Monday, April 20, 2015

Aqua

Yesterday was my 40th day being cancer free.  I spent the day celebrating Taylor and her holy confirmation. Feels like yesterday that Jayson & Maria welcomed T in to this crazy world. I remember holding her at hours of age, such a cute little thing, and now she's starting grade 8 in September.  She's beautiful inside and out and I have no doubt she'll do great things with her life. 

I had a great time hanging out with the kids and the rest of the family, and might have enjoyed some treats. Less than I would have had last year but dabbled for sure.  I felt fine, seemed to be OK even with the Canucks loss. I'd previously decided that Monday morning at 8am I'd go to deep water Aquafit so was in bed at a decent hour however I slept poorly. I should have taken the poor sleep as a sign. 

I was up before my alarm and maybe slept 3 hours and was exhausted but told myself no excuses. I purposely didn't eat as I didn't want to have any issues while in the pool.  I put on my suit and headed to the Aquatic Centre. 

Aquafit is one of my favourite ways to work out so was quite pumped to be back.  Class began and I was doing good.  Body was rusty but felt no physical limitations.  About 10 mins in I just wasn't feeling right.  I decided to slow down and stay in the back in case I needed to make a quick exit.  The instructor asked if I was ok as I'm sure she saw a scowl or some sort of weird face. Told her quickly I was a recent cancer survivor and dealing with Crohn's and she congratulated me on making it to class. 

While in the pool a lady asked if it was too hard for me. I told her my situation and she said other survivors are also in the class. I didn't get to chat with any of these ladies as half way thorough I got out of the pool.  It's funny...I was angry at myself for not finishing.  Physically I could do the exercises but my insides told me different.  Crohn's Disease introduced itself to me today, all day, and fiercely. 

The rest of today has been agony. The pain was like radiation all over again and tears were flowing. My mom and then my aunt had to come be with me as I was a mess.  Lately I've been feeling better than not, so this set back has gotten to me, I really wanted today to go smoothly.  I'd made an inspirational exercise calendar, chose my venue, pumped myself up and now have to re-think this all over again.  Although I didn't find today challenging physically,  my body told me it's not ready to such an extreme. Instead of Aquafit I'll try a stretching class or a beginners yoga or weights.

Today was a brutal day but I can't let it define me.  As much as I want to give up I can't, I got to push through and try something else.  My hope is I can train my body & over time get back in to the pool, just got to take baby steps even though my mind is ready to jump right in.  The winning spirit I hold inside has to take a back seat to reality but hopefully over time that'll change.

Tomorrow night I'm going to the Unique Lives event at the Orpheum with Katyann.  Valerie Harper is the speaker and I look forward to hearing how she overcame her cancer hardships and life challenges.  Some inspiration after a bad day is welcome and hope the Canucks get a win too!

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C


Monday, April 13, 2015

Struggles

Life is such a beautiful thing yet at times it brings us such sadness and pain.  I've gone through so much and I feel stronger in many ways, but lately I'm struggling.  I'm struggling with getting back in to life and loving it again.

The Canucks and nail polish have been my entertainment and bring me joy. Going to the store and receiving a compliment on my nails makes me smile.  I tell the cashier I did them myself and she says they look like salon nails.  Such a small thing, but it's a smile and smiles are sometimes hard to come by.  I think everyone knows how much I love the Canucks and I'm so excited that they're in the playoffs.  You might have seen the picture of me wearing a flag as a cape, yes it happened!

Cancer has been my job.  Every day I woke up & had treatment...that's what I did. It was a weird type of structure within illness and it's now been 33 days since I was told I was cancer free.  My job was over, but the recovery still ongoing.  My body is still healing from my surgeries, my leg constantly hurts, I'm taking hormones as I'm in early menopause and now I'm dealing with Crohn's.  As soon as you're cancer free you go from so much support to very little.  Does everyone think it's all over & I'm back to the old me?  I'm adjusting but it's hard, the old me is gone, just pieces are left to create a new me.  I know the love doesn't stop and that everyone has lives to live, but I just get in these ruts and get lonely.

