Monday, November 11, 2013

Life goes on

My last post was sad. It's so sad that I can't even read it myself. I wanted to delete it, just like I've wanted to delete many of my recent posts. I've decided to leave it. These posts are chronicling my life, even if they are somewhat devastating for me to read. Someday I will look back and this and laugh at myself and all of my melodramatics (at least that's what I hope I feel...someday).

Right now I'm doing "okay". Okay can mean a lot of things, but I think it's better than "not bad". I'm relatively happy for someone who has no idea what the future holds. I don't know where I'll be living next year.

I also don't know how my finances will be affected by my divorce, although I'm sure it will be a negative impact. Washington state is a community property state. I never knew what that meant exactly. I was under the impression it meant a 50/50 property split. I didn't realize it meant my 401k and my pension plan were up for grabs at 50/50. My husband doesn't have a 401k or a pension plan since he's never had a permanent job for more than a couple years and also chose to not work for about half of our married life. I've worked consistently for the last 30 years at the same company. We've been married for 25 years. He's "entitled" to fifty percent of my retirement accounts accumulated by me for the last 25 years. It's a state law. It isn't fair but there's nothing I can do about it.

To add insult to injury my husband just filed for a 90-day continuance of our divorce trial. It was scheduled for November 19. His divorce attorney withdrew from the case. I had to sort of laugh about this. Even his divorce attorney divorced him. Unfortunately for me, this means another 90 days of paying his bills. Including health insurance, car insurance on his two cars and numerous credit cards in both of our names. Again, ordered by the court because he was unemployed until three months ago. It's all very frustrating.

Okay, enough about my miserable divorce. Other than that, I'm really doing okay. My CT scan was all clear. No sign of the uterine leiomyosarcoma cancer returning in my body. It's only been six months since the surgery to remove it. It usually takes seven to eighteen months for it to return and metastasize in another location, usually the liver or the lungs. So I certainly don't consider myself off the hook yet. Sometimes I wonder if my husband is hoping he can wait out the cancer and I'll die before we get divorced. He'd certainly be better off. Especially since the court wouldn't let me cancel my life insurance policy with him as the beneficiary, a rather large insurance policy. He has a very small one with his mother as the beneficiary. That tells you something right there about our marriage.

My "roommate" is awesome! I'll leave it at that. Someday I'll write more on this topic, but I can't now.

Diet and exercise...what can I say that hasn't been said a million times? I'm trying, but that's not good enough. It's better than I've been in past years, but I'm not exercising enough and not tracking my food. Usually when I get to this part of my post, I quit writing and shut my computer I have several unpublished posts that prove this point). Today I'm just going to leave it at that...I'm trying. I haven't given up. I'm not eating crazy amounts of food or unhealthy food (well not very much with the exception of Halloween), but I'm eating too much and not exercising enough. Like I said, I'm trying.

I'm still reading your posts but I'm finding that many people have simply dropped out of sight. People that I read for years seemed to have just vanished out of sight. It makes me a little sad. I miss them. But to those of you still out there, I love reading your posts. Even if I don't post a comment, I love keeping up on your lives.

Take care everyone and have a great holiday, that honors our veterans. That reminds me, I need to go put out the flag!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

You do not know me

The criminal case against my husband has been thrown out. The assistant prosecutor called me Monday and told me. He is very young and inexperienced. He told me that he didn't think he could win the case. He said it was a "she said/he said" case. I guess the bruises and scrapes on my body, the hair that fell out in clumps the next day from my husband pulling it out, don't mean anything.

Today I read what he wrote about the case and why it was being dismissed. I was devastated. I was called a liar, that I didn't sound like I was afraid on the 911 tape. I finally stood up to the bully and because I didn't run screaming from the house in the middle of the night that what happened to me was my fault. I don't even begin to understand our justice system, but I can certainly see that it's flawed.

I want to send this to the little twerp that's the assistant prosecutor, but I'm not going to. It wouldn't serve any purpose. However, writing it here has helped me.

To the assistant prosecutor on my case --

You do not know me

You do not know the pain I've endured during my 24 years of marriage to a tyrant and a bully.

You do not know how many times I was screamed at and called names like "stupid fucking bitch" or how many times my husband  told me that I was an idiot, that I didn't know anything.

You do not know how many times I was shoved and pushed by my husband. Or how he would stand an inch from my face and called me names that I can't even put in writing, screaming at me so loud that his spit would hit my face.

You do not know about the time my husband ripped the collar on my bathrobe as he jerked me around like a rag doll.

You do not know about the time he literally tore down my locked bedroom door in the middle of the night so he could scream at me.

You do not know how many times he would come into my room in the middle of the night while I was sleeping, yelling obscenities at me. The next day I would have to go to work while he slept.

You do not know about his relationships with other women during our marriage or his porn addiction.

You do not know about his 10,000 emails and chats over the last two years to a woman that was his high school sweetheart. His main topic was me and how much he hated me and that I was stupid.

You do not know about all the years my husband spent not working, always finding an excuse to avoid full-time employment, going for months at a time staying home and watching TV or sleeping or instant messaging his girlfriends and viewing porn. While I worked full-time the entire time of our marriage. I was the main support of the household

You do not know that I was raised by a good family on a homestead in Alaska with wonderful parents.

You do not know that I'm a Christian and believe in God and Jesus as my Savior. I was raised in the Baptist Church and was taught to be kind, to follow the ten commandments and to be a good person and live a good life. I was taught that divorce is wrong and that God hates divorce. However, considering my marriage I'm pretty sure I have God's blessing for my divorce.

You do not know that I have a college degree and work as a software developer engineer.

You do not know that I have worked for the same company for 30 years.

You do not know that I have close girlfriends that I've had for over 25 years and that my husband's only friend is someone he met a few months ago.

You do not know that I'm the legal guardian of my disabled 74-year sister who suffered a debilitating stroke two years ago. She can't speak or walk. I visit her every Sunday and take her out to a movie and dinner.

The most important thing that you do not know about me is that I'm not a liar. What I said happened on the night of November 7, 2012 was the truth. The man I had lived with for 24 years put a loaded 357 magnum between my eyes and said:  "You stupid fucking bitch, do you want me to blow your fucking head off?! I will, I will! I'll do it you stupid bitch!". I didn't make this up. It's embarrassing to me to even repeat those words.

He crossed the line that time and that's why I called the police. That's why I reported this because I finally stood up to the bully.

For you to throw out this case after eleven months and say it was my fault because I yelled at my husband, that I didn't sound scared when I was on the 911 call, and that there's no case is reprehensible. You should be ashamed. You're a disgrace to your office.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I can still laugh

Probably almost everyone has already seen this video since it's gone viral on the internet. Everyone I know has posted it on their Facebook page. Yet it still made me laugh.

My last post was dreadful. I even thought about taking it down. I'm not going to remove it because I think it's important for people to know how the justice system is flawed for the victims of crimes. Delaying the court date four and now possibly five times is ridiculous. Being verbally abused by someone who is the defense attorney (the attorney of the criminal) is just plain evil.

I'm okay now. My roommate is at work today so I sat by the fireplace in my pajamas until noon. Watching stupid stuff on TV, crying, feeling sorry. I continue on with my life, do what I have to do. Work, live, love, laugh.

These are tough times but life goes on no matter what. I have a lot of good stuff in my life too. The assault, the criminal trial, the divorce - these things do not define who I am. I am more than any of these things. I am better than the defense attorney. At least I can live with myself and I don't hurt people or try to make them feel bad. I wonder how he sleeps at night. I bet he has to take sleeping pills or drinks to get to sleep.

Regardless, it's all good. I survived this past week and the week before. I will survive next week too. Hopefully I will live a good and healthy life.

Watch the video, The Fox. Live. Laugh. Love.

The worst day of my life

I've been having a lot of "worst day of my life" episodes in the past few years. I could start a TV series entitled "Worst Day of My Life".

Yesterday goes down in my book of life as a really bad day. I've gone over it in my head a hundred times reviewing what happened and how I could have handled it differently. I wish I could have a re-do of yesterday. Sadly, what happened is permanently implanted in my brain and my heart.

It started with me renting a U-Haul van to deliver twenty boxes of belongings to my soon-to-be ex-husband's divorce attorney's office. These were computer books and software and the delivery was court-ordered.

Next, I got ready to head to the prosecutor's office for an interview with my husband's defense attorney for the criminal trial scheduled for next week. It was something I didn't want to do, but I was not given a choice in the matter. I knew it would be hard, reliving what happened on November 7, 2012, but I had no idea just how much it would hurt.

The interview was my worst nightmare. It was at the prosecutor's office with the prosecutor and my advocate by my side. My husband's attorney was tenacious, delving into every part of my life that he thought would hurt me. I became angry, but tried to maintain a calm exterior. The bottom line is that he made me out to be the criminal and my husband the victim. It was really unbelievable.

After an hour of being attacked, it was over. I felt like I was once again a victim. I was trying hard not to cry. After the evil defense attorney left, the prosecutor told me that was just a taste of what was to come at the trial. That's when they told me I would be put on the witness stand. Until yesterday I've been told I wouldn't have to testify. I was told because if they had me testify, then the defense would get to cross-examine me and if they did, they would try to destroy everything I said and make me look bad. Now I'm told because it's a "he said, she said" case that I would be testifying. The prosecutor said a lot of what my husband's attorney asked me wouldn't be allowed, but that I would be asked a lot of tough, embarrassing questions.

