Sunday, March 11, 2012

Month of March and Many Decisions

I have started to write this post two times prior and have just put it away. I have made some decisions and will just simply jot them down and how they are working out so far.

First choice was to take the month of March off from all my teaching, training and even a little break from my "Nonna days". That opened up time for me to concentrate on the changes I felt were absolutely necessary to help me with the continual headaches, fatigue and stress.

My husband and my  counselor Dr. K agreed with this decision and encouraged me to "be kind to yourself". I have realized that from the beginning of the stage 4 diagnosis I have been working so hard at living..moving forward...working..staying healthy...fighting...that it felt wrong to rest, wrong to take a break, wrong to focus on myself at a much deeper level. To assess where I am, what I have gone through for almost 14 years, and where to go from here. Quite frankly, I had become exhausted!

Not only were my doc's, family and friends very were all my clients I train. I was worried about putting our classes on hold for a month. I am very appreciative of them, their prayers and support.

After step one to put a month aside it was time for step two. The headaches, which led to even more fatigue, a lot of sleeping and medication for pain and yes, depression. This was NOT a fun cycle! I was really starting to feel "sick" and knew I was sinking into a hole that I had to dig out of. When you are constantly living with pain it becomes so hard to get through day to day. Especially when you live, or are trying to live an active life. On the last day of my GroupFit class everyone looked at me and said "you have another headache don't you"? I asked "how do you know that"? They said "we can see it in your eyes", you are doing a good job of covering it up, but we can tell".
I think that was one of the turning points for me that I realized I  had to deal with this.

I made an appointment with a primary care doc to help me manage all this. I have only been under the care of specialists for the past 4 1/2 years. I felt she had some great suggestions for me. However, I also got the impression she saw my life as very "short term". I thought and prayed about it and decided I need to move on and find someone that is on the same page as me, my family, friends and other docs. Someone that will help me live a life with HOPE for a very long future. So, the search continues and I have another primary care doc. lined up in May.

I had been holding on to a chiropractors name and number given to me by Dr. K. I felt comfortable and trusted his recommendation. This visit went much better! He went over my MRI reports with me which show disk protrusions and spinal stenosis in a few areas. This is NOT the same area the cancer had been in my spine but is causing quite a bit of pain. He said it may very well be causing the headaches/ migraines. So, I have begun spinal decompression therapy. I will write more on it in another post but it seems to be working so far!

Next step, I joined a health club. Yes, I am a personal trainer and yes I have a home gym. But, I felt I needed to take some time to be the student, to take the classes, to have some one on one with other trainers and mostly to get stronger again.  I have gone back to swimming, and have missed this tremendously!  It is so much easier on my body right now. By day 2 back in the pool I swam a 1/2 mile and was happy with that. I have some goals I am working towards and will keep an update on that as well.
I have begun a yoga class and love it!  I am feeling stronger and the stress relief from that class makes me want to go every single day.
 All this  is helping tremendously with stress, energy and feeling stronger in areas I was feeling very weak.
I did meet with a personal trainer and have a greater appreciation for my clients who show up nervous and excited on day one and have to face where they REALLY are with their health and fitness. For health purposes I am within "normal" ranges. However, I am neither happy or comfortable with my Fit Point results. Yes, this is the trainer and marathon runner in me coming out. So, in time I plan to work back to where I was or as close to it as i can. IN TIME.

It is March 12th and these changes have reduced the headaches by about 85/90 %, which is huge! My energy and spirits are both up and I look forward to each day once again. For now, this is where I am and hope to continue well on this journey of "living life with stage 4 metastatic cancer" while running, swimming, breathing and being kind to myself.


Retired Knitter said...

Dear Elayne

Whenever I hear you summarize your experiences - both positive and negative I am blown away by the scope and depth of what you deal with daily. I know that sentiment doesn't help you very much, but I just felt like it needed to be expressed.

But I am most impressed not by your health or lack of it, but by the way you continue to respond and adjust. The day-to-day stuff is just putting one foot in front of the other - I've done that for 5 years as an elder care give. What is inspiring to me is your ability to step back, look at your self, make changes and live another day.

And "another day" is all that any of us have in reality. Looking at the future is a goal - but I think your present is so important. I have tried for myself to be more focused on the present - a hard way of thinking. By looking at your present and being kind to yourself you have reduced pain. .

I, too, have also been thinking about going back to Yoga. Yoga is all about the present moment. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Retired Knitter

Racn4acure said...

This is great, Elayne. I am glad to read this. You have been going through an incredible amount of things. I am glad that the headaches are so much lessened. Keep taking care of yourself. Art

Anonymous said...

So happy to hear of your NED. I have been told I incurable cancer in the past so I think I can empathise a little with you. By following many blogs I have learned some people will make themselves miserable trying "treatments" that have no hope of improving their condition when they would be better off just living their lives.

Anonymous said...

Julie Witsen Soo proud of u my friend for taking time for ur self it is so important thinking of u always :0)

Shannon House Tilton elayne....I just love you so much! I am so proud of you too.

Heidi Asiaf Everyone needs a break and you most definitely need it. Be good to yourself.

Dena Baskin Elayne, you write so beautifully and express your feelings so well. I know that you have been keeping yourself busy with things that you love; but, now you are focussing on the inner you and doing things that are helping you feel better. I learned from my own experience with illness, this is very hard to do when you are used to doing for others. Keep up your new routines. Love you.


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