Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Plus sized running clothes

Today I had my port removed.  This is a great thing (woo hoo, no more chemo!), but at the same time it means I'm not able to run for a few days, or the rest of the week.  Whatever.  Also, the freezing is coming out of my incision and I'm hanging out with a bag of ice on my chest.  It's a fantastic evening watching Schitt$ Creek.

I decided to console myself with a bit of online shopping.  Originally I was looking for clothes for work, but I stumbled across an amazing sale on Addition Elle.  I picked up two long sleeved running shirts for $15.00 each.  Yup.  $15.

There wasn't a lot of selection of color and sizes, but I'm not all that worried - I run at 4:30am.  No one cares what I'm wearing, I just want to be warm!

There were other options - like some great tanks, but I'm just not a tank top person.  And early in the morning it can be freaking cold out there!  I only bought the two above, but this one also looked great.

It is so great to find nice looking running clothes in plus sizes!  I also found a nice selection of plus sizes on Nordstrom, but they were a little pricier.  Also, Zulily has had some plus sized sports boutiques in the past few weeks - another great option for finding running gear.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CIBC Run for the Cure

Hey, look, I'm talking about the Run for the Cure again.  It's somewhat awkward asking people for donations for the run.  Especially since I actively avoided telling many people in my life that I actually HAD cancer.  And then I did this which is forcing me to talk about it and share way more than I ever planned to.

To donate without reading further, please click here

But hey, in my first week, I surpassed my original goal for fundraising.

The first week.

I really should have celebrated with pie.  What was I thinking?

I set my goal at $500 because I thought I'd get $20 donations from most people.  I expected $20 donations from most people, IF they chose to donate, but my friends, coworkers and family surpassed that by leaps and bounds and I soon discovered I'd could increase my goal from $500 to $1000.

So, today I want to talk about why I chose to fund raise.  After all, there's the option for me to just pay my $40, run the race and go on my merry way.  I started out by looking at where the money from the run goes - this is actually pretty important and you can find ratings on many charities through various websites.  I found this which made me feel good about my choice.  And then I found this which gives you more information on investigating charities although some of the links found in that article are broken.

How about a recent financial statement?

But what does that mean and how does that benefit people with breast cancer?

I started at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's webpage.  That link will take you directly to the information that impacted me the most - what they do in the prairies and Yukon/NWT.

Things that matter to me?  They provide a grant to the Canadian Cancer Society.  When diagnosed with Cancer, much of the information provided to me was published by the Canadian Cancer Society.  Pamphlets on what to expect with Chemotherapy, information on managing side effects, diet, activity and what happens after treatment.  Any information you could want while going through treatment and beyond was available.

I still have several of their booklets in my bedside drawer, even if I read them less and less.

How about research?  It seems to be a commonly held belief that the money being raised for Cancer charities is just being wasted.  With the amount of money and time spent, we should have a cure already.  Therefore, the cure exists and continuing to fund it is pointless.

Yes.  I've seen this argument.

It makes me want to kick puppies.  And I love puppies.  There is nothing I would like more than to lie down in a room full of the furry, wiggly little buggers and let them crawl all over me.  Ok, there are some things that I'd like more, but come on A ROOM FULL OF PUPPIES!

I digress.

Sometimes I have to refrain from saying things like, "Shut the hell up unless you're actually a cancer researcher."  Then again, everyone is an armchair expert and will always tell other people how to do jobs they have no intention (or skill/knowledge) to do themselves. Myself included.

Just ask my husband. (Hi honey!)  This week, I attempted to tell him how to unclog a sink drain.  Because that's totally my skillset.

BUT, when we look at research, it goes beyond looking for a cure - regardless of the name of the event in this case.  For example, there is much research in the areas of early detection.  Someone out there discovered the breast cancer gene which many would argue is a HUGE step in prevention and treatment of cancer.  If you go to the page here, you'll also see that they fund research into other very important things like how to support people at the time of diagnosis, or examining how the disease affects people's lives and helping them better deal with that.

But let's talk treatment.  If you're uneducated about cancer treatment (like I was and I still am overall), you probably think that because there is no "cure" there is no advancements.  First of all, I was amazed by the sheer number of chemotherapy drugs that exist for treating all cancers.  I received a drug that is apparently used in breast cancer as well as lymphomas and leukemias.  In all, I received three different chemotherapy drugs, but many with breast cancer don't get chemotherapy at all.  I'm also continuing to be treated with an ongoing, non-chemotherapy drug.

And finally, there are a number of drugs designed to make chemotherapy bearable.  These drugs are invaluable.  We've all heard the stories of mouth sores and nausea.  I've watched people go through it in the past and I dreaded that.  DREADED it.

