Sunday, July 31, 2016

SpokerRide 2016…

Several weeks we signed up for the annual SpokerRide which benefits the fight against cancer.  Obviously, this year, racing for that cause took on a special meaning this year.

On Friday, I ordered a couple of pictures of Chakotay and walked to Walgreens over my lunch hour to pick them up so I could have a picture of him with me while we rode.

Last year I rode the 25 mile course and wanted to challenge myself this year by doing the 50 miler. 

We got ready and took the requisite pre-race pic.


By the way, see the dorky hat Marc is wearing?  That is a specific hat made for biking with a very small brim so it fits under the helmet.  Marc was thrilled to get it and it wicks sweat nicely.  But it looks DORKY!

Anyway, we get to where the race is held and sign in before unloading our bikes.  As I’ve mentioned before, biking is MUCH more “clique-y” I’ve found than running.  Also, because bike racing takes some equipment, you don’t typically see too many “casual” bicyclists at the races.  Not many are there for fun, they want to RACE. 

So there were people from all over NYS and even other states and Canada.  People with extremely expensive bikes and decked out in full racing gear. 

Everyone was checking out each other’s bikes and talking about gearing and braking parts all excitedly which were a foreign language to me.

By far, men outnumbered the women, and the women that were there, by and large, were extremely lean and toned.  I felt like a horse’s ass lining up near them and wondered if I had made a very stupid mistake signing up for the 50.  I’m going to be last, and last by a LOT – I was thinking and would be humiliated.

The weather was beautiful – low 70’s and climbing quickly.  There were some filtered clouds in the sky and the only bad part was some wind.

The start horn went off and the guys in front took off like bats out of hell.  I was totally left in the dust.  The 30 mile route and 50 mile route broke off just before 1 mile in and I gulped when I turned right and most of the pack went straight. 


The first 15 miles of the course the wind was at our back and it was an ever so slight downhill.  So I was going much faster than I normally can sustain and thought that I was kicking ass.  Then at mile 8 we hit a MONSTER hill and I was passed by an older man and a guy on a EliptiGO.


Have you seen these things?  You stand up and ride them like an elliptical.  I’ve seen them only in pictures before and thought they were pretty cool, but I never imagined that you can go as fast as this guy was going – he was averaging like 15 miles per hour and the hills hardly slowed him at all!

We ended up passing each other back and forth for the next 10+ miles.

At around 15 miles in, we took a turn directly into the wind and the next 15 miles would be a slight uphill. 

It got tough for me mentally and physically at that point – out on these back rural roads.  I was pushing myself pretty hard and my legs were already fatigued and I was only 20 miles in – not even halfway.  And I was getting pissed about the EliptiGO guy – no way did I want him to beat me!!

Around mile 25 we entered a local village, so there were people and houses and it helped me feel not quite so… isolated I guess the word would be.  I finally passed ElliptiGO guy as well as younger woman who had stopped to drink.  I wouldn’t see either of them again.

We hit a main road a mile 27 and a guy coming out of a convenience station in a large truck started to pull out and then quickly backed up after seeing me to give me plenty of room to pass.  I started to wave at him and he stuck his fist out the window and yelled “YOU STRONG LIKE OX!”

I was a bit giddy at that point and giggled to myself for about the next 1/2 mile.

At this point we had finished the main ascent and the ground leveled off, to my relief.

At mile 35 I followed the paintings on the road and suddenly found myself on a very long and steep downhill.  My bike computer told me that I was going about 35 MPH.  I was able to coast for a good mile and it was lovely.  Until I reached the bottom and realized I had to start pedaling again and still had about an hour to go.

I was starting to get very thirsty and had burned about 1200 calories and my stomach was starting to rumble.  I had brought an energy gel with me, but it was in my bike seat and I didn’t want to stop.

At mile 40 I could see that I was coming up to the main road, so I pulled over and gulped a whole lot of water.  I looked behind me and didn’t see anyone and was relieved that I wouldn’t be coming in last.

