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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wild monkey dance

Hi friends, how's it going? I had my last chemo on Friday (insert me doing the wild monkey dance)... And this morning i was able to eat a fried egg, slice of ham on a fresh baked roll. This last chemo was rough and well, i am happy it is the last. My total weight gain is 11 pounds, how odd that you gain weight despite not being able to eat for days,

My Oncologist encourages me to get back on weight watchers and to exercise. God willing in 6 weeks my energy levels should return.

I feel so happy i want to cry. I cannot wait to begin my new normal. Life is so fragile and beautiful that i just can't contain myself. I am not going to lie and say i am not scared C will come back but i am deciding to switch the thought off when it appears. I have learned that FEAR paralyzes you and its no way to live. I am so grateful to God for his love, mercy and peace. I thank him before i sleep and upon waking.

Well guys, i just wanted to check in and thank you all for helping me through... It has been rough and even though i will have check ups every 3 months, i am beyond happy.... Beyond.

I think if you ask a cancer patient what they want most they would respond with "wanting to be normal again". You miss the every day normal. We tend to take it for granted. Little things, you know.

Well, i should cut this short. I need to find a weight watcher meeting near my home. I weigh 185 lbs. i started chemo at 172.

Thank you pwc readers for your comments and support. It meant everything to me.


Monday, January 28, 2013

gettin on the EGG wagon

Hi friends, how's it going?  Mondays are always  hard for me and I have got to admit... my days of prepping on Sundays  have gone by the wayside.  I'm trying to change that and well, last night, I pulled out the spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers and onions. Sauted them in Pam and layed them in a small pie pan.  Then I grabbed 6 eggs, salt, pepper and a splash of half and half and baked it in the oven.


Breakfast for the week.

I also packed spinach, feta, nuts, raisins and strawberries for a massive salad beast for this afternoon.

I've gotten into some bad eating habits these past few months. I cannot believe for two nights, I 've sat on the couch, watching TV eating potato chips.  Who am I?  Well, that's all going to change in the  next few months.

Daniel did the grocery shopping last week all by himself and I was so excited that he picked up plenty of fresh fruit and produce. Who knows, he just might be a convert to healthy eating.

Question:  Don't you just love eggs when the edges are all crispy brown?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

3rd base

There are moments when C is with me the most.  The reality of it hits me. 

Just before I get into the shower and look in the mirror. I see the person staring back at me and it’s then that it hits me what C has done to my physical appearance. I shrug it off because in the grand scheme of things, this means nothing because I’m here.
In the mornings as I dress for work. I decide what top to wear. One that does not have cleavage.  Once the top is chosen, I begin the process of unpacking my prosthesis and inserting them into my bra. It has become a ritual i.e., mornings and evenings.  The minute I return home, I remove and pack  them up and throw on a sweatshirt. How I love sweatshirts and I'm thankful it's not summer. It are these moments that I think most about reconstruction surgery. I am reminded that I’m almost there… Reconstruction is like sliding into  home home base. 
Then, there are those moments that it is so surreal…this has really happened.  I do try not to complain. I remain upbeat and positive. I write this post merely on the chance that someone else is reading and if they experience somethig similar to what I am going through, maybe then, they don’t feel quite alone. I mean "Alone" in the thought process. Clearly, I have family, friends (both real and blog) where I am not alone.  However, there are not many people who can relate.   I think woman who have experience breast cancer are in this elite club all our own.  Life is never quite the same again. C changes you.  In a positive way for sure. I am much more grateful for all that is in this mortal world….my children, grandchildren, Daniel and the beauty that is the world.
I cannot wait until I can feel more myself and laugh with total abandonment. Yes, a laughter where C is completely forgotten and it just a bad memory. We all have struggles in life and when they’re over, we look back and sigh and are grateful they are just that… memories..
All this being said… I feel like I am at third base, waiting for the batter to hit and I am almost home.  Almost home.
Peace out

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

El Mercadito

Hi my friends, how's it going? Sorry I've been absent. Daniel and I took a "spur of the moment" trip to Los Angeles. It's rare that he and I have time off at the same time.  Besides, I gotta tell you after Chemo #3, I could use some R&R. 

We visited Disneyland but I'll save that for another post. first, I want to share our visit to  El Mercadito in East Los Angeles. This little market is pretty darn cool. As we entered the parking lot, t here is a shrine to La Virgen de Guadalupe. I grew up with my mother lighting candles to this virgencita so I was pleased to see her as we parked our car.

