Monday, January 26, 2015

Introducing "Super Foot", toe biopsy is complete

For about ten days now I've known about the small brown 'not normal' spot on my left ring toe. Today, Monday, is 'biopsy day'. Woot!
I had to prep for this. I tried to get a pedicure on Saturday and had no luck.  Alas, I did my own toes last night.

This morning I got in a 5k on the treadmill. Mostly walking, and listening to Good Morning America. I don't wish blizzards on anyone, but hope that the weathermen are right with the east coast hype. Two feet of snow, at once, never sounds fun to me. 

*Disclosure:  The following pictures show Betadine only, they do not show any bodily fluids where they shouldn't be located.* 

I tried to find a pair of those ugly 'big toe' socks and struck out, which was okay. It's not like I'd wear *those* things in public unless absolutely necessary!  [Those socks with the big toe slot and then the rest of it is like a mitten for the other toes.] 

I got to the doc's office and was ushered into the "procedure room" and told to strip. . .my foot and pull up the pant leg. Then I got to pretend to slide off the chair/bench/table as the nurse put the back up into a sitting position :-)  
Step 1. Bare the skin 
Step 2. Remember what it looks like:  the planet Saturn 
This is not what it looks like:  It's Betadine, a/k/a  "cleaner".  
It's clean, now it gets numbed. 
The Prep table.  
Next up, a cape for the foot. I am SuperFoot. Able to jump high and do round kicks in order to save humanity from the evils of athlete's foot.  
Super Foot
Checking numbness: 
The tweezers were used next, to pinch my skin and make sure I couldn't feel anything.  It was weird having the foot feel like the gums/jaw when the dentist is doing big work. 

The Super Foot's cape is still only tinged by Betadine!   
The green instrument is what will take a "core sample" of my Saturn friend. It basically cuts into the skin and then the doc can push on the instrument to release the sample into the solution to preserve it for transporting to the lab. 

After taking the core sample, the doc put gauze in between the toes to help stop the bleeding.When it had calmed, she put Silver Nitrate on to seal/heal the wound. Doc didn't want to put a suture in, thinking that would be worse when I moved my foot in activities. 

I held the toe space open for this since the pinky toe would otherwise wipe off the Silver Nitrate and obviously it wouldn't work well if that occurred. 

All done!   Super Foot has now gone into hiding (hopefully for good). 

While I did take in a pair of open toe sandals to wear, if needed, I was able to put on my sock and get my foot into the boots just fine.  The toes have always been a little loose in this pair of boots, which is why I chose them for today's journey. 


I had only a couple stops to make after the doc's office, two stores and the gas station. Now I'm home, it's about two hours later and my foot is starting to throb.  Glad I vacuumed before the appointment today!

The instructions are to take it easy, don't submerge in a bath or a swimming pool (not sure why anyone would go to the second with an open wound), and I specifically asked about yoga tomorrow morning and was told it'd be okay. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Treadmill, linner, and nails

It snowed overnight,  enough to be annoying since yesterday was about 50 in the state cap, and it cooled overnight, It was 24 today.  The Mike was supposed to do a LONG ride today which turned into roller time in the basement.  I got on the treadmill and put in a 5k...although I did just fast walk today.
The beautiful state cap building on a gorgeous January day.
Also, filed under #WhatWasIThinking, Friday after my treadmill walk/run I decided to be "so brilliant" and head over to the gym for weight lifting.  I had a blast doing it. So proud of my body and then yesterday I was a little sore and this morning my body didn't want to move. Lol.  Epsom Salt bath later on to ease the muscles.

After the treadmill time I made Linner for The Mike and myself.   Linner--the lunch/dinner timeframe :-) . Tuna fish salad on top of mixed greens with a side of apples.
Tonight, I'm making the nails "sittin' pretty" with Essie gluten free nail polish.  Almost all my nail colors are purple for pancreatic cancer awareness!  I tried to get in for a pedicure at several salons yesterday in the cap city, but it was not to be.  
Painted toenails in preparation of skin biopsy tomorrow.


Tuna Fish Salad: 

1 can tuna, drained (juice =cat treat)   
                  I use Trader Joe's since it's tuna, salt, water and no soy/vegetable broth  
1 diced green onion (or a small amount of regular onion)
2 small stalks of celery, sliced and diced   (or 1 large stalk)
1 ounce of cheese, diced into small pieces/cubes
1 T of mustard 
about 1/2 c  of mayo (I use Hellman's Canola Oil as it's free of soy and gluten)
1/2 T to 1 T of dill pickle juice 
Pepper to taste 

Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and blend and blend. 