The advocate talked to me for a while and said it's normal for the defense attorney to make the victim doubt themselves. Their intent is to make me look bad and to hurt me. The victim continues to be victimized.

After all of this, I left the courthouse and sat in the U-Haul van and sobbed for about five minutes. Finally, I pulled myself together and headed over to my husband's divorce attorney's office to deliver the twenty boxes. When I talked to the receptionist she informs me I have to deliver the boxes to the second floor and that there isn't an elevator. The high ceilings makes the staircase twice as tall as normal. Some of the boxes are heavy. This seems like another tactic to add insult to injury.

I headed back out to the van to start the delivery process when my husband pulled into the parking lot and parks next to me. He gets out of his truck and is crying telling me how much he loves me and misses me. I haven't spoken to him in almost a year. There are three restraining orders against him to not come near me. I have to decide if I talk to him and have him take the boxes or if I haul them all up to his attorney's office.

His attorney's glass windows looks down on the parking lot. His attorney wasn't in but his assistant was waiting for me. I knew she could see the parking lot so I felt relatively safe. In hindsight, I realize now I made a really bad choice. I asked my husband if he would take the boxes of his belongings, inventory them and load them into his truck. He agreed.

The next hour as he inventoried the boxes and signed off on each inventory sheet was the most stressful and difficult hour I've endured in almost a year. Even that hour after my cancer diagnosis wasn't as painful as an hour in his presence.

He cried and pleaded with me over and over to drop the charges. I told him it was too late. I couldn't just let someone beat me, pull my hair out, put a gun to my head, threaten to kill me and let them walk away as though nothing happened.  He begged me to try and work things out with him. He kept saying how much he loved me and missed me. He repeated over and over how scared he is that he will end up in jail. I tried to keep the focus on him just taking the boxes of his belongings and complete the inventory. I told him I didn't want to talk about these things and only deliver his belongings to him, as ordered by the court.

Finally, he finished the inventory and I got in the van to leave. He looked at me through the window of the van, crying, and said "I still love you". I put my head down, refused to look at him, as he drove off.

There were no tears on my part. I felt pity for him and nothing else. I drove home feeling numb and dead inside. How did this happen to me? How did I wind up living a stupid lifetime movie?

Looking back on yesterday, I handled all of it poorly. I was not prepared to be destroyed by the defense attorney. I knew it would be difficult, I just didn't know how difficult. At least I know what to expect in court next week.

My encounter with my husband took me completely by surprise. I wasn't prepared to see him. I handled that poorly too. I should have just walked away, got in the van and left the premises. I wasn't thinking right. The stress from reliving the assault by my husband during the hour with his defense attorney sucked the life out of me. I didn't react normally when I saw my husband. I also think that it was a setup, done on purpose because the timing was too coincidental to have been an accident. My husband knew what time I was suppose to deliver the boxes to the defense attorney. Why did he show up just minutes after I arrived?

The criminal trial is scheduled for next week, on Wednesday, October 9. However, I was told by the prosecutor (who I didn't like) that it might be delayed again. It depends if they can get a judge. I'm starting to feel like this will never be over. That's it's just one long process to destroy me.

I have nothing positive to say here. Right now I feel wounded. Hurt. Sad. Broken. My roommate told me last night that I'm the strongest woman he's ever met yet I feel like I'm at my weakest.

In eleven days I have a CT scan for my cancer and an appointment with my oncologist. I'll find out if the cancer has come back. I feel like with all the stress in my life that I'm welcoming it back against my will.

Like I said, I don't have anything positive to say today. Just another episode of "The Worst Day of My Life".

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The pitter patter of little feet

When I was little my mother would often wake me with a cheerful "Diana, it's time to rise and shine! I want to hear the pitter patter of those little feet on the floor!".  I had a terribly happy mother that was always in a good mood in the morning (and pretty much all the time).

I have been up since 4 a.m. but there has been very little pitter patter of my feet. I am exhausted since I haven't really slept for the last three years.

It's 5:03 a.m. right now. I've been reading blogs the past hour and could happily continue for another hour. But now I really need to move, get my gym clothes on, drive six minutes to the gym, go inside, and really move body.

I don't want to move. I want to sit here by the fireplace, in my recliner, with my kitty curled up on my stomach as I type on my laptop. My kitty, Mickey, is the love of my life. White, longish fur, with a red head and red tail and he is Mr. Personality Plus. He never fails to make me smile. I really hate to disturb him (or do I really mean it's "me" that I don't want to disturb).

Unfortunately, life seems to be a series of things I'd rather not do. Going to the gym in the dark, cold, and rainy weather is one of them. However, I want that good feeling I get afterwards more than I want to sit here, warm and comfortable, with my best fur friend cuddled up with me. Of course, as I typed that, I thought, "Nah! This is better."

Regardless, I'm going to do what is the right thing for me, for my health and for my head...exercise. Lack of sleep is a poor excuse to not exercise.

So my little feet  (are size nine feet little?) are going to get moving and get to the gym before it's too late. I have to be out of the house by 5:30 a.m. It's 5:15 a.m. right now.

Monday, September 30, 2013

My first day back on Weight Watchers

I made it through my first day of Weight Watchers without feeling completely starved and only mildly deprived. I actually tracked every bite and stayed within my Points.

I don't remember the last time I tracked an entire day of food. It was interesting that even though I don't have that ridiculous 100% focus on weight loss that makes me somewhat psycho (okay, a LOT psycho), I still made really good choices.

At the movie I refused the buttered popcorn my friend offered to me, but I did indulge in his Junior Mints. I used my Weight Watcher phone app and scanned the bar code. Sixteen Junior Mints is 5 Points. I counted out 16 mints, placed them on a napkin and ate them one by one, savoring each bite. They would have been better if they were frozen but this theater doesn't freeze them. My sister, who was with us (and is with us every Sunday) thought the whole thing was hysterically funny.

My friend thought I was just plain nuts and tried to convince me to eat whatever I want on weekends and diet during the week. It works for him. He eats super healthy all week, then starting Friday night through Sunday night, he eats whatever he wants. This maintains his healthy 160 pounds on a 6' frame (and he's 55 years old). I claim he has some sort of freakishly fast metabolism although he swears that's not the case. Regardless, I know my body well enough to know I can't eat whatever I want on weekends. The Junior Mints were my big indulgence and something I would have never done in my previous life. Waste 5 Points on candy?! Never! But this is my new life where I relax the rules a little on occasion, in an effort to maintain my sanity.

Dinner was at Applebees last night, with my sister and friend. He almost always orders from the under 550 calorie selection. I looked up the nutrition for the Napa Chicken and Portobello meal he ordered and it was 11 Points. Less than the Weight Watcher selections. It was really good and very filling. I'd highly recommend it if you end up eating at Applebees.

It's almost 5 a.m. I'm going to get dressed in my gym clothes and head to the gym. It's going to be part of my new routine. I'm excited to see what they've done to it during the week long closure for renovation. I really hope they have some cool, new cardio equipment. I hate cardio so anything different would be fun.

I can't believe I've actually posted two days in a row. It's been months but I feel this blog is a necessary and fun part of trying to lose weight. I've missed it. I've missed the people that use to read it and leave kind and supportive comments. I hope you're all still out there. :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Divine Intervention

Last week was one of the most difficult and emotional weeks I've had in a long time. This coming from a woman who has had the most difficult year of her life.

I had to go to court two times last week. One for being held in contempt of court by my estranged husband for ridiculous charges. This was the third time for the same imagined offense. He claimed I had returned his computers to his attorney with the hard drives wiped clean. This is simply not true. They were in working condition when I delivered them to his attorney's office in March. I have been to court three times over this charge and the first two times the judge told him to bring in evidence. I had contacted a computer forensics specialist and he told a hard drive kept a record on it of the exact date and time it was wiped clean. Each time my husband showed up in court he was suppose to present the evidence. Naturally, since it never happened he never had any evidence.

As I drove to court on Wednesday I prayed. I prayed for three things: 1.) that the judge was fair and saw through the lies; 2.) my attorney would be at the top of his game and 3.) that my mother was there in spirit (I was wearing her wedding band on my right ring finger - the first time ever).

What happened in the next two hours was amazing. First, the judge that was assigned to the hearing called in sick at the last minute. I knew her from another hearing and for some reason I never understood, she didn't like me. She always seemed to side with my husband's attorney and not mine. Instead she had been replaced with a judge that had been on the bench for forty years and he was the most fair and impartial judge I've ever had at a hearing. Keep in mind I've been in court nine times in less than a year, with different judges. I'm getting to know a lot of them.

Second, my attorney had just returned from a ten-day vacation. He had spent all day Sunday in his office studying up on his cases. He was at the top of his game. He was the best I've ever seen him.

Third, even though my mother wasn't there (she passed away in 2005), when my attorney walked up to me in the courthouse he had someone with him. Someone I've known for two years and consider a friend. I've heard all about her divorce. She's the one who recommended my divorce attorney saying he was the best (and he has been wonderful). She was bringing her husband back to court for being in arrears for $50,000 of child support. Her case was heard right before mine. So even though my mom wasn't there it was like God sent a friend to be by my side.

I won't go into the details of the hearing, but everything went really well for me, and really bad for my husband. I do feel a certain amount of pity for him, but any love I felt at one time is gone. I don't wish him a bad life, I just want him out of my life.

