Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mother of Hell!!

Y'all are not going to believe this, but it's SNOWING again here. I just finished posting and got up to brush my teeth and get ready to hit the gym, and I can see some funny activity reflected in the bathroom mirror out the window... what is that? WTH? It's SNOW. And it's sticking already!!! Waaahh! I just had to let you know.


Somehow I ran 6 miles yesterday. Frankly, it sucked. I was super motivated to go out and run - the sun was all shiny and the blue sky was all happy and I was all, yes, this is going to be awesome, finally I get to run outside! No. It was COLD. And windy. It was NOT 45 like the weather channel kept saying. As soon as I started off, I wanted to stop. My lips were numb from the cold. My ass hurt. My stomach was upset. I felt like I was going to hurl (??). I wanted to turn around, but I just kept thinking, just keep going cause the way back is mostly a downgrade and it will feel great and let's just see if you can do it, one more half mile, just one more. I kept trying to focus on all the things I'm thankful for... that I CAN run, that my legs both work, and that the sky is clean and blue and that the icky cancer-curing stuff is behind me, etc. Eventually the half miles added up to three and at the turn around point, I really did start to feel much better. I guess I found my stride, plus the wind was at my back and the downgrade on the trail made it easier!!

BUT... right around the halfway point, I became acutely, depressingly, DESPERATELY thirsty. All I could think about was how badly I wanted some water - just a sip - and how the more I thought about how I wanted water, the more I wanted water.

The creek bubbled along mockingly to my right and if it hadn't been for the random trash and debris floating here and there, I would totally have crashed down the ravine and stuck my face in it, it looked so cool and yummy. I even thought about pushing down some unsuspecting fellow jogger and stealing their water bottle! The fountains didn't work so I had to wait till I got to the ranger station and the running water in the restroom.

Let me tell you, I don't think water has ever tasted that good before. It was running out of a rusty tap in a stinky old bathroom and it could have been the cleanest glacier runoff, sealed away in ice from a time before air pollution, it was so good. I drank and drank and drank until my belly was full. Then, of course, I didn't want to run again, but alas, my base layer was soaked and I still had two miles to home and would have gotten hypothermia if I tried to walk, I think. Lucky thing, that. Forced me to run the rest of the way!! After I was done, all the endorphins flooded my brain and I began to forget the suckiness!

I finished in 1:23:16. That includes the time I spent on my water break and time at the intersections. Probably I ran it in about 1:10 or so... 11 minute miles. There's probably no way I will run the race in 1:40, if I run it at all... but who knows? I might do something magical on race day...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Spring is on the way!

I'm not sure what happened to this post. I tried emailing it to blogger, but I guess it got lost in the cyberspace. Soooo ... this was from Tuesday.

There are still random melting chunks of ice everywhere, but it's in the 40's today -- halleleuja!! I cannot WAIT until spring is here. It's bittersweet because several weeks of lovely, brilliant weather are followed by brutish heat and humidity beyond what is humanly tolerable. Sadly, our nation's capital is built on humid lowlands unfit for human habitation. If you don't believe me, come here in August and walk in the stifling sauna for 15 minutes! I can't wait to run outside again. In the summer, even running before sunrise leaves you soaked from head to toe, but I don't care! Anything but the Dread'!!

After the end of the wallowing, plus sleeping 10 hrs a day for THREE days in a row (yay for sleep!) I had really fantastic workouts two days in a row. I had a fully destructive leg workout involving squats, deadlifts, split squats and step ups. Then, despite sore legs, I completed my first HIIT workout! I've tried to do some intervals recently, to no avail. They've always left me hunched over behind the machine in a dizzy stupor. I finally realized -- duh -- I didn't START doing intervals at full throttle, and I can't expect to jump right back in and kick it like I did before the surgery. So I did a modified interval workout on the step machine - BFL style, where instead of level 5, 6, 7, 8, I hit level 5, 6, 7, then 7 again, four times. Not bad! Next time I will throw a couple of 8s in there and gradually work my way back up. I then jogged for 10 minutes at 6 mph, focusing on my form.

