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Change of pace

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

I was thinking... No Thaxter, the smoke is not from the MJ... I was thinking. Cancer sure does change us. The shock. The panic. The praying and deal making. The acceptance. The short term plans vs. long term plans.

At first I dealt with the diagnosis and surgery pretty easily. I expected to get better. No big deal. 6 months later I was selling things and preparing to die. There were no long term goals.  There was no point in continuing with exercise. There wasn't much point in doing anything. So I retired. All I wanted was time to smell the roses before the end. I was in pain and couldn't do much anyway. Living on percocets....if tumors were football players, I could have played both sides of the ball in the Superbowl.

Here is the funny part.  I had been jogging for 30 years. Lots of road races and a half dozen marathons. Light weight training. But due to a pizza and beer diet, I was getting a belly and feeling old. So I decided that it was time to lose weight and get back into better shape. Me and a bunch of biker friends all committed to support each other with the goal of being in the best shape of our lives when we died. I didn't know how prophetic (?) it was..(.I didn't have a cancer diagnosis yet.)

I got better, I got worse. Always trying to keep my head screwed on tight. And right. First the MDX-1106 (now nivolumab) trial for 18 months. Radiation. Then this past year the IL-2 treatments. Forget cancer. The IL-2 treatments made me feel like being dead may not be so bad. Weight loss. Strength loss. Psychosis. I needed help to get up from a chair. It was hard to imagine feeling worse. But I started to get better again.

So I went to my basement workout room and began my exercise. I was so weak that I had to go through the motions of lifting weights with empty hands. Then I added a little and then a little more. I began walking. Then added a little jog. I readjusted my fitness goals to a manageable level. It has been about 4 months since my last IL-2 treatment. Today I am back to full strength. I weight train every other day. Jog every other day. I am feeling awesome. HOLY COW! I am am getting excited for motorcycle and golf season. I never gave up. It is paying off.

Today I am living with a chronic disease. Not dieing from cancer. I blow everyones mind. I haven't seen anyone that knows that I have cancer who hasn't commented on how good I look. I look healthier, have a better attitude and am in better shape than all of them. I am so thankful. And lucky. I will continue my exercise and count my blessings. Always subject to change. But not without a fight.

So it really isn't a lifestyle change for me. It is following thru on a committment I made a long time ago. It had me wondering. What lifestyle changes have you made? Diet? exercise? praying? volunteering? Drinking better wine? Vacations? Picking up the guitar or oboe? Retirement? ...I also hug and squeeze my granddaughters a lot. I told my daughter that I better get in all the hugs I can now before they think of me as that,"creepy" old man. LOL!

How about you?

 

 

sewmommy's picture
sewmommy
Posts: 14
Joined: Jan 2014

im still so new to this world.. but what i have done is stop smoking. huge deal for me, as i've been smoking my entire 'adult' life! once my surgery date was set for jan 6, i knew my quit date. i figured i may as well run with it since i'd be in the hospital for 3-4 days, unable to smoke.. ive had two since, and they tasted gross!

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

they tasted gross when you smoked regularly sewmommy.

sewmommy's picture
sewmommy
Posts: 14
Joined: Jan 2014

Fox... of course, but i didnt TASTE them then! and holy crap, i can smell everything a mile away!

GSRon's picture
GSRon
Posts: 1304
Joined: Jan 2013

Yes, lucky you live more than a mile from me..!  Embarassed

 

Ron

sewmommy's picture
sewmommy
Posts: 14
Joined: Jan 2014

you sure? there's this guy... ;)

thaxter's picture
thaxter
Posts: 124
Joined: Jan 2014

2013 was pretty blah for me--losing weight and no appetite and more and more fatigue.  Until getting scanned in August to find the tumor, we thought it was anemia and maybe just getting older.  Work and play both were unappealing.  The surgery was scary but my recovery was great and by a month out from surgery I was back at work and feeling pretty good.  But I was starting to formulate a plan for the rest of my life.  I was always going to retire this year even before the cancer and have often felt uneasy--what was I going to do everyday after going to work every day for 42 years?  Volunteer?  Do contract work part time?  When I found out a few weeks ago I had lung mets I wasn't totally surprised but it has made me more determined to fight this thing.  IL-2 will just be the first step in all likelihood but I am taking one step at a time.  I have been playing lots more music since surgery and have been busy learning more songs. Today I'm home on sick leave because I was really exhausted.  I took the opportunity to record a couple of tunes--something I haven't done for years.  