This Mercado is three stories high and as we walked through the aisles. Many of the vendors encouraged us to ask questions regarding their merchandise. Daniel loved this place. He said it was identical to the mercados in Mexico.  He was completely in his element. He bartered with the woman.

 As we arrived at the various Moles, Daniel went on and on with the woman. They encouraged him to taste the various types of Mole.  Now, if I didn't know better, I would think Daniel was flirting with these woman.  Apparently, one HAGGLES in markets and it's not uusual to carry on the way he was... I MEAN, WHAT DO I KNOW... I'm from Texas.

 After we tasted the various types, I selected the Mole Poblano since it was a  spicier than the others.  I paid my $8 per pound and went on to the next stand. 

I absolutely fell in love with the colors at the tried fruit below. Man, did I enjoy looking at the various vendors and the foods they were cooking. It was incredibly authentic.  [Psss... I ate so much good food in the last 3 days that I'm seriously avoiding the scale. I've decided to join Weight Watchers just as soon as I'm done with C stuff.  I seriously thought I could eat healthy while undergoing chemo but I tend to gravitate towards carbs and well, carbs equal calories equals weight gain]. Anyways, sorry for getting off track.

Once we returned home, I was anxious cook the Mole. I was instructed by the ladies to boil chicken, add onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Once the chicken was done, I simply add the Mole to the pot. The tricky part was knowing how much stock to add to my $8 worth of Mole? I had to use my best judgment.

Just as I had feared, I added too much stock and my Mole was thinner than I wanted.  However, the thinner Mole was delicious. I only tasted it and my son absolutely loved the flavor. Daniel did not care for the Mole. Apparently, he only likes his mama's Mole and he does not like chocolate in his Mole. I simply thought all Moles contained chocolate. I was corrected. 

So what do you think? Would you eat this in a restaurant? 

I saved the left over Mole and froze it. I think it would be devine over tamales or eggs.

Anyways, I couldn't wait to share my visit to El Mercadito. I hope your day is excellente!!!

I'll be back later with pics from Disneyland.

Later, gators.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

my jump is more like a skip....

Hey friends, how's your day?

I woke up early this morning and made breakfast for my son and Daniel. Scrambled eggs and sausage for them and a bowl of fruit and quesadilla for me.

After chores, Daniel and I headed out since the sun was out. It was still cold but not so bad. We decided to drive to Olivehurst. It's about a 2 hour drive and I know there are fruit stands along the rural roads. I was interested in to see what they had this time of year.  Usually, I take this drive for the fresh peaches.  I did see lots of farm hands pruning the trees so I am excited for the summer crops.  Can you tell someone wants it to be summer?

We stopped at Tony's Fruit Stand in Oroville. Most stands were closed with an occasional "self-serve stands" where they leave bags of fruit out and you pay by using a drop box.

I wanted to buy walnuts but then what would I do with so many?  
Daniel is such a trooper. See him there near the car? Thank you for driving me around to these  far off and obscure places.

He was pretty excited the selection of dried fruit, local honey and nuts. Lucky for us they accepted ATM. I picked up apples, mandarines, carrots, local honey, almonds and dried fruit.

I was quite happy and asked Daniel to pull over. I told him I wanted to jump in the air and if he would take my picture. I love that he doesn't question these impulses and just pulls over.  I'm lucky person...

As for my jump in the air... Unfortunately, my jumping was more like skip... but hey, the intent is there so I think it counts... It felt wonderful  to be out in the country.
 Once we arrived back to Sacramento, it was time for an early dinner. It was Pollo Loco for these two locos.  Daniel had chicken, rice and beans. Big surprise there...

I chose the chicken bowl but after 3 bites decided it was a poor choice. The aroma of the chicken was too much and I decided to take it home. Maybe later.

I'm finishing the evening with making  Albondigas (meat ball soup) with the fresh carrots . Maybe the broth will be delicious. I have all the ingredients and my son mentioned he was craving Albondigas. 

By-the-way... I am looking forward to this evening, My daughter has a surprise for me. I feel like a kid. Life is sweet... I hope your day is awesome and you find pleasure in the simplest circumstances.


Monday, January 14, 2013

burrr.... it's cold outside

Hi friends... How are you?