I considered eating the gel, but since I was on the home stretch decided against it. 

I got back on the bike and headed off, counting down the miles.  With only 5 miles to go, a road marshall blocked traffic and waved me through.  I took the left turn and in front of me was a very short but VERY sleep hill.  I frantically downshifted and pedaled as hard as I could on shaky legs.

From there it was just getting to the finish. 

My goal was to finish in under 3 hours and 15 minutes.  I crossed the line at 3 hours and 10 minutes and the actual course was 50.44 miles.

A pretty good time for me, but PATHETICALLY slow compared to the rest of the field.  I came in 61 out of 68 racers.


But because only 16 women raced the 50 miler, I took 2nd in my age group.  Whoopee.


  A good cause, good workout (1600 calories burned according to my watch). 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

No Magic here….

When I started college at 18, I took Psychology 101 and became acquainted with a phrase called “magical thinking”. It gave a name to something I knew we all have to one extent or another and has existed since practically the beginning of time.

Magical thinking is, most times, pretty harmless, and sometimes funny. It makes us think that we have power over something we have absolutely no power over. It’s like believing that if we wear a certain jersey or concentrate hard enough when the field goal kicker kicks the ball that our football team or win. Many religious rituals are a result of a form of magical thinking. It can get into the unhealthy range like with people with OCD who turn the light on and off 3 times before they go to bed because it makes them believe that this will prevent the house from burning down overnight. And, of course, there is full blown crazy, like Herbert Mullins, who killed people in California in the early 70's believing that it would stop a disastrous earthquake.

I have my own versions of magical thinking. While I know that they are crazy, we all have our little rituals to make us feel better. When we were driving back from the beach on Sunday, Marc and I were quiet and had our go-to station playing on SIRIUS - Hair Band Radio. I was thinking about Chakotay and feeling quiet anxious. I said in my head that if a Warrant (my all time favorite band) song played on our way home then we would get good news at Cornell. Yes, I know, it’s nuts - don’t judge me!!

So when “Sometimes She Cries” began playing, a few miles from home, even though I absolutely knew in my head that this meant nothing in reality, I did feel a loosening in my chest.

This magical thinking continued yesterday morning as I - with much effort - once again got out of bed at 5:45 AM and started running on the treadmill. If I could run just another 5 minutes this would mean good news later that day. I got in my goal of going a full 10K, so this had to mean a great outcome, right?


The news was not unexpected. The experimental treatment did not work. The lymph nodes grew a lot over the past week - apparently the mild shrinkage last week was just an anomaly. 27% growth since his first appointment. So we talked about options. And, really, there are none.

We went home with a large bottle of prednisone that may or may not help some of the symtomology. Which we will give him until the end. The end which is expected to be around 4 weeks from now. While the intellectual side of me knew this is probably the news we were going to get, the emotional side of me - the one that employs the magical thinking - was crushed. As I sat with Dr. Hume in the waiting room as she thanked us for participating in the trial and assured us that even though it didn’t cure him, the information gained was extremely valuable for the research - I became very emotional and started to break down. Reality truly hit me.

It was a long drive home.

The bloodwork was all good. The possibly concerning kidney calcium level from last week is gone and the levels are back to normal. The liver values, other than the albumin which has been mildly low for the last 3 weeks and continues to be a little low, are all good. So my boy is hanging in there. But it will come. It will come fast and way too soon.

The dogs have both been tired and have slept on the way back every time we have gone down to Cornell. Yesterday was different. Chakotay stood up in the back and stuck his head out the window. This is extremely unusual behavior for him. Sometimes both dogs will stick their heads out the window when we are stopped at red lights and look around to see if anything exciting is going on. But as far as sticking their heads out to feel the wind - they don’t usually do that. But Chakotay had his head out the window and the wind was so strong that his eyes were almost closed. And he looked happy as he inhaled the air and his ears flapped wildly.