In the weight room, I've been doing a different workout each time I've been in. Mostly they've been high rep total body workouts with upper/lower supersets (like pairing squats with assisted pull ups). This week I'm going to do a leg day, and upper body day and a total body day, plus 3 days of some kind of cardio (not necessarily running unless it's nice enough outside cause the Dread' is making me batty). Leg day is done. Here's my upper body workout:

These are all 4 sets of 10 reps each, supersets with full rest...

Dumbell incline bench press (30's)
Seated cable row (number 5 on the machine, not sure of the lbs)

Standing shoulder press (15's)
Wide grip lat pull down (number 6 on the machine, not sure of lbs)

Close grip barbell bench press (55#)
High shoulder pull (30#)

Swiss Ball crunches - bodyweight - 3x15

I'm thinking moderate cardio tomorrow - maybe a 3-4 mile jog, then lift again Thursday. Friday is rest day. Saturday I may attempt the 6 miles I had planned but did not complete this past weekend - IF the weather cooperates. I will not run 6 on the Dread'. We went and saw Bridge to Terabithia yesterday, which was pretty good. Then we met friends for Vietnamese food. For the record (I'm sure I will probably offend someone here), I detest Vietnamese food. Especially pho (gak). And the person sitting across from me, of course, ordered a gigantic bowl of (you guessed it) pho. I spent the meal gagging privately to myself as that unmistakable odor of dirty laundry water wafted across the table into my face. Ew.

On the orchid, Chris, where do you come up with this stuff?! Since when do you cultivate orchids?! :) You're funny. I have determined that I have a phalaenopsis that looks like this. It is planted in bark in a container that allows draining. My main concern is that it is at work under the bright neon lights - is this a bad idea? Too much light? It will probably stay cooler in my office than at home, especially in the summer, but I'm worried about it getting too much light. I read that they like cool shady spots.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I must be retarded....

... why in the world would I think that Arlington County or anyone would clear the bike/jogging paths?? Grrr..... They are COMPLETELY impassable. Invisible even, since there's a blanket of snow over everything that froze solid (like concrete) over the last few days of temps in the teens with negative wind chills.

The Law of Attraction

I just realized as I was typing the title of this post how coincidental it is that I found this link last night as I was wallowing... Things have a way of coming around just when we need them most. I was skulling blogs and there were lots that happened to be talking about this book The Secret. I guess Larry King had a show on it, and people are talking about it. It's all about how we create our own universes, our lives, through our thoughts. This is not a new or unique idea - there are plenty of philosophies and self-help books that mention this concept, including the Bible. The idea that we are what we think has always been a frame for my life, although sometimes I need to be reminded of it. Anyway, you can watch the video in 11 chapters here.

All the world arises from our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pictures & the return of the funk

Since I've done absolutely piss-all since yesterday at about 6:30 pm besides sleep and click the mouse button or the remote control (oh yes, and eat copious amounts of carbohydrate, must not forget to mention THAT), and therefore have nothing to talk about except self-pity, if we're getting technical, I thought I'd go ahead and post some pictures I've been meaning to share for a while now. Save the insights for a sunnier day. We're fresh out of insights over here.

This is Adam and me at the Smithsonian orchid exhibit. Don't I look orange? And my head looks abnormally small from that angle next to Adam's. Weird. We went to this exhibit last year and thought it was better then, but still enjoyed the live orchid varieties. Adam gave me a purple orchid for Vday which is at my office and which I must attempt to keep alive! (suggestions appreciated!)

More orchids. You can see some of the purple sort on the left there. It's amazing that they all look so different but are all orchids... (ahem, that was my deep insight for the day.)

And here's my new couch which I bought while I was so completely hypo that I couldn't remember what color I ordered (heh) and had delivered five days after the RAI. The couch I was radioactive on is at Cara and Matt's !! Don't worry, I covered it with a big blanket so it's not contaminated!

Speaking of RAI... these were taken with a cell phone so they are not that good, but this is me in the hospital, taken just before my RAI dose. Here I'm showing off my pink pajama pants with sledding dogs that were sacrificed to keep me warm while hypo and radioactive in the hospital. Sadly, they had to be abandoned along with all the other things I used. Behind me, you can barely make out the latex glove taped to the door handle... they taped latex gloves over all the handles and light switches. Also, you can't really see it, but the floor is covered with plastic -backed padding. As were all the other surfaces I would be using. Oh, and there's my cooler under the tv. Do NOT get RAI treatment without bringing your own provisions, as the staff avoids your room like the plague and the food isn't LID compatible anyway and you'll end up having to flush it down the loo (since they won't take any waste out of your room the entire time you are there).