I always chop/slice the mixed greens for a bit.  Place on plate. Place tuna fish salad atop and garnish as desired. 

What do you put in your tuna fish salad? 





Friday, January 23, 2015

First run of the year. . . and yes it's the 23rd. . . and look at your body!

I had my first run of 2015.  Sad to say that it's taken 23 days into the month/year to get it done.

January 1st I was horribly cold. Went to the gym with hubby on the 2nd (I wipe down machines before and after my use with antibiotic wipes that the gym has on hand for same purpose). I was feeling a little slugglish, but kind of threw it off.  I did weights and a bit of the rowing machine. Saturday the 3rd I woke up with a horrid chest congestion and cough, which moved to the sinuses and basically kept me down for two weeks. I missed the first week of yoga due to the crud.

Then the 'ta da' feeling and I was feeling awesome last week. Woke up the 11th and I could breath and not cough every couple of minutes.  I got out of the house, ran some errands and then Friday I hacked again and thought. oh no.  I made an appointment with my doc for this past Monday, the 19th, and glad I did. I had to see her for that and something else we discovered Friday night.   Doc fixed me up with an RX for a sinus infection!  . . . and I go back on Monday for something unrelated to that.  Tuesday, the second day of the RX I was feeling SOOOO much better. It was like awakening for the first time in weeks. It was like knowing recovery after a gluten attack. It was like sunshine, and daisies, and butterflies. (cue the trumpets and harps).
Like a big sunny, happy, sunflower. 
I didn't abstain from exercise *completely*.  Well, most of the time I did when I was sick, but I had shoveled snow several days (even though The Mike told me not to).  I did walk a few times on the treadmill.

Needless to say, I was wanting to get back to running, but decided I should still be taking it a little easy and easing into the program again.  Yoga two days last week in class, two days this week in class and I thought "I think I'm ready".  I was actually planning to run yesterday after yoga, but then we did the pigeon pose and I've been told not to run after doing those hip opening/flexing positions.

Today I got dudded up in my purple pancreatic cancer fighting clothes. Purple Athleta pants, purple (ahen) Lululemon tank and got on the treadmill during The Price Is Right.  I walked during the show and ran during the commercials.  Sounds simple. Sounds easy. WHOA.  Hard stuff and I wasn't even running fast.  Definitely going to take time to come back from the days off of the feet and hopefully it won't take too long.
All red in the face after just a few running moments.
But wait, there's another snafu.  Remember where I said I talked to the doctor about another issue?  Friday night hanging on the couch, under the electric blanket-- which I got out on 1/1 when I was freezing and now think, "why don't I have this out every winter?!"--- when my left pinkie toe started itching my ring finger toe.  It felt like a hang nail type of thing. Couldn't shake the feeling and finally hoisted the foot up, and inspected and found the "chocolate" mark below.
ARGH.  What is THAT??!!!
No, not a smudge of sock lint. No, not anything that's coming off, and EEEK, it looks like Saturn, sort of round at the top and bottom and spreading around the middle like rings.  Saturday I had lunch with a friend and she said, 'it's probably fungus. There are lots of toe fungi".  Um, good? But I had no clue where I'd have picked up something like that.

Showed it to the doctor (you know, they just *adore* when patients go in for one thing and ask them about a gazillion other things while we're there and their appointment goes from five minutes to thirty minutes!), and she said, "it's not fungus, come back next week and I'll remove it for you and send it out (to see what it is).

Here's the thing I just learned at the beginning of 2014 thanks to a Facebook page for my #1 illness, Colitis, that thanks to the medication I'm on, the infusion I get every eight weeks, that I am more likely to get weird skin things.  Hmmm, in the eight years I'd been on Remicade, my GI never mentioned that to me. Sure, my PCP always says to stay out of the sun, stay out of tanning beds, not to sunburn, but hey, she's a PCP, she's *suppose* to say those things. I was shocked when I saw this tidbit of information on the CCFA FB page.  I asked my GI's office about it and was given the 'eh, it's just something to be aware of'.  I guess it's just something that is abstract in people's minds? not really important to tell a person?  Kind of like the whole part they didn't tell me that I'd be on Remicade for life.   I was on another immunosuppressant before that time and none of the three GIs I'd seen for that had ever mentioned anything about skin issues.  I mean, I *know* I'm at increased risk for colon cancer, hence the colonoscopies every two years, but another thing I didn't even know about!  
From the CCFA page of 2014
"Today is  #WorldCancerDay.  [explanation of UC and Crohns]. . . Also, the rate of non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma are increased compared to the general population among patients with IBD taking immunosuppressive medications such as azathiprine [Imuran]6-mercaptopurine [Purinethol]methotrexate, and anti-TNF agents [Remicade, Enbrel, Humira,Cimzia, and Simponi] . . . ."  
What?  I've been on Imuran from 1994 to 2006 and Remicade since 2006.

