the truth.

Today I feel good. Today I know I can do it (prophylactic bilateral mastectomy) and it'll be ok.  Not sure about tomorrow or the day after, but right now I feel good about my decision. While we were doing our afterschool run my running buddy re-assured me in a lot of ways that I will have a lot of friends and family to support me. I won't be doing this alone. I just will need to ask for help and I will get it from lots of loved ones around me. I also received quite a lot of responses to my post on FORCE about other women in similar situations (kids, working full time, etc.) and that made me realize what I already knew. There is never going to be a good time. So now is just as good of time as there will ever be. Now it is. Nov. 28th it is.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Strong enough?

I started out my 7 mile run on a nice cool Sunday morning. Luckily, even though I was running solo,  and both my GPS and my ipod batteries were low (note to self to charge all electronic devices needed the night before!) I made it through with a smile on my face. I finally figured out how to do my mile splits on my GPS watch and here they are:

Mile 1: 10:00
Mile 2: 10:14
Mile 3: 10:13
Mile 4: 10:20
Mile 5: 9:47
Mile 6: 10:02
Mile 7: 9:47      Overall average 10:03 Not bad!

Like I said, I had a smile on my face and I did when I saw my overall pace drop for the last 3 miles. It seems each week I question myself and have the “can I really run x amount of miles” thought but it all turns out ok. If I keep increasing my mileage slowly, I will be able to do the ½ marathon. So far I’ve stuck to the training schedule and modified as I needed. My shins are screaming at me but I think if I continue to ice and try new stretches I can keep them at bay.

As you can see from the previous post. It has been a couple of stressful weeks. But my running success are keeping my stress level down. I know I don’t need to add my training schedule to the list of my worries. As you’ve read, I have a close friend going through all this BRCA stuff and it has kind of re-opened it all for me. I am starting to really doubt my decision to do the prophylactic mastectomy. I am starting to really worry about how our family can handle this kind of added stress this year. Even if all the other pieces fall into place, it is going to be rough. We have two small kids and someone will need to physically be at the house during my recovery as I won’t be able to watch them until Dan gets home at 6:00/6:30 each night. Some days I am close to calling the surgeon’s office to cancel and other days I don’t even think about.

I know there is never a *good* time to do something like this, but is now really a good time for me? Will Dan be able to work full time, keep up with kids, cook, clean and do it all? Is that even fair of me to ask of him? How will the kids react when I cannot pick them up or play with them for 3-4 weeks? How will I handle going back to work when I know my body will be healing for months? How long will it take for me to re-gain my running and upper body strength? I guess as time ticks closer to Nov. 28th, these fears and worries will only get become more prevalent in my mind. I hope that I can overcome the fears and be stronger so that I can do what I know I need to do.  If I am rational, I know it is the right choice but when you factor in emotion, that is when I start to waiver. I know the strength to get through this is, is in me. I just need to find it and bring it out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Life is good....during summer that is.

The last two weeks have not been my finest moments. Lets just say that the past few weeks of going back to work, transitioning Carter back to her sitters, getting two kids out of the house at a different time than before, picking them both up at different times, and handling working full time has been a bit rough. I am not handling these stressors with grace. I think in isolation many of them would be do-able. Dan's broken down car, sure we can handle that...we simply buy a new car. Carter not napping at her sitters and being miserable all afternoon....sure we can handle that. My job description changing more and more away from being a counselor to doing all the leftover stuff no one else wants to do...sure I'd get over it. Training for a half marathon in the midst of some minor aches and pains as I add more and more mileage each week....ok, I got it. Planning a major preventative surgery in a few isolation...I can handle it. Add all of that together and you have one big fat mess. A fat mess that is making me question my decision. No, I am not changing my mind but I hate having doubts. Doubts about my babysitter. Doubts about my running. Doubts about ripping my body apart and putting it back together in a few months. Doubts about how I'll handle aforementioned stressors while I try to recover and let my body rebuild itself. I've never claimed to be a supermom but right now I feel like I am doing a whole lot halfway. Half a mom, half a counselor, and half a wife. Until my long run on Sunday I also felt like half a runner. As a working mom I've come to terms with the fact that we cannot do it all....but I'd like to at least do SOMETHING well.
Luckily, my long run was a good one. Though I had fallen off the schedule a bit I was able to run the 6 miles that I needed to. I ran it at a 10:10 pace. I am ok with that. The first 3 miles were amazing. I felt some of the stress just leave my body. When I am running I feel like an awesome runner. I have the running gear, the fancy water belt, the visor. I *look* like a runner. I feel strong enough to tackle this surgery and BRCA stuff and I can clear my mind of all the other worries when I am running. The last 3 miles were not as fun, but it was getting hotter, my IT band was flaring up and I was trying to maintain my speed despite the fact that it had been a week since my previous run. I am so glad I am back on my training schedule and even though I have a lot of doubts about everything, the 1/2 marathon, my job, and my surgery, I think I'll just take it one day at a time, do the best I possibly can, and hope that is enough.