I had my third chemo and it was rough... But so grateful i am able to eat solids again. I am surprised by how tired i am... But this too shall pass. 3 down, 1 to,go. Praise God.

Daniel made caldo de res. it was a big pot of oxtail and vegetable soup. I ate the broth and it was glorious. Sorry no pictures. My friend Virginia and her husband stopped by for an unexpected visit,

I was nervous about how i looked, but remembered this is me...right now.  The visit was unexpected and unannounced but I did my best to be me.  I smiled. Laughed and invited them to dinner. We all sat around and shared the soup. It was the time I've had visitors in my home in over 2 months. Felt nice.

The menu around here  consist of dry toast, bananas and ginger ale. It was nice to mix it up this afternoon as I was able to eat a salad and  roasted veggies and chicken wrap.

Not to mention the movie and bucket of popcorn i shared with Daniel this afternoon. Life continues to be sweet despite the inconvenience of C. I am content, sitting here on my sofa wearing warm work out cloths and feeling the warmth of my home.

Can you believe it was 33 degrees in Sacrament early this morning?  Well, I'm off to cuddle on the couch with a certain someone. Hope you all have a great evening.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I decided....

Hola, how's your day so far?

Mine started out with a cup of coffee,  half a banana, and a bite of pan dulce. I stop self from eating the rest but then... I spied a slice of pizza my son left on the table and zapped it in the microwave. I had a few bites and then left it alone. I told my son that it's really hard for me to have that kind of food in the house. He smiles.  I tell self: at least you minized the damage with bites. I lie to self often:  I know that eating carbs in the morning means I'll be HUNGRY all day long. Don't you just want to kick  yourself in the pants when you make bad choices?

At least I made good choices last night and boiled eggs. Around 10 a.m., I eat one and consume two glasses of water hoping the hunger subsides...

It does not... it sits there quietly beckoning me to eat crap... I stay focused. 

I find myself still hungry at 11:30 a.m., despite drinking water. I decide to eat an early lunch of veggies and 1/2 a bag of Fettucini Alfredo... I brought one of those "meal in a bag" to work.

Notice I left out sauce and added extra veggies?  My stomache still feels hungry but I tell self it's not really hunger...

The weather is nice and so I decide to walk around campus. I think "this is great running weather" then I am reminded that THERE IS A TIME FOR EVERYTING... I smile and enjoy the warmth on my face.

I then walk into the Student Center. Bon Appetite serves the most delilcious meals using fresh, local and organic ingredients. I look at their soups and I jump for joy when I find this:

White bean and kale soup.  I ate half of this upon my return to my office, and at the other half around 4 pm.  Beans are so harty.

Dinner will be cabbage salad and oranges for dessert.  A co-worker brought me a huge bag of oranges from the tree that is outside my former office. His kindness me smile.  I must remember to pay it forward.

You know, I woke this morning thanking the Lord for today. I DECIDED to be grateful and happy. I DECIDED to ignore of discouragement. I have always known that ATTITUDE is about the only thing we can control.  It's okay to feel but it's more important to DECIDE.

Later gators.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rosca de los Reyes is celebrated on Janury 6th.  Inside this yummy pastry  is a figurine representing baby Jesus. It is a tradition in Daniel's family to drink Mexican chocolate and cut the Rosca de los Reyes after dinner. I absolutely love Mexican traditions and my culture is just full of tradition.

When it was my turn to cut the the Rosca, I gravitated to the blue slice. I was about to cut it when my Daniel's brother Pancho told me to cut a bigger slice. Silly me, I listened and I ended up with baby Jesus.  I was so excited....

Tradition has it that on February 2, I am to make a dinner and invite everyone to my house. At least that's what these woman below tell me.  

Do you have traditions such as these in your culture?

To those who commented on my last post. Mil gracias for your support. I had a day where I allowed "discouragement" rule my thoughts. I realize there will be moments such as these but it's really up to me to turn it around. Who wants to live without goals?  Life without goals is giving up and well, that's not in my vocabulary.

Well friends, I'm very content after eating my Rosca with chocolate and will retired to the couch to watch Downtown Abbey.  I love that show.

Later, gators.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Present as I can

Hola, happy Friday.

Second day of work is slow but yet productive. I've managed to update subscription database and invoice for the journals.  That always feels good.

Additionally, today I decided to google types of cancers and realized I've not been "on-point" in getting answers from my oncologist. They never want to tell you stuff.  You must ask and when  you don't know what to ask, well it's a tough situation.  I googled my cancer and it scares me.  Am I to keep my head in the sand and trust God or trust God but be curious as to what may be around the corner?  It's a tough road. 