I had mouth sores for a total of 10 days.  They were a nightmare, but 10 days out of about 7 months total treatment is amazing.  Add to that the anti-nausea drugs.  Whoever developed those deserves a medal.  I never once suffered from nausea.

This is not to say that I went without side-effects altogether, but the worst of the most common ones were limited.

Seriously, find it early and  your treatment could be as easy as surgery and a bit of radiation. Which is why so much money is poured into awareness and education.  It's why you see screening programs and information everywhere about the importance of self exams, mammograms, etc.

Originally, pre-surgery, that was the plan for me - surgery and a few radiation treatments just to make sure.  Then the tumor was large and agressive.  I still had the option of skipping chemotherapy, but it seemed like a bad idea to skip it and risk things like metastasic cancer (where it spreads to other parts of the body.  Aka Stage IV.  Aka terminal)

Interested in what kind of research they're funding?  Go here.  Keep in mind, that is JUST the money that has been granted to research in the prairies (AB, SK, MB) and the territories (YK, NWT).

So, this is why I've decided to be a fundraiser in the CIBC Run for a Cure event.  If you've made it this far and want to support me in my efforts, please click here to donate.  I appreciate any and all support.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Farmer's Market Season is here!

I'm lucky, I live a few minutes from a pretty fantastic Farmer's Market.

This was our trunk when we left the market.  It was full of fresh fruits, veggies and a box of frozen fish.

 I love cherries so much.  These are probably my favorite, but they weren't as good as I'd hoped.  Definitely not as good as the Ranier cherries we had last week.

Fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from Broxburn in Lethbridge.

 Some fresh strawberries.  I don't know how they make them so flavorless in the grocery stores.

I'm not normally a fan of tomatoes. I am trying to be a bigger grown-up about the whole vegetable thing overall though so I'm willing to have toasted tomato sandwiches now and again.  These ones did make an especially flavorful sandwich so maybe this growing up thing is working for me.

Overall, we're trying to eat more produce and more fish.  They say we should be eating fish once a week.  We both like fish, it's just not something we cook a lot of.  So tonight we had steamed salmon with rice and a nice salad for dinner.  It's a start at eating a healthier anyway.

Normally, we cook our salmon on a cedar plank on the BBQ.  Next time, I'll get some pictures and maybe even post a recipe.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I hate mornings

There was a time when I would sleep in as long as I could.  Even now, I set my alarm as late as I possibly can, giving myself little to no room for error if I want to actually catch my bus.  Some mornings, if I'm moving a little slower, I have to skip breakfast at home and grab something on the way or hope I have some fruit and yogurt stashed in the fridge at work.

So it's a bit crazy that as our summer heats up, I've started running in the morning again.  This morning, I was up at 5am to run before I went to work.  I drove to work so I had a bit of leeway and actually hit snooze before dragging myself out of bed.  And I was painfully slow.  Monday, I was at least 2 minutes per mile faster than I was this morning.  But, I still went and did it.  My legs felt like lead.  I might as well have just walked it - my average pace was a relatively slow walk.

And I think that's really just all I can do as I start running again.  Running until I'm tired, walking until I'm recovered then running again is ridiculously simple, but it also allows for mornings like this morning to happen without me feeling like I huge failure.

Don't get me wrong, I still feel like a failure.  But I don't feel too overly bad because  I still got out there and ran.

 This weekend, I found two magnets that are perfect for me.  First, the one above.  Yay! Running!  It's how I feel now that I can run again.  And then there was this magnet.
Mmmmm, pie.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Scotiabank Calgary Marathon: Volunteering

It's been a week now since I volunteered at the Calgary Marathon.  As a runner, it was a pretty great experience.  It's the first time I've volunteered and I have a greater appreciation for what makes a race go around now.

On Saturday, the day before the event, I volunteered for the package pickup.

I probably should've gone for the t-shirt pickup instead to have something a bit more active.  Live and learn.  It was still a fun experience.  Ah, the excitement of picking up your race package.

AND the excitement of running a half marathon.  (Soon.  Very soon)

The volunteers are working hard to make sure runners have a great time on race day.  We also want to make sure that you have everything you need.  Many of us are runners (or walkers or joggers) as well and we love the excitement around the event.  I don't have much to say about this experience other than it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the runners I got to talk to.
Oh, wait.  I guess I should add that I love a race expo.  I love the excitement around the event and the potential for future events.  Look at these awesome races I could run in the future.  Seattle, Quebec City, Victoria (Goddess Run!), the Dino Dash (complete with a medal with a dino footprint on it).  Bloomsday in Spokane is particularly interesting, even for a giant race.

Race Day dawned clear, sunny and calm.  Look at that gorgeous sky.  Imagine starting and finishing at the Stampede grounds.