TillieSOK's picture
TillieSOK
Posts: 252
Joined: Jul 2013

I've changed my diet almost 180 degrees.  Lots and LOTS of water! Lots of fresh fruits and veggies, very little red meat, but lots of chicken and fish and fiber. Still not losing weight, but I think my thyroid is out of whack, plus it's got something growing across 1/4 of it.  I don't exercise like I should, but I do climb up and down the stairs (2 story house) at least 15 times a day and walk in the yard.  I'm almost 9 months out from surgery and still feel sluggish.  I may try bike riding again, only this time not go hell bent for leather and ride 2 miles in 20 minutes! Ya think? I'm still getting dizzy and losing my balance ( hence the stoppage on the bike riding and walking very far!), but I'm scheduled for a brain MRI tomorrow morning so at least then I'll know for sure if I've even got one still!  I know I had a brain once upon a time, but I think I just have misplaced it sometime ago. Fingers crossed they find out it's still there and nothing is growing on it.  Then the first week in March, I get to find out if the lung nodules have grown or are stable.

One of these days, I'll have one of those AH HAH moments and I'll figure out what else I need to do to get healthier and stronger.  Heck, maybe I'll trade in my little red Miata for a Harley?

Frank302's picture
Frank302
Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2013

Unfortunately I've also always known that my brain is a weak and pathetic thing .

Before I was diagnosed I'm pretty sure I was in the best shape of my life even though I was in my late fifties . I had worked in the logging and forestry business for over thirty years and I had muscles in places where human beings seldom have muscles . Even on the weekends and other days off I was active and liked to do things to keep in shape . I mowed two acres of lawn and a three acre cemetary with a push mower just for the exercise and because i've just always loved walking. I think I could have walked to Tierra Del Fuego if I could have found a free weekend .

All that changed when I was diagnosed with stage four RCC . I was pretty much convinced that my life was over and that what remained of it would be spent in sickness and misery . I was right for six months . After my surgery I was placed on a treatment which did nothing to stop my cancer and produced side effects that made life an unending stream of pain and sickness . I tried to do things to keep as active as possible . I've always loved gardening and I can remember very clearly trying to plant flowers when I was so weak I had to actually crawl on my hands and knees to do it . I was too weak to keep getting up and down . It was easier to stay down and just get up once after I was finished planting . I'm a big guy and my weight dropped to 138 pounds and I became so weak I could barely walk from one room to another . I landed in the emergency room frequently due to passing out because I was too sick to eat and I would become dehydrated because I couldn't even keep water down.

Then I got into the Nivolumab trial and everything changed . My cancer disappeared in about two months . There were no side effects to speak of . My pain disappeared with the cancer and I started to feel really good . So what did I do ? Did I go back to getting lots of exercise and living a healthy lifestyle ? NOOO ! NOT MEEE! I ate all the unhealthy foods I could get my hands on and would lie in the shade on summer days thinking that I owed it to myself to live a life of ease . I had retired and sold the logging business and had all the free time in the world to vegetate and that is what I did . How dumb can a person be ? Pretty darn dumb as it turns out . 

I put on too many pounds in fat and none in muscle .

Back around Thanksgiving  I made a solemn promise to myself to get back in shape and lose the extra pounds so I started walking on a tredmill and lifting weights . It truly is surprising how fast the body will respond if you treat it right . It took a few weeks of eating healthy foods and gradually increasing the exercise but I'm seeing some real results . I am really angry at myself for being an idot and letting my health go . I am not going to let that happen again no matter what health issues arise in the future and I'm sure they will . After all I'm not a kid any more . But I will always strive to keep myself in the best condition I possibly can . I will not make the mistake again of thinking that I was rewarding myself by relaxing all the time and eating whatever foods I want. I have been given a second chance at life and I won't mess it up again .