I will be putting this out of my mind until I know what is what and if there's anything to worry about, but it's going to be hard.


Anyway, I ran today. Maybe I'll run tomorrow. I'll run Sunday and Monday and then who knows? And I'll be excited by any progress I make on running. . . running more than  a two minute commercial break will be exciting!  One short day I'll be running  more and walking less and then I'll be all running again.

I'm not sure how the biopsy will go or how my toe/foot will feel and I doubt I'll be able to wear my Injinji toe socks for a while.

. . . must remember to wear a slip on sandal on Monday. ..in Iowa. .. in January.  Maybe I'll go buy those weird socks that have the four toes together and then a separate toe slot for the big toe. . .then I can wear those with my toe catching Born sandals?  lol.  That'll look swell.


Since pancreatic cancer is close to my heart, and the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the USA, I'll leave you with this. If you know anyone who is fighting pancreatic cancer, have them contact PALS at the below information. Patient And Liaison Services can help those who are fighting cancer by being there for them and talking about treatment options.

January is National Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials Awareness Month!
Contact pals@pancan.org or at 877-272-6226 for information and free trial searches. You may also visithttp://bit.ly/1xhpOEO



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bean soup, requested.

Sunday night, The Mike made a request for Bean Soup for Monday. He decided the coming cold weather was just begging for a rich, hearty soup.  Plus, we'd had baked ham, so he knew what to do with leftovers---er, what I could do with the leftovers!  Luckily, I still had some of Bob's bean mix on hand from last winter. I don't make bean soup very often, I'm not a seasoned cook at it like my mom was, so I decided to add the two cups of beans to a quart bottle and top it off with water to soak the beans. 
After just an hour, I knew that wasn't going to work very well---the beans had already absorbed all that water-- and moved the beans to a small plastic container, about 4x7x4, and filled it with water to about three fourth's full, beans included. This worked well overnight to soak the beans. Some beans started to split open, others just swelled a bit. About two in the afternoon I rinsed the beans well in a colander and then put them in my large AllClad pasta pot.  To this I added a diced onion, about a cup of chopped celery, and three diced/chopped carrots. Seasoned with two bay leaves.  I added a quart of Kitchen Basics Vegetable Stock, plus a quart of water. (Bob's recipe says to use 2 1/2 quarts, but I wanted a thicker soup).  For the meat, I added Beeler's Ham, which I had on hand. Some of it was baked Saturday with cloves, allspice and pineapple, and I also added the end of the ham---no bone, just the 'wrapped' end of the ham for some awesome tastiness :-)  

Bring to a boil, stir, cover and reduce to simmer for three hours minimum.   

At this point, I decided to test the theory of adding baking soda to reduce the magical toots of beans.  I added about two teaspoons and it fizzed like crazy chemistry fun. 
It didn't eliminate the issue, but has seemed to diminish the quantity.  
After three hours, this is what the soup looked like. Pretty thick, with only about a inch or less of liquid on top, making it a hearty soup. 
 
I removed the end ham piece and soooo easily shredded it in the bowl.  This is what winter is all about: fall apart meat candy goodness. 

To go with the bean soup, I also made Bob Red Mill's cornbread.  I followed the recipe on the package, except I used tapioca, teff, buckwheat flours, and I had to bake it for about 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes. 

For future, I'd add more celery and carrots to the soup.

As the night turned colder, and the snow fell harder, it was a perfect dinner to spoon a soup.  
There's a driveway between the cornflowers and bridal wreaths!
 About five new inches of snow, and -16ºF at 7am this morning.

Bean soup
2 cups Bibs Red Mill mixed beans Soak over night
Next day (12-24 hours later):
Rinse beans, put in large stockpot.
Add: 2 quarts of water 1 diced onion Celery to taste (I added a cup rough chopped) 3 carrots, diced (or more or less for your taste) 2 bay leaves Ham. I added the leftover baked ham which I diced, plus also the end of a ham, added whole.
Bring to boil, then cover & reduce to simmer for 3 to 3.5 hours.
Before serving, remove ham and shred, then return to pan.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Food, shopping, and Race 4

I was still going to be in Massachusetts for another week, spending time with family, taking my sister to get her chemo port for breast cancer, so I had to go grocery shopping. . .and riding my nephews bike, which turned out to be my bro in law's bike when he was a kid. 
Nephew wanted to ride the bike to the bus stop, so I rode it home
Fall leaves
At the grocery store, they were out of UDI's gf whole grain bread, so I bought this brand I'd never heard of before. I liked the idea of a rye substitute sounded great. 
I thought the bread was great the first few days. Good for making a sandwich, but not for spreading butter upon. It tended to crumble a bit under a gentle knife. 
A few days later we went shopping and stopped at Smashburger. 
They have GF buns, the fries are said to be GF, but others have told me they fry their 'fried pickles in the same mix. Plus, they use canola oil instead of soy oil (YEAH!).

