Thursday, November 3, 2011

Doing something right

My office is in a front room of the house, between the kitchen and the front door. During the day, while working, I check the mail, let the dogs out, let the dogs in, investigate the odd noises, refill my coffee, bring in deliveries (the UPS guy is here often enough I can just leave my outgoing on the front porch), move laundry along, get files from the garage, change long sleeves for short sleeves, grab a coke out of the back fridge, switch from glasses to contacts at the sink......actually I don't need an excuse to walk away from my desk.

I'm already planning, in my dream office of my dream house, to get one of those desks that elevate, allowing you to stand when you like. It doesn't take much for my chair to make me twitchy.

A just released study has "found that among post-menopausal women, taking frequent breaks from sitting was associated with smaller waist circumference and lower levels of C-reactive proteins, both biomarkers associated with elevated risk of some cancers."

Fortunately, the article didn't mention short trips to the pantry for a handful of chocolate chips or to the freezer for a fudgicle. I'm taking the attitude any break is a good break. Gotta' stay healthy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How smart is our dog?

You just have to wonder.

Winston has figured out how to jump the kitchen gate. He knows to go in his crate if he sees a purse slung across my shoulder. He pulls Krista by her leash to get her to play.

This is him in the entry way, growling, whining and barking..........wait for the paper Homecoming Mum hanging from a corner of the furniture. It had been there for days.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Startled and Dismayed

A good friend's mother is awaiting pathology results to learn whether a small pancreatic tumor is benign or cancerous, and if cancerous, what type of cancer. It is the worst of times, kept waiting, unable to research and pursue options without a definitive diagnosis, unable to do anything. The family has been there before. The mom was thought successfully treated for breast cancer a few years ago.

When you receive a cancer diagnosis, the world tilts. You may have had few or negligible warning symptoms. I knew at the beginning of my doctor's appointment a year and a half ago that he was going to tell me I had colon cancer, but had no clue five minutes earlier. How can something you can't see, you can't feel or touch have such an impact? Why are your cells such traitors? Do you see yourself, do others see you, as the walking dead? Will you be missed? You immediately have a new normal. Those close to you have a new normal, too.

Life goes on, maybe or maybe not. With modern medicine there are more and more maybes. Once you have had cancer, particulary as an adult, though, there is lingering skepticism that life will in fact go on. It will certainly be different. There are scars and side effects. My colon will forever more be cranky. The blood draws, MRIs and tests continue ad infinitum. I have to have a colonoscopy every stinking year. I have been told I am more likely to have other forms of cancer in my future. Constant vigilance!

October was a month deluged with cancer awareness activities, encouraging research, early detection and treatment and celebrating the survivors. The term survivor is odd to me. I consider myself a veteran instead. Ultimately, none of us will survive.

Battling cancer is never ending. There are conflicting reports on what you should or should not eat. Is coffee good or bad? Does fiber matter? More important, does chocolate matter? Will low dosage aspirin reduce risk? Vitamins? Exercise? Is it all in your head, a bad attitude? Will a break through be discovered in time? Did you do something wrong? Do you have to have a miracle? How do you fight your own body?

I completed my first campaign aside my fifteen year old daugher. After my second war last year I now wait in reserve to be called up again. I prepare alternative battle plans - an army of one against an invisible enemy, appreciating the respite between skirmishes.

If you know someone who has had cancer or is close to someone with cancer, don't look at a survivor. See the warrior instead. Stand confidently with your friend, or daughter or mother. Bring in the support troups. Provide joyful furloughs. Celebrate the victories. Yes, life does go on.