Monday, February 15, 2016

Firefighters, Kittens, & Curtains

Obviously, I'm not blogging much these days. I am writing stories, and getting to rediscover a rich and full life, post-cancer.

I got rid of stuff. Including stuff in my closet I bought as "incentive" and loved, but never put on. There was so much crap, jamming my closet, making me feel bad every time I looked at it.

Bye-bye! Off to a new home, to another woman who will look splendid in it. Also, bye-bye, Scale of Satan! 

How many women (and men) let a stinkin' piece of metal tell them whether it's going to be a good day or a bad day?

See, I know how to diet, with a scale. The scale might make me feel like shit, half the time, but I know how to lose weight that way. (And weight cycle back up again.) What I am still struggling with is the HAES (Health At Every Size) model of living, but I am working on it.

Health at Every Size® principles help us be at peace in our bodies, supporting people of all sizes in finding compassionate ways to take care of themselves. It includes the following basic components:
  • Respect, including respect for body diversity.
  • Compassionate Self-care
    • Eating in a flexible and attuned manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite;
    • Finding the joy in moving one’s body and being physically active.
  • Critical Awareness
    • Challenges scientific and cultural assumptions;
    • Values body knowledge and people’s lived experiences.

I'm riding my exercise bike and doing yoga, almost every day. I've tried a dance class and may look for another, or perhaps an aqua fitness class.

I'm trying new foods, which hasn't always gone so well. I shared this experiment on my FaceBook page:

  • Six months ago: Buy uber-healthy-looking hot cereal. Look at all the wonderful ingredients! 
  • Six months ago to present: Alternately put box on counter, hide box in cupboard. Tell self it will be delicious and satisfying on some chilly morning.
  • This morning: Get brave, prepare according to directions. 
  • Taste. 
  • Check to make sure did not accidentally make a cardboard-and-glue smoothie. 
  • Add milk. Add brown sugar. 
  • Eat a small spoonful. Very chewy. 
  • Tell self is delicious. 
  • Self calls self a [many swears] liar.
  • Take second spoonful. Maybe more brown sugar?
  • Contemplate taking bowl to Ventura Blvd to fill potholes. 
  • Shovel down garbage disposal praying it doesn't clog.
  • Have bowl of Cheerios instead.

Later, I tried maple-and-brown-sugar Cream of Wheat. And gagged, trying to get it down.

Oddly, though I have no problems with texture or gagging with certain sexual acts, my supertaster/picky eater mode kicks into overdrive to protect me from the horrors of hot cereal. #atleastItried

Meltdown in Stall #5

I shopped for bras for the first time-post cancer surgery, with my lovely, supportive friend Karen, and lost my shit. I am doing well, I am feeling, mostly, strong and well.

But my right breast is still not back to normal. Despite morning and evening massage, the lymphatic system in my right breast has not yet rerouted itself, so Laverne is still pink and a little swollen.

The nipple on that breast is now thicker than the other. Will these conditions change? Maybe, and maybe not. It is entirely possible that this is as good as it will get.

I know I am so lucky to still have both my breasts, both my nipples. Compared to what so many women go through with their breast cancer, mine lightly brushed me in passing. And I am blessed to have lovers who admire my breasts as is, unmatched though they are. Who have told me that they are still beautiful, that the differences are interesting, not off-putting. That I am still beautiful and attractive to them.

But standing in that dressing room, having hoped to pick out some pretty new bras to have my lovers take off me, when I had gotten through trying on 7-8 bras, and not found any that I felt were flattering to me, my tears started flowing. I felt fat and ugly and deformed and really went into hating-on-self mode.

Part of that, I know, is due to the fucking Tamoxifen I'm on. Tamoxifen blocks the production of estrogen by my ovaries, ideally, starving to death any remaining cancer cells in my body that escaped the surgery and radiation. Tamoxifen significantly decreases the chance of a cancer recurrence.

But among the other things estrogen does, it acts as a mood stabilizer. So I have experienced times when I am giddy with joy and murderous with rage and so depressed I want to curl up on the floor in fetal position and just stop breathing. Often all three moods within 15 minutes.

I did find some pretty bras, and eventually, I stopped crying.

Making Small Changes to Improve My Life

One of the things I have put off forever is getting curtains and a valance for my bedroom. Now, it was equipped with vertical blinds. But there is a walkway outside my bedroom window, and a safety light that has been bleeding in, through the blinds, for years.

So I ordered curtains. And this valance caught my eye. I thought about getting a plain valance that matched my navy blue velvet curtains, but one of the things I intend to make happen in the next five years is a trip to Paris. By choosing this pattern, it brings that intention front and center, every day.

And the kicker? Look at the tiaras in the pattern!

Crowns are just like tiaras, right?

Mojo and Tivvy help me make the bed

Final product. Yes, there ARE two fans. Because Tamoxifen causes evil hot flashes, too.

The curtains look out the light and reduce sound and I am sleeping so much better that I am kicking myself for not doing this years ago.

When You're Hot, You're Hot

So as I reclaim my life, work on various writing projects, and my day job, I am noticing an interesting pattern.

Last year, my apartment building caught on fire. It was a small fire, quickly out, and my apartment suffered no damage. But I got to see sexy firefighters, so, total win for me.

About three weeks ago, my therapist's suite suffered a small fire. Interesting, hunh?

And then last week, the building at my work had the fire alarm go off. It was a glorious day to go outside and ogle firefighters.

Even if it's a false alarm (and it was), they gotta go.

Hot firefighters to enjoy. #suchahardship
Not that I'm a pyromaniac or anything, but if it's not me burning up with hot flashes, it seems to be  the things around me. So, be warned.

I feel happy, and blessed, and I am channeling energy toward my writing again. I am working to show myself self-compassion, and kindness rather than pressure to blog, or to do this, that, and the other. I am blessed to have a supportive family, a circle of awesome friends and lovers, and a loving community with Sex Positive World.

And I have Dreams of Paris.

Have you been to Paris? What time of year do you recommend for a visit?
Have you tried the Health At Every Size philosophy?
If you've sur-thrived cancer, how long did it take you to feel back on track?