I couldn’t help but think that somehow he knew that there would not be many car trips left and he wanted to enjoy it. Probably magical thinking of sorts, but it made me cry.

I woke up this morning, and my entire body feels like I’ve been beaten by a bat. And I just don’t care. Not about anything right now. I hope that this will pass.  But hope is a distant memory…

Monday, July 25, 2016

Who am I now?

I have really fallen off the wagon blogging wise, haven’t I? I guess it’s mirroring everything else in my life!

I spent this weekend trying to abide by my new “rules for living”. To live in the moment, to not obsess about WHEN we “should” eat lunch and dinner. To not place demands on doing exercise just for the sake of doing it. Boy, this is truly a process. I don’t know how many times over the short weekend I had to actively - actively - try stop myself from obsessive thoughts.

I’ll give you an example. On Saturday, a local village was having its village wide rummage sales. Marc and I aren’t big rummage sale people, but when a village is having multiple sales at once, we sometimes hit those to see if we can get any deals.

We rode our bikes and stopped at sales along the way. It ended up being almost 40 miles. We were partway through the ride and I kept thinking that we were going to be home late for lunch. I was a little hungry, but I was fine. But the thought that we always eat at noon and it was going to be closer to 1:30 - OH NO! Does this sound unbelievably nutso to you guys? Because it kind of feels that way!

We followed this up with another 40 mile ride on Sunday. I was happy to get in the miles as we have a bike race next Saturday. And it was really challenging for me to ride that distance 2 days in a row. Good training! Although my quads were about done for 20 miles in the second day.

As we were riding, though, I was thinking about identity. I feel less and less like a runner. It’s not that I’m not running, it’s just that I’m not running very fast or very far. And I’m doing a lot of my running on the treadmill. So that in my mind makes me someone who runs - not a runner.

The new Jen that made her appearance with weight loss went hand and hand with being a runner. To getting out there and running no matter what. I ran when it was so cold that I got back to work and had to have security open the door for me because I couldn’t get my hand to work. I ran in the blazing heat where I almost couldn’t catch my breath. I got up on Sundays and even if it was the last thing on earth I wanted to do, I ran at least 13 miles. And now the thought of challenging myself like that seems foreign and exhausting.  Was it obsessive?  Probably.  Unhealthy – maybe some.  But I was relatively THIN. 

Is there a middle ground? Can I be fit and healthy and not obese without obsessing constantly over food and exercise? It feels like me just being a normal human is not within my grasp.

I had one small victory on Sunday. It has been so oppressively hot that we once again took the dogs to the beach for a short time late in the day. I was pretty successful in playing with the dogs and relaxing and not worrying about every little thing.

Tomorrow we take Chakotay for his last appointment at Cornell which will then mean the trial is over. Then what? The future scares me...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hope is a 4 letter word.

Alright, so how about a Chakotay update? We took him to Cornell on Tuesday for his next to last appointment. I told you that last week was a rough visit. His lymph nodes had grown 23% from his first visit. He was eating and drinking, but just seemed... off.

On Friday, I thought he seemed better, just more alert and more his old self. That continued through the weekend and, as I mentioned, he had a great time at the beach on Sunday. The lymph nodes are still profoundly swollen, but to my unskilled hands did not feel bigger.

Now diverting a little from talking about my sweet boy, I started my day Tuesday at 5:45 AM, by getting up and running on the treadmill. Now I know what you are thinking - you are like”Didn’t she just tell us that she wasn’t going to be obsessive about this whole exercise thing??!!” Well, you’re right. But the night before, I thought about the long drive there and back and knew that if I was going to exercise it would have to be before I went to work or after we got home and who knows what time that would be. So I decided that IF I felt like it, I would get up early and run. And if I didn’t? Well, that would be okay. When I woke up before the alarm went off at 5:43 and felt good, I headed down and ran.