There was a settlement hearing for the divorce on Thursday. The idea was to settle division of property and debt so we don't have to go to a divorce trial on November 19. I was sure it wouldn't go anywhere since we're not agreeing on division of property or debt. My husband was 30 minutes late to the hearing. They kept us in separate rooms. The judge was kind and seemed fair. However, he said that my husband and his attorney hadn't submitted any documents for the settlement hearing so it was not going to happen. I had agonized for hour preparing my document, trying my best to divide everything 50/50. Oh well. More of my time wasted. Not to mention the $270 for my attorney to just show up, the three hours I took off from work, and the ridiculous $12 parking fee.

The criminal trial is scheduled for October 9. It's suppose to last four or five days. I meet with my husband's defense attorney on Friday for an interview, with the prosecutor and my advocate. I'm dreading but I just hope he sees the truth. I know what my husband has told his defense attorney. I've seen the numerous declarations my husband has filed with the court. They're pretty amazing. It's like reading a fictional novel about a crazy, lunatic female - but that female is suppose to be me and this is my real life.

On the diet and exercise note, I rejoined Weight Watchers yesterday. My weight is definitely up, 198. I'm not crazy about the new leader. In fact, she's really awful. With our old leader the room was filled with people. It was energetic and fun. There was always at least sixty people at the meetings with Janis. Now, about ten people showed. up. It was so boring I thought I was going to fall asleep. Next week my girlfriend and I are going to try a different meeting. I briefly met the leader from the earlier meeting. She was leaving when I arrived. She was friendly, said hello, and asked me how I was doing. Even though I'd never met her I felt a positive energy from her and thought she might be a good leader.

Exercise has been horrible for weeks now. I finally made it back to the gym last weekend only to find out it was closing for all of last week for renovations and new equipment being brought in. So now I'm kind of excited about getting back to my morning routine this week and see what type of new equipment they have and what it looks like. It was definitely in need of an overhaul.

I have my CT Scan on October 16 to see if the cancer has returned, and appointment with my oncologist. I don't feel sick, but I didn't feel sick before until right before the surgery (before I even knew it was cancer). Usually this cancer, Uterine Leiomyosarcoma, comes back in seven to eighteen months after surgical removal. I'm only at six months so even it they don't see anything, it's still early.
I don't mean to sound pessimistic, just realistic. It's a very aggressive cancer so there's a very real possibility that it will come back. I hope it doesn't but only time will tell.

Well, that's it. Life goes on.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dancing through the fire

Yes, that is a line from Katy Perry's song, Roar. It's one of my favorite new workout songs. Thanks a lot Ms. Miley for ruining Blurred Lines for me. Every time I hear it - I now think of herand all the press coverage and the endless videos on the news of your bump and grind routine. That image is forever burned in my head (ugh!).

So how is my life right now? I can honestly say, at this moment in time, today, all is good. I'm happy. All the junk is still in my life, the pending divorce trial (in November) the criminal trial against my husband (in October), the 50% chance that my rare and aggressive cancer will come back, my sister never recovered any mobility from after her stroke, my job is stressful, and I'm still fat. All the usual stuff that everyone has in their day to day life (okay, I admit, perhaps my is a little more drama filled than most).

Even with everything going on, I'm a pretty happy lady these days. I got back to the gym this week and stopped taking Ambien. I think Ambien makes me a little crazy and prone to anxiety attacks--so I quit taking it totally.

My weight has been stable at 193 for weeks, since post-surgery. My night-time eating has stopped completely. I haven't had a binge in months. I credit this to my roommate who swears that eating after 6pm makes a person fat. I don't necessarily agree with that logic, however, it has definitely stopped me from gaining weight.

I have to listen to some of the stuff he says since he's 55 years old, six feet tall and maintains a constant weight of 160 (he's been that weight for years). He once weighed 225, but he could also bench press his own weight so he wasn't really what you could call fat. Fortunately for me, he's a bit of a health nut, with his only weakness being for Fig Newmans and dark chocolate. Well, and and occasionally an apple fritter pastry. He's usually more into lots of veggies and chicken or fish. I'm good with that too so it's working out nicely on the eating front.

I'm posting this now, even though I have lots more I want to say here, I'm out of time. At work. Lunch time. Back to work now. I'm back to reading blogs and hope to get back to regularly posting again.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

She's alive!

I'm still here and doing well. Or as well as one could expect for someone like me, which so many issues.

It was eight weeks ago today that I had a total abdominal hysterectomy, and seven weeks since I was told I had a very rare and aggressive form of cancer, uterine leiomyosarcoma, Stage IB. There isn't any chemo or radiation for this type of cancer. At Stage I since it usually doesn't respond well to either one. The treatment is just "wait and see". Even after surgery to remove the sarcoma, it will often metastasize into the lungs or liver within six to seventeen months 50% chance, maybe 40% if I look on the bright side.

It's been less than 48 hours since my second surgery to remove my remaining ovary. It was a laparscopic surgery and was suppose to take an hour. It took two hours and then seven hours in recovery because I was throwing up and in an incredible amount of pain. I found out later from my surgeon that she had a lot of trouble finding my remaining ovary. The scar tissue from my recent hysterectomy had wrapped around it so there was a lot of cutting away of tissue, which has resulted in a lot of pain.

I have five incisions in my abdomen, which indicates it was robotic laparscopic surgery. My surgeon specializes in robotics (although I forgot to ask her if she used robotics). I'd never heard of five incisions for laparscopic, I thought it was always three or four maximum. Not true for robotics, it's always five, and each of mine are an inch long. I also have an unusual amount of bruising at each incision site. Add in my six-inch vertical incision from my hysterectomy and my abdomen looks like it's been through hell.

I still feel very tired and sore. Extreme pain when getting out of or into bed or the recliner. Since this was a difficult surgery and involved a lot more cutting than expected, my surgeon suggested I stay on medical leave for two weeks, until June 17. The way I feel right now, I completely agree with her.

The most upsetting thing about the surgery was when I weighed myself yesterday. I had gained 14 pounds overnight! I was 197 the morning of the surgery and I was 211 the day after the surgery (on my home scales). I read online that this happens due to the gas and fluid retention, but 14 pounds overnight is pretty tough to take. I didn't weigh yesterday, but I'm really watching what I eat. My latest weight loss tool is MyFitnessPal app on my phone. I know tracking my food is extremely important.

I quit Weight Watchers. Since my favorite leader left, it's just not the same. I might go back some day, especially if I don't start losing weight soon. I've read that it can take up to two weeks to lose the water weight from laparscopic surgery.

The criminal trial for with my husband is suppose to happen this coming Tuesday, but I suspect it's going to be "continued" (delayed). At least that's what the prosecutor's office told me. I guess I'll find out next week, although I'd really like to get it over. 

Not much else going on in my life. Actually, there is something going on that I'm dying to post about, but it's probably best that I wait awhile. I mentioned it a couple of months ago, then I pulled the post. If you read that post, then that thing I talked about is going really well. :)

I rejoined the gym 2 1/2 weeks ago, and went five days each week. Of course now I've had a major setback in my exercise routine. For the next couple of weeks all I'm allowed to do is walk.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kale chips are not potato chips and the beauty of mindfulness

For at least a year I've been reading on different blogs about delicious kale chips. I bought two big bunches of organic kale at Whole Foods and finally, yesterday, I set about making my fake potato chips. I found a recipe online that was five stars, it was kale, olive oil and sea salt.

After carefully washing my kale, putting it in the salad spinner to remove all moisture, tossing it with the olive oil and sea salt, then spreading it out in a single layer on my biggest cookie sheet, baking ten minutes at 275 degrees, flipping each piece of kale over and baking another ten minutes, I sat down for what I expected to be a delicious treat.

They were crunchy and beautiful. I took a bite and my conclusion, YUK! Are you kidding me?! I had a mouthful of nasty, powdery, KALE. Disgusting. I don't know how anyone could say they taste "just like potato chips". They tasted just like...well, baked kale.

I went back and looked at the recipe and reviews again. I had followed it exactly and there were over a 1,000 reviews with an average of five stars out of five stars ( I guess you really can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I ended up crumbling the "chips" into my beef-barley soup I had made before I knew I had cancer. Beef is off my list of cancer-fight foods I can eat, but I had made this soup and froze it over a month ago. There's only about two ounces of beef per serving so I'm finishing it off since it's so good. Next time I'll make it with free-range organic chicken and chicken broth. The crumbled kale added a vegetable to my soup so that was good, but baked kale chips eaten as potato chips are an urban myth.

Life is good right now. Even though I found out yesterday my husband's defense attorney is going to request a continuance of the June 11 criminal trial, which frustrates me, I'm still feeling the calm of peace after my cancer diagnosis.

I'm really focusing on mindfulness these days which is truly amazing. It really makes you stop and smell the roses along the way. I even put the mindfulness bell app on my cell phone (get it at the Google Play Store). It chimes at me periodically during the day. This makes me stop and take stock on where I am, what I'm doing and what I'm feeling. It amazing at how beautiful life is when you actually pay attention to it.

I've missed too many wonderful moments in life because I was too busy to notice and rushing through life, as though it was something I just wanted to get through. I really think cancer changes a person's life for the better. It's hard to explain until you experience it, but I've really been appreciating the small moments of beauty in my life. Whether it's the beauty of a bouquet of simple pink carnations or my blooming cherry tree in my front yard or the sun on face during these gorgeous spring days or my kitty sitting on my lap, purring as I stroke his fur, it's all good, and I finally feel a peace and happiness I've never experienced before. It's as though the cancer has been a blessing. Mindfulness. Try it, you'll like it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Be gentle with yourself

Be gentle with yourself. How many times have I received this advice over the years? From my friends, my relatives, my coworkers and my blog friends (who I consider real friends).

