My Legacy

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything of substance.  I’ve not had much to say these days — so I went back into my archives and found this draft post — from October 21, 2013.  I’ve not edited it at all. I figured it was best to just post it — grammar/spelling warts and all. So here goes………….
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Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my legacy.

Legacy is defined as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past”.

For me, as you most of you know, at this point, it’s very unlikely that I’ll have my own biological children. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’ve struggled with infertility and then cancer struck. After aggressive chemo nuked my entire body, including my ovaries, there’s little possibility that I can use my own eggs for a pregnancy. Hell, I’m still technically in menopause and have no clue if I’ll ever get my period back (TMI? Don’t read this blog then!).

But, all of that said, I still think about my legacy.  When Paul and I were picking our egg donor, her family health history was very important to us. We looked for red flags, like cancer, heart disease, metal instability etc. Obviously, you don’t WANT any of that if you can avoid it. Thankfully, our donor and her family, on paper, lacked those “bad” traits. Though I’m no dummy, that shit can hit her family tomorrow. I’m living proof of that.

Now, that the dust has settled with my own treatment, I realize that my own family will have to grapple with my diagnosis as it relates to themselves and their own families.  My thoughts immediately go to my brother Bob’s daughters.  Will my darling nieces have to get the BRCA gene test? Since I was BRCA negative, will that test and it’s results even be meaningful if they do have it? Will Bob and Sarah worry every day about their daughters’ susceptibility to cancer given that their paternal aunt got it?

I also think about my maternal cousins; but I’m less worried about them as they’re grown women who can make sound decisions for themselves. What about my first cousins’ children? I realize that’s a bit far removed, but I still think about it.

Finally, we all know that breast cancer doesn’t only impact women – men can get it too. For some reason, I feel cavalier on this front. I feel sure that no men in my family will be impacted. But that’s probably stupid of me. So to my brothers and my male cousins — FEEL YOUR BOOBIES. Sorry, it is what it is.

Ugh. I’ve been so busy thinking about me and getting through this ordeal. I didn’t stop to think what sort of reality and worry my DX may have wrought on my family and extended family.

My only hope is that this starts and ends with me. That my body simply went haywire and that’s the end of it.

Geez, reality does bite.

Comfortably Numb Indeed

One of the joys of my new post bi-lateral mastectomy body, is that I have very limited feeling/sensation in my chest.

What, exactly, does that mean, you might be wondering. Well, when I hug you, I can feel pressure on my chest, but I’m not sure how much is too much — so I just hug away, blissfully unaware that I’m making you uncomfortable.  I can feel a seat  belt pulled across my chest. But I can’t, for the most part, feel my clothes on top of my foobs.

That last one is the kicker.  I was out running errands earlier today and was wearing a silk blouse:

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Cute egh? Not so much. Unbeknownst to me, the top button of my blouse came undone — in the middle of Trader Joes — and I didn’t feel it — so it was unbuttoned for a LONG time.  Free show everybody.

When one of your senses is taken away, your others are heightened — or at least that’s what I’m told.  Here’s hoping my sense of reading other peoples faces and reactions to my half nude body in the produce section becomes finely tuned very soon….

Up the Academy

The newest Sieminski family member misbehaved big time on Monday — so we shipped her off to doggy boot camp.  Maisey’s displaying a little bit of dog and people aggression — sadly for me, I’m the person she chose to get aggressive with 😦  Not ones to ever F around, we sought help immediately.

Maisey will be living with our fabulous dog trainers Biggs & Twiggs Dog Rehabilitation and Training for two weeks. Antoine and Valerie will work with her on manners, obedience, leash walking and socialization with other dogs. It’s been 5 days since she left the house, and Valerie sends us nightly update texts with pictures and videos. Maisey’s catching on quickly, but still has more to learn.

On a serious note, Maisey is a big, strong puppy.  When she got aggressive with me, it was scary, I’m not gonna lie. Post-mastectomy, I just don’t have the upper body strength to show dominance over this baby beast. But Valerie and Antoine are the best of the best.  They said she’s just a cute, puppy who’s been spoiled up until now. She’s never been disciplined and just needs to know what the boundaries are.  Thankfully, they both believe she is fully trainable and that this issue can be overcome.