Gah, I can't wait to run this again next year!

Anyway, race day, I volunteered at the finish line.  First up was unpacking the medals.

Lots and lots and lots of medals.  There were 12000 runners this year in all events.

Oh yeah, the finish line is in front of the grandstand at the Stampede.  Yep, you finish in front of stands.  With people.  Last year?  I finished my race (not the marathon) right in front of the marathon runner (in my defense, he had a head start).  The cheering from the stands was pretty awesome.

But I digress.

Volunteering was a great experience and thanks to all of the runners who were absolutely awesome at the finish line.  Ok, there were a handful who weren't very cooperative with the volunteers (no, really, there's a reason we're asking you to keep moving and keep the finish line area clear.  It's ok, EVERYONE is waiting for someone else to finish.  I asked all of them to move too!), but overall the runners were fantastic and I loved volunteering.

It's something I'll do again, maybe even next year.

At the end of the day, I had a nice bubble bath, a good book and a Negroni

If you're a runner, go and volunteer at an event.  It's a fun experience and it gives back to the running community.

And if you're thinking about the Calgary Marathon (half marathon, 10K, 5K, Ultra Marathon), I don't think you can go wrong.  It's a great event and there's a lot to do in the neighborhood when you're not running.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

CIBC Run for the Cure

I need to get around to posting about my experience volunteering for the Calgary Marathon.  But first, I'm going to share with you that I've signed up for my first post-cancer event. 

I'm running in the CIBC Run for the Cure in October.  I even opted to do something I don't normally do - I'm fundraising.  I feel like I benefited from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation during my treatment and it's time to give back.  Or at least ask my friends and family to give back with me and help me celebrate the fact that I'm running again.

So, here's a link to my fundraising page.  I appreciate any support you're willing to offer.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Photo logging a week's worth of food.

It is quite easy to forget to take pictures of the food you eat during the week.  I started out well.

Monday involved a smoothie, and apple and yogurt, left over cedar-planked salmon with a salad, uhhh, ice cream cake because of a work celebration and Tandoori chicken on naan bread.

Well, Tuesday I forgot to take the picture of my smoothie.  (kefir, water, frozen berries, VegaOne protein & Greens)

I had some crackers (spinach and garlic wheat thins)

Then I forgot to take a picture of the salad I had for lunch with butter lettuce, pepper strips, onion and tandoori chicken with a chunk of naan bread.

I also did not take a picture of the fried chicken we had for supper that night.

Wednesday brings us another post-smoothie empty smoothie cup (You don't need to see that again, right?)

Salad with Tuna for lunch followed by a hunk of carrot cake.

I wish I could tell you I remember what I had for dinner Wednesday.  Oh wait, I do.  It was taco night.  We had homemade tacos then went for a run.  In the future, those activities should probably be reverse.  Belly. So. Full.

Thursday - hey, another empty smoothie cup.  You're getting the picture now, right?  Well, ok, obviously not the picture.

Lunch was another salad topped with leftover taco meat.

Dinner - we ate out.  I had the chicken parm at a bar which was just a bad call.  It was awful.  I thought I took a picture but it seems to have disappeared.

Friday is Bagel & Fruit Day at work.  I had a bagel, a clementine, a banana and an apricot.  And then I had a bran muffin because it was there.

Then I had a salad for lunch (sensing another theme?).

Then this happened
Because I was the only one in the office and suddenly my job turned into "get everyone else's work done before the weekend!"  Which was painful.  I wrote test scripts and checked permissions and wrote requirements.  But hey, it got done.

Then my husband made a delicious dinner - porkchops, corn on the cob and a pea salad.  Nom.  Other than the lunchtime salad, it's the only real claim to healthy eating I have on the day.  Friday fail.

Saturday, we were volunteering at the Calgary Marathon so we went to a little german deli in town for breakfast.  I had the german scramble special which was amazing.  A little cheesy and potato-y, but amazing.

We ended up just having a power bar at the Marathon's expo because we assumed there would be more food options available than there were.  Basically, the power bar was the food option available.

We stopped on the way home for Korean food (Bi Bim Bap and Beef Bulgogi and the Korean pancake) and once again I forgot the photo part of the meal.

At home, I made myself a negroni and poured a bubble bath for a good read.

Sunday was McD's for breakfast (egg mcmuffin, hashbrown and iced coffee) as we rushed off to get into Calgary in time for our 5:45am volunteering at the finish line of the Calgary Marathon (fun day!).

Lunch was half a sandwich and a cookie in the volunteer room after our shift.  

Dinner was Taco Bell.  Obviously by this time I'd fallen completely off the photo taking idea.

So there you have it.  A week in the diet of me.  There are many things I can change.