I heard the words, but I didn't listen to them. I didn't know how to be gentle with myself. I didn't know how important it was to really live these four little words, "Be gentle with yourself".

The diagnosis of cancer is opening my eyes to so many things. Staring my own mortality in the face is making me take stock of my life. I'm seeing things so differently now. I never would have done this without cancer. I would have continued stumbling through life, dealing with things like I always have, filled with anger at the unfairness of it all. I have always stressed out over the smallest things, and the bigger the event, the bigger the stress reaction. Now I have to step back, re-evaluate and think about what I'm doing to my body internally when I react to external forces.

I'm reading a couple really good books, one is about dealing with cancer (or any serious illness, but the focus is on cancer), and the other one is preventing cancer. Preventing a recurrence of cancer is the same as preventing cancer.

Love, Medicine & Miracles by Bernie S. Siegel, M.D. is an amazing book. Dr. Siegel is a traditional medical doctor and writes about patient empowerment and the choice to live fully and die in peace. I love this book! The other book that I highly recommend for everyone, even if you don't have cancer (and especially if you don't want to get cancer) is The Definitive Guide to Cancer by Lise N. Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn A. Gazella. This book takes a holistic approach to cancer prevention (and recognizes the benefits of traditional medicine). It focuses on nutrition, diet and stress reduction. It's also an excellent book. I love how they talk about the 80/20 rule. Eat clean 80 percent of the time, and it's okay if you bend the rules other 20 percent. In other words, a cookie now and then won't kill me.

Here's an excerpt from The Definitive Guide to Cancer, page 40-41. This is from chapter three, Prevention is Paramount:

"But for those of us trying to prevent cancer recurrence, enhancing our overall health will help add quantity and quality to the years we have left. The first step in making changes and setting goals is to access where you are right now. So to that end, and without judgement, take some time to evaluate your life. On a piece of paper, write down your answers to these questions:

1. How many hours a week do you spend working?

2. How many hours a week do you spend playing?

3. How many hours a week do you spend doing some type of spiritual practice (praying, mediating, volunteering, connecting with nature)?

Next, make a list of activities, things, and people that make you feel happy, at peace, and fulfilled. How many hours a week do you spend with those people or doing those things? At the end of your life, no matter when that occurs, what will you cherish more:  money or moments, power or peace; chaos or caring? A life well lives is a life well loved, and that begins with self-love. Don't let everyday obstacles get in the way of such devoted self-love."

Now if that doesn't make you want to buy this book, I don't know what will. It's filled with this type of thinking, as well as a lengthy discussion on nutrition and diet.

If nothing else, cancer is life changing. Even if I only have a few years left, I intend to make those the best years possible. Whether it's five or twenty-five, I intend to have a life well lived.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The food we eat and cancer

Yesterday I went through my freezer, refrigerator, pantry and cabinets and threw away things that I considered unhealthy. I couldn't believe the pile of stuff I had when I was done. I didn't realize how much processed food I had been eating.

Even things I thought were sort of healthy, I ended up throwing out. Like Dreyers frozen fruit bars and Chobani Greek yogurt had a lot of added sugar. No wonder I loved this stuff. I'm looking at sugar as the enemy now. The last thing I want to do is feed the cancer cells.

I found an interesting article on sugar and cancer written by a doctor from the University of Texas, 'Does cancer love sugar?'. Even though the naturopath oncologist agreed with me that sugar feeds cancer, that's not necessarily true. It's more what sugar does to the waistline and it's addictive properties (which I know all about). This article recommends a maximum of 26 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar a day for women.

If I ate just one non-fat Chobani yogurt (15 grams sugar) and one Dryers fruit bar (19 grams sugar), that's 31 grams of sugar a day. I often ate two Chobani's and two frozen fruit bars in a day, or 62 grams of sugar (almost 14 teaspoons of added sugar!). I was also eating a lot of fruit, as well as other foods that contained sugar. I've definitely been eating too much sugar, cancer or no cancer.

Luckily I like Stevia, and in a pure form it's considered non-carcinogenic according to some research. At least from what little data I could find. This article, Sevia and Cancer, indicates it may even have some anti-cancer effects. My favorite Stevia is NuNaturals. I've used it on and off for the past four years and it's the only Stevia product I'll use since it's in the purest form you can buy. Most stores that have a health food section, such as Fred Myers in the Northwest, carry their products. It's not bitter at all, unless you use too much.

I went grocery shopping yesterday for the first time since before the surgery. As I went up and down the store aisles, I noticed the shelves were packed with pocessed food. I guess it never meant much to me before but now when I looked at food I judge it differently than I did before. Instead of just looking at calories and fat, now I judge food whether it's good for me or good for the cancer. Does it have cancer-fighting properties or is it filled with cancer-promoting ingredients. I ended up with very few processed foods.

This is really a different way of thinking for me. I've always thought it was okay to eat a little processed food, a little sugar wouldn't kill me, just everything in moderation, right? Now I don't want to give any random cancer cells any help on finding a place to reseed and start multiplying.

It's funny in a way. I was trapped in a bad marriage for almost 25 years. It literally took my husband putting a loaded gun to my head and threatening to blow my head off to make me file for divorce. I've been trapped in a fat body for years, now it's taken a death threat, cancer, to make me completely change my eating. Rather ironic, isn't it?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lifestyle changes...a matter of life or death

I saw the naturopath oncologist on Thursday. She provided me with a wealth of information. Sadly, I was turned off by her pushiness to sell me $200 worth of supplements (a one-month supply) at the end of our appointment.

We got into a bit of an argument when I told her my current situation, divorce and now medical bills, had created a very tight budget for me. She got nasty and said this was my life we were talking about and if I wanted to live I needed to take these supplements, and of course, buy them from her since "they were of the highest pharmaceutical quality". I told her well, if it was a choice of a roof over my head or the supplements then I would have to choose the roof. It sort of ruined the good feelings I had been feeling up to that point.

Regardless, I did walk away with a lot of knowledge and $100 of "essential" supplements that she said was a must. I haven't taken any of them yet since I have to run them by my traditional oncologist to make sure she approves. There was a green tea extract, some sort of cumin powder mixture that I'm suppose to drink, and a mushroom capsule. I looked them up online and two of them, the green tea extract and the cumin powder do seem to have a history of building the immune system. The mushroom stuff was referred to as "folk" medicine. I really didn't like the high pressure sales. I'm sure they make a lot of money off of this stuff and it seems wrong to tell a cancer patient who has no money that they need to buy this stuff or their cancer will probably return. Obviously, I'm still a bit disappointed this happened.

Now for the really big changes in my life. I have to totally change my eating. I'm going to organic vegetables and fruits, with emphasis on the vegetables and small amounts of fruit (sugar is sugar). Small amounts of animal protein that is free-range and organic. Mostly chicken and fish, very little, if any, red meat. I'll be eating as little processed foods as possible. More lentils and beans, but I have to really watch the carbs due to I need to keep my insulin levels stable. I'm not diabetic but my fasting glucose has always been on the high end, in the 90's. Not pre-diabetic, but too close for comfort.

Portion sizes have to change to smaller meals and more often. Gone are the days of starving myself to death so I can wear size 6 jeans, then binge eating my way right back to size 18. Now it's really eating to live.

I'm also cutting back on dairy, which is a little sad because milk has always been my beverage of choice. Everything I've been reading talks about animal products causing inflammation, including milk. If there are cancer cells running around in my bloodstream, they're looking for inflammation. That's where they'll reseed and start growing. Small servings are okay, but big glasses of milk with my meals are no longer on the menu. Fermented dairy, like yogurt, is okay, but very low sugar.

Processed sugar is completely off the menu. Everything I've read indicates cancer feeds on sugar. I've known for years that sugar isn't a good thing to be eating. It always trigger cravings, and I really don't miss it. The key for me is to avoid it 100%. One bite triggers cravings for me.

I had already starting eating like this about a week ago when I was reading about cancer online and how important nutrition is to prevent the cancer from returning. I'm finding it a lot easier to eat like this than I expected. There's a bonus too, I feel so much better already.

I also can't believe how much better organic food tastes. It taste incredibly delicious. I baked a a free-range, oganic chicken last night with organic carrots, yukon gold potatoes, celery, asparagus and onion. It was literally one of the best meals I've eaten in my entire life. I had no idea there would be such a difference in the taste and texture of the food.

There's a whole list of things I have to work on besides nutrition, like sleep, exercise and my mental attitude (handling stress) are just a few things. I'm reading a couple of books that are really helpful, Five to Thrive, "your cutting-edge cancer prevention plan". And Love, Medicine, and Miracles. These are great books and are giving me a lot of insight and knowledge on how to deal with my cancer diagnosis.

My oncologist (the traditional one) gave me the go ahead last Wednesday to return to the gym. I still haven't gone, but I plan a visit this morning. It's only been 2 1/2 weeks since my total abdominal hysterectomy. I feel better but I'm far from 100% recovered. My workout will be gentle, just enough to get my heart rate up and light weights.