The bun is HUGE. It was about 2" tall by itself.   
I'm not use to eating a bun any longer, since I just think of it as empty calories, and I just flipped the burger onto the top of the bun and left off the bottom, eating it as a decorated piece of bread instead.  The fries: AWESOME! The last time I'd had restaurant fries was two years before in San Francisco at the WipeOut establishment (canola oil there too, dedicated GF fryer). 


We had to be at the hospital at 6:30am for the chemo port day. I packed my kindle, knitting, and some food, but lunch still needed to be had. I went to the cafeteria about 1:30, after my sister was taken back in surgery and I got a salad of sorts from the salad bar, chips and milk.

I know getting food from the salad bar is iffy at times, but the only thing that was gluten appearing were the croutons, and I avoided the items near the croutons in case there was any dropping of them into another container.  The salad bar was pretty basic, nothing fancy, not what I was use to seeing at Univ Med Center Omaha.  Then again, it was late afternoon too.  
I also had this bar, that my sister had given me.
\TASTY!
I'm still not sure why the GI floor had to be listed twice! 
We left the hospital at 6pm, almost a full twelve hours later. Then a trip to the pharmacy along the bumpy road.  I had just seen an ad on tv for the new Chex oatmeal and was ecstatic when I saw it at the CVS. We had something easy for dinner--I wanted to be sure sister would eat something tonight!

After taking it easy on Saturday, my sis thought I'd enjoy another race--um, sure! Knocking off another state would be fabulous.

We checked out the running in the usa website and found a fun run, run with a purpose, in New Hampshire.  Folks can bring toys for kids to this race, and the proceeds from the race also buy toys for kids in the area. Pretty cool to be a part of such a race. . .. oh, and cool in general. It was about below 40 this morning! Brrrrr. 

Cold and I didn't bring any running pants, just skort! 
I did succeed in tossing this "throwaway" shirt.  It was a cotton technical shirt and worked well at the Hartford race in the rain. It held some moisture, but didn't get heavy like a cotton shirt would.  This race day, I dropped it at the aid station. It was funny as the guy working said, "you're not going to get it back" and I said, "I was hoping not to".  I think I surprised him, but I didn't want to toss it into the woods along the trail where no one would pick it up, and I was not going to go back for it. 

Part of the beautiful race course. 

I ran the 10k and my sister walked the 5k with her daughter. I was worried it'd be too much for her, but the doctor had said she could do it, just not overdo things. She went slow as well, which eased my mind.  She also found out the 10K wasn't a 10K this year. Apparently the leaders missed the first "loop around the parking lot and school" before dumping us on to the trail system. I think we missed out on about a quarter mile, if that much. I was still happy with my time, my foot still hurt a little bit from the weekend before.  

Lunch at Lui Lui's.  It's an Italian place in Nashua, New Hampshire.  Gluten free menu with delicious options.  Little kids are given [gluten] pieces of dough to play with and entertain themselves.   
Spinach dip
GF pizza with pepperoni, spinach
Art in the hallway outside the New   Balance outlet store
a find at a second hand store. Irish vest  that I decided to deconstruct for the wool yarn. 
To be made into a shawl/scarf 
Time to retire the shoes. They're staying at my sister's for when I visit her, but after the pain in my right foot I'm not going to be sad to not have the tennis ball shoes in my closet. 
Autumn in Iowa, flyover state, flyover photo, ha ha ha 
The only thing more beautiful than a harvested and yet to be harvested field in the fall, are the sprouting fields of spring.


The only other race I did in 2014 was a November, Veterans Day one. 
It was about 35 degrees windy and my time was pretty good, all things considered. . .in fact, my race time was the exact same as it was for a 10K in July where it was muggy and had just finished raining (and lightning) when the race started.  

2014 I ran all over, Iowa, Neb, Kansas, D.C., California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and enjoyed seeing the sites various towns had to offer. 
May 2014 have been a good year for you and may 2015 be an amazing year for us all. 

Race 3 in 3 days. What was I thinking? Massachusetts.