So, for now, our crazy Maisey is in reform school. I miss her adorable face…..
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The Fat Lady Has Sung….

…the cleanse is over!

We cheated in week 5 while we were in Hawaii — we’re only human, people!  Let me tell you, that pizza and those Mai Tai’s & Pina Colada’s tasted good!  It was easy enough to get back on track for the 6th and final week, though.

In the end, I kicked my carb, sugar and alcohol cravings to the curb (for the most part, I mean, I still enjoy life!).

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Got into a good gym routine.

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And lost 10 pounds!

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I feel so much better, have more energy and am just happier after the cleanse. So much so that I’m going to try and keep the basic tenets of the cleanse going — it doesn’t feel like a burden to me at this point. My body is totally adjusted and I’ve found my rhythm preparing 90% of my meals at home.  Only difference going forward, is that I’m not going to be as strict with myself (I can’t be a social hermit forever!) — I’ll have the occasional pizza, grilled cheese, fro yo or glass of red wine if I’m craving it.

Now that the cleanse is over, I guess I’ll have to go back to writing about cancer and fertility! Luck you, dear reader! lol

My Funny Valentine

We welcomed Maisey into our home this week!!! She’s a 10 month old lab/retriever/hound rescue from the SPCA.

We know Lucy would’ve loved her and would be proud of us for saving another soul.

She’s the best Valentine Paul and I could ask for!

Weigh In Wednesday

We’re one month into the cleanse! I know you’re all morbidly curious — so I shall appease you:

8 pounds lost
Body water % up 1.1
Muscle Mass % up .7
Bone Mass % down .2
Body Fat %* down 1.6

*all of my %’s are now within the “normal” range for a woman in the 30-39 age range. When I started I was in the “above normal” range (Gasp!)

How do I know all of this? My amazing Vitagoods Digital Body Analyzer. This scale is the bomb. They also have an app where you can input all of your data and track your progress.

Off to the gym…..

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The Half Way Point

We did it! We survived a weekend away without cheating on our cleanse!

I’m not gonna lie to you — it was REALLY, REALLY weird to be at a concert and not drink.  It was also really difficult to be around great friends in a city that was absolutely bursting at the seams over the Seahawks playoff game — and not drink and eat everything in sight during the game. But we managed to get through it.

Honestly, if Paul wasn’t on the cleanse with me, I would’ve caved for sure. It was really helpful to have him by my side.  Also, didn’t hurt that my friend Megan is a very clean eater already — so all the food she made us was cleanse friendly.

At this point, we’re three weeks into the cleanse and have another three to go.  I feel like it’s sort of a way of life at this point. So many of you have reached out to me privately to let me know that you too have done a similar cleanse as part of an allergy elimination experiment.  What we’re doing is more or less the same thing.  We’ll add back foods slowly and see how we feel.

For me in particular, this cleanse has been great because chemo really does a number on your organs — your liver in particular.  I feel like eating clean is rebooting my insides!

OK — so the here are the deets: I’ve lost about 6.5 pounds so far. I have a lot more energy than I used to.  I’m able to go to the gym everyday (yes, I even went to the gym while we were in Seattle) for about an hour and forty five minutes.  I run errands, go to PT, cook etc. — and then I’m wiped for the rest of the day.  In all, I can eek out about 6, good, productive hours before I crash.  Hoping to see that time lengthen as we continue the back half of the cleanse.

OH! Final report for you — my heart rate, while exercising, has come down a bit in the past week. Yay!  Cardio that used to put me at 170, is now steadily in the mid to high 150’s.

All of this hard work is starting to pay off!

PS – the JT concert was amazing. It was also so wonderful to get to hang with Josh, Megan, Jess and Katie.  I made a mindful choice to be in the moment and experience our trip rather than crazily documenting everything through the camera lens on my iphone. So you won’t see any pictures in this post. Sorry….