The Real Test

Happy New Year everybody!

The new year has brought a lot of change to the Sieminski household.  The biggest one is that I am no longer working part-time at S&D and I’m back on disability.  I went back to work earlier than I originally planned — and that turned out to be a not-so-great idea for my body.  At my six month check up appointments, I was stressed out and in a lot of pain.  My chest, ribs and spine were seizing up.  So I decided to pull the plug on work and focus 100% on my recovery.

Also, as you know, Paul and I started a 6 week cleanse in the new year.  I promised I’d document our progress, so here goes.

We’re two weeks in and doing really well. Just to recap for you, we cannot have: alcohol, sugar, caffeine, dairy, gluten, the “white devil” (potatoes, rice, white bread etc), fatty proteins (beef, pork etc) or processed foods.  Which means, we are enjoying a ton of veggies, legumes, fruits, nuts and lean proteins.

In the beginning I slept A LOT (like 10-11 hours a night).  Not sure if my body was just trying to occupy itself so I didn’t have to be conscience while craving all the foods I couldn’t eat — or if I just needed the rest!  At this point, I’m past the sugar cravings and past the carb cravings. I’ve been having a lot of fun making up new recipes with me new best friend — kale. OH! and for those of you who know me — no, it’s not been that bad giving up wine. I’ve been pleasantly surprised how easy it’s been actually. Turns out my real Achilles heel is cheese.  Man, do I ever miss cheese!

You might be wondering if I’m feeling any better on the cleanse and if I’ve lost any weight. I have to admit, yes, I do feel a lot better and so far I’ve lost 4 pounds (not earth shattering, but I’ll take it).  I still have a ton of pain/tightness in my chest and ribs associated with my surgery, but I feel less inflamed in general and have slightly more energy.  In fact, I’ve been pretty good about going to the gym and getting into a routine. But don’t be fooled people — when I go the gym — it isn’t your typical gym experience.  My version of cardio these days is to walk for 60 minutes on the treadmill at a 4..5 incline and a speed of — wait for it — 3.2! Yup, 3.2 is as fast as I can go, and trust me, that’s plenty fast for me.  Turns out, fast walking at 3.2 puts my heart rate in the high 160’s low 170’s. That is DANG high.

I’m assuming it’s so high because I haven’t exercised in a long time AND my body is still fatigued from chemo.  I’m hoping that, over time, that number will come down.  In the meantime, I might go get an EKG or a stress test done to be sure I’m not causing more harm than good by pushing myself. After all, the Adriamycin did leak out of my vein and Adria is known to cause heart problems…… Better to be safe than sorry, right?

Overall, I’ve basically been a hermit the past two weeks — just gym’ing it, cooking for myself and Paul and generally avoiding any and all social situations where libations and black-listed foods flow freely. But this weekend, we’re flying up to Seattle because Paul bought us tickets to the Justin Timberlake concert for my Christmas present (great gift, awesome husband). And the added bonus is that it’s in Seattle so we get to spend the rest of the weekend visiting with all our friends up there. Additionally, the Seahawks play-off game is on Sunday — which means MAJOR libations and bar food will be flowing. OY.

So, this is the real test of our willpower and commitment to the cleanse! Wish us luck as we drink water and eat almonds at JT and throughout the weekend! lol

6 Month Check-Up

I had my 6 month post chemo check up with my oncologist earlier today. While I don’t have my tumor marker number back yet, all of my other blood work looks good!!!

During my physical exam, Garrett could tell that my body has started to tighten up a lot.  Everything on my upper body (and I mean *everything*) has been hurting me lately.  From my forearm muscles, to my shoulder muscles, armpits, chest, implants, ribs, sternum and spine — all of it’s sore and uncomfortable.  In general, my daily existence consists of constant, low grade, nagging pain.

G said I have a decent amount of scar tissue that’s developed and he can tell that my body just isn’t humming at the moment.  I wasn’t all too surprised to hear this — he just confirmed what I’ve been feeling.

Enter the game plan to turn all this pain around. Never in a million years did I think I’d be saying this. So, drum roll please…..

Thanks to Natalie’s (my nutritionist at Garrett’s office) urging, Paul and I have decided to go on a 6 week cleanse after the holidays. The tenets of the cleanse come from Dr. Mark Hyman and his ultrawellness philosophy. Natalie has been trying to get me to do this for 6 months. I was super resistant at first, but now that I’m as fat as I’ve ever been in my life — now that my body aches and I’m sluggish as all giddy up –I’m ready to give myself over to this.  I’m hoping it will change the way Paul and I eat forever, but we’ll see.

In the short-term, this is going to be very challenging for both of us. Announcing it on the blog will hold us accountable! I’ll chronicle our adventures for you once we start!

I’m looking forward to the day that we can look back and proudly proclaim that we pushed our bodies to do this cleanse. It’s really going to be a lot of mind over matter for me.  In a nutshell, here’s what you can’t consume for 6 weeks:

No sugar
No alcohol (gasp!)
No fried foods
No dairy (double gasp!)
No gluten
No caffeine
No peanuts or pistachios
No processed foods

So what CAN you eat? Well, lots of things — all the veggies and greens you can think of, tubers, lean (organic) protein, rice, quinoa, berries and nuts (besides the ones listed above).

We told Garrett that we plan to do the cleanse together in the new year. He was pretty psyched for us (though I think he felt a little sad that Paul has to do it with me in solidarity — at one point Garrett asked if bacon was allowed during the cleanse? lol. NOT HELPFUL FOR MY CAUSE G!).

Anyway — after my physical exam where he could tell I’m wound really tightly again, Garrett said that I really need to get serious about cardio. He encouraged me to start at 20 mins a day during the first 2 weeks on the cleanse, then increase to 30 for the second to weeks and 40 for the last 2 weeks. He’s hoping that I maintain the 40 from there on out.

In an effort to help me stay serious about all of this, he said he’d support me by paying for a weekly massage (through his foundation) with Lisa during the cleanse.  Mind you, this massage won’t be a “treat/special occasion” massage. It’ll be Lisa and I working to open up all my muscles and lymphatic system.

I mean — do I have the best oncologist in the world or what? Thank you Garrett, Natalie, Lisa and Paul. Here’s hoping 2014 will find me healthy, relaxed, pain-free and SKINNY 🙂

Meanwhile, Buffalo, NY look out. Paul and I are headed to you for Xmas and plan to eat the s**t out of you while we’re there. Becuase the cleanse starts after our trip 🙂 Pierogi city here we come! yay!

Out with old….

In with the new.

Happy New Year to all! 2012 certainly brought us a mixed bag — but I know 2013 will be filled with awesomeness!

Wishing you all a new year filled with adventure, opportunity, health, happiness, dancing, singing and fun!

Love,

Andrea & Paul