Here's another one. This time I'm modeling the lovely sweatshirt donated by Adam which I was SO thankful for, as it was cold in the hospital. It met the same fate as the pink pants (wonder where they are now? Still imprisoned in the basement of Washington Hospital Center??) I wore it over my head, stuffed around my ears, that night as I tried to get some sleep with all the noises in the hallway. This YELLOW sweatshirt may very well be radioactive in its own right!! I changed hospital gowns each of the 4 times I showered, and underwear (I'd brought several old pairs), but wore the pants/sweatshirt the whole time. Clearly the chair is covered. To protect it from me.

And the moment you've all been waiting for... my hair. I think I look a bit strange and possessed in this picture!! Anyway, there you have it. It's not usually curly, I just happened to take the curling iron to it yesterday cause I didn't work out and had extra time.

I have two other depressing things to write about at the moment. The other night, when I woke up to take my thyroid hormone, for some reason it dawned on me that I will die if I do not take this pill. I cannot live on my own devices anymore. Not like I ever would just head out into the wilderness with nothing but my wits to keep me alive, but I could have before and now I can't. It's part of this helpless, dependent feeling that comes and goes lately. And also the feeling like the ceiling has flown away and I'm being sucked out into the endless blackness - completely untethered.

The other thing is my scar. It hurts a lot today. In fact, it seems like it hurts more when I don't eat well and exercise (isn't that strange?). I wonder why. It hurts in the morning often anyway, but more so when I'm being lazy and eating junk. Also, Adam gave me this gorgeous sting of pearls on Valentines day, which was so sweet and thoughtful because he was thinking maybe it would cover up the scar... but they hang just below the scar and kind of draw attention to it. :( Not that I'm to the point where I can wear necklaces yet... the scar is still too sensitive and gets irritated with just my T-shirt rubbing it, much less metal. On a positive note, the more I thought about it, the more I decided that I just don't care if neck jewelry draws attention to my scar! It's part of me now and damned if I'm going to let a scar get me down!

I'm struggling with motivation a lot the last couple weeks. With the tightening of the pants and the tiredness, and the whole cancer thing, I guess I just am in a funk. I'm thinking a lot about whether I want to go on training for this 10 mile race. It may be adding an element of stress that I don't need right now. I still have five weeks or so till the race, so I guess I don't have to decide now. Sigh. There, I said I was not going to write about the ick, but I did anyway!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

I knew it!!!

You Scoundrel! Chris, I knew it was you! You would have been my second guess except that you threw me off thinking you knew Jennifer. It was the vexing part that gave it away… that made me think it was you immediately. I should have gone with the initial gut feeling! I had no idea you were such an eloquent writer – thanks for your nice comments! I’m flattered that you like to check in here. Frankly, I didn’t think you cared one whit about my “thoughts and feelings” – I mean, you barely acknowledged my announcement that I had cancer. You’re such a weirdo!! You’re lurking for months on my blog and you can’t bother to send me an email or give me a ring to see how I’m doing?!! For the record, now that I know you are out there reading, there will be no funny business. No pranks, practical jokes, stealing of scrunchies, staplers in jello molds, etc. I mean it!!

For the benefit of those who don’t know Chris, he’s … well, how shall I describe him? We had a crush on each other in 8th grade, in Germany, although hardly anything ever came of it… probably because I was too shy or inapproachable because I remember he had several girlfriends. But we did used to sit in the back aisle of the library and hold hands for hours (yes, the library – we were/are unabashedly nerdy). Plus we kissed once, in 9th grade on his grandma’s couch in Alabama. That was my first kiss, although I think I lied and told him I’d been kissed before. We’ve remained friends from a distance ever since – keeping in touch sporadically and bumping into each other on occasion. He lives here in DC, but we pretty much never see each other. Maybe because it’s too weird maintaining a close friendship with a former romantic interest – maybe because we just run in different circles – who knows. Anyway, it’s a bit odd that Chris is now surfacing as a reader of my blog!!

