Friday, August 31, 2012

Long Weekend, Long Post

Happy Labor Day Weekend to my friends here in the U.S.! We've earned an extra day off -- I am sure of that!

I am not sure where to start. I have a feeling this is going to be a VERY long post. Please bear with me.

First, I am feeling fine. I have absolutely no physical complaints except that I am FAT. Yes, FAT. I gained about 20 extra pounds while undergoing chemo last year. Those 20 lbs. piled on top of the 10 lbs. that I wanted to lose even before my diagnosis add up to me being about 30 lbs. overweight. It's not a pretty sight.

Then I had my hysterectomy and oopherectomy. I am in menopause thanks to the chemo and my surgery in April. My metabolism -- which has always managed to be pretty speedy on its own -- has now slammed into a brick wall.

I cannot lose a pound to save my life. And it just might be all about saving my life.

I know that carrying extra weight and bodyfat is not good for someone who had cancer. My cancer was estrogen-positive. Did you know that even after you have your ovaries removed, your body still manufactures and stores estrogen in your adipose (FAT) tissues? It's true.

So my main focus in life (besides my job and marriage) is to lose weight and gain muscle. Easier said than done.

One thing I am really learning about myself now that I have completed all my treatments is that my life is WAY out of balance. I really do not make time for myself. I love my job and tend to work a nice, full 9 hour day - many days I work more hours. I don't care -- I love what I do.

But when you work like I do, that leaves very little time for taking care of oneself.

I do not workout. I set my alarm for an hour before I normally get up thinking that I will get on the treadmill and walk but that never happens. I am just too tired thanks to the sleeping pill I am on due to menopause insomnia. So I roll over and hit the snooze and no calories are burned.

Then I go to work and sit behind a desk all day. I love what I do so much that I rarely take a lunch. Sometimes I will grab a bite to eat but usually end up eating it at my desk. And God forbid it is a day when I have a meeting during lunch. In comes the Southern "comfort" food -- the BBQ, the cornbread, the potatoes and chocolate cake. MYGOD. It is impossible for me to resist the good old Southern comfort food.

And even if I have a good day of eating, I get home and I am tired. I just want to unwind. So I open a bottle of wine and down two glasses without even thinking about it. But it does feel GOOD. I can relax, kick back and enjoy my evening (of doing nothing - no working out, no yoga, no sex).

So yes, I am feeling fine physically. But I obviously have a long way to go in the work/life balance department.

I won't even get into the emotional wreck I have been since having my hysterectomy. I hate using hormones as an excuse for bad behavior but I must admit that I feel like I have PMS every single day. If I am not overly sad and morose, I am angry, irritated and frustrated.

Those are not good emotions to have on daily basis. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure that you can lose friends and possibly end up divorced if you keep those emotions going every day.

So yeah, life kinda sucks right now. And I feel guilty for saying it because I have been through the "worst." I have had the surgeries and chemo and radiation. Life should be a breeze right now.

Anyway - thanks to those of you who have checked in with me and left me comments. It's nice to know I am not alone in this weird "post-treatment" funk. I am sure it will get better. I just need to figure it out, I guess.


  1. Jenn, you just can't be so hard on yourself. Look at everything you just came out of! Your body is just now beginning to heal itself. It likes to do that best when we are sleeping.

    I got about 30-35 lbs to loose as well. It hasn't been easy to even start. Sis called today to begin setting dates to get started (walking first). As we talked and tried to rearrange schedules to fit it in, she said "all we need is 20 minutes to get to a full work out" She's right, we aren't talking about blocking hours of time to do this!

    We already have/had so much chemicals in us, but just a thought....I'm taking Citalopram 20 mg. Not having any side effects and I am feeling more balanced. Once my serotonin gets to a better level, I can wean off.

    Find a partner to get you moving! And find something you enjoy doing. I'm starting out slow to build my strength.

    Jenn, as much as you love your job .... first, you got to get back up to 100% so you can continue to enjoy it.

    Have a blessed holiday weekend!

  2. Hey lovely lady, the emotional turmoil is one I have been facing too. Just remember to take it one day at a time like you did in treatment. I think sometimes we just expect too much of ourselves as we try to navigate the world after cancer.

    I have recently taken up learning pilates and it has done a lot for my mood (and I am comfortable doing it after that "unwind glass of wine" after work.

  3. Hi Jen, I too am all over the place emotionally and my hubby has called me out on it recently. I think once we've gotten through the turmoil of surgery and subsequent treatment we are only really now dealing with the full emotional and psychological impact the whole process has had on us. We have been in fight mode with all the adrenaline rushing through us helping us cope, and now we are no longer in that place it has all come up to be dealt with. I have had a little counselling and I know hubby thinks I need more but I am so over appts that I don't want to go there again.

    As for the weight gain I am with you there. I had a chemo education session prior to starting and when the nurse said weight gain was a common side effect I thought to myself she didn't know what she was talking about. Throw in the weight gain from Tamoxifen and I am now 10kgs heavier than before diagnosis. I have started walking more, more salads and fruit at lunch, little to no snacking other than nuts and a little dried fruit, and the scales keep going up instead of down. So frustrating so I'm stepping up the exercise. Now I've had the reconstruction swimming is back in the loop so I'm signing up this week. I'll let you know if it actually happened as I am nowhere near the energy levels I had!

    How about taking evening primrose oil capsules? I know you don't really have PMS anymore but they are supposed to help with hot flushes and PMS, and are safe to take with Tamoxifen. I have started taking these for the hot flushes ( and hopefully PMS issues), but it's early days yet so will let you know.

    Enjoy your long weekend. It's Fathers Day here in New Zealand so better check in with hubby. Catherine

  4. Ah, Jennifer - again I can really relate. I went into chemical menopause after chemo - difficult on so many levels, but something I haven't really even begun to process as there's been so much else to deal with! Like you I am also struggling to get any exercise done, which makes me really mad with myself as it is one of the few things my oncologist said was actually PROVEN to reduce my chances of can it be that I haven't taken more action?!? It's a relief to know that I'm not alone in struggling to re-jig my routines. Sending a sympathetic hug from Darwin (and love the climbing pics!)...Liz