I ran slow and for an hour - not because I HAD to, but because I wanted to. I also told myself that I was NOT ALLOWED to worry about any other exercise that day.

I worked in the morning then we headed down. We were greeted by the vet herself instead of a student which has been typical so for a moment I was afraid that something was wrong. But she sat down and went over how his week was and I told her that I thought he had seemed better but it might be just wishful thinking.

We took Archer on a quick walk around the Cornell campus while they took Chakotay’s blood and did his exam. I have not talked about what a good boy Archer has been through this whole thing - he has gone with us each time and has been so well behaved. It’s so hard to tell with animals - what they know, what they think - but I swear he knows that he is supporting his fur brother.

The vets were very fast this time and when we got back, Dr. Hume was right ready to talk to us so that we could head back. If you remember, last week, the lymph nodes had grown 23% since the first visit. She had told us last week that she did not expect the treatment to suddenly work, and that the best we could hope for was stabilization. Well, surprisingly, the lymph nodes actually SHRUNK. Not a huge amount, but still.... All of his blood is good EXCEPT an elevated calcium level. It is not terribly elevated, but it can and does happen with this type of cancer could be indicative of a system wide take over of the cancer. We’ll see what the blood work says next week.

So he stays on the meds for more week and then the trial is over so we decide where we are and what - if any - steps we take next. The shrinking of the lymph nodes is a good sign, but I am not going to delude myself that this means he is on his way to being cured. My hope is that this treatment bought us more time - not just in quantity of life but quality in the time he has left.

And then we headed home. Again, talking about ME - I had not gotten out anything for dinner, not knowing when we would get home. I had to actively and consciously resist the urge all day to obsessively think about stopping and getting something and what we would have and what time we would eat, etc. It’s part of the unhealthy ritual I’ve developed of NEEDING to eat a a prescribed time and needing to know exactly what we’ll have. So on the way home my minuscule bladder and I needed to stop and we got some chicken salad type offering from the deli section and came home and made a wrap with some soup. Not the most wonderfully healthy thing in the world, but okay. I am striving for OKAY right now. Okay is - OKAY.

I briefly considered doing another workout while we watched tv, but I didn’t. And that was just fine. Instead, I stretched out on the floor for a while and cuddled with both dogs. I think that was a good use of my time....

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Healthy or crazy?

Ok, so lots to talk about! I had a really bad weekend which led me to sit down and say to myself - “Self, we need to talk!’

I have been running around in circles in my mind for a long exhausting time now. And it feels like every strategy I’ve tried is not working. I have not lost any weight, I am incredibly unhappy with myself. And the more I hate myself it feels like the deeper I dig myself into a hole.

So I looked at myself and realized that I have taken being HEALTHY to an UNHEALTHY level.

I found myself mentally and emotionally exhausted this weekend. It culminated in the following: Envision this - on Sunday it was hot - not oppressively hot, just beautifully summer hot. I was sitting on a sandy beach, the sun was blazing down and the wind was slightly blowing.

After a hard week, Chakotay seemed to be feeling better. So as I sit on the beach, Marc is playing with the dogs in the water. They are chasing toys and swimming. Chakotay keeps sticking his head under the water and is in heaven. And then Archer comes SPRINTING out of the water, tongue hanging out of his mouth, and runs straight at me and starts licking my face and getting sand and water all over me. He is utterly JOYFUL. Sounds like a great scene, right?

Now get in my head. I am MISERABLE. I am sitting on this beach and obsessively thinking about how I haven’t run since Thursday. I wonder when we’ll leave the beach and if I will get home in time to run on the treadmill, because I SHOULD run - I HAVE TO. I also wonder what we’re going to have for dinner. And, if the 30 mile bike ride I did that morning will have burned enough calories to justify whatever we’re going to eat.

How incredibly fucked in the head is that??!!