In other news, my average heart rate is coming down! This morning I completed 4 miles on the Dread’ in 38:27 with an average HR of 155. That is exciting progress! Plus, I had a really fantastic 5 mile run on the trails on Saturday, in spite of the FRIGID temperatures. I woke up Saturday feeling really good – for the first time in months. I felt motivated and energetic, and I wanted to jump out of bed and get moving (ok, I’m stretching it a little here!). I waffled while staring at’s forecast for Arlington (27 degrees, feels like 14, winds gusting 15-20 mph) and watching the blue sunny skies out my window about whether I should attempt an outdoor run. I finally decided I needed to feel the wind on my face and bundled up to face the trails. The single digit windchills nearly ruined the experience for me. It was sooooo cold, I could feel the snot freezing on my upper lip and my eyeballs were aching (probably also near freezing). But all in all, it was the best run I’ve had since before the surgery. I really felt good. I was wiped out the rest of the day, though!! That’s the farthest I’ve run in a long time.

So for the most part things are looking up. I definitely feel better. Most of the freaky uncomfortable water retention has even subsided, although I must say that the pants are getting tighter, people. Inflation is gone, but the fatterness cannot be denied. Not sure what to attribute this to, as it’s seemed to come on in the last couple of weeks. Perhaps it is a result of still being a bit hypo… perhaps because I’ve not really been watching how much I’m eating since coming off the low-iodine diet… perhaps a combination. Whatever the cause, the uncoolness of this is beyond. I’m about to have to institute Operation Stop the Fattening, but I really don’t want to have to resort to any drastic measures. The scale is still on the blink, which is probably for the best, but a girl knows when her hips are spreading without stepping on a scale.

I need to go to Target and get a new scale and some new hair products, as I was informed at the salon yesterday that my Pantene that I’ve been using since high school pretty much is making a waxy buildup that will cause my hair to fall out. I’m not sure I believe this entirely, but it did worry me enough to inspire a change in hair care protocol pronto. Oh, and I got my hair cut – chopped off about 8 inches! It looks cute, I think, although Adam had a muted reaction… but I think he just wants my hair to be long forever, all wavy and flowing like a Victoria’s Secret model. It was time for a change! Maybe I’ll take pictures and post them. I have lots of pictures I should get around to posting one of these days soon!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Riddle me this

Allright, Anonymous, I'll play. Even though it's quite possible that you are some creepy weirdo who is stalking me... I'll buy that you know all those disparate details about my life because you actually KNOW me, not because you are Pervy McPerv. I have to admit that I really thought you were John Eric too, since he's the only one of a tiny handful of people who know both Jennifer and Cara, and would use the words "wonderous" and "vex." But I suspect that you don't actually know Jennifer, even though you implied that you do. Perhaps you just know of her. I do like a good intrigue, especially if it keeps my mind off the fact that I feel like I swallowed both an innertube AND a beach ball... two beach balls.

Which, by the way, is really starting to worry me. The weight gain so far has been minimal - a few pounds - nothing that's had me too concerned. But this is my first week off the cytomel, which was probably keeping me going a bit better than the T4 alone. So is this the part where I balloon up 20 lbs like some of the people I read about??? Coincidentally, my scale has chosen this as the time to malfunction, and only stares blankly at me or says LO (which makes me think MOO - cause don't cows "lo" or something like that? I think I remember that from the Bible or somewhere).

I did run this morning, which I considered a major accomplishment, especially considering that I was held captive on the Dread' to the most irritating gaggle of females IN THE WORLD (possibly that is true). The two on my left were squealing and chattering nonstop, and repeatedly (ab)used the words "like" and "seriously." The woman to my right I suspect was responsible for the truly heinous egg-beaters farts that left me gasping for oxygen several times. And one of the two girls on the machines in front of me finished her workout and proceeded to STRETCH ON THE MACHINE while chatting to her friend for a full 13 minutes. Despite the fact that the next two treadmills were broken and there was a steady stream of people who would get on, poke at them for a few minutes and resign themselves dejectedly to the stationary bikes. GAH! The running itself was not too bad. I only wanted to collapse a couple of times (see above about the farting).