One thing I haven't mentioned in a long time is my binge eating. When my evil, soon-to-be ex-husband lived here I would get up in the middle of the night and eat. Not a little, but a lot. It was serious, out of control binge eating. That went on for years. It was a constant battle and barely a night went by when I wasn't in the kitchen at 1 or 2 a.m. looking for something to eat. I would eat a huge amount of food and go back to bed, alone in my bedroom.

A strange thing has happened. When my husband was arrested for assaulting me and I have a restraining order against him, my binge eating came to a halt. I may have done it a few times right after he left, but I haven't done it for months (he's been gone six months). In hindsight I know it was my unhappiness and feelings of not being loved that caused the binge eating.

I'm feeling very positive about my fight against cancer and my life. These life changes are challenging, but this really is a matter of life or death.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A new lease on life

As weird as this is going to sound, in a way, I'm thankful for my cancer diagnosis. You probably think I've lost my mind but it's given me new energy to fight for my life, as well an appreciation for this world that I've never had before.

I had my follow-up appointment with my oncologist and after reviewing my pathology report there were some positive numbers on it that increase my odds of surviving cancer. Perhaps moving it from 50% to a 60% five-year survival rate. Of course, these numbers are just a crap shoot and no one really knows.

Since this cancer doesn't respond well to chemo or radiation those are both off the table for now. I didn't know this but every cancer has it's own chemo cocktail. ULMS (uterine leiomyosarcoma) is so rare that it doesn't have it's own special chemo cocktail. They use what they think might work but so far the results haven't been good. If the cancer does come back, it will require more surgery and then they will attempt the chemo and radiation.

I'd read that this is such a rare cancer that often an oncologist might only see one or two cases of ULMS in their entire career. I asked my very young oncologist (maybe 35 years old) if she'd ever seen a case of ULMS or was I her first. I'm her third patient which she even said is pretty remarkable. She had a new diagnosis of one last week, Stage 4. No chance of survival. The cancer had mastasized into the woman's liver and they sent her home to die (she's in her mid-sixties). I'm very grateful that at least I have a chance of survival and a pretty good one too. Stage 1B is almost as good as it gets (1A would have been better).

My new lease on life is taking me to see a neuropath oncologist this morning that specializes in women's cancers. This is with the blessing of my traditional medical oncologist. The neuropath is suppose to be one of the best in the state of Washington and one of only three in this state that is a board certified neuropath oncologist. She focuses on nutrition and stress relief in order to build the immune system to fight cancer. Hear that cancer, I'm going to fight you with all I have in me!

I'm amazingly happy today. My sister-in-law (soon to be "ex" but I will call her my sister after the divorce..married to my husband's brother) went with me to my oncologist visit yesterday. She is a wonderful friend. The end of my marriage has renewed our friendship especially since we weren't able to see each other much for years because my husband and her husband barely spoke and hated each other. After the doctor we went shopping for me to get a "panty girdle". I haven't worn one of those since high school. My five-inch incision hurts if it isn't held in place. The hospital gave me a big elastic band to wear which is fine under PJs or a nightie, but doesn't work under clothes. Then we went to lunch, then a mani/pedi. We had a blast together. Laughing and talking and just enjoying each other's companionship.

Last night my manager came by and visited. We're not close friends, but it was nice of her to drop by. We talked and laughed. I made continual jokes about my cancer and death. Some people find my humor gruesome, but I think it's kind of funny that I have cancer. I mean, really, look at my life these last two years. You just have to laugh that on top of all that crap that now I have cancer. If you don't see the humor in that then you don't have a sense of humor. I find myself sometimes just giggling when I think about it. I mean, really God, do you think this is what it takes to get my attention? Okay, big guy, you've got my full attention now.

My manager was appalled at the online calculator I found for ULMS that can predict your survival rate. It's on the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center website. I found it last week, but didn't have all the numbers from the pathology report to put in it and had to guess. Even then I came up with 57%. My oncologist told me yesterday she was going to tell me about it but I had already found it. That's where my oncologist got the 60% number. The doctors actually use this website to determine approprate treatment. Again, just a crap shoot. No one really knows.

Speaking of treatment for my cancer, there isn't any. My oncologist thinks the chemo or radiation would do more harm than good. If there are cancer cells that escaped prior to the surgery through my bloodstream then it's unlikey the chemo or radiation will catch them. Even though she thinks she got all the cancer with the surgery, there's really no way of knowing for sure. Tumor size is an indicator if the cancer will return even when they think the cancer has been completely surgically removed. A tumor larger than 5 cm is bad and the larger the tumor the great the odds the cancer cells have already spread. My tumor was 8.5 cm.

Enjoy your day and enjoy your life. Each day is a precious gift. Don't wait to enjoy life until you've been diagnosed with something like cancer.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I have cancer

I had my total abdominal hysterectomy on April 11. After the surgery my oncologist surgeon told me everything looked good. She was sure I didn't have cancer. Since there was less than 1% chance that my fibroid was cancerous I felt confident that everything was good.

The surgery went well, although the pain after the surgery was hideous. I have a six inch vertical cut from my belly button down to right above my pelvic bone. It's not pretty but it was necessary to remove my uterus and the fibroid intact.

When I came out of the recovery room my three best friends were there waiting for me. I'm really lucky to have such great friends that care for me. I don't know how I'd get through this without them.

My body parts, uterus, fibroid, cervix and one ovary (one was left inside of me) were all sent to the lab to be biopsied. On April 17th I received a phone call from my surgeon's associate (my doctor was on vacation) that I have Uterine Leiomyosarcoma. She told me it was an extremely rare and aggressive cancer. The conversation was short since I had a followup visit with my surgeon on April 24.

After researching Uterine Leimyosarcoma (ULMS) online, I was very upset. This isn't the good uterine cancer, the one with a 90% five-year survival rate. This one is different. It's so rare that there isn't much known about it. It affects six in one million women.

I called my doctor's associate back last Thursday and asked several questions. I'm in Stage 1B which sounds good, but even at this stage it only has a 50% five-year survival rate. Those aren't very good odds. Also, the larger the tumor is over 5 cm (mine was 12 cm) the more likely it will reoccur even if all of it was removed during surgery. I'm thankful I'm not in Stage II since that stage only has a survival rate of 0 - 20%.

I stumbled across a blog by a woman that was diagnosed four and half years ago with Stage II ULMS. She's still going strong, but she had to completely change her life. From removing stress factors to changing her diet to all organic, natural foods and no sugar. Cancer feeds off of sugar.

Cancer also feeds off of estrogen, which is why I have to have my second ovary removed as soon as possible. Even though I'm postmenopausal it's still producing a minute amount of estrogen.

Fat also produces estrogen, so I'm on a diet. Not a crazy, starve myself type of diet, but a whole foods, healthy diet.

Other than the cancer, the criminal trial is on schedule for June 11 and the divorce in November. Very stressful events that I'm trying to handle without making myself crazy. I can't wait for this to all be over.

I will fight this cancer as hard as I can, and I'll do the best to change my life. It's not going to be easy, but it'll be worth it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Update on surgery...there is no update

Well, it turns out that surgeons are human after all. Who knew? Just as my ride to the hospital pulled into my driveway yesterday at 7:30am, I received a phone call from the hospital that my surgeon had called in sick.

I wasn't mad at all, just terribly disappointed. It never occurred to me that my surgeon might get sick. I hadn't taken a Vicodin at 2am when the last dose had worn off. Since I couldn't eat or drink anything after midnight, I couldn't take the Vicodin. It makes me really nauseated if I take it without food. By 4am I thought if I wasn't going to the hospital in a few hours that I'd be driving myself to the ER. The pain was excruciating. The first thing I did after the phone call was take two Vicodin and go to bed.

The surgery is scheduled for Thrusday, 4/11 at 6am. This morning I thought I'd try to go without the Vicodin, and if I was okay, I'd go into the office. As expceted, the pain was once again unbearable and constant. In the beginning it would come and go without pain meds, now it comes and stays.

Back on the Vicodin. This means I can't go into work. They have a very strict rule of no narcotics while on the job. I'm also not suppose to drive while on Vicodin. So now I'm stuck at home and really can't do much of anything except read, watch TV or surf the internet. All of which puts me into instant sleep mode.

My newest side effect of my fibroid is that eating has become very unpleasant experience. Even the smallest amount of food sends me to a new level of pain. I guess because the my stomach presses down on my enlarged uterus causing the fibroid to then press down even harder on my cervix. I'm not sure if that's the problem, but I know that even when on the Vicodin, eating food causes pain almost instantly. Maybe I've found a new diet plan, "rapidly growing fibroid removes desire to eat". I somehow don't think this will be popular with the masses.

I sure do miss my good health. You never know how good you had it until it's gone. Once this is over, I plan on giving my health 100% focus. Okay, sleep time is coming on. I guess I'll go lay down now.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Update on my health issue

Below is an email I sent this morning to my friends, family and coworkers. I thought it was easier to just post this here too for my few friends I have out in the blog world.

Thank you for your kind emails. I haven't been very good about responding to anyone. I'm sorry. I'm sort of in a tizzy with everything happening so fast.

I'll post once I'm home on Wednesday or Thursday.

Hi everyone,
Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. I really appreciate it.
I've been debating on how much to tell everyone about what's going on with my health. I've decided to give you some details since I told a couple of you there was a chance of cancer. If you don't want to know any of this, you should stop reading now. :)
In January I started having some lower abdominal/pelvic pain. Mostly cramping with some stabbing pains. It went away after a week so I didn't think much about it.