I need to push myself and I've decided to do this with exercise.  In a dream world I'd have a trainer, but in the real world I'll have YouTube.  There are some great videos which will be my real life replacememnt. I did go and check out my local gym but wasn't impressed with the facilities or resources.  I'm hoping I can stir up some courage and head out for walks.  Not being near a restroom is a huge mental block for me, and the preparation has to happen.  I'm trying my best to make exercise my new job along with learning more about my food issues and living with Crohn's.  I have the time so why not get fit?

I head back to the Cancer Agency Wednesday for my next check up.  I know I'm not fully healed but hope to hear I'm still on the right path.  My last surgery was in December which is not too long ago so I can't forget that and be hard on myself.  I'm still nervous about my cancer coming back so hoping for a clear scan in May to put me at ease.

I love my friends and this is our 40th year so I've taken on planning our celebrations as a PT job.  Photos in May and Seattle in September.  I recently joined Pinterest for ideas and we will have the best group shot fear you not!  Throughout my illness my friends in Calgary came to visit which was so touching, so on the 23rd I'm headed to YYC to visit them.  It'll also be the first time away from home since I got sick.  I'll be with people I trust and in homes where I'm comfortable, so don't have any real fears and hope it gives me some pep in my step!

Lastly I was asked by another cancer survivor and blogger to post a bit about my journey on his website. He came across my photos via Instagram and we've followed eachother since.  I'll write a little blurb and my blog will be linked.  Kinda neat!  He's done many things to promote his site and has a mass following with a book about to be published.

Please support your Vancouver Canucks especially since they didn't raise ticket prices during the playoffs.  The games in Calgary are 90$ more per seat.  I'll be in Calgary for game 6 and would love to go (in my cape of course) but too much for my disability blood!

Oh....don't forget to vote on the transportation and transit issues.  Super easy to get your ballot sent to you at home and postage paid for return.  Everyone complains but doesn't do anything so this is your chance to be involved in a major decision.

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mango

I've got a great bike named Mango. She's a 7 speed Townie cruiser who's colour is....wait for it......orange, hence her name. In case you forgot I love to name things so obviously my bike needs a name. 

Today I got suited up and was ready to take her out for a ride.  Haven't been on Mango in a year but decided it's time. I was totally ready, even had the airpump for the tires, so off I went to the bike room where she's locked up safe & sound.  I've got a new lock on Mango & it's a good lock with a word password only I know since I set it up in January. I swore the password was "sell" but it wasn't ...nor was it fell, sale, sail, fail and 20 other attempts I entered. I always put password clues in my notepad but apparently not for my lock!


I swear I didn't throw out the manual as it states how to reset the password. Pretty sure it's with all my other manuals, but apparently I've put those away somewhere safe!  I can't find them to save my life, but they are in my apartment, where is another question. I moved them last month when I was organizing. I've only got so many places they could be but they remain unfound. 


At this point steam is coming out both ears, self inflicted craziness, so I decide to walk away and did errands instead.  Got some groceries and ended up cooking a decent cod-risotto-veggies meal.  Still haven't found the manuals or solved the code, I don't want to cut the lock off as it's brand new, so hopefully I'll figure this all out tomorrow. 


My nerve pain is much better since I started taking lyrica again.  I want to ask my doctors if I'll remain on this for life or if we can figure out the cause and treat it.  I know for sure I need medication for my leg as without it the pain is pretty bad and muscle spasms happen often. I've only been on my Crohn's medication for a few days so expect to feel relief of symptoms over the next while. One of the side effects are headaches and so far so good, last thing I need is a pounding headache. 


Hope this blog finds you well and you had a nice Easter. The Canucks are officially in the playoffs so continue to believe in Blue...go Canucks go!


XOXO


#carly2conquercancer


C

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Crohn's Carly

Wednesday's procedure went well and I felt nothing.  I was a little woozy from the sedative but not enough to stop me from asking the nurse for my glasses so I could see the screen.  I had no idea what I was looking at but it was kinda neat.  It was over quickly and off to recovery I went.