CommuterMom's picture
CommuterMom
Posts: 120
Joined: Jan 2014

Frank,

I have to admit I got a little hot and bothered reading that first paragraph about all the logging and muscles.

Care to elaborate? ;-)

Frank302's picture
Frank302
Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2013

See ? Right there is all the reason in the world for a guy to keep himself in shape ! I think I'll go do some heavy lifing for a few hours . YEEE HAAWWW !!!

sewmommy's picture
sewmommy
Posts: 14
Joined: Jan 2014

man... the 'old men' are putting me to shame! wish my body didnt remind me of my recent surgery when the kids wanted me to shovel this stupid snow into a mountain...

twinthings's picture
twinthings
Posts: 409
Joined: Jun 2013

That's a mischievous smile, Frank!  I' digging the new pic.

Frank302's picture
Frank302
Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2013

I was grilling burgers when my sister took that pic . She said something funny and I just started to crack up when she tripped the camera .

Djinnie's picture
Djinnie
Posts: 945
Joined: Apr 2013

Good luck with your brain MRI Tillie, I hope they don't find a vacant lot for lease! I'll be thinking of you:)

Fox the Pheonix has nothing on you, you have an amazingly strong mind set and tenacity of purpose. This has served to pull you through all the rigors of your treatments, 'Give Up' is not part of your vocabulary!

I have changed many things since my reoccurrence. I only eat fresh organic food now, I have cut out all dairy and all sugar. It is tough walking past the French patisseries though. I used to drink more than 6 cups of tea a day, the English are addicted to it, amazingly I have managed to cut it out. I only drink herbal now along with lots of water. I don't eat red meat anymore, I have organic chicken and fish. I also stick to chemical free products. 

I try to keep up with exercise even when I don't feel like it! I also make sure I have quality me time to destress and clear my mind. I have never sufferred fools gladly and have a bit of a short fuse, I know it's energy wasted, and not good for the immune system, so I am still working to change that. With my recent news the words 'life is too short' become so much more relevant, it's time not to sweat the small stuff, I try to keep negative thoughts at bay and keep plenty of positive minded and upbeat people around me.

 

Djinnie x

TillieSOK's picture
TillieSOK
Posts: 252
Joined: Jul 2013

Thanks, djinnie.  I spent a little over an hour in the tube this morning.  Guess my brain was playing hide n seek with them.  Pretty sure they actually did find a Brain in there somewhere. Dr will get her report, as well as two other doctors in about 3-4 days...it will take a week for me to get my copy.  Creatinine was 1.69 and GFR was only 31.98 this morning.  That worries me a little, but will just have to watch it a little closer, I guess.  Anyhow, that's how it's going this fine day in warm, sunny southwest Florida.  Hope everyone else is doing good.

Djinnie's picture
Djinnie
Posts: 945
Joined: Apr 2013

Well that's one down and one to go Tillie! You were in that tube a long time, I hate being in them, not being able to move for so long is so difficult. For your kidney function look up nettle leaf tea, a couple of cups a day will help. Let us know when you get your results back!

 

Djinnie x

twinthings's picture
twinthings
Posts: 409
Joined: Jun 2013

Hey Tillie,

Djinnie is right, an hour is a long time!  I'm glad you got that behind you.  Now it's just a hurry up and wait game. 

I am sailing out of FT Lauderdale on Monday so will likely be out of commission when your results come through, but I wanted you to know I'll be thinking of you and sending good vibes your way.

I am praying for the best possible outcome for you!  Stay strong, my friend.

Sindy 

Djinnie's picture
Djinnie
Posts: 945
Joined: Apr 2013

Hiya Twinnie, 

I am not up to speed yet, what warm an exotic area are you off to? We could certainly do with sailing off to some place warm. It has been raining so much the boat could pick us up at the front door! It has been coming down in sheets and hail since Christmas, with little respite. There is so much flooding everywhere. In the UK some SE coastal areas have been under water weeks, some as much as 10 feet, it's the worst on record. The long range forecast is just more of the same;) talk about weather for ducks, even they have had the sense to fly somewhere warmer!

