We got home a few days ago, and it is great to be back. I feel like I am picking up where I left off last January. We had just gotten Josh off to university, we had just begun our new life as empty nesters with all the freedom that entails, and whammo, in one phone call on the 15th of February it all came crashing down. Ken and I had spent the previous fall trying to bring ourself closer to self sustainability. We had picked many pounds of mushrooms, and cooked and frozen them. We had bags and bags of blackberries for the winter. We had had a fairly successful summer garden and had plans to build on what we had learned about gardening. In the back of my mind I had plans for us to go in the next few years and start a farm. Somehow all of that was gone with the cancer, all my dreams for the future.
Well somehow getting back to Bandon and feeling so well, I feel that I have just picked up where I left off.(with a lot less hair)..... and a lot more insight into life.. and its alternatives.
I have changed so much in the past 8 months, and I think it has all been good. A friend came over last night for dinner who had been gone for a year and 4 months. She had cycled across the country and back and she said that she could not remember when she felt happier, and I got to thinking that I would have to agree....me too.
I had bloodwork done on Monday and for some odd reason my neutrophil count is still low. It is lower then it was when I had it checked up in Canada. I guess it just takes time for new bone marrow to kick in and start making cells again.
The good part is that my CA125 was 6, which is incredibly good. This test was important to me, because this would have been the first time that I have not had any treatment. So the chemo was stopped 8 weeks ago, and no little "colony" of cancer cells has started up again. We will be watching this closely for the next 2 years, but each time it is a huge sigh of relief when it comes back this low.
With all these muscle aches I have decided that it must have something to do with muscle loss. Though I never really lost any weight during chemotherapy, I am thinking I likely lost muscle mass, with the toxicity of the drugs etc. I am gaining weight rather rapidly now, likely for the same reason.
The bodies metabolic rate is largely determined by your muscle mass. You burn calories every minute of the day, even when you are sleeping. It takes twice as long to build muscles as it takes to lose them. With the elderly since their muscle mass is so minimal, for every day spent in bed, it takes two active days to get back to the same muscle mass.
So I would think that I have lost muscle mass over the past 8 months and I need to get it back.
It will likely help my pain in my legs AND help with weight loss. The more pounds of muscle you have the more calories you burn whilst sleeping. We have a leg press machine, which we have almost never used, so I am doing that a few times a week and doing situps. (situps are weight training for your abdominal muscles) Since your abdominal muscles are a third of the muscles that support your back, working on the ab muscles will likely help with my back pain which is also likely due to weak muscles.
For my health and future cancer risks I intend to try to keep below a BMI of 25, as this is said to decrease risks of recurrence.
I have included a picture of my hair, it is just so odd I wanted to share. The white (or clear) hair started growing within a few weeks of chemo and has grown in quite thick, however a few weeks ago the dark hair started to grow in underneath. What was left of eyebrows and eyelids on the left also fell out in past week or so. They have just started to grow in now as well.
I do feel much better about my appearance since my colour came back, and I got a little bit of hair, I am sure it will feel a lot better to have eyelashes too.
Thanks for reading all my "stuff"
love and peace
jankenb @ gmail.com