Anyway, back to Anonymous. I'm pretty sure I know who you are. At least I think I do (although I was wrong before twice already, but now I think I know). I have it narrowed down to three people, but you seem the most likely candidate. Instead of guessing outright and risking being wrong (again), I'll let the game go on if you'll answer three questions. They are all yes/no questions, and I think I will be able to guess your identity by your answers.

1. Are you married?
2. Have we kissed?
3. Have we seen eachother in the last two years?

Back to you then.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I'm taking a wild guess here. Hoping you'll send me an email if I'm right! I just didn't think anyone else I know was actually reading here, so curious to know (despite what you wrote, you could be any of 10 or 15 people I can think of).

Dear Anonymous

Not to sound rude, but who are you??? I've been wondering for two days now! It would be cute and fun if you left some clue to your identity and I could be like, oh, that's so-and-so! But I've already asked the three people who actually know me who read here and all of them assured me they would never sign off with a slightly creepy "someone who has known you for a long time..." --- sooooo... who are you?! (You have to admit it is kinda creepy.) Send me an email.

Also, I must complain that I bundled up and went over to the gym this morning, feeling super-proud of myself for braving the very light dusting of snow we got, and it was CLOSED. Could Gold's BE any more USELESS?? For real, upstate New York got 2.5 feet, and they are out shoveling, etc. and DC gets 1 freakin' inch and suddenly all the schools are closed and everyone drives like a maniac and the GYM IS CLOSED. Grumble.

And while I'm grumbling, ever have one of those days where NONE of your clothes feel right? And you hate ALL of your closet and want to throw everything right in the trash can? Except for those fuzzy warm pants that are three sizes too big that you wear to sleep in... and your running shoes. But everything else is awful and makes you feel like a blimp or a pubescent nerd on the first day of 9th grade and it's not just that you have pimples -- you suspect that you ARE a pimple, at least you feel like one, and you wish that everyone would not look because they are certain to see that you're faking. That was yesterday. Today I just feel like a blimp... I haven't gone into the closet yet.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sick and Tired

What? I have a blog? Oh yeah, I guess I could log on and write something sometimes!

The truth is that I've been in a pissy mood all week -- and what is it they say? If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say nothin' at all. Of course, I reserve the right to be a complaining, uptight bitch anytime I want! It's my blog after all... but I somehow don't feel much like sitting down to type it out when all I have to say is bah.

First of all, I've been busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest. And that's partly because I apparently must now sleep for 9+ hours per day and fart around for another hour (at least) in the morning to be functional. And I've just been tired. I'm tired all the time, it seems. Definitely still hypo. Not as bad as when I had NO medicine in me at all, that was really hell. For one thing, I don't have the energy for my workouts. And my muscles get more sore, it seems, and it takes them longer to recover than before.

[On a tangent here, I was thinking grim thoughts and realized that without taking any thyroid hormone, I was pretty much DYING. I mean, it probably would have taken months before I would go into a coma or anything, but I would die without thyroid hormone... eventually. Ok, moving on...]

I'm tired of being sick. And I'm sick of being tired. I'm just sick and tired!!! Aargh! It's so frustrating because I look pretty normal, and I just want it all to be behind me already.

On the workout front, not much has been happening. I worked out a whole two times last week. Pathetic. It's part of my undoing - I start to fall apart when I don't exercise. I've been running some. It's sub-optimal, to say the least. My heart is just working so hard and I'm not running that fast, which means it's difficult to carry on for very long. Mostly my runs consist of moments when I feel ok, just ok, and moments when I am FREAKING THE HECK OUT BECAUSE OH MY LORD HOW AM I EVER GOING TO BE READY TO RUN TEN MILES IN LESS THAN EIGHT WEEKS. Which does not help the heart rate, I can tell you. Plus, it is really stinking cold here, people. It's going to be in the low 20s for a high all week. And I absolutely abhor running outdoors in the dark in the morning in those frigid temperatures. I abhor it just slightly more than I abhor running on the Dreadmill, which means that I run on the Dreadmill. And there is no joy in that, people. No joy.