I have reduced my life to eating and exercising and everything else is just filler. Is that why I worked so hard to lose weight? So that my life could become an EXISTENCE instead of a LIFE?

So I had a frank discussion with myself Sunday night. Eating well is healthy. Exercising is healthy. Planning meals and being organized is a path to stay healthy. But the way I have done it has turned obsessive and twisted. I don’t think that it was always like this. I don’t remember it that way anyway when I was in the process of losing. But somewhere along the way I lost the plot line.

I feel like I had some success in running races so now I HAVE TO BE A RUNNER. People EXPECT that of me. So even if I’m not enjoying it, it’s REQUIRED, right? My “discipline” for working out is a good thing isn’t it? But when I am planning what exercise I’m going to do later that day WHILE I’M EXERCISING in the morning, Houston, we MAY have a problem.

People have complimented me on my organization. But when I know exactly what we are going to have for dinner, every week night, for 2 weeks in advance, that’s a little over the top. It is also rigid and inflexible. Which, I think, is one of the reasons on the weekend, I just go batshit with my eating, because I don’t have those “rules” for those 2 days.

So it started on Monday. I have new rules that I have decided to establish. After dinner, I will decide what we are going to have for dinner the next night and get out any meat that needs to be defrosted. But I am only allowed to plan that far in advance. Not for the next several days, just the next day. AND I will be flexible and open to curve balls. Every single time I start to think about meals and planning way in advance I have been telling myself “STOP!!” and consciously make a decision to think about something else. I don’t think I really realized how often I think about these things until I tried to stop thinking about them!

The new rules also apply to exercise. When I start thinking about how many miles I “have to” run this week and whether it is “good enough” or those miles to be on the treadmill or if they only “count” if I’m running outside, I, again, tell myself to stop. I will decide what exercise I want to do when it’s time to exercise - not days in advance. I am not a professional athlete. I am not training for a marathon or anything else. I am not required to live up to what anyone else expects about my workout routine. And if there is a day when I miss a workout, then I move on. I won’t obsess about it for days afterwards or try to work out even more the next day to “make up” for it.

Damn, my fine friends, it has only been 3 days, and this is not easy. I am trying to take the power of food and exercise away and make it a part of my life rather than the focus of it.

But I think it is right and I think it might help. At least I hope it will....

Funny enough, as I was writing this post, Pandora chose to play a song for me that I’ve never heard from a band called Sister Hazel. It’s called Change Your Mind. The lyrics really spoke to me:

Hey, hey

Did you ever think

There might be another way

To just feel better,

Just feel better about today

Oh no

If you never want to have

To turn and go away

You might feel better,

Might feel better if you stay

Yeah yeah

I bet you haven't heard

A word I've said

Yeah yeah

If you've had enough

Of all your tryin'

Just give up

The state of mind you're in

If you want to be somebody else,

If you're tired of fighting battles with yourself

If you want to be somebody else

Change your mind

Hey hey

Have you ever danced in the rain

Or thanked the sun

Just for shining, just for shining

Or the sea?

Oh no, take it all in

The world's a show

And yeah, you look much better,

Look much better when you glow

Yeah yeah

I bet you haven't heard

A word I've said

Yeah yeah

If you've had enough

Of all your tryin'

Just give up

The state of mind you're in

If you want to be somebody else,

If you're tired of fighting battles with yourself

If you want to be somebody else

Change your mind

Hey hey

what ya say

We both go and seize the day

'cause what's your hurry

what's your hurry anyway

Yeah yeah

I bet you haven't heard

A word I've said

Yeah yeah

If you've had enough

Of all your tryin'

Just give up

The state of mind you're in

If you want to be somebody else,

If you're tired of fighting battles with yourself

If you want to be somebody else

Change your mind

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Deep breath…

So, the hits just keep on coming. Monday was an insanely busy day - well, what did I expect being off for a couple of weeks? I can’t say that I was thrilled to be back at work, but it was something of a relief to have something else to focus on.