About two weeks ago the pain started again, but this time it was worse, and it didn't go away. Every day the pain became a little more intense. In the last week and a half I've had a CT scan, an ultrasound, and a biopsy of my endometrium (lining of my uterus in case any guys are reading this). The biopsy was negative. However, there was a large mass growing in my uterus (they thought it was a fibroid, but not sure). They couldn't biopsy it because they didn't know where the cancer might be growing inside of it. They would have to remove the fibroid to biopsy it. My gynecologist discussed this with the gynecologic oncologist in Seattle and they thought it was best if I saw the oncologist to review my options (which turned out to be very limited).

After four hours of being poked and prodded Friday by the oncologist, she said she "thinks" what I have is a large, rapidly growing fibroid. Fibroids are usually not cancerous, but the ones that are cancerous are the rapidly growing ones. Since there's a possibility of cancer and since it's growing so fast (it actually increased in size since the Tuesday ultrasound), the gynecologic oncologist felt it was best if she does the surgery, a total abdominal hysterectomy.

The oncologist won't know if the fibroid is cancerous until she removes my uterus with the fibroid intact, and has it biopsied while she keeps "working on me". If it's cancer then my ovaries and lymph nodes will also be removed. She can't do the surgery laparscopically since the fibroid is so large, as she put it, the size of the head of a 32-week old fetus (or a very large grapefruit). She can't take the risk of the fibroid falling apart as she removes it because if it is cancerous the cancer cells would be released into my bloodstream and cause cancer to develop elsewhere. I thought that was interesting. I didn't even know that could happen.

Unfortunately, the abdominal incision will be vertical and about seven inches. She said she has to do the surgery this way since things are "abnormal" (I heard that word over and over). This is because of the size of the fibroid and how my uterus is pressing into my other organs and displacing them. She said it will be tricky to remove my enlarged uterus and not damage the surrounding organs. No worries on the incision because my bikini days are long gone, so this is the least of my problems.

My surgery is tomorrow, April 8, at 8:45am at the Seattle Virginia Mason Hospital. The surgery usually only takes an hour, but my oncologist said mine could take two to three hours since it's a bit more complicated than a normal hysterectomy. I'll be in the hospital for two or three days, then home for three to four weeks, depending on how the surgery goes (cancer versus no cancer).

I'm sure I don't have cancer. I don't feel like I do. :) Even if on the very remote chance it is cancer, it would be treatable so I'm not worried. Just another chapter of my already crazy life.

If anyone asks about me, feel free to share any of this information. As you all know, my life is an open book.

I'll update you once I'm home from the hospital. Take care, and I'll see all of you in a few weeks.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Taking my good health for granted

Right now, I'm playing the waiting game. Waiting to hear if I have endometrial cancer. I keep telling myself I'm sure I don't have cancer. I don't "feel" like I have cancer. Yet there's that little voice in my head that keeps reviewing the statistics. Statistically, the odds are stacked against me.

Ive been thinking about the obesity factor. Obesity greater than 50 pounds over ideal body weight is 10 times more likely to develop endometrial cancer. I don't think I've ever heard this statistic before. If I had, would it have made a difference in my weight? Sadly, probably not. Because like most people, I thought I was invincible. I've always been blessed with good health. I thought that it would last forever. I was wrong.

Out of the higher risk factors for endometrial cancer, I have four of them: obesity, postmenopausal, lack of children and hypertension. I appear to be a textbook case for having endometrial cancer. Yet I still think this can't happen to me. I'm too healthy, things like this just don't happen to me, then I have the foot-stomping reaction...this just can't happen to me! Not now! I have too much to deal with, I can't take this on too! Honestly, God, what about that deal we have, where you will NOT give me more than I can handle? Then I calm down and tell myself I can handle whatever is thrown my way. My sister's stroke, my divorce, potential bankruptcy, all seems to fit together. I got the bundle package of bad stuff that can happen to a person. I can only go up from here.

At Significantly Higher Risk for Endometrial Cancer (from
  1. Obesity greater than 50 pounds (23 kg) over ideal body weight (10 times as likely).
  2. Postmenopausal women.
  3. Menopause after age 52 (2.4 times as likely).
  4. Lack of children (twice as likely).
  5. Women with hypertension (twice as likely).
  6. Diabetics (2.8 times).
  7. Women who do not ovulate, those with polycystic ovaries (Stein-Leventhal syndrome).
  8. Estrogen replacement therapy without supplemental progesterone (seven times as likely).
  9. History of pelvic radiation therapy (eight times).
Another sad fact for the obese woman, we can't even have laparscopic surgery if there's cancer, we have to have the old fashioned, slice open the abdomen surgery:

Most gynecologic oncologists recommend a midline abdominal incision to gain access to the upper abdomen. However, laparoscopic surgery (minimal invasive surgery) including a hysterectomy, removal of both tubes and ovaries, removal of the pelvic and para-aortic lymph nodes can be performed in non-obese women, allowing a quicker release from the hospital, a quicker recovery, and where applicable, an earlier return to work. Complications of surgery include infection, bleeding and injury to the bladder, rectum or ureter causing a leak (rare). There may also be blood clots in the legs, occasionally dislodging and traveling to the lungs (pulmonary embolism).

I should get the results of the biopsy today. My doctor told me I would hear from her in a day or two. The biopsy was on Monday. Now I just have to wait.

I've changed my diet back to eating healthier and eating less. I haven't gone to the gym because I feel like my insides are going to fall out. I have intermittent stabbing pains that take my breath away. I don't have them all the time, sometimes I'll even go fifteen minutes without anything. I just don't have the desire to exercise right now. Funny how pain does that to a person.

My gym membership expires this month. I think that's sort of funny. Perfect timing since I won't be able to go for a few weeks if I have a regular hysterectomy. Or several weeks if the gynecologic oncologist performs the hysterectomy. I'm pretty sure I'm just going to renew my membership anyway, regardless of cancer or no cancer. As soon as I'm feeling better, I want to get back exercising.

I'll post as soon as I get the results of my biopsy. Maybe a cancer scare is just what I needed to wake up and take control of my health. It certainly has made me aware of what's important and just how much I love life.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Endometrial cancer biopsy of a nulliparous woman

Nulliparous:  a woman that has never given birth.

I wanted to post this while the experience is fresh in my mind. Also, if there's anyone out there that does a search for this, they can read about my experience.

I finished the procedure about 20 minutes ago. I'm not going to lie and say it didn't hurt, because it hurt like hell. The good part is it only hurt like hell for about three minutes. The other fifteen minutes were uncomfortable, but completely bearable. Those three minutes were bearable too since I'm sitting here writing about it, but it was some pretty intense pain. On my scale, I'd give it a 7 or 8. I've never given birth or had anything really bad to compare it too, so I probably tend to rate my pain higher than most people.

I am a nulliparous woman, meaning I have never given birth. To get to the uterus my doctor had to insert a very slender straw-like tube through my cervix. The tube appeared to be less than 1/8 of an inch and I thought it wouldn't be that difficult. My cervix disagreed and was closed up tighter than a clam. It refused to let anything get through. Even the misoprostol (the abortion pill) didn't seem to have any effect on my cervix. My doctor said it probably had helped a little but she still couldn't get the tube through the cervix and into my uterus.

This meant the big needle came out, with the local anaesthesia. Just the idea of what appeared to be a six inch needle going inside of my vagina to get to my cervix was unpleasant. There was a quick pinch with the needle, then it was over.

Next came the tube again. Even though I'd had the local, that tiny tube cause intense pain when it went through my cervix. It was the worst cramps that I've ever experience as my cervix seem to go into convulsions. I could hear the suction as tissue was sucked from uterus lining (which now fills my uterus). Fortunately things went well and there was plenty of tissue removed for the biopsy. There were a few tears, but I got through it.

Even after the tube was removed, I still had cramping and it took a few minutes before I could sit up again and breathe normally.

I'm writing this because what I read online didn't match what happened to me. Every article said there might be a sharp pain or some mild cramping. Of course, the fact that I've never born a child and that nothing has ever passed through my cervix is probably what made my pain a little more intense. It was only for a few minutes but it was very uncomfortable.

Fortunately, I have an amazing doctor. She's extremely kind and understanding and reassured me that what I felt was completely normal for someone who has never had a child. She also told me she was going to be in Seattle tomorrow and she'll call her friend in pathology and ask them to move me to the top to get the biopsy results. Hopefully by tomorrow at this time I'll know something.

I'm fairly confident that it's not cancer. However, I read this morning that a woman that is more than 50 pounds or more overweight increases her risk of endometrial cancer by ten-fold. That means I'm ten times more likely to get this cancer. However, even if it is cancer, I'll beat it.

I have the biopsy procedure today

Today is the biopsy of my uterus to check for endometrial cancer. I've already decided I don't have cancer and this is just a precaution. You know, positive thinking will make anything bad go away. I can't tell you how many of my friends, who mean well, keep telling me to think positive. It sort of makes me giggle. Like positive thoughts can wipe out cancer.

Regardless, I really don't think I have cancer, and I'm only having the biopsy because my doctor recommended it. Probably another unnecessary, expensive procedure to cover their backside. I think a lot of these procedures the doctors do are so they don't get sued later down the road in case there is something wrong. I guess better safe than sorry.