So relax, chill and have a great time! I won't say I'm not a little jealous!Wink

Djinnie x

TillieSOK's picture
TillieSOK
Posts: 252
Joined: Jul 2013

Ack!  You're going to be that close!  Sure wish I could get over there and we could meet....I mean, two Okie girls could get into some trouble in Ft. Lauderdale. LOL. What cruise line are you going to be on?  Have fun!

Hanno's picture
Hanno
Posts: 45
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Fox. Hi everyone. I've just logged on for the first time in some months... Only to get sucked into the first thread i see :) It sound like you have accomplished a lot over recent months fox. Damn good for you! Your post resonated with a conversation that I had with a friend this week whereby I was describing how when I fell ill in mid 2012, all I could think about was what I would do next, and when i got better, and before I died. Everyone approaches serious illness differently hey. to be honest, the first year was a tricky one for me. Probably because I was taking anti-cancer drugs which competely ruined my quality of life. As you put it, weight loss, strength loss, psychosis. Well, for me not quite the last one but boy was I getting close! but since ceasing treatment in sept last year and still NED, honestly life for me has returned to normal. Just as I wanted it to. Sure, I graduated from uni, got a promotion, went on a tropical holiday with my family etc etc. before I wanted so badly to do something different to show myself (?) that I was appreciating every day alive, but now, well, I just feel good to exist and want to continue my good work in the world. Right now I work with drug addicted offenders. Next I plan to return to uni :) (sucker!!!). when I was talking to my friend the other day I described how one day I got ill, thought I might die, then every first event after that time was a miracle (e.g. Bday, Xmas). but I quickly got sick of the anxiety and intensity of those emotions. So here I am. Asking myself what I would do if I knew this was my last six months on earth. And the answer, I would be with my family (check), I would be helping people (check), I would be learning (hello uni), and I would be pursuing my passion for fitness (this one i will improve on haha). Go get em guys. if u don't have goals, make some like fox. Think of your ultimate life... who knows what's around the corner. seriously! We just don't know what science has in store for us. let us fight and live with this disease as chronic, rather than a death sentence. And if it tickles your fancy to check off the bucket list then rip into it. But if it tickles your fancy like me to maintain adventure as well as a normal existence, them do that too. Sending inspiration x 

 

Djinnie's picture
Djinnie
Posts: 945
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi Hanno, 

Good to hear from you again! Yours is an inspirational story! I am so glad you are doing so well now, and just getting on with your young life, which is as it should be. You have so much to look forward to, I am sure your life is going to be rich and fulfilling. Having done battle with cancer you can take on anything!

 

Djinnie x

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

Sometimes I think about the effects cancer has had upon us more than the disease. I like to forget about surgery and drugs. I don't meditate or do any mind games. With the exception of avoiding negative statements of any kind.

Me,..."How are you?" Them, "Not bad." Me, "Gee, I wish things were worse, then maybe you'd be happier." Them, "And how are you?"  Me, "Excellent!" or "Wonderful!" It is a practiced response. Repetition produces consistant desired effects. Works for me. Life is too short even without cancer to be down and out. What a waste of time and life. Those negative thoughts or moments are never recoverable. Why go there?

We have a local news anchor who is sickening sweet and has never had a bad thing to say about anything. I imagined her getting mugged, beat up and robbed. The police would ask for a description of the criminal. she would probably say, " He had a lovely plaid shirt on, and had fresh breath." I wouldn't go that far but the idea is the same.

I've watched the new people who are scared to death and the experienced people who get tougher than nails. Fear turns into committment and drive. Our life is precious. Appreciating our own influence on it becomes the motivating force.

Sometimes posts make me cold as a tomb. White coat and clinical. Need to know information. It's got to be here. We need to help each other. And we do. But also we share stories and jokes. Uplifting conversations. The foundations of hope.