We had to make the trip to Cornell on Tuesday afternoon. I went to bed Monday with the thought that I would again get up early and run. I slept very fitfully and when the time came to get up I just stared at the clock and made an excuse to not get up. I wasn’t incredibly tired I was just LAZY.

I got to work and was there only a few minutes before I got a call telling me that someone I know died of a drug overdose that morning. So, needless to say, yesterday morning was terrible. I left work in time to race home and to get the dogs in the car before driving to Cornell.

After they were finished with Chakotay - doing blood work and associated testing the doc came out to talk to us. As I already knew, the treatments are not working. In the short couple of weeks since they first saw him, his lymph nodes have actually GROWN 23%. The bloodwork is still perfect, so he is not declining there, but it is a matter of time.

I left there feeling so defeated. We got home and I just wanted to give up. I ate a crappy dinner and didn’t care that it was crappy.

Then guilt overcame me and I resolutely put on my running shoes all the time telling myself that if I hadn’t been such a lazy fat cow that morning I could have had my exercise already in. It was 8PM and Marc said “You aren’t really going to run on the treadmill are you?” He told me that I had a stressful day, that having a rest day would be good for me. I wanted to buy that. But I instead went downstairs and turned on America’s Got Talent - silliness. Not news, not more killings, not any sadness, just some mindless diversion.

I didn’t regret running, and when I stepped on the scale this morning, I am down 1 pound. Big deal, right? 1 frigging pound when I need to lose like 40. But having just come off vacation and with all that has been going on, I’ll take the 1 pound, for sure.

I am trying to hang on to sanity and seem to be managing right now, but things are going to get more difficult.

I was talking today to a Veteran who recently went to a Veteran’s Olympic Games type thing. He talked about these vets who have lost limbs and been burned and have all kinds of challenges and how it was so incredibly inspiring to, for example, watch someone swim with 1 leg, or play volleyball with barely healed burns or shooting archery using their teeth because they are missing an arm - he talked about how amazing it is to talk to them and how they face their adversity and remain positive. I told him I wondered what enables some people to face these incredibly difficult challenges and be so STRONG, while there are others who face obstacles and just shut down and give up.

I could use a little internal strength right now if someone could just tell me the magic password!!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The voices in my head…

I think I’ve told you guys before that when I was fat, I had my cholesterol test and it came back high.  Because I was still in my 30’s the doctor quickly explained that they would send some information to me and then practically ran out of the room.

Doctors, as we know, aren’t fond of having the discussion with their fat patients.

And sure enough, I received a couple of pamphlets in the mail about eating reasonable portions, moving more, and stopping eating fattening foods. 

I wanted to SCREAM “Do you think I’m a fucking IDIOT?”  The problem was not in the KNOWING, it was in the DOING.

And no pamphlet I was ever sent told me HOW.  I knew what I needed to do, knew a lot of what I was doing wrong, but I just couldn’t find the way to change.  Which is why I have TRIED to talk in the blog about the HOWS as well as the WHATS.

The last 3 days have been a flurry of me vacillating back and forth between utter and complete despondency and rage.  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and her  grief stages would know me well.

The stages I’m passing through, though, don’t have to do with just Chakotay, although things on that front are pretty bleak.  He clearly is NOT responding to the treatment.  His lymph nodes have grown, he is starting to lose his appetite.  So I have been rudely kicked straight out of hope.  It is fading quickly.

But I am also depressed and SO angry about what is going on in society today.  The hate, the murders, the way it feels that society is coming apart at the seams and that no goodness is to be found.

I am also depressed and angry at myself.  For my lack of self-control and willpower.  I’m not eating right and my exercise isn’t absent, but it’s not great.

And today I read an article about how to stop sabotaging yourself and your happiness.  It told me to stop comparing myself to others, to stop the negative self talk, to be grateful for my blessings, to look for good in the world.