I'm more worried about the two little pills I have to insert vaginally in about two hours, six hours before the procedure when they insert a thin tube up through my vagina, through my cervix and into my uterus. Then a machine will suck out some cells out of the uterus which will be sent to the lab and biopsied. I watched a gross video on this last night with a real person. Looked icky, but didn't look too painful.

What is more disturing are the pills. I picked up the prescription late last night. I had totally forgot about the procedure today. Thank goodness for my 24-hour pharmacy.

After watching the youtube videos on "uterus biopsy" I looked up the medication, Misoprostol. It's an abortion pill! It's used to terminate a pregnancy by starting labor. It's also used to induce labor in the second and third trimesters. I vaguely remember the doctor telling me on the phone Friday afternoon that the biopsy will be "uncomfortable" with a lot of cramping. I didn't think much about it. Now I'm feeling a little nervous, but I'm sure it won't be that bad. I've had some pretty severe cramping these last two months from the endometriosis so I'm use to pain.

Other than last night when I was fretting about going into labor today, I had a great weekend. The weather was spectacular Saturday and Sunday. It even got up to 71 degrees yesterday. It reminded me of that old Perry Como song, "The bluest skies you've ever seen are in Seattle". It was gorgeous. I spent most of Saturday and Sunday working in the yard. As much as I complain about my soon-to-be-ex-husband, he did do a lot of yard work (soon is in November when the divorce trial is set). Of course, when you don't have a regular job and a lot of free time...okay, I won't go there.

I gave up on the two gas mowers. I couldn't get either one to start. When I reached my maximum frustration I drove down to Home Depot and bought an electric mulching mower. Quiet and no nasty gas and oil business to deal with. Super easy to start and it ALWAYS starts. I haven't done the mulching yet, but used the bag. I thought the grass was too long to mulch. It's the best mower ever! Black & Decker MM1800. Better yet was the $199 price tag. It also doesn't weigh a ton like the old mowers. Love it!

I pulled a lot of weeds from the flower beds (some of the biggest dandelions I've ever seen) . I have plans to plant the plants I want in the back yard. Over the years my husband had managed to destroy or pull up most of my perennials. He said he thought they were weeds. We had a lot of fights over the years about my flowers. I had a lot of gorgeous perennials in back but now the only two things left are the giant bearded irises and one Bleeding Heart (which doesn't look healthy this year). It makes me sick because at one point I had at least twenty different varieties of perennials and it was so pretty in the back yard. Now it's become a hoarder's yard, filled with junk. I have a lot of work ahead of me (more trips to the landfill).

I took my sister to see the G.I. Joe movie yesterday. Not exactly an Easter Sunday type movie, but it was pretty good. Lots of action, which I know my sister likes. I wasn't feeling that great yesterday. Maybe it was all the yard work over the weekend, but I was out of sorts yesterday afternoon.

That's it. Another hour or so, and I insert my abortion pills. Fun times.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

What can happen when you're obese

It's been a tough week. Ha! What else is new with me? Every week seems to be a tough week. Now a health concern on top of everything else.

I had the CT scan on Tuesday and was told it was a large fibroid and an ovarian cyst on my right side. The gynecologist was concerned I might have ovarian cancer so she ordered a ultrasound yesterday.  I had the ultrasound and the technician showed me  the screen. We could see the huge fibroid filling up my entire uterus. It grossed me out.

My gynecologist called me at 2pm and told me the good news is the ovarian cyst doesn't look like cancer, however, my fibroid isn't a fibroid. It's endometriosis, where the lining of my uterus has become so thick that it's taking up my entire uterus.

Monday I'll have a biopsy done where they'll stick a tube up through my cervix and into my uterus to get cell samples. That doesn't always work, and if id doesn't then a "scraping". Even if it's not cancer then she needs to know what is causing the endometrium to grow out of control. This is extremely rare in postmenopausal women.

Google has told me what caused this medical condition. It's on every "postmenopausal endometreosis" website I visited. The number one risk factor is OBESITY. I have the next several risk facts as well, but the most shocking and hard to handle one is obesity. That was in my control. There others were out of my control.

I also looked at my medical history on my clinic's website. I signed up for it yesterday so it was the first time I've looked at it. There it was, in 2004 when I weighed 240 pounds. The words hurt.


I know I'm fat, obese, morbidly obese, but to see it there in print where someone typed it in, (in all caps -- nothing else was in all caps), it was like a kick in the head. I remember the doctor too. A tiny little Asian woman. I remember the conversation we had about it. I remember immediately, within a couple days anyway, joining Weight Watchers and losing a significant amount of weight. Now I've gained most of it back. Now I'm paying the price with my health.

I screwed up. Big time. This is my fault. The fact that I have to have a complete hysterectomy. Even the fact I might have cancer. I did this to myself. There's no one else to blame. I knew the risks of being morbidly obese. I thought I could get away with it. I was wrong.

I'm over the initial shock of the whole thing. I got the news yesterday. Got angry at myself, but it's too late now. The damage is done. If it's cancer, I'll deal with it. If it's not, then it's just a simple hysterectomy. Not a huge deal.

Either way, this is an eye opener for me. I'm another statistic of what happens when we let ourselves get obese. I suppose I'm like a smoker that doesn't think they'll get cancer. I won't happen to me!

My immediate goal is to start on a really healthy eating plan and exercise. I've let that slide lately. Now that I have surgery in my near future I know I won't be able to lose much weight before the surgery, but I can at least get on a healthy eating track.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Life is good!

Yesterday was a very bad day. From the start to the end, then my doctor called me and everything was suddenly much better.

A recap of my day from hell:

1. My commute to work is usually 20 minutes. It was over an hour. There was a 10-mile backup on the freeway on my way to work. My I5 commute is 10 miles, and yes, the backup was my entire 10 miles.

2. When I finally got to work I was informed there was a bad bug in our beta software that was in two stations. It was my bug. I skipped a couple meetings to work on it. Luckily it was an easy fix, but a stupid mistake on my part. It got past me and the testers but was found in the field after a week of beta.

3. My project manager informed me that my estimate for a hideous project I've been assigned is too large. I need to cut it back. I've never been asked to do this before so it was kind of a shock. My estimates are usually right on the mark so I have no idea how I can squeeze six months of work into four. Especially when the requirements aren't even done so there a many unknowns.

3. I found out from my accountant that filing my taxes is going to be difficult. Filing "married, filing separately", in a community property state, when you're not speaking to your spouse because of a restraining order, makes it hard. Involves a tax accountant and attorneys.

4. I bounced a check at my credit union. It didn't really bounce but I received a nasty note from my credit union that although the money was in my savings I had exceeded the six transfers allowed per month from savings to checking. They paid it but charged me $25 NSF fee (!). This is a tiny little credit union through my company. They are my temporary bank so I could my check deposited somewhere besides our old joint checking account. My check goes into savings, a mistake I made when I set up the direct deposit. I tried to change it last night and the system locked me out and said I couldn't make any changes to my direct deposit. So now my check is set to be deposited no where and tomorrow is payday (!).

5. The CT scan. Drinking the barium and getting shot with dye wasn't bad. The barium is gross and I gagged a little but I got down the two bottles. Then the incredible pain started. I really thought I was going to die. After the CT scan I came home and went to bed, in the fetal position. I was in tears from the pain. It finally subsided after a few hours and a lot ibuprofen and several trips to the bathroom.

6. My niece's husband called me around 6pm. This is the niece that's suppose to come down from Alaska on Easter to see her mother (my sister). It would be the first time she's seen her mom since I moved her down here January 2012. Her husband told me my niece had tried to commit suicide that morning by taking a bottle of Tylenol and a bottle of aspirin. 250 pills. Luckily when he found her past out ont he couch when he came home from work, he rushed her to the ER. He said she was incoherent and throwing up. The good news is that she'll be okay. She was in the psych ward about three weeks ago for a week stay, and tried to check herself in again last week but they sent her home. As soon as she's out of ICU they'll put her in the psych ward again. I truly don't understand depression and suicide, but I know she must be in terrible pain to do something like this. This is about her twelfth attempt in the last fifteen years.

Now for the GOOD news (yes, there's really good news from yesterday). My doctor called me about 7:30pm. Of course that scared me because the clinic closes at 5pm. They know what's wrong with me and it's not terrible, and is totally fixable. I have an 8.5 centimeter uterine fibroid (3 1/2")--this is probably why I feel like my insides are going to fall out. I wrote down "abnormal" next to it in my notes but I don't remember why. I also have an ovarian cyst on my right ovary. That's where the pain is the most intense when a  pain episode starts (and they're happening more often now and more intense). My doctor referred me to an OB/GYN doctor who will be calling me today. She said I'll probably need a hysterectomy, but they'll discuss that with me more. I'm just thrilled to know what has been causing the pain and that it can be fixed. No signs of cancer and mostly likely the cyst isn't cancerous and fibroids are never cancerous.

So even though it was a hell of a day, it ended on a very good note. I'm so happy that it wasn't all in my head and that it can be fixed. Life is good!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What doesn't kill me makes me stronger

I fought like hell to get my blog back up, then I don't post anything for almost a month. I've been busy, but not that busy!

I don't feel like I have anything exciting or interesting to talk about in regards to weight loss or exercise. My weight went up to 206 even thought I've been going to Weight Watcher meetings consistently. The problem is that I haven't been "doing" Weight Watchers. Just paying the monthly fee and sitting through the meetings isn't enough. My best friend has been going with me and in the same time we've been going regularly (about eight weeks), she's lost 13 pounds. I could kick myself for not getting on plan. Every day I say I will, every day I don't. Same old story.