In admitting the nurse asks you questions about previous surgeries and general health.  Obviously I had lots to say as my journey has been busy, but it was a reflection for me as time passes and you move on to the next so kind of forget the past. As she was hooking up my IV she said I'd sure been through a lot especially at my age.  After she stepped away to help another patient I had a moment.  A small tear rolled down my cheek as I thought about the first day I was told I had cancer and where I was today.  I was in this exact surgical room in July prepping for my groin lymphnode removals and now back for my colonoscopy. A full circle journey. 

The colonoscopy determined that I do have Crohn's disease but a mild case.  I'm taking this as a win because I knew something wasn't right and now I can treat it. Doctor said I've had it a long time, maybe forever, and I'll have to take daily medication to help my condition. 

I was on Google last night checking out web sites and tips and my food life will change in a big way.  For example I can no longer eat raw vegetables, they have to be cooked and some I can't have at all like broccoli and cauliflower.  Up to now I ate cucumber and tomatoes all the time which explains why I felt so bad after.  I'm to steer clear of sugar (aren't we all LOL) and no nuts and seeds.  So no strawberries or raspberries, these 2 fruits I also ate often. When it comes to fruit I'm not to have skin so if I eat an apple I must remove the skin first.  Grapes are on the outs because of the skin, this was another fruit I ate often.

I'm taking this challenge head on and will use it as inspiration to become a great cook and health freak!  Just need to add in the daily exercise and I'm on my way.  It's tough though when your body still hurts and not totally healed.  But I have to push through this and make it happen.  I need to be the driver like I said in my last blog.  

I sure hope that Crohn's is the last stop on my journey.  I'm tired of being sick and hope that as I fix my food life that my cancer life stays away.  My next PET scan isn't far away (May) and my fingers are crossed it'll be clear and my cancer has not come back.  

Look out life, Carly Allen is coming for ya!

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Me?

I thought I had a pretty good idea of who I was pre-cancer.  I had my place in my circle of friends, knew my role in social gatherings, sister, daughter etc.  All of that changed in July as my new identity became Cancer Carly.  It was the new me.. my new job..my new life.

My doctor told me 22 days ago that I was cancer free.  Such relief for me, my family & all my supporters hearing that the treatment had worked.  They still need to watch me closely for reoccurrence as I'm high risk but theoretically cancer free.  Knowing I'm high risk is hard to handle.  My next scan is in May and I can't help but wonder if I'll still be cancer free.  I'm not trying to be negative but that lingering is hard, more hope & faith is needed.  I think after I have a few clear scans in a row this will get easier and the lingering will go away.

In the blink of an eye I went from being at the clinic or hospital almost daily to absolutely nothing.  It's like jumping in to a pool right after being in the hot tub, a shock to your system.  Now I need to figure out how to stop this shock because it's so hard.

I'm not the same Carly pre-cancer and I'm not the same Carly during treatment so who the heck am I?  I keep thinking this has all happened for a greater purpose and I just have to keep improving myself and seeking "me" along the way.  Every day I struggle to get up or to leave the house to do errands or visit with a friend.  Once I set myself in motion I'm fine but it's so easy to just stay within my walls where I feel safe.  If anything goes wrong or if I'm struggling nobody will see me...well I guess my cat!  Maybe this explains why he's licking himself bald....ah that's another story!

Tomorrow I undergo a colonoscopy.  The prep isn't hard for me as I have no problem going without food for nearly 2 days.  I'm hoping that these results will help me feel better with food.  I'm hoping this will answer some questions as to why I feel icky after I eat. I really should be a twig with my eating habits but they're poor habits so my body stores food as I make it feel like it's starving.  Maybe they're right and I have chrones or a form of something similar, we shall see.  Perhaps I'll become a master chef with my new direction with food, any excuse to fill my table with guests!

This cancer journey is crazy.  The physical pain stops but the emotional never does.  I've spoken with other survivors and they say it's never really over, but you need to take the driver seat and not let it drive you.   Easier said than done but thank goodness I like to drive cause it's gonna be a while yet till I drive Cancer Carly in a straight line!

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C




Update Dec 5th

Sorry I am a day late! This is from Carly yesterday :) Pic 1 was taken months ago and shows how big my hernia was. It was even bigger at...