Like the fat person pamphlet, I wanted to scream at my screen. 

I suppose somewhere, some people read that article and say “Oh yeah! I do compare myself to others – I’ll just stop that right this moment!”

But that’s not me.  I’m more in the NO SHIT category.  I know I’m my own worse enemy.  I know I am the only one who can change things.  But HOW?  How do I do that?


Saturday, July 9, 2016

A basket of wishes…


I wish that I was stronger mentally.

I wish I had more willpower.

I wish that my dog didn’t have cancer.

In fact, I wish there was no such thing as cancer.

I wish unicorns were real.

I wish I could learn to accept the apology I will never get.

I wish police officers would treat all suspects the same, regardless of race.

I wish that all people would stop solving their conflicts by murdering others.

I wish the following things had no calories: pizza, peanut butter, ice cream.

I wish I was more disciplined.

I wish Taylor Swift would find a good man, have babies and stop singing.

I wish I could know what it is like to be extremely beautiful for just 1 day.

I wish I could stop sabotaging myself.

I wish the leaders of the world would work in harmony to solve the worlds problems.

I wish I was so much braver than I am.

I wish a hug could heal heartache.

I wish I was filthy rich and unflinchingly generous.

I wish I could accept myself – faults and all.

Anyone else?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cornell, part deux…

Today was Chakotay’s appointment having been on the meds for a week.  We haven’t seen any real changes – he is eating, drinking, pooping, acting normally, but his lymph nodes are still very swollen.

Last night, I set my alarm to get up early to go for a run since I knew we would be in the car all day.  As you guys know, I am NOT a morning person, and I particularly don’t exercise in the morning.

So when I woke up and had to pee about 30 minutes before my alarm was set, Fat Jen immediately started in with a litany of excuses of why I should continue to sleep and that running in the morning is impossible.  But Thin Jen prevailed and we got up when the clock still had a 5  as the first number.  Really?  JEN does NOT get up at that time and CERTAINLY does not start running shortly afterwards.

I have to say, though, it was somewhat peaceful getting out and running in the early morning.  It was very quiet, with little traffic.  AND when I got back, there was this accomplishment knowing that I had gotten some exercise in.  I wish I could say that I will make this a habit, but I doubt it…

We then began the long drive down to Cornell.  I “made” Marc drive and since I hate wasting time, I brought along a long ago abandoned crochet project and worked on it.






We finally arrived at the hospital and were taken in by a student to get an update.  She then took Chakotay into the back to do a bunch of tests.  Every time I see someone else take his leash and walk away with him behind those swinging doors, my heart breaks a little.

When he was done and finally brought out, Dr. Hume was there, and there was good news and bad news (my words, not hers).  First she told us that the lymph nodes had actually gotten bigger – by about 10%.  That is not good, although measuring them is far from precise, and she didn’t seem overly concerned.  The bright side is that all of his bloodwork came back normal.  Red blood cells, white blood cells, etc.  The biggest concern with this regimen is liver damage, and those results take a bit longer, she told us.  We could either wait to find out the results, or start home and she would call us.  Given that he had no symptoms of liver damage, she was comfortable letting us leave.

So we headed home.  It was 88 degrees and very humid and my poor boy had had a stressful day. 


The call came as we were driving, and the liver tests came back perfectly normal.  So we will continue to give the meds and keep hoping for that miracle.

We had talked about stopping for a walk, but it was clearly too hot for him for that.  So I suggested that we stop at a gorge that was only a few miles off our route that Marc had been wanting to see.

We got there, and both dogs happily dashed down an extremely steep hill and dove into the large pool of cold water that collects at the bottom after the water runs down the cliff.  Can you tell how absolutely overjoyed Chakotay is to be in the fresh water?







Archer, of course, was more interested in playing.


I know some of you out there are probably excellent travelers.  But I am NOT and this was an exhausting day, which we have to repeat for the next 3 weeks.