Same with the gym, I was going on a regular basis but then got too busy. I had a great workout on Saturday, but that was my last workout.

In my defense, as lame as it is, I'm having some sort of health problem. According to Google, my symptoms indicate a bladder infection or ovarian cancer. I know what you're thinking, stop looking up my symptoms on Google. Unfortunately, I'm very high risk for ovarian cancer. Age, postmenopausal, obesity (increases risk by 50%), reproductive history (never had kids - makes me a big risk), family history -- we're pretty sure my mom died from ovarian cancer, per her doctor, but they never ran any tests. He said since she was so old - 86 - and she was going to die anyway they didn't want to bother with doing any tests. Wish I'd forced the issue on that one.

My doctor ruled out a bladder infection based on the urinalysis. Now she wants me to do blood work and get a CT scan. That was on Monday. Monday night I felt a lot better and thought it was a waste of money to get the extra tests done. Last night I thought I was dying so I'm calling today to schedule the CT scan. I'll get the blood work done too. It's better to try to find out what's wrong. I had an episode of the same kind of pain in January but it went away. Now it's back with a vengeance, with the pain much more intense this time.

Okay, enough about my health. Want to hear how the divorce is going? Probably the worse divorce I've witnessed. I had to go to court last week on something trivial for another hearing. It's crazy because each time we have to go to court, it costs me a big chunk of money (I have to go with my attorney). I won't go into details about what my husband wanted, but the judge ruled in my favor.

The bills are astronomical since I'm paying for everything, including his health and auto insurance (which annoys me, ordered by the court since he's still not working).

His criminal trial is scheduled for June 11. Really dreading it since I have to testify. My best friend will be there with me. It'll be a jury trial with witnesses (there weren't any witnesses so not sure what they're talking about - except the police were there). I've already read about 30 pages of lies my husband has written about me and submitted in court. Some pretty amazing works of fiction, which I believe is considered perjury.  The divorce trial is still scheduled November 3.

I wish this year was over. I want it to be 2014.

My sister is doing well. I took her to lunch and for her hair appointment on Sunday. She seems to be happy. She continues to try to talk, and talks up a storm. Watching her try to tell the stylist how she wanted her hair done was rather comical. I always tell the stylist what she wants and usually my sister doesn't try to say anything. On Sunday she started chatting up a storm witht he stylist. I was sitting across the room and watched for about a minute. The stylist knows my sister had a stroke, but it was the first time my sister tried to talk to her. I thought I'd better rescue the stylist and went over to try and figure out what my sister was saying. We finally figured out she wanted her bangs cut short (we think that's what she wanted). My sister is talking more than ever, but it just doesn't make any sense. She can say "okay", "yeah" and "alright". That's the extent of her vocabulary that's understandable. I keep hoping that someday she'll say more words I can understand.

My niece is coming for a visit over Easter to see her mother (my sister). I told my sister and she shook her head no, over and over, and then cried non-stop for ten mintues. I finally told her that maybe she wouldn't come and to not worry about it so much and she finally stopped crying. This is my good niece, my sister's favorite child. She has a lot of mental issues, but she's very kind and sweet. She's on bipolar meds, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic meds, as well as a couple meds for depression. She checked herself into the hospital about a month ago and was admitted to the psych ward for a week. Then last week she went back to the hospital but they called her husband to come get her. She's 48 and a mess. Her husband called Friday and said she's not coming down. She call Sunday and said she is coming down. I'd prefer she wait until she's got her head on straight, but doubt that will ever happen.

After reading this, I can see why I haven't posted for the last month. A rather sad and pathetic story. Oh well, it's my life right now.  I'm still standing, still going to work every day. I still have amazing and wonderful friends, and my faith in God. It's all good. I'll get through this period. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger, right?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday Update

I'm running a bit late this morning, but now that I have my blog back I'm committed to posting on a daily basis again. I also intend to get back to reading my favorite blogs and leaving comments. Just like the old days.

Yesterday was a bust as far as exercise and journaling my food. I spent twelve solid hours on the computer trying to finish the annual report for the Alaska court for he guardianship and conservatorship of my sister. I forgot just how much of mess last year's financial piece was for her. Selling the house, selling her apartment complex, the two auctions for her personal belongings and one for the farm equipment, along with numerous other financial dealings I handled for her. I forgot what a hell of a year it was after her stroke. I finally got it all in Quicken after twelve hours but the numbers came up wrong so I still have more work to do on it.

I was anxious and upset all day yesterday and couldn't figure out why. About 9 p.m. I burst into tears. It finally occurred to me what was wrong. All the horrible stuff I went through with my sister last year came back to me full force. It was like I was reliving last year as I documented each transaction. Things I totally forgot about hit me full force. As well as how miserable things were at home with my husband as I tried to deal with my sister's post-stroke life.

There was dealing with my sister after she had her a severe stroke from which she never recovered. Her depression and wanting to die. The doctors that offered no hope. Her crazy daughter (my niece) and the restraining order against her. All the legal dealings with lawyers in Alaska and lawyers down here, going to court for the guardianship and conservatorship, evicting my other niece and grandniece from the apartment complex. My niece was fifty and my grandniece was in her mid-thirties, neither worked, two apartments and they wouldn't move out after I sold the complex which resulted in another court appearance or the sale wouldn't go through. The two years of back taxes ($10,000) my sister had to pay, and the fear that she would be homeless if I messed up her financial situation. It was miserable reliving all of that but at least the report is almost done. A good helped too.

Speaking of my sister, there's been no change in the last six months or so. She still can't speak or use her right side. She actually does speak, but it's gibberish. She can nod yes and no, but sometimes gets those mixed up. She acts like she can read, but I'm not sure. She always has a book with her and I take her National Geographic which she gets excited over, but I have no way of knowing if she can actually read. She's really good at jigsaw puzzles. We go to the movies and dinner on Sundays and she seems to enjoy doing both. Her health is still good and she seems content in her life. Not happy exactly, but content.

I've got to get going, get ready for work. I'm going to spin class tonight with some people from work. I'm excited about using my new gel bike seat. A gal at work bought one but never used it so sold it to me for half price. It's suppose to make a world of difference. We'll see. I'm not thrilled with my spin shoes. It seems like it makes it a lot harder. I guess that's the point, but spin cylcing is hard enough without making it harder.

I'll be back tomorrow!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I'm back - I was shut down by Blogger as SPAM

Blogger took down my blog as SPAM. I had too many anonymous comments that were SPAM and their automated system thought this was a SPAM blog. It took a little work to get it back up but I finally figured out how to do it. Once I figure out how, got the required information submitted, the appeal team immediately put it back up. Whew! I missed you guys. I've had to turn on moderated comments because I have to keep those spammer anonymous comments from posting or I could be taken down again.

A lot has happened the last few months. Most important is that I re-joined Weight Watchers again in mid-December. I've only lost 12.6 pounds which means I've made my 5%. This isn't setting any records but at least it's a start. Down to 205.

I went to my Weight Watcher meeting yesterday and found out my leader is retiring. I actually cried. She's the best Weight Watcher leader in the world. I found out why she's quitting. It's because she makes her meetings unique and they want her to conform to their standard. Her meetings are always packed and she has three of them on Saturdays where it's almost standing room only. I think Weight Watchers should conform to her, but not everyone can be like her. She's vivacious, hysterically funny, and extremely compassionate. She's a jewel. This is her last week and next Saturday my meeting will be her last meeting. It's very sad, but my girlfriend and I agreed we'd keep going to meetings and try to find someone we like.

I'm back at the gym and have been for several weeks. I had to take off last week because I came down with a horrible cold that knocked me flat for a solid four days. I went back to the gym yesterday and had a good workout. It felt good to move again after spending almost an entire 48 hours in bed.

The criminal trial for my husband's assault against me is tentatively set for March 5, but most likely will be delayed. I won't know for sure until Tuesday when there's a hearing with the prosecutor and my husband's defense attorney. The divorce trial isn't until November 3. Almost a year from when I filed. Long story on that one, but it's a very messy divorce. One thing that is really positvie about all of this is that I love living alone. The late night eating has completely halted as well as my obsessive TV watching. It seems to have somehow been tied to my incredibly bad marriage.

That's about it. I guess not that much has happened. It seems like every day when I couldn't blog, I would think, 'oh, I need to blog about that!', but I couldn't. Now that I can, I'm drawing a big, fat blank. I just wanted to let you all know I'm back.

Spam Alert: I just went back and looked at my old posts. Wow! I got hit hard by spammers. Almost every post had 200 to 500 comments. Spam comments. When I turned on moderation you can't see any of the old comments, not even the few valid ones, but that's better than seeing hundreds of spam comments. I won't go back and clean them up. Too many. I'll just leave them not visible. It's no wonder Blogger shut me down. I don't blame them. I didn't even realize this had happened since the spammer systems were hitting on old posts, never the current day's post, so I didn't even notice it. This is something everyone needs to be aware of. Check your old posts to make sure those spammer creeps aren't hitting you. Turn on comment moderation if you have to. If you get shut down, email me and I'll give you the link to get help. It wasn't easy for me to find it so I suspect others might have a problem with it too. I mistakenly thought I just needed to hit the restore blog button and all would be good. It's not quite that easy, but it is easy once you know where to go for help.