Spin Me Right Round Baby

I've finally been reunited with my first love. At the gym that is.

I've always liked working out, and it's always been part of my life in varying degrees. But it wasn't until I met this hunk of metal back in the late 90s that I really fell in L-U-V with working out.

Being a rule breaker by taking photos in the gym!
Or I at least started a very monogamous relationship with the Spin bike.

I am not a yoga girl or a pilates girl or an anything "cardiovascularly passive" girl. I need music blaring into my ears and people screaming at me. The opportunity has finally arrived when both my schedule and a Spin schedule can start dating again and I am so happy to be back in the saddle again.

Literally, because that's what they call it: the saddle.

Some people were made to run. I was made to Spin.

If ever you thought you were too unhealthy or too unfit to ever start working out, it is never too late. For here I sit, with some mildly uncomfortable saddle-induced soreness, starting my journey from the very bottom of the barrel. When that pesky little tumor was discovered last November, I would say I was fitter than I'd ever been in my life.

I obviously got kicked off the mountain in a hurry and am now staring at the summit wondering how hard and how long it's going to take me to get my grove back. Sure, I look normal on the outside, but I know I'm far from physically sound on the inside. From my neutropenic blood work, to the severe nutritional deficiencies I'm sure to be suffering from thanks to the life-sucking tumor and the life-destroying chemo, I'm a internal hot mess!

I know it's going to be frustrating for me to start at the beginning, rebuilding my body to points it's already passed. As frustrated as I get at how hard it is to do things that use to be easy, I have to remember those frail weeks in bed where all I could do is dream of doing burpees.

But I'm determined! This is where that revised appreciation for feeling good and making the most of every day really kicks in. This is also the point where I have no real excuse to leave the house without my eyebrows or mascara. Society appreciates this.

Though I may be starting at the beginning, I appreciate the fact that I even have the opportunity to do so. Even if I can't feel my fingertips or toes in the process, I appreciate that I even have the energy to climb on that bike or put on my running shoes. Feeling your toes is overrated anyway.

I got all the reminder I needed today at my follow up appointment with my oncologist, when a patient who normally walks in was wheeled in. She had no regard for her own privacy so HIPAA does not apply here, and I was free to listen to her discuss her diagnosis with the person sitting next to me in the waiting room.  The chemo wasn't working, the cancer had spread and she was headed to Duke University for some trial medications. She had just come out of her oncologist's office and was so stoic considering the news. Listening to her fueled my gratefulness, but it also fueled my desire to work harder at this next phase of my life and new found mission.

Here she was too weak to walk and there I sat ready to hit the road running. I know what it's like to get tired just standing for too long. Just ask the mall Santa how pleasant I was last year after waiting for 2 hours in my post-op condition. It rhymes with kitschy I can assure you that Mrs. Claus doesn't like when Santa says words like that in front of the elves.

I am grateful for what my body can still do for me and I look forward to reminding everyone that I'm doing it because I CAN. If this beat up body with numb toes and no immune system can make a come back, anyone CAN.
This girl is available for a butt kicking whenever you need one.


Only 13 More Years

Yep, still a large mouth bass.
I have yet to find a boarding school for preschoolers, so Merrick was stuck excited to return to his school for the start of his Pre-K year.

I'm hoping that my tires didn't leave marks on the road as I sped out of the parking lot, throwing caution to the wind and blaring explicit music.

I love him dearly, but he is exhausting. My parents just throw their heads back and laugh as karma has presented me with the incarnation of my younger, chattier, high-maintenance self.

And when I ask him why he must talk so much and demand so much of me, he so sweetly says it's because he "has so many questions."

And then I feel mommy guilt.

As Rex said in the first Toy Story: "Great, now I have guilt!"

Yep, still pigeon-toed.


And Like That it was Over

Officially done.
I'm in a race to emotionally distance myself from the past 9 months of my life. I'm longing for the return of routine and normalcy that will somehow trick my mind and body into thinking this was all a dream. I'm almost two weeks out from treatment and have been putting off this blog post because I can barely stand to look at the photos without getting that wave of nausea that I so enjoy.

So perhaps I'm not racing fast enough into my new reality?

My last bag, being delivered to me like a newborn baby.
The photos were part of my documentation of this whole experience. Partly to remember and partly to enhance this blog. But on this last round they were mainly for the sake of Merrick. For him, the end would be real not just because we told him, but when he could see that my PICC line was gone. He needed tangible evidence that it was all going to be OK and he would get his mommy back.

That simply translates into a video taped the removal of my PICC line, which was neither painful, slow, gross or bloody. I'll refrain from posting it here lest you fall asleep watching its non-graphic removal. But should you want to see, I can always send it to you. It was very unceremonious and quick. Just like that, it was done. And that was all the proof Merrick needed.

Bye-bye my little noodles.
I was officially noodle-less and that meant I was all better. Hypothetically.

Because I had that panicked look of impending vomit on my face, my infusion nurse did not make me suffer through the traditional end-of-treatment bash in the infusion room that includes noise makers, jester hats, certificates and photos. I'm not even sure I said good-bye to her. She was always so perceptive. Either that or I always appeared to be on the verge of vomiting so she was always quick to let me escape that place without saying a word.

Noodle-less Mama.
Aside from a few thick files and a bag of medical supplies from my PICC that are waiting to be donated to the local SPCA, I've rid the house of everything that reminds me of where I've been all these months. I've thrown away PICC covers, bio hazard bags and chemo spill kits. I've put away nausea pills away in the medicine cabinet, which in and of itself was a relief.

I feel good. I feel normal. I can almost kinda sorta feel the tips of my fingers and my toes. Though there's disputed evidence of how long chemo likes to linger in your body, I'm going to assume the worst and help it along in its departure.

Soon to come are the detoxing body wraps, infrared saunas and the acupuncture.

Soon to come is my channeling of suppressed anger into the passion to help a cause because I CAN.

Soon to come is me building my body back and using my new found appreciation for wellness to help those that aren't and can't.

I think the best summary of the end is really a beginning for Merrick. On the night before I was to get disconnected from my pump and have the PICC line pulled out of my arm, Merrick prayed (in his weird little falsetto prayer voice) that "Mommy would not forget that she can finally go off the diving board with me." For him and his little world, so much of his summer fun was mared by the fact that I couldn't get my arm wet. Ocean swims and diving boards (and normal showers) were off limits.

This last weekend he finally got his wish. See little buddy, prayers do get answered. For him this solidified that Mommy really is back and she is all better. Now the fun can resume.

Jumping for JOY!