Dale Carneggie describes the process of taking a minute and thinking about a very special time in your life. Maybe your marriage, or your first borns birth. Maybe a vacation with a loved one. He says think about how that special event made you feel. Then take that feeling with you. The positive energy will make everyone around you feel better. It becomes contagious. It works. We all know people we like to be around and people we avoid like the plague. That is why we look forward to posts by Iceman, Garym, Donna and others. Sometimes there is a gentle kick in the a$$ to get us back on track but often we read the posts because we know we will feel better for doing so. Regardless of the topic.

We are survivors. Can't get more positive than that.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

I was sure you were feeling well and moved on. Stay that way. Fox.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

I've got the image of a southern belle sipping a mint julip. Parasol in hand and hoop skirt ( borrowed from Donna). Sitting in the shade, fanning herself. All while she sneaks gazes at Frankio ( she shortens it to Fabio)  splitting cord wood. Shirt off. Glistening sweat running down his tanned pecs and chiseled biceps. Her tongue surfing her lips. Never hearing the conversation around her. She excuses herself stating she must go and change into something less restrictive. He never looks up. Drives her crazy. Her visitors ask if she is ok. She appears to ignore them. She walks away, almost stumbling as she lets out a deep breath, tiny squeal and a shiver. She thinks to herself," I wonder if he has a Harley?".........

 

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

One time I had 2 brain scans fairly close together. Everyone thinks they are comedians. We've all heard, "When they looked in your head did they find anything?" "Was it empty?" or some such nonsense. So I was telling them that with the first scan they found a bunch of rocks. The second scan was to figure out what kind of rocks they were. I just take it for granite.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

Keep the attitude. Despite more crap going on, you exemplify what I'm talking about. In a previous post when others wondered where you had been, I told them that you would be posting soon because regardless of what was going on, you cared about others too much. Share the Karma girl.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

Have a great vacation. I suggest that you rent Harleys. I bet you didn't think of that did you?

TillieSOK's picture
TillieSOK
Posts: 252
Joined: Jul 2013

LOL!

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Sounds like Fifty Shades of FoxTongue Out

CommuterMom's picture
CommuterMom
Posts: 120
Joined: Jan 2014

Ya know Gary, I do enjoy reading my share of smut but I have been reading a non-smutastic novel that is kind of long. (The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille)  I'm 93% finished though!  It's a great read by the way.  Next on my to read list is Nanosecond's research and then Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Furhman. Then back to a novel on the steamier side. I think you may have hit the nail on the head Gary. My hiatus from the the "Mommy Porn" may be getting to me. (Blush)

-Diana

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009
garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

A beautiful woman loves to garden, but can't seem to get her tomatoes to turn red. She asks her neighbor, "What do you do to get your tomatoes so red?"

He replies, "Twice a day I stand in front of my tomato garden and expose myself. My tomatoes turn red from blushing so much."

The woman decides to do the same thing. So twice a day for two weeks she exposes herself to the garden. Her neighbor asks, "How did it go? Did you tomatoes turn red?"

"No," she replies, "but my cucumbers are enormous."

 

CommuterMom's picture
CommuterMom
Posts: 120
Joined: Jan 2014

 You have some imagination Fox, but you have to trade the hoop skirt and parasol for jeans and a black Tank top.

And the mint julip for a mojito.Cool

GSRon's picture
GSRon
Posts: 1304
Joined: Jan 2013

Hmmm Daisy Duke shorts would be even better.

CommuterMom's picture
CommuterMom
Posts: 120
Joined: Jan 2014

Is guess it's all fantasy so no need to be hating on my hips.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

Stay that way meant I am sure you are doing well. Not move on and stay that way.

Frank302's picture
Frank302
Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2013

Every one of you people is completely nuts . But that's why I'm here . I like the company .

Sindy , have lots of fun on your cruise ! Try to stay out of trouble . If staying out of trouble interfears too much with your idea of fun we'll take up a collection and bail you out . Don't worry about it . We've got it handled . We look out for our own .

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