Heading home, I told Marc to stop at the grocery store to get dinner.  He was a little annoyed, just wanting to get home, and the temptation to get home and order pizza or to have him make pancakes was definitely in my mind.  But I am trying SO HARD to get back on track, and wanted to make the healthy choice.

So instead we stopped, and came home with a ton of veggies to sauté and boneless pork ribs to be cooked on the grill.

I am really trying, guys, but I have a long way to go.

Oh, and I did get one strip of the afghan done!


Monday, July 4, 2016

And in other news…

The last couple of days have seen a bit of a return to living my life with some sanity.  I’ve been exercising and eating reasonably well.

Yesterday I took both dogs on a run.  I debated whether to take Chakotay, but he has been acting perfectly normal and when he saw me putting on my running shoes, he began jumping up and down in circles with excitement.  It was a little warm for him – not related to the cancer, as you guys know, so we only went 3 miles.  He did fantastic.

Marc and I then took a long bike ride in the afternoon.  I got home early enough to make the birthday cake – made with carrots, peanut butter and honey.





I am confident that if they had opposable thumbs they both would have given it thumbs up the way they sucked it down!  The icing was supposed to by a yogurt/PB mix, but the meds that Chakotay is on don’t allow him to have dairy, so it was only PB.





Speaking of his pills, did you know that birthday cake effectively hides pills? Smile














We had no specific 4th of July plans, although there may be fireworks later, so today we got some projects done – my putting some stenciling on a post that Marc made for me for a sundial that he bought me for the garden:


While Marc finished up the custom bike rack that he made using old wood, which we painted using some garage sale spray paint I bought.


Not bad, right?

I have been reluctant to weigh myself, because I still am eating way too much and there’s only so much damage that exercise can undo.  The temptation to just say “Fuck it I’m on vacation!” is so strong.  But I just read an article last night in Men’s Health that people often gain 7 – YES 7 – fucking pounds while on vacation!!! 
Holy crap, hopefully I’m not THAT screwed!!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Birthday Boy!


Today was Chakotay’s 7th Birthday.  It feels like only a year or so ago when the breeder sent me some pictures of this adorable little brindle boy and knew that I had to have him before I even met him.


I am trying my hardest to just enjoy him and take things one day at a time.

Yesterday we went for a long hike as it was cool and windy here.  He had a great time.  He doesn’t know that he is sick, which is a huge blessing.  Or maybe he does know and, like Cesar Milan says, he does but doesn’t feel sorry for himself the way people do!

I was planning on making a doggie cake for him, but we got home late and I didn’t have time.  Maybe tomorrow.  I am sure he won’t mind celebrating a day late!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Rationalize and Justify…

You know how I am always trying to justify my eating by saying that I don’t really eat bad things, I just eat too much of good foods?

Well that excuse has flown squarely out the window.  Want to know some of the things I’ve eaten since last Friday?

There’s pizza, ice cream, wheat thins, tortilla chips, pre-packaged trail mix (with Reese’s Pieces), and OH YEAH – don’t forget about 28 S’Mores while sitting at the fire last night.  That is, of course, in addition to the massive amount of food that isn’t unhealthy that I have been eating.

Here’s the kicker – I’m  not even hungry.  But it’s there.  I guess that is the very definition of eating your emotions, huh?

We headed back today and made a pit stop at a Chimney Bluffs State Park – Marc has been wanting to see the spectacular sites there, but it is quite a haul from our house.  It wasn’t exactly on the way, but it wasn’t that far of a detour.

The views were amazing.














And 1 more…


I found myself today thinking that typical addict thinking – So, I’ve screwed up all week, I might as well do whatever I want through the holiday weekend and start new on Tuesday.

You know what that reminded me of?  Way back when.  When every single day I made excuses to not eat right and not exercise all while weighing 300+ pounds.

So can I get up tomorrow and stop the excuses, rationalizations and justifications?