I can report that I ran yesterday and it did not go too poorly. It was sunny and 32 degrees. Perfect weather for a Saturday winter jog. And my heart rate stayed around 158, which was happy. Evidently I can keep it close to normal as long as I maintain 10-11 mph on a flat surface. I saw something curious on the trail that sent me into a brooding pensiveness. There was a woman walking along, outside on the trail, for exercise, while reading a book. A large hard-cover novel. Strange. That's not the first time I've seen that in this city. I'll never forget the first time I saw someone on their lunch break downtown, strolling along a busy city street reading a book. I've seen people clearly headed somewhere - with a determined stride - on a busy sidewalk reading the paper or a novel. But this is the first time I've seen someone on the trail doing it. I have to just say, can't this city just chill the heck out? For five minutes?! Heck.

Part of my depressive, ass-dragging, bitter mood is probably caused by the fact that I'm now starting to deal with some of the emotional/spiritual repercussions of a cancer diagnosis, and everything I've been through in the last few months. Sometimes it's completely overwhelming. I've said before that cancer is a thief, and it continues to prove itself such. The latest in the list of things it has thieved away from me is my identity. My sense of self and purpose and direction. All that went up in the wind on October 19, when I found out I had cancer, and it's still swirling around up above me. I haven't had much chance to think about it while I've been going through all the immediate life-saving stuff. But now that that's over, I'm left with all these holes and pieces of my self and my life and I just haven't quite figured out how it all fits together anymore. There are holes that never will be filled, and some broken things will never be fixed, and some pieces just don't seem to belong anymore. It's not like I sit here and wonder specifically, who am I in this world? It's far more subtle than that. I feel like I'm just going through the motions of my former life, waiting for something. What does all that mean to me now? I'm just not sure. My perspective is so changed and shifted, and I'm still so dizzy from it, that I can't see the path ahead, or if I'm still on the same path, or even in the same forest.

Why do I do any of the things I do each day? What matters to me? How do I want to spend my time, my precious time, each precious minute? How do I want my life to look? There are many many moments when I just want out. I want to get away from this city, this rat race, this void of politicians and self-important people, this never-ending stream of demands and developments. Sometimes it seems so ... absurd. I feel like I'm standing still, submersed in water even, while the world rushes around me, absurdly, uselessly, wastefully. I just want to get away from it. I want a more quiet place. A more beautiful place. A less paved place. I want more laughter and joy, more adventure. If I thought I could find a job even half as interesting as what I do now, I would split in a second - back to the west, to the mountains and the desert. Near my family.

Sometimes I just want to not have to BE so much anymore. Not have to be so smart, and have so much information, or the answer. Not have to be going here and there, not have to eat just so or be awake or be interested or interesting. Sometimes everything seems so tiresome.

And I feel like a stranger in my own skin. This scar, which I see every time I look in the mirror. Purply red still. Forever there now. It makes me want to throw up sometimes when I see it and I think about it. And it hurts, in the morning especially. Tender like a fresh burn. It wakes me up sometimes. It will be there on my wedding day- a little smile reminding me of where I've been. Yes, I think about that, and feel sad about it sometimes too. And this body, which does not want to work as well as it once did - I feel too young to be broken. I feel jealous in the gym when everyone is pushing through their workouts and I have to stop every five minutes so I don't pass out. I want my body back - I want to trade in this ever-softening, weak, sad body. And I think of all the things this body has to carry me through in the future and I feel scared for it. Pregnancy someday... how will I get through that?! Will it just be a challenge instead of a joy as I always imagined it would? And don't even get me started thinking about all the follow-up and possible recurrences and retreatments and all... I will become a nervous wreck!!

So... that's pretty much all I've got to say. Not a whole lot positive - there's a lot of stewing and churning inside of me. It's made me withdrawn and isolated. I'm usually extremely introverted anyway, but this is a solitary and silent struggle magnified greatly. You know it's bad when you can't even open up to the internet. And internet, I know you're always there for me! I think about you all the time. What is the internet doing right now, I think, does it miss me? Does it even notice I've not been around? Here's hoping I have better thoughts to add to the ether next time.