It's January 2013 and I want to make goals, but how the hell can I?  I am feeling mad.  I know ANGER is wrong.  The smart part of me tells me my ONLY GOALS is to stay strong. Eat the best I can, and to stay as healthy as possible to get through chemo.  As for activity, there is a two-week window where I feel 75% me and during those times, I walk.  This should be goal enough, right?  I'm pissed. I want to make plans. I want to visit with friends. I want day trips.  I tell self "knock it off paula. There will be plenty of time for all that..."

It's the first day I really feel ANGER. As much as I try to be normal. This SHIT is still with me.  My co-workers are concerned. I've worked here 23 years.  I decide to be open about it. Answer questions but mostly, I remain upbeat and positive. After all... beinig BOOHOO is no fun.  But today I'm angry. I know it will subside. I know I  have to feel it. I know it's human nature.  Having faith is not easy.  It's a commitment in and of itself.  I wish I was stronger in the Lord to have that certainty to know that I'll be around forever.

But none of  us have that certainty. We do have today and keeping that in mind, I listened to the leaves fall from the trees as I walked in the park. I looked at the group of men gambling. Wondered what their story was... I admired the architecture of the old buildings near my office, and then decided to be as present as I can....

Present as I can....

Que  mas puedo hacer?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

hunger is through the roof

Hey friends, how's your day?

Mine was muy bueno as i retuned to wok after being off for two months. It felt good to be productive. Its humbling since things didn't fall apart without me. Funny how I thought i was so indispensable. LOL.

I am making a real effort to get back to healthy eating. my morning started with coffee and a slice of toast. Made a green smoothie to drink while working.

Around noon, i was starving so i ate this salad. Can i be honest? I am so hungry these days that i had to eat more cabbage to subside my hunger.

Then around 1pm, i walked to Old Soul for steamed milk and tea.

I was surprised at my energy level today. It felt so good to be at work. I felt like my old self before THESKYFELL.

After work, I almost picked up a burrito bowl at El Forrestero. Instead, I backed out of the drive-thru (which was not easy) and came home and roasted some frozen veggies and chicken.

I know its alot of food, but like i said, my hunger is through the roof.


My evening will be spent watching TV. What are your plans for the evening?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Adios 2012

Putting 2012 behind me.

Hiking Woods Lake again with my wonderful co-workers

Completing a 5k and obstacle course with my daughters Jessica and Sabrina.  This was the most rewarding part of my year. The fact that I was physically fit to do this and was able to climb walls and a steep slide was awesome. Thinking back, I did all that with cancer and didn't even know it.  Imagine what I can do without it?

Feeling confident with jogging and zumba...  Love that exercise was part of my lunch hour and evenings.

Climbing Mt. Tallac for the 2nd time. I made it just beneath the summit.  It was a challenge coming down the mountain and I swore I wouldn't do it again... Now all I can think about is climbing another. Again, I hiked 12 hours with cancer.... and didn't know it.

Spent a wonderful weekend with friends in South Lake Tahoe. The view, jacuzzi, company and food was amazing.  Best part was riding the Gondola to the top with a view of all South Lake Tahoe and Carson Pass.  Amazing way to spend my 50th birthday.

Aww... my discovery of Goat Cheese.  I fell in love instantly....

There were some wonderful things about 2012.  So I can't wish it away.  I do wish I could have learned the lessons of the last few months without the help of breast cancer.  That I can do without.  Last night, after ringing-in 2013 very quietly, I dressed for bed and as I put away prosthesis, I began to cry quiet tears.  It was more a sadness than anything. A sadness that even though I am in remission and have two more treatments to go, the realization that we all will leave this earth one day is sobering. Then I smiled thanking God for his mercy and grace.

Today, I get tired easily.  I don't have the same stamina as I had months ago, but that's okay because it's temporary. I love life. My family and Daniel very much. I want to savor each and every day and that's how I will choose to live 2013.   

I am hungry for life.  I cannot wait to get back to work. To zumba. To hiking and most importantly to my kids.  I want them to see their mother living as vibrant as she can.  I want them to be proud of me... I am proud of me... 

Here's to making 2013 count and telling your loved ones how much you love them. Please, don't wait until something bad happens to appreciate all that you have.