When we got back to my friend's house, we looked up the race for Monday: Tufts 10K. It's held every year on the Monday of this weekend (Columbus Day).

The race was $50 to register and the website said $50 for same day registration as well!  Sweet, we can just make up our minds in the morning.

The legs were a little stiff, and really I'll just say a little. I was quite surprised the legs weren't more angry with me. I don't know if the adrenaline wasn't worn off yet, or if the yoga in addition to the running was really helping me.

Race morning, Athleta sweater goes quite well with a black race tank!

Same day registration. . . what can I say. Oh, right. it was $60 race day, plus computer use the day of to register, so it was actually $65 to register.  I wasn't happy, but the other side of leaving then was *inconveniencing friend who drove me here
*driving half an hour into downtown Boston for 'nothing'
*WHO KNEW that one could have 'same day' registered at home on a computer for the $50!  What race has same day computer registration?  

Further on the negative side, no one told me I could get a race shirt, or packet, or from where. I figured it out by watching other people head to the shirt table. It wasn't a matter of not having enough shirts for same day registrants either. There were hundreds, if not a thousand, shirts left over at the end of this race!

On the positive side, there were plenty of samples (i.e. food for breakfast) to sample and coupons to obtain. Many were foods that were gluten and soy free. YEAH!  This made me happy and makes me want to do the race again! 


Further, amazing women runners started the race for the little kids:
Joan Benoit Samuelson 
Olympic Gold Medalist
Boston Marathon winner
It was an inspiration to hear her speak and be so close to her.
Really, there's not a zoom on my camera!
I really wasn't sure about this, but so much was already invested. I was tired and I hadn't thought ahead of time to really needing to pack three separate race outfits for three separate races, so I have on this hodgepodge including the "throwaway" shirt of a race I've not partaken:
Getting ready for the race start. Yes, the street is packed full of racers!  So inspiring to see, and so much energy to share!

I have no idea where we were in Boston, except at a Green space, and race across the Charles' river.  Please forgive me, as I don't know streets or landmarks here. 

We ran down the start/finish street and then made an immediate left hand turn. The street was packed for this final race of mine.  There were folks walking, folks sprinting, and folks running. Mostly women, although there occasionally was a male runner as well.  Young runners and old runners. I think I passed an 80 year old women. Inspiring for so many reasons. Take the energy where you can find the energy!

About mile two my right foot HURT. It wasn't the bottom that had taken a pounding, it wasn't the toes that were hitting the ground. Instead, it was the part right under where I tie my shoe. OMG the pain was so much.
*I ran a bit trying to go tippy toes. That didn't help.
*I tried to go with heal, that didn't help.
**I resigned myself to walking the rest of the 10K. Bummed!

I would not give up--especially after I found 50¢ in various coins on the ground!

I found I could run at times, when the pain subsided. Then I yelled-internally of course, I was in public--for running through pain. 

Coming up this hill was painful, but the top leveled off and my foot was feeling better. For whatever reason, it felt good to run downhill--so I did, after taking this picture.  

At the bottom of the hill I walked again, stretched my foot and ankle on the curb and generally yelled at myself for doing three races in three days---even if I was taking it easy on the last two of them!


Then I turned my head and spied this beautiful scene:

Women running across the Charles River FOR FUN. 

INSPIRATION again.

My run/walk method was taking me there. I ran for the camera guys, I walked where I needed to. I avoided all the potholes I saw!

And then as I finished down this road and we turned left I recognized where we were--at least knowing it was close to the Green where the race started, and the energy was flowing again. 
The energy cont'd to flow as I spied the "best dressed" water stop. Even gents in tuxedos here!  
(yes, I asked, and received, his permission to take his photo for the blog)
We ran around the backside the park opposite where the race was staged and then came to the street that ran between them. I ran (hobbled, I felt) towards the finish line and then I *heard* my name!  My friend was on the street, cheering me on!
As I got up to the finish line I wished I hadn't put my phone away, for who was cheering us on as we finished, but Joan Benoit Samuelson!



When we finished, we were looped through a finishing area, grabbed a bag, stuff it with whatever refreshments one wants (no chocolate milk, but there was yogurt!), and then head out to the park to spread out. I'm not sure what kind of entertainment was to occur at the stage, and we didn't really stick around. I immediately loosened my shoe strings on the right foot and stretched my legs.

[when I got home, and saw a running friend at yoga, she suggested i might have done something on the wet pavement during the first race, and the adrenaline of the events didn't allow the pain to come through until Monday. Seemed reasonable!]

Three races. Three days. 


Three races.
Three days.

Would I do it again? 

Probably!